Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Simple South Indian Chicken Curries

Chicken is versatile, protein rich, low in fat and calories. It goes well with a huge variety of bases. Researchers say Chicken was first domesticated in India 4000 years back. But   is only with the introduction of the ‘Broiler’ variety that large scale chicken farming became feasible and chicken became affordable. But purists still swear by free range chicken ( Nattu kozhi), which they claim has a much more flavourful meat.
Cooking Chicken: When chicken is cooked first and then added to the curry, it gets cooked very fast. Boneless / minced chicken can be stir fried in 5 – 10 minutes. Bite sized chicken pieces cook extremely fast in a pressure cooker. Just add the chicken pieces (no water needed), close the cooker and cook for two whistles. That’s it!. Marinating before cooking makes chicken more flavourful. Marinated chicken can be pressure cooked exactly the same way.  Mince balls can first be shallow fried or be dropped into the curry straight. They cook in less than 10 minutes. Chicken can also be deep fried and added to curries. In fact instead of chicken you can use mutton / turkey / fish in all the recipes above. Turkey is cooked exactly the same way as chicken. Mutton can be pressure cooked fast but unlike chicken, you need to add a little water and pressure cook mutton for three whistles. Fish slices / crab meat / prawns need no precooking and can be dropped straight into the simmering gravy where they cook in less than 10 minutes.

Baking chicken is not common in south India, though very common in North where marinated chicken is baked into the Tandoori chicken.

Chicken can be cooked as a dry curry or with gravy. The common gravies cooked in Tamilnadu are listed in Column 2. Varutha Kari # 1 is a dry curry with no gravy. Kulambu made from tamarind, Masala made from blended onion-tomato-garlic, Thengapal kulambu from coconut milk, Salna from peanuts and coconut and Kuruma from cashew nuts and coconut paste are commonly cooked. The gravy changes from place to place reflecting local availability and local tastes. In Britain, gravy made from tomato sauce and cream is used to cook chopped tandoori chicken into Chicken tikka masala, Britain’s national dish.  Garlic and vinegar are used to cook up Goa’s chicken vindaloo. Yogurt and mustard oil is used for Bengal’s Chicken Rezala. Malabar’s Nadan Kozhi kari is cooked with coconut milk. Coconut and cumin paste is used as the base for Mangalore chicken Curry, Tamarind is used for Andhra’s koodi pulusu, Cream & nut paste is used in Kashmiri chicken, Pureed spinach is used for chicken saag wala, pureed onions for chicken do pyaza and lentil tamarind curry for the Sindhi curry Chicken Dhansak.  A variety of Readymade chicken masala is now available and all can be easily used to flavour chicken curries. Other flavouring techniques are listed in column 3. Interestingly, even soya sauce is used as a flavouring agent, along with Indian garam masala to cook up Chicken Manchurian. Use the table above to cook dozens of South Indian chicken recipes. Remember, any base above can be paired with any chicken type and any flavouring agent. So choose your combinations and roll out your own recipes!

Cleaning Tips: 1. Wash well and drain chicken before using. 2. Fresh chicken is more tender than frozen. In India, skin is almost always removed while cooking. 3. Removing skin reduces two thirds of fat content. 4. Clean with soap everything that comes into contact with raw meat. Storing: Never leave cooked chicken at outside for over two hours. Refrigerate and eat within two days.


Purnima said...

Thanks for posting this informative post! Can u kindly guide me ...I generally use frozen-skinless-boneless chicken, defrost it in MW. What should be the cooking time on gas top, for curries, so as to have tender yet cooked piece. (The defrosted chicken looks like fresh one, but after I cook it, covered,approx 15 mins, it becomes a bit chewy.)Pls provide guidance.

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Earn Staying Home said...

Good posting

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