April 18, 2010

Erachi Pathiri/ Paratha Stuffed with Minced Meat/ Fried Meat Pie...

A blog on Malabar Food will be incomplete without the palharams or snacks popular in our houses. I should have blogged this a while ago but I don't make these snacks often enough. Ramazan of course will see all of them make their rounds in my kitchen, but unlike my reader's imagination, my house is more likely t o have simple, light, un-interesting food on a regular basis than these delicacies.

Most of  the delicious Malabar dishes are meat based and spiced and fried to get its rich texture and taste.Comfort food in its raw form.... I love making them every now and then just to fill my kitchen with the ghost chatter and sounds of another time back home where it was made by more than one person interspered with a lot of conversation to take the tedium away.
Though why these dishes are called "palaharam", meaning a "light repast", or snacks is beyond me. They are delicious but in no way are they a "light" snack, unless u treat it as a pie and take just a slice. They are a meal in itself  and should get their time in the limelight on their own..not with a hazaar other co-stars. It's literally a crime to eat anything after eating one of these, except fruits or a sulaimani.

Erachi pathiri is a Ramazan delicacy in the Malabar regions, mostly in Calicut and north of there. Any salkaram/celebration there is not complete without this delicious and elaborate item on the table.Though a standard item in most houses, it is still not commonly available on the menu in restaurants. Wait for a Malabar Food festival to get a taste of the real deal or wangle an invitation to a house there. Zain's restaurant in Calicut is one of the only places that has it on the menu for those who want to try it.

Just like the name suggests, it is a chapathi/flatbread stuffed with minced and spiced meat.
It is made with beef mostly but you could make it with chicken or mutton too.  Not to be made with ground meat, it has to be meat cooked with the spiced and then chopped up and shredded by hand.
Kind of similar to the beef samosa but the pastry casing is fried after stuffing, and then dipped in a egg custard and shallow fried again. So the tastes vary from the sweet french toast like outer bites to the spicy meat-onion filling inside. I like it more than the uni dimensional samosa but my family goes for the spicy samosas more so that gets more show time.

Finding out the exact recipe for this item, I have come to realize that there is nothing called "authentic" any more. Just like I modify recipes to my family's taste, each family back home also has modifications to its recipe. So what I consider "authentic" may not be your "authentic". If all the recipes of a particular kind have 75%of the method and materials  in common then , that should be called an "authentic style" of a particular recipe. Every house would have a go-to recipe for meat filling and though slightly different house to house, that's what gets used for the samosas, erachi pathiri and chattipathiri (with meat). Some use fennel in the filling , some don't. Some use more onions than meat, and some vice versa. So here is a recipe to get you started and then add your modifications as you need.
For meat filling (makes about 4-5)
Boneless Beef/Mutton -1/2 lbs
Ginger -1/2 inch long piece
Garlic -3 cloves
Green chilies- 3
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Roasted Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Red chili powder -1/2 tsp
Fennel powder -1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
For Sautéing:

Onions – 1 lb(3 medium ones)
Small green chilies -4
Curry leaves- A handful
Oil- 2-3 tbsp
1. Clean and cut the meat into small pieces. Grind ginger, green chilies and garlic into a paste. Mix everything with the meat, including the spice powders and leaves.
2. In a thick bottom  pressure cooker, add the marinated meat and let it cook uncovered for 5 minutes. No need to add any oil at this stage. When the meat starts releasing its excess water, place the lid and let it cook on full flame till the first whistling sound and then lower the heat to the lowest and cook for another 5 minutes. (Some meat may need more time so open, check and redo the process.) Take it off the flame and open after the steam is fully released. If there is excess gravy, simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes to evaporate it.
Slow cook the meat covered on low heat for almost 1hr if you do not have a pressure cooker.
3. Meanwhile, chop the onions, green chilies and curry leaves into very fine pieces.
When the meat cools down, chop that also. You could use a chopper for this.
4. Heat the oil, and sauté the cut onions, chilies and meat on medium high heat till it looks dry and slightly separated. The onions just need to be translucent, not brown.Add chopped curry leaves.

Keep stirring to avoid the mix from sticking to the base. Adjust the salt and spice level. When the mix cools down, the filling is ready. the filling should be semi-dry and not too moist.
P.S.If onions were cut by the chopper, it becomes a bit moister so the frying time increases.  

For the Custard:
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
sugar- 2-3 tbsp
Cardamom Powder- a pinch
Mix everything and keep aside. Make more custard in the same proportion if this is not enough.

For the wrapper dough:
3/4  cup wheat flour
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour/maida
½ tsp salt and 2 tsp oil.

warm water -approx. equal quantity of flour.

 Make the dough the same way as for you would make for puri. Add warm water slowly. The dough should be hard but pliable, else it would be difficult to roll it out. Spread a drop of oil and cover with plastic wrap and keep aside for at least 15 minutes. Divide into even sized balls...about the size of a small lemon. 

Roll it out evenly till about 6 inch in diameter .Keep aside and roll out another chapathi of the same size. If they are nowhere near the same size, pile them up together and trim with a sharp circular lid. Now place one chapathi on the rolling board and place 2-3 tbsp of filling in the middle leaving a good 1 inch or more from the edges. Place the second chapathi over the this and press the ends together. The ends are crimped and pinched and rolled together to form a pattern.

Heat about 1 cup of oil in a saute pan. When it is medium hot, slide the stuffed chapathi into it and deep fry on each side for about 2-3 minutes. It should be brown and puff up. Drain onto paper towels.
Dip each stuffed chapathi into the egg custard and turn over once. Now shallow fry  the dipped chapathi in a non stick pan( uses less oil and the egg doesn't stick) with just enough oil to cook the egg on the outside.(Not deep fry). Drain and serve hot. Cut into slices if the pie is too big.

My measurements may be not be fully accurate for the dough-filling, so just bear with me. I will update with more details soon. If there are any queries they will be answered promptly.


Seena said...

Wow! that looks great, Shaheen! My sis makes a diff. form of this.. :)

miri goes phishing! said...

i love Malabari dishes...they smell so good n' they are spicy n' colourful...also you are so right about how so many recipes get tweaked to suit our individual palate. i had tried making pathiri long back n' failed miserably...but i'm dying to give this a try...looks heavenly...:)

Happy Cook said...

This looks so so delicous, i have never had this, but the thought makes me drool and for once it doesn't matter if it is not a light snack, drool.

Shabs.. said...

wow....These looks fantastic shaheen....I wonder if i ever had this though!may be not!but i have heard of this much......will try ur version of this, when in mood to cook and there is plenty of time on hand....I know this is going to take quite some time, doesn't it..?About the authenticity , u r ryt...the food varies from house to house....and even if using the same recipe, the taste also varies from person to person, who makes it....Cooking is simply amazing...

SS said...

That looks so delicious!!! I love your recipes. Thanks for sharing!

Sailaja Damodaran said...


indosungod said...

Seriously Shaheen I need an invitation, mind you it was your suggestion. Looks so very good.

Jas said...

You write so well, I can almost taste the dish!! Love this recipe.

Remya Sushanth said...

This one is a sure try Shaheen... Looks jus amazing and mouth watering... :) Will try this over the weeekend... Once again thanks for sharing such a grt recipe :)

Zerin said...

Thankyou shaheen for this post. I have always wondered how the erachi pathiri has this sweet outer coating.The erachi pathiri which i used to buy from varkey's whenever i was in calicut and was returning to my mom's home (this was for my bus trip)had this coating. I never used to get this crispy sweet thing on the outside when i make. Now I know how to get it.

Nirvanajuncture said...

Shaheen, I just love all your recipes. your instructions are very easy to follow and the results are exactly like you have photographed. Thanks for sharing so many wonderful recipes

? said...

Thank you for sharing these recipes; more often than not when this cuisine is under-represented when one talks about Kerala food.

Food Jihadist said...

This looks amazing. Meat stuffed bread is a staple here in Egypt. But with Paratha, sounds amazing. Keep up the great blog. Cheers!

Mona said...

Elaborate preparation, but sounds just too delicious!

sra said...

Enjoyed reading this post. How are you, Mallugirl?

RV said...

This looks a south indian stuffed paratha. Very delicious.

Mallugirl said...

seena, would love to see ur sis's version of it. i am so used to this that it will be a good change.

Miri, don't blame ur self for pathiri failure.. most of the time its the flour to blame. i don't make pathiris half as soft as my relatives.:)

Happy cook, U would probably like it and u are right, when u are eating "palaharam", calorie counts fly out of the window!

Shabs, u haven't had this? how come? u make samosas right, just make one like this then.It doesn't take a lot of time unless u are makinga lot.
Cooking is just a matter to taste, isin't it?even what we call one malabar dish is so diff from house to house!

Mallugirl said...

ss, Thanks for the sweet words!u have to try them to decide if u like them.:)

Shailaja.. the old foods are often nice.

Indo, any time u are welcome. just let me know when u are coming.:))

Remya, Thanks!!
let me know if u do try it and what feedback u have.

Jas, That's a warm statement. I guess when the food is close to the heart, its easier to gush about it.

starry said...

Looks so delicious and I love malabar dishes too.

Mallugirl said...

starry, where are u from?

Mallugirl said...

Zerin said...

Zerin, varkeys has erachi pathiri? see, i wouldn't have thot to look for it there!
i think a lot of people make it without the sweet crust. where do u take the bus to?

Nirvanajuncture, Thanks for all the words of encouragement.:)) It always great to hear from the readers. Do let me know when u try a recipe and ur feedback on it.

Blogger ? said...

Thank you for sharing these recipes; more often than not when this cuisine is under-represented when one talks about Kerala food.

I think this particular recipe is originally an arab recipe that got customized to the Local cuisine.

U are right, a little elaborate and better to do without kids at ur feet, but fun once in a while.

sra, good to know that!! how is the food fiction going on?

Myra said...

Hi Shaheen
I have never seen something so appetizing,they look divine.
If you were making several,how would one keep them warm in the oven? or would this spoil them?
Yours Myra X

shankari said...

I have never had this. I should teach this in my next breads class

Pravs said...

Looks so yummy...want to have a bite now :)

Nitks said...

Really great.. Looks yummy... Even I have been to Zains just for this. Also during Ramzan we wait for our neighbours to bring their casseroles filled with erachi pathiri, kozhi ada and biriyani :) Thanks for sharing this recipe. Shall try out when I dont feel to cook just healthy foods :)

rose said...

this looks yummy and colorful.

I am looking for the authentic recipe for the masala biscuits we used to get in kerala.
They are available in most of the bakeries in big jars and you have to buy them based on the weight.

I am trying to bake them..only thing is I dont have a recipe..
I remember them as 1/2 inch thick brown colored cookies with crushed chilles, curry leaves, garlic, ellu etc..

Can u help me to get this recipes

Shweet Spicess said...

the process is little lenghtier but im sure its worth a try :) Bookmarked :)