Tag Archives: coconut

Kerala Chicken Curry

30 Jul

Kerala Chicken CurryI recently discovered ‘god’s own secret’ in ‘god’s own country’*……..

No it wasn’t a religious pilgrimage; it was a weekend retreat in an enigmatic paradise- Vivanta by Taj – Bekal, Kerala . It’s a parallel universe of natural and man-made beauty where extensive natural foliage unites with beautifully manicured lawns and the alluring backwaters rally around lotus filled ponds. It’s an escape from reality with a chance to rejuvenate and stimulate all your senses.

Photo Credit: Hotel Website

Photo Credit: Hotel Website

If you think the landscape and the world class spa are the only draw to reinvigorate you here, wait till your taste buds are tantalized in the dining room. As expected at a Taj hotel the chefs are experts in global cuisine but since we were in Kerala my prime focus was traditional costal cuisine. Their fluffy appams (pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk), coconut kissed piquant vegetable and meat curries, and fresh seafood further reinforced my love affair with food from the Malabar Coast.

Serving Suggestion

Serving Suggestion

This chicken curry recipe is a slightly adapted version of a Nadan Kozhi Curry (Local Chicken Curry) that I learnt from Chef Dhandapani on this trip. It embodies what I love about Indian coastal curries – several layers of spices that come together harmoniously with a touch of coconut milk. Consider this aromatic and flavorful chicken curry an ode to a wonderful weekend at The Vivanta by Taj, Bekal and a sneak preview to your potential trip to discover “god’s own secret” in “god’s own country”. Continue reading

Corn on the Cob Curry

2 Jul

IMG_3056You can spend several years traveling all across India and still find distinctive dishes that you have never tasted before. There are thousands of regional dishes and over hundreds of ways of preparing each of them. This is the very reason India and Indian food is paradise for food enthusiasts. Just when you think you have tried every dish a region has to offer, you will surely stumble upon another unique flavor profile.

A few years ago my mother-in-law introduced me to a Corn on the Cob Curry. I had never eaten corn in a robust coconut gravy laced with tamarind paste and finished with a classic South Indian tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red chilies. This dish harmoniously married together different textures and several spices; there was perfect equality among all the ingredients with no element dared to over-power another.

This adaptation of my mother-in-laws brilliant recipe features  just in time for the height of corn season. So go ahead and add something more than just butter and spice to your Corn on the Cob this summer. Continue reading

Clams Masala Wraps

1 May

Clams Masala WrapsMy husband recently surprised me with Chef Maneet Chauhan’s first cookbook: Flavors of My World. In this book Chef Chauhan takes principal recipes from 25 different countries and gives them her own magic touch with spices and flavors she grew up with. It’s a magnificent collection of recipes that have been nurtured with big bold flavors. I intend to cook my way through this book to savor all these mouth-watering International dishes that have been married with the spices that I love.

If you grew up in India, you may appreciate why Flavors of My World’s – Masala Coke Cuba Libre recipe resonated with me and brought back so many memories of my childhood. A chilled Coke (or even Indian Thums-Up) mixed with some chaat masala was the perfect accompaniment to any spicy meal. Chef Chauhan makes a grown up version of this by adding in some rum. Occasionally, in my growing culinary quest I am guilty of momentarily forgetting simple tastes that I so adored as a little girl. The Masala Coke Cuba Libra brought me right back to those flavors.

Continue reading

Kerala Beef Fry

13 Oct

“Holy Cow! Do Indians eat Beef?”

The answer to that is yes, just not all of them. Cows are considered sacred in Hinduism and the majority of Hindus in India do not eat beef. When people think of India they immediately associate it with Indians not eating beef. While Hinduism is the major religion (80.5% of the population), India also has 13.4% Muslims and 2.3% Christians. That seems like a rather small percentage until you realize we are talking about a population of over a billion people.  There are also a growing number of expatriates and repatriates in India who are beef eaters.

Eating beef is not illegal in India, though cow slaughtering is prohibited in some states.  Then there is also the controversy over cows and buffaloes – cows are considered holy but their cousins the buffaloes are frequently used to process beef in India. In fact, USDA has projected that India will become the largest beef exporter in 2012. 

In short, beef in served at several restaurants across India and is also cooked in several households. One of my favorite Indian beef recipes is Beef Ularthiyathu better known as Spicy Kerala Beef Fry. Bite size pieces of beef are marinated in freshly ground aromatic spices, then pressure cooked till tender and finally fried with fragrant curry leaves and slivers of coconut. Kerala beef fry is usually served with flaky Kerala parathas or fluffy appams, but regular chapatis or basmati rice works just fine as this dish will be the real star of the meal.

Kerala Beef Fry Recipe:
Adapted from Petrina Verma Sarkar’s Kerala Beef Fry Recipe
Time: In Active time:  1.5hrs   Active time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

Marinade Ingredients:
1 inch cinnamon stick
3 teaspoons fennel seeds
8 cloves
16 whole black peppercorns
5 green cardamom pods, seeds only
1 ½ tablespoons coriander powder
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 tablespoon vinegar
½ peeled and thinly sliced medium red onion
2 green chilies, sliced

Cooking Ingredients:
Boneless Beef 1.5 lbs, cleaned and cut up into 1.5 inch chunks (I used stew meat)
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 peeled and thinly sliced medium red onion
10 curry leaves
2 green chilies
3 tablespoons dried, grated coconut (See note)
½ teaspoon red chili powder (See note)
Salt to taste

Note:

  • Traditionally this is made with slices of fresh coconut, so if you have access to fresh coconut of sliced frozen coconut, you can use that instead of the dried, grated coconut.
  • Feel free to add more chili powder after tasting it and deciding how spicy you want it to be.

Method:
1) In a spice grinder or coffee grinder, grind together the cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, cloves, peppercorns and cardamom.
2) Put the beef into a large bowl and mix it with the ground up spice mixture and all other marinade ingredients. Plastic wrap this bowl and place the beef in the refrigerator, and let it marinate for 1-2 hours.
3) Put the marinated beef along with ½ a cup of water into a pressure cooker and let it cook till you hear two whistles. You want the meat to be cooked through and tender. Simmer out most of the remaining water, leaving behind only 2-3 tablespoons of liquid.
4) In a large skillet heat the oil on medium high heat. When the oil is hot add 1 thinly sliced onion to it and sauté till golden brown. Stir the onions occasionally to ensure they do not burn.
5) Add the curry leaves and green chilies fry them for 1-2 minutes.
6) Then add the coconut and cook it for about 2 minutes or till is toasty.
7) Now add the beef with the 2-3 tablespoons of reserved cooking liquid (from the pressure cooker) and cook everything together till the beef turns a deep, dark color.
8) Serve hot with basmati rice, rotis, parathas, dosas or appams.

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