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.
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 🙂
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.
Sweet potato is always available in stores. My mother used to boil and mash the sweet potatoes with ghee and sugar, and make big balls of the mixture. It served as a lovely, satisfying teatime snack when I came home from school. I have previously given the recipe for Sweet Potato Dessert with Maple Syrup, which I made from a recipe given by my son’s friend. I have always wanted to make my own sweet potato dessert, and that experience inspired me to create this one.
I have always collected recipes from my students. The recipe for fried pork chops was given to me by a Chinese student, Yen Swan Chie, way back in 1972. I modified it for pork ribs and was very pleased with the results. It’s a big hit with guests, so make sure you make plenty 🙂 Serve with vegetable fried rice.
Butter Chicken was introduced to Chennai by tandoori restaurants. I used to frequent the Piccadilly Tandoor restaurant in the late ’70s especially for their divine butter chicken. I longed to make this at home, but I was never satisfied with the results I obtained from recipes I found in books. It was only after watching several YouTube videos that I understood the technique of making butter chicken, and starting making it regularly at home. This recipe gives a better butter chicken than what many restaurants serve – if I do say so myself 🙂 Butter chicken is usually served with naan at restaurants. I also usually have it with Homemade Naan, but this time I tried it with homemade bread, and the result was just as heavenly!
Kuzhippaniaram is traditionally made with dosai batter. I came up with this recipe one morning when I wanted to make vermicelli uppuma but found I had only one cup of vermicelli. While wondering what to do, I had a brainwave: why not make a kuzhippaniaram with vermicelli? I then extended this concept to include other wheat products, creating this very unique combination of a South Indian dish made with wheat (which doesn’t grow here). This goes extremely well with Vengaya Sambar and Coconut Thuvaiyal.