If you’re looking to make a easy crowd-pleasing appetizer, or got invited to a pot-luck and need to make something, chicken bites are a good choice. They are quick, easy and seem to satisfy guests as dinner parties. In this I used organic chicken.
- Chicken pieces, breast pieces are the best as they cook throughout- 10
- Flour - 1/3 cup
- Turmeric - 1 teaspoon
- Paprika - 1 tablespoon (or more if you like)
- Roasted Red Chilli Powder - 1 tablespoon
- Black peppercorns - ground, 1 tablespoon
- Salt - to taste
- Lemon - 2 tablespoons of juice, some to garnish
- Parsley, chopped to garnish
- Butter or oil for baking
- Red onion - for garnish
- Yogurt - for garnish/heat control
- Shredded cheese (optional)
- Clean chicken pieces, pat them dry with paper towels and place them in a dry plastic bag.
- Add flour, turmeric, paprika, black peppercorns, red chilli powder, and salt to the bag and shake to mix the spices.
- Butter or slightly oil a baking tray and put the wings on the tray and bake for half an hour.
- Flip the pieces and bake for another 10 minutes, then broil on low for another 5 minutes. If you have no bone pieces and only chicken breast meat, you can reduce your cooking time by 3-4 minutes (but this can vary on the size of pieces). Just ensure your chicken is cooked throughout.
- Make sure you watch the oven to make sure you aren't overcooking the chicken.
- Once you are ready to serve, chop some red onion and add it as a garnish. This will taste good with the chicken too. You can also drizzle some yogurt over this and enjoy. (Or hot sauce if you like things spicy)
- If you like, you can also add some cheese near the end to melt on the chicken, this actually tastes pretty good, but it is optional.
- Make sure you broil the chicken pieces in the end, this will make the wings nice and crispy.
- You can serve this with some lemon squeezed over them with hot sauce, ranch or any dipping sauce of your choice.
- If this is too spicy for you, reduce the heat elements, or serve with a dairy based dip that will bring down the hear.
I wish you all a Happy Thai Pongal and Tamil New Year! Pongal is a Tamil harvest festival where thanks are given to nature, the Sun and farm cattle for providing grain and harvest. This year, it is celebrated on January 14th.
Traditionally, farmers also harvest their new crops for the year this day, including rice, sugar cane and turmeric. Farmers also honour the cattle the next day, for Maatu Pongal, where they give their cows a bath and adorn it. Pongal is not a religious festival, it is a cultural festival, therefore, Tamils of all faith participate in the celebrations.
The etymology of Thai Pongal can be traced to the meaning of its root words “pong” and “thai,” which mean “to boil” and “January” in Tamil. Thai Pongal marks the first day of a new year, and a new month of the Tamil calendar.
A special dish of Pongal is made to celebrate (what is a festival celebration without food, right!) Pongal is made with a pot of rice, milk and jaggery. You let this dish boil until it boils over the pot, in belief that doing so will result in a bountiful year. Other dishes are prepared in addition, including vadai, aval and kadalai.
If you grew up in a Tamil household, you probably heard the phrase “Thai piranthaal, vali pirakum;” many believe that with the onset of a New Year, better pathways and beginnings will follow. Traditionally, as the Tamil society has largely been an agrarian society, many weddings were held in January, as families were able to bear the expenses of a wedding. Nowadays, with migration, this has changed, and weddings are held throughout the year.
Here’s a recipe for Pongal. I hope you celebrate by giving thanks and making a dish of Pongal and other tasty treats!
- You can adjust the quantities if you are making more.
- Rice - 1/2 cup
- Jaggery - 1/2 cup (or more if you like your pongal to be sweeter)
- Pasi paruppu (Moong dal) - 2-3 tablespoons
- Nei (Ghee) - 2 tablespoons
- Cardamon - 3-4 made into a powder or use cardamon powder
- Cashews and raisins - 1-3 tablespoons
- Saffron - to garnish
- Salt - to cook rice
- Milk - 1/4 cup
- In a pan or pressure cooker, roast the pasi parrupu until it begins to brown.
- Add 2 1/2 cups of water, washed rice and let it cook until it becomes soft.
- In a separate pan, melt the jaggery into a liquid. Melt it on low heat so not to burn it.
- Mash the rice, which should be soft.
- Strain the jaggery liquid and add it to the mashed rice.
- Add the cardamon powder and milk and let it cook for another 5 minutes. (Check the pot to make sure it does not burn, you don't want burnt pongal!)
- In a separate pan, fry the raisins and cashews in ghee.
- Remove from pan when it is golden brown and add this to the pongal and mix. Leave some aside to garnish the top.
- Garnish with saffron, cashews and raisins.
- The colour of your jaggery will determine the colour of your pongal. The more and darker jaggery you use, the darker your pongal will be.
- You can adjust the water and milk quantities if you need to get a soft pongal and prevent burning as everyones stove cooks slightly different depending on the pot you are using.
- You can add grated coconut also for flavour.
The month of January has been officially declared as Tamil Heritage Month in Canada; at the federal, provincial and municipal levels of Government. January is an important month for Tamils around the world, as it is also when Thai Pongal, Tamil New Year, is celebrated. January has widely been the month of celebration and prosperity for Tamils. Today, through the GTA, many celebrations and events are hosted in honour of Tamil Heritage Month.
As Canadian-Tamils, and Tamils around the world, it is important for us to recognize the achievements we have made to society, and to understand our roots and how they have shaped us today. We have much to be proud of. From academics, to arts, to politics, we have made many contributions to the societies we live in.
In honour of Tamil Heritage Month, here are some facts about Tamils that you may or may not know. This list is not comprehensive, I just tried to include a few that came to the top of my mind. If there are other facts you know, please share them below!
• There are more 70 million + Tamils around the world. [Tamilnation]
• Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, is a Tamil man. [Google+]
• Email was invented by a Tamil man, V. A. Shiva Ayyadurai. [Vashiva]
• The Father of Library Science, was a Tamil man. He was mathematician and librarian, S.R. Ranganathan. [Britannica]
• Jallikattu is a part of Tamil culture and has been practised for thousands of years. It has been referenced in early Sangam works, including Kalithogai (a classic Tamil poetic work).
• Tamil cooking influences can be seen in other cuisines, and in the English language. For example,
• The English word Curry, is derived from the Tamil word, Kari.
• Maangai has become Mango
• Kanji became Conjee
• Milagu Thaneer (pepper water) became Mulligatawny (a now famous soup)
Language, Literature and Libraries
• Thirrukural, written by Thirruvalluvar in the first century B.C. has been one of the most widely read non-religious books. It has been translated into many different languages and addresses in 1330 couplets how an individual should conduct themselves in personal, family and society.
• There are 12 vowels, 18 consonants, 216 consonant vowels and one aaydham in the Tamil language for a total of 247 characters in Tamil.
• The Roja Muthiah Research Library (RMRL) in Chennai has some of the world’s most impressive private library collections of Tamil publications. When Muthiah passed away in 1992, the University of Chicago bought the entire collection and now conduct research on the materials. [University of Chicago Library]
The Jaffna Public Library in Tamil Eelam, contained more than 95,000 books and journals, including valuable historic manuscripts before it was burned down 1981 as an act of cultural genocide. [Tamil Guardian]
Drinking barley is highly beneficial and has been used in a variety of cultures for many, many years. Ayurvedic medicine also recommends the use of barley water to treat a variety of ailments.
Aids in controlling diabetes
Flushes out toxins
Cools the body (especially in the summers)
Aids in managing and treating urinary tract infections
Helps smoothen skin
You can drink this either warm or cold, but I highly recommend drinking it cold. I find that if you drink it warm with nothing added, it literally tastes like nothing. I find that if you just make some of this, add some salt and lemon juice to it and drink it throughout the day, its easy to incorporate into your everyday routine. Plus, you can save the barley and use it in soups or spice it up and eat it for breakfast as you would oatmeal. (Alternatively, you can just eat it with curry).
- You'll need about 2-3 cups of water for every half cup of barley you use.
- Boil the barley until it is fully cooked through in water.
- If you are drinking it warm, strain the water from the barley and drink this once a day.
- If you are drinking it cold, let it cool down, add some salt to taste and a squeeze of lemon and drink at room temperature once a day.
I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year! Thank you all for your support in the past years! I hope to start posting more frequently in the coming months. Stay tuned and I’d love to hear all about your food adventures too!