Monday, 12 August 2013

Eid Mubarak and A Delicious Muslim Biryani Recipe!!

Who can resist a delicious Biryani? Not me nor any rice lover that I know. A wholesome dish of rice and vegetable or meat served with a raitha, my definition of gastro nirvana :)

Delicate long grains of Basmati rice gently cooked with fragrant whole spices, layered with a deliciously spicy chicken gravy thats bursting with the flavours of  powdered spices, ginger-garlic, tomatoes and yogurt. Heightened by the flavours of saffron infused milk, golden fried onions, raisins or prunes, fresh coriander, mint leaves, citrusy lemon  and powdered garam masala.

I am always on the lookout for good Biryani recipes, and over the years have requested many of my Muslim friends to share their family recipes with me. This traditional family recipe comes all the way from the Sind Province of Pakistan shared by a good friend Salmeena Khan. Thank you Salmeena for generously  sharing this recipe with me. This recipe shall be cherished by many, and be surely treasured by many in the coming generations. Wishing all my Muslim readers and friends,
All the happiness and Joy of this world, May God's Blessings be with you always.
****EID MUBARAK**** "

To Make Muslim Biryani
Recipe Source: Salmeena Khan
Serves: 6-8 | Marinating time: 3-4 hours or overnight | Prep time: 30mins | Cooking time: 40 mins (to cook chicken and rice) | Dum time: 20-25 mins
To Marinade Chicken
Chicken or Mutton: 1.5 kgs
Thick Yogurt: 250 gms
Red chilli powder: 2 tsps
Coriander powder: 2 tsps
Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste.
Green chilies: 5 slit
Coriander leaves chopped: 2 tbsps
Mint leaves chopped : 2 tbsps

For the Chicken Gravy:
Large onions: 3 sliced finely
Green cardamoms: 8
Black pepper: 5 nos
Cumin seeds: 2 tsps
Cinnamon sticks: 2 inches
Black cardamom pods: 4

Raisins or prunes: handful (I used raisins)
Bay leaves: 2
Garlic paste: 2 tsps
Ginger: 2 tsps
Red chili powder: 1 tbsp or reduce for less heat
Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
Fennel powder: 3/4 tsp
Tomato: 500gms chopped
Salt: 2 tsps or to taste.
Oil: 1 cup 

For the Rice:
Basmati rice: (soaked in water for atleast 1/2 an hour): 5 cups
Salt: to taste
Lemon juice: 1 lemon
Bay leaves: 2 nos
Cinnamon sticks: 3 nos.
Black cardamom pods: 3 nos. 

For garnishing
Mint leaves : 1/3 cup finely chopped
Coriander leaves: 1/3 cup finely chopped
Browned onions reserved in step 2
Saffron milk: A pinch of saffron to infuse in 1/4 cup of warm milk
Lemon juice: 1/2 lemon
Rose water: 2 tsps
Garam masala: 1/2 tsp

Step 1: Marinade the chicken and keep overnight or for at least 3-4 hours
1. Take the thick yoghurt in a bowl, beat well, to it add powdered spices and  salt to taste. Add the slit green chillies, chopped mint leaves, coriander leaves mix well. Finally add the cut chicken to this mixture, mix well. Cling film bowl and rest overnight in the fridge.

Step 2: Make the Chicken Masala
1. In a large non stick vessel take oil and heat it. Once hot add the finely sliced onions and fry until it is light golden brown. Keep aside 1/3 of the fried onions on a tissue paper for the final garnishing required while layering the biryani.
2. To the remaining brown onions in the pan add the whole spices ie cloves, cardamoms, black pepper, cumin seeds, cinnamon, black cardamom pods and bay leaves and fry till fragnant. Next add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for 4-5 minutes till the raw smell goes away. Next add the powdered spices (chilli, coriander, fennel powders) and fry for 30 seconds before adding the tomatoes and the salt. Fry the tomatoes till they turn soft and moisture completely dries up. Add the marinaded chicken and yoghurt mixture to the vessel, mix well. (Add water only if needed to cook chicken) The chicken usually lets out water. Close the vessel and allow the chicken to cook for 30-35 minutes on medium heat until almost done, stirring in between. The gravy should be semi thick. You will know when the chicken is ready as the gravy turns darker in colour and oils starts floating to the top.
4. Next check for salt, squeeze over lemon juice to your taste turn off the heat.

Step 3: Prepare the Rice
1. Wash the rice in a large bowl till the water runs clear, then soak the rice for about 20 minutes. Once 20 minutes are done drain the rice in a colander and keep aside.
2. As the rice is soaking prepare the water in which it will cook. In a large vessel boil around 15 cups of water (you need to make sure the vessel you cook in is large enough to accomodate the water and the rice. If the rice has enough room to cook in you can see the grains of rice dancing about freely as it cooks and the grains freely lengthens to its maximum length. But if the vessel is too small the rice will not have enough room to cook in, the grains of rice will tend to stick to each other and clump. 
3. Once the water comes to a boil, add the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, black cardamom. Close the pot and let the spices let out their flavours into the water for 3-4 minutes before you add the rice.
4. Add the rice to the boiling water, stir gently. Add salt to taste (add a bit more salt). Add lemon juice to the boiling water and a dash of oil to help keep the grains of rice fluffy and seperate. Let the rice cook for 6-8 minutes or till the rice is half done. To check this, take a grain of rice and press it between your index finger and thumb, if it breaks leaving a white seed of uncooked rice in the center  your rice has cooked just right. Turn off flame and drain the rice immediately to a colander. Spread out the cooked rice to a large tray to allow it to cool. 

Step 4: Bringing it all together or Assembling the Biryani
1. Take a large pot that is oven safe. Grease the base lightly with oil.
2. Place half the cooked rice at the bottom of the pan. Evenly distribute the pieces of meat over the rice. Then pour the gravy evenly over the meat. Add the remaining rice over the meat, level the rice gently to form an even layer. 
3. Sprinkle over the chopped coriander and mint leaves and reserved browned onions.
4. Using the back of a spoon make  a few tunnels through the rice and meat layer. Pour in drops of saffron milk through some tunnels. Through the remaining tunnels pour in drops of lemon juice and rose water. Sprinkle over a garam masala powder. You could add a few drops of ghee over the rice.
5. Seal the pan with foil and then place a lid over it. Place in preheated oven at l80 C for 25-30 mins. Gently mix it before serving.
Serve with a cucumber and tomato raitha.

NoteSalmeena includes boiled potatoes in the recipe, which I skipped as I ran out of potatoes. But will update the recipe when I use potatoes the next time

Do drop  me a line if you do make this biryani. Would love to know your experience.

Yours in Taste,

Carol Pereira

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Canned Tuna Spicy Fish Cutlets.

A few weeks ago I rambled about how Mangaloreans a fish loving breed cannot do without fish....well if you missed that post do head over here to learn more about our fish loving madness.

Well at times when our fresh and frozen fish supplies are low or when there is an urge to eat fish that is not curried or fried, then off we go rummaging through our stash of canned reserve. Fish stored in cans can be truly handy. Canned fish is available all year round, and is a must have stock cupboard ingredient. I stock up on canned tuna, sardines and salmon. These little canned treasures can be used to make a delicious fresh and tangy fish salad with chopped, onions, tomatoes loads of lemon juice and green chillies. At other times they can be converted into a batch of spicy, moist and delicious cutlets that can be quickly served up as nibbles, piping hot of the pan with some Maggi hot chilli sauce or as an accompaniment to a homely meal of plain rice, mangalore saar and vegetable sukke.

Well a couple of  months ago I  received a message from Joe D'Souza (a member of this blog, now  turned friend :) who wrote to me saying:

Did some cooking on d weekend, tried fish cutlets,
Came out Yummee,
Just like my moms!
But this was a kinda diff recipe,
Given to me by my sisters colleague

......and share this wicked cutlets recipe with us, he did! Many thanks Joe!!
These cutlets will surely take you home...they are savoury, spicy and as you rightly put it... YUMMEE!!

I adapted the recipe a bit, and  included mashed potato to bind the cutlets, and pepper and green chillies to spice them up a notch, but you could use breadcrumbs and red chilli powder as Joe did for heat instead. They can be either deep fried or shallow fried, I shallow fried them.

I must say if you like canned tuna you will love these babies. Try them out.

Recipe for Canned Tuna Fish Cutlets
Recipe Contributed by: Joe Dsouza
Makes 12 -14 mini cutlets| Serves: 3-4 
Canned Tuna Fish: 1 standard can
Onion(chopped): 1 large
Tomato: 1 small
Green chillies finely minced: 2-3 nos
Garlic cloves finely minced: 2 large or 4-5 small
Ginger finely minced: 1/2 inch
Potatoes: 1 large boiled and mashed
Black Pepper powder: 3/4 tsp
Coriander leaves finely minced:1 tbsp
Garam masala powder: 3/4 tsp
Oil: 2 tbsps
Bread crumbs to coat cutlets: 1/2 cup
Eggs:  2 nos for coating the
Oil for shallow frying

1. Carefully open the lid of the canned tuna and drain all the water or oil from the can.
If using regular fish: Clean and cut the fish. Cook it with 1/2 tsp of pepper powder and salt and and a pinch of turmeric. Shred the fish using your hands. Keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add the finely minced onion,  ginger, garlic and green chillies and fry till their raw smell goes then add the chopped tomato and fry for a further 4-5 minutes till the tomatoes softens and moisture dries out.
3. Add the flaked fish to the pan and toss well to mix. Continue to fry the fish till all the moisture in the fish dries out. Will take around 6-7 minute on a medium flame.
4. Next add the mashed potatoes. Mix well. Sprinkle over the pepper powder and garam masala powder. Mix well. Finally sprinkle over the chopped coriander leaves.
5. Take the pan off the fire. Check for seasonings and adjust. Be careful while adding salt as the canned fish can be quite salty. Using fingers mix the cutlets well for even distribution of ingredients.
6. Allow the mixture to cool.
7. Using a tablespoon measure for mini cutlets or a 2 tbsps measure for larger cutlets, roll the mixture in the palm of your hands to make small balls then shape them using your fingers to your desired shape.
8. Once all the balls are formed, cling film and keep them away in the fridge till ready to fry. Once ready to fry dip them in beaten egg and roll in bread crumbs
9. Deep or shallow fry the cutlets in hot oil till the breadcrumbs turn a nice golden brown. Drain onto a tissue paper and serve piping hot.

If you have not heard about the Mangalorean Cook Book I am giving away, then head over here and make sure you enter for the Giveaway

Also checkout the current entries for the Giveaway, vote for your favourite picture/dish by 'liking' or 'sharing' the picture/ pictures. Thank you !

Till my next post,

Have fun cooking and dont forget to soak up all the sun!!

Yours in Taste,

Carol Pereira