Sirruppiddy chicken curry

Here’s a tried and tested recipe for an amazing Sri Lankan chicken curry (” Sirruppiddy” is a remote village in the Jafna region of Sri Lanka) .   I came across this recipe on the internet more than ten years ago and lost a copy of it during one of my moves between the UK and Hungary.  I eventually tracked down the magazine it was published in and requested them to email me a copy of it.  To be honest I wasn’t expecting a response but the administrator who handled my request did one better and mailed me a photocopy which I still have with me to date.

The curry tastes great if you make the masala powder fresh but can easily be substituted with store bought Sri Lankan curry powder.   I’ve stuck to the original recipe for the masala powder but added a few ingredients to enhance the dish.

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What do I need to make it?

Paste ingredients

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 ” piece of ginger
  • 1 small onion

Grind to a fine paste – use a little water if needed.

Meat masala powder

  • 3  tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 clove
  • Small piece of cinnamon
  • 3-4 dry red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (don’t need to roast)

Dry roast each ingredient separately and grind to a fine powder and then add the turmeric powder.   You should get around three tablespoons of masala powder.

  • 1 kg chicken cut into pieces
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 medium tomato cut in cubes
  • 1 red pepper cubed
  • 5 baby corn cut into bite sized pieced
  • 10-12 baby button mushrooms
  • 1 large potato cubed
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • Handful fresh curry leaves
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • Handful fresh coriander chopped for garnish
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Marinade the chicken pieces with the paste and season with salt – set aside for a couple of hours.   Heat the coconut oil in a large pan, saute the cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon,  fennel seeds and curry leaves for a  minute.   Then add the chopped garlic and onions – saute over medium heat till the onions start to turn golden brown.   Add the ground masala powder and stir for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining vegetables and the chicken with the marinade.   Add 1/2 a cup of water, cover and simmer till chicken is cooked.   When the chicken is cooked, adjust the seasoning, stir in the coconut milk and garnish with fresh chopped coriander.   Serve with boiled rice or string hoppers.

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Coconut chicken curry for kids

If you’ve got fussy eaters as we do here’s a simple recipe for a coconut chicken curry which so far has worked wonders in getting both our little ones to eat without complaining.   We both love our spices and want our kids to start experimenting and appreciating food that’s cooked with flavourful ingredients and developing a varied palate (we are tired of the pasta,  fish fingers and chicken burger routine!).

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What do I need to make it?

  • 250gm mini chicken fillets chopped into bite size pieces (this tends to cook quicker than breast chunks)
  • 2 baby onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Small piece of ginger
  • Small handful of fresh mint leaves and coriander
  • 1 tomato pureed
  • Pinch of cinnamon powder, clove powder, cardamom powder, fennel powder, nutmeg and mace powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 3-4

How do I make it?

First make a paste of the onions, garlic, ginger, mint and coriander.   Heat a small wok/kadai and add the coconut oil.   Add the cinnamon, clove, cardamom, fennel, nutmeg and mace powders – stir for 30 seconds before adding the paste.   Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes till the masala loses it’s raw smell.   Sprinkle the turmeric, cumin and coriander powder and stir for 30 seconds before adding the pureed tomato.   Continue cooking till the fat oozes out of the masala or it starts to dry out and turn brown.   Add the chicken and half a cup of water – cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes or till the chicken is done.   Stir in the coconut milk powder, adjust the seasoning and switch off the heat.   Serve with boiled rice or Indian bread of choice.

Spicy mutton with coconut

A favourite dish with many a Keralite, this dish makes a great starter for dinner parties.   The dish is simple to make with many variations but the recipe below is one handed down to us from Anna’s mum and it hasn’t failed us so far.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 500 gms mutton cubed (can substitute with lamb/beef )
  • 1 large red onion sliced
  • 4-6 green chillies
  • Handful fresh curry leaves
  • 2 inch piece of fresh coconut cut into slivers
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil

For the paste

  • 1 large cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 6-8 cloves of  garlic
  • 2 inch piece of ginger skinned
  • Handful fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tbsp dhania (ground coriander) powder
  • Salt to taste

 

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Grind all the paste ingredients in a blender till you get a coarse paste (add a bit of water if needed).   Wash the mutton and pat dry before mixing in the paste ingredients.   Add salt to taste and allow the meat to marinade for a couple of hours (the longer the better).   Place the marinated meat in a pressure cooker and cook for 30 minutes or till the meat is cooked.   Once the pressure cooker is switched off and if you notice liquid build up then place the meat on the stove till all the liquid has evaporated.   Heat a large pan and add the coconut oil, then add the curry leaves and green chillies  and stir for a minute before adding the sliced onions.   Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes before adding the cooked mutton and coconut.   Keep tossing over medium heat till the meat begins to brown a bit.   Take off the heat and serve with a nice ice cold pint of lager or beverage of choice.

 

Aloo matar subji (Potato & peas in a spicy gravy)

Lunch today comprised of my take on an Indian classic, aloo matar subji with some gluten free rotis (recipe posted earlier with a couple of tweaks – added an egg and some caraway seeds this time).   There are a few vegetable combinations with potato that work really well and peas is one of them.   I picked up some fresh peas from the supermarket last week and did not want to see them go to waste and so I shelled them and kept them in the fridge with a view to using them today.  I can’t wait to make this again for Anna when she’s back – I think she will love it.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 4-5 medium potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup of fresh peas
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 3 green chillies
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1″ piece of ginger (skin off)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (mango powder)
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) optional
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves chopped for garnish
  • 3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • Salt to taste

 

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Par boil the potatoes and peas and keep aside.   Use a pestle and mortar to make a paste of the ginger, garlic, green chillies and black peppercorns.   Heat a heavy bottom pan and add ghee and cumin seeds with a pinch of asafoetida .  Stir for a minute before adding the paste – stir for another couple of minutes, add the chopped onions and cook for 5-8 minutes till the onions start to turn brown.   Add the turmeric, red chilli and coriander powder with a dash of salt.  Give it a good mix before adding the tomatoes.   Cook over medium heat till the fat leaves the masala.  Add the potatoes and peas with a cup of water.   Cover with a lid and cook on low flame for 10 minutes till the vegetables are cooked.   Add the amchoor and fenugreek at this stage  (if you can’t find amchoor then use juice of half a lime), adjust the seasoning and mix well.  Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with your favourite Indian bread or rice.

 

Gluten free rotis with dudhi subji

Having searched the web for alternatives to wheat rotis we stumbled upon a recipe for gluten free rotis made from sorghum (jowar) flour and amaranth (rajgaro/rajgira) flour.   We were both surprised with the pleasant outcome and questioned why we hadn’t done this before.  We have also included a recipe for a dudhi (calabash or bottle gourd) subji  to go with the rotis.  We are excited with this discovery as we can include it in future dinner parties and not rely on rice only.

Bottle-Gourd-Doodhi-

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Gluten free rotis

What do I need to make it?

  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/2 tsp Xanthum gum
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

6 rotis – depending on size

How do I make it?

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with some cold water to form a dough.   Roll out into discs and cook on skillet.   Add a bit of ghee to both sides to ensure a softer roti.

 

Dudhi subji

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 long dudhi peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 4 small tomatoes (pureed)
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 3/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Whole garam masala (5 cloves, 5 green cardamoms, 1″ piece of cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves)
  • 3-4 tbsp ghee
  • Handful fresh coriander chopped
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Par boil the dudhi and keep aside.   Grind the onion, garlic and ginger into a paste.  Heat ghee in a pan and add whole garam masala and saute for a few minutes before adding the ground paste.   Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes till the paste is cooked through and begins to brown.   Dissolve the coriander, chilli, cumin and turmeric in 60 ml of water and add to the pan.   Stir the paste for another couple of minutes before adding the pureed tomatoes.   Continue to cook for 10 minutes till the fat leaves the masala.   Add the yoghurt and stir in the par boiled dudhi and peas and simmer for 15 minutes.   Sprinkle the garam masala powder, adjust the seasoning and garnish with fresh coriander.

Methi and spinach chicken

One of my favourite recipes from my food bible (Prashad by Inderjit Singh Kalra) is methi (fenugreek) chicken.  I made some a few days ago and added spinach to the recipe which works a treat.  As with every recipe in this book the outcome never seems to fail and the final product is worthy of any top class restaurant.  We had the chicken with brown rice string hoppers but it is a great dish to serve with your favourite Indian bread or rice pilau.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 kg chicken – we used skinless, boneless thighs
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 300 gm chopped onions
  • 3 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 5 tbsp ginger (3 tbsp chopped and 2 tbsp julienned)
  • 6 green chillies chopped (de-seed if you want to reduce spiciness)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 250 gm chopped tomatoes
  • 150 gm baby spinach
  • 150 gm fresh fenugreek (if using dried fenugreek leaves – sprinkle 2 tbsp towards end of cooking process)
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander chopped
  • Whole garam masala
    • 5 green cardamom
    • 1 black cardamom
    • 5 cloves
    • 1 stick of cinnamon
    • 1 bay leaf
    • A pinch of mace
  • 1/2 cup of ghee (clarified butter)
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Whisk yogurt in a bowl and add chicken, salt, chopped spinach and fenugreek leaves.  Leave this marinade aside for 30 minutes.  Heat ghee in a oven proof pan, add whole garam masala and saute over medium heat until it begins to crackle.  Add onions and saute until golden brown.  Then add chopped garlic, ginger and green chillies, stir for 2 minutes.   Dissolve the turmeric, chilli and coriander powder in 60 ml of water and add to the pan – stir for 30 seconds.   Add the tomatoes and cook(stir often)  till fat leaves the masala, add the marinated chicken along with marinade and about 1 cup of water.   Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until chicken is almost cooked and the fat leaves the masala once again.  Adjust the seasoning.  Sprinkle the ginger and coriander (and dried fenugreek leaves, ‘kasoori methi’ at this point if not using fresh leaves).  Cover with lid.   Mix some wheat flour and water to make a dough and seal the lid with the dough before placing in a 200 degree pre heated oven for 15 minutes.   Remove the seal, stir and serve hot with your favourite Indian bread or rice.

Gluten free upma

Upma is a simple traditional South Indian breakfast and tiffin dish which is normally made of coarse or fine semolina.  Since getting on the Paleo journey Anna and I have abstained from eating upma as its made from a  wheat derivative.   On one of our recent shopping trips to an Asian grocery store Anna spotted some cassava powder (gari) which resembled broken wheat in texture and picked it up.  Last night was a voyage of discovery and we think we have found a suitable alternative to semolina and cannot wait to make some of our traditional breakfast fare and sweet dishes that we have avoided off late.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 1/2 cups of cassava powder – dry roasted in a pan till light brown
  • 2 mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick finely chopped
  • 8 Indian button onions sliced
  • 2 sprigs of spring onion chopped
  • 3 green chillies finely chopped (de-seed if you want to make it less spicy)
  • 1 small yellow courgette finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh coriander finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1″ piece of ginger minced
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • Few curry leaves
  • Pinch of asaefotida
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp split urad dahl
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Few curry leaves
  • 3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Heat pan and add 2 tbsp of ghee before adding the mustard seeds.  Once the seeds start crackling add the urad dahl and stir till they turn golden brown.  Add the curry leaves, ginger and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.  Then add each of the vegetables in sequence giving each a couple of minutes to cook before adding the next (first the onions and celery, then the carrot and courgette followed by the mushrooms and finished off with the spring onions and chopped coriander.  Next add the turmeric powder, garam masala and salt and mix for a couple of minutes.   Add 250 ml of water and bring to a boil and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.   Finally add the roasted cassava powder to the pan while mixing it vigorously to avoid clumps forming.  Cook for 5 minutes while constantly stirring and then remove off heat.  Serve hot with a fresh coconut chutney.