Have a Happy Easter
Enjoy a happy Easter everyone, have fun, go egg hunting, cook, bake, have great parties, above all enjoy the spirit of the season, it is spring, there is ( should be !!!) plenty of sunshine and cheer. As like on any other special day, we miss our family and friends back home, and since the climate has suddenly turned chilly and rainy, I dream of an abundance of sunshine, of glorious green paddy fields stretching beyond the horizon, of coconut trees lining a quite, winding road, Oh , I could almost cry. But here is our way out, a cure all nostalgia potion, etched in T’s Easter memories, my ultimate chicken turn on, very traditional, very special Kerala chicken roast . The recipe I used this time, is originally based on my mother in law’s, and I modified it a little bit and added two special ingredients suggested by yet another expert cook back home , in whose house we tasted the most exquisite chicken roast there is.
Considering the vast number of regional variants existing for this recipe, i am declaring in advance that this recipe might call for a totally different way of preparation than the one that you are used to. To sight an example, in the place where i grew up, we do not actually fry chicken pieces for making the roast. A "roast" back there is still a chicken curry with barely enough gravy to coat the pieces. I hold no grudge or perjudice to any other " the traditional " recipe there is !!!!! Have fun with the following recipe.
Chicken Breasts (Skinned, and cut into moderately sized pieces) – 2 pounds
Large red onions, thinly sliced – ½- 1 pound
Ginger, cut into fine long pieces – 2 tbsp,
Finely chopped or ground – 2 tsp
Garlic, cut lengthwise - 2 tsp,
Finely chopped or ground – 2 tsp
Green chillies, cut lengthwise - to your taste, and tolerance.
Curry leaves – ¼ cup
Crushed black pepper- ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 11/2 tbsp + ½ tsp
Chilly powder- 1 tbsp + ½ tsp
Cinnamon Crushed or powdered – ½ tsp
Fennel seeds 1 ½ tsp Clove – 6 nos.
Nutmeg- ¼ tsp
Cardamom – 4 pods
Tomatoes- 3 nos.( 2 cut lengthwise, 1 chopped)
Lemon- one half
Vinegar – 1 1/2 tsp
Mint leaves – 4-6 leaves ( not more !!!)
Ghee- 1 tsp (not more!!!!)
Oil (preferably coconut) – 6 tbsp
Sugar – A pinch or two.
Salt to taste
Grind all ingredients in green together, after reserving 2 pods of cardamom. (3 tbsp of garam masala can be used as a substitute). Wash chicken pieces thoroughly and pat dry using paper towels, add ½ tsp each of finely chopped ginger, garlic, ½ tsp each of Coriander, and chilly powders , 1 tsp of the ground spices or garam masala, ½ tsp salt, 1 chopped tomato, 1 crushed pod of cardamom, juice of ½ lemon,1 tsp of Vinegar, mix well, marinate for 20min-1hr. Cover and cook under medium heat for 10 minutes (Pressure cooking is ideal – wait for one whistle, release pressure and open). Take out the pieces, save pan juice for the final stage of preparation of this recipe. Heat 5 tbsp oil, shallow fry chicken pieces, till it gets a delicate brown color on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Heat 1 tbsp oil (add a little bit more according to requirement) fry 4 mint leaves first , add diced onions, ginger, garlic, green chilies, curry leaves, 1/4 tsp salt, sauté , till onions are golden brown. Add diced tomatoes and sauté till it is tender. Add 1 ½ tbsp of Coriander powder, 1 tsp of Chilly powder, ¼ tsp of black pepper powder, remaining 2 ½ tsp of spice power and sauté for a minute. Add the pan juices from the first step of preparation. Cook on high heat for a minute till the gravy starts to thicken, add ½ tsp vinegar, and drop in chicken pieces. Cook on high heat till the gravy completely coats chicken pieces. (2-3 min). At this point you can stir in some sautéed green peas, for garnishing. Add one crushed cardamom. Remove from heat; add a tsp of pure ghee. Add a pinch of sugar to adjust the taste, mix. Keep covered for at least 5 minutes, serve hot.
Traditional Kerala chicken roast recipes, call for marinating and deep frying chicken followed by brief cooking in thick spicy gravy. Pressure cooking followed by shallow frying, keeps the chicken tender and moist, and brings about the fine pan seared look, so typical of a Kerala chicken Roast. Please do not forget to fry the mint leaves first, before you start the sautéing exercise for the rest of the ingredients. Mint is a herb that begs for moderation in this recipe. Fried cashew nuts, raisins and almonds can be used for garnishing.