Today, I am sharing a recipe of a Malabar special item, Alsa or Harees..It is made with mashed skinless whole wheat with chicken or mutton and cooked with whole spices..It is a common dish in Kannur,North Kerala area..It is mostly eaten as starters before having heavy main meal like biryani..This dish might have borrowed from Arabs,which they call 'Harees'...Some of the Malabar dish do have Arab influence..In Kannur area, alsa is commonly made during marriages or any large gatherings..Hyderabadi's do prepare it in a similar way, but they add lentils and spice powders..Their dish is called 'Haleem'
Traditionally,Alsa is cooked in a large pot in a low flame which took hours to cook...Arabs do prepare this in similar method and they mostly make it during Ramadan ( Holy month of Muslims).
Though slow cook method are time confusing, but it tastes delicious..Now a days,most of them use pressure cooker for easier and fast cooking...
It is a healthy and refreshing one pot meal..When I prepare this, we don't prefer to have another item for dinner,as it fills our tummy :)..Its very tasty too..Do prepare it and give feedback :)
Recipe Courtesy: Umma
- Skinless Whole Wheat - 1 1/2 Cup
- Chicken Legs and Thighs with fat - 4 pieces
- Garlic - 4 large cloves.
- Onion,sliced - half of 1 large onion
- Cinnamon - 1 small pcs
- Cloves - 2 to 3 no.s
- Cardamom - 3 no.s
- Water - 3 to 4 cups
- Salt - to taste
- Fresh Cow's milk/ Thick Coconut milk - 1/4 Cup
- Ghee - 1 tbsp
- Thinly sliced onion - 1 medium
- Cashews,Raisins - 1 tbsp each ( Can add if you like, I didn't add it)
- Soak whole wheat in a water for 6 to 8 hrs overnight or you can soak in a boiled water for 2 hrs covered if you don't have time..Wash and drain the whole wheat and keep aside..
- In a pressure cooker, add all the ingredients from 'whole wheat' till 'salt'..Make sure that water should be just above the level of wheat..Also your pressure cooker must be large about 7 to 7.5 ltr..
- Close the lid and cook in a low flame for 5 mins..Then turn the heat to medium-high and cook for about 6 to 7 whistles till wheat is cooked..
- Let the pressure go by itself...Open the lid, discard the whole spices and separate the chicken from bones,shred the chicken pieces with your hands and keep aside..Keep the wheat mixture to cool completely for sometime..
- When it cools down, add the wheat mixture in a blender and give a quick pulse..Do not make it into fine paste..It should leave tiny bits of wheat..Do not blend all the wheat mixture in one go..Do blend in batches as it is easy to blend...
- Transfer the blended mixture and shredded chicken back into pressure cooker and heat it in a low flame..
- Add coconut milk/fresh cows milk into it,mix well and heat in a low flame for few minutes..Taste and add salt if needed..
- Meanwhile, in another pan, heat ghee and add sliced onion and saute it till golden brown..Drain and transfer into plate..
- Add cashew nuts and raisins in a same ghee and fry till light brown in colour..Drain and keep aside..
- Switch off the pressure cooker and pour it into serving bowl..Sprinkle fried onion and nuts on top along with heated ghee..
- Serve warm..
- Can serve it with a sugar if desired..That is how,we served it in Kannur,North Kerala..
- Make sure to use skinless or bran less wheat for making Alsa..Otherwise when wheat is mashed, it tends to separate the fiber and taste horrible,which most of them don't like..Wheat used for making Alsa is generally whitish brown in colour..Its available in most of the Supermarkets,some of it mentioned is as 'Alsa Wheat'..
- You can cook Alsa in a large pot for about 1 to 1 1/2 hr..Make sure to add boiling water in between..It is rather time consuming..For easy and fast cooking. now a days, most of them make in a pressure cooker..
- Instead of chicken,you can add mutton or beef..Make sure to add it with bones with little fat,that what makes Alsa tastier..Do not add too much meat..
- Decorating with fried onions and nuts is completely optional..You can ignore it..I add it mainly to look attractive and for blog purpose,else I don't add it..