Mirchi Ka Salan

Talk about Hyderabad’s cuisine, and Hyderbadi Mirchi Ka Salan is sure to become a topic of interest there. This is one of the classic Hyderabadi curries with its characteristic lightly tangy and very subtly spiced creamy gravy.

Green Chillies /Hari Mirch – stems kept intact – slit and seeds shaken off

The masalas in this curry are all braised/bhun-na until oil floats on top, which is a critical procedure to draw out flavors from the various spices added to the gravy, and only in the last stages, water is added to give it a gravy consistency.

I have used spicy medium sized thick green chillies for this curry as shown in the picture, which are the usual kind favored. The chilies preferred for this curry should have smooth skin, not wrinkly, medium thick, straight and long and fresh with stems intact.

white poppy seeds/khus-khus

Do not be be under the misconception that as green chillies are being used in this curry, the curry is going to be fiery hot. Do not worry~due to the addition of spices like poppyseeds, sesame seeds, groundnuts and coconut, the gravy has a mellow and creamy attribute which is utmost delicious. Furthermore, the seeds from all the green chillies, which are main reason for the hotness of the chillies, are discarded before being added to the gravy, hence they are mild after being cooked.

Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan – Green Chillies in Sesame Seeds Sauce

The procedure to prepare Baghare Baingan and Tamatar ks Salan is also almost the same as this curry. Also, you can also add any firm fish fillets (Red snapper, Haddock, Cod, etc) to the gravy instead of green chillies to make it a fish curry/Machli ka Salan . There is no difference, except for the fact that in Baghare Baingan, brinjals are used; in fish curry, fish fillets are used; in Tamatar ka Salan, tomatoes are used and in this curry, the green chillies are used.

Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan – Green Chillies in a Tangy-Sesame Seeds Sauce

Ingredients:

Green chillies (thick and long, as shown in the picture) – 250 gms in weight
For dry paste/masala:
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
Dry roasted Coriander seed/Dhania powder – 1 tsp
For gravy:
Canola oil – 1/2 cup
Yellow Onions – 3, large, sliced slightly thick into semi circular rings
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp
Salt – 1 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1 1/2 tsp (optional)
Turmeric/ Haldi – 1/2 tsp
Cilantro/ Kothmir – 3 tbsp, finely chopped
Thick tamarind pulp – 3 tbsp
For baghaar/tempering:
Cumin seeds/ Zeera – 2 1/2 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

Method:

1. Wash, drain, then pat dry and slit the green chillies. Shake the seeds off the chillies to remove the extra spiciness (use gloves while you work with chillies to avoid your hands getting burnt with its chemicals). Keep the stems intact. Keep aside.
2. Heat a small non-stick frying pan at medium high heat and once it is hot, dry roast the desiccated coconut, sesame seeds, khus khus, peanuts, coriander seeds and 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, all one by one separately for just 2-3 minutes until they are a few shades darker and remove them into separate bowls. Do not burn the spices. Once cool, rub off the skins of the peanuts. Grind them all separately in a spice grinder to a fine powder or a smooth paste without adding any water and keep aside.
3. Heat a large non-stick frying pan at medium high heat, and as soon as it warms up add the sliced onions. Let the onions sweat and keep stirring them until they are just starting to brown up in color as shown in the picture below. Once the onions are soft and lightly browned in color, remove them to a platter and keep aside. Once the dry roasted onions are cool, puree them in a grinder until smooth. Keep aside.
4. Pour oil in a cooking pot and once hot enough, carefully add the green chillies and cover with a splatter screen. The oil spits as soon as you add green chillies, so be careful. Stir fry them till blisters form on the skins. Using a slotted spoon remove the chillies to a platter and keep aside.

Clockwise from top – Fried green chillies, roasted desiccated coconut, roasted peanuts,
roasted sesame seeds and fried onions

5. In the same hot oil, add remaining 1 tsp cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves, nigella seeds and fenugreek seeds. Let the spices splutter for a minute. Add the pureed roasted onion paste and immediately cover the pan with a lid for a minute. Lower the heat to medium low and shake the pan to thoroughly mix. This is done for the mixture to absorb all the flavour from the baghaar(tempering). Uncover, lower the heat and add ginger garlic paste and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the desiccated coconut paste, sesame seed paste, khus-khus paste and peanut paste and stir fry it for 2-5 minutes or until you see that the mixture comes together and starts leaving oil. Add the red chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Mix well and keep stir frying it for a further 2 minutes on medium low heat. Once the raw odor of the peanuts, ginger-garlic paste and coconut is no longer coming, add the dry roasted coriander and cumin seed powder and chopped cilantro and mix well. Pour in 3 1/2 cups warm water and the tamarind pulp. Mix well. Add the fried green chillies and stir. Cover the lid and let cook on simmer for 20-25 minutes while stirring frequently, until the oil has all separated and the chillies well cooked in the masala gravy. Remove from heat and serve the curry.

Suggested Accompaniments: Basmati Chawal/Plain Long White RiceMurgh Biryani/Fragrant Rice+Chicken Casserole, Gosht Ki Biryani/Fragrant Mutton+Rice Casserole, Naan/Indian Flat Bread.

This is my contribution to Think Spice Think Poppy seeds event being hosted by RV at her blog.

( I am posting this recipe again as due to some problem this post of mine was deleted! )

Luv,
Mona

Sheekh Kewab Series~I

Kawabs are one of the most delicious non-vegetarian tandoori item next to Tandoori Chicken. I heard and read at a site that the first kawabs were invented during the war times, when the animal was slaughtered, cut into pieces, and pierced by the only things they had along, sword (!) and they roasted it over fire. We in the modern world continue to do so, but in a more decent way, we have replaced swords with skewers. ‘Sheekh’ means a ‘skewer’, and ‘Sheekh Kawabs’ are the ‘Kawabs grilled/roasted on Skewers’.

Sheekh Kababs – Minced meat Kebabs

Kawabs are vegetables, or meat pieces or ground meat marinated with spices and wrapped around the skewers and grilled or roasted over fire, charcoal, or in oven. They are very easy to prepare too. Marinate them with the required ingredients, and later you just have to grill them. There is no long process to it. Kababs can be Vegetarian, Non-Vegetarian or both. They are a delicacy.

In this recipe I am using both minced chicken as well as minced lamb. The taste comes out very well. My Mother-In-Law usually prepares this type of kawabs. I learnt this procedure from her but modified it my way. An another version of Sheekh Kabab is posted here.

It is very important that after you wash the minced meat, the water from it has all been drained out completely, or else the shape doesnt come out very well. And while mixing the minced meat with the other ingredients, its important that you use your hands, and pulverise the mixture with your palm. You can marinate it for 2-6 hours in the refrigerator. Bring the whole marinated mixture to room temperature before you start grilling it.

Sheekh Kawabs – Minced meat Kebabs (I)

Ingredients:

Minced Chicken – 350 gms
Minced Lamb – 200 gms
Onions – 3, large, finely sliced
Dry Roasted Black Cumin powder – 3/4 tsp
Dry Roasted Sesame seeds powder – 3/4 tsp
Dry roasted Khus Khus powder – 3/4 tsp
Nigells seed/Kalaunji powder – 3/4 tsp
Dry Roasted Coriander seeds powder – 1 tsp
Dry Roasted Groundnut powder – 1 1/2 tbsp
Green chilli – 6, cut and grinded to paste
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Raw papaya paste – 2 tbsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Eggs – 2, lightly beaten
Ginger Garlic Paste – 2 tsp
Cilantro/Kothmir – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Plain Parsley leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Canola Oil – to baste the kababs, and to deep fry the onions.

Method:

1. Wash the meat and drain it well till all the water has been removed completely and the meat is dry. This is important or else the shape does not come out very well.
2. Fry the onions in oil oil they are crisp and brown in colour. Remove them once they are done from the oil onto a paper towel.
3. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients, with your hands till they nicely mixed. Knead the mixture till pulverized with your palms. Later wash your hands very well with an antiseptic soap. Let the mixture marinate for 2 to 6 hours.
4. Bring it to room temperature, and divide the mixture into 8 balls. Shape each one into a long cylinder.
5. Dip your skewer into oil and insert it into the cylinders just to make a big hole in each one. Remove the skewer and continue doing it with all the shaped cylinders.
6. Take a baking tray and line it with aluminium foil, place the holed cylinders on the tray and baste them with oil. Grill/Broil at low heat, 15 minutes, per side. Grill them till they are nicely done on both sides. (You can even grill them on a charcoal grill for the best smoked flavor).

Suggested Accompaniments: Enjoy the kawabs along with ‘Kaddu ka Dalcha’, or ‘Khatti Dal’ and ‘Baghara Chawal’ aka Zeera rice, or simply along with a chutney as a finger food.

Tip: Enjoy the leftover kawabs as delicious Pita pockets.

Luv,
Mona

Mazedaar Methi-Gosht ke Kofte

Listening and enjoying the song ‘Mere Zindagi me aaye ho..‘, from the Bollywood movie Armaan in my ipod, today I prepared this curry for dinner and am just waiting to have it. I love to listen to songs when I stay alone with my hubby gone for the work, while I do my house chores and the cooking.. Music helps me stay happy, I cling to it. I’m energized by it. I’m inspired by it. I can go on and on..

Spicy Curries are always yummy, no doubt in that. By spicy curries, I do not mean curries that are super hot to burn your mouth., what I really mean by spicy curries is masaaledaar salan, which are gravy based curries infused by a range of exotic Indian spices as the base. I am an ardent lover of spicy curries, and I am sure almost everyone in the whole world love spices and the beautiful flavours they add to a dish. This curry of Meaballs is one such and it is a favorite in my house. Its easier to prepare and extremely delicious along with Parathas or Naan to mop up the gravy.

Meatballs are called ‘Kofta‘ in Urdu. They are similar to Meatballs or Meat dumplings in the U.S. The other version of Kofte ka Salan, or meatball curry that I most usually prepare is Amchur-Harimirch Wale Kacche Gosht Ke Kofte, Meatballs in a hot and sour gravy

When I prepare meat balls I make them smaller in size, about 2 cm in diameter. The reason is, I believe, they get done perfectly. Many of my associates always make larger sized meatballs- approx 4 cm in diameter, and they are never well cooked, (remain raw, undone and undercooked in the centre). So, this trick that I learnt my MIL comes very handy to me.

I always prepare larger amounts of curries, portion and store them in the refrigerator for a later use. It saves lot of time.

This curry/Salan gets prepared in almost an hour time, and you can have it with Parathas or Naan, or Khushka/Plain Boiled Rice.

Mazedaar Methi Kofte – Meatballs in a gravy with Fenugreek leaves

To prepare Meat Balls

Ingredients:

Ground Lamb/Goat/Veal Meat (or) Boneless Lamb/Goat/Veal Meat Bite-Size pieces – 250 gms
Green Chillies – 3, small, slit
Cilantro – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Mint leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
Yellow Onion – 1, large, sliced
Canola Oil – 2 tbsp

Kacche Gosht Ke Kofte – Meatballs

Method:

-Pour oil into a pan at medium heat and add the sliced onions. Fry them till brown and crisp. Remove from oil, cool and reserve
-Now in a meat processor, add the fried onion slices, the slit green chillies, chopped coriander and mint leaves, salt, red chilli powder and the ground meat or cubed boneless meat pieces, whatever you are using and process till its all grinded into a smooth paste.

(Note:Make sure that the washed meat, whether you are using ground meat or meat pieces, is completely dry, or they will not hold shape later on)

-Now, take a little bit of meat paste at a time and slightly apply pressure and roll it between your palms untill soft, tight and round shaped. Arrange them on a plate.
-The meat balls are ready. Keep them aside.

TIP: To freeze meatballs ahead of time: You can prepare the meatballs and freeze them for future use.
Form meatballs, and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in the freezer. Once the meatballs are hard and well frozen, transfer them to a resealable plastic bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw and cook them in the curry.

To Prepare The Gravy –

Ingredients:

Canola Oil – 5 tbsp
Yellow Onion – 4, large, finely chopped
Ginger Garlic paste – 1 1/2 tsp
Yogurt – 6 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
Dry Roasted Cumin Seed powder – 1/2 tsp
Dry Roasted Coriander seed powder – 1/2 tsp
Dry Roasted Dessicated Coconut – 1 tsp
Dry Roasted Groundnut Powder – 1 tsp
Methi/Fenugreek Leaves – 100 gms, very finely chopped

Mazedaar Methi Kofte – Meatballs in a gravy with Fenugreek leaves

Method:

-In a heavy bottom sauce pan at medium heat, fry the ginger garlic paste and add onions in the oil till light brown in colour.
-Add yogurt to it and give it a good stir. Cook it well till it starts leaving oil.
-Meanwhile wash the Methi/Funugreek leaves well, only the leaves, not the stems or flowers, chop them up very finely and reserve.
-Add the dry ingredients, the red chilli powder, salt, garam masala, the dry roasted cumin seed powder, coriander seed powder, coconut powder, groundnut powder, and mix well.
-After 3-5 minutes, remove from heat, cool the mixture and grind it to a paste.
-Pour back the grinded mixture to the saucepan and add the very finely chopped Methi/Fenugreek leaves and let them cook till they are soft.
-Add three glases of water to it and bring it to a boil.
-As soon as it boils once, simmer and slowly drop the earlier prepared meat balls one by one into it. Now do not stir at all for about 10 minutes. Half cover the lid and let it cook undisturbed at the low heat.
-Later, slowly stir the gravy and let it cook for 7-8 minutes more. You can add more water or let it cook for some more time on medium heat so that the water dries up and you achieve the consistency.
-The curry is ready and serve it hot with Parathas preferably or along with Rice.

Suggested accompaniments: Enjoy the curry along with Parathas or Naan, or Khushka/Plain Boiled Rice.

Luv,
Mona

Hyderabadi Maheqalya

Maheqalya, is an classic Hyderabadi meat curry with onions, tomatoes, and tamarind and a range of aromatic spices.

Hyderabadi Maheqalya – Tangy Meat Curry

Ingredients:

Lamb Meat – 500 gms, cubed-1.5 cm or sliced, boneless or with bone
Yellow Onions – 3, large, sliced thick
Tomatoes – 2, roughly chopped
Dry Desiccated Coconut – 1/2 cup
Dry roasted Coriander seed powder – 1 tsp
Dry roasted Groundnut powder – 3 tbsp
Dry roasted Sesame seeds – 3 tbsp
Canola Oil – 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Curry leaves (fresh) – 1 sprig
Dried red clillies/Baghaar ki mirch – 3-4
Methi/Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Tamarind juice – 1 cup
Slit green chillies – 4
Cilantro/Kothmir – 1 tbsp, chopped finely
Mint leaves/Pudina – 1 tbsp, chopped finely

Hyderabadi Maheqalya – Tangy Meat Curry

Method:

  • Prepare browned onion+tomato paste: Take a large thick bottomed & non-stick frying pan/skillet on medium heat, preferably a cast iron pan, and as soon as it gets warm, add the sliced onions. Keep stirring the onions and cook them without oil until the onions are all browned soft and get cooked in their own moisture evenly. Remove the pan from heat, and let them cool down. Add the chopped tomatoes and the cooled browned onions into a blender container or food processor and blend till pureed smooth adding just a few drops of water if necessary to aid in the process. Keep aside.
  • Prepare masala powders: Put a small non-stick frying pan on medium heat and dry-roast the groundnuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, shredded coconut each individually without oil till they are golden brown in colour. Do not burn them. Remove them into a platter. Once cool, grind them all together very finely. (You can dry roast a handful of almonds/cashewnuts/chironji nuts and grind them together along if you want it more rich). Make sure the obtained spice powder is very fine.
  • Take a pressure cooker and add oil and keep it on medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, dried red chillies, and fenugreek seeds to the oil and let them splutter. Now add the browned onion and tomato paste to it and cover the lid immediately, shake the cooker to mix, remove from heat and keep aside for 3-5 minutes, so that the aroma of the tempered oil with spices gets absorbed by the onion mixture. Remove the lid, put the cooker back on stove, lower the heat to medium low and add the ginger-garlic paste, the masala powders, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder and stir it well. Cook stirring continuously until oil leaves. This masala tends to stick to the bottom, so keep a close eye. Add the washed cubed meat pieces, slit green chillies and mix well. Cover with a splatter screen and let it cook while stirring it for 3- 5 minutes. Pour in half a cup of water, stir to mix, and close the lid. Pressure cook it on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the meat is tender. Then open the lid and cook it till the oil has seperated out from the mixture and starts appearing on the surface. Add the tamarind paste and give it a stir. Add about 2-3 cups water till you get the consistency you desire. Simmer and let it cook on medium high for about 3-5 more minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and mint leaves. Serve warm.

Suggested Accompaniments: Basmati Chawal or Parathas.

Luv,
Mona