Rajma Pulao

Pulao and Qorma is one combination I love. And this particualar combination of Rajma Pulao with Vegetable Qorma is my favourite. Try it once and you will love it.

I had prepared it for dinner yesterday night after having Cabbage Pakodas for iftaar. I will be posting the recipe for the pakodas soon. During this month I haven’t got much time to post. Only two days more, and Ramadhan, the holy month will go away, and we will have to wait for an another year to for this auspicious month to again arrive. Eid, our festival, which we celebrate at the end of Ramadhan might be on this Saturday. On Eid we usually prepare dishes like ‘Nihari‘, ‘Biryani‘, ‘Cholay‘ and ‘Sheer Kurma’, a sweet dish which we muslims especially prepare on Eid of Ramadhan which is called as Eid-Ul-Fitr.

On Eid, we get up early, and the men and women go to mosque and offer the Eid Prayers, some women offer their prayers for Eid at home. We then greet our relatives and spend the day together with our loved ones. We celebrate Eid for the three days after Ramadhan. Back in India, we used to have a grand celebration on Eid, with our all relatives and loved ones visiting and greeting each other, the whole day.

Rajma Pulao – Red Kidney Beans and Rice Casserole

One of my friend had once invited me and she served Rajma Pulao. I had loved it and that day, I decided someday I will try to prepare that dish in my own way. So, yesterday, i was all set and we had Rajma Pulao with Vegetable Kurma, it was one yummy dinner which we enjoyed a lot. It didnt take a lot of time and I was very happy over my own successful experiment of preparing my version of Rajma Pulao.

Rajma Pulao – Red Kidney Beans and Rice Casserole

Ingredients:

  • Long Grained Basmati Rice – 2 cups
  • Salt – 1 tbsp
  • Black Peppercorns – 4
  • Green cardamom – 2
  • Cinnamon – one 2 inch stick
  • Cloves – 2
  • Onion – 1, large, sliced thin
  • Oil – 6 tbsp
  • Sesame seeds – 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cashewnuts – 2 tbsp
  • Green chillies – 2, sliced lengthwise
  • Dried Red Chillies – 1
  • Shredded/Grated Coconut – 2 tbsp
  • Canned Red Kidney Beans – 1 Can

Method:

  • Make a bouquet garni with black peppercorns, green cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.
  • Boil five cups of water in a heavy bottomed bowl on stovetop and add the salt and the prepared bouquet garni to it. Once the water is boiling nicely, squeeze and remove the bouquet garni and add the rice and set the gas temp to 8 level.
  • After 3-4 minutes, take some grains of rice in a spoon from the boiling water and test them if they are soft enough. Once they are just soft, drain the water and adjust the gas level now to 2, and put the bowl of rice onto the stovetop and cover well.
  • Remove the bowl from heat after 2-3 minutes once the steam has nicely formed.
  • Meanwhile open and put the red kidney beans in a colander and wash them well in a water bath, taking care that you do not break the beans into pieces.
  • Pour 2 tbsp ghee/butter/oil into a pan and add the mustard seeds, sesame seeds, cashewnuts and green chillies and dried red chillies. Let them splutter up a bit. Then add the red kidney beans. Give it a careful stir and add this to the prepared rice.Mix it well with the rice
  • Pour 4 tbsp of butter/oil/ghee in a heavy bottom pan and fry the onions till brown and crisp. Remove in a paper towel and garnish the rice with the fried onion and serve hot.

Luv,
Mona

Navratan Khorma

Khorma is one dish which we can have with Pulao, or Plain Rice, or Parathas or Naan. Today I savored this curry along with Rajma Pulao. I love the meal the day I get to enjoy combination. It is even great for gatherings, when you can prepare this combination with some snacks and a dessert to finish off and impress your loved ones.

This dish comes from the cookbook India’s Vegetarian Cooking by Monisha Bharadwaj. I have tried many recipes from this cookbook and loved most of them. I have not yet bought this book, but it sure now is among the top in the list of my Cookbook Wishlist.

Navratan Korma – Nine Jewelled Curry

It was yummy, and I am glad I tried this recipe. You can dump in all the left over vegetables, like cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, peas, corn, capsicum, carrots, beans, from the refrigerator you have in you house. I have used only a few, I didnt have all those in the house.

Navratan Korma – Nine Jewelled Curry

Serves:4; Preperation Time:15 mins; Cooking time:25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Frozen Mixed Vegetables – 300 gms
  • Canola Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Onion – 1, small, finely sliced
  • Ginger Garlic Paste/Adrak-Lahsun Masala – 1 tbsp
  • Tomato Paste – 3 tbsp
  • Green Chillies – 3 fresh, slit in middle
  • Turmeric powder/Haldi – 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp
  • Cashew Nuts – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Tinned Pineapple Chunks – 2 tbsp, chopped
  • Light Cream – 100 ml
  • Cherries – to garnish
  • Cilantro – to garnish
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese – to garnish

Method:

  • Heat oil in a saucepan and fry the onion for a minute or so. Keep stirring to prevent it from sticking and stir in the ginger garlic paste.
  • Add the tomato puree and chillies and cook until oil seperates, ading a couple of tablespoons of water to hasten the process.
  • Add the frozen vegetables, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt. Mix gently and cook for a couple of minutes before folding in the cashewnuts, pineapple and cream. Heat through without allowing to boil.
  • Serve hot garnished with the cherries, coriander leaves and cheese.

Suggested Accompaniments: You can have it along with Pulaos, Naan, Parathas, Basmati Chawal or Roti

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