Bison Valley Chicken

Munnar Murgh Fry

High in the Western Ghat mountain range in Kerala sits a hill town known as Munnar and perched above its’ Bison Valley, is a remarkable retreat, some would call it a boutique hotel, but for me it’s a slice of tranquil perfection and to be honest I’m a little reluctant to share it with you. But given you’re in the Urban Rajah family it’s my duty. The Spice Tree, lies just outside Munnar and it’s the creation of Hybeen Thomas, an eco entrepreneur who has built this hideaway with love, care and perfection in mind. Stunning picture window views, sumptuous suites, serene service, ayurvedic treatments which influence the spa and the food, eco products are a way of life rather than a pursuit. Relaxed elegance, The Spice Tree, part of Bespoke Hotels possesses the art of innate hospitality.

One of the main attractions lies in the kitchen’s ability to produce authentic and original Keralan and local cuisine under the direction of the warm hearted Chef Anil John. This is where the menu comes into its own with dishes like this one, Bison Valley Chicken, it’s a sizzling chicken fry which lightly ignites the heat receptors quickly followed by the aromatic caress of garam masala and curry leaves, and sharp cut through of lime juice. For those with a weakness for tabloid descriptions you might call it Keralan Fried Chicken (KFC), proclivities aside one thing you’ll all agree with, is that this is too tasty for a snappy headline. Bison Valley chicken takes its name from the local fowl found in this valley not from a cross-bred chicken and bison….that stuff belongs to a Beowulf tale.

Bison valley chicken

How To Make Bison Valley Chicken

Serves 4 as starter

  • 200g chicken thigh, diced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tbs ginger and garlic paste
  • 100g curry leaves, chopped
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 3 tsp cornflour
  • 150ml rapeseed oil or enough to deep fry in your wok/pan

This recipe’s glory is rooted in its simplicity, a case off bunging everything (apart from the oil) into a bowl and massaging the chicken with all the ingredients until the protein is well and truly coated in the spices and cornflour.

Heat the oil over a high temperature until the heat shimmers above the pan and then notch the heat to a medium/low temperature. Gently squeeze the chicken pieces and lower them in to the pan and deep fry for 3-4 minutes until crispy. Drain on kitchen paper.

Serve with a mint and coriander chutney with a side salad of red onion, chopped tomatoes and coriander.

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