July 09, 2006

Kozhi Nirachathu/ Stuffed chicken

Those who have visited Calicut or are from there know that the town is known for its delicious food. So what do the Calicut wallahs make if they want to make something special?
They make stuffed goat, stuffed chicken, stuffed mussels, stuffed plantains, stuffed pies (Chattipathiri)and so on. The more elaborate the better. If it can be stuffed then why not? There is something primitive about a stuffed bird on the dining table with a crowd of people oohing and aahing around it. It turns conversation around to itself.

Over there, this is a must for any "salkaram" or parties felicitating the newly married couple. The newlyweds may not be able to eat (stuffed as they are with the attention), but the rest of us enjoy.
The modern evidence of this is visible everyday in Supermarkets and Price clubs where the rotisserie chicken rotates beckoningly. What about the thanksgiving turkey? How many of you have switched to roasting chicken from turkey and looked for a recipe which suits the spicy palate?
You could recreate the whole recipe or just bake or fry the chicken with the stuffing, depending on your taste. My sister-in-law was my creative consultant on this recipe with the gravy version. Thanks to her for the inputs.

You will need:
Chicken-1 small one (1 1/2 lb)
For the initial marinade:
Red chili powder- 2-3 teaspoon, or as per spice level
Turmeric- 1 teaspoon., Salt to taste

For the stuffing:
Egg -1 or 2
Onions - 1 medium sized ones,Green chilies- 4
Curry leaves- 1 sprig.
Coriander leaves- a handful, chopped
Ginger-garlic- Together 1 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 teaspoon
Turmeric- 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder- 1/4 tsp
Poppy seeds (Khus Khus) - 1/4 tsp
Cashew nuts- 6 chopped, Raisins- 10
Salt -1/4 tsp

For the gravy:
Onions - 2 medium sized ones, Green chilies- 5
Tomatoes- 2 medium ones. (Or 1/2 can tomato puree)
Curry leaves- 1 sprig.
Garlic paste- 11/2 tsp.
Ginger paste- 1 1/2 tsp
Lime juice- 1 tsp
Coriander leaves-a handful chopped
Curry leaves- a handful
Coriander powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric- 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder- 2 tsp
Aniseed (saunf) - 1tsp
Garam masala (biryani masala) - 1/2 tsp
Salt -to taste, Oil - for frying

Preparation Method:

1. Clean the whole chicken both inside and outside. Rinse with a dash of lemon juice to remove unpleasant smells. Mix the chili powder, turmeric and salt and apply all over the chicken. Cover and set aside in the fridge for as much time as you have.
2. Prepare the stuffing. Boil the egg(s) till fully firm and peel. The number of eggs depends on how big the chicken is. Heat 2 tbsp oil and fry the curry leaves, onions, green chilies, ginger garlic till the onions start turning brown. Add more oil if needed to prevent the onions from sticking to the pan. Add all the remaining spices (for the stuffing only) and saute well till the spices start leaving off an aroma.The raisins, cashew nuts and poppy seeds are optional.It adds a sweetness to the stuffing. Mix the boiled egg into this mix and keep aside.

3. Stuff the above mix into the chicken.....First the egg, then the onions into the chicken's cavity, taking care not to over stuff. There should be no stuffing coming out. Now tie the chicken's legs and hands together with kitchen twine.

4. Heat 1/3 cup oil in a saute pan large enough to contain the whole chicken and gently put the chicken in it and stir. Fry on medium heat till the chicken is browned on all sides. Not fully fried, just lightly browned.
5. Now drain the chicken and prepare the gravy. If you are not a fan of caramelized onion gravy, you could skip the gravy altogether and continue cooking the chicken in the saute pan or wok. Keep it covered for 10 mins or more on each side till the chicken is fully cooked on the inside. Alternatively, after the initial frying, you could cover it well in an oven proof dish and bake it for 20 mins at 350 degrees.

6. Gravy/sauce:
Slice onions and chilies finely. Grind aniseed to a fine powder and mix with all the other spices. Heat oil, fry the onions and chilies and coriander leaves and curry leaves. When the onions start browning in 10 minutes or less, add the ginger garlic paste and stir well. Add the tomatoes as well and cook it on slow heat. When the tomatoes start breaking down, add the spices and fry gently till the whole mixture moves as one mass.
Add the salt and check taste. Pour the gravy into a baking bowl and add the chicken to this mix .Ensure that the chicken gets covered with the sauce. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. The onions should have caramelized into a sauce of dark uniform consistency. Wait till the chicken cools down. Remove the tie backs and carve.


Nabeela said...

i loove stuffed chicken..i baked one whole a while ago..and we finished the 3 pound thing in one setting with just me and the husband...it was soooooo moist!
Your pictures look great...they're making me crave chicken right now...maybe it's time to try my hand at yet another stuffed chicken recipe maybe? :)

Sarah said...

Our neighbour in Malaysia was originally from Malabar.. I used to wait for any birthday/even for full moon..just to go over to her house and eat all these.. This I am going to try today ..just to remember Aunty Jameela and her kitchen.. thanks for the recipe

RP said...

I have tried this once from vanitha magazine. It tasted great. I will try your recipe next time. You are doing a wonderful job. Very helpful to someone like me who wants to learn malabar cuisine. Thanks a lot.

Shah cooks said...

Thanks gals for keeping my spirit up. I am going to branch into non malabari recipes too as per my friends' requests.I just have to figure out how to categorise it.

archana said...

Thank you Shaheen, You did an extremely good job of describing an elaborate recipe. I have tried this once long back with my mother, we followed a recipe from Vanitha. I will try your recipe for sure.

Sarah said...

Just want to let you know I cooked this last night.. It came out superb.. Only change.. I prefer to fry the cashew and raisin seaparately and add to the egg masala..Thank you for the recipe.. and a big dank je wel from my kids..

indianadoc said...

this is the heavenly chicken from Malabar that i have been missing...absolutely gorgeous!!

Zerin said...

Hi Shaheen,

your blog is just wonderful. I am a big fan of calicut food. I had a lot of friends from calicut when i was in college. I look out for any calicut recipes. it was my sister who suggested ur blog to me. can u give me a recipe for kannuvacha pathiri.

Zerin said...

I had one doubt about the stuffed chicken, is it not necessary to half cook the chicken first?

Shah cooks said...

zerin, thanks for your kind words. always happy to have calicut food lovers. do try the recipe and let me know. you don't need to half cook it. its done with at most 2 lb chicken, so the frying actually half cooks it.
as for the kannu vecha pathiri, try my link below...http://malluspice.blogspot.com/2006/07/maddikki-pathiri-malabar-roti.html

Zerin said...

I tried this recipe and it turned out great

Shah cooks said...

Thanks Zerin, great to hear that it make out well and you all liked it.

Viji said...

I like your blog.i tried the stuffed chicken,it has come out very well.My husband liked it a lot.Thanks and keep it up.

Shah cooks said...

Thanks viji, do try other recipes too.

Unknown said...

Hey shaheen, just finished eating your delicious stuffed chicken...was a huge hit..thanks alot for the recipe..

Anonymous said...

hi,i tried this recipe 2wice.the first time,it turned out ok(1200gm).second time,(1500gm) the inner flesh was still raw after keeping the chicken in oven for 1 hr extra..wat do u think went wrong??the caramelised gravy was excellent though..... we had it with roti and lebanese hommous

Anonymous said...

hi... i found the picture of your kozhinirachathu - in another site - just check eastern masala's website...

Shabs.. said...

Hi shaheen,
Im making this recipe of urs today...its in the oven now:). Since I am using a 3 lb chicken, it was a bit difficult to manage the bird---quite heavy and cudnt tie its wings!!left it as it is...pinney the stuffing and the outer masala is so tasty....i just cant wait to finish the cooking.....thought of dropping here and letting u know...Pinney hats off to u shaheen.....this one really needs so much of patience (especially with a moaning toddler sticking to me), time and effort....best party recipe...Thanks alot....u know we make stuffed goat for parties in kannur...its a great one...:)

Shabs.. said...

The chicken was super delicious.....nammude naattil okkey kittunnathu, i guess they fry it completely and the outer masala isnt there...and it is dry even....But ur chicken was beyond description....my husband loved it soo soo much and so did i....but the only thing my husband was not keen on was the taste of raisins...i knew that he wudnt like it but i added it cos i like it...lol...but i think the raisins released juice and it made the masala a bit sweet, even though i used only 1 tbs....so will omit that next time...els eeverything was PERFECT.

Pinney my chicken i fried a bit in 4 tbs of oil...just a bit until it turns opaque, then transfered it to oven....It took a good 1 hour 45 minutes to cook @180 degrees centigrade, but i opened the foil and let it cook for another 10 minutes extra....big bird is difficult to manage, but smaller bird undaakkiyal, it will get over in a day.....pani eduthathinu muthalaakilla...thats y went for the big one:)

Thanks for the recipe once again....mind if i post it in my blog, backlinking to urs?

Shabs.. said...

pinney u asked about pallada, is it that samosa pastry we make with maida and shape in template, put the filling in and deep fry?....we prepare that ada that way too:)Thanks for stopping by my blog:)

Supriyo said...

Turned out great... we love to have the chicken little sour... hence added a little bit of curd to the gravy... Everyone just loved it.... Thank you for posting the recipe..

Leya said...

Hi, I love ur website and the collection of recipes that you have here. This is the first time I have attempted a dish from here. I must say that we all LOVED it! Thanks a ton for your good work!

Akhila said...

I like your blog. I cant wait to try this recipe for my husband's birthday as he loves chicken. Will let you know the result..

Akhila said...

Hi there,
My husband loved the chicken. Though time consuming, a perfect recipe for a special treat and the look n taste was just amazing. My husband was having the chicken whenever he goes to the chicken.
Thank you.

sanila shafin said...

thanx for the recipe.. i tried it this eid and it turned out well..

Anonymous said...

Hi, liked your recipe. Just wanted to check whether the chicken has to be covered both times while baking?? Or is it cover the first time while baking and uncover and bake the 2nd time?

Shah cooks said...

Anoan, cover the chicken the first time and then leave it uncovered for the rest of the time.