Chicken à la King

Chicken à la King seems to have been a favourite of the British Raj in India, perhaps because all the ingredients were available here, and the flavour, though rich, is bland. I have come across various recipes using egg yolk, wine, etc., but adding wine somehow gives a fermented flavour, which we Indians regard as the beginning of spoilage. Therefore, I searched for a recipe which was simple and, at the same time, wholesome. I found one in Children’s Party Cooking. Of course I had to tweak the recipe to suit the Indian palate and the ingredients available.

Chicken a la King - Kalas Kalai

Chicken à la King

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Urullaikkizhangu Pittu/Puttu (Tamil Mashed Potato)

Urullaikizhangu Pittu/Puttu is a favourite side dish in my family, especially when it is served along with Vendhaya Kuzhambu. The mild flavour of the pittu and the strong flavour of the kuzhambu complement each other so delightfully that when I announce lunch or dinner people come hurrying to the table.

Urullaikkizhangu Pittu - Kalas Kalai
Urullaikkizhangu Pittu/Puttu

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Thayir Kozhi Curry (Curd and Chicken Curry)

This is another handy recipe for when you have more curds than you need for your daily consumption, and you are looking for ways to use it up. I have created a very easy-to-prepare chicken dish with very few spices (compared to what we usually use in Tamil Nadu for non-vegetarian cooking) and thick fresh curds.

Thayir Kozhi Curry - Kalas Kalai

Thayir Kozhi Curry (Curd and Chicken Curry)

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Carpetbag Meat (Low Fat)

I discovered a ‘Carpetbag Steak’ recipe when browsing through an old cookbook from my personal library. I was fascinated by the concept of stuffing steaks or fillets and skewering or suturing them with cotton thread before grilling or broiling. But the stuffing that is used in these recipes is not the norm in Tamil kitchens, because we do not combine meat with shellfish (mussels or oysters). So, I use a spicy vegetarian stuffing to add flavour to the carpetbag meat.

Carpetbag Meat 1 - Kalas Kalai

Carpetbag Meat

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Pork Vindaloo

Pork Vindaloo is primarily a Goan preparation with many variations found throughout the west coast. It is very easy to make and will keep even for 3 days without refrigerating. I have experimented making it with different combinations of spices, and finally I arrived at this recipe which is not too spicy and could be eaten with rice or chappatis.


Pork Vindaloo

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Kala’s Mangai Inji Pickle (Mango Ginger Pickle)

January is the month when we South Indians see a variety of vegetables which are seasonal. Mangai Inji is a kind of ginger which has the flavour of unripe mango (hence its name). Though it looks like the ginger which is used to spice up food preparations, mango ginger is very very mild in flavour and has a finer texture. It is usually preserved in the form of a pickle which will keep for about a month in a refrigerator.


Mangai Inji Pickle

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Kola Urundai Brinji Rice (Milk based Pulav with Meatballs)

A beautiful and delicious meal to ring in the New Year, and is hopefully a sign that 2017 will be a beautiful year. The term Kola Urundai in Tamil means round balls, as if balls are any other shape! Brinji rice is rice cooked in milk and spices. This exotic and delicately flavoured dish is unique in that the meatballs are deep fried and then cooked along with the rice, not served as an accompaniment or as garnish. I have come across this recipe only in my family. I think it belongs to my great-grandmother who had settled in Thanjavur in the 1800s – perhaps she got it there. It is quite easy to make even though it is one dish composed of two preparations.


Kola Urundai Brinji Rice (Milk based Pulav with Meatballs)

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