Qubani Ka Meetha

Qubani ka Meetha never fails to reminds me of the grandiose and pompous Hyderabadi weddings. A Hyderabadi gathering is never complete without the presence of this glorious meetha that has become synonym and a glory to the place of Hyderabad.

Qubani Ka Meetha topped with thick cream

Qubani, in Urdu language means Apricot in English. For this particular meetha, only dried apricots are used along with their seeds. The seeds contain kernels inside. The dried apricots are rehydrated in a sugary syrup into a thick compote. I prefer Kashmiri or Afghanistani dried apricots with their seeds to prepare this dessert as I find the dried apricots from Kashmir or Afghanistan very delicious and sweeter in comparision to others.

Dried apricots are high in fibre and proteins. I usually stock up my pantry with a few extra packets of dried apricots as they keep very well in room remperatures.

Anti-Cloclwise from top-Dried apricots, soaked and halved apricots,
its seed, white kernel without skin, and kernel with skin

The amount of sugar you use in the preperation of this dessert depends on the sweeteness of the kind of dried apricots you are using. Be careful before you add sugar, use it according to your tastes.

Qubani Ka Meetha – Apricot Compote

Ingredients:

  • Dried Apricots/Qubani – 400gms (preferably dried naturally)
  • Saffron threads – a pinch (optional)
  • Sugar – 300 gms
  • Thick cream/Custard/Vanilla Ice-cream for serving

Method:

  • Wash and soak the dried apricots overnight in a deep bowl with surplus water so that the water covers them by about 2 inches. The next day, slit the sides of the swelled up apricots to remove their seeds and keep them aside in a cup. Put the slit apricots into a large non-reactive saucepan with the soaking liquid. Add sugar and cover the lid. Let it cook on medium heat for about 20-30 minutes or until the apricots are very soft. Add more hot boiling water if needed. Once the done, let it cool down. (You can even pressure cook for speedy cooking)
  • Meanwhile, crack open the apricots kernels using a nut cracker and soak the badam or nuts in a cup of water to loosen their skin.
  • Once the apricots are cool, pour half of it into a blender container and blend till pureed.
  • Pour the pureed apricots and the other half of the cooked apricots back into the saucepan and let it cook until it has become thick and pasty in consistency. Taste check for sugar. Add more if you need.
  • Remove the skin of the soaking apricot nuts or badam. This should be pretty easy as they have been soaking.
  • Garnish with the badam/nuts and the saffron threads and serve it chilled topped with fresh thick cream, custard or a generous dollop of (Amul) Vanilla ice cream.

Qubani Ka meetha served garnished with nuts

Note: You can use pureed dates instead of sugar for sweetness in this recipe.

It is one of the most simple but incredibly delicious Hyderabadi desserts that you will definitely love and remember always.

Mansi from Fun and Food Cafe has requested me to send this dish to her Vegetarian Thanksgiving event that is hosting on her delicious blog. Mansi, so, here it is.. my recipe all the way to you 🙂

Foodbuzz: A couple of days ago, I recieved a lovely Apron and a Rubber Spatula from Foodbuzz. Thankyou for the genorosity for sending me those gifts. I am enjoying using them in my kitchen everyday.

Luv,
Mona

Tamaton ka Kut

Tamaton Ka Kut (Tamaton is the plural of Tamatar) (Tamatar(singular) is Urdu word for Tomato) is an another classic Hyderabadi dish. I love the rich red colour of this sauce. Who wouldnt like to have a yummy subtly spiced tomato sauce along with pulaos and biryanis.

Tomatoes, with their juicy subtle sweetness enhance the flavor of most of the dishes. I consider tomatoes as one of the most essential ingredients in Indian cooking, next to onions.

I like to have Tamaton Ka Kut a little bit thick in consistency, not too thick though. I do not add too many spices to this dish, and like to have it only along with cumin and coriander seed powders as the main added spices.

Tamaton Ka Kut – Rich Tomato Saucy Curry
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

Tomatoes – 10, large, red and ripe, washed and quartered (or) Canned ground/crushed tomatoes – 596 ml
Besan/Gram Flour – 1/3 cup
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Dry Roasted Cumin Seed Powder – 1 tsp
Dry Roasted Coriander Seed Powder – 1 tsp
Oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin Seeds/Zeera – 1 tsp
Curry Leaves/Karyapaak – 8
Garlic pod/Lahsun –  2, whole, crushed
Dried Red Chillies – 2, each split into two
Fresh Cilantro/Kothmir – 1 cup, finely chopped
Fresh Mint/Pudina
Heavy Cream – a dollop(optional)
Hard boiled Eggs – 4

Tamaton Ka Kut – Rich Tomato Saucy Curry

Method:

  • Put the quartered tomato pieces in a large non-stick sauce pan on medium low heat. Add a cup of water to it, mix, and cover with the lid. Let it cook till the tomatoes are mushy and soft. Keep giving it a stir every once in a while. Let it cool. Once cooled, pour into a blender container and add the gram flour. Blend till pureed. If you are using canned crushed tomato, add the gram flour to it and mix well.
  • Strain this mixture through a wire mesh strainer back into the saucepan. Throw away the left over seeds and skin in the strainer. Add 2 cups water to it and let it cook on simmer.
  • Pour oil into a small frying pan at medium heat and throw in the cumin seeds, whole red chillies, garlic pod and curry leaves when the oil heats up. As they start to splutter, remove from heat and add this to the tomato sauce being cooked in the saucepan.
  • Add the cumin and coriander seed powder, red chilli powder and salt to the sauce and mix well. Bring it to a boil, and let it cook at medium low heat until the raw aroma of gram flour is gone. You can add a little water to it if required. Taste and adjust the salt and chilli powder according your likes.
  • Take the eggs and make light slits on the egg on all 4 sides of it making sure the slits are not deep into the yolk, just on the surface. Add these to the simmering tomato sauce. Cook the tomato sauce until the raw smell of the gram flour is gone, about 30 minutes. Keep stirring it occasionally.
  • Once it is cooked, just before you serve, stir in the chopped cilantro and mint. Pour it into a warm bowl. Drop in a dollop of heavy cream and serve it warm.

Note: For a good dark red colour, add a few tablespoons of canned Tomato paste.

Suggested Accompaniments: It is uaually devoured along with Chinese Fried Rice, Vegetable Biryani or Pulaos as a side dish. WE use this sauce to wet rice when we have it.

Luv,
Mona

Lazeez Murgh Qorma

Murgh Qorma is one dish I and my family cannot live without, because we are pakka Hyderabadis at heart. Its Irf‘s most loved dish. He will rate it ten out of ten all the time.

The masala which forms the base of the gravy consisting of yogurt, ginger-garlic, groundnut, coconut and fried onions and cashew nuts, chironji nuts and almonds, for this classic Hyderabadi dish is first braised/’bhun-na’ until oil floats on top, a technique essential for Qorma preparation, and then in the end, water is added to give it a gravy consistency and the chicken is simmered on low in the creamy fragrant yogurt sauce. Qorma is usually had along with Naan or Rumali Roti. The bread is dipped into the warm sauce, and had with a few bits of Chicken in each morsel.

A typical Hyderabadi menu for an occasion such as marriage will be: Non-Vegatarian or Vegetarian Kababs, or Spring rolls, or Marag as Appetizer; Any Sookha Salan (dry curry) of Chicken or Mutton; or a Chicken or Lamb Qorma (this will be the Patla Salan – gravy curry) with Rumali Roti (Rumali in Urdu language means kerchief, its called so because the roti/flat bread is unbelievably as thin as a kerchief!, it is light and very yummy); a Lamb Biryani or Chicken Biryani along with Mirchi Ka salan; and then a Meetha in the end. Ah! I am missing India and my hometown’s wonderful and mouth watering dishes. I am proud of my native home, Hyderabad for its most illustrious and scrumptious cuisine. Inshallah will post the recipes of each and every recipe here to share with you all, the way I prepare it in my house.

I plan to inshallah someday publish a cookbook of my own where I can write all my recipes, my version of Hyderabadi Cuisine. I have not done much about it at all. This thought and wish always lingers on my mind and I will inshallah definitely be doing something about it. I will need resources for this project though.

Lazeez Murgh Qorma with Parathas in the Milton hot-pot

You can also add heavy cream, cashew nuts, chironji nuts or almonds, shallow fried quartered potatoes, or shallow fried large cauliflower florets to the gravy. But it is optional. You can even omit chicken or lamb/sheep meat only add potatoes and cauliflower instead, to make it ‘Aloo/Potato, or PhoolGobi/Cauliflower Ka Qorma’, a vegetarian version. Or simply make it ‘Malai/Creamy Qorma’, excluding both the meat and vegetables.

Lazeez Murgh Qorma – Chicken Simmered in Fragrant Spiced Coconut-Groundnut-Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients:

Chicken with bone/Boneless Chicken Breast – washed and cubed into bite size pieces, 600 gms
Red Chilli Powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Lemon juice – 1 1/2 tsp
Onions – 4, large, sliced thick into semi circles
Cashewnuts, Chironji nuts and Almonds – 1 tbsp each, soaked in 1 tbsp milk for 30 mins (optional)
Yogurt – 400 ml, lightly beaten
Coconut cream powder – 1 tbsp
Roasted Groundnut paste -1 tbsp
Mint leaves/Pudina – 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Cilantro – 1/2 cup, loosely packed and finely chopped
Green chillies – 3, small sized, finely chopped
Canola oil

Method:

1. Marinate the chicken in ginger-garlic paste and lemon juice mixture for an hour.
2. Take a heavy bottomed non stick saucepan or a cast iron pan on medium heat and once it is warm enough, throw in the thickly sliced onion semi circles with no oil. Keep stirring and cooking the onion until the onions are lightly browned in color. Once done, transfer them into a blender container. Add the soaking cashew nuts, almonds and chironji nuts along with the milk to the blender container. Also pour in the yogurt and coconut cream and process/blend till it is a smooth puree.
3. In heavy bottomed non stick saucepan, heat 3 tbsp canola oil and add the marinated chicken, quickly fry them lightly on all sides in batches, stirring gently and occasionally till just lightly browned. Remove them with a slotted spoon in a bowl and keep aside.
4. In the same pan with the leftover oil in which the chicken were just shallow fried, add 3 more tbsp canola oil at medium heat . As it warms up add the pureed onion-yogurt mixture and let it cook for five minutes on medium flame. Reduce the flame to medium low, add red chilli powder, salt, turmeric and mix well. Cover it for a minute. Keep a close eye on it and keep giving it a stir every now and then. Add the roasted groundnut paste to it. Mix well and cover the lid again. The oil should start to separate by now. Let it cook a bit more, if the mixture has become too dry add a few splashes of water and cook it till all the oil has very nicely separated out.
5. Gently drop in the shallow fried chicken pieces in the cooking gravy and mix well. Cover the lid for a minute. Pour in two glasses of water. Add the mint, cilantro and green chillies. Mix well and increase the flame to medium high, let it it come to a boil once. Lower the heat, cover the lid and let it cook for 10 minutes. Once the chicken is done, serve it immediately.

I am sending this Qorma to Meeta as the theme for her Monthy Mingle this time is ‘Comfort Foods’. I’m waiting for its round up, now who doesnt like Comfort Foods?!; and I am also sending this as an entry to ‘Think Spice, Think Turmeric‘ event being hosted by Sudeshna.

Luv,
Mona

Badami Malai Murgh

Ah! The weather has finally changed and I subsequently got to witness snow! .. snow for the first time in my life !

Earlier it felt quite peculiar to witness darkness at 4:00 pm itself in the evening, and I sometimes found it scary. I remember, back in India, between 4 and 5 in the evenings, children from every house would gather on streets or parks, team up and start playing games, the most common~Cricket! 5:00 pm was a lively, noisy time, when I mostly got to hear ‘howz that!’ or ‘out!’, but here in winters, it becomes pitch dark, with everyone returning home in the darkness for a long night from their job places. But I have eventually got used to it.

Today I plan to make a nice big snowman in front of my house once my hubby returns home. I love watching snow from indoors. I love it when my feet goes inside the pile of snow and I leave a trail behind. lts fun! But, yeah, the cold outside is just too much, but if proper winter coats, caps, scarfs and gloves are worn, all is well and fine. So everyone, keep yourselves warm in this winter by wearing good winter clothes.

Warm and comforting foods are what I am craving for in this winter. And whats more comforting than Indian food, that has got spices and masalas, to make your body warm by the heat and comfort you. I had prepared this creamy chicken curry some days back. I had chicken lying in the freezer, some cream, almonds, nuts and spices. I thought to mix them all up and prepare a curry out of it. We had Peas Pulao along with this chicken curry, our meal was gratifying and pleasurable. Everyone loved it. Here’s the recipe:

Badami Malai Murgh – Creamy Almond Chicken Curry

Ingredients:

Chicken Breast – 500 gms
Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Almonds – 1/2 cup
Canola oil – 3 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Half and Half cream – 1 cup

Method:

1.Wash and cut the chicken breasts into 2 cm approx cubes.
3. Mix the chicken pieces with ginger-garlic paste, salt and red chilli powder. Let it marinate for about 1-3 hours at room temperature.
4. Add 1/2 cup water to almonds and grind it to a smooth paste.
5. Pour oil in a heavy bottomed pan at medium heat. Once the oil gets warm, add zeera and let it splutter.
6. Lower the heat and add the marinated chicken with all its juices. Stir well and let it cook for 5 minutes.
7. Add a cup of water to it and let the chicken cook, covered, till it is tender. Keep stirring it occasionally. You can add more water if the gravy dries up before the chicken gets soft.
8. Add the almond paste and cream and mix it well. Adjust the salt and red chilli powder according to tastes. Cover and let it cook, stirring only to avoid it getting stuck to the bottom of the pan. Serve it hot.

Luv,
Mona

Butter Chicken with no Butter – Makhani Murgh

Butter chicken is one of the famous North-Indian dishes that made its way on the menu card of almost every Indian restaurant all over the world. Each person/household has their own style of cooking this delectable dish, but I prefer this procedure, its simple, healthy and gets prepared soon, and its delicious.

Butter Chicken – Makhani Murgh

Butter Chicken can be enjoyed along with parathas, naan or with plain rice.

Butter Chicken – Makhani Murgh
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

For Marinade
Chicken – 1 (large) whole, cut into pieces
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Yogurt (thick) – 1/2 cup
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
For Curry
Cloves – 3
Green Cardamom – 4
Cinnamon stick – 2 inch long stick
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Fresh tomato puree – 5-6 cups
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Half and half – 1 1/4 cups (or) equal amounts heavy cream or light cream
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Kasoori methi – 1/4 cup
Canola oil

Method:

1. Mix all the ingredients under the heading ‘for marinade’, and keep aside for 2-3 hours or overnight. Bring it back to room temperature before you start cooking. Heat a stove top grill pan and grill the marinated chicken pieces until lightly charred on both sides. Baste with canola oil whenever needed.
If using boneless chicken, marinate them as above directions. Skewer them onto bamboo skewers and grill them both sides until charred as shown here.
You can even grill the chicken on a charcoal grill for best flavors.
Cover and keep the grilled chicken aside in a bowl.
2. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a saucepan, add cloves, cardamoms, and cinnamon stick. As the spices begin to sizzle, add ginger garlic paste and stir fry for a few seconds. Add pureed tomatoes, red chilli powder, salt. Cover and let it cook until the puree is thick. Give a stir every once in a while. Add half and half or whatever using and let it come to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat and add the grilled chicken, kasoori methi, garam masala and water according to the consistency of the curry you desire. Cover and let cook until the chicken is tender and thoroughly cooked. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with drizzles of cream.

Suggested Accompaniments: Parathas, Naan, Basmati Chawal, Pulaos.. or even in between toasted bread as sandwiches.

Luv,
Mona