Arvi aur Gosht Ka Khatta Salan

Weekends are usually grocery shopping days. I love the sight of fresh fruits and vegetables. This week I had bought a few taro root and decided to prepare this ambrosial curry using them.

Arvi Ka Khatta Salan – Colocasia (or) Potatoes and Lamb Stew

Khatta Salan means ‘soured stew’. The sourness from the tomatoes, a slight heat from red chilli powder and the subtle sweetness from  caramelized onions along with the roasted spices impart an aromatic and delectable flavor to this Taro stew. This same base is used in many other versions of the khatta shorba, which are Bhendi Ka Khatta, Karele ka khatta, Aloo-Gosht ka Khatta etc.

The consistency of this curry is slightly thin and not like a thick gravy. Replace potatoes with colocasia to make it ‘Aloo aur Gosht ka Khatta Salan – Potatoes and Meat in a tangy sauce’.

Arvi aur Gosht Ka Khatta Salan – Colocasia (or) Potatoes and Lamb meat Stew

Ingredients:

Colocasia/Taro root/Arvi –  4-5, large sized, peeled, and cut into 1.5 cm cubes (or) Potatoes – 5, large sized, peeled, and cut into 1.5 cm cubes
Lamb meat with bones – 600 gms, cubed into bite size pieces
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs, fresh
Ginger garlic paste – 1 1/2 tsp
Yellow Onions – 3, large, sliced
Tomatoes – 5, large, diced finely
Salt – 2 1/2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Roasted Cumin seed powder – 1/2 tsp
Roasted Coriander seed powder – 1/2 tsp
Tamarind concentrate/Lemon or Lime juice – 2 tbsp
Cilantro/Kothmir – 3 tbsp, chopped finely
Oil – 8 tbsp

Method:

  • Take a pressure cooker and put it on medium heat and add oil. As soon as it heats up, add onions and fry until they are light brown in color. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute. Add the meat, curry leaves, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder, cumin and coriander seed powder and cook until meat is no longer pink. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook along for a furthur 3-5 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and oil starts to leave. Now pour in water to cover and pressure-cook till the meat is tender.
  • Later, open the lid of the cooker and add the colocasia/potatoes and stir well. Also add the tamarind paste/lemon or lime juice and around 4 cups of water. Half cover the lid and let it cook on simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the tuber has become soft. You can test it by piercing one cubed colocasia/potato with a fork. It should be soft. If it isnt, let it simmer for a little more time. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately along with rice or parathas.

Note: You can replace colocasia with peeled and quartered turnips to make it ‘Shalgam aur Gosht Ka Khatta Salan’ – Turnip and Lamb meat in a Tangy Sauce.

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

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

Imli Ki Chutney

Tangy Chutneys and sauces go very well with fried bhajiya’s and crisp pakodas (Indian snacks) in cold weather when it is raining outside. You can also use this pungent chutney along with Indian chaats.

Store this sweet, sour and hot chutney in air-tight glass jars in the refrigerator. Use in within a month.

Imli Ki Chutney – Tamarind Sauce source

Imli Ki Chutney – Tamarind Sauce

Ingredients:

Tamarind – 250 gms
Jaggery/Gud – 300 gms (you can also use sugar instead)
Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
Cumin seed/Zeera powder – 1 tsp
Black salt/Kala Namak – a pinch

Method:

1. Soak the tamarind in a small bowl with warm/hot water just enoughg to cover ir for 1 hour. Then extract a thick pulp from the tamarind by pressing it down a sieve to remove all the fibres.
2. Take a heavy bottom pan and cook the pulp. Add sugar and keep stirring till it becomes thick. Add spices and salt and cook it 3 mins more Remove from heat. Pour into sterlised bottle and store upto 1 month in a refrigerator.

Luv,
Mona

Murgh Tikka

A wonderful marinade of yogurt and aromatic spices adds a delectable flavor to the tender boneless chicken pieces. Traditionally it is made on skewers in a tandoor (Indian clay oven), but today I have used my stove top grill pan which I had bought from Ikea. You can also grill them using either charcoal or gas grills.

Chicken Tikka Kawabs – Murgh Tikka

Serve these kawabs as finger food along with chutney.

Chicken Tikka Kawabs – Murgh Tikka
Serves : 4

Ingredients:

Marinade:

Yogurt – 1/2 cup
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Red Chili powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Roasted Cumin seed powder – 1 tsp
Roasted Coriander seed powder – 1 tsp
Lemon Juice – 2 tbsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Ajwain seeds – 1 tsp
Boneless chicken –  500 gms, cut into bite size pieces
Cilantro – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Canola oil – to baste

Method:

1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the last two. Add chicken pieces and toss well to cover. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

marinated boneless chicken pieces on bamboo skewers

Boneless chicken pieces on bamboo skewers being cooked in stove top grill pan

2. Thread 4-5 pieces of chicken onto each skewer and grill on medium heat, 350°F (177° C) on a grill rack placed on an aluminium foil lined baking tray; or at ‘4’ mark if using a Stove top grill pan for 6-8 minutes, turning frequently and basting with oil.
4. Once done, remove the chicken skewers from the pan and place in a platter. Cover and let rest for 2-3 minutes once off the heat. Remove the chicken from the skewers and serve on a bed of raw sliced onions with lemon wedges.

Luv,
Mona