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‘Kulukki Sarbath’ Gin and Tonic- A classic with a hint of Kerala

‘Kulukki Sarbath’ Gin and Tonic- A classic with a hint of Kerala

Anjali Venugopal May 26, 2020 NO COMMENTS

The Kulukki Sarbath is a popular and dearly local drink of Kerala. The kind you’d stop for at a roadside shop during a road trip in the hot sun. It’s not your regular lemonade. There’s a tiny bit of brazen Kerala added to the tall glass of cold lemonade in the form of green chilli and puffed basil seeds. And most importantly, its shaken. Not stirred. And hence the name, ‘Kulukki Sarbath.’.

I love the Kulukki Sarbath. It takes me back to my hometown every time I make a glass for myself. So, I decided to give it a little lift by combining it with a good old Gin and Tonic. The result, my friend, is pure magic. Give it a go.

Things you will need:

(for one drink)

  • Simple syrup – 15 ml ( If this is an unfamiliar term, fret not, I have included the method to prepare simple syrup in the ‘Notes’ section. Add more syrup if you like your drink sweeter. Remember the tonic adds sweetness too.)
  • Dry Gin- 60 ml
  • Soaked basil seeds (Sabja/Tukmaria)- 1-2 teaspoons (Soak one or two teaspoon of seeds in a few tablespoons of water for 10 minutes. They absorb the water and will puff up like chia. This is an inherent part of the roadside Kulukki Sarbath of Kerala.)
  • Green chilli- 1 slit lengthwise (add another if you’d like a bit more heat)
  • Juice of half a lime or 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • A pinch of salt
  • Tonic water as needed
  • A slice of lime for garnish
  • Ice cubes

How to go about it:

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add the gin, lime juice, simple syrup, salt, slit green chilli and 2 ice cubes. Shake well for 5-6 seconds. In case you don’t have a cocktail shaker at hand, you can use something else like a bottle with a tight lid to do this. The shaking bit is important as, that is how the ‘Kulukki Sarbath’ derives its names. ‘Kulukki’ in Malayalam means ‘shaken.’
  2. After shaking the mix for 5-6 seconds, carefully strain the contents into a glass with more ice cubes. Add 1-2 teaspoons of soaked and now puffed basil seeds. Top up with tonic and give it all a light stir.
  3. Garnish with a slice of lime and a green chilli if you like.
  4. Enjoy the easy and super fresh cocktail you just made at home. Go back and make more.

Notes:

Simple Syrup and how to prepare it at home. The first time I saw this term in a recipe, I chose not to go ahead with it because I knew I didn’t have it at hand. Moreover, I thought it was some complicated thing I had to buy from a store. Well, it’s not!!

Add equal parts of white sugar and water (eg. ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water) in a saucepan heat it all until the sugar melts and you get a nice syrup as a result. Voila! That’s simple syrup for you. You can even make a slightly bigger batch and store it in a bottle in the fridge. Perfect for the drink maker in you! 🙂

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry

Anjali Venugopal April 23, 2020 1 COMMENTS

Since the residents of this home have been exposed to delicious North Indian grub in our lives, there are days when we feel a craving for something that is quintessentially Northern Indian. This is one of those recipes that comes to our rescue in such times. This curry is loosely based on a recipe I learnt from my roommate’s mum during my law school days in Pune. This curry is not sophisticated. Instead it’s a glorious mix of brazen flavours that will whisk you away to one of those highway Dhabas that serve food straight from the heart. Serve it with some hot Jeera Rice and vegetable raita and you’ll know what I mean.

Things you will need:

  • 1 kg chicken on the bone (Skinless, cleaned and cut into medium sized pieces)
  • 3 Onions (medium sized , sliced finely)
  • Ginger Garlic paste made of a 1.5 inch stick of ginger and about 10-12 pods of garlic. You can be lavish with the garlic. Use about 5 pods if your pods are large like the ones we get in Europe.
  • Greek yoghurt or regular yoghurt- 2 full tablespoons
  • 5-6 Green Chilies, slit (Adjust the spice as required)
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 – 5 Cardamoms
  • 8 – 10 Peppercorns
  • 4 – 5 Cloves
  • 3 Tomatoes (medium sized, chopped)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 heaped tablespoons coriander powder
  • Salt to taste

For tempering: (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 green chilies slit
  • Fresh coriander (to garnish)

How to go about it:

  1. First, marinate the chicken with the yoghurt, half a teaspoon of salt and half of the ginger garlic paste. Keep that aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds. Add all the whole spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns and cloves) to the oil. Once they start to splutter and the flavours release into the oil, add the onions. Saute the onion on a low to medium flame, until it is nice and brown. Sauteing your onion well is always the base of a good curry. Next, add the remaining ginger garlic paste and the slit green chilies and saute for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the tomatoes, salt to taste, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Saute for a minute and then keep the wok closed to allow the tomatoes to soften up. Cook till the tomatoes start melting, and almost form a paste and the spices and fully cooked and the oil starts to release from the sides. This is the base for the curry and should be more or less homogeneous.
  4. Add the marinated chicken and toss the pieces around till the chicken is sealed with the spices. This takes about 2-3 minutes. Next, add 1 cup of water, mix it all well, bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let the curry simmer on low to medium heat for 20-25 minutes (stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom the pan) or until the meat begins to fall off the bone and the gravy begins to thicken. (If you are using a pressure cooker instead, add only a little more than half a cup of water and pressure cook the curry for 2 whistles on medium heat and wait until the pressure is completely released. When you open the cooker, if you feel the gravy is watery, you can give it a quick boil again without the lid and wait till the gravy thickens up.)
  5. Once the chicken is well cooked and the gravy thickens (this step is optional), in a separate pan, heat two tablespoons of ghee, add the green chilies and saute until the chilies are lightly charred. Empty the contents into the chicken curry, give a quick mix and remove from heat. Additionally, you can garnish the curry with fresh coriander leaves.