The tribal cuisine is known for its unique flavours and special cooking techniques. Delicious chicken curry is one of the most preferred dishes of the Mullukurumar tribe. Among the domestic animals, the tribal people would only eat the meat of homegrown fowls.
As per their belief, only a jungle cock should be cooked and consumed. The bird is held tight on the legs before snapping its neck. The skin is removed and the chicken is baked over fire. The baked chicken would then be broken down into small pieces and added in a vessel filled with water. Chillies, ginger, pepper, garlic, shallots, cumin and salt too are added into it. When the broth begins to boil, sautéed shallots and a mustard tempering are added to make it flavoursome.
The people of the Kani tribe who reside at the old Travancore region, to the north of Agastyarkoodam in Thiruvananthapuram are considered experts in roasting chicken over hot coals. Now, this area is part of the Kanyakumari forest reserve. Round and shiny stones would be heated up in the bonfire, around which the tribal people gather, at nights, to sing, dance and celebrate their unique culture. Meanwhile, the jungle fowl would be cleaned and prepared.
The cleaned chicken would weigh at least one and half kilos. This would then be split open in the middle and the back bone of the bird would be removed. The spatchcocked chicken would now have two huge pieces that have been pressed flat. Each piece would at least weight ¾ kilos. These large pieces could be cut into small bits as well. After that, the chicken pieces are marinated with a special masala mix which has bags of flavour.
The hot stones are separated from the bonfire using a rod. The marinated chicken pieces are then placed on the hot stones. This sight is truly a spectacle as you can hear a loud sizzle with smoke rising from the marinated chicken pieces. More hot stones are taken out of the bonfire and placed over the chicken pieces. The meat releases it's delicious and flavourful juices that grease the hot stones. The air then fills with the unbelievably amazing aroma of the perfectly roasted and smoky chicken.
The chicken pieces would slowly start changing colour. They are taken off the hot stones when the meat is nice, juicy and tender. The chicken pieces aren't usually deep fried using this technique.