Keralan Fried Chicken (or Cauliflower) #KFC

They say you shouldn’t mess with a classic and don’t get me wrong, the colonel’s recipe is good – I regularly crave it. But, in my very humble opinion..injecting the classic with some spice and heat takes it to another level! My Mum introduced me to the idea of an “Indian-ified” KFC. When my brother and I were kids, she used to make it for us on birthdays or special occasions.

I originally created my own version for a web series I did with Tastemade a little while back (video below!) a couple of years ago. It has wonderful Keralan/South Indian flavours which add depth, aroma & heat. The chicken is first marinated in coconut milk, curry leaves, ginger, chilli n garlic. Then coated in coconut & plain flour and deep fried until golden and crisp. It also works incredibly well with cauliflower if you want to make a veggy/vegan version!

I hope you like this recipe! Let me know your thoughts on on InstaTwitter or Facebook.

Oh and don’t forget to join me next Friday on 29th May for my next live cook-along class. Keep posted to my social media over the next few days to see what we will be making.

Happy cooking y’all x

Keralan Fried Chicken (KFC)

Ingredients
  

  • 4 chicken thighs skinless. Use cauliflower florets for a veggy/vegan version.
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 ” fresh ginger root
  • 2 birds eye green chillies
  • 4 stems fresh coriander washed
  • 2 stems curry leaves, de-stemmed & washed optional
  • 1 ½ – 2tsp salt according to taste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • sunflower/vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 100 g coconut flour If you don’t have this, just use 200g plain flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp onion powder optional
  • 6 stems curry leaves washed, dried and de-stemmed for garnishing (optional)

Instructions
 

  • In a blender, blitz coconut milk, garlic, ginger, chillies, coriander and curry leaves and empty into a bowl. Add the chicken along with salt, garam masala, coriander powder, paprika and turmeric. Cover & refrigerate for as long as possible (24 hours is best) but at least a couple of hours.
  • Place the plain flour, coconut flour, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and onion powder in a shallow bowl and combine.
  • Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before cooking. Place enough oil in a pan so it is about 4-5" deep and place on a low/medium heat. I like to use a small-medium sized wok.
  • Now shake off any excess coconut milk marinade from the chicken and dredge each piece in the flour and evenly coat Then place the chicken piece back in the marinade, shake off any excess and dredge in the flour once again. (I like to use one hand for placing the chicken in the marinade and the other hand for placing the chicken in the flour as it is less messy this way!).
  • Very carefully place into a medium pan of oil at 180ºC. Repeat with the next piece. Cook 2 pieces at a time to keep the temperature from falling.
  • Cook for 8-9 minutes. Then use a pair of tongues to carefully turn each chicken piece once golden. Cook until golden brown on the other side. The chicken should be cooked and white in colour internally. You can also use a thermometer probe to check the internal temperature is 75 ºC.
  • Remove chicken pieces from oil using a slotted spoon and then place on a wire tray/rack to drain.
  • Now, place the curry leaves into the same hot oil. They may splatter slightly so be careful. Deep fry for 5-10 seconds. Remove and drain using a slotted spoon and then place on kitchen paper. Allow them to cool slightly until crisp, then crush the curry leaves with your hands and sprinkle over fried chicken.
  • Serve with your KFC with your favourite dipping sauce/Indian chutney!

Palak Paneer

I really enjoyed teaching how to make this dish during yesterday’s LIVE cookery class. It’s such an easy, quick “throw together recipe” which is perfect for a weeknight meal or as part of a more elaborate spread.

As it’s a dry dish, it also works incredibly well as a filling in a wrap or even in a pitta bread! Palak paneer pitta pockets anyone?

I received an amazing response from those who cooked along with me during the live class. If you missed it but want to watch, you can view it right here. Let me know how it goes and don’t forget to share a photo of your recreation on Insta, Twitter or Facebook.

Oh and FYI, I will now be doing live classes every other Friday so my next live cook-along will be on 29th May. I am working on an exciting project in the mean time and am excited to share the details very soon.

Happy cooking y’all.

Palak Paneer

Ingredients
  

To toast paneer

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 225 g paneer cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • salt

To make the palak paneer

  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp butter/ghee optional
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic very finely chopped
  • 2cm ginger very finely chopped
  • 1 small tomato finely diced
  • 3 tbsp tomato pasata
  • 1 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 3/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 300 g fresh spinach washed, dried & finely chopped/shredded
  • 1-2 green chillies finely chopped

For optional garlic tempering

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 clove garlic cut into paper thin slices
  • 3 good pinches dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) optional

Instructions
 

  • To toast the paneer, heat oil in a pan (ideally non stick) on a low/medium heat setting. Once hot add the paneer, cumin seeds and a pinch of salt. Allow the paneer to cook for 10-15 seconds until it is light golden in colour. Then turn over each piece and cook on the other side. (You want just a light golden skin on each piece). Remove from pan and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, heat up oil and butter/ghee. Once hot, add the nigella seeds, garlic & ginger. Keep mixing continuously on a medium heat until light golden in colour. (It won't take long – do not allow it to brown too much as it will burn and become bitter).
  • Now add the chopped tomato and pasata and cook for 2 minutes on a medium heat whilst mixing. Then add the salt and remaining spices.
  • Once you see the oil begin to release at the edge of the tomato paste, add the toastetoasted paneer pieces and green chilli and mix. Now begin to add the spinach a couple of handfuls at a time, mixing as you do it.
  • Once all the spinach is in the pan and has started to wilt, reduce to a low/medium heat and place a lid on top. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring halfway through. The spinach will start to release its water. Keep cooking until all water has evaporated and you have a dry dish where the palak and paneer pieces are both well combined. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly.
  • For the tempering, heat oil in a small pan. Then add the garlic slivers and dried fenugreek. Keep stirring and as soon as you see the garlic take on a light golden colour, turn off the heat. Drizzle over the paneer palak and serve with your favourite Indian breads.

Channa Dal Keema Mattar

Keema Mattar is one of my favourites. This recipe is cooked with channa dal (optional) which add delicious nuttiness and a lovely bite. I love to mop it up with hot buttery chapatis and sometimes with a fried egg on the side when I feel like I need an extra hug in the stomach department!

When I fancy something lighter I sometimes make keema lettuce wraps and sometime swap out the lamb for quorn (which also works a treat!).

There was no live cookery class this week but I shall be back next Friday, 15th May cooking up another delicious storm on my Facebook page so I hope to see you then. Until then, enjoy the below recipe!

Keema Mattar with Channa Dal

monicasawhney
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 6-7 tbsp oil for cooking
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 black cardamom coarsely crushed, optional
  • 2 green cardamoms coarsely crushed, optional
  • 2" “ piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion (150g) cut into small rough chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1" ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 5 tbsp tomato passata
  • 1 tsp double concentrate tomato puree
  • 2 birds eye green chillies sliced vertically in half
  • 400g lamb/mutton/quorn mince
  • 5 tbsp peas defrosted
  • 2 small potatoes cooked, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 150 g channa dal lentils soaked & boiled with salt for 45 minutes or until tender** – optional
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Large handful coriander
  • Juice of ¼ lime optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a pan. Blitz the onion, ginger and garlic, together in a food processor until coarsely ground together. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaves, crushed cardamoms, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds to the pan.
  • Now add the ground paste to the pan and cook on a medium heat for 6-7 minutes. Once you see the paste has turned golden in colour add 3-4 tbsp water and continue to cook for 7-8 minutes on a low/medium heat. If it ever catches, add a splash of water or a little more oil.
  • Now add the salt, paprika, turmeric and garam masala. Cook for a minute and then add the pasata and tomato puree as well as the chillies. When you see the oil separate from the masala, add the lamb/mutton/quorn mince and cook for 4-5 minutes or until you see the colour change. Then add the peas, potato, channa dal as well as the remaining spices and sugar. Mix well.
  • Add 1 cup of water then place a lid on top and cook for a further 10 minutes on a medium heat, stirring every few minutes.
  • Finish with the coriander as well as the lime juice. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly.

Notes

*I cooked the dal exactly as I did for the lentils in my tadka recipe which can be found here. You can soak the channa lentils for 3-4 hours for warm water to help soften but it’s not essential.