Ramadan Mubarak and Peach Raspberry Jam

Masjid-al-Haram, the holy mosque in Makkah, Saudi Arabia

The crescent moon of the month of Ramadan has been sighted and starting tomorrow is the most blessed month in Islam~Ramadan. On this occasion I send my greetings to Muslims all over the world.

Ramadan Kareem to all. May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) grant us closeness to Him, forgiveness from sin and reverence for His Word in this month of Fard. May Allah(سبحانه وتعالى)  accept our Siam (Fasting) and our Qiam (Traweeh prayers). Ameen.

Raspberries in my Garden

Almost three years back I had bought three little raspberry canes from the local garden center and planted them in a little patch in the backyard of my home.

Raspberries in my Garden

Little did I think that after just a few years these plants would multiply and grow into thick bushes as tall as I am and I would have an abundant supply of raspberry come summer every year mashallah.

Raspberries from my Garden

I love berries of all sorts, unlike my hubby who says that berries have a tart flavor. But I love to enjoy fruit of the season, tart or not, and they are so beautiful to look at. Who can resist them.

Fresh Ontario Peaches

So the other day, after harvesting my plants, I had quite a lot of raspberries. And after a visit to the local farmers market, I also had almost a ton of fresh Ontario peaches.

Fresh Ontario Peaches

Fragrant, juicy, sweet and blush-red colored, they are my absolutely favorite stone fruits. So, what better way to use them up than to make an easy yet quick jam with beautiful flavors that screams summer.

Peach Raspberry Jam

Ingredients:

Ripe Fresh Peaches – 6, washed
Raspberries – 1 cup, washed
Granulated Sugar – 3/4 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Peach Raspberry Jam

Method:

1. Slice peaches and discard pits. (Optional: You can also peel the peaches if you want)
2. Add the sliced peaches and raspberries to a blender container and blend until smoothly pureed. (Optional: You can strain this puree if you want a clear jam)
3. In a saucepan, add the puree and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and add sugar and lemon juice. Mix well. Keep stirring occasionally and simmer gently for another 20-30 minutes. To test if the jam is ready, drop a heaping teaspoonful onto a plate and slightly tilt the plate. The jam should not run off, but cling and slowly glide down. If the jam isn’t ready, put it back on the heat for a while. Once done, spoon the jam into sterilized jars and refrigerate to store.

Sending this to Meeta’s Monthly Mingle:Stone Fruit event hosted this month by Sukaina of Sips and Spoonful.

And not to forget, do remember to send your entries to ‘The Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival Event – Season III‘ that I am hosting this Ramadan on my blog. Click here to go through the details of the event.

Luv,
Mona

Announcing ‘Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival 2011′ (Season III)

With just about 15 days to go for the blessed month of Ramadan to commence, its time yet again for me to announce the Season III of ‘The Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival 2011′ on my blog. May Allah SWT shower mercy upon us, bless and forgive us all, and bring us all closer to Him and to each other inshallah, Ameen.

The logo for the event is as follows:

The rules of the event are listed below:

1. From now until Eid-ul-Fitr 2011, prepare traditional Hyderabadi recipes that are savored during Ramadan at both Iftaar and Suhur, and also at the day of Eid-ul-Fitr (snacks, curries, one-dish meals etc) and post about it on your blog.
2. There is no limit to the number of entries per person. You can even update old posts on your blog with a link to this announcement page in order to send me your entries. Please provide a link to this announcement page in your post and feel free to use the logo.
3. Send me your entries at zaiqaDOTmonaATgmailDOTcom with the following details:

  • Your name
  • Your blog name/title
  • Name of the entry
  • URL of your post
  • A photo of the recipe (300 pixels wide)

4. If you do not have a blog, you can still participate by emailing me the recipe, along with the other details mentioned above.
5. The last day to send me your entries is Eid-ul-Fitr 2011 which falls on August 31 2011 (depends on moon sighting)

Let us all celebrate Ramadan and share the traditional Hyderabadi delicacies especially prepared during this holy month with the world. I look forward to you entries and will post a round up in the first week of September 2011 right after the Eid-ul-Fitr inshallah.

To go through previous seasons of this event, please visit this page.

Luv,
Mona

Pudina aur Khopra ki Chutney

I simply adore mint leaves. Its clean citrusy taste, refreshing aroma and artistic curly rich green colored leaves, all make me fall in love with it over and over again. I wait for spring/summer time every year so as to plant mint outdoors in pots. It grows easily and vigorously once established and provides me with fresh leaves all summer.

Mint from my garden

The Arabic name for mint is ‘nanaa’. The mint from the holy city of Madinah is famous for its strong and wonderful aroma. During visits to Madinah one can see people selling fresh mint leaves at every corner. The mint is kept fersh covered under wet hessian cloths. Mint that doesnt get sold is dried under the hot sun and sold. People of Madinah enjoy mint as a mouth refreshner, or in teas or in their food.

Clockwise from top: Mint leaves, Dessicated Coconut, Phulay Chane

The below verison is a mild chutney with use of phulay chane and coconut in it. I enjoy this chutney along with idli, dosa, evening snacks, or as a dipping sauce for sandwiches.

Pudina aur Khopra ki Chutney – Mint and Coconut Chutney

Phulay Chane – 1/8 cup
Dessicated Coconut/Khopra – 1/4 cup
Roasted Cumin seed/Zeera powder – 1/4 tsp
Small Green Chillies/Hari mirch – 4-5, chopped
Tamarind – walnut sized seedless ball (or) Lemon/Lime juice – 2 tbsp
Fresh Mint leaves/Pudina – 1 cup
Salt – to taste
Ginger – 1/4 inch piece
Garlic – 2 pods
Tempering/Baghaar:
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds/Rai – 1/2 tsp
Dried red chillies/Baghaar ki mirch – 2, each broken into small pieces
Curry leaves – 4-5, chopped

Method:

1. In a blender, add the first nine ingredients. Pour in a little bit of water to aid in the grinding process and grind until smoothly pureed. Pour the prepared chutney into a serving bowl.
2. Prepare baghaar/tempering: In a pan at medium high heat, pour oil and as soon as it warms up add the mustard seeds, broken dried red chillies and chopped curry leaves. Immediately remove from heat and pour this baghaar hot and hissing into the chutney and mix well. Serve along with your favorite snacks. Store the left over if any in the refrigerator for upto a week.

On a different note, Megha from the ‘Food Food Maha Challenge Muqabla’ show that will be telecast on Food food channel had contacted me as they are looking for participants. She says:

“The show is about the competition between male and female cooks and Madhuri Dixit willl be representing the female cook and Sanjeev Kapoor will represent the male cook.The judge of the show is Mr. Sanjeev Kapoor . If any one is interested you can call on 02242769017 between 11 am to 6 pm.
The auditions dates are:
8th July Mumbai
10th July Nagpur
14th July Delhi
17th July Kolkata
20th july Hyderabad
You can also drop a mail at foodfood.mahachallengemuqabla@gmail.com”

This is a great opportunity to participate in a cooking show. If any one is interested, do contact her.

Luv,
Mona

Aloo aur Gosht ki Tahari

One dish meals are a savior. In today’s revved up life, they are a time, fuel saver, and cleanup is a breeze. Tahari is one such balanced and nutritious one pot family meal that is very often cooked in Hyderabadi homes.

Aloo aur Gosht ki Tahari – Spiced Basmati Rice with Potatoes and Lamb meat

Tahari might be called as a cousin of Biryani. During the process of Biryani preperation, the meat and rice are layered and then cooked on dum (slow heat) in one pot. Whereas in Tahari, once the meat is cooked, water is poured to the meat and then rice is added and cooked along. There is no layering process in Tahari as in Biryani. The ration of water:rice has be perfect for a well cooked Tahari, or else you end up with a mushy mess.

There are two kinds of Tahari: 1. Minced meat+Rice Tahari; 2. Lamb meat with bones+Rice Tahari. Today I am writing about the latter one. The previous kind I have already blogged a while earlier. Adding tomatoes to Tahari is optional. I have always seen both my Ammi and my Mother in law add tomatoes to Tahari, but there are some that do not suggest it. I prefer to add tomatoes as it gives a nice flavor to the dish that I love. However you can avoid adding tomatoes if you want.

Aloo aur Gosht ki Tahari – Spiced Basmati Rice with Potatoes and Lamb meat

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice – 3 cups
Canola oil – 1/2 cup
Onions – 2 cups, sliced
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Salt – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Mint leaves – 1/2 cup, loosely packed, finely chopped
Cilantro – 1/2 cup, loosely packed, finely chopped
Red chilli powder – 2 tbsp
Tomatoes – 2, large, diced
Potatoes – 2, large, quartered
Yogurt – 1 cup, lightly whisked
Lamb meat with bones – 650 gms
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Juice of a Lime

Method:

1. In a vessel, add rice and wash it in 2-3 changes of fresh cool water. Then, soak it in surplus fresh cool water for about 30 minutes while you prepare the following meat preparation.
2. In a pressure cooker at medium high heat pour in oil and as soon as it warms up, add the sliced onions. Stir fry them until they are golden brown in color. Add ginger garlic paste and fry along for a minute. Add red chilli powder, salt, chopped tomatoes, chopped mint and cilantro and turmeric powder and mix well. Cook for 2-5 minutes until the tomatoes are mushy. Add the lightly whisked yogurt and keep stirring for a minute. Add the quartered potatoes and mix. Let cook covered until the potatoes are tender (test using a fork) and oil has separated. Add the lamb meat with bones and mix well. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Cover with the lid and pressure cook until the meat is tender. Open the lid and add garam masala powder and lime juice. Let the mixture cook until oil separates. Now pour in about 4 cups of water, close the lid, increase the heat and let it come to a boil.
3. Drain the soaking rice and keep it ready.
4. As soon as the meat mixture begins to boil, add the drained rice and gently mix. Let it come to a boil again. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cover with a lid. Let it cook till very little water remains. Keep checking it every now and then, and give a gentle stir everytime. Add a few splashes of water if you feel you need more water for the rice to cook. Once the water is mostly dried up, close the heat, but leave the saucepan on the hot stove so that a nice steam forms. Let the dish rest for 15-30 minutes. Serve warm along with a pickle or papad.

Note: You can even lightly fry the quartered potatoes before you add to the dish. I prefer not to.

Luv,
Mona