Pepper it up

Pepper it up

It is always wonderful to look back at childhood and the pleasant memories attached with it. While everyone has their own special moments that they like to remember often, mine always revolves around food.

I hail from Coorg, so it goes without saying that food is an integral part of our culture.

Everything we prepare is spicier and just lip-smacking. It’s not because everyone wants the food to be spicy but because it’s a cold place to live. And of course, Coorg’s pork dishes are quite well known.

It’s probably because of these influences that I took to cooking quite early in life. I have been studying in a boarding school since fifth grade.

So whenever something delicious was prepared in the hostel or my friends brought something from home, I would take down the recipe and try it out when I returned home for vacations. I didn’t care if it came out the way I had initially tasted it, but it was something that I was always fond of doing.

My culinary interest also encouraged me to try out some of the dishes my mother is known for making.

Today, I love making varieties of pork and squashes. People from Coorg are also known for making homemade wine which I try to make often as well.

It’s not much of a business but I provide meals for college students living in
my building. It’s great that I can provide homecooked food for people who are away from home — at least they can feel less homesick. 

My interests have always been reading, teaching and cooking. I’m taking a break from teaching as I am a mother now. So I put in more effort in cooking now.

The recipe that I’m sharing today is ‘Chicken stew with bread’. It’s a typical Kerala dish but I have made it in a Coorg style. I was introduced to this dish when a friend’s mother prepared it at home.

I’ve modified the stew with pepper and ginger-garlic paste. It’s something you can enjoy making and relishing!

Natya Bopanna
(As told to Anila Kurian)


Chicken, 1/2 kg

Pepper, 2 tsp

Chilli, 2

Ginger garlic paste, 2 tsp

Turmeric, 1/4 tsp

Cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp

 Lemon juice, 1

Coconut milk, 2 cup

Potato, 1

Onion, 1

Salt to taste

Coriander leaves to garnish


Mix salt, a pinch of turmeric, pepper, cut chillies, ginger garlic paste, lemon juice and coconut milk. Marinate the chicken with this mix and keep it aside for an hour.

Cut one big potato into medium size pieces and chop the onions long.

Take a nonstick vessel and add vegetable oil and add a bit of jeera and a few curry leaves. Add chopped onions and potato to it.

Once the above ingredients are slightly cooked, add the marinated chicken and let it cool in medium flame for five minutes.

Lower the flame and add coconut milk.

Increase the flame to medium and let it cook for five minutes or till the chicken is cooked.

Check for salt; add if needed.

Garnish the dish with a little bit of coriander.

Serve it hot and enjoy with bread.

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