Qimah Aloo Matar

The weather has not been good at all. Been playing games with us since the temperatures actually started to be in the two digits. Its has suddenly become so very hot, this being just the Spring in Canada and not Summer yet. Weather has been too topsy-turvy for the past two to three weeks, resulting in me catching Flu. It was terrible. Now I feel alright and thank my God for the good health again. It sure is a precious bounty-Good health.

I have not even been cooking since the past few days, but yesterday as I began to feel alright, I prepared Qimah Matar Aloo and had it with some warm Phulkas. It was so good. Good home cooked food is always very comforting and gives solace.

Qimah Aloo Matar – Ground meat with Peas and Potatoes Curry

For this recipe, you can use the ground meat of Veal, Lamb or Goat, whatever is available. It turns out equally delicious and I have tried this recipe with all the above mentioned meats.

Qimah Aloo Matar – Ground meat with Peas and Potatoes Curry

Ingredients:

For Gravy:
Canola/Sunflower Oil – 2 tbsp
Yellow Onion/Pyaz – 3 medium, finely chopped
Tomato – 1, large, chopped
Red Chilli Powder/Lalmirch Powder – 1 tbsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Potato – 2, medium, peeled and quartered
Tomato Ketchup – 2-3 tbsp (I use Heinz) OR Tomato Chilli Sauce – 2-3 tbsp
To Cook Qimah/Ground Meat:
Canola Oil/Sunflower Oil – 2 tbsp
Qimah/Ground Lamb/Veal/Goat meat – 700 gms, washed and drained in a very fine wire mesh strainer
Turmeric Powder/Haldi – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 2 tsp
Soya Sauce – 1 tbsp
Lemon Juice – 4 tbsp
Matar/Frozen green peas – 1/2 to 1/4 cup (if you are using dried green peas, soak them in surplus water a day before, drain and cook until just tender in fresh water)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese – 4 tbsp (optional)

Method:
1. Pour 2 tbsp oil into a non-stick heavy bottomed sauce pan at medium high heat and throw in the finely chopped onions as soon as the oil warms up. Keep stirring them until they are lightly browned.
2. Add the chopped tomato, tomato ketchup, red chilli powder and salt and mix well. Let it cook until it is mushy. Add the quarted potatoes and a little water and close lid for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and keep aside.
3. In an another saucepan, pour the rest of the oil, and add the washed and drained ground meat and let stand for a minute. Stir to break lumps and add turmeric powder, garam masala, soya sauce, lemon juice amd keep stirring until the water starts evaporating and the raw smell of the meat wards off.
4. Pour in the reserved gravy of tomato+onion+potato and mix the whole thing together. Let cook on low heat and when the water has almost evaporated, add frozen peas and give it a stir.
5. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, and serve hot.

Suggested Accompaniments:Serve it hot with Basmati Chawal / Naan/ Afghani Roti, along with a dollop of butter.

Tip: Leftovers? Use up this left over curry as the filling for Samosa for some very delicious Snacks.

Luv,
Mona

Khadi Masoor Ki Dal

Khadi Masoor Ki Dal reminds me of those beautiful sunny and summery Indian breakfasts, that consisted of warm Parathas and Khadi Masoor ki Dal. My Aunt-Mami used to prepare the best Khadi Dal. I always used to request some of it whenever I would go to visit her.

Khadi Masoor Ki Dal, served along with Afghani Roti

Khadi Dal is one very easy side dish that goes well along with Mirchi Ka Salan or Mahekhalya or Andey Ka Khatta Salan, Baghare Baingan and Basmati Chawal for a meal, or just with Parathas for a breakfast or brunch. This recipe is so quick to prepare that it is one of the very first dishes one learns when he/she starts to experiment in kitchen discovering their culinary skills.

You can garnish it with finely chopped cilantro/dhaniya and mint/pudina, or with finely chopped fresh dill/Suvabhaji. It tastes best along with chopped dill, but if unavailable you can also go by the cilantro and mint.

Khadi Masoor Ki Dal – Red Lentils curry
Serves – 4-6

Ingredients:

Split Red Lentils/Masoor Dal – 1 cup
Canola Oil/Sunflower Oil – 2 tbsp
Yellow Onion – 1, small sized, finely sliced
Ginger Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Tomatoes – 1, large, finely chopped
Red Chilli Powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp or to taste
Warm Water – 1 cup, to cook
Warm Water – 2 cups, to soak

for garnish:
Finely chopped Cilantro and Mint – 1 tbsp (or) Finely chopped Dill/Suvabhaji – 1 tbsp

Khadi Masoor Ki Dal – Dry Red Lentils

Method:

  • Wash the lentils well in a strainer till water runs clean and soak them in a bowl of warm water-to soak for about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a pan on medium high heat, pour in oil and as soon it warms up add the sliced onions and stir fry them till they are golden brown in color.
  • During this time, drain the soaking dal and throw away the water.
  • Lower the heat and add ginger garlic paste, fry for a minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Mix well. Add the drained dal and mix it well with a spoon. Pour in the warm water to cook and give it a stir. Cover the lid of the pan and let it cook on medium heat till a nice steam has formed inside. Keep an eye on it as soon as the dal is done remove it from heat (You can add a few drops of water and stir to mix gently if needed if the dal is still undone)
  • Garnish it with fresh finely chopped dill(Suvabhaji) or fresh finely chopped cilantro and mint. Serve immediately.

Suggested Accompaniments: Mahekhalya or Andey Ka Khatta Salan or Baghare Baingan or Mirchi Ka Salan and Basmati Chawal, or Parathas..

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

Luv,
Mona

Adraki Murgh

Today is the first official day of Spring here and the forecast nowhere shows such signs. It will be remaining cloudy with a few showers of snow and the temperatures remaining in ‘minus’ for some more time. There are a few signs of sun only the next week, which again are not very consistent. I hope Spring arrives very soon. Winter has been too beautiful, loved it so much, but i admit it gave many problems to my dear hubby.. the shoveling, the problem with car and snow troubled him a lot. I am waiting for spring, then summer, mainly because i can take my grill out, and also plant a little vegetable garden inshallah. So looking forward to it..

Speaking about planting your backyard with plants and herbs, ginger is the simplest. Whenever i see some rhizomes with buds, i just plant them in a pot, keep it well watered, and in some time i see the pot full of ginger rhizome. It comes very useful to me, and it keeps fresh in the soil.

Adraki Murgh – Ginger Chicken

I prepared this dish with these fresh ginger rhizomes. And it is also one of the quick non-vegetarian dishes that i prepare quite often in my house. Today i share with you the procedure of how i prepare Ginger Chicken. I believe the flavor of chicken goes very well along with ginger. They are made for one another. The sharp pungent taste of ginger, the sweet flavor of onion, and chicken is this dish is perfectly delectable. Irf loves this dish.

Adraki Murgh – Ginger Chicken

Serves:6-8

Ingredients:

To Marinate-

  • Chicken Boneless Breast Meat/Murgh – 800 gms, washed, pat dried and cubed into bite size pieces
  • Ginger juliennes – 3 tbsp
  • Garam Masala – 2 tsp
  • Yogurt/Dahi – 3 tbsp
  • Red Chilli Powder/Lal Mirch Powder – 2 tsp
  • Salt/Namak – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric/Haldi – 1/3 tsp

Other Components-

  • Cloves/Laung – 3
  • Canola/Sunflower Oil – 3 tbsp
  • Curry leaves (fresh) – 6-8
  • Yellow Onion – 1, large, thinly sliced
  • Scallions/Hari Pyaz – chopped, for garnishing
  • Ginger juliennes – 1 tbsp

Method:

  • In a bowl or a resealable plastic bag, marinate the chicken with the ingredients under the heading ‘To Marinate’. Let the chicken marinate for about 2-4 hours in the refrigerator. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature atleast an hour befor you plan to cook it. (Remember this always)
  • Later, heat oil in a non-stick heavy bottomed pan at medium high heat and throw in the cloves and thinly sliced onions. Stir fry it till the onion is lightly browned. Add the curry leaves and saute it for just a minute more.
  • Add the marinated chicken and mix it well with the sauteed onion mixture. Close the lid for about 15 minutes. Later, open the lid and stir it gently, being careful not to break the tender chicken pieces.
  • Let it cook uncovered for a little more time, till it is quite dry. Garnish with the ginger juliennes and spring onions.

Suggested Accompaniments: Parathas or Naan or Pulao..

Luv,
Mona

Kothmir aur Pudina Ki Chutney

This is one of the most cherished recipes very close to my heart. I love this chutney immensely, and it goes very well along with almost all snacks like pakode, samosas, bhajiye, and tastes heavenly especially along with Khichdi. It has got all the goodness in it. I remember, my beloved Dadi (Grandmother) always used to ask a second helping of this chutney.. some times more than once! Memories are always associated with food.. many many memories with each and every dish on your table and I know everyone can agree with that.

I cherish this recipe because this is my humble mother’s recipe which was taught to her by her mother. My Nani (Grandmother) is a very nice soul, she is a great cook too. Now, but due to age, both my Nani and Dadi, my paternal and maternal grandmothers cannot cook much today, but I can always ask them for the treasured tips, and recipes which are priceless to me.

Hara Dhaniya aur Pudine Ki ChutenyCoriander and Mint Chutney

I have slightly modified the recipe here, and used thai red chillies too. They are optional. Use them if you like, you can substitute them by adding a few more green chillies depending how spicy you want this chutney to be. Also, you can add a few roasted groundnuts to the Chutney, makes it more flavorful, but here I haven’t.

Store this Chutney in an airtight small glass jar in the refrigerator for upto a week.

Hara Dhaniya aur Pudine Ki Chutney – Coriander and Mint Chutney

Ingredients:

Fresh Cilantro/Kothmir/Hara Dhaniya – 1 cup, packed tightly, washed and dried on paper towels, roughly chopped along with the tender stems
Fresh Mint Leaves/Pudina – 1 cup, packed tightly, washed and dried on paper towels, roughly chopped, only leaves
Garlic pods – 4, large, roughly chopped
Thai Red Chillies – 3, washed and chopped
Green Chillies – 4, washed and chopped
Curry leaves – 6-8, washed
Tamarind ball – without seeds, about the size of a golf ball (or) Tamarind Concentrate – 3 tbsp
Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp
Dry Desiccated Coconut – 1/2 cup
Salt – 1 1/3 tsp or according to taste
Canola/Sunflower Oil – 1/2 tsp

Method:

1. In a non stick pan at medium high heat, pour oil and as it warms up, add the shredded coconut and the sesame seeds, and roast them both together till light brown and aromatic. Let it cool. Keep aside.
2. Put the tamarind ball in a cup of warm water. Once the tamarind pulp is all soft, sieve the pulp and keep it aside.
3. In a blender container put the coriander leaves, mint leaves, garlic pods, red and green chillies, curry leaves, tamarind pulp, sesame seeds, shredded coconut and salt. Blend it till nice and smooth. You can add about half cup of water to aid in the blending if needed.

Serve chilled along with Khichdi, Idli, Dosa, Pakodas, Bhajiyas, Samosas, Croquettes, Kababs, Baghara Chawal, Aloo Paratha.. Or anything you like.

Updated on April 30 ’09: I am sending this Chutney over to Jhiva for Ingredients/JFI event, initiated by Indira originally. I am a great admirer of Indira’s efforts towards inspiring people about Indian Cuisine. Her blog with simple Indian vegetarian recipes is a sea of knowledge. Kudos to her work.
The theme for JFI is the most used asian herb ‘Cilantro’, known for its very aromatic and refreshing flavors, being hosted by Cilantro herself at her blog.

Whenever you are free, listen to this song ‘Luka Chuppi’ from the bollywood movie ‘Rang De Basanti’.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Its a very beautiful, touching, soulful song hindi song, sung by the great Lata Mangeskar and A.R Rahman, never fails to bring tears in my eyes.

Luv,
Mona

Pakki Gosht Ki Biryani, and Dahi Ki Chutney

Dear readers, today I present you with renowned Hyderabadi Lamb Biryani. Biryani is one of the most famous Hyderabadi one-dish meals craved and devoured by people from all over the world. The basic process of preparing Biryani involves the layering of raw marinated or cooked meat along with half cooked long grained aromatic Basmati rice, and a range of fresh spices and herbs for exceptional flavor and aroma.

Basically, there are two kinds of Biryani: Pakki Biryani, and Kachchi Biryani.

Pakki Biryani: where are half Basmati cooked rice is layered along with completely cooked chicken or lamb meat and then cooked till done on slow heat on dum.
1. Pakki Gosht ki Biryani
2. Pakki Murgh Biryani

Kachchi Biryaniwhich is the true Hyderabadi Biryani – where are half cooked Basmati rice is layered along with raw marinated meat and then finished on slow heat till done on dum.
1. Kachchey Gosht ki Biryani
2. Kachche Aqni ki Dum Murgh Biryani

Biryani always reminds me of my wedding, when I wore a very beautiful Khada Dupatta. It was on that day that I had best Biryani ever! This dish is so important in the Hyderabadi Muslim community that it is served along with Mirchi Ka Salan and Baghare Baingan and Dahi Ki Chutney, as the main dish at almost all gatherings, occasions, parties, all kinds of merry making get togethers. Essentially all weddings in Hyderabad are suposed to have Lamb Biryani and Mirchi Ka Salan in the menu.

My lovely sister had prepared this dish on the weekend. We were all in a mood to treat our family and ourselves with something special, and we immediately thought of this dish. What could be a more better meal to delight ourselves than this flavorsome fare.

Gosht Ki Biryani, Dahi Ki Chutney

***

Dahi Ki Chutney – Yogurt Chutney
Makes:One small bowl

Ingredients:

Plain Yogurt (low-fat or full-fat)- 375 ml
Salt – 2/3 tsp or according to taste
Thai Red Chillies – 2, chopped (optional)
Green Chillies – 2, chopped
Yellow Onion – 1, medium, finely chopped
Mint leaves – 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Firm Red Tomato (fresh) – 1, small, deseeded and chopped finely (optional)

Method:

1. To the yogurt in a bowl, add salt and half a cup of water and whip it till smooth, and creamy for approx 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and fold them into the yogurt gently. Adjust salt according to your taste and cover the bowl with a plastic wrap.
3. Put it in the refrigerator to serve it later along with Biryani.

You can store Dahi Ki Chutney in the refrigerator in an air tight food storage box for only one more day in a refrigarator, it doesnt last long. It is always better if you have an idea how much your family memebers will have it and you prepare it in only the required amount.

***

Hyderabadi Dum Pukth Pakki Gosht Ki Biryani – Fragrant Flavored Meat and Rice Casserole
Serves:5-8

Ingredients:

For the Marinade
Canola/Vegetable/Sunflower Oil (or) Butter/Makhan (or) Clarified Butter/Ghee – 90 ml/6 tbsp
Yellow Onion/Pyaz – 2, large, thinly sliced
Lean Lamb leg meat – 1 kg, washed and cubed into 3 cm pieces approx (with bones preferably if available, I have used only boneless here)
Plain Yogurt/Dahi – 500 ml, lightly whipped
Red Chilli Powder/Lal mirch powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Salt/Namak – 1 1/2 tsp
Lemon Juice/Nimbu Ras – 4 tbsp
Garam Masala – 1 tbsp
Turmeric/Haldi – 1/2 tsp
Ginger Garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Water/Meat Stock – 1/2 cup
For the Garnish
Green Chillies/Hari Mirch – 2, each slit into two
Thai Red chillies/Choti Lal Mirch – 2, each slit into two (optional)
Fried Onion reserved for garnish earlier
Mint Leaves/Pudina – 1/2 cup
Cilantro/Kothmir – 1/2 cup
Toasted sliced Almonds/Bareek Kata Badaam – 2 tbsp
Fried Red Raisins and Cashwnuts/Tala-huwa Kishmish – 3 tbsp
Pinch of Saffron threads/Zaafraan soaked in 1/2 cup warm Milk
A dollop of Butter/Makhan or Clarified Butter/Ghee (optional)
For the Rice
Long Grained Basmati Rice/Chawal (preferably ‘Lal Qilla’ Brand) – 4 cups
Salt/Namak – 4 tsp
Black Cumin seeds/Shah Zeera – 1 tsp

Method:

1. Wash and soak the rice in a big bowl for about 30 minutes.
2. In a pressure cooker at medium high heat, fry the onions in oil/butter until they are golden brown in colour. Remove with a slotted spoon on a kitchen towel and reserve half for garnish. Blend the other half in 2 tbsp water inoi a paste.
3. In the same pressure cooker, with oil/butter in it, add the washed cubed meat pieces, Stir fry till the meat has browned on all sides. Add the fried onions paste and the ginger garlic paste and turmeric. Saute them for 2 minutes. Throw in the red chilli powder, salt, garam masala, half cup water, and yogurt. Mix well and pressure cook for about 15-20 minutes until the meat is tender.
4. Meanwhile drain the soaking rice and keep aside. Bring 9 cups of water in a to boil in a large saucepan with Black cumin seeds and salt (do not forget to add salt to the rice!!) in it. As soon as its boiling, add the drained rice and let it cook till the rice grains are just done. Drain and keep aside.
5. Now, open the lid of the cooker and cook the meat mixture well without covering the lid on medium high heat until the meat mixture is done and most of the liquid has dried up. It should be a little bit dry mixture.
Add lemon juice to the meat and mix. Remove from heat.
6. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
7. In a large oven proof baking dish, add half of the rice in a layer at the bottom of the dish. Now add the whole meat mixture in one layer. Then cover it with the remaining rice completely and work gently, try not to break the rice kernels.
8. Garnish the layered rice with the reserved fried onions, mint and coriander leaves, slit red and green chillies, toasted and fried nuts, and sprinkle the milk with saffron threads in it. You can also add a dollop of butter if you wish.
9. Cover the dish with a tight lid or aluminium foil and keep it in the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes, till a nice steam has formed inside.
10. Before serving, dig the spoon into the dish till the base and take the rice and meat in a bowl. mix it and serve it hot.

Tip: Adding salt to the water in which you cook rice is essential, or else the whole taste of Biryani turns upside down. One tip if you have forgotten to add salt to the water while boiling rice is – stir the required amount of salt in a little quantity of hot water, about half cup or a few tablespoons, and pour this on the biryani evenly. Warm the biryani in microwave and serve immediately.

Suggested Accompaniments: Mirchi Ka Salan or Baghare Baingan or Dahi Ki Chutney or Tomato Chutney.

This is my entry for Meeta’s Monthly Mingle-One Dish Dinners

Luv,
Mona