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.