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Bay leaf

Rice & Dal

Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani

Paradise Hotel, a landmark on Sardar Patel Road in Secunderabad which is so hard to miss. A crowded road with equally crowded biryani house which has been serving thousands of people day and night since 1953. I still clearly remember,  6 years back when I first visited Hyderabad; lunch at Paradise was ranking very high on our must-to-do list. Their signature biryani was truly succulent, flavorful and aromatic! It was a delicious experience.

When I first came across the recipe for Hyderabadi Birynai at Swasthi’s Indian Healthy Recipes, I knew I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to cherish my experience in my own kitchen. And the reason I came across this wonderful recipe is SNC – South Vs North Challenge started by Divya Pramil. She is a versatile cook and blogs at Youtoocancookindianfood.blogspot.com. Divya has created two groups – Southern Group and Northern Group as you can guess you become part  of a group based on the region you belong to in India. I liked the idea and it’s quite unique. This is my first time participating in SNC and I am so excited about it.

I will be part of Northern Group. You can read more about the challenge on Divya’s blog. Being from Maharashtra, I feel this is a great opportunity for me to learn both South Indian and North Indian dishes.

south-vs-north-blue

So here it comes, my vegetable biryani

Hyderabadi Vegetable BiryaniIt’s easy to prepare but has multiple steps and if it’s your first time it will take little longer. My rice was cooked little longer  but the flavors and the taste was quite up to my expectation.

Here’s what you need.

Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani

Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani

One pot meal with simple ingredients yet exotic flavors

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Take a deep breath. It's a long list of ingredients and an equally long list of steps, quite daunting when you read it first time. Stay with me and it will be done in 45 minutes!

  1. Wash rice grains and soak them in cold water before starting with other preparation.
  2. Keep all vegetables ready by washing them and chopping as desired. I used some asparagus but that's optional.Vegetable Biryani prep
  3. Next thing is to prepare the vegetable masala. In a medium pan, heat 2 tbspn of oil or Ghee and add all whole spices (bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, shahee jeera, star anis) and let them roast for a minute or so until you can smell their distinct aromas.
  4. Now add ginder garlic paste and green chilis.
  5. Add diced potatoes and  saute them for a 1-2 minutes.
  6. Now add all other vegetables and mix them.
  7. Add biryani  masala, red chili powder and sail and mix well.
  8. Now add 1/2 cup yogurt, mix everything and let it cook for 5 minutes. keep a lid on so that it cooks faster with the steam.
  9. We want the dry masala so cook it uncovered for another 3-4 minutes until all the moisture goes out. Add some chopped mint leaves and cilantro leaves and keep it aside.
  10. Heat 1/4 cup milk and add saffron to it. Keep it ready.
  11. In a small kadhai or pan, add 4 tbsp of oil and fry the onion slices until they turn dark brown. It takes around 10 minutes.Fried Onions
  12. In another bigger pan, add 4 cups of water and the soaked rice. Add a tsp of Ghee or oil, some salt and cumin seeds. Let it simmer for a while until the rice is 3/4th done. This is important as we are going to cook the rice again so make sure it's not well done.
  13. As soon as rice is ready, place a tawa on a low flame and a big steal pan or cooker on the tawa. You may call it as a modern way of cooking "dum" biryani.
  14. Add half of the vegetable masala cooked earlier, add some yogurt and some fried onions. Then add some rice. Make two such layers. On top add cashews, raisins and fried onions and chopped cilantro leaves.
  15. Pour the saffron milk on top.
  16. Now you have two options, you can seal the top with wheat dough or you can use a thick towel with a heavy lid on top it. I used the latter option.
  17. Let the rice cook for another 10 minutes on medium flame and then switch of the heat and let it sit for another 5 minutes.
  18. Serve it hot with raita.

Notes

It's very important to keep everything ready when your rice is about to be done else it will cook more than what you want and the grains will not remain separated. I did this mistake and my rice was little overcooked. So plan it ahead.

 

 

Maharashtrian/ Rice & Dal

मूगा-तांदुळाची खिचडी / Rice Moong Dal Khichadi

Comforting to eat, Effortless to make

I will describe Khichadi in word one – Soul-food! It’s so comforting, fulfilling and satisfying. This was the first recipe I learned from my mom when I first started my job in Bangalore. It’s a ‘++’ version of  वरण भात ‘Varan-bhaat’  (dal-rice) but it’s actually easier to prepare than dal-rice.

The best part I like about Khichadi is it’s a one pot meal. All you do is mix all ingredients together in pressure cooker, then wait for few minutes and dig in! Well khichadi literally means a mixture. The rice in it adds the starch, which somewhat magically means comfort in any language, and the moong dal adds a good source of protein which is easy to digest.

It is also a dish that is found throughout the country in some form or the other – khichdi, khichri, khichuri, venn pongal, even kedgeree, which was adopted by the colonials, are all variations on the same theme. Like names there are different khichdis too. I like it soft, almost mushy and watery, but some prefer it like pulao, all grains intact.

My mom makes a milder version with no garam masala –

moong dal khichadi

I generally make a spiced khichadi with whole garam masala and green peas.

moonga tandulachi khichadiThe general rule is to use 2 parts rice and 1 part moong dal but I use both in equal proportions. You can use split moong dal which is green or yellow. Here is my version –

मूगा-तांदुळाची खिचडी Moong Dal Khichadi

मूगा-तांदुळाची खिचडी Moong Dal Khichadi

Comforting to eat, Effortless to make!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Wash and soak the rice and the dal in water for about half an hour. If you don't have time skip this step. 
  2. If you have time use a large wide and heavy bottom pan to prepare khichadi. Or you can also use a pressure cooker and make it quicker.
  3. Either ways, in a pan, heat the oil and add whole garam masala (clove, cinnamon, peppercorns and cardamom). Also mustard seeds.
  4. When they start to pop add cumin seeds, curry leaves, hing and turmeric.
  5. Drain all the water from the grains and add them to the oil. Mix well for a minute.
  6. Now add goda masala and red chili powder and mix well.
  7. If you want add green peas or any other vegetables and mix again.
  8. Add 4 cups of water and stir everything together.
  9. Add grated coconut.
  10. Add salt and taste it.
  11. Now let it cook on medium heat for 3 whistles.  If you skip the first step, you might want to wait for 4-5 whistles depending upon your cooker.
  12. If you are making it a wide pan, let the water come to a boil and then simmer for few minutes. Stir it occasionally. But keep a lid on it by leaving a small gap for the steam to escape.
  13. Serve it hot with ghee and chopped cilantro.

khichadi_ayurfoods If you still think this is not easy to prepare, there is an instant version too. I recently came across AyurFoods and I have tried their moong dal khichadi. It was as delicious as home made. It’s nicely packaged and can be a good healthy meal while travelling.

 

Punjabi/ Rice & Dal/ Superfoods

Dal Makhani

There are some dishes which you never make at home because you always like to have those at restaurants. Dal Makhani was one of these until I had ‘the best dal makhani ever’ made by S. He was famous for his recipe during his college days and I must admit he did a great job. On a second thought the butter, and more butter, the cream and the masala did a fantastic job. Later, I served him dal makhani made without butter and cream and it was still as fabulous as his version, he looked surprised!

dal_makhani
black-urad-dal

Urad Dal is rich in protein and dietary fibre. It’s also a  great source of minerals especially Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, and Copper. It also has good amount of Folate and Vitamin B6.

Black Urad is not commonly used in Maharashtrian cuisine. As the name suggests, its a Punjabi dish and extra cream will make it more “Makhani” like any other Punjabi preparation.

Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani

No butter and no cream can still make a delicious dal makhani

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Soak urad dal and kidney beans in water overnight (7-8 hours)
  2. In a pressure cooker, add soaked dal and beans with double amount of water.  Add peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves and a bay leaf to the daal. Let it cook with 5-6 whistles.  You can also add a tea spoon of salt.
  3. Meanwhile, you can keep onion, tomato, ginger and garlic ready and start with the tadka.
  4. In a medium pan, heat some oil. Once it becomes hot, add cumin seeds.
  5. Add chopped garlic and let it turn slightly brown.
  6. Add some chopped cilantro and let it fry for a minute.
  7. Now add chopped onion, and cook them nicely. Sprinkle some salt to quicken the process.
  8. Once onions are cooked 80%, add tomatoes and mix well. It takes another 2 minutes.
  9. Smash tomatoes with spatula.
  10. Reduce the heat and add red chili powder and Dal Makhani masala and stir well. You should be able to smell the aroma of the hot masala.
  11. Next, add cooked dal and rajma along with some water.
  12. Add salt if needed and mix well. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes and your dal is ready to serve.
  13. garnish it with chopped onions while serving.

Dall_makhani_bigger

This is going to Vardhini’s Dish it Out – Lentils & Garlic event hosted at nivedhanams.

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