Ande ka Meetha

At the very onset, I wish all my dear Indians, a very happy Republic Day! Mera Bharat Mahaan!

During my childhood, somedays when suddenly cravings for this meetha would tingle my dear Papa’s taste buds, he would roll up his sleeves and get ready to prepare his favorite dessert, Ande ka Meetha (also referred to as Ande ka Halwa or Ande ke Lauz). My Ammi preferred it, because the preperation of this delicious dessert involves a rigorous stirring throughout the process which required a manly strength.

Papa often used to prepare this meetha in the winter months so that we get to enjoy it the season long. Crumbly, sweet with a taste of eggs and milk solids roasted in ghee, this meetha will surely become of your favorites.

So, here’s the recipe for Ande ka Meetha. Today I prepared a small quantity of this meetha, according to the instructions my Papa gave me on phone this morning. Love you Papa, this is for you!

Ande ka Meetha – Crumbly Egg Squares Dessert

Ingredients:

Milk – 500 ml
Home-made Khoa – 200 gms (or equal quantity milk powder)
Eggs – 6, large
Granulated white sugar – 250 gms (1 cup) (you can add more if you want)
Green cardamom/Elaichi powder – 1/2 tsp
Home-made Ghee – 125 ml (1/2 cup)

Method:

1. In a saucepan, boil milk. Once boiling, add the khoa and let it dissolve. Keep stirring continuously and let the milk cook until the amount is reduced to 500 ml, and the khoa has completely dissolved and the milk has slightly thickened. Remove from heat and let it cool.
2. Once the cooked milk+khoa is cool, pour into a mixing bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and whisk using a fork until well blended.
3. In a thick bottomed non-stick saucepan at medium heat, add the above whisked mixture and cook it stirring continuously throughout. It takes about one hour of continuous stirring throughout the process at medium heat to cook this meetha. After every 10 minutes you will start observing the changes, first the mixture becomes thick, then it starts leaving sides and comes together, then it becomes dryer and dryer with a change in color, then it begins to get granular and browner as you keep roasting it.

Ande ka Meetha

Now is the time to remove the mixture into a thali or a flat platter/tray greased with a bit of ghee. Using the back of a spoon, immediately flatten it clean, and cut it into squares using a greased knife of pizza cutter. Garnish with varq and let it cool completely and store in air tight food storage boxes in the refrigerator. It keeps well for a long time.

Luv,
Mona

Fish Maheqalya

Hyderabad does not boast of many seafood preparations. However come rainy season or the winter, we hyderabadis love to prepare a few very special close to heart dishes that are very specific to the Hyderabadi trpe of cooking. Today I am writing about one such fish curry. One of my most favorite fish curries, Machli ka Maheqalya, never fails to remind me of my grandmother. She used to prepare the most delicious Maheqalya ever.

Red Snapper Steaks

I usually prepare a mutton maheqalya or a fish maheqalya. Maheqalya is basically a sauce made with a range or aromatic spices and seasonings. It is a regional recipe from the city of Hyderabad usually prepared by Muslims. If you do not like fish or mutton, you can add add boiled eggs to the sauce to make it ando ka maheqalya, or you can also add sautéed bitter gourd rounds into the gravy for karelon ka maheqalya, or just opo squash pieces for kaddu ka maheqalia.

A perfect accompaniment to Maheqalya is Khadi dal and rice. My Ammi used to prepare and serve this for lunch or dinner usually on Jummah during my childhood.

Machli ka Maheqalya ~ Fish Maheqalya

Ingredients:

White/Yellow Onion – 2, large, sliced thick
Groundnut/Moomphalli – 3 tbsp, ground into a fine powder
Dry Desiccated Coconut – 3 tbsp
White poppy seeds/Khuskhus – 1 tbsp
Sesame seeds/Till – 3 tbsp
Tomatoes – 3, large, red and ripe, roughly chopped
Canola oil – 4 tbsp
Curry leaves – 1 or 2 fresh sprigs
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Dried red chillies/Baghaar ki mirch – 3, each broken into two
Dry Roasted Coriander seed powder – 1 tsp
Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Tamarind paste – 2 tbsp
Red Snapper steaks – 5-6 steaks (I had a medium sized red snapper cut into steaks) (preferred fish are rohu and murrel which are easily available in India, or you can also use salmon (wild) or king fish or any that you like with or without bones)
Cilantro/Kothmir – 1 tbsp, chopped finely

Machli ka Maheqalya ~ Fish Maheqalya

Method:

1. Take a large heavy bottom non-stick skillet on medium heat, and pour a tablespoon of oil into it. As it gets warm, add the sliced onions and a teaspoon of salt. Mix well and half cover with the lid. After 2-3 minutes, give a good stir to the onions, add 1/4 cup of water, and again half cover it with lid. Keep repeating this until the onions are all soft and browned evenly. Remove the pan from heat, and let them cool down. Once cooled, add the chopped tomatoes and the caramelized onions into a blender container or food processor and blend till pureed smooth adding a few drops of water if necessary, just to aid in the process. Keep aside.
2. Put a small non-stick frying pan on medium heat and dry-roast the groundnuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, shredded coconut, khuskhus each individually without oil till they are golden brown in colour. Do not burn them. Remove them into a cup (you can dry roast a handful of almonds and cashewnuts and grind them together along if you want a richer gravy). Once cool, grind them all together or individually until very fine. Make sure the obtained spice powder is very fine.
3. Take a large non-stick heavy bottomed saucepan and add a tablespoon of oil to it and put it on medium heat, add oil and keep it on medium high heat. Add cumin seeds, dried red chillies, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds to the oil and let them splutter. Now add the onion+tomato paste to it and cover the lid immediately for 3-5 minutes and remove the saucepan from heat, so that the aroma of the tempered oil with spices gets absorbed by the onion mixture. Remove the lid, put the saucepan back on stove and add the ginger-garlic pastes to it and stir to mix it all completely. Add the spice powder which we prepared earlier, the red chilli powder, salt and turmeric and stir it well. Lower the heat to medium low and let cook until it starts leaving oil. Pour in about 3 cups of water, and add the tamarind paste and give it a stir. Close the lid and increase the heat and let it come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and gently lower the fish steaks into the gravy. Let it cook half covered for 15 minutes until the fish is done. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve warm.

Luv,
Mona

Chicken 65

A quick, yummy and irresistible chicken stir fry~Chicken 65 is a famous Hyderabadi appetizer served at parties and easily available at most of the restaurants and food stalls in Hyderabad city. Please do not ask me why is it called Chicken 65, I have no idea about it.

There exist many versions of this dish, and today I am posting my version. I also make a dry version with no sauce, and just the baghaar/tempering. Inshallah I will post it in the future sometime. For now, you can prepare this simple dish and impress your loved ones.

Chicken 65

Serve Chicken 65 along with Rumali rotis. If you cannot buy or prepare Rumali roti, just heat a thin tortilla on a flat griddle until nicely toasted on both sides and enjoy.

Note: Normally, the chicken 65 that is served back home in Hyderabad is fiery red in color, that is because red color is added to it. I do not add color to food and hence the different color.

Chicken 65

Boneless Chicken – 500 gms, cut into bite size cubes, washed and drained (you can also use chicken with bone if you want)
For Batter:
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 1/2 tbsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
Egg white – 1, large
Cornflour – 1 tbsp
Canola oil – to deep fry
For Baghaar:
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Black Mustard seeds – 1/2 tbsp
Green chillies – 10, small, each slit into two
Curry leaves – 20-25 fresh
Yogurt – 1/3 cup, lightly stirred until smooth
Tomato Ketchup – 3 tbsp
Soya sauce – 2 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
For Garnish:
Fried cashew nuts – roughly chopped
Cilantro – roughly chopped
Onion rings
Baby carrots
Sliced cucumbers
Shredded lettuce leaves
Lemon wedges

Method:

1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add all the ingredients for the batter except egg and cornflour and and mix well. Add the chicken cubes and gently combine. Cover and let the chicken marinate for 1 or 2 hours. Later, bring the chicken back to room temperature and add cornflour and egg. Mix well. Deep fry the chicken pieces in hot oil for not more than 3 minutes in batches. Drain the fried chicken in a wire mesh strainer for the extra oil to drain off  and keep aside until all are done.
2. In a mixing bowl, add yogurt, tomato ketchup, soya sauce and red chilli powder and mix well. Keep aside.
3. For baghaar/tempering, in a frying pan at medium high heat, add oil and as soon as it is warm add the cumin seeds and the mustard seeds. As the seeds begin to pop, remove the pan from heat and add the green chillies and curry leaves. Stir fry and let the pan cool down. Once the pan is slightly cool, add the stirred yogurt mixture and mix well. (if you add curd in hot pan the curd will curdle). Transfer the pan to the stove and keep stirring continuously at medium heat. Once boiling, add the fried chicken and mix well. Cover with a lid and let cook for 5-10 minutes. Keep stirring ever once in a while. Serve Chicken 65 on a platter garnished with fresh cilantro, fried cashew nuts, lemon wedges, lettuce leaves, cucumber slices, baby carrots and onion rings.

Luv,
Mona

Classic Strawberry Jam

During season, when strawberries are seen flooding the market and are available at reasonable rates, I buy large stocks and freeze a few batches to work with them later on. This way I can enjoy them year long, even when they are not in season.

frozen strawberries in a zip-lock bag

To freeze fresh Strawberries: Wash the strawberries and drain them. Remove the leaves and spread them out on a kitchen towel for 30-45 minutes so that they air dry. Then, spread them on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze them for 2-3 hours. Once frozen, transfer the strawberries to a zip-lock bag and remove as much air as possible from the bags and seal them air tight. Freeze the frozen strawberries in the bags until needed.

Classic Strawberry Jam

Ingredients:

Strawberries – 850 gms (around 1.8 pounds), fresh/frozen
Granulated sugar – 2 cups
Lemon juice – 2 tbsp
Butter – 1 tbsp

Strawberry jam

Method:

Cut off the top stalk part of the frozen/fresh strawberries. In a large glass mixing bowl, add the frozen strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Mix well and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Later, transfer it all to a food processor and pulse just until the strawberries are just chopped. DO NOT MAKE A PUREE. Transfer this to a saucepan, and bring to a boil and high heat, once boiling let cook at medium heat for 30-45 minutes or until a jam consistency is reached. Add butter to reduce the foam. Keep stirring and keep a close eye on it. During the last 15 mins, lower the heat to medium low. Remove from heat once done. Spoon the prepared jam into a sterilized Mason canning jar ( I recommend using 1 cup jars instead of one large jar for the jam) and seal the jar according to instructions. Once it is at room temperature, refrigerate the jar to store.

Note: This is a preservelike spread and not a true preserve and must be refrigerated to avoid spoilage, because it contains a higher proportion of fruit to sugar and retain more fresh fruit flavor.

Luv,
Mona

Sautéed Broccoli

This year, I am totally in love with the winter. 2010 started with a beautiful, tamed and tolerable winter. The last years winter here was horrible, with harsh snowstorms almost every week and grey skies with the sun gone for a long holiday behind the clouds. Lets just hope that this year along with all the coming years brings to us all good things and cheers us every way inshallah, Ameen.

I also love the market at this time of the year brimming with gorgeous winter vegetables and fruits. Broccoli is one such vegetable that makes it appearance at its best this time of the year.

Sautéed Broccoli

How do I like my broccoli? Simply sautéed along with a dash of fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper in warm oil. Hmm, comfort and nourishment in a bowl.

Bhuni huwi Hari Phool Gobi – Sautéed Broccoli

Canola oil – 2 tsp
Broccoli – 1, large head, cut into florets, washed and drained
Lemon juice – 2 tbsp (or according to taste)
Salt and Black pepper powder, to taste

Method:

Warm a skillet at medium high heat and as soon as it is hot, add broccoli and stir fry until the broccoli is bright green, about a minute or two. The aroma of sautéing broccoli is just amazing! Immediately add the rest of the ingredients and stir fry until broccoli is crisp tender and cooked, about 2-3 minutes more.

I am interested to know, what is Broccoli rightly called in Urdu language?

Luv,
Mona