Monday, January 2, 2012

Home beckons!!

My very first post of the year…… hope this finds everyone in great health and with an even healthier appetite.

Recipe: Kai Pathiri / Orotti (Toasted rice Bread) and Nadan Chicken Curry (Traditional Kerala style Chicken Gravy)

It had been quite a long time since I had made something absolutely home-style and traditional and I had started to miss the spicy, tangy, coconut-y flavours of my home- land Kerala.
With my daughter keeping me busy the whole day with her hyperactive games and tantrums, daily menus have turned out to be easy-to-whip up dishes and they were turning out to be really really boring.
My husband too is a ‘nadan’ food lover and so I decided to make ourselves a very traditional and typical Kerala dinner for the New Year weekend.
Pathiri is Kerala’s very own bread made out of rice powder and grated coconut. It’s quite a favourite among us keralites and goes well with any spicy gravy especially non vegetarian ones.

The usual pathiris are quite thin as they are rolled out using a rolling pin or a press but this one is a slightly thicker version with bits of grated coconuts to bite on and they are flattened out using your hands and hence the name kai pathiri (kai meaning hands in Malayalam)
Since I am more of a chicken person I couldn’t find anything better than a very traditional Kerala style chicken curry to team up with my favourite pathiris.

The recipes for both the chicken curry and pathiris have been passed down to me by my mom.

The best part about this particular chicken curry is that, unlike most Indian dishes, it requires very little oil for cooking. The chicken and spices are made to cook in coconut milk making the gravy nice and thick.

The combination worked out perfectly and we did have a hearty weekend dinner.

KAI PATHIRI (Toasted rice Bread)


Rice powder – 500gms
Water – 1 Lt
Coconut grated – 1 cup
Salt as per taste


Take a heavy bottomed cooking vessel, pour the measured quantity of water, add salt and bring the water to boil. As the water boils add the grated coconut and let it continue boiling for a minute.
Now carefully add the rice flour into the boiling water and leave it so for a minute. Do not stir immediately.
Let the flour absorb the water and start getting soaked. Now take a wooden spoon and stir slowly so that the whole of the flour is wet and the flour –water mixture looks like one big chunky mass.
 If you feel that the dough may be too tight add some hot water little by little. Take care not to make your dough too loose.

Let the dough cool down to bearable temperature. You may now knead your dough well so that you get it smooth and lump less. Place a bowl of water beside you as you knead so that you may be able to frequently wet your hands as you knead on.
This helps to make the dough less sticky.
Once the dough is done, roll them out into balls, the size of small oranges.

Take a clean, square cotton cloth, wet it well and spread it on a plate. Take a ball each ,flatten it on the wet cotton cloth and using your hands press out the dough into circular disc shapes, with a thickness of approx ½ inch. Wet your hands constantly as you do this.

Try to make the discs as even as possible.
You may peel out the pathiri from the wet cloth and place them aside. Continue to do the same with the rest of the dough.
Heat a pan, put the pathiri on it and toast on both side until it starts browning lightly.

Keep all your pathiris in a hot pot until serving time as they taste best when served hot.

NADAN CHICKEN CURRY (Traditional Kerala style Chicken Gravy)


Chicken – 1 kg
Small Indian Onions – 20-25 numbers (peeled, washed and crushed)
Onion – 1 small sliced (optional)
Green chillies – 2-3 slit
Ginger – 1 ½ tbsp crushed
Garlic – 1 tbsp crushed
Curry leaves – a handful

Chilly powder – 1 ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Pepper – ½ tsp (optional)

Coconut milk – 1 ½ cups (I have used coconut milk powder. You may use fresh coconut milk as well. If you are planning to use fresh coconut milk, you will need milk from one medium sized coconut. You will need 1 cup of dilute milk (‘randam pal’) and ½ cup thick milk (‘onnam pal’)

Salt to taste
Oil – 1-2 tbsp (I prefer coconut oil for this curry as it gives the authentic Kerala flavour)


In a small pan heat chilly powder and coriander powder until you get a nice roasted spice smell, stir continuously as you heat the powders so as to avoid burning them. Set aside.

In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat a teaspoon of oil and sauté the sliced onions until translucent. You may avoid this step if you are not using onions.

In the same vessel add chicken, crushed small onions, crushed ginger and garlic; slit green chillies, curry leaves, the heated spices, turmeric powder, half of the measured Garam masala powder and a couple of teaspoons of oil and mix well so that the chicken is well coated with the marinade. Keep this aside for an hour.

You will need coconut milk in two consistencies for further cooking. A dilute one and a thick one. Dilute milk can be made by mixing 2 tsp of coconut milk powder in 1 cup of water. The thick one is made by mixing 2 tbsp of powder in ½ cup water.

Pour the dilute coconut milk into the marinated chicken, close the vessel and cook on low flame until the chicken is well done. Keep stirring every 5 mins so that the gravy doesn’t stick to the bottom. Once the chicken is quite well done, pour the concentrated coconut milk and boil for another couple of mins.
 At this point add the remaining Garam masala (and pepper powder if using) and salt.
 Leave the curry on the flame for a few more seconds and then switch off.

Slice 3-4 small onions and fry it in 2-3 teaspoons of oil until nice and brown and garnish the curry with it.

Well, that’s it; your curry is ready to be served.

PS: An obviously Malayali cuisine and a so a perfect entrant to The Kerala Kitchen. So, off this goes to this months The Kerala Kitchen hostess, Kaveri of Palakkad Chamayal.

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