Qimah Aloo Methi

October 20th, 2010 Mona Posted in Canola Oil, Cardamom/Elaichi, Clove/Laung, Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Ginger-Garlic paste, Green Chillies, Hyderabadi special, Kasuri methi, Lamb/Beef/Mutton/Veal/Sheep, Methi (fresh), Onion/Pyaaz, Red Chilli powder, Red Potatoes, Salt/Namak, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, White Potato/Aloo 22 Comments » 13,236 views

“..the only one way to learn to cook is through the senses and heart. It turns out it is the only real way to live and to love, as well.” ~ Nani Power

Toronto has four very distinct and picturesque seasons. Among them all, I absolutely love fall. The amazing colors that the trees take on sets my heart to praise its beauty beyond words. The misty mornings, spectacular drives, earthen colors, cozy sweaters, cool winds, falling leaves. Yep, I am in love with the most colorful season of Toronto -Autumn/Fall.

Fall is my favorite season for cooking. This season for me calls for very rustic and traditional recipes like Biryani along with Mirchi ka Salan, or masaaledaar (spicy) curries that I can enjoy along with warm parathas, HaleemNihari and the usual simple soups to warm up the body. Today I prepared Qimah Aloo Methi along with piping hot Khichdi, perfect for the fall season, warm and comforting.

baby fenugreek leaves – choti methi ki bhaji

Qimah Aloo Methi is a usual at most Hyderabadi households. Baby fenugreek leaves, aka choti methi ki bhaji as they are called in Urdu language, is the key to a great tasting Qimah Aloo Methi. You can either grow fenugreek leaves in your own backyards, or buy it from the markets. If baby methi is not available, you can make do with the usual matured fenugreek leaves that are available at grocery stores which is called as badi methi ki bhaji, or use dried methi leaves which is the Kasuri methi, like I did.

We used to enjoy this curry along with warm parathas at breakfast or along with Khichdi, Khatta and Chutney at lunch. Nothing can go wrong with this simple yet nourishing recipe. You are bound to fall in love with it.

Qimah Aloo Methi – Minced meat along with Potatoes and Fenugreek leaves

Ingredients:

Onions – 2, medium sized, finely sliced
Minced Lamb/Veal meat/Qimah – 1 lb
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Cloves – 4
Green Cardamoms – 2
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Tomato – 1, large, finely diced
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Green chillies – 3, each slit in half lengthwise
Fresh baby methi leaves or matured leaves – 3 bunches, root part chopped and discarded, tender stams and leaves finely chopped, washed and drained (or) Kasoori Methi – 2 tbsp
Red/White potatoes – 3, large, quartered

Qimah Aloo Methi – Minced meat along with Potatoes and Fenugreek leaves

Method:

1. Wash the minced meat well in a fine strainer so that the blood drains off. What my Ammi always does while washing minced meat is that she mixes the raw minced meat with sliced onions, and she then puts it in a fine meshed strainer meant specifically for washing minced meat and she then lets fresh tap water run over it while working the minced meat with her fingers until the water runs clear. She says that mixing sliced onions with the meat will help wash the minced meat well and also helps get rid of the smell. Once washed, let the washed minced meat and onion sit in the strainer over a large bowl for a hour or so to let the excess water drain away.
2. In a large frying pan at medium high heat, pour in oil and as soon as it warms up, add the cloves and cardamoms. Now add the ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder. Stir fry for a few seconds. Immediately add the diced tomatoes and green chillies. Mix well. Add the drained minced meat and onions. Using a spoon break the minced meat while mixing it up thoroughly with the masala and cover the lid. Keep mixing it and the covering it until you see the color of the minced meat has changed from red to brown. Now add the fresh methi or kasoori methi, quartered potatoes and water to cover and let it cook covered at simmer. Keep stirring it frequently. Once the water has all dried up and the potatoes are done, remove from heat and serve immediately along with warm parathas.

***

On a different note, I have been thinking of announcing an event especially dedicated to the iconic Kacchi Biryani of Hyderabad. It would be wonderful to go through everyone’s recipes for the Kacchi Biryani. What do you think. Will you all participate and join in the fun. Please let me know.

Luv,
Mona

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Vegetable Curry Puff

August 18th, 2010 Mona Posted in Canola Oil, Carrot/Gajar, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Coriander seeds, Cumin seeds/Zeera, Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Garam masala powder, Ginger/Adrak, Hyderabadi special, Kasuri methi, Lemon/Nimbu, Mustard seeds/Rai, Peas/Matar, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, White Potato/Aloo 13 Comments » 11,416 views

Puffs are one easy to make snacks when ready made puff pasty is available, perfect for tea-time, or at iftaar.

freshly baked vegetable puffs, ready to be eaten

Bakeries in Hyderabad sell puffs that vary in shapes and the fillings used. Egg puffs, chicken puffs, paneer puffs and vegetable puffs are a few examples. You can even prepare puff pasty at home if ready made puff pasty is not available at stores.

Vegetable Curry Puffs

Ingredients:

Frozen Puff Pastry – 1 package (2 sheets) [available in the freezer section of most grocery stores or supermarkets]
For Filling:
Canola oil – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
Black mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fresh Ginger – 1 tsp, finely grated
Potatoes – peeled and chopped, 1 cup
Carrot – peeled and chopped, 1/2 cup
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Dry roasted Coriander powder – 1/4 tsp
Dry roasted Cumin seed powder – 1/8 tsp
Kasuri methi – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Frozen green peas – 1/4 cup
Lemon juice –2 tbsp
Garam masala powder  – 1/4 tsp
Cilantro – 1 tbsb, finely chopped

Method:

1. Prepare the filling just as you prepare for Samosas.
2. Defrost the frozen puff pastry sheets according to directions. Using a pizza slicer, cut a sheet horizontally in the center. Then again cut the sheet vertically into 3 strips. Place a small ball of the filling on one side of each strip. Cover with the other side of the strip and gently seal the sides. Brush with some cold milk and bake according to instructions. Serve warm along with tomato ketchup.

This is my second entry to the The Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival that I am hosting on my blog.
For more details about the event, click here.

Luv,
Mona

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Chatpata Chaat

April 5th, 2010 Mona Posted in Black pepper powder, Canola Oil, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Coriander seeds, Cumin seeds/Zeera, Ginger-Garlic paste, Green Chillies, Hyderabadi special, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, White Potato/Aloo, Yellow Onion/Pyaaz, Yogurt/Dahi 12 Comments » 12,427 views

The mere mention of chaats reminds me of those visits to Gokul chaat bhangaar. It is a popular eatery for fast food snacks in Hyderabad city. Inspite of going through many controversies, this tiny eatery has been able to attract crowds of foodies who come flocking to this place from even across the city and cram on the roadside at King Koti blocking the busy traffic, just to fill up their stomachs with the delicious chaat items that they sell at reasonable prices.

For those of you not familiar with the term, chaat in India refers to all kinds of snack or fast food items that a popular street food with a mingling taste of spicy, sweet, sour, soft, salty and crunchy. For chaat preparation a variety of pre-prepared ready to use ingredients are mixed together just prior to consumption. There exist many regional variations of chaats in India. Pani Puri (also known as Golgappe), Chana Cutlet, Ragda Cutlet, Ragda Samosa, Dahi Puri, Fruit Chaat, Bhel Puri etc are just a few mentions. Today I am writing about Chana Cutlet, Ragda Cutlet and Ragda Samosa.

Ragda Cutlet
Other names: Ragda Patties, Ragda Pattice, Ragda Tikki, Ragda Pattie

Ragda Cutlets used to be one of the hot sellers at the Gokul Chaat Bhandaar. Every once in a while, while on the way to Pura Shahar/Old City (Hyderabad, India), we used to make a stop there and enjoy the yummy chaats. To make this wholesome snack, a spicy peas mixture is made and is served along with aloo cutlets, tangy chutneys, some sweetened yogurt and chopped onions.

dried green peas and dried yellow/white peas~ available at Indian grocery stores
Note: Split yellow peas that are available in the market are neither Tuvar ki dal or Chane ki dal

Ingredients:

For Ragda:
Dried Yellow/White Peas – 1/2 cup
Dried Green peas – 1/2 cup
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Onion – 2, medium sized, finely sliced
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Green chillies – 3, finely chopped
Roasted Coriander seed power – 1 tsp
Roasted Cumin seed powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Tomatoes – 3, medium sized, finely chopped
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Cilantro – 2 tbsp, finely chopped
For Cutlets:
Potatoes – 6, mediu sized, peeled and quartered
Water
Black pepper powder
Salt
For Garnish:
Kothmir Pudina Chutney
Tamarind chutney
Chopped Onion
Sev (store bought ready made, or home made)
Sweetened Yogurt

Ragda Cutlet

Method:

For Radga
1. Soak the dried peas in fresh cool water overnight. The next day, drain the peas and wash them. Add them to the pressure cook add pour in water to cover the peas by 2 inches. Add 1 tsp salt and pressure cook until they are soft but not mushy.
2. Meanwhile, in a skillet at medium high heat add oil and as soon as it is warm, add the onions and stir fry for a few minutes until they are soft. Add ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, green chillies, coriander and cumin seed powder and stir continuously and let cook for a minute or two. Add tomatoes and mix well. Cover and cook while stirring in between until the tomatoes are soft and mushy. Add red chilli powder, salt and chopped cilantro and stir to mix.
3. Once the peas are done, add the contents of the skillet to the peas in the pressure cooker and mix well. Add more water if needed. Mash up the mixture just a little bit leaving some peas whole in the mixture. Let the mixture cook for some time until you get a gravy consistency. Remove from heat and keep aside.
For Cutlets:
4. In a microwave safe bowl, add the quartered potatoes and about 1/2 cup water. Mix and microwave on high for a few minutes (5-8 minutes or more, keep a watch) until the potatoes are soft. Once soft, mash them using a fork. Add black pepper powder and salt to taste and mix. Shape into cutlets and shallow fry all the potato cutlets on both sides. Keep aside.
To Assemble:
5. Arrange two warm potato cutlets on a plate. Pour two (or more if you wish) ladlefuls of warm ragda on them. Pour a few tablespoons of kothmir pudina chutney, tamarind chutney and sweetened yogurt. Sprinkle chopped onion and sev over it. Serve immediately.

***

Below are a few variations of chaats you can prepare using the method above with a few substitutions here and there.

Chana Cutlet:
For chana cutlet, prepare cholay, and while assembling instead of adding ragda, add cholay and follow the rest of the procedure.

Ragda Samosa:
For ragda samosa, prepare aloo samosa and while assembling instead of adding cutlets, break two samosas for each person and follow the rest of the procedure.

Luv,
Mona

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Aloo kay Samosay

March 23rd, 2010 Mona Posted in All-Purpose Flour/Maida, Canola Oil, Carom seeds/Ajwain, Carrot/Gajar, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Cumin seeds/Zeera, Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Garam masala powder, Ghee, Ginger/Adrak, Hyderabadi special, Kasuri methi, Lemon/Nimbu, Mustard seeds/Rai, Nigella seeds/Kalonji, Peas/Matar, Red Chilli powder, Red Potatoes, Roasted Coriander powder, Roasted Cumin powders, Salt/Namak, Turmeric/Haldi, White Potato/Aloo, Whole Wheat Flour/Durum Atta 17 Comments » 15,614 views

Chai shops, bakeries, mithaiwala shops, cart vendors, chat bhandars along the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent, all sell these magical pastries. Originated and traveled to India possibly from the Middleeast, Samosas are triangular pastries, a popular street food, usually stuffed with minced meat, or a potato mixture. They are the usual appetizers that make their presence at the Nizami Hyderabadi meals, and also enjoyed throughout India and also all over the world by everyone. Samosas are also very famous in Toronto and loved by people here.

Samosas – ready to be eaten

This classic Indian snack food appears in different avatars and types within the Hyderabad city, and also all over India with minor regional variations, some differing in the fillings used, others varying in shapes. For example Luqmi, a rectangular qimah-minced meat stuffed appetizer commonly eaten in Hyderabad, is a royal cousin of samosa. Other regional variants of samosas include the sambusak, samusak or shingara etc.

Today I had prepared some aloo samosas~potato stuffed pastries that are just as good as the Qimah Samosas – minced meat stuffed samosas. You can even bake them if you wish, bit I like to deep fry and prepare them the way they were supposed to be made. The crisp outer texture of samosa is what I love the most.

Aloo kay Samosay – Potato Stuffed Triangular Pastries

Ingredients:

Canola Oil to deep fry
For Filling:
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Black mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Fresh Ginger – 1 tbsp, finely grated
Potatoes – 4, peeled and chopped
Carrot – peeled and chopped, 1 cup
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Dry roasted Coriander powder – 3/4 tsp
Dry roasted Cumin seed powder – 1/4 tsp
Kasuri methi – 3 tbsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Frozen green peas – 1/2 cup (or) Dried green peas – 1/2 cup, soak them in surplus water overnight and pressure cook until soft the next day, drain and keep aside to use
Lemon juice – 4 tbsp
Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
Cilantro – 2 tbsb, finely chopped
For Covering:
All-purpose flour/Maida – 1 cup
Whole wheat flour/Durum flour – 1 cup
Carom seeds/Ajwain – 1 tsp
Nigella seeds/Kalonji – 1/2 tsp
Canola Oil or Ghee – 2 tbsp
Water
Salt to taste

Method:

1. In a saucepan, heat oil and as soon as it warms up add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and ginger and let them splutter. In a few seconds add the chopped potatoes and carrots. Add water to cover the vegetables and add red chilli powder, salt, cumin seed powder, kasuri methi and cover with a lid. As soon as the potatoes are done, uncover and add the frozen peas or cooked dried peas, garam masala, chopped cilantro and lemon juice. Cook while stirring until the mixture is dry. Keep aside.

2. Now prepare the dough. Add maida, ajwain, kalonji and salt in a mixing bowl and mix. Add canola oil or ghee and mix well using fingers. Gradually add water and knead to form a smooth and pliable dough. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead until elastic. Cover with a towel and keep aside for 30 minutes for the dough to rest. Later shape the dough into 8 balls and cover them with a towel.
3. One by one roll the balls into thin ovals. Using a pizza cutter or a knife cut each oval in the center into two halves, thus a total of 16 half-ovals will be produced. Cover the rest with a towel while filling others. Take a half-oval and brush half of each straight edge using your fingertip with water. Fold the second half of the straight edge over the fist half to form into a cone. Pinch close the seam. Hold the cone with the open end up and fill the cone with some of the filling. Cut off any excess dough and use it later. Brush one side of the open end with water. Pinch to seal the top edges enclosing the filling. Prepare all the samosas the same way and keep them covered under a towel.
4. Once all are ready, heat oil in a deep saucepan or kadai. To test if the oil is ready to be used, drop a pinch of dough into the hot oil, the dough should come up within a few seconds. Deep fry the samosas a few at a time until golden. Using a slotted spoon remove them into a strainer. Serve warm along with tamarind chutney or ketchup. Once cool, they can even be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and reheated in the oven.

To Bake the Samosa:
After step 4, place the samosas in a greased or non-stick baking tray. Bake in a pre-heated 220° C oven for 20 minutes or until light brown in color. Serve immediately

Note:
1.If you are finding it difficult to enlcose the filling in the dough this way, please head over to Qimah Samosa-Minced meat stuffed samosa where I have explained an easier way to assemble samosas.
2. If there is any left over dough and the filling has been used up, you can make namakpaare out them.
3. If there is any left over filling and the dough has been used up, use the filling to make vegetable curry puffs.

This month Sailaja is on a chaat spree and she is dishing out varieties of chaat items on her blog. Head over her blog to go though them all.

Luv,
Mona

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Tala hua Gosht~III

March 9th, 2010 Mona Posted in Black pepper powder, Canola Oil, Cast-iron skillet, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Ginger-Garlic paste, Green Chillies, Hyderabadi special, Lamb/Beef/Mutton/Veal/Sheep, Mint/Pudina (fresh), Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Turmeric/Haldi, White Potato/Aloo 25 Comments » 19,576 views

I really love to discuss food; and also to host food events on my blog despite the effort it demands. Often it happens that with changing scenes of life, we tend to disremember and think no more of our most innate and deeply connected basic memories. And when by some means that old faded memory rejuvenates, you are instantly transported to that era of old times to relive and rewind. Food and memories are always so deeply associated. I have been hosting The Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival and The Hyderabadi Bakri-Eid Food Festival on my blog since last year الحمد لله, and through these events and the participation of few enthusiastic foodies, I have come across so many amazing recipes, some that invariably remind me of my Ammi‘s food and some that I have never heard or tasted before.

Dhajji Kawab (or) Tala hua Gosht III ~ Shredded crisped meat with roasted potatoes

One such recipe was Syeda’s Dhajji Kawab. It reminded me of all those good old childhood memories filled with fun, leisure and laughter. This recipe was a usual in my Ammi’s house. She would prepare it for us all with so much love and we relished every last bit of it all. Somehow this recipe faded in my mind and it was only Syeda’s post that rekindled those memories. Jazakallahu Khairun Syeda.

Normally this dish is referred to as Tala hua Gosht~Sautéed meat. There exist many variations of Tala hua Gosht in Hyderabadi cuisine as Lamb meat is what is mostly preferred over any other meat by Hyderabadis. Syeda named it Dhajji Kawab (‘dhajji‘ in Urdu language means ‘shred’) and I really loved the name, so I am also going by it.

Update: According to Mahejabeen, a reader of my blog, this dish is also referred to as Buri ka Gosht. An another reader Pasha Bhai, has chipped in that this dish is also called as Tala Hua Chindi Gosht.
Thank you Mahejabeen and Pasha bhai!

Today I am sharing my version of this recipe. I go gaga over it, one of my most favorite recipe that I have learnt from my Ammi. I recommend all my readers to once try this recipe and I am pretty sure inshallah you will all also fall in love with it.

Dhajji Kawab (or) Tala hua Gosht III ~ Shredded crisped meat with roasted potatoes

Ingredients:

Lamb/Veal meat (without bones) – 500 gms
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 1/2 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Small green chillies – 2, finely chopped
Black pepper powder – 1/8 tsp
Cilantro – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Mint leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Russet Potato – 1, large, peeled and quartered
Lemon juice – 2 to 3 tbsp
Canola oil

Method:

Note: You need a heavy bottomed and preferably non-stick pan, or a well-seasoned cast iron pan for this recipe, or else the meat will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

1. Add the meat, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 2 cups water to a pressure cooker and pressure cook the meat until it is very tender. Once the meat is done, drain the meat and reserve the water in a bowl. Using your hands, tear the cooked meat into fine shreds and add it to the reserved water. (if you are using meat with bones, discard the bones and only use the meat)
2. In a heavy bottomed and preferably non-stick pan or a cast iron skillet at medium-high heat pour 6 tbsp oil and add the quartered potatoes and stir fry them until they are browned on all sides. Using a slotted spoon remove the potatoes onto a platter and keep aside. In the same pan, add the ginger-garlic paste and stir fry for a few seconds. Now add the water+shredded meat and mix well. Add red chilli powder, salt, turmeric powder and mix. Let it cook until all of the moisture has been evaporated. Now add the stir fried potato quarters, black pepper powder, green chillies, cilantro and mint and mix. Spread the mixture out in the pan in one layer. Let it cook them without stirring for half a minute to give the meat the chance to crisp up. Continue cooking while stirring until all the meat has been nicely fried and crisped up. Pour in the lemon juice and mix. Serve immediately garnished with onion rings and cilantro.

For more versions of Hyderabadi Tala hua Hosht, please visit the Recipe index.

On a side note, I wholeheartedly thank all my well wishers who emailed me and asked about my well-being. الحمد لله I am doing good and back to my usual routine.

Luv,
Mona

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