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Pidi - chicken stew with semolina and coconut dumplings

Pidi is traditional dish that is usually eaten on Sukkot.

I don't remember it from my grandparents' kitchen, I was exposed to it for the first time at my mother-in-law's.

When I googled to check the origin of this dish, I found out that it is a very common in South India, where it is prepared on a rice basis. My mother-in-law makes it from semolina, and apparently this is also one of the adaptations that the Jews from Cochin made to dishes when they immigrated to Israel, and did not have the original raw materials, so they used substitutes that gave the texture, shape and taste as closest to the original. I think the semolina do an excellent job here, the dumplings are soft and tender in the mouth.

I have no idea why they eat it precisely in Sukkot, and my mother-in-law doesn't know how to explain either, it's simply a custom passed down in her family.

It looks complicated but it's actually an easy and simple recipe. The dumplings require some preparation time, but if you will prepared together, it's just a few minutes. At the end of cooking, it is highly recommended to put it in the oven for half an hour without a lid to get a nice brown color, and it is even more recommended to prepare it in advance and leave it all night in the oven like a Hamin, just add a little amount of water in to the pot so it will not get dried. The dish takes on deep flavors and it is simply a pleasure, a comforting dish for the wintered Shabbat days.

You can find a preparation video on Instagram

Ingredients :

4-6 chicken thighs cut in half

1 large onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3-4 tablespoons of oil for frying

Ingredients for the semolina dumplings:

3/4 cup semolina

1/2 cup ground coconut

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of boiling water

3 tablespoons of flour

Ingredients for the coconut paste:

1 large onion

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup coconut

1 cup of water

preparation method:

  1. Salt and pepper the chicken parts from all sides

  2. Chop the onion into small cubes

  3. In a wide pot, heat oil and fry the onion until it starts to turn golden

  4. Add the chicken and fry well until the chicken changes its color and becomes lightly golden

  5. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil

  6. When it boils, lower the heat and cook for about 45 minutes

  7. Meanwhile prepare the semolina dumplings

  8. In a deep bowl pour semolina, coconut and salt and mix well

  9. Pour boiled water and mix lightly and wait a few minutes for it to cool down a little

  10. Add the flour and knead well into a soft dough

  11. You can add more flour if the mixture is too soft, but do not add too much because otherwise the dumplings will turn out hard

  12. Make small dumplings with a diameter of 1-2 cm

  13. Pour the dumplings into the pot with the chicken, carefully shake the pot so that they all float in the sauce

  14. Cook for about 20 minutes

  15. Prepare the coconut paste

  16. Put the onion, garlic, coconut and water in a blender container and grind to a smooth puree

  17. Pour the puree over the chicken and mix well

  18. Bring to a boil, and cook for another 10 minutes on a low flame

  19. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed with salt and pepper

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