Haleem~I

Haleem, is a stew or a porridge made by slow cooking the lentils, meat and broken wheat together. It is a nutritous one-dish meal, perfect for a cold weather, or a starving stomach.

Murgh/Chicken Haleem garnished with fried onion slices, halved lime and sliced green chillies

It is mostly a middle-eastern dish in origins, heavily modified by Hyderabadis to suite their palate and is today one of the most famed dishes of Hyderabad city. It is usually prepared by muslims at Iftaar or dinner in the holy month of Ramadhan. I remember back in India, stalls and shops, especially for the month of Ramadhan would be set up and people would gather in big crowds to have it then and there, or parcel it and take home for everyone at home. The crowds and the stalls, the Pista restaurant famous for Haleem being one such, which would especially be seen in the month of Ramadhan in Hyderabad was a sight to watch, remember and recollect always.

This dish needs some pre-planning and is a little bit time consuming. But you will definitely love it once you try it. It is a balanced, delicious and famous Hyderabadi one dish meal.

I have been trying out many ways of preparing this delicious one dish meal and here is my modified simpler version of the dish. Inshallah I will post my Ammi’s version of Haleem in the future.

Haleem – Slow Cooked Lentils, Wheat and Meat/Vegetables Porridge
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:

For Nonvegetarian Version-

Lamb/Veal Meat, boneless or with bone – 300 gms, washed and cubed (or) Chicken meat, boneless or with bone – 300 gms washed and cubed (I suggest using meat with bone) (you could also use minced chicken or lamb/veal meat)

For Vegetarian Version-

Fresh/Frozen chopped mixed Vegetables -300gms (you can use chopped vegetables like Cauliflower/PhulGobi, Peas/Matar, Carrots/Gajar, Capsicums/Shimla Mirch, Green Beans/Phalli)

Remaining Ingredients:

Broken Wheat/Bulgar Wheat/Dalia – 1 1/2 cups
Split Bengal Gram/Chana Dal/Chane ki dal – 2 tbsp
Split Yellow Lentils/Masoor dal – 2 tbsp
Split Yellow Lentils/Tuvar dal – 4 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric/Haldi – 1/2 tsp
Canola oil – 6 tbsp
Onions – 4, large, finely sliced
Ginger-Garlic paste – 4 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander seeds – 2 tsp, dry roasted and powdered
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp, dry roasted and powdered

Garam masala – 1 tsp

For Garnish:

Mint leaves/Pudina – chopped, for garnish
Cilantro/Kothmir – chopped, for garnish
Green chillies/Hari Mirch – 4, finely chopped or slit
Fried Onion/Pyaz – 1 cup
Juicy Lemon/Lime – 4, halved
Ghee – 2 tbsp (optional)

Method:

1. Add the broken wheat to surplus fresh cool water and drain in very fine wire mesh strainer several times to wash it, and soak the it and the lentils~chana dal, tuvar dal and masoor dal, seperately overnight or for atleast 3 hours, in generous amount of fresh cool water.
2. For a Non-vegetarian version, pressure cook the meat in surplus amount of water enough to cover it along with a pinch of salt and turmeric till tender. Chicken Meat will cook faster than Lamb meat. Once the meat is tender, drain, measure and reserve the stock in a bowl, shred the meat and keep aside in an anther bowl. Discard the bones. If using minced meat, cook it in a little oil, salt and red chilli powder until browned evenly. Keep aside.
3. Drain the soaking wheat and lentils and keep aside in a fine wire mesh strainer. In a non-stick 7 quart Dutch oven at medium heat, pour oil and as it gets warmed up throw in the sliced onion and stir fry until evenly browned and crisp (make sure you do not burn it). Remove the pan from heat and using a slotted spoon, remove about 1/2 of the fried onions from the pan onto a platter and spread the fried onions well so that they crisp up. Return the pan with leftover fried onions to heat and add ginger-garlic paste, coriander and cumin seed powder, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Add the drained broken wheat and lentils and mix well. Pour in the reserved meat stock. If you are preparing a vegetarian version, you can add vegetable stock or just plain water. You need to add a total of 8 cups of liquid to the saucepan. Let it boil once then simmer and let it cook covered, until the lentils are tender and the wheat mushy, about 1 1/2 hours, stirring it every once in a while taking care it doesnt stick to the bottom of the dish.
4. Stir in the garam masala and add the frozen/fresh chopped vegetables, or for a non-vegetarian version, the reserved shredded meat or minced meat, and mix well. Let it cook covered till the vegetables are tender and oil comes to surface, about 5 -8 minutes. You can keep adding a little water if needed. Remove the dutch oven from heat. Let it cool down slightly.
5. Once cool, pour the entire thing into a food processor and process for a minute. Pour back into the dutch oven, add a little water, and let simmer covered for 5 more minutes.
6. To serve pour the Haleem into individual plates with a laddle and garnish each plate with a few chopped mint leaves, chopped cilantro, chopped/slit green chillies, reserved fried onion, halved lemon for squeezing fresh lemon juice and a dollop of ghee(optional) for a deliciously nutritious meal.

Luv,
Mona

Veggies and Me!

I had always disliked vegetable biryani. My Ammi had to run behind me to make me finish my plate. The other day while I was browsing through this cookbook, I came across this recipe and I am so glad I tried it. This recipe is a keeper and I will definitely be trying it again and again in my kitchen.

Vegetable Dum Biryani –  Rice Cooked With Vegetables and Spices
Source: India’s Vegetarian Cooking
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • Spices for the Rice water:
  1. Bay Leaves – 2
  2. Fennel Seeds/Saunf – 1 tsp
  3. Nutmeg Powder – 1 tsp
  4. Cinnamon – 1 small stick
  5. Cloves – 5
  6. Black peppercorns – 8
  7. Green cardamom – 3
  • Milk – 4 tbsp
  • Saffron strands – 1/2 tsp
  • Rose Water – 4 tbsp (optional)
  • Green cardamoms – 2
  • Butter/Canola Oil – 6 tbsp
  • Yellow Onion – 3, medium, thinly sliced
  • Ginger Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
  • Tomato paste – 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Garam Masala powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1 1/4 tsp
  • Frozen Mixed Vegetables (Corn, Carrots, Potatoes, French Beans, Lima beans) – 270 gms
  • Red capsicum – 1, chopped
  • Basmati Rice – 300 gms
  • Mint leaves – 1 tbsp
  • Cilantro – 1 tbsp
  • Slivered Almonds – 3 tbsp

Vegetable Dum Biryani / Tarkari Ka Chawal

Method:

  • Preheat Oven to 425 °F /220 °C/Gas Mark 6
  • Put the spices meant for the rice water in 600 ml of water. Bring to a boil and turn off heat. Cover the pan and allow the flavours to infuse. This will be our liq. 1.
  • Meanwhile crush the two green cardamoms with milk and saffron and rose water and keep aside in a small bowl. This will be our liq. 2.
  • In a pan on medium heat, pour 3 tbsp of butter/oil and stir fry the chopped red capsicum. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  • In the same pan and butter/oil fry the onions until brown. Remove half of them and reserve for garnish. Add Ginger garlic paste to the pan and stir fry it along with the remaining onions. Remove from heat and let it cool. Grind the fried Ginger-Garlic and Onion.
  • Heat 1 1/2 tbsp butter/oil in a pan and pour the above grinded mixture along with turmeric powder, Garam masala and tomato puree. Season with salt and let it cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the frozen mixed vegetables to the tomato and onion mixture in the pan. Also add the stir fried red capsicum. Mix Well and simmer. Let it cook for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.
  • Strain the liq. 1 and keep aside. Throw away the spices.
  • In a pan add 1 1/2 tbsp of butter/oil and fry the rice over high heat. (Note: Do not wash the rice before hand. Rinsing will wash away the significant amount of surface starch that contributes to the dish.)
  • When the rice has become shiny, add half of the liq. 1 and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover for about 6-8 minutes or until the water has evaporated.
  • Take an oven proof dish and start the layering process of the Biryani. The top and bottom layers are always the rice in a Biryani. Start by a layer of rice in the bottom of the dish, then add a layer of Vegetable mixture, then a layer of rice, and layer of vegetable mixture, and then the final rice layer. Pour evently the remaining liq.1 and the liq. 2 and the reserved fried onions on the rice layer. Also sprinkle the chopped coriander and mint leaves, and the slivered almonds on it. Seal the dish with tinfoil.
  • Cook the biryani for 40 minutes in the oven reducing the heat to 375 °F/190 °C/Gas Mark 5 after 20 minutes. Open the dish/Remove the tinfoil from the dish, just before serving.

Suggested Accompaniments: Tamatar ki Chutney

This goes as my contribution to Sharmi for the event she is holding Jihva for Ingredients JFI and its Rice this month at her place.

Luv,
Mona

Chicken with Lychees

This recipe is my contribution to the event – A fruit a month’ AFAM, which the lovely Sig, of Live to Eat, has hosted for this month with Lychee as the fruit of the month. Many people do not know what Lychee are. Lychee is a fruit, mostly grown in China, and known for its sweet tart flavour. This fruit has a rose coloured skin when young, but as it matures, it develops a hard and leathery rind, which is inedible. It comes off easily leaving behind the jelly like, pearly white flesh with a single inedible seed inside. They are available fresh or canned in most asian stores. Anyways, here’s my entry for the event :

Ingredients:

Marination Ingredients-

  • Boneless Chicken Breast Pieces – 500 gms, cut into 2 cm cubes
  • Salt – 2 tsp
  • Black Pepper – 1 tsp
  • Canola Oil – 1 tsp
  • Sugar – 1/2 tsp

Gravy Ingredients-

  • Gram Flour – 5 tbsp
  • Canola Oil – 3 tbsp
  • Red Capsicum – 1/2 of a large capsicum, chopped
  • Green Capsicum – 1/2 of a large capsicum, chopped
  • Ginger Garlic paste – 2tsp
  • Yellow Onions – 1, finely chopped
  • Canned Lychee in Syrup – 1 can, 565 gms
  • Tomato paste – 3 tbsp
  • Water – 2 tbsp
  • Red Chilli flakes – 1 tsp
  • Red Chilli Powder – 2 tsp

Chicken with Lychees

Method:

  • Drain and reserve all the lychees and a cup of syrup individually in two bowls.
  • Marinate the Chicken in the marination ingredients for preferably 30 minutes.
  • Roll the chicken breast pieces in 4 tbsp gram flour and fry till golden brown. Make sure you do not fry them for too long as breast pieces toughen up too quickly.
  • In a pan on medium heat, in a tbsp of oil, stir fry the red and green capsicum for about 7 minutes. Remove and keep aside.
  • In the same pan add the remaining oil and fry the onions till light brown.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and fry it along.
  • Add the reserved cup of lychee syrup to it and simmer covered for 5 minutes.
  • Now add the tomato paste and the stir fried capsicum to it and mix well.
  • Dilute the remaining one tbsp gram flour in a 2 tbsp water and pour this into the pan. Let it cook till the mixture begins to thicken up.
  • Add the Chicken pieces and the drained lychees, chilli flakes and red chilli powder and give a good stir.
  • Let it cook on simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
  • Once ready, Serve it hot.

Luv,
Mona

Colourful Pasta

There’s one thing about pasta that I like a lot. It can be made in a thousand different ways changing the flavours with every ingredient you wish to add to it. While preparing pasta you can experiment a lot, with whatever you like, and it gets ready instantly for a delicious heartful meal.

This recipe which I make is loved by everyone in my home. You can substitute meat in this recipe with the same amount of chicken breast pieces, or omit both and make it a vegetarian pasta dish.

Serves : 4

Colourful Pasta

Ingredients:

Lamb/Veal meat – 110 gms, cubed into bite size pieces
Fusilli Pasta – 400 gms
Ripe Tomatoes – 2, large, chopped finely
Canned Tomato paste – 1 cup
Carrots – 2, washed peeled and sliced
Red capsicum – 1, large
Green beans/Binees – 1 cup, washed and chopped
Canned Black beans – 1 cup, drained and gently washed
Salt – to taste
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Garam masala – 2 tsp
Yellow Onion – 1, small, sliced
Canola Oil – 4 1/2 tbsp
Parmesan Cheese – 1 cup, Grated (optional)
Black Olives – 1 cup, sliced and deseeded (optional)

Method:

  • Put a pressure cooker on heat and add half a tablespoon of oil to it. Add the washed and cubed lean meat pieces and stir until no longer red. Pour a little water and pressure cook till it becomes soft. You can even use some left over meat. Just shred it into bite size pieces. Remove the meat with all its juices to a bowl once done.
  • Take a pan and add two teaspoon oil to it. Fry the cut carrots, capsicum, french beans individually for 3-4 minutes each and remove in an another bowl.
  • In a sauce pan, add the remaining oil and put it on heat. Add the sliced onions to it and let them turn translucent. Add the finely chopped tomatoes and cover the lid for a few minutes till the tomatoes have become soft. Add the tomato paste and stir to mix. Add salt, chilli powder, garam masala and turmeric and stir again. Now add the meat pieces with all its juices to the tomato mixture and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Meanwhile cook Fusilli according to instructions and reserve half cup of the water in which the Fusilli was cooked. Drain and keep aside.
  • Add the drained pasta with its reserved water, the drained black bean and the sautéed vegetables to the tomato mixture. Reduce the heat to medium low and let it cook uncovered for 5 more minutes.
  • Serve immediately into individual plates sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese and sliced olives on top.

Luv,
Mona