When the Memons migrated to Kerala to escape a drought in Kutch, they also brought their culinary gems to their new homeland. Chicken Khausa, a spaghetti-based spicy chicken dish similar to the Burmese Khao Suey, is one such gem from the cuisine. Elaborate, filling and utterly festive, Chicken Khausa is just the dish you need to celebrate with this weekend.
So, you love indulging in an elaborate dish like Khao Suey or Ramen during the weekend to celebrate that sense of freedom and happiness? Then this dish from the Kutchi Memoni community of the Indian subcontinent is just what you need this weekend. Here’s why.
Picture a plate filled to the brim with boiled spaghetti, a thick gravy packed with Indian spices, a spicy chicken topping and more garnishes of fried onions, chillies and ginger. Sounds alluring, exotic and quite festive right? This stunning dish is known as Khausa or Khawsa, and it is a staple in Memoni cuisine. Many believe that the dish was inspired by the Burmese Khao Suey, thanks to the interaction between Memonis and Burmese people during World War II. Whether that’s true or not, the fact remains that Khausa is now a dish that has integrated with the cuisine of Kerala, courtesy of the Kutchi Memonis.
In case you didn’t know, Kutchi Memonis are a community of people who originally come from the Kutch and Sindh regions of the Indian subcontinent. This community is basically Sunni Muslim and their current diaspora is spread across Pakistan and India, predominantly in Sindh and Kerala. How did this diaspora come into existence? In 1815, a section of the Memons fled the dessert land of Kutch due to a severe drought and migrated to Kochi district in Kerala, particularly the Mattanchery area.
Video courtesy: YouTube/Cooking with Benazir
Today, this Kutchi Memoni community has assimilated a culinary culture which has Sindhi, Gujarati as well as Malayalam influences, to say the least. Khausa, which is traditionally made with lamb meat, is a festive staple for the community. The dish has a huge appeal across India and the subcontinent because it fuses the idea of a noodle-based dish with the spiciness that Indians love. The gravy of the dish is yoghurt-based and quite reminiscent of Kadhi. The chicken topping is spicy and rich, thanks to the predominance of chilies and fried onions.
Wondering how to cook up this unique recipe from Kerala’s Kutchi Memoni community? Here’s the recipe.
500 g boneless chicken, cubed
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp green chilli paste
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tbsp yoghurt
½ cup fried onions
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp oil
For the gravy:-
3 tbsp gram flour
250 g yoghurt
1 tsp garlic-chilli paste
½ tsp turmeric powder
Salt, to taste
1.5 cups water
For the tadka:-
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 sprigs curry leaves
2 cups spaghetti, boiled
Fried onions, for garnish
2-3 green chillies, sliced
2 lemons, halved
1 tbsp ginger juliennes
1 tbsp chaat masala
1. Place the chicken cubes in a large bowl, then add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder, green chilli paste, ginger-garlic paste, salt and yoghurt.
2. Heat the oil in a pan, then add the marinated chicken.
3. Cook the chicken and spices until the pieces become tender.
4. Add the fried onions and mix well till you get a thick mixture.
5. Once the chicken is fully cooked, switch off the flame and set it aside.
6. To make the gravy, place the yoghurt, garlic-chilli paste, turmeric powder, salt and gram flour in a large bowl.
7. Mix well, add water gradually and whisk to combine.
8. Heat oil in a wok, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves.
9. Once they stop crackling, add the gravy mix and stir.
10. Keep stirring and cooking the gravy mix until it becomes thick.
11. To serve, place the boiled spaghetti on a large plate.
12. Add the yoghurt-gram flour gravy, then top with the thick chicken.
13. Garnish the Chicken Khausa with fried onions, green chillies, ginger juliennes, chaat masala and lemons.