Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Awadhi Meat Biryani

When it comes to biryanis, there is always a tussle for supremacy between the Hyderabadi Biryani and its cousin, the Awadhi Biryani. The main difference between the two lies in their use of meat. While the Hyderabadi version uses uncooked marinated meat (Kacche gosht ki biryani), the Awadh version is marked by its use of tender cooked meat. And while the Hyderabadi Biryani enjoys more visibility and popularity, the connoisseurs of the Awadhi Biryani swear by every moist morsel!
The recipe for the Awadhi Biryani varies from each family, and this particular recipe is an amalgam of the better known versions. Tried, tested and finger lickin good....this traditional delight is worth the effort! 

½ kg goat’s meat
½ kg basmati rice
100 grams butter
100 ml cream
2 saffron strands

3 onions (fried, ground to a paste)
1 handful fresh coriander
3 tablespoons ginger and garlic paste
300 grams natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
salt (to taste)

For the Rice:
1 teaspoon ghee
1 bay leaf
2 cloves
3 black cardamom
2 green cardamoms
½ inch cinnamon
15 mint leaves

For the Meat:
3 black cardamom
2 green cardamom
2 ½ inch cinnamon
1 bay leaf
3 cloves
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste
1 teaspoon  coriander powder
2 pinches of ground nutmeg
2 pinches of mace
½ teaspoon cardamom powder
2 handfuls fresh mint

Marinate meat overnight or at least 3 hrs.
Parboil rice with all the ingredients.
Mix the butter and cream and microwave for 30 seconds.
Soak the saffron in the butter-cream mix.
Heat ghee/oil in a cooker, and sizzle all the whole spices mentioned in the meat ingredient list.
Add ginger garlic paste and coriander powder and fry a while.
Add the meat, with 1/2 cup water and pressure cook till nearly done.
Remove whole spices.
Add the remaining ingredients and cook till done.
Reserve a cupful of the gravy.

In a heavy bottomed pan, layer the meat, then rice, and then the saffron cream mix. Repeat layers, ending finally with a layer of rice. Sprinkle the top of the rice with slivers of fried almonds and browned onion strips. Put a lid on the pan and seal the edges with thick dough. Cook on low flame for 15-20 minutes.
Serve warm with the reserved gravy (called qorma) and curd raita.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

French Yogurt Cake

Anything French conjures visions of complicated techniques with impossible ingredients and hellish temperaments. But the French Yogurt Cake is simplicity itself. A few basic ingredients, couple of easy to do steps and even the novice can pull out a masterpiece from the oven! I got this recipe from DawnF on TTOD and successfully tried a number of variations. This delicate orange flavoured version has been my favorite so far.

Ing: 1 1/2 cups of plain flour
      2 tsps baking powder
      1 cup granulated sugar
      1/2 cup sunflower oil (or any other flavourless oil)
      1/2 cup regular yogurt (you could use non fat if you desire)
      3 eggs
      1 tsp vanilla essence
      a pinch of salt
      grated zest of two oranges (avoid the white pith)

Method: Put the sugar and zest in a bowl and rub with your fingers till the sugar is moist and the zest releases its aromatic oil. Whisk in the yogurt, eggs and vanilla till well blended. Sift the dry ingredients together and mix into the batter. Now carefully fold in the oil, a little at a time, till the whole batter becomes a light, homogeneous mixture.
Grease a baking tin and pour the batter into it. Pre- heat the oven to 180 C and bake the batter for 60 minutes. Unmould after cooling and drizzle over some melted chocolate. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Beet Chops

While most shy away from the earthy taste of this root veggie, I love the versatility it affords and often sneak it into the most unexpected places. These little delights are a healthy and finger lickin alternative tothe usual potato patties.

Ing: 2 beetroots
      1 carrot
      1/2 cauliflower
      1 large turnip
      1 medium potato
       handful of chopped coriander
      1 tsp red chilli powder
      1 tsp garam masala
      1/4 cup roasted peanut powder
      1 spring onion, finely chopped
      2 tbsp cornflour to bind
      salt to taste

Method: Dice and boil the beets, carrot, cauliflower, turnip and potato. Cool and mash. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Shape into round flat patties. Heat some oil on a griddle or frying pan and cook the beet chops till crisp on both sides. Serve up hot in a bun with some chilled yogurt or mayonnaise.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chinchoni Fish Curry

The Chinchoni Fish Curry comes from the Catholic community of coastal Konkan India. Their culinary influences are a mix of Portuguese and Maharashtrian styles. This recipe was contributed by chef Michael Swamy in Good Food India.

Ing: 16 fish slices, 1/2 inch thick (pomfret, surmai or kingfish)
       4 tbsp oil
       1 litre water
       2 tsp salt
       4 tsp tamarind paste
MASALA: 12- 16 dried Kashmiri red chillies
                  200 gm coconut, grated
                  16-20 garlic cloves, chopped
                  2 tsp cumin seeds
                  1 tsp turmeric pd
Method: Soak the chillies in hot water for an hour. Drain and grind with the remaining masala ingredients to form a smooth paste. You may add 3-5 tbsp of water to aid the process. Heat oil, and fry the masala paste over low heat for about 5 minutes. You may sprinkle a few drops of water if the paste starts to burn. Add the fish and the rest of the ingredients, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Dish up steaming hot with some plain rice.