Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Kongunaatu Kozhi Rasam and Kari varuval (Chicken soup and Spicy Chicken fry)

I've seen this Rasam made in almost all the families from Kongunaadu. The people from Kongunaadu were mainly landlords and farmers (in Coimbatore, Salem, Erode and around areas). These days, like any other community, they have branched into other occupations and businesses as well. Since these people have a strong rural connection, many of their recipes are like a typical rural cuisine - the importance is given for health and taste. Some of the typical Kongunaatu recipes are 'Kozhi rasam and Varuval', a dessert called 'Vazhai', 'Kadaa Paniayaram' (a sweet dish that looks like adirasam with a hole, but is prepared in a different way), etc... The above are the only ones I know remember now, I've to ask Mom for more typical KonguNaatu recipes. I'm sure there are more.

Here's one recipe that I've grown up, with. Anytime somebody catches a cold in the house, my mother makes this Kozhi Rasam. It's very spicy and hot and most often, the cold says 'Bye-bye' the very next day. Me and my sister used to make a big fuss about eating this spicy dish, when we were kids. But over the time, we've grown to LOVE it. Every time we miss mom and home, we make one of her special dishes and when we have it, we always feel 'at-home', if you know what I mean. I know, a few other cuisines from Tamilnadu, also make Chicken rasam and varuval, but the flavors are different from this one. I wanted to write about this when Indira asked me to blog about Cold-Remedies. I didn't have much time to prepare this dish, at that time. So, here's it is now, when I'm craving for mom's food.

Kongunaatu Kozhi Rasam

Kari varuval

Cinnamon - 2
Cloves - 2
Poppy seeds - 1 tsp
Saunf / Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Cummin seeds - 1 tsp
Pepper - 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds - 1/2 to 3/4 cup (Yep!) or 3-4 tbsp Coriander powder
Dry red chillies - 2
Curry leaves - 2-3 sprigs, just the leaves
Small pearl onions - 8-10
Sesame oil - 1 tbsp (I forego olive oil, for sesame oil, for authentic dishes that need typical flavors) + 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Chicken - 2 pounds (We used organic chicken. Use a small chicken with bones. Boneless stuff wouldn't give the rasam, it's taste or flavor or the medicinal property needed to fight cold)

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a cast iron pan and and roast Cinnamon, Cloves, Fennel seeds, cummin seeds, Peppercorns, dry coriander seeds and Red chillies with the Curry leaves. Add the poppy seeds and roast for 2 more mins. If you are adding coriander powder instead of the seeds, now is the time to add that. Transfer this to the mixie/blender (Don't grind yet, let it cool down). In the same pan, wipe it with a paper towel and add one more tbsp oil and saute the pearl onions. Let it cool down and add to the mixie. Grind all these to a fine paste. Add water when necessary to make the paste, fine.

In a pressure cooker, heat oil and saute chicken for 10 mins till it the raw-smell leaves. Add the ground paste and five cups of water. Pressure cook upto two whistles. Use a soup strainer to filter the rasam and chicken and keep aside.

For the Rasam, add salt to the drained rasam/soup and keep it covered with a lid. You can call this a Kongu naatu chicken soup.

Varuval: Saute the chicken pieces in 1 tbsp oil, after saute'ing curry leaves, ginger garlic paste (2 tbsp), onions (1, finely chopped), little salt, freshly ground black pepper (1 tbsp), turmeric powder (1/4 tsp). Taste and add salt accordingly. Add 2 ladles full of rasam and let it get absorbed in the chicken while saute-ing. Adding the rasam, helps in blending the flavors of the spices with the chicken pieces and bring it all together. Unlike other chicken-frys, this one is very soft and goes very well with the above rasam. Alternatively, You can use green chillies or red chillies or ground black pepper or a combo of these to spice it up. Feel free to explore.

Serve these piping hot, with steamed rice. Yep, pour the rasam over hot, hot rice and enjoy it with the varuval. No fun eating it cold. Everything has to be piping hot! You'll work out a sweat!

My entry for this weekend's Tony's Currymela.


Unknown said...

ummm..what's RP???

Hope you are feeling better now. Looks like you satisfied your craving with homemade soup and chicken fry?

Kitchenmate said...

Kay: you are making me drool... who could beat the taste of chicken rasam and that varuval... I am going to click until you post this recipe:)

Ashwini said...

lovely photo. cant wait for the chicken recipe. cmon..hurry up

Anonymous said...

Hey..how are you doing now?
gr8 to see you having soup & chicken fry

Anonymous said...

I am sure these delicious looking dishes are the result of "Kay" being in a wonderful mood for cooking up a feast of homefood :))

Priya said...

eagerly awaiting ur recipe Kay

Kay said...

Saffron, RP is Red Pepper. She had some problems with her blog and posting pics. Was trying to help her. :) Thanks buddy, me feeling better now. And have been eating great stuff too..

Karthi, Ok, Ok, I'm posting the recipe right away! :)

Ashwini, Yep, in 5 more mins

Thanks Annita, me feeling a LOT better now. Yep, eating good food! :)

Kay said...

Lera, you guessed it right! :)

Priya, just a few more mins!

Kitchenmate said...

Literally sitting on your blog buddy:)

RP said...

Awwwww......thats an amazing recipe. Something new to me. I bought an organic chicken a couple of days ago, but it has been ziplocked into several portions for the kids. I will try this out next time I buy a whole chicken.

Anonymous said...

I feel like having the rasam and Varuval again!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kitchenmate said...

I am going to try it right away within this week. I am always looking for that varuval recipe, cooking with cooked chicken:), chelkut is really after that (we had one such varuval in our friends place, but didn't have a chance to get the recipe). Will surprise him with this:)

Kay said...

Thanks RP! It tastes very good. Let me know if you try it.

Dear Anon! :) Sure, Wait till we reach Toronto!

Karthi, Try this and tell me how it went. It's a very spicy dish and I have a feeling you'll like it. I'm sure Kannan will be surprised!

sailu said...

Kay,I am so glad that your doing fine and feeling better.I can feel it through your post.
Great post,Kay.I am learning so much about different cuisines and today's recipes are so new to me.I am bookmarking them.I will prepare them and keep you posted..:)

Anonymous said...

Hi Kay,

I know this chicken rasam and fry quite well. Am a Gounder of Erode ancestory, but am a vegetarian though :).This is an authentic recipe from our region. Hope you will write more about our healthy authentic recipes like kollu chutney, arisimparupu satham, ragi vadai etc,

Have been enjoying your blog and many other Indian blogs for some time now.

Great work and enjoy your pregnancy. Do you have an email address for your blog.

SS from San Diego

Kay said...

Thanks Sailu! :) I'm feeling a LOT better now. Yep, do tell me how you liked it.

Thanks SS! How on earth did I forget about Kollu Chutney/Rasam? :) Thanks for reminding.. I've heard about arisimparupu satham in Erode/Tirupur/Kovai areas, but never tried it. It's on my to-do list now. Do tell me about Ragi vadai..How do you make it?

Yes, you can email me at

Kitchenmate said...

Kay: I did try this and it was huge hit (even with my li'l one, he was asking for more and more from hubby's plate that he was shocked). From hubby home, they make this kind of soup (even during huge marriage ceremony they prepare this kind, hubby told me it taste like those prepared during marriage events:)
I will be repeating it quite often hereafter!

Kay said...

Karthi, I'm so glad it was a hit at your place! :) And Vishrut liked it? Wow!!!!

I didnt know they cooked non-veg during South Indian marriage ceremonies. Or is it after the wedding, the bride's side and groom's side - each have a feast for all the relatives and cook non veg feast.. We call it 'Pandal Keda' in our communities.

sdf said...

Wow!, that is great Kay. I am from Salem area, and this is exactly the way, my grandmother back home cooks chicken/mutton. As you mentioned the soup is really good for cold..

And for the fry, try adding a pinch of 'dry ginger' powder (Sukku in Tamil). This along with pepper powder gives an awesome taste to the fry!

Kay said...

Welcome Ani! Glad to see a fellow gal from the same area..

I'll try the pinch of sukku - I'm not a big fan of sukku taste and smell, but the way you say it, makes me give it a try.

sdf said...


I forgot to check ur blog for almost 1 month, since I was busy creating one for me..you know, it is still evolving...

You can skip adding the 'Sukku powder' if you don't like. But I add a pinch of it to lessen the hot peppery smell of the chicken varuval, besides I heard that it is good for digestion. My granny used to prepare the sukku-malli(coriander seeds) tea on the evenings when we had non-veg. She says it eases the digestion..But I felt the smell of it is a bit strong for a evening tea.

Alak said...

I tried this out today and I would call it one of the best. Wow I feel so happy after an awesome dinner of this rasam and the chicken. The chicken was so soft and it really melted in my mouth. This while thing made my day :)

Kay said...

Glad you liked it, Alak!

WM said...

Super duper recipe yaar!
My family lovd it thanks for posting it:)