Sunday breakfast in many households of Coimbatore and surrounded places like Tirupur, Erode and Kangayam starts with idly and chicken kuzhambu or mutton elumbu kuzhambu, followed by full meals with rice, the kuzhambu from morning and addition of a dry version of chicken or mutton, rasam and homemade thayir or curd. Not to forget the nap after that.
My late grandfather was a huge fan of non-vegetarian food and my mom used to recall those times, when he used to buy meat/chicken while returning from his shift from the mill and amchi (that’s how I call my maternal grandmother) will keep the ingredients for the masala for kuzhambu ready to get started. Even now, my mom and amchi grind the masala in the aatukal and they do not use mixie; the reason they say is kuzhambu doesn’t taste good, simple!
The first step in the preparation is to peel the chinna vengayam or shallots. And I have not seen anyone replacing shallots with onions because that is a hard and fast rule to use only shallots for non-veg curries. It is easily one of the key ingredients in Kongunadu cooking.
Today I am sharing the recipe for Chicken Kuzhambu which is from Mrs.Kalaiarasi. I found her through #kangayam on Instagram and was surprised to know that we already had friends, love for cooking and kongu region in common :). When I asked if she can share the recipe for this kuzhambu, she was excited and sent me the detailed recipe with pictures the very next week. Follow her page on Instagram for more daily food scenes in a kongunadu household.
What you need
- Chicken with bones – 1/2 kg
To Saute & Grind
- Shallots – 1/4 kg
- Red chilies – 4 to 6
- Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Black Peppercorns – 1/2 teaspoon
- Curry leaves
- Oil – 1 tablespoon
- Ginger – 2-inch piece
- Garlic – 10 pods
- Fennel – 1/2 teaspoon
- Cinnamon – 1/2-inch piece
- Cloves – 3
- Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
- Coriander – 50 grams (if using coriander powder use 5 tablespoons)
- Mustard – 1/2 teaspoon
- Shallots – 1 handful chopped
- Dry red chilies – 1 or 2
- Curry leaves
- Cut chicken into pieces, wash and keep it aside.
- Dry roast coriander seeds in a kadai and grind to a fine powder.
- In the same kadai, add a spoon of oil and saute the items mentioned under “To Saute & Grind” until the shallots become soft and tender. Allow this to cool.
- Add the cooled mixture to a mixie jar along with the items mentioned under “To Grind”. Add the coriander powder and grind everything together to a very fine paste by adding required water.
- Now in a pressure cooker, add the chicken piece, ground masala, 8 to 9 glasses of water and required salt.
- Allow 8 whistles for the chicken to get cooked along with the masala.
- In a tadka pan or a small kadai, add a spoon of oil and the items mentioned under “To Temper” one by one and temper.
- Once the cooker releases pressure naturally, add the tempering and mix well. Check for consistency and salt.
- Leave it closed for a couple of minutes. This contains the flavors of the tempering within and adds a wonderful taste to the kuzhambu.
- Boneless chicken is not suitable for this kuzhambu.
- In Kalai’s words, she never uses the readymade coriander powder because it can never match the taste and flavor of the freshly roasted and ground powder.
- Replacing shallots with onions might not give the best taste.
- You can add finely chopped coriander leaves as garnish.
Kongunadu Chicken Kuzhambu tastes good with idli, dosai and rice. Try this recipe and serve it with steaming hot idlis or dosai for breakfast.