There are so many different dishes in Tamilian cuisine that they can be categorized based on the locality. One such cuisine is that of Tirunelveli, whose dishes are very popular and known for their unique taste and recipes. Here I have given a very popular dish from Tirunelveli called as Sothi. I also learnt recently that it is a popular dish in Srilankan cuisine as well. Sothi is a coconut milk based dish that has a creamy texture (somewhat like alfredo sauce, texture only not the taste) and a mild taste.
Whenever I cook Sothi, my dear friend’s mom come to my mind because she is the one who taught me to cook this dish and she is from Tirunelveli (no wonder :)). She always prepares Sothi when we visit their home for holidays. Compared to many other dishes from Tirunelveli, the number of ingredients used to prepare this dish is less. Coconut milk is the main ingredient and that gives a richness and thick consistency to Sothi.
Sochi is a pretty heavy dish in the sense that you feel the fullness even when had in small servings. Back home, Sothi is the main accompaniment for Idiyappam (string hoppers) along with diluted coconut milk with sugar. It can also be had with rice along with any spicy curry like Crunchy cauliflower. Try this ethnic dish from Tirunelveli right in your home and let me know if you like it with Idiyappam or rice. FYI, I love to have it with both 🙂
Grate the coconut and pulse them adding some water. Strain the milk using strainer. This is first (thick) milk. Add some water to the extracted coconut and pulse them again for couple of seconds and strain the milk. This is second (thin) milk. Repeat this process and extract third milk as well.
Pressure cook the dal for 1 whistle.
Grind ginger and chilli in a blender to a fine paste and keep it aside.
Chop all the vegetables and keep it ready.
In a kadai add a tsp of oil and season it with fenugreek seeds.
Add in onions, garlic and green chillies.
When the onions turn golden brown add the second and third extracted coconut milk.
Then add all the vegetables and bring them to boil. I used drumstick and carrots today. I added drumstick first as it takes lots of time to cook. After 10 minutes I added carrots.
Add the cooked dal to the vegetables and again bring it to boil.
Now add the ground mixture (ginger and chillies) along with salt.
When the gravy becomes thick, add cumin and coriander leaves.
When the mixture comes to boil for the last time add the first extracted coconut milk to it and immediately switch off the stove.
You can sprinkle lemon juice after 10 minutes(optional).
Chicken Mappas is a traditional chicken gravy from the state of Kerala, India. It is a very recent dish that I tried and very much liked it 🙂 Mappas is Kerala Christian style of cooking dishes entirely using coconut milk. So as the name suggests Chicken Mappas is chicken cooked in coconut milk 🙂 Chicken Mappas is one dish that tastes totally different than how it looks. It is a watery (stew like) gravy packed with full of flavor. Also, it is one of the easiest and simplest non vegetarian dishes to make. All you need is chicken, coconut oil, turmeric, green chilli and coconut milk. As you might know Kerala cuisine is known for its generous use of coconut oil and in Chicken Mappas that comes to the fore. It serves to be a major source of the dish’s distinct flavor. Chicken Mappas is an excellent combination for Idiyappam (String Hoppers). It can also be served as a soup. Since coconut milk is used, Chicken Mappas gives you that fullness quiet easily even when had in small quantities. Do try this Mappas in your kitchen and do let me know what else it would go well with other than Idiyappam 🙂
Chicken biriyani is a very popular Indian rice variety. Chicken biriyani is made with lots of spices which makes it more flavorful.This is one of my most favorite dishes from my mom’s kitchen. Interestingly, I was not aware of its hold on me before my marriage. It all started after I moved here to U.S when I realized how much I was missing all those wonderful dishes back home and my mom’s biriyani was the one which I craved more. She prepares all the ingredients (from ginger-garlic paste to Biriyani powder) fresh right before making biriyani. Maybe that’s the secret of her recipe 😉 The fresh aroma of samba rice, homemade biriyani powder and ginger-garlic paste spreads through the whole house…ummmm..
If you are diet conscious, you can reduce the coconut milk ratio to 1 cup (i.e for 1 cup of rice, add 1 cup each of water and coconut milk) or entirely omit it and replace it with 2 cups of water. But coconut milk makes big difference in preparing this biriyani.
If you are using store bought coconut milk add just a couple of spoons. As they are very thick, adding more will overwhelm the taste of dish with coconut taste.
Do not add extra water as the chicken itself will release water.
And before proceeding, I’m warning you this food tempts you to make it again and again. 🙂
Chicken biriyani is a very popular Indian rice variety. Chicken biriyani is made with lots of spices which makes it more flavorful.
Cloves – 10
Star anise – 2
Black Pepper – 15 nos
Green cardamom – 8
Cinnamon sticks – 1", 4 nos
Javetri – 1 flower
Ghee – 2 tbs
Coconut oil – 1 tsp
Biriyani powder – 1 tbs
Bay leaf – 1 (big)
Big Onion – 1 (cut into slits)
Ginger & Garlic paste – 1 tbs
Tomatoes – 1 (chopped)
Green chilli – 5 (slits)
Cilantro – handful (chopped)
Mint leaves – handful (chopped)
Coriander powder – 1 tbs
Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Salt – as required
Chicken – 1 lb or ½ kg (with bone)
Samba or Basmati rice – 1 cup
Coconut milk – 2 cups
Wash the chicken in running water. Marinate it with a tsp each of salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder and a tbs of ginger-garlic paste for 15 minutes.
Wash the rice and keep it aside (if you are using basmati rice, wash and soak it in water for half an hour).
Blend all the ingredients together given under biriyani masala and make a powder (you can store this biriyani powder in a small air tight container and use it for several days).
Exract the coconut milk (if using homemade) and keep it ready.
Heat the pressure cooker with a tsp of coconut oil and a tbs of ghee. Add in biriyani masala and slit onion. Sauté well.
When onions turn slightly brown, add ginger & garlic paste. Stir fry till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic disappears.
Add chopped tomato and sauté until mushy.
Add all the greens (slit green chillies, chopped mint and cilantro) and sauté it for a minute.
Now in a low flame, add in all the masala powders ( chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder ) along with salt.
Add in the chicken pieces and give it a stir.
Add the coconut milk, mix well and bring it to a boil.
Now check salt and add the washed (soaked) rice. Mix it well (make sure not to break the rice grains). Allow it to boil.
When the water or coconut milk starts to boil, close the lid and cook for 3 whistles.
When done open the lid, add a tbs of ghee and give it a stir (again, be careful not to break the grains while stirring) and close the lid.
After ten minutes, serve hot chicken biriyani with onion raitha and any chicken / mutton gravy of your choice.
1. If you are diet conscious, you can reduce the coconut milk ratio to 1 cup (i.e for 1 cup of rice, add 1 cup each of water and coconut milk) or entirely omit it and replace it with 2 cups of water. But coconut milk makes big difference in preparing this biriyani. 2. If you are using basmati rice, then the ratio will be different i.e for 1 cup of rice 1 ½ cups of water. 3. If you are using store bought coconut milk add just a couple of spoons. As they are very thick, adding more will overwhelm the taste of dish with coconut taste. 4. Do not add extra water as the chicken itself will release water.