Qimah ki Tahari

Tahari is a kind of one dish meal made with mutton pieces+rice, or minced meat+rice and masalas for flavor. In this technique, the meat is cooked in seasonings and masalas and later water is poured in to the gravy in which rice is added and it is all cooked together until the rice is done. For this, one has to learn the perfect ratio of water and rice so that the rice does not end up like an over cooked mushy mess.

Qimah ki Tahari is different than Biryani. In Mutton or Chicken biryani, Mutton or Chicken is layered along with half cooked rice and finished in the oven until the rice completely done; whereas in Tahari, rice is cooked on dum in the gravy containing Minced meat or Mutton pieces.

Qimah ki Tahari, served along with tomato chutney

I like Qimah ki Tahari along with ‘Tomato Chutney’. On our Saturday’s trip to the Niagara Falls, we had Qimah ki Tahari and Tomato chutney for lunch. After a very long drive when we reached there, my hubby was so hungry, we quickly had Tahari and set out to enjoy the beautiful landscapic view of the Falls.

Qimah ki Tahari – Minced Meat with Rice Casserole
Serves: 6-7

Ingredients:

Ground Lamb lean meat – 500 gms
Yellow Onion – 1, large, sliced
Canola Oil – 5 tbsp
Green Chillies – 4, slit in middle
Ginger garlic paste – 1 1/2 tbsp
Tomatoes – 3, finely chopped
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Salt – 2 1/2 tbsp
Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp
Yogurt – 1/2 cup
Green Cardamoms -4
Cinnamon sticks – 2
Caraway seeds/Shah Zeera – 1 tsp
Water – 5 cups
Rice – 3 cups
Cilantro – 3 tbsp, finely chopped

Method:

1. Wash and soak the rice in fresh cool water sufficient enough to remain 5 cms above the level of rice.
2. Wash ground meat along with sliced onions well and drain the water completely in a very fine mesh strainer.
3. In a large saucepan at medium heat, add three tablespoons oil and green chillies, cinnamon stick, cardamom, caraway seeds and ginger garlic paste. Let it splutter and fry. In a minute. Add the drained onions+ground meat and also add red chilli powder, 2 1/2 tsp salt, garam masala powder, tomatoes and stir well and let it cook for 10-15 minutes until you see oil floating on top. Add the yogurt and mix well. Let cook for 2-3 minutes. Add cilantro and mix well.
4. Add the water and let the mixture come to a boil. As soon as it begins to boil well, add rice and mix well. Let it come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cover with a lid. Let it cook till very little water remains. Keep checking it every now and then, and give a gently stir everytime. Add a few splashes of water if you feel you need more water for the rice to cook. Once the water is mostly dried up, close the heat, but leave the saucepan on the hot stove so that a nice steam forms. Let the dish rest for 15-30 minutes. Serve warm.

Suggested Accompaniments: Enjoy this ambrosial one-dish meal along with Dahi ki Chutney or Baghare Baingan or Mirchi Ka Salan or Tomato Chutney.

Luv,
Mona

Butter Chicken with no Butter – Makhani Murgh

Butter chicken is one of the famous North-Indian dishes that made its way on the menu card of almost every Indian restaurant all over the world. Each person/household has their own style of cooking this delectable dish, but I prefer this procedure, its simple, healthy and gets prepared soon, and its delicious.

Butter Chicken – Makhani Murgh

Butter Chicken can be enjoyed along with parathas, naan or with plain rice.

Butter Chicken – Makhani Murgh
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

For Marinade
Chicken – 1 (large) whole, cut into pieces
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Yogurt (thick) – 1/2 cup
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
For Curry
Cloves – 3
Green Cardamom – 4
Cinnamon stick – 2 inch long stick
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Fresh tomato puree – 5-6 cups
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Half and half – 1 1/4 cups (or) equal amounts heavy cream or light cream
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Kasoori methi – 1/4 cup
Canola oil

Method:

1. Mix all the ingredients under the heading ‘for marinade’, and keep aside for 2-3 hours or overnight. Bring it back to room temperature before you start cooking. Heat a stove top grill pan and grill the marinated chicken pieces until lightly charred on both sides. Baste with canola oil whenever needed.
If using boneless chicken, marinate them as above directions. Skewer them onto bamboo skewers and grill them both sides until charred as shown here.
You can even grill the chicken on a charcoal grill for best flavors.
Cover and keep the grilled chicken aside in a bowl.
2. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a saucepan, add cloves, cardamoms, and cinnamon stick. As the spices begin to sizzle, add ginger garlic paste and stir fry for a few seconds. Add pureed tomatoes, red chilli powder, salt. Cover and let it cook until the puree is thick. Give a stir every once in a while. Add half and half or whatever using and let it come to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat and add the grilled chicken, kasoori methi, garam masala and water according to the consistency of the curry you desire. Cover and let cook until the chicken is tender and thoroughly cooked. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with drizzles of cream.

Suggested Accompaniments: Parathas, Naan, Basmati Chawal, Pulaos.. or even in between toasted bread as sandwiches.

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

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