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  Age on Sunday   12 Aug 2018  The quintessential Moplah cuisine

The quintessential Moplah cuisine

Published : Aug 12, 2018, 12:46 am IST
Updated : Aug 12, 2018, 12:46 am IST

Nasiya shares the recipes of some authentic dishes with steps that can help you make them the conventional way.

Kozhi ada
 Kozhi ada

The rich and unique culinary heritage of Malabar cuisine that was influenced by the Arab traders who came in search of spices, and also the Portuguese and the Dutch.

The Malabar region of Kerala is well-known for its hospitality and wide array of food that is distinct in taste, rich in flavour and ingredients. Like the warmth of the people, Moplah (the local term for Muslims in the state) cuisine never fails to impress the guests. The food prepared by the Muslim community is influenced by the food habits of Arab traders who, centuries ago, came to the Malabar region in search of spices. It also draws inspiration from the cuisines of later trading groups like the Portuguese and the Dutch. The perfect blend of several cultures is very much evident in the Malabar cuisine as it uses local ingredients with techniques and concepts borrowed from foreign traders. The proof as the experts say is that a porridge popularly known as Aleesa, a delicious whipped wheat-meat dish with grated onion and coconut is a traditional Middle Eastern dish. Another dish, Mutta Mala, made of egg yolk and sugar syrup, is similar to the Portuguese fios de ovos.


Home chef Nasiya Aisha points out that traditionally most of these dishes have a long drawn out process, and that is why people nowadays prefer to make them in a simpler manner by skipping many steps or procuring readymade raw materials. Nasiya shares the recipes of some authentic dishes with steps that can help you make them the conventional way.

Kozhi ada
1 cup all-purpose flour
Salt to taste
Water ¼ cup
Ghee/oil 2 tbs

For the Filling:
Cooked chicken 1½ cup
Finely chopped onion 1 cup
Chopped green chillies 4
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Turmeric powder ½ tsp
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Fennel seeds ½ tsp
Garam Masala ½ tsp
Salt to taste
Curry leaves
Coriander leaves ½ cup
Ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp


Mix the ghee or oil into the flour along with salt. Add just enough cold water little by little to make a hard dough. Keep aside.
Cook the chicken with  turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander and salt. Shred the cooked chicken into thin strands.
Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped onions, curry leaves, fennel seeds and green chillies. When the onions start getting translucent, add ginger garlic paste.
Add the chicken and coriander leaves, saute on low heat till the meat mixture is fully dry and attains a powdery consistency.
Add garam masala and adjust salt.

To Assemble:
Roll out small, thin discs of the dough, about 3 inch in diameter.
Add 2 tsp of filling on one side, cover with the other side of dough and pinch the edges together in a pattern to make a crescent shape. Keep aside and continue making till the filling gets over.
Heat oil in a pan and when it is hot, add the adas one by one (not more than 4-5 at a time depending on the size of your pan and do not over crowd) and fry on medium low heat till golden brown.
If the heat is too high, the outside will get cooked but not the inside. If it’s too low heat, the whole ada will be a soggy, oily mess. If fried well, it lasts for days.



For the Pathiris:
1 cup maida
Warm water 1/3 cup
Oil 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

For the filling:
5 small eggs
Castor sugar (can adjust according to your preferences) 10 tbsp
Raisins 30 gm
Cashew nuts (broken) 50 gm
Poppy seeds (cous cous) 5 tbsp
Cardamom powder 1 tsp
Ghee 2 tsp

For Coating:
5 eggs
Thick coconut milk ½ cup
Sugar 6 tbsp
A pinch of cardamom powder


For the Pathiris

Mix the flour with water, oil and salt and knead into a dough. Keep it covered for half an hour.
Divide the dough into 9 equal portions.Using a roller pin, roll it out into paper-thin pathiris of uniform size on a dusted flour board.
Heat a griddle and cook them lightly on a tawa. Keep them aside. You should be able to get 9 pathiris with this amount.


For the filling:
Beat the eggs, coconut milk with sugar and cardamom.
Heat a large frying pan. Add ghee and saute raisins, cashew nuts and poppy seeds.
Heat a large frying pan. Add ghee and saute raisins, cashew nuts and poppy seeds.

For the coating and the assembling.
For coating, beat the remaining eggs, sugar and cardamom and keep aside.
Take a non-stick baking tray, spread couple of tsps oil or ghee all around.
Keep one pathiri as the first layer. Using a spoon sprinkle the scrambled egg filling on top of the pathiri.
Dip the second pathiri in the egg coating mixture, coat well and place it on top of the filling.
Sprinkle the scrambled egg mixture again and repeat this until all the pathiris and the scrambled egg mixture are used up, pathiri being the top layer. Pour the remaining egg mixture on top of pathiri so that it drains on all the gaps on sides and forms a thin layer on top.
You can also cook it on non-stick saucepan on the stove by placing it on very low flame and then flipping it over carefully and cooking the other side.



Maida 1 cup
Salt  to taste
Water to make the dough
Ghee ½ tbsp
For filling
Semolina 1 cup
Nuts 2 tbsp
Raisins 2 tbsp
Ghee 1 tbsp
Cardamom powder ½ tsp


Make a smooth dough with maida, water, ghee and salt. Knead it well through stretching method, until it becomes soft and smooth. Keep aside. aside.
Add ghee in a pan, saute nuts, raisins and semolina. Saute the semolina until it becomes crispy. Add sugar. Keep aside until cool.
Using a roller pin, roll out the dough. Cut the paper-thin discs into triangles
Fill each triangle with the semolina filling and cover it like a samosa.
Pour oil in a pan and fry the mandas at medium heat until crispy and golden.


Kneading a dough by stretch and fold technique
The ultimate taste of Manda lies in how soft the dough is made. The softer the dough, the crispier it turns out. A crispy outside and a soft inside is how a perfect manda should be. The traditional method to attain the consistency is kneading the dough by stretch and fold technique. However, it is very time consuming and requires you to hang around. Keep a glass of water nearby and dunk your fingers in it regularly to stop them from sticking.

Grab the edge of the dough with your wet fingers and stretch it up and out. Fold the dough over itself and press down. Repeat the stretch and fold.

Your mandas will have an authentic taste, and can be stored in an airtight container for more than one month. It is an ideal snack for journeys.


Nasiya is a home chef, author and winner of many cookery shows

Tags: food and recipes, kozhi ada