I call this recipe Kovilpatti Chicken Curry because the originator of this recipe is my aunt who was from Kovilpatti. My mother-in-law was in the habit of collecting recipes but never tried them out. When we were going through her papers after she passed away in 1981, I found a letter dated July 1974 from her sister-in-law (Janaki Srinivasagam – my aunt) giving a recipe for chicken curry and a tomato chutney. I put this letter in a folder to try at a later date but I rediscovered it only last year and decided to make it. To my great surprise and delight, this is a very delicious preparation and so very easy to make. It’s a pity it had to wait 40 years but I suppose good recipes never die. When I spoke to my cousins (my aunt is no more) they told me she was famed for her chicken curry in our family circle. I wish I had known her better; I would have loved to collect more recipes from her.
Murukku is very popular in Tamil Nadu as a snack. There are several types of murukkus involving various ingredients and techniques. Thaenkuzhal is one such type very popular in Thirunelveli district. Though murukku is available with most traditional snack vendors, the theankuzhal type is usually made at home. This recipe is from the Saiva Pillaimar, and I still make it at home during December as it is part of the Christmas tradition in our family.
My husband would have turned 76 yesterday. This marks the start of our 12 days of Christmas and it is a family tradition to bake a Devil’s Food Cake despite having a name at odds with the season. My husband used to quote the Bible and then joke that even the devil may quote scriptures so I thought this would be very apt for his birthday. I found this recipe in a book called Family Cook Book (with 2,023 recipes!) that I bought at the 1986 Chennai Book Fair for Rs. 47 which I borrowed from a friend. I’ve been baking this cake ever since for many occasions and the page on the cookbook is covered in coco powder as a testament to this.
(My city Chennai has been devastated by floods over the last few weeks. I didn’t have power for most of this week and all our infrastructure and supplies are still patchy. I was not sure I would be able to post this but things have improved slightly today. I was not sure I should post this with all the pain and misery around us, but decided to go ahead as everyone needs cheering up and good wholesome food is necessary for keeping spirits high – even mine. If you are in/from Chennai I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.)
The 12 Days of Christmas always started on the 12th of December for us, as that was my husband’s birthday. I used to cook special dishes every day and we all increased our girth – it wasn’t only the geese that were getting fat! This festive meal of Tomato Biriyani with Thayir Pachadi (onion raita) and Milagu Chops (pepper chops) was also one of our diet busters 🙂 These are three of the few recipes I have from my father’s mother, Kothai Devadas, who was an excellent cook but unfortunately lived far away in Erode so I rarely sampled her cooking.