Sunday, December 7, 2008

Kerala Style Chicken Fry – Kozhi Varuthathu

"How come we don't make this often?!" , wondered CJJ when I served him some Kerala style fried chicken last week. I had a deep sense of satisfaction and pleasure hearing his response but it is a fact that I don't make Chicken Fry very often considering the amount of oil consumed in the whole process, even though I follow a pan-fry method. Back home, it is a deep fried goodness and simply delicious especially when it's fried in a Cheenachatti /wok, with a 'pond' of coconut oil infused with some aromatic curry leaves. Unlike the health conscious ones like me who carefully squeeze out drops of oil from that tiny blue Parachute bottle, men and women in charge of kitchens there, right from homes to the quintessential Thattukada/ road side eatery, easily pour out coconut oil from a big white plastic canister, locally known as Kannaas, which is generally used for buying everything from petrol to toddy to kerosene and the oil flows out as though you just opened a water tap !! My mother kicks it up a notch by dressing up the fried chicken with some caramelized onions spiced up with the same aromatic and flavourful spice and herb mix used for marinating the chicken pieces earlier. So last week when I was planning to make this dish, I thought of blogging about it too and rang up my mother to get her recipe exactly and the conversation went something like this :

Me: Mummy.....just tell me the recipe for your chicken more time
Mother:'s the same one I have given you made it so many times after that...!
Me: Yeah...I know ....but I wanted to be very sure this time.....planning to blog about it, so don’t want to miss any ingredients or deviate from your original recipe.....
Mother: Ok....start with mixing chilly powder, turmeric, ginger, garlic........... (She explains the recipe in detail)
Me: ok...thanx..
Mother: Aahh..if you re planning to blog this, then it is better to use chicken legs.....that will look good in the picture
Me: WOW! I didn't think about that ...sounds great...

......and this morning while calling home, I showed them the photograph I clicked last week and was waiting eagerly to hear her response as somehow I was pretty impressed with the shot and the conversation followed was like this:

Mother: looks Okay......( Well, her 'ok' means 'not satisfied' , so I asked her directly)
Me: What didn' t like it...? Isn't it how it is supposed to be??
Mother: (with her voice down a bit) shouldn't have kept those pieces should have lined it on a plate...
Me: Mummy, it's difficult to photograph that way....I couldn't manage to get a good angle
Mother: .....and why isn't the meat browned evenly?
Me: ohh...thats 'coz I used a shallow pan....I dont have a small wok...also I dont like it too crispy
Mother: ....atleast you should have put those onions on top of the chicken instead of layering it at the bottom.....
Me: (beginning to lose patience here ) .......I layered it that way 'coz otherwise the readers wont be able to see the meat....they will just get to see some onions alone....
Mother: still, I feel you shouldn't have clustered the chicken legs like that....
Me: (I am speechless and sad...... my creativity, my culinary skills, everything is questioned here and then I hear my brother's voice in the background)
Brother: In my personal opinion.....frankly and honestly speaking, it doesn't look 'perfect'.........the onions kinda gives a gravy like image instead of a dry fried chicken one ( trying to sound politically correct here )
Me: You know, had I pictured with onions on top, nobody will be able to see what's lying underneath that.....then there's no point in using chicken legs.....
Brother: This is just my personal opinion.....just telling you what I felt.....
Me: (Speehless......defenseless.... )

Well, I have mentioned in one of my earlier posts that my two best ( or worst?) critics are CJJ, the mastermind behind this blog and my mother, the main contributor of 90% of the recipes I have featured here . Till this conversation I was under the impression that I have a significant role to play in this blog , even if it is one of a Content Developer who gives flesh and blood to the body and keeps it alive and make everything look and sound appealing .........but with this particular conversation , it was quite clear that I have been demoted to the level of a glorified clerk or assistant who has failed to carry out her job decently!!!


Whether the fried pieces does not look the way it is supposed to be or the picture sends out a wrong message or not, this is a lip-smacking dish my mother prepares and here I am sharing her recipe with you all:


For Frying:
  • 4-5 chicken drumsticks/leg of chicken ( You can use any piece of chicken weighing about 400-500 gm)
  • 1 tbsp chilly powder (adjust to your taste and tolerance)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • Around ½ tsp homemade masala powder/garam masala
  • Around ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper powder
  • ¾ tsp fresh ginger paste
  • ½ to ¾ tsp fresh garlic paste
  • 1 ½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Around 1/4 cup oil for pan-frying
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
For Sautéing:
  • 1 red big onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Indian green chillies cut lengthwise
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • Leftover marinade used for chicken
  • Salt, if required
For Serving:
  • Lemon or lime wedges
  • Wash chicken drumsticks thoroughly and make 2-3 slits on it and pat dry the pieces with a paper towel. If you are using medium size cubed pieces of chicken, there is no need to make slits on the meat.
  • Make a marinade with chilly powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, ground pepper powder, ginger and garlic paste, salt and lemon juice and apply it on the meat thoroughly and let it rest for minimum 2 hours either on the kitchen counter or refrigerator.
  • Heat oil in a small wok or pan: tear off curry leaves and fry them in oil for 2-3 seconds and remove with a slotted spoon and keep it aside for final garnishing. This helps to add one more level of flavour to coconut oil. Place the chicken pieces gently in oil and fry each side for 2-3 minutes, in low-medium heat, until it is done. (Note: Cooking time varies depending on the thickness of the meat and temperature too) Remove the fried pieces using a slotted spoon and keep it aside in a plate.
  • Now to the same oil, add thinly sliced onions and green chillies and cook till it starts to brown. At this stage add the leftover marinade and curry leaves and mix well with the onion and stir until it loses the raw smell, for about a minute and add salt if required. Now put all the fried chicken back to the wok/pan; mix everything well, and pile up all the masala on the fried chicken pieces and keep the lid and let it cook , in warm-low flame, for a minute or two or and turn off the stove.
  • Garnish with the fried curry leaves , kept aside earlier and serve with lemon or lime wedges.
Tips: For even browning of the meat, it is better to use a wok or any pan that has a depression in the center. For health conscious lot, you may broil the chicken in oven until it is cooked well and follow the recipe for sautéing and blend the fried meat to the onion base. The sweetness from the caramelized onions and spices from the marinade gives additional richness and taste to fried chicken.

Related Posts:

Chicken Roast - Kuttanadan Style Chicken Biriyani Kerala Chicken Stew Roast Chicken Chemmeen eerkiliyil kuthi varuthathu


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