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“When CHUKKAPPAM and CHICKEN FRY were united in the holy matrimonial”…

Nobody knew they would reign the hearts of so many snack freaks, irrespective of their taste buds, appetite or desire.  If you are someone who knows about Chukkappam, you might as well know that Chukkappam and chicken fry got married, date and venue still uncertain, it would have happened some centuries ago for sure. And still they are together and leading a happy blissful married life. An ideal couple in the food world, their everlasting relationship and love is looked upon with much respect and envy by almost all other couples.

A Crispy, Crunchy, Spicy, button shaped snack, often visited my house along with my grandma. When my maternal grand parents visited us, we could blindly expect many snacks, made by my grandma from scratch. My grandma would start frying and cooking snacks and other sweet treats for her grand children, as soon as she gets her dates confirmed to visit us. We never had to give her our favorite list of what we wanted, she read our mind with so much ease and clarity even at that old age. When she comes, we never got disappointed, everyone would get their favorite snacks and treats we had craved for. All the time, she brought a huge bag packed just with snacks that she had made. In that snack bag, one snack we would find at any cost was “Chukkappam”. And the amazing part was, she never forgot to bring the the chicken fry, to chew along with this crispy goodness. According to her, chukkappam is incomplete without chicken fry and she was always right about this. Next thing we the snack freaks did was, with lightning speed we would unwrap all the snacks and devour each and every snack. The sound of cracking and chewing the crunchy snacks would fill the house and I often found this as a melody to my ears. We ate until our mouth got stiff and no longer able to open wide for any further chewing :P

Besides my grandma frying and packing this snack for us while visiting us, I also have a vivid memory of all my family members making this snack on almost all family reunion. During summer holidays, all the 7 amazing children of my grandparents gathered at my grand parents house(Tharavadu). I don’t have to write much about how it would be when everyone met under one roof. After few minutes of hugging, kissing and greeting, we all would fall into the grant celebration mood. All the ladies, would automatically fled in to the kitchen, they will be seen busy with cooking and frying their specialties. For them, this was the perfect opportunity to prove their culinary expertise and to earn few credits from others. On the other side, super lazy male beings would be undoubtedly seen resting on the couch in the living room, mostly whining about their work and boss and almost everything in the world, and some of them were even found dozing off as soon as they hit on the couch, for an extra crunch they even add their musical note of snooringg..( I often used to think, Goshh..why are these male beings all alike and my thinking still continues..). Teenagers, trying hard to show off their fashion sense and endlessly boasting about how they made guys go crazy over them, would stick together under a different fantasy roof. Needless to say, I would be the caption of this group. Kids, would be seen roaming around in between all the above 3 groups.

In those days of family reunion, the aroma and the flavor from the cooking and frying happening in the kitchen would spread the entire house and eventually everyone would be seen crowding in the kitchen. Kitchen was the center of attraction or the hot spot in my grandparents house, especially during such gatherings. Even now I remember, how everyone gathered around the huge table in the kitchen to make Chukkappam, this being the favorite snack of all the family members. Everyone volunteered actively in different activities. Some were seen kneading the dough, few rolling the dough, many shaping up the dough and others frying the Chukkappam. My grandma gave special instructions and tips to everyone. Even the kids were enthusiastic in shaping the dough. I get super excited during those occasions and hence will be seen volunteering in all possible activities. Finally, when the Chukkappam, comes out deep fried out of the bubbling hot oil, it would get a special place on the middle of the table and in no time everyone starts snacking it. This would continue until all the snacks were fried, gobbled and if any left they would be stored. Those were the sleepless nights of fun, snacking, cooking and entertainment.

Now when I look back, one thing that continues to amaze me, is the unity with which all the family members made Chukkappam, and how everyone stood as one solid group without any debates and arguments while making Chukkappam. When I made Chukkappam in my kitchen for the first time, I was all alone, but these memories are still with me as if it had happened yesterday…

I dedicate this blog post to all my wonderful family members…

Chukkappam:

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Ingredients:

  • Rice Flour, roasted- 1 3/4 cups
  • Coconut milk- 1 can, 13.5 fl oz (400ml)
  • Garam masala-3/4 tsp
  • Chilly powder-1 3/4 tsp
  • Fennel powder- 2 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger/Garlic paste- 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves- 5/6
  • Rice flour- 1/2 cup ( while kneading)
  • Egg- 1
  • Vegetable oil- for deep frying

Instruction:

  • Combine, Coconut milk, Garam masala, Chilly powder, fennel powder, Ginger/garlic paste, Curry leaves in a deep bottomed large pan/vessel.
  • Heat the above mixture, when the coconut milk starts to boil, add the 1 3/4 cups rice flour and mix everything with the back of the wooden spoon, until well incorporated.

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  • Let this mixture cool down.
  • Combine, 1/2 cup Rice flour and 1 Egg together and keep it aside.
  • When the flour/coconut mixtures cools down, start kneading it with clean hands.
  • Add Riceflour/egg mixure to this while kneadingimg_2859and continue kneading to make a soft and smooth dough.
  • You have to knead the dough thoroughly to make it soft and smooth.

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  • Discard the curry leaves from the dough and add the curry leaves in the oil while frying, this gives nice flavor to Chukkappam.
  • Make long thin strips out of the dough.

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  • Take each long strips and make very small balls out of it, flatten each balls in between the palm of your hands to give it a button shape.

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  • Make uniform and small button shapes out of the dough, this helps to cook it evenly.
  • You could even make different shapes out of this dough, you could even roll the flattened balls on a veggie grater to give it a different shape; button shape being the classic shape of Chukkappam.

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  • Once all the dough is made into button shapes, deep fry it in batches.

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  • Fry until it turns golden brown and inside is cooked through. Check whether the inside is cooked through by tasting one of the Chukkappams from each batch.
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  • Transfer the fried Chukkappams on a paper towel.

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  • Let cool and begin snacking with Chicken Fry.

Tips:

  • Use roasted Rice flour, you can roast it in the oven at 350 F for 10-15 minutes or roast it on stove top on a wide wok or pan.
  • Knead the dough really well until soft and well incorporated.
  • Make uniform button shapes out of the dough, it helps in even frying.
  • Store it in an air tight container and it will stay longer.

 

Chukkappam
 
Ingredients
  • Rice Flour, roasted- 1¾ cups
  • Coconut milk- 1 can, 13.5 fl oz (400ml)
  • Garam masala-3/4 tsp
  • Chilly powder-1¾ tsp
  • Fennel powder- 2½ tsp
  • Ginger/Garlic paste- 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves- ⅚
  • Rice flour- ½ cup ( while kneading)
  • Egg- 1
  • Vegetable oil- for deep frying
Instructions
  1. Combine, Coconut milk, Garam masala, Chilly powder, fennel powder, Ginger/garlic paste, Curry leaves in a deep bottomed large pan/vessel.
  2. Heat the above mixture, when the coconut milk starts to boil, add the 1¾ cups rice flour and mix everything with the back of the wooden spoon, until well incorporated.
  3. Let this mixture cool down.
  4. Combine, ½ cup Rice flour and 1 Egg together and keep it aside.
  5. When the flour/coconut mixtures cools down, start kneading it with clean hands.
  6. Add Riceflour/egg mixure to this while kneading
  7. and continue kneading to make a soft and smooth dough.
  8. You have to knead the dough thoroughly to make it soft and smooth.
  9. Discard the curry leaves from the dough and add the curry leaves in the oil while frying, this gives nice flavor to Chukkappam.
  10. Make long thin strips out of the dough.
  11. Take each long strips and make very small balls out of it, flatten each balls in between the palm of your hands to give it a button shape.
  12. Make uniform and small button shapes out of the dough, this helps to cook it evenly.
  13. You could even make different shapes out of this dough, you could even roll the flattened balls on a veggie grater to give it a different shape; button shape being the classic shape of Chukkappam.
  14. Once all the dough is made into button shapes, deep fry it in batches.
  15. Fry until it turns golden brown and inside is cooked through. Check whether the inside is cooked through by tasting one of the Chukkappams from each batch.
  16. Transfer the fried Chukkappams on a paper towel.
  17. Let cool and begin snacking with Chicken Fry.
Notes
Use roasted Rice flour, you can roast it in the oven at 350 F for 10-15 minutes or roast it on stove top on a wide wok or pan.
Knead the dough really well until soft and well incorporated.
Make uniform button shapes out of the dough, it helps in even frying.
Store it in an air tight container and it will stay longer.