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March 19, 2009
February 25, 2009
250 gms paneer (about 24 cubes)
3 medium sized onions
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tsps red chilli powder
4 ripe tomatoes
3 tbsps cashewnut (grind to smooth paste with little water)
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
1 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
salt to taste
3 tbsps butter
2 pinches of orange food color
Coriander leaves for garnish
- In a saucepan, bring about 4 cups of water to boil. When the water starts dancing, gently drop in the onions, and tomatoes. Let them cook on high flame for 10 mts.
- Drain the water and let onions and tomatoes cool down. Once cool grind onions to smooth paste. Peel the skin of the tomatoes and grind to smooth paste separately. Set aside.
- Heat a tbsp of ghee and fry the paneer cubes to golden brown as shown in the picture.
- While the paneer fries, bring one cup of water to boil and switch the flame off. To this add the fried paneer cubes and let it sit for 5 mts in.
- In a pan/kadhai heat 3 tbps of butter on medium low flame. Add the onion paste to the butter, increase the flame to medium, and fry for 5 mts stirring frequently till the gravy starts turning brown in color and the raw smell disappears.
- Add ginger-galic paste and fry for another minute. Add chilli powder, turmeric, cashew nut paste, and salt to taste. Combine well.
- Add tomato puree, kasoori methi, coriander powder, garam masala. simmer the flame and let it cook for 4 mts.
- Add fried paneer, mix gently and let it cook for another 4 mts
- Now add 3/4 cup of water, and cook on medium flame till the gravy turns to a thick consistency. Check the salt and add if required.
- Add 3 tbps of water to the food color and mix it to the curry. cook for another minute or two before turning off the flame.
- Let it sit for atleast 10 minutes and garnish with freshly chopped coriander before serving.
- Serve hot with rotis, paranthas or naan or steamed white rice
February 21, 2009
This is the first dish I tasted on my visit to hyderabad after my wedding. I have fallen in love with this authentic and elegant delicacy since then. It is worth spending time to make this at home and watch your loving ones relish the dish. Hyderabadi dum biryani is a signature dish from hyderabad, the city of pearls and is said to be a blend of mughal and persian cuisine. Basmati rice cooked with layers of marinated chicken or meat in a wide, heavy bottomed vessel on a low flame, is where it gets the taste from. This process of cooking is also known as “Dum .
Cooking basmati rice nice and fluffy make your rice dishes look more beautiful. A little practice is all you need to cook this beautiful long grain rice. Here are a few tips for cooking basmati rice.
Wash rice two to three times under cold water to remove the starch.
soak rice for atleast 30mts in plenty of water. This allows the rice to expand and cook without breaking during cooking.
Add a tbsp of butter or oil to the boiling water while cooking rice. This would make the grains separate.
Make sure you cook the rice in a wide bottomed pan and do not disturb the rice by stirring in between. This would result in breakage of the rice.
Let the cooked rice rest for a while before serving it.
Methods of cooking basmati rice
Please note that the below methods are for cooking plain fully cooked basmati rice, however for biryani’s rice is half cooked with spices and layered with meat or chicken and then cooked again. I have explained this method in my recipe below.
Wash and soak rice atleast 30 mts before cooking. In a wide bottomed vessel, add 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice (I used a measuring cup for rice and water as well). Bring it to a boil on high flame. Meanwhile drain all the water from the rice and set aside. ( I used a strainer ). When you see bubbles playing around on top, add a tbsp of butter, oil or ghee to it. Add little salt. Slowly drop in the drained rice into the boiling water and allow it cook on high flame for 2-3 mts till you see rice on top and the water disappearing. Meanwhile heat a tawa/flat bottomed skillet on high heat. Now, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and place the rice pot on top of this tawa. Cover the vessel with a tight lid and cook for 15-20 mts. Switch of the flame and let it rest for another 5-10 mts before serving.
Note: If the lid of the vessel is not tight, then use an alluminium foil and cover the top tightly, then place the lid on top of it. Alternatively you can use a wet towel (Squeeze of all the water) to cover the vessel and place the lid on top of it.
One of the easiest ways to cook basmati rice is using an electric cooker. Wash and soak rice for 30 mts in cold water. Drain the water and set rice aside. In the electric cooker container, for every one cup of rice add 2 cups of water, close the lid and switch it on. The light goes off once the rice is ready. However make sure you don’t leave the rice in the cooker for a long time after the switch is off. This would result in the bottom layer of the rice turning hard. So cook it just prior to serving.
Wash and soak rice for 30 mts in cold water. Drain the water and set rice aside. In a microwave safe bowl, for every one cup of rice add 2 cups of water and about 1/4 tsp salt. Cook uncovered for 10 to 12 mts. (Microwave timings vary oven to oven). After 10 mts, switch the oven off, remove the bowl to check if the rice is done. If not done, stir gently and put it back in the even for another 3 to 4 mts or till rice is cooked.
There are 3 basic steps for cooking a delicious hyderabadi chicken dum biryani.
Marinating the chicken
Half cook the basmati rice
Layering chicken and rice together for the biryani.
Now lets get into the things we need for these 3 steps.
For the Marinade
Chicken – 1 lb (about ½ kg) skinned, washed and cut into cubes. Boneless
chicken can also be used but I prefer to use whole chicken with
bones. Make sure you drain all the water after washing the
Mint leaves (pudina) – 10 sprigs finely chopped
Coriander leaves – 10 sprigs finely chopped
Saffron - 2 pinches soaked in ¼ cup of milk
1 onion – finely sliced and deep fried till dark brown. (see pics)
yoghurt – ¾ cup ( I used a measuring cup)
chilli powder – 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
garam masala – 2 tbsps (lightly roasted in a pan on low heat for 30 secs)
juice of 1 big lemon (about 4 tbsps)
Oil – ¼ cup
Salt – ½ tsp
Oil for deep frying the onions – ¼ cup
For the rice
Basmati rice – 2 cups ( I used a measuring cup). Wash under cold water and
soak for 30 mts then drain the entire water in a strainer and
Whole green Cardamom – 4
Cloves – 3
Black cumin seeds (Shahi jeera) – ¾ tsp
Bay leaves – 2
Biryani flower ( Anasapuvvu) – 1
Black pepper corns – 4
Butter/oil/ghee – 1 tbsp
Salt – 4 tbsps
Water for boiling – 10 cups ( I used a measuring cup)
A wide & deep sauce pan to cook rice
For cooking in layers
1 wide heavy bottomed deep vessel / pot
A large dosa pan / flat bottomed skillet
Pinch of red orange color dissolved in 2 tbsps milk or water (optional)
Alluminium foil or a wet towel (squeeze the entire water) to cover the pan. Alternatively you can use whole wheat flour dough to seal the edges so that the steam does’nt escape.
Now that you have all the ingredients ready. Lets take a peek at the recipe.
- In a sauce pan heat about 1/4 cup of oil and deep fry onions as shown in the below pics till dark brown. Remove the onions and drain them on the kitchen towel. Once cool, crush them and set aside. They are ready to be mixed in the marinade. Alternatively you can use store bought fried onions too.
The first step is marinating the chicken:
In a large bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients till well combined. Cover and let it rest for an hour or overnight if you have some time. This would let the chicken absorb all the flavours of the spices and enhance the taste of your biryani.
Cooking the basmati rice:
While the chicken is marinating, place a deep sauce pan on the stove with 10 cups of water on high flame. When the water gets to boil, throw in the spices (cardamom, cloves, shahijeera, bay leaves, bay flower, pepper corns, butter, and salt) and cook for a minute. Now gently add in the drained rice to the boiling water and let it cook on high flame till another boil (takes 4 mts).
Immediately drain the rice along with the spices in a strainer. Let all the water drain off. Set aside.
OK, show time now, cooking both the chicken and rice together. But now that everything is ready, this is going to be a cake walk. Trust me. You can do this. Its EASY.
Place a heavy wide bottomed deep pot or vessel on the stove top and turn it on high flame. Allow the pot to get hot for about a minute.
Now arrange the entire marinated chicken at the bottom of this pot. This is your first layer.
Then arrange the half cooked rice on top of the chicken. This is going to be your second and last layer.
On top of the rice, add about 2 - 3 tbsps of oil. Cover the pot with a lid and cook on high heat for 3 to 4 mts. Do not cook more than that because your chicken might get burnt.
Meanwhile heat a dosa pan/flat bottomed skillet on high heat till the pan is hot. Once hot reduce the flame to the lowest setting and place the chicken and rice pot on the tawa.
Remove the lid and pour in the red orange color water around in the center. This would give your rice the restaurant style look with some of the rice grains looking orange in color. Who would’nt want to surprise their guests with such looks!!!
Now seal the pot with an alluminium foil or a wet towel (squeeze all the water) or using the traditional whole wheat dough method. This allows the flavors of your chicken and rice to remain inside. Cook for 30 mts undisturbed on the tawa on the lowest setting. Switch of the flame and let it rest for 10 mts.
Just before serving open the lid, gently mix in the chicken at the bottom with the rice. serve it hot with mirchi ka salan or raita and enjoy.
I could’nt post the recipe for mirchi ka salan right away but promise to surely do it in my next post. Meanwhile do try the recipe and let me know how you liked it.
January 30, 2009
Kodi Guddu Pulusu (Eggs in tamarind gravy)
- In a kadhai/wide pan, heat 1 tsp oil. Add pinch of turmeric and drop in boiled eggs gently into the pan. Fry on medium flame for about 2-3 mts till brown spots start appearing on the eggs. Remove and set aside.
- Add remaining oil ( 3 tsps) in the kadhai. Reduce the flame to low. Add in methi seeds and fry for 20 seconds. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and allow to splutter then add red chillies and fry for about 30 seconds.
- Throw in curry leaves, chopped green chillies and chopped onions. Add turmeric (1/4 tsp), salt. Increase the flame to medium and fry till the onions turn soft and light brown.
- Once the onions turn light brown, add ginger garlic paste and fry for about 1 to 2 mts till the raw smell disappears.
- Add cumin powder, coriander powder and chilly powder. Mix well and fry for 1 minute.
- Add squeezed tamarind juice/pulp + 1 cup of water and bring it to boil. Add sugar. Adjust salt and chilly powder. Simmer and let it cook for about 3-4 mts.
July 25, 2008
Turmeric - 1 tsp
ginger & garlic paste - 1 tbsp
1) Wash chicken pieces under running water and drain.
2) In a bowl mix together ginger garlic paste, turmeric. Add washed chicken pieces to this mixture and coat well.
3) Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan/kadhai, reduce the heat to medium and add chicken to it. mix gently, cover the pan with a lid for 2 mts.
4) Remove the lid and on medium low flame allow the chicken to fry till golden brown. Keep stirring in between such that all the pieces are evenly cooked and colored. Do not overfry the chicken as this turns the pieces hard to chew. Light golden brown color would be good.
5) Once the chicken is fried, set aside and allow it to cool. Meanwhile dry fry all the spices individually (mustard seeds, coriander seeeds, cumin seeds, cloves, elaichi, dalchini and poppy seeds) on low flame till nice aroma comes out. Do not burn them (the pickle would turn bitter if spices are over burnt)
6) Once done allow the spices to cool off and grind all spices together to a fine powder.
7) Heat the squeezed lime juice on low flame for 10 seconds (Do not overheat). Alternatively you could warm it for 10 seconds in a microwave. Adding fresh lime juice will not let the pickle stay fresh for long time and thats why we want it to be warm.
8) Now add ground spice powder(do not add entire powder at once, instead add in small quantities and adjust according to your spice levels), dried red chilly powder, to the fried chicken and mix well. Add lemon juice and adjust salt.
9) If the pickle looks too dry a little bit of oil could be added. Its not required to heat oil at this point of time.
10) Leave the pickle in the bowl for an hour and transfer it into a closed jar. This pickle stays fresh for a month even if not refrigerated. If you are not refrigerating the pickle and leaving it outdoors, make sure the pickle is covered with good amount of oil floating on top. It can be eaten on the day of preparation itself. Serve it with steamed rice. Also goes well with dosas and idlys too.
July 17, 2008
When I was young, I had not the slightest interest in learning to cook. During my visits to the kitchen, I sniffed around exclaiming "Boy, that smells weird! Does it it turn out good?" without even offering to help my mom nor trying to learn cooking.
When I first came with hubby dear to our new house a few years earlier, I knew very less about cooking. My first day at home, I attempted to replicate what I had seen in my mothers kitchen during those days. I made endless blunders to master the basics of her cooking. As I learned I measured my progess to my memories of food that I tasted way back in my mom's kitchen. My sambhar had to taste as good as my mothers, Chapathis as puffy as hers so on and so forth. As I did this, I realized cooking good food is joy and since then learning various dishes topped my favorite list of things I'd love to do for myself.
Todays recipe is a simple quick and easy dish that is served as a dessert. We call it "Appalu" in our region and are served in hanuman temple as prasadam. Well nothing beats the taste at the temple, but this is for all of you out there, who really miss home and want to have a taste of it...
Sooji - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup ( Increase if you prefer more sweetness)
Water - 2 cups
Ghee/Clarified butter - 2 tbsps
Cardamom/elaichi powder - 2 tsps
oil for frying - 2 cups
How to ....
1. Heat a kadhai/skillet and fry sooji on low flame for about 2 mts. This would prevent lumps when added to water. Take care not to burn/change the color of sooji. Over frying results in loosing the shape/breakage while frying. Allow to cool off and set aside.
2. Bring water to boil in a sauce pan, reduce heat to medium. Slowly add sooji and sugar to water while mixing gently to avoid any lumps. Reduce heat to medium low now.
3. Add ghee, cardamom powder and mix well. You can taste the mixture and add more sugar at this point of time.
4. Cover the pan with a lid, allow to cook for 2 mts. switch off the flame. Do not remove the lid for 15 mts.
5. Later remove the lid and allow it to cool off. By the time sooji mixtures cools off it looks like wet greasy paste. Grease your hands with oil/ghee, take a spoonful of mixture, shape them into rounds and pat them flat (about 1/4 inch) like tikkis. Arrange all of them on a greased plate. Alternatively you can directly drop them in oil while you shape them.
6. Heat oil in a wide bottomed pan/kadhai. Do not over heat oil. Place the kadhai with oil on medium flame and allow the oil to heat up. (about 5 - 7 mts)
7. Drop each patty slowly into oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. This would result in patties sticking to each other and breaking. Fry till golden brown on both sides. Do not over fry. Overfrying turns them hard. These taste good if fried till the right color turns up. They should melt soft in your mouth as you chew them.
7. Fry all patties in batches, remove and strain on a kitchen towel. Store in an airtight container. They last upto 1 week even if not refrigerated.
April 10, 2008
Summers during childhood usually passed at my grandmothers place. "Ammamma" thats how I called my granny, which means mother's mother. She was very tender and gentle by nature and took great pleasure in feeding me while sharing memories of her childhood, her marriage with my grandfather, her days as a young bride so on and so forth.... I used to read the bhagavatham for her at bedtime lying down in her lap.
We need ....
Medium sized tomatoes - 5 (cut into cubes)
Rasam powder - 2 tsps (I used 777 Madras rasam powder)
Black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp (increase if you want a more spicy version)
Tamarind - 1 small lemon sized ball (soaked in 3/4 cup water)
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp
asofetida/hing - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
- In a sauce pan, heat ghee and oil together. Add tomatoes, turmeric, hing and mix well. cover and cook till the tomatoes turn soft and mushy and the juices running out.
- Add pepper, rasam powder and mix well.
- Add water and bring to a boil
- Squeeze out the pulp from soaked tamarind and add it to boiling rasam.
- Add salt to taste, mix well. Cover and simmer for 5 mts.
- In a pan, heat oil on low flame. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and allow them to crackle. Add dried red chillies, curry leaves. Fry for 30 secs. Turn off the heat and add the popu/tadka to rasam.
- Garnish with cilantro/coriander. Serve hot with rice, ghee and papaddums