Murgh Samosa – Chicken Samosa

This Ramadan I am addicted to my sisters handmade chicken samosas.

Murgh Samosa – Chicken Samosa

Seriously they are the best I have even eaten. And they are super simple to make. You can make ahead the chicken filling which gets ready quicky and just before iftaar, use the samosa wraps, fill them all up and deep fry.

Murgh Samosa – Chicken Samosa

Ingredients:

Chicken Breast Meat – Minced – 2 lbs
Red Chilli Powder – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Juice of 2 lemons
Cilantro and Mint – finely chopped, 3 tbsp
Egg white from one large egg
Frozen Samosa wraps
Canola oil to deep fry

Method:
1. In a pan, add oil and as soon as it is warm, add the chicken mince, red hilli powder, salt, turmeric powder and giniger garlic paste. Mix it all together, cover, and keep stirring once in a while and let it cook until the chicken is done, about 20 minutes.  Add lemon juice, ciantro and mint and garam masala and mix. Keep aside, and let it cool. You can even freeze it for future use in small portions. Just thaw for a few hours before you plan to make the samosas.
2. Thaw the frozen samosa wraps according to instructions. Brush some water on both sides of the wraps to make it pliable. Form a cone by making triangular folds as you till you have only fold left. In the cone section, spoon the filling. Seal the final flap using water and flour paste to seal the edges. Watch out for open corners and seal using the flour paste. Repeat for all wraps.
3. In a large pan, heat oil on high. Reduce the flame to medium when the oil is hot.
4. In a bowl, add the egg white and just lightly whip it using a fork. Dip each samosa into the egg white and drop it into the hot oil. Repeat using all samosas. Using a slotted spoon remove the samosa from oil into a mesh strainer once they are golden brown on all sides. Enjoy the samosa along with your favorite chutney or as is.

Note: You can also bake the samosas instead of deep frying them. Just lightly coat them all with a little bit of oil, and bake them for 10-12 mins at 350°F until golden brown. You can also skip them step of dipping them in egg white if you prefer so.

This recipe is my contribution to my very own Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival 2012 (Season IV) that I hosting on my blog, and also to the Joy From Fasting ToFeasting – V that Lubna is hosting on her blog.

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

Minty Bean Salad

My mint pot is brimming with fresh mint in abundance. I was thinking of ways to use up those fragrant leaves in ways possible. And what better way to enjoy its freshness than in a salad.

Mint growing profusely in pot outdoors on deck

Canned beans are a pantry staple for me. I use them frequently in soups and salads. During this season of outdoor barbecues, this no-cook, colorful, quick to throw together and crowd pleasing salad makes for a great entree. You can also serve this salad during Ramadan at Iftaar, or as a light lunch along with boiled eggs if you desire.

Substitute the red kidney beans with whatever beans you like, for example: chickpeas, black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, lima beans, black eye beans, etc or a can of mixed beans.

Minty Bean Salad
Serves: 4

Canned Red Kidney Beans – a 175 ml can
Tomato – 1, medium, finely chopped
Fresh Mint leaves – 1/2 cup, tightly packed, finely chopped
Red onion – 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Juice of a Lime
Small Green Chilli – 2, finely chopped
Black pepper powder and Salt – to taste

Refreshing Minty Bean Salad

Method:

Drain and rinse the canned beans in a colander to remove excess sodium. In a mixing bowl add the drained beans along with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Let it sit for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Shake it every now and then. Serve it chilled.

Note: You can also use dried beans if you desire which you will have to soak overnight and then boil till tender the next day.

And here’s one question for all my readers. What do you all usually prepare using fresh Mint/Pudinah leaves. If you have any interesting recipes, please send them to me. I would love to try.

Luv,
Mona

Tarkari ki Biryani

I was immensely thrilled to learn just a few months back during this last Ramadan that Haleem is the first Hyderabadi delicacy to be granted the Geographical Indication Certificate (GI status) along the lines of the famous Tirupati laddu, Darjeeling tea, Goan feni and Banarasi silk. So it will only be referred to as ‘Hyderabadi Haleem’ from now on. How cool is that. I wish that Biryani and many other such iconic dishes of the city too get the recognition as soon as possible.

Biryani is a dish of royalty, of the nizams of the Hyderabad and the Moghuls, known for its cooking method, delicate flavor, heavenly aroma and the use of many spices in the right proportion. In Persian “Birian” means ‘fried before cooking’. There exist two kinds of Biryani, the non-vegetarian and the vegetarian versions. I have already blogged about both the kachchi (raw) and pakki (cooked) method of the Chicken and Mutton Biryani. You can find the recipes here. Apart from the Hyderabadi Biryani, many other versions also do exist, like the Iranian Biryani, the Khaibari Biryani (from Afghanistan) and Pakistani Biryani, all with a few regional variations that change with religion, geography and culture, but all under the same name Biryani. Today Hyderabadi Biryani caters to palates all over the world.

Chopped Mixed Vegetables

Like I had mentioned in my last post, I love to prepare traditional dishes like Nihari, Biryani and Haleem during the cold season. So the last weekend, I prepared Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani along with Tomato Chutney as the main course for a dinner party.

Tarkari in Urdu language means vegetables. Just like the non-vegetarian version, the vegetarian version is just as ambrosial and a delightful crowd pleaser. All my guests loved it. I do not know how I missed writing about this Biryani all this while. So without further ado, for all those who were waiting for the Hyderabadi version of the Vegetable Biryani, here goes. Following is my Ammi’s recipe.

Hyderabadi Tarkari ki Biryani – Vegetable Biryani
Serves: 6- 7

Ingredients:

Fragrant long grained Basmatic Rice – 3 cups
Warm milk – 3/4 cup
Saffron strands – two pinches
Canola oil – 5 tbsp (or Ghee)
Yellow Onions – 2, large, finely sliced
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Long Green chillies – 2, each slit lengthwise and chopped into half
Mixed Vegetables – large cauliflower florets, large broccoli florets, carrots cut into 2″ long thick sticks, capsicum (any color) cut into long and thin strips, green beans cut into 2″ long pieces, boiled/frozen green peas, quartered potatoes, quartered firm red tomatoes – 5 cups
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Red Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 4 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Cilantro – 1/2 cup, loosely packed, roughly chopped
Yogurt – 250 ml, 1 cup
Caraway seeds/Shahzeera – 1 tsp
Dried Bay leaf – 2
Cloves – 4
Green cardamoms – 5
Mint leaves – 1 cup, loosely packed, roughly chopped

Tarkari Biryani – Vegetable Biryani

Method:

1. Wash the rice in several changes of water and let soak in cool surplus water in a vessel.
2. In a small cup, pour in warm milk and saffron strands. Keep aside.
3. In a large and wide saucepan, add oil and as soon as it warms up add the sliced onions and fry them while stirring frequently until evenly golden brown in color. Remove the pan from heat and using a slotted spoon transfer half of the fried onion into a platter and reserve for garnish.
4. In the same saucepan, add the cumin seeds, ginger-garlic paste and green chillies, stir fry for a minute. Immediately add all the mixed vegetables. Also add red chilli powder, 1 1/2 tsp of salt and turmeric powder and chopped cilantro. Mix well very gently. Increase the heat to high and let the vegetables sear. Give the vegetables a stir every two minutes, until they get seared on all sides. Now add the yogurt and mix. Lower the heat to medium high and let cook covered for 3-5 minutes. Once the vegetables are cooked, (but not mushy) (do not overcook the vegetables) (pierce a knife into a potato and check if it is done) uncover and cook on high while stirring whenever required until the vegetables are almost dry. Keep aside.
5. In a large heavy bottomed vessel pour in surplus water and add shahzeera, dried bay leaf, cloves, green cardamoms and cover with a lid. Let it come a rolling boil. Once boiling, drain the soaking rice and add to the boiling water. Let it cook until the rice if half done. Once done, drain the rice and keep ready. Now starts the layering process of the Biryani. Working quickly, in the same vessel, add half of the drained rice. Now add the cooked mixed vegetables. Spread over the rice evenly. Now spread the reserved fried onions meant for garnish, and the chopped mint leaves evenly over the vegetables. Next, arrange the left over rice evenly covering the vegetables. Lastly, pour evenly the saffron milk. Cover the vessel properly with aluminium foil or a tight lid (with vents closed with dough if any) so that no steam can escape. You can also apply dough to seal the lid which is the traditional method.
6. Cook the Biryani on high for 2 minutes. You will notice that a good amount of steam has built up, which is called as the pehli bhaap, meaning first steam. Then take a flat dosa tawa and keep it below the vessel (so that the bottom does not burn and it slow cooks evenly) and lower the heat to simmer and let it slow cook for 30 minutes, until done. Remove from heat. Let the Biryani sit for 15 minutes before serving. Dig a spoon into the vessel and gently mix the Biryani. Serve on a platter. For a special touch, garnish with more fried onions, finely chopped cilantro and mint leaves, toasted/fried almonds or cashewnuts or pinenuts or raisins.

Serve this Biryani along with Mirchi Ka Salan or Baghare baingan or Tamatar ki Chutney or plain and simple Dahi ki Chutney for a sumptuous Hyderabadi meal.

Note:
1. You can also add chopped paneer cubes, sliced mushrooms, and soy nuggets along with the vegetables.
2. Brocolli is not usually added to the Biryani, I added it because I love it.

Luv,
Mona