Earlier on I had acquired Fathima Shahjahan’s A-1 Muslim Samayal. I was so impressed by her recipes, I added her Chicken Special to my collection. I have corrected some errors and reworked the recipe for non pressure cooking. The wonderful thing about Tamil Muslim cooking is that the tastiest dishes are prepared with fewer ingredients than other kinds of cooking I have come across. Here is a recipe for Chicken Pulav, which does not use ground coconut or kus kus or even coconut milk. The cooking procedure is very simple yet seems to arrive at the most delicious and aromatic preparation in a very short time. My family was most delighted and impressed by the way in which I served this chicken pulav before they started to complain of hunger. The dish has a mild flavour (it is not very hot) but is very tasty.
Doro Watt or Ethiopian Chicken by Sefanit Sirak-Kebede was featured in the People’s Cook Book – A Celebration of the Nation’s Life Through Food. I was fascinated by the introduction to the recipe and the steps involved in the preparation captured my imagination and interest. This recipe must have originated when communities sat around a common fire and cooked, designating various tasks to groups of women – just like one of my cookery labs 🙂 I could visualise a chattering group peeling and dicing a kilo of shallots with tears running down their faces from the vapours, another group plucking, skinning and jointing a chicken, and another carefully melting the butter with spices. This last one I omitted from the recipe as in India it will be sacrilegious to waste good spices and flavoured butter will not lend itself to other recipes. Continue reading
When each of her daughters got married, my mother gave them a notebook in which she had neatly written, in Tamil of course, the recipes she had collected; I consider it a treasure. Nevertheless, there were quite a number she did not prepare at home. Those were the ones that had eggs in the ingredients (she was allergic). It was in my Aunt Cynthia’s house that I became aware of these preparations and potato-cup mince cutlet was one of these. This is a high protein-high energy dish and it is not prepared very often because a lot of labour is required though preparation is not very difficult.
Coconut Milk Rice was made very rarely at home because of the labour involved in scraping the coconut and grinding it in an attukal (traditional stone mortar and pestle) soaking it in hot water and extracting the milk. My mother’s recipe gives details about the first extract of the coconut milk which is thick, and the second and third extracts which are thinner. My mother had a maid those days, and it was she who used to get the coconut milk ready. Later on I tried making it using an electric wet grinder, but it was very time consuming doing it on my own. Continue reading