Kozhi Thoran/Chicken Thoran (Chicken stir fried with grated coconut)…pet names!!

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Kozhi Thoran/Chicken Thoran (Chicken stir fried with grated coconut)…also known as “houseboat chicken” in our home J…this was part of the dinner feast that we were served during our stay on a houseboat in Alleppey on our way to Kumarakom back in 2010…but this one stuck in my head as until then the word “thoran” was somehow only associated with veggies cooked this way…the cook was generous enough to share the recipe and over the years it got its own pet name!!

Kozhi Thoran/Chicken Thoran (Chicken stir fried with grated coconut)

Ingredients

  • Chicken, skinless and boneless thigh, cut into small bite size pieces, 500gms
  • Shallots, roughly diced, about 50, 1 ½ cups + 1 ½ cups (I normally don’t have shallots at home, so I use an equal mix of Red onion and Brown onion)
  • Mustard seeds, 1 tsp
  • Whole dried red chili, 1-2
  • Fresh Green chilies, 1-2
  • Ginger, 1 inch piece
  • Garlic, 5-6 cloves
  • Curry leaves, about 10-12
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp (traditionally coconut oil is used)

For the marinade:

  • Coriander powder, 1 tsp
  • Turmeric, ¼ tsp
  • Red chili powder, 1 tsp (for heat, use according to your liking)
  • Kashmiri red chili powder, ½ tsp (for colour)
  • Kerala Style Garam Masala, ½ tsp (Preferably use Kerala style Garam Masala or use about  ¼ tsp of any Garam Masala you have on hand, recipe for Kerala style Garam Masala is in the notes section below)

For the Coconut mix

  • Coconut, fresh or frozen (thawed), finely grated/shredded, about ¾ cup to 1 cup
  • Curry leaves, about 5-6
  • Black Pepper powder, 1 tsp
  • Coriander Powder, 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri Red chili powder, ½ tsp

Instructions

Rub the chicken with coriander powder, turmeric,  red chili powder, kashmiri red chili powder and garam masala and leave to marinate for a couple of hours to overnight in the refrigerator. (Traditionally chicken is not marinated for this recipe, but I almost always marinate the chicken – since chicken cooks quickly and marinating first improves the flavors).

Bring the chicken back to room temperature before cooking.

In a mortar and pestle coarsely pound the ginger, garlic and green chilies together (or a couple of pulses in the food processor)

In a pan/skillet/kadhai, toast the coconut till it is just beginning to change colour to pale brown (again, traditionally coconut is not toasted first but we like it better toasted first).

Remove the coconut from heat and mix in the curry leaves, black pepper, coriander powder and kashmiri red chili powder. Mix everything well and keep aside.

In the same pan, heat 2 tbsp oil and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start spluttering, add in 1 ½ cup of shallots/onions.

Fry the shallots till they turn golden brown.

Add in the curry leaves, whole red chilies, ginger, garlic and green chilies. Stir and sauté for a minute.

Add in the balance 1 ½ cups of onions and sauté till onions start to turn golden on the edges.

Add in the marinated chicken and toss well on high heat for a couple of minutes.

Lower the heat, cover the pan and let the chicken cook in its own juices for about 15 minutes.

Remove the cover, stir in the coconut mix and salt. Cover again for about 5-7 minutes.

Remove the lid, add the remaining 1 tbsp oil and toss the chicken well.

Sauté and stir the chicken till all the water evaporates and oil starts shimmering on the sides of the pan – about 5-10 minutes.

Serve hot with paranthas or ghee rice.

Notes

  • Don’t let the amount of chilies used scare you too much!! The coconut balances it all out  but if you are not convinced – for the spices start with half the quantity and add more  later,  remove the seeds and membranes from green chilies

Kerala Style Garam Masala

Ingredients

  • Fennel seeds, 1 tsp
  • Cloves, 4-5
  • Green Cardamom, 2-3
  • Cinnamon, about an inch long piece
  • Star Anise, ½

Instructions

Lightly dry roast all the spices on low heat, cool and then grind to a fine powder.
Use as required and store the balance in an airtight container.

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