With the significance marriage has in our society, not only do you end up getting married but you also receive an invitation to a wedding every other week. What is the course of action to be followed once you get your invite?
If you decide to attend the wedding and if you are a woman you must go through the task of finding a saree in your wardrobe that none of the expected guests have seen before. If you don't have such a saree, you need to go through the ordeal (did I say ordeal?) of saree shopping, blouse stitching, blouse altering etc. After all, it is a felony to appear in the same saree on separate occasions. Men, you can wear anything that your wife approves of.
Make sure you reach the church only when the wedding ceremony is about to end. I mean, you are totally aware that wedding ceremonies are incredibly long and boring and the bride is probably going to be seriously late getting her face painted at Shobha K's or Betty's (who is she trying to fool, everyone knows what she really looks like) and a delay of 1/2 to 1 hour is the standard. And once the ceremonies are over, the bride is going to take another hour changing into the mantrakodi and replacing her diamond necklace with a quarter of the jewellery from Alukkas. Total inconsideration for the guests in her attempts to look good on her "special day"!
Now, while you eat, keep a lookout for those photographers and videographers. They have an aptitude for clicking a pic just when your mouth is wide open and stuffed with biryani and raita.
At Christian wedding ceremonies in Kerala, main course is mostly pulao and chicken curry or biryani or naaden non vegetarian sadhya. Depending on the caterer and on whether the caterer is having a good or bad day, you may have to fight it out with tough pieces of chicken that you fish out of oily, spicy gravy. Just to wipe out such memories of disappointing food (even though at the time you were happy because it gave you the chance to discuss why the groom's dad couldn't have found a better caterer), here is a recipe for you which proves to be a lot more satisfactory.
To make this curry, firstly dry roast dried red chilies till black spots appear. Do the same with shallots and keep aside.
Next dry roast grated coconut along with spices such as pepper, cumin, fennel seeds, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon along with mustard seeds and fenugreek. When grated coconut has turned the colour of honey, add red chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and fry a bit more. Once the spiced coconut has cooled down, grind to a smooth paste.
Saute onion along with ginger and garlic in coconut oil. Add chicken with tomato and mix in the coconut paste, adjust seasoning and cook until chicken is cooked through. Make a tadka by frying mustard seeds, shallot slices, dried red chilies green chilies and curry leaves in coconut oil. Pour this tadka over the chicken curry and mix well.
For the coconut masala paste
15 shallots/small red onions
10 dried red chilies
3/4 cup grated coconut
4 clove + 1 " piece cinnamon + 3 cardamom + 2 tsp pepper corns + 1 tsp mustard seeds + 1 pinch fenugreek seeds + 3/4 tsp cumin seeds + 1 tsp fennel seed
1 heaped tsp chili powder + 2 heaped tsp coriander powder + 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Water, as required
For the Chicken curry
3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp chopped ginger
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 sprig curry leaves
2 large onion - thin long slices
2 large tomatoes, thin long slices
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 kg chicken pieces, on the bone
As required, salt
For the tempering
3 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
3-4 shallots, sliced
4 dried red chilies
2 green chilies, sliced lengthwise
1 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
In a pan, dry roast red chilies over medium heat till black spots appear. Remove and keep aside. If the shallots are large, half them. Otherwise, keep them whole and dry roast till tiny black spots appear. Remove and keep aside.
Over low heat, add coconut and spices to the pan. Saute the grated coconut and spices. Stir continuously so the mixture doesn't burn. When coconut turns brown colour, take the pan off heat. When the mixture has cooled, dry grind the shallots, dried red chilies, grated coconut and spices to as fine a powder as possible. Add water and continue grinding to a smooth paste. Keep this masala paste aside.
In a large pan or pot, add oil. Toss in chopped ginger, garlic and curry leaves and fry for a couple of minutes. The onions slices need to go in next. Saute till softened. Add tomatoes and fry for two more minutes. Mix in chicken pieces and cook for a further two minutes. Add salt followed by the coconut spice paste. Mix well. Add water so that the chicken pieces are covered, mix well, cover and cook till chicken pieces are cooked through and the gravy or sauce reaches desired consistency. Take off heat.
For the tadka, heat oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering, add shallot slices, red chilies, green chilies and fry well. Finally add curry leaves. Add mix this tadka and vinegar with the chicken curry.
The chicken curry is ready and goes well with rice and Kerala Parotta.
Note: Adjust chili, pepper and red chili powder as per tolerance.