Aloo aur Gosht ki Tahari

July 4th, 2011 Mona Posted in Basmati Rice/Chawal, Canola Oil, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Garam masala powder, Ginger-Garlic paste, Hyderabadi special, Lamb/Beef/Mutton/Veal/Sheep, Lemon/Nimbu, Mint/Pudina (fresh), Red Chilli powder, Red Potatoes, Salt/Namak, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, White Potato/Aloo, Yellow Onion/Pyaaz, Yogurt/Dahi 14 Comments » 16,106 views

One dish meals are a savior. In today’s revved up life, they are a time, fuel saver, and cleanup is a breeze. Tahari is one such balanced and nutritious one pot family meal that is very often cooked in Hyderabadi homes.

Aloo aur Gosht ki Tahari – Spiced Basmati Rice with Potatoes and Lamb meat

Tahari might be called as a cousin of Biryani. During the process of Biryani preperation, the meat and rice are layered and then cooked on dum (slow heat) in one pot. Whereas in Tahari, once the meat is cooked, water is poured to the meat and then rice is added and cooked along. There is no layering process in Tahari as in Biryani. The ration of water:rice has be perfect for a well cooked Tahari, or else you end up with a mushy mess.

There are two kinds of Tahari: 1. Minced meat+Rice Tahari; 2. Lamb meat with bones+Rice Tahari. Today I am writing about the latter one. The previous kind I have already blogged a while earlier. Adding tomatoes to Tahari is optional. I have always seen both my Ammi and my Mother in law add tomatoes to Tahari, but there are some that do not suggest it. I prefer to add tomatoes as it gives a nice flavor to the dish that I love. However you can avoid adding tomatoes if you want.

Aloo aur Gosht ki Tahari – Spiced Basmati Rice with Potatoes and Lamb meat

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice – 3 cups
Canola oil – 1/2 cup
Onions – 2 cups, sliced
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Salt – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Mint leaves – 1/2 cup, loosely packed, finely chopped
Cilantro – 1/2 cup, loosely packed, finely chopped
Red chilli powder – 2 tbsp
Tomatoes – 2, large, diced
Potatoes – 2, large, quartered
Yogurt – 1 cup, lightly whisked
Lamb meat with bones – 650 gms
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Juice of a Lime

Method:

1. In a vessel, add rice and wash it in 2-3 changes of fresh cool water. Then, soak it in surplus fresh cool water for about 30 minutes while you prepare the following meat preparation.
2. In a pressure cooker at medium high heat pour in oil and as soon as it warms up, add the sliced onions. Stir fry them until they are golden brown in color. Add ginger garlic paste and fry along for a minute. Add red chilli powder, salt, chopped tomatoes, chopped mint and cilantro and turmeric powder and mix well. Cook for 2-5 minutes until the tomatoes are mushy. Add the lightly whisked yogurt and keep stirring for a minute. Add the quartered potatoes and mix. Let cook covered until the potatoes are tender (test using a fork) and oil has separated. Add the lamb meat with bones and mix well. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Cover with the lid and pressure cook until the meat is tender. Open the lid and add garam masala powder and lime juice. Let the mixture cook until oil separates. Now pour in about 4 cups of water, close the lid, increase the heat and let it come to a boil.
3. Drain the soaking rice and keep it ready.
4. As soon as the meat mixture begins to boil, add the drained rice and gently mix. Let it come to a boil again. 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 gentle 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 along with a pickle or papad.

Note: You can even lightly fry the quartered potatoes before you add to the dish. I prefer not to.

Luv,
Mona

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Machli kay Sir ka Saalan and a Winner

March 9th, 2011 Mona Posted in Canola Oil, Rainbow Trout, Red Chilli powder, Salmon, Sea-food, Snapper, Turmeric/Haldi, Yellow Onion/Pyaaz 13 Comments » 7,093 views

The first time I had tasted this fish head curry was at my aunts house. She had prepared this curry along with rice and other accompaniments and served it at lunch. I was staying at her house for my studies during that time. Fish head curry sounded very gross to me and I was initially hesitant to even taste it. But my aunt was truly enjoying it and looking at her enjoy, I was eventually tempted. I tried and it was very good. Since then I am a fan. Hubby dear on the other side is not a big fan of fish in any form, so fish makes a rare appearance on our table. Whenever I fancy fish, I ask the fish monger at stores in Toronto that sell live fish, to give me a whole tiny little cleaned fish along with its head. I fry/grill or a make a saalan with the steaks, and a separate curry using the head. Enough for me.

Machli kay Sir ka Saalan – Fish Head Curry

One of the easiest curry preparations using fish, and full of nutrition. You will definitely enjoy it. My mother and aunt make this curry using the head of a Rohu fish, which is the most commonly eaten and most delicious fish ever that is available in South India, however you can use any fish head. I have prepared this curry using Salmon fish head and Rainbow Trout fish head. You can even use King fish head or Snapper head, etc.  If you are making this curry for more than one person, please go ahead and buy 2-3 fish heads, and increase the amounts of other ingredients accordingly. Just let go of your inhibitions and do try this curry atleast once.

Machli kay Sir ka Saalan – Fish Head Curry

Ingredients:

1 Fish Head – cleaned (I discard the eyes and skin)
Onion – 1 medium sized, finely diced
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Canola oil – 2 tsp

Method:

In a pressure cooker at medium heat, add the finely diced onion, oil, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder. Pour in about a cup of water. Mix well. Close the lid and pressure cook for 10 minutes until the onion is very soft. Remove the lid and cook while stirring occasionally until most of the water dries up and it resembles a paste and oils starts to leave. Add the cleaned fish heads and a few drops of water. Stir to mix, then cover with a lid and lower the heat to simmer. Let it cook for 5-10 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook for a further 2-5 minutes. Add chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

Winner:

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for Olivado Oils. And we have a winner. To choose the winner, I usedRandom.org’s Integer Generator to choose a number, and the lucky winner is ikkinlala. Congratulations. Please contact me for further details.

Luv,
Mona

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Tarkari ki Biryani

November 9th, 2010 Mona Posted in Almonds/Badaam, Broccoli, Canola Oil, Carrot/Gajar, Cashewnuts/Kaaju, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Cinnamon/Dalchini, Clove/Laung, Cumin seeds/Zeera, Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Ghee, Ginger-Garlic paste, Green Chillies, Green Onion/Hari Pyaz, Hyderabadi special, Mint/Pudina (fresh), Peas/Matar, Red Chilli powder, Saffron/Zafraan, Salt/Namak, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, White Potato/Aloo, Yellow Onion/Pyaaz, Yogurt/Dahi 22 Comments » 15,803 views

I was immensely thrilled to learn just a few months back during this last Ramadan that Haleem is the first Hyderabadi delicacy to be granted the Geographical Indication Certificate (GI status) along the lines of the famous Tirupati laddu, Darjeeling tea, Goan feni and Banarasi silk. So it will only be referred to as ‘Hyderabadi Haleem’ from now on. How cool is that. I wish that Biryani and many other such iconic dishes of the city too get the recognition as soon as possible.

Biryani is a dish of royalty, of the nizams of the Hyderabad and the Moghuls, known for its cooking method, delicate flavor, heavenly aroma and the use of many spices in the right proportion. In Persian “Birian” means ‘fried before cooking’. There exist two kinds of Biryani, the non-vegetarian and the vegetarian versions. I have already blogged about both the kachchi (raw) and pakki (cooked) method of the Chicken and Mutton Biryani. You can find the recipes here. Apart from the Hyderabadi Biryani, many other versions also do exist, like the Iranian Biryani, the Khaibari Biryani (from Afghanistan) and Pakistani Biryani, all with a few regional variations that change with religion, geography and culture, but all under the same name Biryani. Today Hyderabadi Biryani caters to palates all over the world.

Chopped Mixed Vegetables

Like I had mentioned in my last post, I love to prepare traditional dishes like Nihari, Biryani and Haleem during the cold season. So the last weekend, I prepared Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani along with Tomato Chutney as the main course for a dinner party.

Tarkari in Urdu language means vegetables. Just like the non-vegetarian version, the vegetarian version is just as ambrosial and a delightful crowd pleaser. All my guests loved it. I do not know how I missed writing about this Biryani all this while. So without further ado, for all those who were waiting for the Hyderabadi version of the Vegetable Biryani, here goes. Following is my Ammi’s recipe.

Hyderabadi Tarkari ki Biryani – Vegetable Biryani
Serves: 6- 7

Ingredients:

Fragrant long grained Basmatic Rice – 3 cups
Warm milk – 3/4 cup
Saffron strands – two pinches
Canola oil – 5 tbsp (or Ghee)
Yellow Onions – 2, large, finely sliced
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Long Green chillies – 2, each slit lengthwise and chopped into half
Mixed Vegetables – large cauliflower florets, large broccoli florets, carrots cut into 2″ long thick sticks, capsicum (any color) cut into long and thin strips, green beans cut into 2″ long pieces, boiled/frozen green peas, quartered potatoes, quartered firm red tomatoes – 5 cups
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Red Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 4 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Cilantro – 1/2 cup, loosely packed, roughly chopped
Yogurt – 250 ml, 1 cup
Caraway seeds/Shahzeera – 1 tsp
Dried Bay leaf – 2
Cloves – 4
Green cardamoms – 5
Mint leaves – 1 cup, loosely packed, roughly chopped

Tarkari Biryani – Vegetable Biryani

Method:

1. Wash the rice in several changes of water and let soak in cool surplus water in a vessel.
2. In a small cup, pour in warm milk and saffron strands. Keep aside.
3. In a large and wide saucepan, add oil and as soon as it warms up add the sliced onions and fry them while stirring frequently until evenly golden brown in color. Remove the pan from heat and using a slotted spoon transfer half of the fried onion into a platter and reserve for garnish.
4. In the same saucepan, add the cumin seeds, ginger-garlic paste and green chillies, stir fry for a minute. Immediately add all the mixed vegetables. Also add red chilli powder, 1 1/2 tsp of salt and turmeric powder and chopped cilantro. Mix well very gently. Increase the heat to high and let the vegetables sear. Give the vegetables a stir every two minutes, until they get seared on all sides. Now add the yogurt and mix. Lower the heat to medium high and let cook covered for 3-5 minutes. Once the vegetables are cooked, (but not mushy) (do not overcook the vegetables) (pierce a knife into a potato and check if it is done) uncover and cook on high while stirring whenever required until the vegetables are almost dry. Keep aside.
5. In a large heavy bottomed vessel pour in surplus water and add shahzeera, dried bay leaf, cloves, green cardamoms and cover with a lid. Let it come a rolling boil. Once boiling, drain the soaking rice and add to the boiling water. Let it cook until the rice if half done. Once done, drain the rice and keep ready. Now starts the layering process of the Biryani. Working quickly, in the same vessel, add half of the drained rice. Now add the cooked mixed vegetables. Spread over the rice evenly. Now spread the reserved fried onions meant for garnish, and the chopped mint leaves evenly over the vegetables. Next, arrange the left over rice evenly covering the vegetables. Lastly, pour evenly the saffron milk. Cover the vessel properly with aluminium foil or a tight lid (with vents closed with dough if any) so that no steam can escape. You can also apply dough to seal the lid which is the traditional method.
6. Cook the Biryani on high for 2 minutes. You will notice that a good amount of steam has built up, which is called as the pehli bhaap, meaning first steam. Then take a flat dosa tawa and keep it below the vessel (so that the bottom does not burn and it slow cooks evenly) and lower the heat to simmer and let it slow cook for 30 minutes, until done. Remove from heat. Let the Biryani sit for 15 minutes before serving. Dig a spoon into the vessel and gently mix the Biryani. Serve on a platter. For a special touch, garnish with more fried onions, finely chopped cilantro and mint leaves, toasted/fried almonds or cashewnuts or pinenuts or raisins.

Serve this Biryani along with Mirchi Ka Salan or Baghare baingan or Tamatar ki Chutney or plain and simple Dahi ki Chutney for a sumptuous Hyderabadi meal.

Note:
1. You can also add chopped paneer cubes, sliced mushrooms, and soy nuggets along with the vegetables.
2. Brocolli is not usually added to the Biryani, I added it because I love it.

Luv,
Mona

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Palak Gosht

May 3rd, 2010 Mona Posted in Canola Oil, Coriander seeds, Dill/Suvabhaji (fresh), Ginger-Garlic paste, Green Chillies, Hyderabadi special, Lamb/Beef/Mutton/Veal/Sheep, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Spinach/Palak ki bhaji, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, Yellow Onion/Pyaaz 24 Comments » 15,960 views

One of the most usual accompaniments to khatti dal and rice, or parathas at meals, palak gosht is a simple spinach+meat medley that both nourishes as well as satisfies. It is comfort food for me. Give me this combination and I will happily gobble it all up anytime.

Fresh Spinach leaves – Palak

You can even use frozen spinach as it will save both time and effort. However, fresh is best and always recommended. Make sure you wash the fresh spinach leaves well before use.

Palak Gosht – Spinach Meat curry

Ingredients:

Lamb Meat with bone – 500 gms
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Onion – 1, medium, finely sliced
Red chilli powder – 3 tsp
Green chillies – 6, chopped
Salt – 2 ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Tomato – 1, chopped
Fresh Spinach/Palak – 300 gms (or) Frozen Spinach – 300 gms
Dill leaves/Suva bhaji – 1/2 cup, finely chopped (optional)

Palak Gosht – Spinach Meat curry

Method:

1. If using fresh spinach: Wash the spinach carefully. Cut and discard the thick stems. Hold the leaves together in a bunch and cut into thin strips. Again cut these strips thinly in opposite direction.
2. In a pressure cooker at medium high heat, add oil and as soon as it warms up, add the sliced onion. Stir fry until golden brown. Add ginger garlic paste, chopped green chillies, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder. In a minute add the meat with bones and mix well. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Now add the chopped tomatoes. Mix well. Pour in about 1 ½ cup fresh cool water and pressure cook until the meat is tender. Once done, open the lid and cook at medium hight heat while stirring frequently until the mixture dries up and starts leaving oil. Add the chopped spinach and chopped dill leaves and pressure cook for 3 more minutes. Open the lid and cook for 10 minutes at medium high heat. You can cook until the curry is dry, or leave a little gravy if you like. Serve warm.

Luv,
Mona

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Daalcha Gosht

April 23rd, 2010 Mona Posted in Bottle Gourd/Kaddu, Canola Oil, Chane ki Dal, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Cumin seeds/Zeera, Curry leaves (fresh), Dried Red Chillies, Ginger-Garlic paste, Green Chillies, Hyderabadi special, Lamb/Beef/Mutton/Veal/Sheep, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Tamarind/Imli, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, Yellow Onion/Pyaaz 20 Comments » 13,975 views

Hyderabadi cuisine is unique, a perfect marriage between the fiery South-Indian and rich North-Indian cuisines of India. Yet, sadly there are such few records in the form of cookbooks, TV shows, magazines, newspapers, blogs or even local restaurants/eateries in the city itself that dedicate to chronicle/serve the true Nizami cuisine of Hyderabad. Only those few lucky members of the Nizam Club of Hyderabad, or people who have connections with the fellow local Hyderabadi families get to enjoy the traditional lovingly home cooked Hyderabadi meals.

clockwise from bottom right~tomatoes, opo squash, meat bones, cooked dal

Daalcha is one such true Hyderabadi preparation. The Nizami cuisine of Hyderabad is not just about Biryani and Mirchi ka Salan, or an assortment of meat concoctions unlike considered. It has to its repertoire many vegetarian and especially dal (lentil) preparations that are deeply related to the inimitable flavors of Nizami cuisine. Basically, there are two variations to daalcha, one is the vegetarian version – which can be prepared with either opo squash, eggplants or drumsticks, and the other non-vegetarian version – made by adding meat bones to the tangy tempered dal. To impress your guests, serve daalcha gosht along with baghara khana and phalli gosht, the way it is served traditionally at Hyderabadi households.

I have added a few bottlegourd pieces to Daalcha Gosht, you can skip adding them if you want only meat in the dal.

Daalcha Gosht – Lentil and Meat stew

Chanay ki Dal/Chana dal – 1 cup
Green chillies – 3, chopped
Tomatoes – 2, large, chopped
Salt – to taste
Canola Oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Onion – 1/4 cup, finely sliced
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tsp
Dry red chillies – 2, each broken into two
Lamb meat with bones/Lamb shanks – 500 gms
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
BottleGourd/Opo squash/Kaddu – 1, medium sized, peeled and cut into diamond shape (optional)
Tamarind extract – 1 cup
Cilantro – 3 tbsp, finely chopped

Daalcha Gosht

Method:

1. Soak the dal for 1-2 hours in fresh cool water. Later drain the dal and rinse it in a wire mesh under running water. Add this soaked dal to a pressure cooker, pour in about 3 cups of fresh cool water, chopped green chillies, tomatoes and salt. Close the lid and pressure cook until the dal is mushy. Puree it in a blender until smooth and keep aside.
2. In a separate pressure cooker at medium high heat pour in oil and as soon as it is warm, add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, sliced onion and stir fry until the onion is lightly golden brown in color. Add ginger-garlic paste and stir fry along for a minute. Add dried red chillies, lamb bones/shanks, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well. Pour in fresh cool water to cover the meat and pressure cook until the meat is tender.
3. Add bottlegourd pieces and mix well. Add little more water to cover them and again pressure cook for 1 whistle. (Skip this step if you are not adding bottlegourd)
4. Add the pureed dal mixture and mix well. Add about 2-3 cups of fresh cool water and tamarind extract to get a pouring consistency (not too thick, nor too thin) and let it come to a boil. Once boiling, simmer and let cook for 10-15 minutes. Add cilantro and stir to mix. Serve warm.

Luv,
Mona

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