Oct 3, 2010

Kozhi Nirachathu / Malabar Stufffed Chicken

                                    As far as food is concerned, they are like live, breathing and walking men. Each one has got its own personality, its own character and its own weaknesses. While being acquainted with one, some may leave a lasting impression on you, some leaves you boring dead, some gives you genuine entertainment and still some are queer in their whereabouts.

                        This is a malabar dish which left a lasting impression on me, the one which you feel towards someone who stands out in the crowd with her character no matter how far you have gone or what diverse characters you have seen. The impression which brings you back to the one in comparison, when you see different personalities.

                                  While planning to make my occasion special and while pondering over the lists of outstanding recipes, Kozhi nirachathu always comes in front because I know it is less likely to be a flop and it's gonna be a hit whatsoever. The same insight would have cajoled our epicurious aunts and nannies to make this stuffed chicken variety as the star attraction in salkarams, the post wedding parties.

                                  Kozhi nirachathu is a stuffed chicken variety where in chicken is stuffed usually with boiled eggs enveloped in onion masala or simply cashews, raisins and onion sauted in ghee. Sending deliciously prepared home made food to relatives is ceremonial in many functions of malabar. Whether it be sending delicacies to a newly wedded girl who became pregnant, or to the in laws just after wedding, Kozhi nirachathu outranks others in selection. When aunts send them to nieces who became pregnant, they are usually stuffed with love...while being send to the in laws, it's a matter of pride...
                                   Coming to the recipe..

 Kozhi Nirachathu / Malabar Stuffed Chicken

      Things you need:

A small chicken(whole ) of 700 g, with the giblets removed and skinned.

     2 tbsp kashmiri chilli powder or paprika
     1/2 tsp turmeric powder
     Salt to taste
     1 tsp lime juice
     Adequate water
For stuffing:
     1 or 2 eggs
     2 medium sized onions sliced
     1 or 2 slit green chillies
     1 twig of curry leaves
     1/2 tsp ginger, minced
     1/2 tsp garlic, minced
     1/2 tsp chilli powder
     1/4 tsp turmeric powder
     1 tsp coriander powder
     2 tbsp vegetable oil
     Salt to taste
For gravy:
     3 medium sized onions, sliced
     2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
     1/2 tsp ginger, minced
     1/2 tsp garlic, minced
     2  slit green chillies
     1 1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder or paprika
     1/2 tsp turmeric powder
     2 tsp coriander powder
     1/2 tsp powdered fennel seeds
     1/2 tsp garam masala powder
     2 twigs of curry leaves
     A bunch of coriander leaves
     3 tbsp oil
     Salt to taste
 Wash the chicken properly and drain. Make deep slashes on the fleshy parts with a knife. Marinate it with all the ingredients under marinade. Cover with a cling film and keep in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. You can also keep it overnight.

1. Boil the eggs and peel. Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions, curry leaves and green chillies until the onion turns brown. Add ginger and garlic and saute. Now add  all the spice powders and saute. Add egg and mix well. I usually take one egg because, I use small chicken. There are more advantages in using small chicken. First of all the flesh of small chicken is more tender and hence would be more tastier. Secondly the masala gets fast into the chicken if it is small.

2. Stuff chicken with this mixture. Insert the eggs first and then the onion masala. Take care not to over stuff the chicken. Now tie its arms and legs with a twine.

I know it looks funny.. but that's how you tie it.. :)

     Shallow frying: 
Now shallow fry the chicken in a frying pan or wok, using very little oil by turning it on all sides until all sides are equally brown. Remove the chicken from the pan.

      Making gravy:
In the same pan saute the sliced onions, curry leaves and green chillies until the onion turns brown. Add ginger and garlic and saute. Now add tomatoes and saute in medium flame. Add all the spice powders and saute till the tomatoes become mushy. Add a little water if the mixture is dry. Add salt. This is where you must be cautious while adding salt. You must add salt, little bit lower in level than your taste buds think is adequate because when the chicken gets cooked and the gravy gets reduced to coat the chicken, it always tends to be more salty. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.

       Final Cooking:
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Pour half of the gravy on to a baking tray and keep the stuffed fried chicken on top. Pour the rest of the gravy over it. Cover the baking tray with an aluminium foil and bake for almost an hour on the centre rack of the oven. Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes until the gravy reduces to the desired level.
You can cook it in a wok on low heat covering with a lid and turning the chicken on all sides until all sides are equally done.

Bon appetit!!  :)

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