Kairi ki Khatti Dal

Patli dal (dal with thin consistency) cooked with tamarind or sometimes tomatoes as the souring agents, is a staple, atleast in my house. It is served along with a non-vegetarian or a vegetarian side dish and rice at most of our meals, and I believe at most of the Hyderabadi households as well. The usual variety of patli dal that I prepare are tamarind khatti daltomato dal, mitthi dal, lemon dal, kaddu ka dalcha, sojni ki phalli ka dalcha and kulfe ki katli. Among all these I dearly miss kulfe ki katli as I havent been able to find Kulfa (purslane) at stores here until now.

Unripe green mangoes ~ Kairi

This version of khatti dal with a hint of tangy flavor from unripe green mangoes is most flavorful and enjoyed by everyone at my house. Select sour, firm and unripe green mangoes for the perfect tangy smack in the dal. We enjoyed this flavorsome dal along with kairi ka do pyaza and tali huwi bhindi as our meal today.

Kairi ki Khatti Dal – Green Mango Dhal

Ingredients:

Tuvar ki dal – 1 cup
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Tomatoes – 2, large, red and ripe, quartered
Unripe green sour mango/Kairi – 1, small, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup) (do not discard the stone)
For Baghaar:
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Dried red chillies/Baghaar ki mirch – 2, each broken into two
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs, fresh

Method:

1. In a saucepan, add the tuvar dal, red chilli powder, salt, turmeric powder, quartered tomatoes and 4 cups fresh cool water and boil the dal at medium high heat, half covered, until the dal is done. You can also pressure cook it until the dal is mushy. Once done, let cool and add to a blender container. Also add the chopped unripe mango (do not add the stone now) and blend until the dal is smooth. Pour this back into the saucepan. Add the mango stone to the dal and let cook for 10-12 minutes. Add water to adjust consistency. The consistency should be just slightly thick, not too thick, or too thin.
2. Meanwhile in a small frying pan, prepare baghaar. Pour oil in a warm small frying pan and as soon as it hot, add the cumin seeds, dried red chillies, curry leaves and as they start spluttering immediately add to the dal in saucepan. Let cook for 2 minutes and serve warm (before serving, scrape the mango stone and add all its juices and soft tangy flesh to the dal and discard the stone).

This delicious dal is my entry to the event ‘Delicious Dals from India’ being hosted by Suma at her blog Veggie Platter.

Luv,
Mona

Kairi ka Do Pyaza

The last week during my visit to the grocery mart, I had bought a few unripe mangoes and have been dishing out meals using this wonderful ingredient.

Unripe green mangoes ~ Kairi

Do Pyaza is an onion gravy preparation with a souring agent. Various main ingredients are used to prepare different versions of do pyaza. Tomatoes, Lemons, Gooseberries or Unripe green mangoes are the usual souring agents used. One can also prepare a vegetarian do pyaza without adding meat.

Kairi ka Do Pyaza

The acetic flavor of the unripe sour green mangoes in the current recipe adds a delicious kick to the curry which you will definitely savor. The following is my grandmother’s recipe.

Kairi ka Do Pyaza – Lamb meat in a spicy sour gravy

Lamb meat with bones – around 1 kg
Onions – 1, medium sized, roughly diced
Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 1/2 tbsp
Canola oil – 1 tbsp (optional)
Sour, Raw and Unripe Green mango – 1, small, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup) (do not discard the stone)
Fresh Cilantro and Mint leaves – 1 tbsp

Method:

In a pressure cooker, add everything except the chopped green mango and also pour in about 1/2 cup fresh water and pressure cook until the meat is tender. Once done, add the green mango and mix well. Aldo add the stone and pressure cook for 2-3 minutes. Now open the lid of the cooker and cook stirring frequently until most of the moisture has been evaporated, 5-10 minutes approx. Garnish with herbs before serving. Scrape all the soft flesh and juices from the stone and add to the gravy and discard the stone, check seasonings and serve warm along with Parathas or Tandoori Naan.

This is my contribution to the “The Hyderabadi Bakr-Eid Food Festival-’09” that I am hosting on my blog. The event is on and you can all send me your Bakr-Eid special recipes before December 31, 2009, which is the day after tomorrow. So hurry up and send me your entries! Click on the link or the logo for more details.

Luv,
Mona

Haleem~II:a gastronomic delight

Brr, its cold outside. Curled up on my sofa under a soft quilt and enjoying the season with a bowl of haleem topped with fried onions, fresh herbs, ghee and few fried cashew nuts along with a splash of fresh lemon juice provides me the warmth and nourishment and makes me hopelessly nostalgic.

Haleem, a porridge made with wheat, pulses, meat, ghee is a classic Hyderabadi delicacy which has Persian origins. Back home in restaurants it is cooked in large amounts in huge cauldrons called as degh for hours together along with a range of exotic spices and other aromatics and pounded continually, until it resembles a velvety gruel like consistency. At homes, we use pressure cookers and processors to quicken the process.

This savory Ramadan speciality has a wonderful taste, and a delicious aroma. Haleem is usually prepared during the month of Ramadan(the ninth holy month of the Muslim calender in which Muslims observe fast from sunrise to sunset) and enjoyed at Iftaar and Suhoor, as it has got all the goodness to sustain and nurture a fasting body.

broken wheat and wheat grains

Below is my Ammi’s version of Haleem, I had also posted an another version Haleem here a while back. A yogurt qorma is prepared and mixed with the wheat+dal+meat mixture and cooked until the flavors marry and the desired consistency is achieved. My mother in law always prefers wheat grains over broken wheat for Haleem. I use broken wheat as it cooks faster.

Hyderabadi Haleem – Lentils, Wheat and Meat Porridge

Ingredients:

Boneless Lamb meat – 500 gms (or) Lamb meat with bone – 700 gms [preferably leg] – cut into small pieces
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Chana dal – 100 gms
Broken wheat – 250 gms
For Qorma:
White poppy seeds/Khuskhus – 1 tsp
Chironji nuts – 1 tsp
Chopped almonds and cashewnuts – 1 tbsp each
Canola oil – 4-5 tbsp
Onions – 3, large, finely sliced
Cloves – 2
Cardamom – 2
Cinnamon stick – one 2″ stick
Dry Roasted Kababchini powder – 1/4 tsp
Dry roasted Cumin seed powder – 1/2 tsp
Green chillies – 4, each broken into two
Yogurt – 1 cup, lightly whisked
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Cardamom seed powder – 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice – 1/4 cup/60 ml/4 tbsp
For Garnish
finely chopped Cilantro, and Mint leaves
Crisply fried onions
Lemon juice
Ghee
Fried cashew nuts
sliced/chopped Green chillies

Haleem, garnished with fried onions, fresh herbs, green chillies, nuts and lemon juice

Method:

1. In a pressure cooker, add the meat, ginger-garlic paste, 1 tsp red chilli powder, turmeric powder and 1 tsp salt and pour in 1 cup water. Pressure cook until the meat is about 3/4th done.
2. Meanwhile soak chana dal and broken wheat for 30 minutes in fresh cool water. As soon as the meat is done, transfer the meat with all its juices into a bowl. Keep aside to cool.
3. Drain the soaking dal and keep aside. In the same pressure cooker, add the dal and broken wheat and pour in 4 cups of fresh cool water and pressure cook for a few minutes until the mixture is soft. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Meanwhile, shred the cooked meat and put it back into its juices and keep aside in a bowl. Discard bones.
4. Soak khuskhus, chironji nuts, cashewnuts and almonds in 1/2 cup warm water for 15 minutes. Grind them into a smooth puree.
5. In a food processor or a blender, add the cooked dal and the cooked broken wheat along with any remaining water in which it was boiled and process until well blended.
6. In a large thick bottomed non-stick saucepan at medium high heat, pour oil and as soon as it warms up, add the sliced onion and stir fry it until evenly golden brown in color. Using a slotted spoon transfer half of the fried onions onto a platter, scatter so that they cool and crisp up in a while, use these fried onions for garnish later on. Meanwhile, in the pan with the fried onions, lower the heat and add cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom, kababchini power, green chillies and cumin seed powder. Stir fry for 10-20 secs. Add the yogurt. Mix well. Add the pureed nuts mixture and mix well. Add red chilli powder, black pepper powder and salt. Half cover and cook stirring occasionally until it leaves oil. Add the blended wheat+dal mixture and the shredded meat with all its juices and mix well. Pour in 2 cups water, and add garam masala powder and cardamom powder. Mix well. Cover and let cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally for 10-20 minutes. Remove from heat when the desired consistency of a thick porridge is achieved. Ladle in serving plates, garnish and serve warm.

This is my contribution to the “The Hyderabadi Bakr-Eid Food Festival-’09” that I am hosting on my blog. The event is on and you can all send me your Bakr-Eid special recipes before December 31, 2009. Click on the link or the logo for more details.

Luv,
Mona

Roasted Chestnuts

Warm roasted chestnuts are my new winter addiction. They are a warming and nourishing snack. I had tasted them the first time the last year when my mother-in-law brought home a bunch of them and served them warm. Oh they were yummy! Since then I make it a point a point to enjoy these delicious treats every year during the winter season when the markets seems to be flooded with them.

Chestnuts are housed in brown shiny shells. Before you buy, look for smooth, glossy and firm shells, that feel large and heavy. Avoid those with mold, or the ones with holes, which is a sign of insect activity. Store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator for not more than 1 or 2 weeks.

Chestnuts can be boiled, fire roasted, microwaved, oven or pan roasted (in a cast iron pan). Once cooked, the shell can easily be removed you can see the tan, which is the furry skin attached to the meat of the chestnut. The tan should be peeled off while the chestnuts are still hot. The meat of the chestnut is deliciously mildly sweet in flavor. Roasted chestnuts have the best flavor and fill your house with a wonderful aroma.

chestnuts with X slit marks on shells

roasted chestnuts with gaped slits

peeled warm roasted chestnuts

To roast:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Make a superficial X mark on the chestnut shells on one side using a chestnut knife or the tip of a small serrated knife (making a slit helps to vent steam, if the chestnut shells are not slit before roasting, they will explode in the oven) (be careful and do not cut yourselves). Roast chestnuts slit side up for 15-20 minutes, until the cuts gape. Shell them, remove the furry tan while still warm and enjoy.

Does anyone know what are they called in Urdu language?

Luv,
Mona

Murgh Pasinde

Murgh Pasinde

Just like Gosht Pasinde which is a classic Hyderabadi meat preparation, I often prepare Murgh Pasinde in my house using the same masalas and the same technique, but just replacing the kind of meat being used. Chicken is easier to cook and mush healthier than mutton or beef. The creamy nutty and spicy gravy of this curry is sure to seduce your taste buds. I serve this curry along with Parathas or Tandoori Naan for a delicious meal.

Murgh Pasinde – Chicken in a Creamy Nutty and Spicy gravy

Ingredients:

Chicken/Murgh – 1 kg, whole, skinned and cut into 12 pieces (you can also use boneless and thinly sliced flat chicken breast meat instead)
Salt – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
KhusKhus – 1 tbsp
Canola oil – 4 tbsp
Onion – 2 cups, sliced roughly
Dry roasted groundnut paste – 1/2 tbsp
Canned Coconut milk – 2 tbsp
Green chillies, serrano – 3, each split into two
Almonds, Cashew nuts, Chironji nuts – 1 tbsp each, roughly chopped and soaked in 1/2 cup warm milk for 15-30 minutes and then pureed into a smooth paste (optional)
Yogurt – 1 cup
Dry roasted Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1 tsp
Cilantro – 1 tbsp, finely chopped

Ingredients:

1. Marinate the chicken with 1/2 tsp black pepper powder powder, turmeric powder and salt and keep aside.
2. Meanwhile dry roast the khuskhus in a large heavy bottomed non-stick sauce pan for a minute or two. Transfer it to a small cup, pour in 2 tbsp warm water and keep aside.
3. In the same pan pour in oil and add the sliced onions. Stir fry until golden brown in color. Add ginger garlic paste and fry along for a minute. Using a slotted spoon transfer it all to a platter.
4. In the same pan with the remaining oil add the marinating chicken pieces and stir fry for 3-5 minutes until no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon remove the chicken to a platter. Cover and keep aside.
5. In a blender container, add the fried onion+ginger garlic paste, soaking khuskhus along with water, groundnut paste, coconut milk, green chillies and blend into a smooth puree. Add yogurt and blend again into a smooth paste.
6. Pour this paste into the saucepan, along with the nuts puree if using, and cook at medium high heat until bubbling. Lower the heat and half cover with a lid, cook stirring occasionally for about 10-15mins.
7. Later add coriander powder, black pepper to taste, cardamom powder, salt to taste and garam masla powder. Mix well. Pour in 1/2 cup warm water and add the chicken with all its juices. Gently mix. Cover and let cook on simmer for about 20 minutes, until done. The gravy should be fairly thick in consistency. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Before I sign off for today, many congratulations to Priya of Akshayapatram on winning the Best Indi Foodblog Award 2008 at Indibloggies!

Cheers,
Mona