Monday, April 30, 2012

Mint (Pudina) pulao

This is one of my favorite mixed rice varieties. I love this pulao for one more reason..My lil one likes this one after her most favorite 'masala rice' (biriyani). Whenever we get mint from the grocery store, I would make this pulao with any spicy side (rajma masala, channa masala or chicken curry) and there's our exotic lunch served. Excluding the time it takes to remove the mint leaves from the stalks, it takes very less time and could be prepared quickly.

Things you’ll need:
Mint leaves (without stem) – 1 cup
Coriander leaves or Cilantro – a bunch
Green chillies – 2
Onion – 1, cut lengthwise
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp
Salt – as required
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Coconut milk (optional) – 1 cup
Water – 2 cups (1 cup if using coconut milk)
Whole garam masala (cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves) – as desired
Basmati rice – 1 cup
Oil or ghee – 2 tbsp

Yield – Serves 2-3 people

Clean and soak the rice for 15 minutes. Grind the mint leaves, coriander leaves and green chillies into a paste without adding water.

Heat the oil (or ghee) in a pan and add the whole garam masalas. When they crackle, add the onions and saute until they are soft. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry until its raw smell subsides.  Add the green paste and saute for couple of minutes.
Step 3:
Drain and add the rice to the pan, fry until the water is absorbed, add the water (and coconut milk if desired), lemon juice and salt.  Transfer it to a rice cooker or pressure cooker and cook until the rice is done. (you can switch off the cooker in ten minutes if the rice cooker doesn't turn off automatically. For pressure cooker you can switch off after two whistles)

Serve with your choice of curry.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ground chicken curry (Chicken kothu kari kuzhambu)

This is a spicy coconut-based curry which is very easy to make, doesn't need any frying like the regular 'kola urundai' kuzhambu, and tastes so yummy. I got the packed ground chicken for this can either get the packed one or if you don't have it in hand, you could just grind some boneless breast meat in a mixer/grinder (make sure to wash the jar thoroughly after grinding, because the ground meat sticks to the blades).

Things you'll need:

For the meat balls:
Ground chicken - 1 lb
Onion - 1, medium, finely chopped
Green chillies  - 2 minced
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
Curry leaves - 2 or 3, chopped
Coriander leaves - 2 or 3 sprigs, chopped
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as required

For the curry:
Onion - 1, big, chopped
Tomato - 2, chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Curry leaves - a handful
Ground coconut paste - 1/2 cup
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Salt - as required
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Oil - for sauteing

Yield - Serves 4-5 persons


Step 1:
Prepare the meatballs by mixing all the ingredients under meatball section. Shape them into gooseberry size balls. Keep aside.


(I saved some meat mixture and shaped them into kababs for grilling!!!)
Step 2:
Heat the oil in a pan, add fennel seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add the onions and fry them until translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute them until raw smell is gone, then add the tomatoes. When the tomatoes are soft and cooked, add the turmeric, chilli and coriander powders, salt and 1 cup of water. Stir well, bring it to a boil.

Step 3:
Add the meat balls and cook the curry covered, in medium flame, until the oil separates. Add the coconut paste and further cook it in medium high flame, for few minutes. Switch off the stove. Garnish with coriander leaves if you like.

Serve with hot rice or rotis. Also goes well with idli, dosa or aapam.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hyderabadi mutton 'Dum' Biriyani

I feel so dumb to say I like biriyani..Who doesn't?. If you are a non-vegetarian you sure do like biriyani. There are different varieties of biriyani depending upon the methods to prepare the biriyani. The most popular one is the hyderabadi dum biriyani which I wanted to try for a long time. But authentic dum biriyani seemed a very complicated process with layering the rice and curry in a big vessel, sealing it, placing it in a hot tava at low heat (I've heard some even add some hot charcoal at the top of the vessel to transfer heat from the top of the vessel)..whew! I got tired thinking about all these processes..I thought there should be a simpler way which takes less time without compromising the taste (without the charcoal thing especially). I made some research (no..I just browsed the web) and found that some had found success making this dum biriyani in oven. Wow! that simplifies it. It doesn't take much time and there's no worrying about rice burning out at the bottom of the vessel. Here's the dum 'oven' biriyani..

Things You'll need:
Mutton - 1 lb
Basmati rice - 1 cup
Onion - 1, big, sliced lengthwise
Green chillis - 4, slit lengthwise
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Curd or yogurt - 1/2 cup
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Salt - as required
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Whole garam masala - (cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves) as required
Oil - 3 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Cardamom  - 1
Mint leaves - a handful
Coriander leaves - a bunch

Yield - 3-4 Servings


Step 1:
Clean the meat. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Marinade the meat with the chilli powder, coriander powder , turmeric powder, half of the ginger garlic paste, salt, yogurt and lemon juice. Leave it aside for at least an hour or even overnight if possible.

Step 2:
Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, add the whole garam masala, onions, green chillis and ginger garlic paste. Saute until the onions are translucent and soft. Add the marinated mixture and mix well. Add little water and cover the cooker. Cook the meat for 6-7 whistles or until the meat is almost done.

Step 3:
Bring some water in a vessel. Add the rice, salt, cumin seeds and cardamom. Cook the rice until the rice is half-cooked (The rice should look grainy but should be soft when touched).

Step 4:
Drain the rice. Layer half of the the meat mixture and rice in an oven-proof dish. Add some of the mint leaves and coriander leaves. Again layer the remaining meat mixture and rice and top it with the remaining mint and coriander leaves. If you like some colored rice, mix some saffron in teaspoon of milk and add it by spoon at some points of the rice layer.

Cover the dish with an aluminium foil and seal the edges so that the steam doesn't escape. Place the dish in the oven and cook it for 10 to 15 minutes depending upon the oven. Remove the dish, allow the steam to settle. Then open the foil and fluff the rice. Don't stir too much or the rice will break. Serve it hot with raita and curry of your choice. I served it with keema gravy and raita.

Spicy fish curry

If you search for fish curry in the Internet, most of the results would be the one including coconut paste/milk. My style fish curry is always the no-coconut and ultra spicy version. If the  fish is fresh the curry would be at its best. If you love the spice and seafood combination, this one's definitely for you.

Things you'll need:
Fish slices - 1/2 lb
Onion- 1,big, chopped
Tomato - 2 chopped
Tamarind - golf ball size
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Coriander powder - 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as required
Oil - 2 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Black pepper (whole) - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a handful
Green chilli (optional) - 1
Garlic - 4 or 5 cloves, crushed

Yield - 3-4 Servings


Step 1:
Clean the fish slices. Soak the tamarind in hot water and extract the pulp. Heat the oil in a pan, add the fenugreek seeds and pepper. When the fenugreek seeds turn slightly reddish and the pepper pops, add the onion (Don't let the fenugreek seeds to darken or the curry will have a bitter taste). Saute the onion till it is translucent, add the crushed garlic, saute for a minute and add the tomatoes and curry leaves.

Step 2:
When the tomatoes are cooked, add the chiili powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Mix well, leave it for sometime until the masalas are cooked and add 1/2 cup of water and the tamarind juice. Let it boil. When the curry is boiling add the fish without reducing the heat. Let it come to a boil again. Add salt, give it a stir, cover it and cook until the fish is cooked and oil separates at the top. The spicy fish curry is ready to be served with hot rice.

NOTE: One more method to simplify the cooking process is to mix all the spice powders and salt in the tamarind juice, add some water to it and add it to the pan after sauteing the vegetables. The rest of the process is same.