You know that moment when you can’t bring yourself to jot down a few good lines despite futile attempts to gather your thoughts? Frankly, this is one of those weeks for me. The spark is missing and I can hardly think straight. Even a jolt of caffeine or the tempo of my old favorite tune from Dido in the background can’t seem to do the trick today. So, in an attempt to spice up things, I’m going straight to this finger-licking recipe that’s guaranteed to warm the chilly evenings coming our way soon.
When it comes to eating Indian, people do not go beyond popular choices like biryani, butter chicken, tandoori chicken or naan. This is quite unfortunate as you can find exquisite choices from simple to opulent dishes in India; and not unexpectedly most of the wonderful flavors from the southern, eastern and western regions are less discovered outside India.
In the south, where I come from, food is lighter but spicier with the predominant flavors of chili, curry leaves and coconut. When I’m cooking, I like to prepare and feast on the flavors from my homeland by using spices and ingredients that not only enhance taste and aroma, but are essentially bursting with goodness. Oh yeah, the herbs and spices used in preparing curries have their health-benefit and healing properties. And guess what? Curry is believed to contribute to the low rates of cancer found in India.
Promising, right? Oh my curry!
My family likes to nosh on all things deliciously hot and spicy, yet I have a particular obsession with country style roast preparations. And it’s just not me, I know. I have come across many others who think the same.
This fantastic blend of chicken, onion, tomato and spices ticks all the boxes for deliciousness. I used 900g chicken leg as I find it much quicker and easier to cook. The meat is rubbed with turmeric, chili, vinegar, lime and salt and then fried in a bit of fat until golden brown. For a healthier option, go ahead and bake the marinated chicken in the oven instead of shallow frying. The creaminess from the coconut milk, tang from the tomato and heat from the ginger and chilies imparts a totally indulgent flavor that’ll make you go for seconds.
I came across this recipe at Marias Menu who in turn adapted it from a local Malayalam magazine, Vanitha. But, whoever gets credit for the recipe, I can guarantee it’s a keeper.
Go grab you best pals and whip up this lip-smacking curry packed with the goodness of spices. Smart eating towards a healthier and happier you—make this your motto to welcome the chill in the air.
Kerala Chicken Roast
(adapted from here)
900g skinless chicken, cleaned and cut into pieces (I used leg meat)
For the marinade
2 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon lime juice
salt, to taste
For the curry
4 large onion, finely sliced
3 large tomato, quartered and sliced
4 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
4 ½ teaspoon coriander powder
2 ½ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon fennel powder
1 ½ cup coconut milk (I used tin milk as is)
2 sprig fresh curry leaves
salt, to taste
Mix together all the marinade ingredients with enough salt and then rub this all over the chicken pieces making sure that the meat is well coated. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
In a non-stick pan, heat just enough oil for shallow frying and fry the chicken pieces, in batches, until browned and almost cooked, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Drain and remove to a plate. Alternatively you can bake the chicken pieces in the oven.
In the same pan, brown the onions in the remaining fat until tender, add the ginger-garlic paste and sizzle for 1 minute. Tip in the spices—chili, coriander, fennel and garam masala—and fry for a few seconds before adding tomato and curry leaves. Cook until tomatoes are tender. Now add the fried chicken pieces and stir to coat in the masala. Pour in the coconut milk and let everything bubble together, covered, to reduce until slightly thickened and rich in flavor. Season with salt and a squeeze of lime juice if necessary.
Serve with roti, or rice, if you like.