Shaami, Shikampur aur Kofte

I remember when I was kid, my mother used to get up early and prepare the whole days meal while we were all still sleeping, and also fix everybody’s lunch boxes, sometimes each one different from one another according to the likes of each person. By lunch time in the school, tired and bored, lunch was always what I looked forward to. Yummy and heartfully delicious simple home food to satisty the hungry stomach. Later, when I was in the junior college, I had to stay away from my parents. I then seriously missed food, especially filling lunches. That is when I began to develop a like for Shaami-sandwiches for lunch everyday. My mother would prepare Shaami in bulk, and send to me. I used to store them in the freezer, content and happy. That is when I learnt to prepare these.

Shaami, Shikampur and Kofta are all prepared the same way from a dough like cooked meat+dal+spices paste. Boneless/Minced meat is cooked dry along with lentils, onions and spices to perfection, along with a few fresh herbs, spices and chillies. This is then ground to a dough like paste which is then shaped into various kinds. If you shape it into a diamond like oblong kawabs, it is called as ‘Shaami‘, if you shape it into a small patty with a finely chopped onion+yogurt+herb relish, it is called as ‘Shikampur‘, and if you shape them into small golf balls, they are called as ‘Kofta‘. Each of them are shallow fried in oil and then eaten.

Preparing the meat+dal mixture before hand, and storing it in sandwich bags, like I have explained below, saves a lot of time. Infact during my holidays, I buy the ingredients for this in bulk, and prepare and store them in the freezer for future use. Comes extremely handy to me.

You can serve Shaami and Shikampur as snacks along with chutney to your guests, or add them between your sandwich bread for lunch, between burger buns for a delightful meal, or you can add a few Shaami along with little chutney, salad and mayonnaise and roll them between a Paratha as a wrap. Kids will love it.

Shaami and Shikampur and Kofte - Fragrant and Spicy Meat Kababs

Ingredients:

Boneless Lamb/Veal meat (or) Minced Lamb/Veal meat - 700 gms
Yellow onions – 2 large, roughly chopped
Chana Dal – 1 cup (pre-soaked for 1 hour and drained)
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Red Chilli powder/Lal mirch powder – 3 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder- 1 tsp
Cinnamon sticks/Dalchini – one 8 cm long stick
Salt – 3 tsp
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Green Serrano chillies (or) Small green chillies – around 12, roughly chopped
Small Thai Red chillies – 3, chopped (optional)
Lemon juice – 4 tbsp
Cilantro – 1 cup, roughly chopped

Method:

1. In a pressure cooker at medium high heat, pour half cup water, and add lamb, pre-soaked dal, chopped onions, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt, cumin seeds, and ginger garlic paste and cinnamon stick. Mix well. Close the lid and let it pressure cook until the meat is tender. Later, open the lid and let it cook until all the liquid has evaporated and it is mostly a dry mixture. There should be no water in the mixture left. This is important, else you will not be able to properly shape them later on and they will end up cracking while you shallow fry them in the end.
2. Let the mixture cool down. Once cool, remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Add the mixture to a food processor. Throw in the cilantro, garam masala powder, chillies, lemon juice and process without adding any water until smooth and pasty. The mixture is ready.

During earlier times, this mixture was grinded using a Sil-Batta or a grinding stone from the past. Sil referring to flat stone and Batta referring to a cylindrical grinding stone. The process must have been a vigorous exercise for arms.

Method of storing the extra meat mixture for future use:

Meat mixture packed in Sandwich bags to be stored frozen for later use

I often prepare the meat mixture for Shaami/Shikampur and Kofta in bulk at a time. Once the mixture is cool enough to handle, store the extra amount in ziplock sandwich bags. Stack them up and freeze for future use. When you feel like having it, take a few sandwich bags out of the freezer and keep them on the countertop until they defrost to room temperature. Shape them into Shaami or Shikampur or Kofta and shallow fry them to serve. It saves a lot of my time this way.

***

To prepare Shaami:

1. Wash your hands clean. Take a small amount of cool water/oil into a cup. Take the above prepared meat mixture, the size of a golf ball into your hands. Dipping your right hand fingertips into the water, shape the mixture into a oblong diamond shaped Shaami(as shown in the picture above). Keep aside. Continue preparing Shaami until you get the number of Shaami you need.
2. In a small frying pan at medium high heat, pour little oil and shallow fry the Shaami until crisp dark brown on each side. Shallow fry them in batches and serve warm.

***

To prepare Shikampur:

1. Finely chop 1 medium onion, 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, and 4 small green chillies. Add 2 tbsp hung thick yogurt and salt to taste. Mix well. This is the yogurt relish. (Prepare more of this if you are planning to make many Shikampur for a large crowd)
2.Wash your hands clean. Take a small amount of cool water/oil into a cup. Take the above prepared meat mixture, the size of a golf ball into your hands. Make a well in the centre and add about a tablespoon of the relish prepared in the above step. Working gently with your hands, bring the edges together and cover the filling properly to shape into a flattened patty(as shown in the picture above).
3. In a small frying pan at medium high heat, pour little oil and shallow fry the Shikampur until crisp dark brown on each side. Shallow fry them in batches and serve warm.

***

To prepare Kofta:

1. Wash your hands clean. Take a small amount of cool water/oil into a cup. Take the above prepared meat mixture, the size of a golf ball into your hands. Wetting your palms with little water, shape the mixture into smooth balls and keep aside. Continue preparing the koftas until you get the number you need.
2. In a small frying pan at medium high heat, pour little oil and shallow fry the kofta’s, a few at a time, until crisp dark brown on their sides.
(Note: Koftas prepared this way are used in Kofte Ka Qorma)

***

You can also prepare Nagrisi Koftey using this same meat mixture.

Tip: If you feel like the meat mixture you have prepared for shaami, shikampur or kofta is very loose and not tight enough to hold a shape, dry roast about 2 tbsp or more of gram flour/besan for a few seconds, and once cool add it to the meat mixture. Mix well and you will now be able to shape it better. Add more if you require.

Luv,
Mona

Kothmir aur Pudina Ki Chutney

This is one of the most cherished recipes very close to my heart. I love this chutney immensely, and it goes very well along with almost all snacks like pakode, samosas, bhajiye, and tastes heavenly especially along with Khichdi. It has got all the goodness in it. I remember, my beloved Dadi (Grandmother) always used to ask a second helping of this chutney.. some times more than once! Memories are always associated with food.. many many memories with each and every dish on your table and I know everyone can agree with that.

I cherish this recipe because this is my humble mother’s recipe which was taught to her by her mother. My Nani (Grandmother) is a very nice soul, she is a great cook too. Now, but due to age, both my Nani and Dadi, my paternal and maternal grandmothers cannot cook much today, but I can always ask them for the treasured tips, and recipes which are priceless to me.

Hara Dhaniya aur Pudine Ki ChutenyCoriander and Mint Chutney

I have slightly modified the recipe here, and used thai red chillies too. They are optional. Use them if you like, you can substitute them by adding a few more green chillies depending how spicy you want this chutney to be. Also, you can add a few roasted groundnuts to the Chutney, makes it more flavorful, but here I haven’t.

Store this Chutney in an airtight small glass jar in the refrigerator for upto a week.

Hara Dhaniya aur Pudine Ki Chutney – Coriander and Mint Chutney

Ingredients:

Fresh Cilantro/Kothmir/Hara Dhaniya – 1 cup, packed tightly, washed and dried on paper towels, roughly chopped along with the tender stems
Fresh Mint Leaves/Pudina – 1 cup, packed tightly, washed and dried on paper towels, roughly chopped, only leaves
Garlic pods – 4, large, roughly chopped
Thai Red Chillies – 3, washed and chopped
Green Chillies – 4, washed and chopped
Curry leaves – 6-8, washed
Tamarind ball – without seeds, about the size of a golf ball (or) Tamarind Concentrate – 3 tbsp
Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp
Dry Desiccated Coconut – 1/2 cup
Salt – 1 1/3 tsp or according to taste
Canola/Sunflower Oil – 1/2 tsp

Method:

1. In a non stick pan at medium high heat, pour oil and as it warms up, add the shredded coconut and the sesame seeds, and roast them both together till light brown and aromatic. Let it cool. Keep aside.
2. Put the tamarind ball in a cup of warm water. Once the tamarind pulp is all soft, sieve the pulp and keep it aside.
3. In a blender container put the coriander leaves, mint leaves, garlic pods, red and green chillies, curry leaves, tamarind pulp, sesame seeds, shredded coconut and salt. Blend it till nice and smooth. You can add about half cup of water to aid in the blending if needed.

Serve chilled along with Khichdi, Idli, Dosa, Pakodas, Bhajiyas, Samosas, Croquettes, Kababs, Baghara Chawal, Aloo Paratha.. Or anything you like.

Updated on April 30 ’09: I am sending this Chutney over to Jhiva for Ingredients/JFI event, initiated by Indira originally. I am a great admirer of Indira’s efforts towards inspiring people about Indian Cuisine. Her blog with simple Indian vegetarian recipes is a sea of knowledge. Kudos to her work.
The theme for JFI is the most used asian herb ‘Cilantro’, known for its very aromatic and refreshing flavors, being hosted by Cilantro herself at her blog.

Whenever you are free, listen to this song ‘Luka Chuppi’ from the bollywood movie ‘Rang De Basanti’.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Its a very beautiful, touching, soulful song hindi song, sung by the great Lata Mangeskar and A.R Rahman, never fails to bring tears in my eyes.

Luv,
Mona

Pakki Gosht Ki Biryani, and Dahi Ki Chutney

Dear readers, today I present you with renowned Hyderabadi Lamb Biryani. Biryani is one of the most famous Hyderabadi one-dish meals craved and devoured by people from all over the world. The basic process of preparing Biryani involves the layering of raw marinated or cooked meat along with half cooked long grained aromatic Basmati rice, and a range of fresh spices and herbs for exceptional flavor and aroma.

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

Biryani always reminds me of my wedding, when I wore a very beautiful Khada Dupatta. It was on that day that I had best Biryani ever! This dish is so important in the Hyderabadi Muslim community that it is served along with Mirchi Ka Salan and Baghare Baingan and Dahi Ki Chutney, as the main dish at almost all gatherings, occasions, parties, all kinds of merry making get togethers. Essentially all weddings in Hyderabad are suposed to have Lamb Biryani and Mirchi Ka Salan in the menu.

My lovely sister had prepared this dish on the weekend. We were all in a mood to treat our family and ourselves with something special, and we immediately thought of this dish. What could be a more better meal to delight ourselves than this flavorsome fare.

Gosht Ki Biryani, Dahi Ki Chutney

***

Dahi Ki Chutney – Yogurt Chutney
Makes:One small bowl

Ingredients:

Plain Yogurt (low-fat or full-fat)- 375 ml
Salt – 2/3 tsp or according to taste
Thai Red Chillies – 2, chopped (optional)
Green Chillies – 2, chopped
Yellow Onion – 1, medium, finely chopped
Mint leaves – 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Firm Red Tomato (fresh) - 1, small, deseeded and chopped finely (optional)

Method:

1. To the yogurt in a bowl, add salt and half a cup of water and whip it till smooth, and creamy for approx 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and fold them into the yogurt gently. Adjust salt according to your taste and cover the bowl with a plastic wrap.
3. Put it in the refrigerator to serve it later along with Biryani.

You can store Dahi Ki Chutney in the refrigerator in an air tight food storage box for only one more day in a refrigarator, it doesnt last long. It is always better if you have an idea how much your family memebers will have it and you prepare it in only the required amount.

***

Hyderabadi Dum Pukth Pakki Gosht Ki Biryani – Fragrant Flavored Meat and Rice Casserole
Serves:5-8

Ingredients:

For the Marinade
Canola/Vegetable/Sunflower Oil (or) Butter/Makhan (or) Clarified Butter/Ghee – 90 ml/6 tbsp
Yellow Onion/Pyaz – 2, large, thinly sliced
Lean Lamb leg meat – 1 kg, washed and cubed into 3 cm pieces approx (with bones preferably if available, I have used only boneless here)
Plain Yogurt/Dahi – 500 ml, lightly whipped
Red Chilli Powder/Lal mirch powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Salt/Namak – 1 1/2 tsp
Lemon Juice/Nimbu Ras – 4 tbsp
Garam Masala – 1 tbsp
Turmeric/Haldi – 1/2 tsp
Ginger Garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Water/Meat Stock – 1/2 cup
For the Garnish
Green Chillies/Hari Mirch – 2, each slit into two
Thai Red chillies/Choti Lal Mirch – 2, each slit into two (optional)
Fried Onion reserved for garnish earlier
Mint Leaves/Pudina – 1/2 cup
Cilantro/Kothmir – 1/2 cup
Toasted sliced Almonds/Bareek Kata Badaam – 2 tbsp
Fried Red Raisins and Cashwnuts/Tala-huwa Kishmish - 3 tbsp
Pinch of Saffron threads/Zaafraan soaked in 1/2 cup warm Milk
A dollop of Butter/Makhan or Clarified Butter/Ghee (optional)
For the Rice
Long Grained Basmati Rice/Chawal (preferably ‘Lal Qilla’ Brand) - 4 cups
Salt/Namak – 4 tsp
Black Cumin seeds/Shah Zeera – 1 tsp

Method:

1. Wash and soak the rice in a big bowl for about 30 minutes.
2. In a pressure cooker at medium high heat, fry the onions in oil/butter until they are golden brown in colour. Remove with a slotted spoon on a kitchen towel and reserve half for garnish. Blend the other half in 2 tbsp water inoi a paste.
3. In the same pressure cooker, with oil/butter in it, add the washed cubed meat pieces, Stir fry till the meat has browned on all sides. Add the fried onions paste and the ginger garlic paste and turmeric. Saute them for 2 minutes. Throw in the red chilli powder, salt, garam masala, half cup water, and yogurt. Mix well and pressure cook for about 15-20 minutes until the meat is tender.
4. Meanwhile drain the soaking rice and keep aside. Bring 9 cups of water in a to boil in a large saucepan with Black cumin seeds and salt (do not forget to add salt to the rice!!) in it. As soon as its boiling, add the drained rice and let it cook till the rice grains are just done. Drain and keep aside.
5. Now, open the lid of the cooker and cook the meat mixture well without covering the lid on medium high heat until the meat mixture is done and most of the liquid has dried up. It should be a little bit dry mixture.
Add lemon juice to the meat and mix. Remove from heat.
6. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
7. In a large oven proof baking dish, add half of the rice in a layer at the bottom of the dish. Now add the whole meat mixture in one layer. Then cover it with the remaining rice completely and work gently, try not to break the rice kernels.
8. Garnish the layered rice with the reserved fried onions, mint and coriander leaves, slit red and green chillies, toasted and fried nuts, and sprinkle the milk with saffron threads in it. You can also add a dollop of butter if you wish.
9. Cover the dish with a tight lid or aluminium foil and keep it in the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes, till a nice steam has formed inside.
10. Before serving, dig the spoon into the dish till the base and take the rice and meat in a bowl. mix it and serve it hot.

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: Mirchi Ka Salan or Baghare Baingan or Dahi Ki Chutney or Tomato Chutney.

This is my entry for Meeta’s Monthly Mingle-One Dish Dinners

Luv,
Mona