Chicken Cutlet

Doctors also can be good cooks 🙂 This recipe is from my ophthalmologist cousin Suriya, who specialises in low fat cooking. She served these cutlets when we had gone over for dinner, and we loved it. She was very happy to give the recipe. Her method used the entire chicken as she doesn’t get only the skinless, boneless breast.  I have modified the recipe by using chicken breast and also cooked the chicken using my own recipe for chicken stock. In this way, I get the cooked chicken for the cutlet and the stock for other dishes.

Chicken Cutlet - Kalas Kalai

Chicken Cutlet

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Thirunelveli Paruppu Kuzhambu (Thirunelveli Dhal Curry)

Generally, South Indian dhal curry is always associated with Sambar, but in Thirunelveli (a southern district of Tamil Nadu) dhal curry or kuzhambu is made using ground coconut and fresh green spices like green chillies. There are several variations of this kuzhambu, but I am presenting the paruppu kuzhambu which has been made in my family for generations. We use red gram dhal, green chillies and coriander leaves, and select South Indian vegetables. It is always tempered with fenugreek seeds along with mustard seeds. We also use unripe mango to give sourness or tamarind extract when mango is not available. I have added fenugreek powder also to enhance the flavour.

Thirunelveli Paruppu Kuzhambu - Kalas Kalai

Thirunelveli Paruppu Kuzhambu

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Kala’s Eral and Mangai Curry (Prawn and Unripe Mango Curry)

With unripe mangoes flooding the food stores, one has to find ways in which this can be used (most of them are not suitable for ripening). I recall reading about the combination of mango and prawns almost half a century ago. I don’t remember the type of masala used in that preparation. I have used a combination of vindaloo-type masala with unripe mango to give sourness to the preparation. I have also used sugar to give it a subtle Goan flavour, but this dish is not a proper west coast preparation. It’s very much a Kala’s Kitchen concoction 🙂

Kalas Eral and Mangai Curry - Kalas Kalai

Kalas Eral and Mangai Curry

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Sweet Mango Chutney (North Indian Style)

Chennai summer – which begins in March 🙂 – is still roasting us, but that also means that mangoes are available in plenty. This year also I received mangoes from my neighbours. I was looking for new recipes as I had exhausted my family recipes. I found this interesting recipe for mango chutney in the 1,000 Indian Recipe Cookbook. I was fascinated by the use of onion seeds (kalonji in Hindi) – we don’t use these in Tamil Nadu. When I first tried out this recipe, I found that the flavour of cumin and onion seeds dominated the chutney so much that we could eat it only with curd rice. I have reduced the amounts by half to one-eighth to suit our palate. Though the chutney is spicy, the amount of sugar used masks the strong spicy flavour. This chutney is ideally suited as an accompaniment to Chicken Biriyani, Tomato Biriyani, and Turkey Biriyani.

Sweet Mango Chutney North Indian Style - Kalas Kalai

Sweet Mango Chutney (North Indian Style)

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Calcutta Chicken Curry

I found this dish in my mother’s recipe book, which she had copied from her grandmother’s. I do not know if this dish is actually made in Calcutta 🙂 My great-grandmother hailed from Thanjavur, and her family were closely related to Vedanayagam Sastriar who was a Samasthana Kavignar (court poet) during King Serfoji II’s reign. I assume this recipe would have come through the court’s cooks as she was unlikely to have come across a Calcutta dish through other channels. It is very easy to prepare. My great-grandmother made this dish with mutton, but I tried it with chicken and found it to be vastly superior to the mutton version. This can be served with Khamiri Roti or Pooris.

Calcutta Chicken Cury - Kalas Kalai

Calcutta Chicken Cury

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Easy-Chew Honey Cookies

During the 80s, unsold books from Western countries used to be exported to India as waste paper and sold here as books at throwaway prices. I picked up The Cookie Cookbook by Evelyne Johnson in one such sale for just Rs. 6. It’s a tiny book, called a Dell Purse Book, and I forgot I had it until I discovered it amongst my books 30 years later. This book has a recipe called Mrs. Graham’s Honey Dough which disappointed me with its flavour and texture. A year later I tried the recipe again, modifying it to improve its taste and mouth feel. I increased the eggs and honey in the recipe, which improved both the flavour and appearance and imparted a cake-like texture to the cookies. These cookies have a very soft texture and can be served to the elderly who face difficulty in chewing, as well as to toddlers. Because they are soft, crumbs do not fly, reducing post-consumption cleanup time 🙂

Honey Cookies - Kalas Kalai

Easy Chew Honey Cookies

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Kala’s Cheesy Kuzhippaniaram (No Dosai Batter)

I believe in using my culinary equipment as often as possible. I therefore like to experiment and create different kinds of kuzhippaniaram (fritters) to make use of the kuzhippaniaram mould. I have already given recipes for Kuzhippaniaram with dosai batter and All Wheat Kuzhippaniaram without dosai batter. I have always wanted to combine cheese with the milk and egg batter and make fritters without deep frying to arrive at a high protein, low fat snack. This is a western kuzhippaniaram as I have used oregano seasoning for flavouring. I would have liked to use dry garlic powder, but it is not easily available in Chennai and has a poor shelf life even if it is, so I have used fresh garlic in the preparation.

Cheesy Kuzhippaniaram - Kalas Kalai

Kala’s Cheesy Kuzhippaniaram

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