Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani

August is a month of festivity and celebrations for all of us.First it was Rakhi pornima, then Janamshtami, and then soon will be Eid this weekend concluding Ramadan, rigorous fasting period.And today it’s our Independence Day. I really don’t know what independence means to all of you. Independence from slavery or colonial influence or perhaps any other such means or shouting out slogans, updating FB profile, Tweeting messages or wishing each other “Happy Independence”.
 I have never ever understood the hoopla that surrounded this celebration, one day we are so excited and wear our Indian pride on our sleeves and the very next day we start nagging about everything going wrong in the country. Who to blame and who should take responsibility. Freedom comes with responsibility. But we are always shy of sharing our responsibility. For a change let’s start sharing our responsibility, from a very basic level.
 We are free but yet not free, there is may be many more miles to cover. Anyways if I keep on saying more, you all will be saying here are the words of this NRI- “non-reliable-Indian”. But just look around and you will see such drastic paradigm, high rise building, BMW on one side and slum and poverty on other side. This perhaps says we have become free and independent from a foreign rule but yet we are not free.

While I am typing this post my daughter came to me and showed above flag which she colored and sketched, and asked me do you know the meaning of "three colors" on the flag. I counter asked her if she knows it. This is what she told me – "orange for courage, white for peace, green for prosperity and the wheel is for the development of the nation." And a clean sparkling glitter in her eyes. Our nation’s future rest in these innocent hands. I think when I said start from a basic level, I meant that, giving them good education (that doesn’t mean scoring good marks in exams- education and scoring marks are two different things, lets just leave it for some other day) and make them conscious of their surrounding and making them responsible citizen so that they can share the responsibility of running a nation on grounds of equality, compassion and truthfulness.

Now to the recipe
Hyderbadi biryani has been on my mind since long; perhaps somebody even did a recipe request by mail or was it in a comment section. I completely forgot about it, last weekend we did made this. And since I do not belong to Hyderabad region I can not claim it to be authentic or traditional. I sneaked peaked into my pantry and looked for shyah jeera or royal cumin – actually it’s cumin with very distinct aroma not to be confused with "caraway". I didn’t had so, got little upset. The only missing ingredient was this I guess. And since we Bengalis are so fond of our panch phoron, I added this to the home-made Biryani powder. Now puritans of Hyderabadi cuisine, I know it’s not the ingredients that go into making Biryani, but since this is a customized version, I would like to use that liberty and today its Independence Day also.
I love this home-made dry masala powder, so much so that I have started using it in a normal Bengali torkari – like Aloo Phulkopir Torkari

Probably a biryani is done in two ways- one way is “Kachi gosht Biryani”  ...Where the meat is not cooked prior of layering and is marinated with spices overnight and then the next day it is cooked with basmati rice.
Then there is this method below the precook method and then put on dum cooking ,- more to do with the fact, I forgot to marinate “kachi gosht”- raw meat, as the chicken drumsticks where resting in deep fridge. I thawed it on morning and almost proceeded to make biryani.However I did have 2 hr for marination time. At least 2 hr of marination did some good to chicken drumsticks.

Here is how we made Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani

Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani – Customized Version
Recipe requirements( Measurements are approx)
3 cups of high quality basmati rice (I use Kohinoor X-long Basmati Rice)
7-8 chicken drumsticks
2 cloves
Little cinnamon
1-2 cardamoms
5 tbs of coriander seeds
3 tbs of cumin seeds
2 tbs of panch phoron
1 twig mint leaves or about 8-9 leaves
6-7 dry red pepper the small ones
8-10 whole black pepper
½ inch cinnamon stick
3 cloves
4-5 cardamoms
Pinch of nutmeg
1 strand of mace
1 large lemon and the juice from it
2 tbs of yogurt
1 tsp of salt
1 large and 1 medium size white onion/purple onion whatever is available
5-7 garlic
½ inch ginger root
4 tbs of cooking oil/sada tel
1 cup finely chopped mint leaves
½ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
Two generous pinch of saffron soaked in half cup of milk
1 large onion for deep frying
2 tsp of cooking oil
Bring a pot with above listed garam masala ( gota moshla) and ample water to boil, now add in the basmati rice and cook till it’s ¾ done or better half done. Strain the starch. Our rice is partially cooked in this yakhni water- aromatic water. Keep it uncovered so that the moisture can escape.2 tsp of lemon juice should be added to further reduce the cooking. And also 1 tbs of ghee.
For the chicken
Clean and pat the chicken dry with kitchen towel.
Now prick with fork or the pointing end of knife all over the chicken drumsticks.
Now marinate the chicken with the juice extracted from 1 large lemon, and 2 tbs of yogurt+1 tsp of red pepper powder+ 1 tsp of salt. Keep this marinated for overnight. If you forgot to marinate them overnight then at least 2 hr of marination works best.
Meanwhile the chicken is marinating, prepare the dry masala that will be added to cooking the biryani.

Dry Biryani Home-made-masala
Recipe requirements
5 tbs of coriander seeds
3 tbs of cumin seeds/Shyah Jeera/black cumin seeds
2 tbs of panch phoron
1 twig mint leaves or about 8-9 large leaves
6-7 dry red pepper the small ones
8-10 whole black pepper
½ inch cinnamon stick
3 cloves
4-5 cardamoms
Pinch of nutmeg
1-2  flower of mace
2 bay leaves
Start roasting them over low heat on an iron skillet. After 4-5 mints a nice aroma will hit your nose. Take it off and then let it cool a little bit.Now grind them very finely in blender or mixer.
This masala is the base masala or the biryani masala.
If you are making kache-gosht ka biryani then no need to precook the chicken but overnight marinating with yogurt+lemon juice+red pepper powder+salt+ this Biryani masala + the ginger/garlic and onion paste is essential as this tenders the marinated meat.
Otherwise like me who keeps forgetting to marinate the meat, it’s better to precook the meat a little bit before layering is done.

Now for the gravy
Recipe requirements
1 large and 1 medium size white onion/purple onion whatever is available
5-7 garlic
½ inch ginger root
4 tbs of cooking oil/sada tel
Make a smooth paste of above listed ingredients in a blender
Now heat up a big frying pan. Add in 2 tbs of cooking oil
We will first fry the chicken pieces till the entire chicken pieces gets evenly brown or the color changes.
Now add rest of 2tbs of cooking oil
Add the prepared paste, and then add in 1/2 tsp of red pepper powder and salt. Sprinkle little bit of water so that the paste doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Keep on frying the masala for 7-8 mints at medium-high flame. Now add in fried chicken pieces
And keep on frying further 10 mints. Cover it and then put the flame to low. Let it cook another 15 mints.
Meanwhile chicken is cooking at low. Fry the onion which will go with the layering
Heat up a small saucepan adds in 1 large onion sliced evenly. Keep on frying till they shrink. Now add in 1 -2 tsp of cooking oil.TIP- This way the oil required for frying onion can be reduced.
Chop mint and coriander leaves very finely.
Now bottom layer will be of rice. Then will come some pieces of chicken with gravy then mint+coriander leaves, then generous amount of saffron milk and last will be fried sliced onions.
Make another layer with similar ingredients and then cover with left-over half cooked rice.
Cover with aluminum foil. Bake this entire rice casserole for 20 mints at 175 deg C.
Turn off the oven and let it sit there for further 10 mints.
Take out and let it covered further 20 mints.
Let this biryani absorb the flavor, and at the time of serving just reheat in oven again.
Resting time is essential as it helps in more intense flavor. And it’s even more flavorful next day if you have some left-over.

The measurement of dry home-made biryani masala is approx, and I did have some left-over biryani masala which I like to add in other veggie recipes from time to time. This dry masala woks great even if you do not have other dry masala in home viz- coriander+cumin or garam masala powder. So, left-over dry biryani masala can be used in other recipes as well.
This is how I have tried to make Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani in comfy of our home. I am not claiming it to be authentic or traditional, this is how we like to make and eat. If this turn out nice for you do let me know.

And to all fellow countrymen- " Vande Matram".......

Happy Cooking Friends

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Round-up- "Cooking With Whole Grains"- Healthy Diet Food Event

Here is the round-up of "Cooking with Whole Grains".All in all I received 26 -- 29 entries.I have tried to include all the recipes that I have received and according to the order I got them,  still I am human and error can happen.Do remind me if I have not included your entry.For next month's host and the theme, don't forget to check Priya's Event Host Line-up.

From Supriya's Kitchen -   1.Appam ,

2. Lacha Paratha and

3. Aloo Paratha

From Paricash blog

4.Masoor daal paratha

5.Oats desert 

6.Broken Wheat Upma

7.Healthy breakfast

8.Ladoo paratha

From Nisha's Kitchen

9.Whole Wheat dosa (Kodhumai Dosai)

and 10.Eggless Whole Wheat Bread Steam Pudding

From     Priyanka's Simple and Delicious  - 11.Milk- Dalia Breakfast

13.Peppered Moongdal Chapati

14.Vegan Multigrain Waffles

15.Oats Mixed Veggies and Moongdal Khichadi

16.Eggless Wholemeal, Banana and Flaxmeal pancakes

From Valarmathi's  Simple and Yummy Recipes

17.Jeera Rice- Cumin Brown Rice

and some more healthy recipes 

20.Cous-cous peas tikki

21.Whole Wheat Paneer Buns

22.Oats almond Sesame laddos

We also made these laddos, and they were super delicious- here

23.Wholewheat Custard Sponge Cake

and some of the recipes here in Spice and Curry

Updated to include 3 more entries - 

Alright finally we have reached to the finishing line.It was such a pleasure hosting Healthy Diet Food event.Thank you Priya for giving me this oppurtunity.

Happy Cooking Friends

Friday, August 10, 2012

Boondi Laddo and Happy Janamashtami

Last time when I went back home, I saw my ma making boondi at home, all from scratch. First the besan batter, then the sugar syrup and then frying in hot oil with perforated spatula (jhanjhri in Hindi), and then soaking them in sugar syrup, and last but not the least making us all eat with so much love and affection. But then even if we are conscious of eating healthy especially my better half, he even couldn’t resist and say no, and soon another bowl was asked to relish once again.

Since today it’s a very auspicious occasion, just thought of posting this recipe with ready-made boondi.Although I would  say this doesn’t match up to the standard that my ma has set for making boondi laddo all from scratch in comfy of her home but still , when ever sudden cravings happen, these do excellent rescue work and comes handy. Store them and pack them as rewards in your lil one and also to big ones lunch box (for behaving well, showering you loads of attention, well all through the week) or even reward yourself, whenever you pass across your breakfast table, all needed to be done, is just open the Tupperware lid, picking it up and popping it in mouth, yum!
Now to the recipe

Boondi laddu – Instant Boondi laddo
Recipe requirements ( measurements are approx)
Quarter packet of dry –ready made boondi
For the sugar syrup
1 -1 and half cup of white sugar
1 cup of water
2 tsp of red color
some pistachio
Make his sugar syrup first. In a large saucepan, put sugar and water together. Let it simmer and keep stirring in between. Taste the syrup after whole of the sugar is dissolved. If required add more about 2tbs of sugar each time otherwise reserve this syrup and proceed to make sugar syrup.
Add in dry boondi, add in colour.Just stir it well and let the dry boondi absorb the sugar syrup.
Now add in cardamom powder and ghee. Mix well. Take it off from the flame.
Let it cool a little bit.
Now start making laddos from the mixture.Crush some pistachios and then decorate every laddo with it on top.
Boondi laddo remains fresh if they kept in open for 2-3 days, after that if something still left please shift them in fridge.

This is a short-cut method of making boondi ladoo.
However if you wish to make it all by scratch then , prepare boondi first with the besan batter  and fry them in hot oil. Take out and then let it cool a little bit, then dunk them in sugar syrup.

Also made these Oats Muesli White Sesame seed (Til) and Almond Laddos

Oats muesli sesame and almond laddo
Recipe requirements ( Recipe Inspired and Adapted from Priya's Versatile Recipe)
1 large cup of quick oats
1 large cup of muesli
1 cup of white sesame seeds
¾ cup of almonds
¾ cup of sugar
½ cup of cooking oil+2 tbs of ghee
½ tsp of cardamom powder
some pistachio powder for decorations (optional)
Dry roast all of the above for about 7-10 mints at medium flame.-Oats, muesli, white sesame seeds and almonds.
Now let it cool off. Grind finely in blender to make a flour consistency.
Take out; add in sugar, cardamom powder.
Now again put them ,the entire saucepan with whole of the ingredients on flame.
Add in cooking oil+ghee.Slowly start mixing well.
Take it off, let it cool a little bit, and then start making small balls out of the mix, gently rotating with the help of your hands.Now crush Pistachios and put them as decorations over each laddos.
You may even ask little ones to join.For more picture and details - you may like to see our FB page- Spice and Curry.

Wish everybody a very Happy Janamashtami

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bajra/Millet flour-Spring Onion Paratha, Mete'r Jhal(Goat Liver Spicy Preparation), Aloo Phulkopi Koraishutir Torkari( Aloo/Gobhi/Matar Ki Sabzi) and Boondi Raita

Last week we were relishing this South Indian Platter. Now it’s time to head towards northern part of India.
This is a mixed platter – aloo gobhi ki sabzi  or aloo phulkopr torkari in Bengali, and Met'er jhal or Spicy goat liver preparation accompanied by bajra da paratha- Millet Flour paratha with green spring onions and last but not the least is boondi raita.A complete satisfying meal in itself.
So let’s hop on to this delectable platter.

Aloo- gobhi ki sabzi - Aloo phulkopir Torkari – one quintessential Bengali preparation with cauliflower. This is the niramish way of preparing the phulkopir torkari with ginger and cumin tempering.

Aloo- Gobhi matar Ki sabzi- Aloo Phulkopi koraishuti'r torkari - Potato /cauliflowers stir/fry

Recipe requirements (serves3-4)
 Half portion cauliflower head
 2 medium size potatoes
1 cup of fresh green peas
1 inch ginger root
1 tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsp of hot red pepper powder
4 tsp of dhania/coriander powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
 ½ tsp of cumin seeds
2-3 bay leaves
1 large juicy tomato
Salt as per taste
3-4 tbs of cooking oil
Take out the green peas from fresh pods.This time my daughter also helped me, de-shelling green peas.

Take out small cauliflower florets from the dense middle part with the help of your hand. Wash them in water and make them dry with the help of kitchen towel, otherwise small florets will splutter oil while frying.
Now chop potatoes in cubes- in Bengali we call it chop like”dumo-dumo”.
Grate the ginger with the help of mandolin/kadokus.
Heat up a saucepan, add cooking oil, and temper it with cumin seeds and bay leaf. Add in grated ginger.
Now add in potato and cauliflower florets. Keep on frying them for 4-5 mints at med- high flame.
Now add in all the dry moshla- turmeric powder, red pepper powder, coriander-cumin powder and salt.
Sprinkle little bit of water so that the moshla/dry masala don’t get burnt.
Add in finely chopped tomato.Add in fresh green peas. Put the flame to medium and keep on frying the masala.
Soon you will see vegetables’ releasing water and the masala/moshla is evenly coated all over the chopped vegetable.
Cover the saucepan and put the flame to low-med. Keep on cooking further 6-7 mints or till the potatoes and cauliflower is cooked but hasn’t turn soggy.
At the time of taking it off, sprinkle freshly churned garam masala ( please find recipe below ) and ghee and sprinkle little bit of sugar.

Mete’r Jhal (Goat liver stir/fry- a spicy preparation)
Recipe requirements (serves- 3-4 people) another recipeMutton Liver Preparation
About 250 Gms of goat liver
2 medium size white onions
3 fat clove of garlic
2 tsp of grated ginger
1 medium size tomato
½ tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of red pepper powder
3-4 green chilies
2 tsp of coriander powder
Fresh garam masala
Salt as per taste
3-4 tbs of cooking oil
Wash the goat liver well in water. Drain the water as much you can from the liver pieces.
Now heat up a saucepan, add cooking oil, and temper it with cumin seeds.
Add in chopped garlic, grated ginger and onions. Keep the frying for 4 mints or till the rawness is gone.
Add in the liver pieces. Add in all dry masala powder- turmeric powder, red pepper powder, coriander powder and salt. Sprinkle little bit of water.
Prepare the garam masala- dry roast – 2 cardamoms, 3 cloves, half inch cinnamon and 1 large black cardamom over iron skillet, when they start becoming slightly brown. Take them off from the flame and with the help of the roller, crush them coarsely. Reserve this to add at the end.
Now add in chopped tomato. Cover the pan and cook the liver with all the masala for about 8-10 mints roughly.No need o add water, as the juice will come out from tomato and onions.
Now add in freshly prepared garam masala.Cover the pan and let the liver absorb the flavor.

Bajra/Millet flour and spring onion paratha
Recipe requirements
2 cups of whole wheat flour/atta
1 large cup of bajra/millet flour
½ tsp of salt
2 tbs of buttermilk (not mandatory)
2 tsp of kitchen king masala
Pinch of hing ( asfoetida)
½ tsp of red pepper powder
2 cups of chopped spring onions
Mix in all the dry ingredients- bajra flour, whole wheat flour, red pepper powder, salt, kitchen king masala, hing.Make a well in the centre, add in buttermilk or use plain water as per requirements.
Knead well all the above into dough. Now divide the dough into small portions.
Generously put/sprinkle flour on the working area, now start rolling the small portions into small disc to large disc shape, in between sprinkling generous amount of flour.Bajra dough tends to become soft easily , so it's essential to sprinkle generous amount of flour while rolling the dough.
Put the iron skillet to heat, now place the rolled disc over the iron skillet, and toast them well both the sides.
Smear 1 tsp of cooking oil and little bit more on both the sides. Keep on pressing with spatula to cook the paratha evenly.
Serve along with aloo-gobhi sabzi and liver spicy stir/fry.

Boondi Raita
Recipe requirements
1 cup of ready-made boondi
2 cups of Greek yogurt
½ cup of water (just to dilute the thick yogurt)
1 tsp of cumin powder
½ tsp of red pepper powder
½ tsp of salt
chopped coriander leaves (optional)
Mix the entire above very well and keep refridgerated. Serve chilled along with the North-Indian platter.

Sending above picture to Susan's,  Black and White Wednesday , guest hosted at Divine Food and Art.

And to  Cooking With Whole Grains, guest hosted here on Spice and Curry, initiated by Priya's Versatile Recipes.

Sending this across to Jagruti's Know Your Flour Series- Millet, guest hosted by Torview.

and to Cooking With Seeds( CWS) an event by Priya's Versatile Recipe ,this month theme is-  Rye-Millet and guest hosted at Briciole.

Happy Cooking Friends