Creating a blog was out of the question for a long time for me, as measuring everything in the kitchen was like biting into an eggshell. I enjoy cooking and don’t want to waste even a slightest bit of enjoyment in that small world of mine. But little did I know that everything will change, when my husband came home with the Oscar nominated film ‘Julie and Julia’( a real life story) where Julie Powell (part played by Amy Adams) challenged herself to make all the 524 recipes from Julia Child's cook book ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and blogging all her experiences (The Julie/Julia Project). It was an inspiring movie. A few days later when we were discussing this casually with a friend of ours over tea…everything changed dramatically…..” How about you making at least half of it in one year? Not French but your own. 262 recipes that will inspire others and present it as a blog?” For a minute my mind traveled faster than light… With an experience as a helper in my mother in laws kitchen for 6 years followed by a three year everyday struggle to satisfy the palate of my foodie husband, if I cannot do it then why should I cook? But on the other side with an experience in English literature extending no more than expanding outline stories in English grammar class when I was 18 and two small kids that come in handy at times, will a commitment for the next one year work? Anyway my ‘cook's ego’ didn’t allow me to say no...

So my friends …here I am opening my recipe book, trying to perfect and present 262 recipes in the coming 365 days….A Challenge that will of course tastes good. Come.. Have a walk with me along my journey.. Cheering and inspiring….Forgiving and tolerating…Testing and tasting….for ‘A Tasty Challenge’

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chicken Veyichathu

Recipe No: 266
I have vague memories of my paternal Grandmother making Chicken Veyichathu and keeping it in ‘Uri’ (rope that is hanged form roof in the old days to keep ‘Chatti’ (earthen cooking vessel) with cooked  food). As this is made by sauteing everything really nice without any added water, it will stay good for many days even without refrigeration.
Ingredients                                                 Serves 4

  • Chicken…………………......600 Grams (Bone in, cut into small pieces, washed and drained)
  • Oil………………………….....3-4 Tablespoons
  • Coconut pieces………......1/2 Cup (sliced thin; theengakothu)
  • Onion sliced thin…….…..1 Cup
  • Shallots sliced thin……...1/2 Cup (If not available, add the same quantity Onion)
  • Ginger sliced thin………..1 Tablespoon
  • Garlic sliced thin………...1 Tablespoon
  • Curry Leaves……………...2 Sprigs
  • Red Chilly Powder……...1 Teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder……....2 Teaspoons
  • Turmeric Powder………..1/2 Teaspoon
  • Garam Masala Powder…3/4 Teaspoon
  • Pepper Powder…………….1/4 Teaspoon
  • Tomato chopped………….1 Small
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Garam Masala Powder, ½ Teaspoon Coconut Oil and a Sprig of Curry Leaf to sprinkle on top
Method of Preparation
  1. Wash and drain the Chicken pieces thoroughly.
  2. Heat Oil in a pan on medium high heat and saute the Coconut slices till lightly brown.
  3. Once the Coconut is browned, add Onion, Shallots, Ginger, Garlic and Curry Leaves; saute till it is golden brown and crisp. Add Salt at the beginning of sauteing to fasten the process.
  4. Once golden brown, lower the heat to low and add Red Chilly Powder, Coriander Powder, Turmeric Powder, Garam Masala Powder and Pepper Powder; saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly (stirring is important or the spices will burn). This step is very important as it determines the color as well as the taste of the dish.
  5. Add the chopped Tomato and saute till it is mashed thoroughly.
  6. Add the Chicken pieces and Salt if needed (we did add some Salt while sauteing the Onion) ; mix thoroughly; adjust the heat to medium low; close the pan and let it cook for around 10 minutes. By this time Water will be oozing out of the Chicken.
  7. Once the Water has oozed out of the Chicken, lower the heat to low and let it cook for 50 minutes to 1 hour. (Don’t add water; let it cook in its own liquid.) Do stir now and then. If a lot of liquid remains in the Chicken after it is cooked, do keep the dish open and let it evaporate. Add more Salt if needed.
  8. Once the Chicken is cooked thoroughly; the liquid content is reduced and Oil starts to separate (The oozing Oil is the best sign of 'doneness' in this dish.), off the heat; sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder, 1/2 teaspoon Coconut Oil and a sprig of Curry Leaf (tear the leaves for better flavor) on top and let it sit for 30 minutes before serving. (Keep the lid closed if you can keep the leftovers in the refrigerator and keep it uncovered (to prevent the vapor form falling back into the Chicken) if it is going to be at room temperature for longer period of time.)
  9. This dish is best when served warm with hot boiled Rice and Kachiya Moru.
  • As excess Water is not so good in this preparation, do drain the Chicken properly after washing.
  • Do take care to cut the Chicken into small pieces as it will reduce the cooking time.
  • Once the other ingredients are added, Coconut slices won’t change much color, so saute it till the color you prefer in the first place itself. I like it light brown as the toasted Coconut slices taste better than white 'not toasted' ones.
  • The stage to which the Onion and Shallots are to be browned require special mention. It should reach a thorough brown color as we do the Onion for Biriyani garnish. At this stage it will be crispy too. This is very important as this browning helps this dish stay good for a long time. Any stages before that can reduce the ‘shelf life’ of Chicken Ularthiyathu. Do stir often at this stage otherwise the Onion will brown in an uneven manner.
  • Do look for the oozing Oil to know the 'doneness' of this Chicken dish.
  • Chicken Ularthiyathu tastes the best when made with Coconut Oil, but if you are making it with any other Oil, please dont forget to drizzle some Coconut Oil at the end, as its aroma makes the dish very inviting.
  • As this Chicken Veyichathu stays good at room temperature for a longer period of time, it is an excellent dish to carry while traveling.

Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…