Raisin and Red Apple Chicken Pasta Salad

This is one of my favourite salads I had got hold of sometime back. I actually found the recipe in one of the Sun-Maid recipe books and thought of sharing with you guys. There are a lot of proteins in a contrast of textures in this recipe. The raisins add a sweet, chewy accent to crisp apples, and almonds add crunch to the whole grain pasta. A hearty, all in one salad perfect for a summer lunch or dinner. Enjoy the Salad.

Raisin and Red Apple Chicken Pasta Salad

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

Whole wheat pasta – (any of your choice) 2 1/2 cups
Chicken breast – 2 cups, cooked and cubed
Raisins – 1 cup
Red Apple – 1, cored, cubed
Green Onions – 2, sliced
Mayonnaise – 1/3 cup
Honey – 2 tbsp
Dijon Mustard – 1 tbsp
Almonds – silvered and toasted, 1/4 cup

Method:

  • Cook pasta as directed on box, drain and rince with cold water.
  • Combine cooked pasta, chicken, raisins, apple and onions in a large bowl.
  • Combine mayonnaise, honey, and mustard in a small bowl.
  • Add to pasta and toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate 1 hour or unto overnight to bleand flavours.
  • Top with almonds just before serving.

Luv,
Mona

Hyderabadi Dum Pukth (Pakki) Murgh Biryani

Mazadaar!! (meaning ‘yummy’ in English) is what everyone in my house say when they have just had thier first niwaala/morsel of my Dum Pukth Murgh Biryani.

Chicken Biryani is an exotic one-dish meal, served usually at large get-togethers, occasions and parties like weddings, ceremonies and festivals in the city of Hyderabad, India. The method of cooking involves a layering process of half cooked rice with the cooked till done spiced chicken mixture. Hyderabadi people have a great fondness for Biryanis and it is seen at almost every restaurant in the menu cards as the speciality item.

Saffron strands

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

The following is the procedure how I prepare Pakki Murgh biryani in my house on a regular basis. In this recipe you can use a whole chicken with bones, cut into pieces; but I usually prefer to use boneless Chicken, as my family prefers boneless breast pieces of Chicken, which has minimal fat in it, hence a healthier option. Check out my Instant Light Chicken Biryani, which is light on stomach, and gets prepared in less than 30 minutes.

The caraway seeds, garam masala powder, saffron strands, and all other spices used in this recipe can be easily found in most Indian grocery stores which sell spices. My family prefers to have Biryani a bit hot and lemony with a little bit of an acetous flavor, so I’ve added red and green chilli and lemon juice according to our tastes. You can alter those according to your tastes.

Do not worry if you have never prepared Biryani till now by yourselves. I have tried here to explain each step in as simpler method as possible. Do write to me if you have any doubts regarding the procedure. Go ahead and prepare this for your family, Enjoy.

Hyderabadi Dum (Pakki) Murgh Biryani – Fragrant Rice-Chicken Casserole with Spices
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

Ginger-Garlic Paste – 2 tbsp
Garam Masala – 1 1/2 tsp
Yogurt -1 1/2 cup
Tomatoes – 2, large and ripe, pureed into a smooth paste (or) Canned tomato paste – 5 tbsp (optional)
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Lemon juice – 6 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Almonds – 1/2 cup, slivered
Cashew nuts – 1/2 cup
Yellow Onions – 5, large, sliced
Chicken – 900 gms, Boneless, skinless breast pieces, cut into 2 cms cubes
Basmati, Long Grained Rice – 5 cups
Water – 8 cups
Canola Oil -9 tbsp
Caraway seeds/ShahZeera – 1 tbsp
Warm Milk – 1/2 cup
Saffron strands – one big pinch
Bay leaves – 1
Green cardamom – 3
Green Chillies – 5, small sized, slit lengthwise
Home-made Ghee – 3 tbsp
Fresh Mint leaves/Pudina – 2 tbsp, wahsed, chopped finely
Fresh Cilantro/Kothmir – 2 tbsp, washed, chopped finely

Hyderabadi Dum Pukth Murgh Biryani

Method:

1. Marinate the chicken with the first 8 ingredient for about 6-8 hours maximum or one hour minimum covered in the refrigerator.
2. Start by pouring 1 tbsp oil into a large heavy bottomed non-stick frying pan and fry the almonds and cashewnuts till they are golden brown and remove them into a bowl.
3. In the same pan add 8 tbsp oil and add the sliced onions. Fry them till the onions are brown and crisp. Make sure not to burn them. Remove from heat. Remove about a cup of the fried onions with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel in a platter.
4. Take out the chicken from the refrigerator, bring it to room temperature. In the pan with oil and fried onions, dump the whole bowl consisting of the marinating chicken and all its juices into it and put the pan on medium high heat. Let it cook uncovered until the gravy is dry and dense and the chicken is done. Keep stirring it occasionally. This might take about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and keep aside.
5. Meanwhile take half a cup of warm milk, and add a few strands of saffron. Let them soak  for an hour.
6. Wash and soak the rice in water for preferably half an hour. Later, drain the rice and keep it in the sieve. Boil 8 cups of water and add cinnamon sticks and caraway seeds/shah zeera, bay leaves, green cardamom and salt (I use the proportion:1 tsp salt for 1 cup rice). Once the water is boiling add the strained rice, give it a stir and let the rice soften up a bit. Once the rice is half done, strain the rice and throw away the water. Discard the bay leaves and the cinnamon stick.
7. Arrange half the amount of rice as the bottom layer layer in a large dish. Next, add the chicken mixture prepared earlier in a layer. Now add the remaining rice above the chicken layer, covering it completely.
8. Garnish with mint, cilantro, fried onions, slit green chillies, and fried nuts from step 2. Now pour evenly the milk with saffron strands and two tablespoons of ghee over the layered and garnished rice. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminium foil.
9. Preheat the oven to 350°F and put the dish in the oven for 10-12 minutes, till a nice steam has formed inside the dish, and the rice has been done. Serve hot for a delicious meal.

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: Biryani goes very well along with Mirchi Ka Salan or Baghare Baingan, or Tamatar Ki Chutney and Dahi Ki Chutney.

Luv,
Mona

Pudina Wali Malai Murgh

Serves : 4-5
Preparation time : 15 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Chicken-small boneless cubes – 1 kg
Canola Oil – 1 tbsp
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Bay leaf – 1
Cinnamon – 2, 1-inch sticks
Cloves – 3
Green Cardamoms – 4
Yellow Onions-grated – 1 cup
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Almond paste – 100gms
Heavy/Light Cream – 120 ml
Green chillies – 6
Mint leaves – 2 tbsp

Method:

  • Heat the oil and ghee in a pan. Add bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves and cardamoms and saute over medium heat until they begin to cracle.
  • Add the onions and saute for a few minutes. Add ginger and garlic pastes, turmeric, red chilli powder, salt and almond paste and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the oil seperates from the mixture.
  • Add the chicken, stir and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the cream, slit green chillies, mace powder and vetivier.
  • Sprinkle with fresh mint leaves, cover and seal lid tightly either with aluminium foil or with dough. Let the chicken simmer for 5-6 minutes on a very low heat.
  • Garnish with coriander and chopped whole red chillies (optional) and serve hot accompanied with Laccha Parantha.

Suggested Accompaniments: Basmati Rice/Naan.

Luv,
Mona