I have been making a lot of sweet things lately. My husband likes sweets, but does not adore them and indulge like me, and he has been very patient all these days. But, I knew he was beginning to tire of cookie crumbs and stewed plums. (Yes, I did put that rhyme in there on purpose. On a different train of thought- I think cookie crumbs and stewed plums would actually work quite well together. Note to self- must make.) ANYWAY. I was getting a little bored of drizzling caramel sauce over everything, and I wanted something red, hot and spicy.
Chicken it would be. Once, when travelling with my family in Kerala, we stopped at a small highway eatery, where we came across a dish on the menu called Thrissur Chicken. (Thrissur is the name of a town in Kerala.) It was fried nuggets of chicken with lots of chilli powder and peanuts, served on a bed of fried curry leaves. It was a fiery red colour and very, very spicy. The spice rub had red chilli powder and coriander for sure, but I suspect the deep red colour came from a small dash of colouring.
I wanted to make a similar dish, but less spicy and a little sour, so I decided to use red chilli powder and lemon, and finish it off with fried curry leaves for extra flavor and crunch. I don’t know if there is actually a special kind of chicken dish in Thrissur named after the place, but I just took the name and made it my own.
This dish turned out great….sharp, spicy, and full of aroma. And the fried curry leaves added such great texture! That’s the thing about curry leaves…they do not get soggy as soon as they come into contact with air. So it remained crispy from mid-morning till 2pm, when we finally ate.
- 300 grams chicken, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon dry ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- Juice of 1 lime
- Coconut oil- 5 tablespoons for frying + 1 tablespoon for marination
- Curry leaves- 20
- Salt to taste
- Place the chicken in a large bowl. Add the dry ginger powder+chilli powder+coriander powder+1 tablespoon of coconut oil+juice if 1 lime. Grate 3 cloves of garlic into the chicken. Mix everything together with your hands so that the chicken is evenly coated.
- Allow the chicken to rest in your fridge for at least one hour.
- Once the chicken has rested, heat the coconut oil in a wok. Once the oil is hot, add the curry leaves and swirl around for approx 30-60 seconds till they are crisp. Remove from oil, drain and keep aside in a separate bowl or plate.
- Into the same wok, add the marinated chicken pieces and stir-fry till cooked and crispy. You can add some sugar or a little ketchup to caramelize, if you wish.
I’ll be honest…this is not the healthiest dish, since it is shallow-fried, but it tastes great. We ate this with steamed rice and dal, but it would go great with rotis too. It would even taste nice rolled up in a roti with a dollop of hung curd.