Keema Bharay Tamatay Ka Salan – Tomatoes stuffed with Minced Meat in a Spicy Aromatic Gravy

One of my most favorite dishes that my Mother-in-Law makes is this gravy curry of stuffed tomatoes. Every time she visits us we definitely ask her to make it for us. Today I am sharing her recipe with you all. It is a wonderful dish that tastes amazing and will definitely impress your loved ones.

Keema Bharay Tamatay – Tomatoes stuffed with Minced Meat in a Spicy Aromatic Gravy

Ingredients:

Canola Oil – 1/2 cup
Tomatoes – 6 large tomatoes
For Minced Meat:
Minced Meat – 1 pound
Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
For Qorma:
Onion – 1, sliced thick
Roasted Groundnut Paste – 1/3 cup
Coconut Cream – 3 tbsp
Yogurt – 3/4 cup
Red Chilli Powder – 2 tbsp
Salt – 2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp

Method:
1. Halve the tomatoes, and scoop out the pulp. Grind the pulp into a smooth puree. Keep aside. Keep the tomato halves aside in a platter.
2. In a non-stick pan with a thick bottom at medium high heat, add onions and brown them while stirring frequently. Remove in a platter and let cool. In the same pan, add the groundnuts and roast them for a few mintues until they are just a few shades darker. Remove in a cup and keep aside to cool. Once cool, add the roasted onions and groundnuts in a grinder and grind until it is a smooth puree. Add yogurt and puree.
3. Prepare the gravy – In a thick bottomed non-stick saucepan at medium high heat, add oil and then pour the groundnut puree and the tomato pulp puree. Keep stirring constantly for 5-8 minutes. Lower the heat and cook covered until it leaves oil. Keep stirring occasionally.
4. In a frying pan at medium high heat, add the minced meat along with ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder. Mix well and let cook until the meat is dry and well-cooked.
5. Fill the tomato halves with the cooked Keema. Top each with the groundnut gravy.
6. Add the rest of the minced meat and the gravy to a thick bottomed wide saucepan. Spread it evenly in a layer. Arrange the stuffed tomato halves over the gravy and let cook covered at medium heat for about 30 – 45 minutes until it leaves oil. Garnish with chopped mint and cilantro leaves and serve with Parathas and Rice.

Luv,
Mona

Tamatar ka Saalan

I remember my Ammi used to prepare all the dishes she wanted to serve at parties and events which my parents used to host during our childhood with her own two hands in her own little kitchen. Sometimes a maid would come for help when the party was large, but it was all under Ammi‘s strict supervision. She never opted for ordering food from a catering company or something like that. I have very vague memories when my mother was young and we were little kids, of the parties and the array of traditional food she used to prepare. I did not have an interest in cooking back then. I never entered the kitchen to help Ammi with parathas in the mornings or helping her with cutting and preparing vegetables on the weekends at the least. I regret, I wish I had paid attention and worked along with her. I was either busy studying, or being rebellious like a typical teenage child. It was only when I choose Nutrition as my subject that my curiosity for cooking evolved.

Today I call my Ammi and ask her on the phone of the doubts I get, but I lost the best chance of actually learning from her in action. I have learnt that sitting and enjoying meals in ones parents house is a blessing. But one should try to develop interest in all that is offered for them to learn at their parents house, from learning their mothers cooking, to the hobbies they master, to the little traditions they follow, because life while at parents house is the best time to learn from the best teachers you will ever get in your life. Parents should also encourage children to develop interest in learning to cook and teach them from a tender age, atleast so that they get in touch with their traditional activities and so that all that does not get lost with time. I am glad alhamdulillah I am able to document and preserve my family’s recipes through my blog, and this way help many young woman alongside as well.

Just like the famous Mirchi ka Saalan and Baghare Baingan, Tamatar ka Saalan is also ubiquotous to Hyderabadi cuisine. All these three mentioned curries, the perfect sides to a Biryani, have the same base gravy, with only brinjals in Baghare Baingan, chillies in Mirchi ka Saalan and tomatoes here in Tamatar ka Saalan. You can also add fish to the same curry base and you get Machli ka Saalan. I have used cherry tomatoes for the curry. Usually regular tomatoes are used which are simply cut into two halves. Tamatar ka Saalan is also referred to as Bagharay Tamatar by some people.

Cherry Tomatoes

Whenever in Hyderabad, I recommend food enthusiasts to attend high class weddings of traditional muslim Hyderabadi families in order to get in touch with the traditional Hyderabadi food which is not very easily available in restaurants or hotels. Or if you are lucky, enjoy home cooked traditional meals locally at a friends house.

Tamatar ka Saalan/Bagharay Tamatar – Tomatoes simmered in a creamy fragrant sauce

Ingredients:

Cherry Tomatoes – 8 (or medium sized tomatoes, each cut into two semi circles)
For masala paste:
Khus Khus/White Poppy seeds – 1 tbsp
Till/Sesame Seeds – 1/2 cup/50 gms
Groundnuts/MoomPhalli – 1/2 cup/50 gms
Dry Desiccated Coconut – 3/4 cup/50 gms
Coriander seeds/Dhania – 1 tsp
For gravy:
Canola oil – 1/4 cup
Yellow Onions – 3, large, each quartered into 4 pieces
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp
Salt – 1 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric/ Haldi – 1/4 tsp
Cilantro/ Kothmir – 3 tbsp, finely chopped
Thick tamarind pulp – 3 tbsp
For baghaar/tempering:
Cumin seeds/ Zeera – 1 tsp
Curry leaves/ Kariyapaak – 2 sprigs
Mustard seeds/ Rai – 1/2 tsp
Nigella seeds/ Kalaunji – 1/3 tsp
Fenugreek seeds/ Methi dana – 1/8 tsp

Tamatar ka Saalan/Bagharay Tamatar – Tomatoes simmered in a creamy fragrant sauce

Method:

1. Wash the cherry tomatoes well. Discard the stalks and make four incisions, perpendicular cuts (an X) from the stem end of each cherry tomato, taking care the other end is intact. Keep aside.
2. Puree the onions into a smooth paste. Also, smoothly/finely grind all the ingredients seperately under the heading ‘for masala paste’ adding just a few drops of water if needed.
3. Heat oil in a heavy non-stick pan at medium heat and as soon as it is warm, add the baghaar ingredients – cumin seeds, curry leaves, mustard seeds, nigella seeds and fenugreek seeds. Once they start spluttering, add the pureed onion paste and mix. Cover with a lid for a minute. Uncover and keep frying until the raw smell of the onions goes away. Add ginger garlic paste, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and chopped cilantro and the masala paste and mix well. Keep cooking until the raw smell of the masala paste goes away and you can see the paste leaving oil on the sides. Add a few drops of water if needed during the process. This might take about 5-10 minutes. Later add tamarind pulp and mix well. Now pour in about 4-5 cups of water (or less) and mix. Let it come to a boil. Once boiling, add the prepared tomatoes and cover with a lid. Let cook for 5 minutes. Once the tomatoes are soft, remove from heat and serve the curry along with Pulao or Biryani. (In the picture you can see that I have prepared a loose consistency of the curry. You can cook it furthur until you achieve the desired consistency. The preferred consistency of this curry is semi-loose.)

On an another note, my blog has been selected for Best Of Indian Blogosphere 2010 polls by blogjunta.com. Please vote for me here.
Thanks.

Luv,
Mona

Masala Upma

This quick and simple preparation and a comforting one-dish meal is wholesome and perfect for a satisfying breakfast, brunch or a yummy snack and easy to take delight in. So when I returned home today tired and exhausted after a trip to the grocery mart and the Jumah salah, I thought of whipped up this instant masala upma and it was pure bliss.

Semolina/Sooji/Upma rawa (fine variety)

Idli, Wada, Sambar, Upma, Dosa are all famous South-Indian dishes, that are my absolute favorites too. And there exist many variations of each of them. This particular variation of Upma is one of my favorites. I enjoy my upma along with shallow fried peanuts, the way my Ammi used to serve upma to us all. Those peanuts really add a lot of flavor and crunch to the delicious upma.

Usually the coarser variety of semolina is preferred for upma, but I managed with the fine variety, which is used in the preparation of sweets, and it turned out fine enough.

Masala Upma – Savory Breakfast Semolina
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

Semolina/Sooji/Upma rawa- 1/2 cup
Canola oil
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs, fresh
Mustard seeds – 3/4 tsp
Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
Chopped Onion – 3 tbsp
Small green chillies – 3, finely chopped
Tomato – 1, finely chopped
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
MDH Sambar powder – 1/2 tsp
Water – 1 1/2 cup
Groundnuts, with skin – 1/2 cup
Cilantro – 2 tbsp, finely chopped

Masala Upma, served along with shallow fried groundnuts

1. Heat a skillet at medium heat and as soon as it is warm add the upma rawa and dry roast it stirring constantly and attentively until you see and slight variation in color to a light brown and you get a wonderful aroma. Immediately remove from heat and transfer the roasted rawa to a platter and keep aside.
2. In the same skillet, pour 1 tbsp oil and add the mustard seeds. As they start spluttering, add the onions, green chillies, curry leaves and urad dal. Stir fry for a minute. Now add the tomatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, sambar powder qnd salt. Mix well. Pour in about 1 1/2 cup of water, reduce heat, cover and let cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes are mushy.
3. Meanwhile, in a frying pan at medium high heat add about 2 tbsp oil and as soon as it warms up, add the groundnuts and stir fry until lightly browned. They burn easily, so be careful and attentive. Once done, using slotted spoon transfer the shallow fried groundnuts to a platter.
4. Now add the roasted rawa to the cooking tomato mix ture in the skillet while stirring constantly so as to avoid forming lumps and mix well. Cover and let it cook on low heat for 2-5 minutes until the rawa has absorbed all the moisture and it is mostly dry. Add chopped cilantro, mix well. Cover and let rest for 1-2 minute. Serve immediately along with shallow fried groundnuts and a mango or lemon pickle, or any chutney that you fancy.

Luv,
Mona

Fish Maheqalya

Hyderabad does not boast of many seafood preparations. However come rainy season or the winter, we hyderabadis love to prepare a few very special close to heart dishes that are very specific to the Hyderabadi trpe of cooking. Today I am writing about one such fish curry. One of my most favorite fish curries, Machli ka Maheqalya, never fails to remind me of my grandmother. She used to prepare the most delicious Maheqalya ever.

Red Snapper Steaks

I usually prepare a mutton maheqalya or a fish maheqalya. Maheqalya is basically a sauce made with a range or aromatic spices and seasonings. It is a regional recipe from the city of Hyderabad usually prepared by Muslims. If you do not like fish or mutton, you can add add boiled eggs to the sauce to make it ando ka maheqalya, or you can also add sautéed bitter gourd rounds into the gravy for karelon ka maheqalya, or just opo squash pieces for kaddu ka maheqalia.

A perfect accompaniment to Maheqalya is Khadi dal and rice. My Ammi used to prepare and serve this for lunch or dinner usually on Jummah during my childhood.

Machli ka Maheqalya ~ Fish Maheqalya

Ingredients:

White/Yellow Onion – 2, large, sliced thick
Groundnut/Moomphalli – 3 tbsp, ground into a fine powder
Dry Desiccated Coconut – 3 tbsp
White poppy seeds/Khuskhus – 1 tbsp
Sesame seeds/Till – 3 tbsp
Tomatoes – 3, large, red and ripe, roughly chopped
Canola oil – 4 tbsp
Curry leaves – 1 or 2 fresh sprigs
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Dried red chillies/Baghaar ki mirch – 3, each broken into two
Dry Roasted Coriander seed powder – 1 tsp
Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Tamarind paste – 2 tbsp
Red Snapper steaks – 5-6 steaks (I had a medium sized red snapper cut into steaks) (preferred fish are rohu and murrel which are easily available in India, or you can also use salmon (wild) or king fish or any that you like with or without bones)
Cilantro/Kothmir – 1 tbsp, chopped finely

Machli ka Maheqalya ~ Fish Maheqalya

Method:

1. Take a large heavy bottom non-stick skillet on medium heat, and pour a tablespoon of oil into it. As it gets warm, add the sliced onions and a teaspoon of salt. Mix well and half cover with the lid. After 2-3 minutes, give a good stir to the onions, add 1/4 cup of water, and again half cover it with lid. Keep repeating this until the onions are all soft and browned evenly. Remove the pan from heat, and let them cool down. Once cooled, add the chopped tomatoes and the caramelized onions into a blender container or food processor and blend till pureed smooth adding a few drops of water if necessary, just to aid in the process. Keep aside.
2. Put a small non-stick frying pan on medium heat and dry-roast the groundnuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, shredded coconut, khuskhus each individually without oil till they are golden brown in colour. Do not burn them. Remove them into a cup (you can dry roast a handful of almonds and cashewnuts and grind them together along if you want a richer gravy). Once cool, grind them all together or individually until very fine. Make sure the obtained spice powder is very fine.
3. Take a large non-stick heavy bottomed saucepan and add a tablespoon of oil to it and put it on medium heat, add oil and keep it on medium high heat. Add cumin seeds, dried red chillies, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds to the oil and let them splutter. Now add the onion+tomato paste to it and cover the lid immediately for 3-5 minutes and remove the saucepan from heat, so that the aroma of the tempered oil with spices gets absorbed by the onion mixture. Remove the lid, put the saucepan back on stove and add the ginger-garlic pastes to it and stir to mix it all completely. Add the spice powder which we prepared earlier, the red chilli powder, salt and turmeric and stir it well. Lower the heat to medium low and let cook until it starts leaving oil. Pour in about 3 cups of water, and add the tamarind paste and give it a stir. Close the lid and increase the heat and let it come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and gently lower the fish steaks into the gravy. Let it cook half covered for 15 minutes until the fish is done. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve warm.

Luv,
Mona

Murgh Pasinde

Murgh Pasinde

Just like Gosht Pasinde which is a classic Hyderabadi meat preparation, I often prepare Murgh Pasinde in my house using the same masalas and the same technique, but just replacing the kind of meat being used. Chicken is easier to cook and mush healthier than mutton or beef. The creamy nutty and spicy gravy of this curry is sure to seduce your taste buds. I serve this curry along with Parathas or Tandoori Naan for a delicious meal.

Murgh Pasinde – Chicken in a Creamy Nutty and Spicy gravy

Ingredients:

Chicken/Murgh – 1 kg, whole, skinned and cut into 12 pieces (you can also use boneless and thinly sliced flat chicken breast meat instead)
Salt – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
KhusKhus – 1 tbsp
Canola oil – 4 tbsp
Onion – 2 cups, sliced roughly
Dry roasted groundnut paste – 1/2 tbsp
Canned Coconut milk – 2 tbsp
Green chillies, serrano – 3, each split into two
Almonds, Cashew nuts, Chironji nuts – 1 tbsp each, roughly chopped and soaked in 1/2 cup warm milk for 15-30 minutes and then pureed into a smooth paste (optional)
Yogurt – 1 cup
Dry roasted Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1 tsp
Cilantro – 1 tbsp, finely chopped

Ingredients:

1. Marinate the chicken with 1/2 tsp black pepper powder powder, turmeric powder and salt and keep aside.
2. Meanwhile dry roast the khuskhus in a large heavy bottomed non-stick sauce pan for a minute or two. Transfer it to a small cup, pour in 2 tbsp warm water and keep aside.
3. In the same pan pour in oil and add the sliced onions. Stir fry until golden brown in color. Add ginger garlic paste and fry along for a minute. Using a slotted spoon transfer it all to a platter.
4. In the same pan with the remaining oil add the marinating chicken pieces and stir fry for 3-5 minutes until no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon remove the chicken to a platter. Cover and keep aside.
5. In a blender container, add the fried onion+ginger garlic paste, soaking khuskhus along with water, groundnut paste, coconut milk, green chillies and blend into a smooth puree. Add yogurt and blend again into a smooth paste.
6. Pour this paste into the saucepan, along with the nuts puree if using, and cook at medium high heat until bubbling. Lower the heat and half cover with a lid, cook stirring occasionally for about 10-15mins.
7. Later add coriander powder, black pepper to taste, cardamom powder, salt to taste and garam masla powder. Mix well. Pour in 1/2 cup warm water and add the chicken with all its juices. Gently mix. Cover and let cook on simmer for about 20 minutes, until done. The gravy should be fairly thick in consistency. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Before I sign off for today, many congratulations to Priya of Akshayapatram on winning the Best Indi Foodblog Award 2008 at Indibloggies!

Cheers,
Mona