Tapioca (Koppa) Biriyani

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It has been awhile since I posted but I hope this post will make up for it. Will see if I can get back into the cooking, picture taking and posting thing again.

Koppa Biriyani is a typical Kerala dish encompassing all the flavors keralites love. I think if a cooking show challenged me to make a dish that epitomizes Kerala cooking and my palate then it may be this dish that I would choose to make.

Koppa is tapioca or yucca. This ubiquitous root vegetable is an everyday staple in Kerala households (and toddy shops!) and when cooked is like potatoes. It can be eaten very simply boiled and salted served with a fish curry or a shallot chutney or cooked with turmeric yellow, coconut mixture. Koppa and Fish curry is the most commonest combination but I love the way meat goes with it. Beef is eaten widely in Kerala and added to koppa it is amazing. Any meat probably could be substituted. This is a very “meat and potatoes” meal. Biriyani is a misnomer because that dish usually has rice with some type of meat but instead of the rice this uses tapioca. Enjoy!

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Koppa Biriyani

Ingredients:

3 lbs or so of Chuck Roast- Beef, cubed ( can use lamb, goat or chicken)

2 lbs  of Frozen or fresh Tapioca/Yucca pieces

2 tbs Oil of your choice-coconut oil will taste more authentic

1 lg onion- sliced

1/4 tsp Mustard seeds

2 tbs Ginger, chopped

2 tbs Garlic chopped

3-4 dried Red chilies

Meat masalas appox 1-2 tsps. each- garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric, red chilly powder

Sprig of Curry leaves and cilantro for garnsh

Salt to taste

 

Method:

Boil Tapioca chunks in a large stockpot of salted water. Cook until tender yet holds it shape. Drain and remove center fibers and cube into chunks. Set aside.

Meat preparation-In a large saute pan, add oil and when hot add mustard seed. Allow to pop. Then add onions, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and saute until softened. Add red chillies. Add masala powders and saute for a few seconds then add meat. Add salt to taste. Toss well and let cook until tender. Cover the pot for the first 10 minutes or then uncover. You want the curry to be semi-dry. Add a little water if sticking to pan. This will take at least 20 minutes. You should have tender meat pieces with a little bit of thick gravy.

Combine tapioca chunks with the meat curry and mix well. Garnish with cilantro.

Aloo Parata and Chicken Tikka Masala

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This past week was my daughters 21st birthday (Where did the time go!:(….,) so this post is one of her favorites—Aloo Parata and Chicken Tikka Masala ( also can be called Butter Chicken/Chicken Makhani)

Aloo Parata

Ingredients:

2 cups chapathi flour or Atta ( can use whole wheat flour as a substitute)

1 tbs oil

1 tsp salt

Water to make a dough

1 large Potato, boiled and mashed

2 green chilies, minced

1 tsp grated ginger

1/4 tsp cumin pdr

2 tsp chopped cilantro

Salt to taste

Method:

Combine flour, salt water and oil and knead well. Coat dough with a little oil and cover with a wet paper towel. Keep aside for 20-30 mts. Into mashed potato add green chili, grated ginger, cumin pdr cilantro leaves and salt.

Take dough and knead again. Make golf ball size balls. Roll out into a 2 inch disc, add a spoon of potato filling and pinch ends together to encase filling. Apply little oil to rolling surface and roll out gently into a flat round disc. Heat a skillet and grease lightly with oil or vegetable spray. Cook parata on both sides until slightly brown. Press with spatula to make it puff up slightly.Top with a little butter and serve with any curry.

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 Chicken Tikka Masala

Ingredients:

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into small pieces

2 tbsp.  tandoori masala ( usually can find in the international section of grocery store)

1 cup plain yogurt

2 tomatoes

2 tsp ginger-garlic paste

2-3 green chilies

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp Hing or asafetida (may omit if can’t find it)

2  tbs butter + 2 tbs oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 tsp chili powder (or to taste)

2 tsp Paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp garam masala powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

Whole garam masala-5-6 cloves, 2-3 cardamom, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 bay leaf

salt to taste

2 tbs Methi leaves (can substitute with cilantro leaves)

pint of whipping cream or half and half

Method:

Into chicken add tandoori masala and yogurt and set aside for 15 mts. The place on a flat baking sheet and bake  at 35o for about 15 mts. The switch to broil and let chicken brown a bit.

Puree tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, green chilies, sugar and hing. In a sauce pan add butter and oil then add the whole garam masala spices. Then add chopped onions. Sauté for a few minutes and add tomato puree mixture. Allow to cook well. May take 10 minutes. Should see the oil rising to the surface a bit. Add spice powders, salt and methi leaves. Fry for a minute and add chicken. Cover and cook until done. Add half and half/cream at the end and heat. Remove from stove. May sprinkle a little garam masala at the end and chopped cilantro leaves. Serve with Parata or Rice

Chicken Kabobs , Tzatziki and Cilantro Tabbouleh

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Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food are always on the list for the most healthy of diets. The addition of olive oil and garlic, lemon juice are some key components. Tabbouleh is a light lemony side salad dish made with cracked wheat (bulghur) and lots of parsley. I don’t like parsley much so added more cilantro instead. Even though it is at freezing here today, this light, refreshing meal will remind me of summer. Enjoy!

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Cilantro Tabbouleh

Ingredients:

2 cups Cilantro, chopped finely

1 cup Parsley, chopped finely

1 cup each of chopped tomatoes and cucumber

2-3 cloves garlic minced

3 green onions, chopped finely

1/2 cup Cracked wheat or Bulghur wheat

1 cup hot water

Dressing:

Juice of half a lemon

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

salt and black pepper to taste.

Method:

Boil the water and pour over the cracked wheat and let stand, covered for 30 mts. Now prepare all the ingredients for the salad and toss together. Check the cracked wheat. The water should have absorbed, but if there is any remaining, just drain. Add to salad. Mix dressing ingredients and toss together. Serve chilled as an accompaniment.

Chicken Kabobs

Ingredients:

6 chicken thighs, skinned and cubed into boneless kabob pieces

Marinade:

1 cup chopped cilantro

1 cup chopped mint

2 stalks green onion

6-7 cloves garlic

4 green chilies

1 tbsp. yogurt

Juice of half a lemon,

1 tsp Lemon zest

1/2 a tomato

2 tsp Cumin pdr

1 tsp coriander pdr

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp red chili flakes

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
Wood or metal skewers

Method:

Clean and prep chicken thigh meat. Set aside. Puree all the ingredients of the marinade in a blender. Should still be able to see specks of the cilantro and mint leaves. Pour over chicken. Let marinate covered in fridge for minimum 1 hour. (Overnight is even better)

Soak wooden skewers in water for 15 mts. Discard leftover marinade. Skewer meat onto them and broil or grill for 25-30 mts until cooked. Should have some brown spots on the meat. Serve immediately.

Tzatziki
Ingredients:
1 cup yogurt
5 cloves garlic
1/2c chopped cilantro
1 cup diced cucumber
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a blender and purée for a few seconds. Chill.

Top a Pita bread with chicken kabobs and Tzatziki sauce, accompany with Tabbouleh salad.

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