Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chicken Varuval V1.0 -- one more spicy chicken fry


Summer is over.

Days of the sandal is now numbered. I feel like grabbing a shoulder, any shoulder and crying but I will not. Instead I will act brave and welcome Fall and think of moving to the Bahamas.

Summer is over also means start of school which is not all that bad.

BigSis started fourth grade in a new school this year. This new school has a lot of her old friends and so she settled in happily. But in a month she will be moving to another new school. That new school will be a totally *new* school.Yes, we are weird parents taking weirder decisions all the time. All these changes can be real intimidating for a 8 year old but apart from some minor whining she has done good so far.

I,myself, have changed schools every 3-4 years as a child and do understand it is not the most exciting thing to look forward to even though it comes with its own advantages. Strangely in spite of my past experience I am more jittery than her about the *new* new school but am trying to act as if it is something one does every other day. "Oh today is a nice sunny Tuesday. Let me go to school# 2 today", seems to be my motto.

LittleSis has also moved on to Pre-K and has finally gotten over all kind of school related anxieties. She has finally realized that "School e porashuno hoyna. Shudhu Khela ar khela"(There is no studying in school. Only play and play). Once that realization hit her, she took to school with much more excitement and is kind of okay happy to be there. Fingers Crossed, you never know with that girl.

Writing this right now it also hit me how the two girls have grown. Only three years ago I was writing about BS's first grade and a year back it was dealing with LS starting pre-school and now they are in fourth and pre-k and happy to be there. However unlike most sane Mothers I am not at all senti about them growing up. I am happy that BS gets ready for school with almost zero help from me and even LS dresses herself on her own. The only thing I am worried about is I might not have much to blog about once they grow up. I mean it is much more fun writing that LS has changed her future vocation to "Nothing" and that there is a monster living on top of "Beamstalk" than my own PMS. So you see other than blog related stuff I am perfectly happy about my babies getting older.


Now on to the recipe which I made specially for BS since she refuses to eat chicken unless it is a spicy, dry dish. We recently had Chicken Varuval at a restuarnt and liked it. No, it had nothing to with Falafel. It was a dry, spicy preparation with South Indian flavors.Incidentally we all love dry, spicy chicken booming with South Indian flavors and so once I realized there was one more chicken fry out there in the world, I had to make it. Of course if it was a difficult thing to do I would have just gone back to the restaurant.

I saw many recipes on the net which I liked but I decided on an unison of this one from Savitha's Kitchen and this one from Sig's Live to Eat. Now both these recipes say Kozhi Varuval which basically means chicken fry but I guess one recipe is from Andhra and the other from Tamil Nadu. I liked the use of fennel seeds in Sig's recipe and I already had the onion paste so there. I also made it less spicy and used only Kasmiri Mirch but BS said she could have handled more heat that that.

Finally I am making no claims on the authenticity of my dish which is a mix of the two regions but it tasted very good, almost like the one at the restaurant and it was a Chicken Fry-- a varuval. To know more about the original dish also check Srivalli's recipe which I later saw had the cumin-peppercorn powder, a flavor which was present in the varuval I had tasted.


Cooking traditional recipes off the net can be tricky as you never know which is which.The problem is triple folds if you are new to the cuisine. Recently at a Food Forum I had an awkward experience where a contributor posted a recipe of prawns with mustard and coconut and labeled it as Prawn Malai Curry. The dish looked perfect and the recipe was great. Only. Only it was NOT prawn malai curry. When I voiced my opinion, of course no one liked it and declared that some regions of Bengal cook Malai curry that way. Now honestly I know a lot of Bengalis and not a single person cooks Malai Curry with mustard paste. There are small variations with a ginger here, a garlic not there but definitely NO mustard or poppy seed paste. It would be a situation where one made Alfredo Sauce with tomato base.

Now I am not a stickler for authentic recipes and most of my cooking has variations but totally messing up the central ingredient or spicing of a traditional recipe and yet sticking to that name is what makes me queasy. Also I feel when one does their own take on a traditional recipe, it is best to give references to the authentic one and then clearly specify the variations one has made. What do you say ?

Chicken Varuval -- a spicy Chicken Fry  

Make paste of
Half of a small red onion + 3 fat cloves of garlic 

Marinate 3/4th lb of chicken with
little lime juice 
Turmeric powder 
1 tsp Kashmiri Mirch (or Red Chili Powder)
above paste 
I used boneless chicken thigh pieces cut in bite size and marinated for almost an hour.

Next heat Oil for frying the chicken pieces.


Temper the Oil with
1 tsp of Fennel Seeds 
5-6 Dry Red Chili(I used Byadagi for less heat) 

To the oil add
half of a small red onion finely chopped. Ideally you should also add few green chilies at this point.


Once the onion is soft and pink add the chicken pieces along with the marinade.

Add few curry leaves, around 1 more tsp Kashmiri Mirch and salt.

Toss everything together and fry the chicken pieces. The way I do is, I cover the fry pan to let the chicken pieces cook and then I remove cover every few secs and give a good stir. The chicken will release water. Let the water dry up and the chicken get fully cooked. Break up the chicken into smaller pieces if you have not done it before and then fry. You might also need to sprinkle some water in between.


Saute till chicken is fried and browned on all sides. Add more curry leaves and serve hot.

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  1. You will be surprised how fast the years go, Shyama will start next week her 3rd year in College and we arelike were dod the time go.
    Here too it is getting colder dor sure the sandals weather is gone here.
    Love chicken like this and this looks so so good, Love spicy chicken.

  2. Do you make lunch for Big sis and little sis ? I have to make lunch for my kid (4 years ) and everyday its a kind of battle between us. We landed in the peaceful pact of jelly-sandwich. But innovative ideas are not coming in my head.
    All the best for their new school.
    Nice chicken recipe.i wish to try this.

    1. Yes I do. For the 4 year old there is very limited choice and even then she does not eat. It is either bread and butter with 2 nuggets cut up in tiny pieces or plain pasta or bread and scrambled eggs. That is what she wants and then does not eat!!
      For the older one there are more options.

  3. Oh, I can't wait for S to get bigger! I think I'm too old (and therefore less energetic, according to me. Just excuses for being lazy, I know!) to have a 2 year old.
    Weather had been great until the weekend, when it poured and poured. Then the sun came out and with it, the cold. It is in the 60s in the mornings and we're wearing light jackets :(
    (Am I being mid-Southish now, to be complaining about 60s?)
    Another school? You guys moving? Give BS (and LS) a big hug from AUnty V. She will be fine, don't worry. Hugs to you too.

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  5. The chicken looks very appetizing. Will make it sometimes. I do agree with the never ever put mustard-poppy paste...NEVER. I think an authentic curry can have variation but as you said, the base should be similar. Every household has their own authentic recipe for say khichuri or shukto. They are all authentic but taste a little different.

    I am so sad that the summer is gone. I saw the leaves changing color already. Getting ready to the "6'o clock but feels like midnight" phase of the year is depressing.

  6. Since i live in a place with summer year round, a heavy snowfall just about now sounds wonderful! :) and oh yeah, a bowl of that chicken!

  7. Still very much summer here.. in 70's and 80's. probably your real summer. I am happy and it is pretty. Only the sun is waking up too late. Beamstalk :) so sweet.

    Like all the spices here. i had made a chicken curry from Sig's blog with fennel in it and it was really wonderful.

    won't talk about that malaikari anymore... I will get violent if I start.

  8. There are all kinds of versions of all kinds of dishes floating around nowadays, and I'm sure I am guilty of some mistakes too. But yeah, sometimes it drives me nuts, esp with Punjabi food. Your chicken now, looks yum and yes, I find that fennel is just lovely along with kari patta, onions and chillies.

  9. Really Yummy!!!

  10. Umm as long as you write about the kids it's good. Afterwards there will still be posts about Fall leaves, Mashimas and memories evoked by phoron and chai to look forward to.. and all the silly jokes! :)

  11. Continuing from an above comment about lunch for kids, please make that a separate category and help us :)
    Didn't BS start a blog sometime ago? Is that still active? If yes, please publicize that link too. I quite liked it when I visited there.

    Malai Curry shorshe diye! Never heard of that one.

  12. Continuing from an above comment about lunch for kids, please make that a separate category and help us :)
    Didn't BS start a blog sometime ago? Is that still active? If yes, please publicize that link too. I quite liked it when I visited there.

    Malai Curry shorshe diye! Never heard of that one.

  13. Time flies and kids grow fast.And ami kinto ekto senti hoye jaye ki thakbaar chesta kori :-).and amar O hoye eyi roz lunch ki pack korbo,ja debo kichu na kichu left-over thakbe..hain BS er blog ta update koro..amiyo tai bhabhchilaam..malai curry te shorshe bata deba to ami shuni ni...narkoler dudh he to add korey - onek e ra loshon O daye na..peyanj/ada ta tao chole ..and chicken varuval khub bhalo hoye che..hugs

  14. Umm this looks perfect,,,even I like this kind sometime,,,:)


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