Just like you expect a new generation movie to have atleast one divorce/extra marital affair, a few binge drinking and smoking sessions (and warning messages about the health hazards of the same flashing across the screen) and a lot of beeped out words, you expect a kozhi pidi to be something you need to run away from. Atleast that's what people in my family tend to do. I hear some of them specifically request that kozhi pidi not be made when they visit relatives who are married off to Ernakulam region where pidi seems to be a specialty.
But such skepticism is totally unwarranted; skepticism towards new generation movies that comes from people who haven't experienced the problems that the new generation faces and thereby can't accept the movies as an exaggerated version of happenings in youngsters' lives; and skepticism towards kozhi pidi especially when it comes from those who haven't tasted or even seen kozhi pidi ever before.
Google reveals Kozhi Pidi to be basically rice dumplings cooked in coconut milk and mixed with chicken curry. As a Keralite, I like rice, I like coconut and I like chicken. Logically speaking, this has to be a dish I would love.
For the dumplings, rice flour is mixed with boiling water and then rolled into small, round balls. Chicken is cooked in plenty of lightly spiced coconut milk.Unlike many of the recipes I came across online, this chicken curry doesn't use chili powder. So, it doesn't turn out brown in color but has the colour of stew. Finally, rice dumplings are cooked in the chicken gravy (instead of plain coconut milk) which means the dumplings absorb a lot of delicious chicken flavour.
1 kg chicken, cut into small pieces, on the bone
10 green chilies, slit length wise (or as per taste)
4 sprigs curry leaves
As required, salt
250 gram rice flour + boiling water + salt (as required)
100 ml coconut oil
1 cup chopped shallots (pearl onions/kunjulli)
1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
2 tablespoons coriander powder + 1 tablespoon cumin powder (jeera powder) + 1 tablespoon pepper powder +1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 cup thick coconut milk (extracted from 2 coconuts)
4 cups thin coconut milk
Mix together chicken, green chilies, curry leaves and salt and cook in a large pot.
While the chicken cooks make the dumplings. Mix together rice flour and salt together. Using a spoon, mix in boiling water little by little till you have a soft dough. (Please note that the dough should not be runny or else it would be difficult to shape it into dumplings). Bring together the entire family, and shape the dough into small balls about a cm in diameter.
Heat oil in a pan. Add shallots and ginger and saute till browned lightly. Add coriander powder, cumin powder, pepper powder and turmeric powder to the onions and saute over low flame for a couple of minutes. Add this to the cooked chicken along with thin coconut milk. Bring to boil and once the coconut milk is bubbling away merrily, add the dumplings. Adjust seasoning and continue cooking for about five minutes or till the dumplings are cooked through.
Finally add thick coconut milk and warm through. There is not need to boil after adding thick coconut milk.
Take off heat and serve hot.
You can use cubed beef instead of chicken. Pressure cook the beef along with green chilies, curry leaves and salt till done.
Since this is kind of a soup, you can also boneless chicken instead of chicken on the bone.
Remember to use boiling water to make the dumplings. Also remember to add dumpling to boiling chicken gravy.
If you find the gravy to be too thick, add in bit more of coconut milk.