Kerala style chicken stew and appam is one of those comfort meals we look forward to. I am a fan of coconut milk gravies actually. I keep making a lot of chingri malai curry, vegetable stew, meen molly and Thai green curries with coconut milk. Kerala chicken stew or vegetable stew is a favorite too, more because these curries are so healthy and so tasty too.
What creamy and rich curry would be as healthy as this stew and what crisp bread or pancake would be the beat combination of healthy fermented goodness. A creamy flavorful curry to dunk a crisp pancake, coconut goodness at it's best. To make it even better, the meal comes around in less than an hour even if you start from scratch. Well, if using rice powder and instant yeast and coconut milk powder or coconut milk from cartons. That is what I do as I find them good for my taste. Let the purists work hard for the daily grub.
for chicken stew you need
dressed chicken 500 gm (on bone)
carrot 2 nos. chopped in cubes
potato 1 no. chopped in cubes
tomatoes 2 nos. chopped lengthwise (optional)
onions 2 nos. chopped lengthwise
garlic 8-10 cloves slit lengthwise (optional)
ginger 1 inch piece julienned
curry patta 10 springs (or more)
coconut oil 2 tbsp (more if you are not watching weight)
coconut milk powder 1 cup or milk extracted from a whole big coconut
or tetra pack coconut milk 200 gm
cumin seeds 1 tsp
black pepper corns 1 tbsp
cinnamon 2 sticks
star anise 1 no.
black cardamom 2 nos.
green cardamom 4 nos.
whole red chilies 6-7 nos.
coriander powder 1 tsp
garam masala 1 tbsp
turmeric powder 1 tsp
red chilly powder 1 tsp ( optional)
to proceed ......
Heat oil in a wide pan and throw in all the whole masalas and let them splutter and release thier aroma.......now throw in the onions with curry patta and stir fry for a while on medium flame (if using more oil you can do it on high flame)...put in the chopped ginger garlic too and keep stir frying till they release their flavors n become soft.....adding salt at this stage will quicken the process...after 3-4 minutes add the vegetables and the chicken and keep stirring till everything is half cooked......add the powder masalas....fry for a while till the masala aroma comes.....now dissolve 1 tbsp of coconut milk powder in 2 cups of water and pour into the pan, adjust salt.......cover and cook till chicken is cooked through...stirring in between twice............finish with the remaining coconut milk powder dissolved in 1/2 cup water.....remove from heat when it is about to boil again.......the aroma of the finished stew will make you incredibly healthy ...hope you have done the preparations for the appam in the meantime........
for appam you need
1/2 cup rice flour (the recipe called for 1 cup soaked rice made into paste)
2 tbsp cooked rice
3/4 of a fresh coconut (black skin removed)
fresh yeast 1 tbsp (or a packet of dry yeast granules)
1 tsp sugar to proof the yeast
salt to taste
I set the yeast for proofing before I started my stew preparation for this dissolve the yeast n sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water, it gets frothy in 10-15 minutes....to be mixed into the other things.
Make a paste of coconut and the cooked rice in mixie and mix with rice flour and yeast mixture and some water to make a batter of dosa like consistency....keep in a warm place until it gets frothy. In my case it was ready as soon as the stew finished. Indian summers.
To prepare appams ....
Mix salt to taste and heat the greased appam pan (mine is non stick) and pour a ladle full of batter in the middle, now immediately swirl the pan, holding the handles, so that the batter coats the sides of the pan, there should be just one swirl and there should be some batter remaining in the middle of the pan.
Cover the lid immediately, it takes about 2 minutes to cook, check by touching in the center, it is cooked if it is firm and spongy. Repeat the process to make more appams. You don't need to use oil after the first appam so the process is easier than it looks.
The first appam is not always the right shape, don;t worry if it happens and feed the first appam to your pet or birds in the garden.
I normally keep the middle spongy portion smaller as we both like the crisp lacy periphery of the appams.
The taste of this combination of curry and a pancake like appam is out of this worldly.
Arvind was elated to get this as a dinner, so was I.......
Such meals are special and you don't want anything else to dilute the chicken stew and appam pleasure. Just make the stew and the appam whenever you do this. Nothing else would be touched when this meal is there on the table. Believe me.