For the love of my birth land: Payyoli Chicken Fry!

Payyoli is a town in the Malabar Coast of Kerala and I do not belong there. I was born and raised a little in Cochin and a little in Thrissur. I would have never thought of any dish from Payyoli of all places on earth ever in my life had I not moved away from Kerala and India. My research on food and authentic dishes starts on an international level and ends in Kerala, always. Maybe I miss that place a lot and I have no idea when I would return... food is the closest replica I can create of my motherland...

So, Payyoli Chicken Fry. I have probably had this when I have visited Paragon Hotel in Calicut several times. It is a probability because whenever I have visited the place we have over-ordered food to fill the table due to greed than hunger. And every single item you get in this place is brilliant. Either I have eaten this there or my Amma had created a close substitute at home that I can remember. This dish is very very popular in the Malabar area of Kerala and it is said to be the protege of Chicken Gopalan's restaurant in Payyoli. My attempt is to re-create that magic now.



PAYYOLI CHICKEN FRY

Ingredients

Chicken, bone in, cleaned and cut into small pieces - 1 kg (make gashes in pieces like drumsticks, thighs etc for the marinade to reach well)
Ginger - Garlic paste, freshly made (not bottled) - 3 tablespoons
Dried Red Chillies (Kashmiri variety) - 15 to 20 in number
Turmeric Powder - 1 teaspoon
Meat Masala Powder - 1 and 1/2 tablespoon
White Vinegar - 4 tablespoons
Rice Flour - 3 teaspoons
Green Chillies slit into two - 3 or 4 in number
Curry Leaves - 3 or 4 sprigs
Grated Coconut (fresh or desiccated) - 6 tablespoons
Coconut Oil and Salt

Method:

Take the dried red chillies in a bowl and pour boiling water from a kettle into it. Cover and let this sit for half an hour. After half hour, take them into the chutney jar of the Indian mixer grinder and grind into a fine paste along with a little water. The consistency should be that of a thick chutney. Keep this aside.

Take the cleaned chicken and marinate it with ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, meat masala powder, vinegar, half of the red chilli paste and salt. Preferably let this marinate overnight in the refrigerator or at least for 3 to 4 hours.

Heat coconut oil enough to shallow fry chicken pieces in a big pan that can hold all chicken pieces (if you are using a smaller pan, you may have to shallow fry the chicken in batches). I do not deep fry, I shallow fry to quieten my guilt on wasting so much oil.

Add the rice flour into the marinated chicken and mix well. Bring the oil to a smoking point (but not smoking) and add the chicken pieces, then bring the flame to a medium low and cover and cook the chicken till they are done, checking in between. You may need to turn the pieces in between a few times to cook evenly.

Meanwhile mix the grated coconut with the rest of the red chilly paste. Heat very little coconut oil and when it is well heated up, add curry leaves and slit green chillies. As they turn crisp, remove them and keep aside. Then add the grated coconut into the same oil. Fry till it is well browned but take care NOT TO BURN THEM. Remove them from the pan and keep aside.

When the chicken pieces are all done, add the coconut into it and mix well.

When ready to serve, add the curry leaves and green chillies.




Notes:

Rice flour is very important in this recipe, so please do not skip that.

You can deep fry the chicken pieces too. But shallow frying is more than enough. Just make sure that chicken is cooked in that process.

Please use coconut oil for the exact flavour. If you are averse to it, you can use a neutral oil.

I use Malaysian brand called BABA'S for the meat masala powder. You can use any brand but if you live in Singapore or Malaysia, I urge you to use BABA's.

Lots of love and happiness.



Comments

Hamaree Rasoi said…
The crunchy look of the chicken done in shallow fry made me so hungry that I straight came here to check the recipe. Thank you for sharing!
Anonymous said…
Keep on working, great job!

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