Some dishes had been reserved for special occasions, back home. Such dishes doesn't come in every day lunch and dinner. They just seem sort of detached from the normal world of goodies and always reminds of those special occasions when they would be served. But the time has changed and we are privileged to have any dishes we like at any times we wish at any time of the year.
Food and drinks after child birth had been (and still is) so different from normal in my home land. The woman who gave birth to a baby was treated with much care and attention. Right from what she wears to what she eats was decided by Ayurveda (the Indian system of medicine) and age old theories of older people of wisdom. Right from drinking the 'Kashaya' (medicinal decoction) early in the morning to the glass of warm milk before going to bed, was all part of the routine. So why am I telling you all these things? Well, to explain the background of this particular dish, Jeeraka Kozhi which was of course prepared specially for the new mother on her days after child birth.
So why was this dish selected for that special occasion? Because it helps enhance the digestive fire (agni) which is said to be in a decreased state after child birth ( Ayurveda says 80 percent of the diseases occurs due to a fault in the 'jataragni' or digestive fire) and facilitates lactation. The main ingredient, cumin in this dish is both carminative as well as lactogenic. The other main ingredient, black pepper helps enhance the digestion. It was mostly made with organic chicken bought from local farms.
So you must have pictured this dish by now, as something which is a torture to the taste buds and tastes just like the nauseating 'kashaya' and something which the normal people decline to eat... Not at all! If you try this once, you will be hooked to the very different and vibrant flavour, enough to tempt you to try it again and again. Let me know, if you are not :)
I have even a suspicion that the older generation women got pregnant sooner and frequently just to relish this lip smacking preparation after delivery to their fill...(just a guess you know ;) ) As for me, I don't wait to get pregnant, to make this rich and spicy chicken again and again :) It comes often into our dinner table to go with rice and chapattis with out explainable reasons..
Jeeraka Kozhi / Jeera Chicken Recipe
Things you need:
1 small chicken , preferably organic chicken/nadan kozhi( 600 to 700g)
2-3 tbsp cumin seeds / cheriya jeera
2 tsp black pepper
7 to 8 shallots/cheriyulli, skinned
2 to 3 garlic cloves
A small piece of ginger
1 green chilli, split lengthwise
1 large tomato, sliced to medium pieces.
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp coriander powder
2 shallots, sliced
1 sprig of curry leaves
1 tbsp Coconut oil
- Skin and cut the chicken to small pieces. Wash and drain.
- Grind the black pepper and the cumin seeds in a mixer until fine. Add the shallots, garlic and ginger and pulse until a coarse paste is formed.
- Transfer the chicken to an earthen pot and add the spice paste. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, green chilli , tomato and salt. Mix well and cook covered in medium heat adding little water. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot. When well cooked and tender remove from heat and temper with seasoning.
- For seasoning heat a pan and add coconut oil. Fry shallots in it until brown. Add curry leaves and immediately pour this seasoning over the cooked chicken. Serve hot with rice or rotti.