I have noticed that some of my recent posts usually start off with ramblings about how my day went, the weather, my family, memories, events and sometimes even about nutritional values of certain ingredients. But today I am going to deviate a tad from the beaten path and instead I am just going to focus on the story of a bird that was transformed into a finger licking traditional dish called Kozhi Nirachathu . Yumm!! For those of you who don’t follow the Malayalam language name of this dish, here is a literal translation; 'Kozhi' means chicken and 'Nirachathu' means stuffed. This recipe has its origins from the Malabar region of Kerala, the southernmost state of India.
Whenever I see a whole roasted chicken, juicy and warm, I get this hunger pang attack and my tummy simply starts rumbling. With such a drool-worthy presentation, this dish is apt for any special occasion (like Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving or any of the usual family parties)
The chicken is first marinated in spices and lemon juice and then braised in curry-leaf infused coconut oil. Sounds delicious already right? - slurp! I know – lets continue… The braised chicken is then stuffed with boiled eggs which are spiced to perfection with some browned onions, raisins and cashew nuts. No – hold on, I am not done yet. Then the braised stuffed chicken is cooked in a spiced tomato- based sauce. Now a’int that something delectable and mouth-watering?
...So why wait – get cooking!!! Good luck :)
Serves 6-8 people
2 Kg - Chicken, skin off
2 Tablespoon - Red Chilly powder
1 Tsp - Black Pepper powder
3/4 Tsp - Turmeric
2 Tablespoon - Lemon Juice
3-4 sprig - Curry Leaves
2 - Eggs, boiled
2 Tsp - Concentrated Tomato Paste
2 Tablespoon - Black Raisins
14 - Cashew nut, whole
1 Cup - Red Onion, sliced
1 - Green chilly, chopped
1/2 Tsp - Garlic, grated
1 twig - Curry leaf
1/4 Tsp - Turmeric powder
1/4 Tsp - Chilly powder
1 Tsp - Coriander powder
1/4 Tsp - Pepper powder
1/8 Tsp - Cumin / jeera powder
1/8 Tsp - Garam masala
Ghee (Clarified butter)
2 Cups - Red Onion, chopped
2 - Green chilly
3 twigs - curry leaves
2 Tsp - Ginger, grated
1 Tablespoon - Garlic
3 - Tomato, chopped
1/2 Tsp - Saunf /Fennel seed powder
1/4 Tsp - Turmeric
3/4 Tsp- Chilly powder
1 Tsp - Coriander powder
1 Tsp - Pepper powder
1/4 Tsp - Cumin\jeera powder
1/4 Tsp - Garam masala
1/2 Cup - Thick Coconut Milk
1 - Egg, boiled and sliced
- Remove the packet of giblets from the cavity of the chicken.
- Discard the skin.
- Wash the chicken then drain and blot dry with paper towels.
- Make incision on the legs, thighs and chicken breast
- In a bowl enough to hold the whole chicken, mix chilly powder, pepper, turmeric, lemon Juice and salt and rub this marinade all over the cleaned chicken. Make sure to get inside the incisions
- Tie the legs together with a twine.
- Marinate for at least 1 hour
- Take a wok\kadai with a lid. This pan should be large enough to hold the whole chicken.
- Heat coconut oil and add the curry leaves and saute for a minute and then add the whole chicken. While braising add oil enough to cover the whole surface of the wok/kadai else the chicken will stick to the bottom and you will end up using more oil during the process.
- Let it cook on all sides until you see some browning
- Close the lid and cook further to make sure that the chicken is cooked through. You can cook the chicken in the oven after braising it but I completed the whole cooking process in the wok/kadai.
- Take out the whole chicken and keep it aside to cool
- While the chicken is cooking, take another pan and add some ghee to it.
- Add the raisins and when they fluff up strain and keep them aside
- Now add the cashew nuts and sauté them until golden brown. Strain and keep it aside
- To the remaining ghee, add the sliced onions and curry leaves and saute until they are golden brown.
- Mix in green chilly, garlic, turmeric, chilly powder, coriander, pepper, cumin and garam masala and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.
- Cut the boiled eggs into half. I used 2 for the stuffin and 1 boiled eggs to garnish
- Take the pan off the heat and add the fried raisins, cashew nuts and boiled eggs. Gently stir carefully making sure not to rupture the eggs
- Stuff this mixture into the braised chicken
- Heat coconut oil in a pan and add curry leaves, onions, ginger, garlic, green chilies and sauté until the onions are golden brown. I made this in the same pan in which the chicken was braised so I got some flavored oil to start my cooking. If you have too much oil in the pan, discard the rest and work with the amount you need.
- Now add the spices: saunf, turmeric, chilly powder, garam masala, pepper, cumin and coriander and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Once the raw smell from the spices disappears, add the tomatoes and sauté until they are cooked and almost like a thick sauce.
- Add coconut milk to this and cook until the desired consistency is attained
- Now add the stuffed chicken and cook for a few minutes. If the chicken looks dry smear some of the sauce onto it while cooking. You can close the lid and cook for some time to make the chicken more mosit
- Drizzle with lemon juice and serve with sliced boiled eggs
- Braise means to fry lightly and then stew it slowly in a closed container.
- Please dont forget to tie the legs of the chicken together before cooking otherwise you will end up with a funny looking bird! I inserted toothpick to get the wings tucked in between the legs and the body.
- I highly recommend coconut oil and ghee while cooking this dish
- Be sure to add curry leaves to coconut oil before starting to braise the chicken.
- While braising add oil enough to cover the whole surface of the wok/kadai else the chicken will stick to the bottom and you will end up using more oil during the process. After you have braised the chicken, if you end up with a lot of oil, use it to make the gravy and discard the rest.
- You can cook the chicken in the oven after braising it but I completed the whole cooking process in the wok/kadai.
- If the chicken is cooked right, the pieces will fall right off while cutting
- Serving suggestions: Serve with Pulav, Naan, Roti/Chappati or Kerala Paratha