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Mughalai Chicken Biryani

>> August 30, 2011

Mughalai biryani is not spicy but it is full of flavors.  This is a slow cooked delicacy that imbibes the flavors of all the ingredients. The use of whole kashmiri chillies and whole pepper corns gives a great aroma and taste. The recipe is from various sources that include the television and the web. I have tried to incorporate the best of all methods.

 the recipe to cook rice
Basmati Rice – 2 cups (to serve 8)

Whole spices

Green cardamom – 4
Cloves -3
Cinnamon – ½ inch piece
Bay leaf – 1
Ghee or Veg Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp (optional)

Method to cook rice. Place adequate water in a pot. When the water comes to boil, add the oil, whole spices, lemon juice and salt. Add rice. When the rice is cooked but firm drain the water and keep the cooked rice aside.

recipe to cook the chicken

Chicken – 750 gms
Onion – 4 +3
Whole Kashmiri red chillies – 10
Pepper corns – 1 ½ tsp
Garam Masala – 1 ½ tsp
Chilly powder – 1 ½ tsp
Ginger Garlic paste – 2-3 tbsp
Almond paste – from 20 - 25 almonds
Salt to taste
Curd – 1 cup
Coriander leaves – 5 tbsp
Mint leaves  - ½ cup
Ghee – 2 -3 tbsp + 3 tbsp
Cashewnuts & raisins – as much as you need
Saffron – 1 small pinch (optional)
Milk - 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil – 3-4 tbsp (to fry onions into golden brown color – for garnish)

Whole spices

Green Cardamom – 4
Black Cardamom – 2
Cloves – 3
Cinnamon – ½ inch piece
Blade of Mace – 1 piece
Star Anise – 1 (deseeded)
the method

Heat oil in a pan and fry 3 chopped onion till they turn brown (take care that the onion doesn’t get burnt – fry the onions in medium heat. Keep it aside.

Heat a heavy  bottom pan pressure cooker and add the ghee. Turn to medium heat and add the whole spices. Stir till the spices release its aroma. Add the 4 chopped onions and sauté till they turn translucent. Turn to medium heat. Stir in the whole kashmiri chillies. Saute for few seconds and then add the pepper corns and ginger garlic paste. Add the almond paste and stir for a while. Add the garam masala and chilly powder. Turn to low heat and add the chicken pieces and salt. Continue cooking in low heat and saute occasionally till the chicken is half done (let the chicken cook in its own juices). Turn to medium heat and add the chopped coriander and mint leaves. Turn to high heat and add the beaten curd. Stir well. Turn to medium heat and cook till the chicken is done.

Layering the biryani

Take a heavy bottom pan or a pressure cooker. Add 3 tbsp ghee. Place a thick layer of rice followed by the cooked chicken with gravy. Next place another thick layer of rice follwed by the cooked chicken and gravy. Top it with a thin layer of rice. Sprinkle the fried onion, cashew nuts and raisins and a table spoon or two of mint leaves and coriander leaves. Mix the saffron with milk and pour it over the rice. Close the pan with an airtight lid.  Place the pan / cooker in low heat for 15 - 20 minutes. Serve hot with raita.


Beef Stew (Kerala Style)

>> August 28, 2011

Beef Stew is a permanent dish at home for a festive day breakfast; for Christmas & Easter. I prepare this dish whenever i have a craving for it. The rule to eat a beef stew is to soak bread or hopper in it and then eat it. Well it is my way of eating the stew. This tastes good with idiyappam (string hoppers) as well as puttu too.

Ingredients for the stew

Boiled beef* - 400 - 500 gms
Beef stock – 1 cup
Potatoes – 2 or 3 diced
Carrot – 2, chopped
Green chilly – 2
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Onion – 2 medium, julienned
Oil – 2 tbsp

Whole spices

Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
Cloves – 6 medium sized
Green Cardamom – 6 medium sized

Ghee – 2 tsp
Cashew nut – 3 tbsp
Raisins – 3 tbsp

Pepper powder – ¾ to 1 tsp
Thick coconut milk(first extract) – ¾ cup
Thin coconut milk(second extract) – 1 cup

Utensil required – heavy bottom pan or a pressure cooker

the method

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan and fry the cashew nuts and raisins. Keep the fried fruits aside. To the same pan add oil. Add the whole spices and stir till the spices release the aroma (take care that the spices do not get burnt). Add the julienned onion, ginger and green chillies. Add the boiled beef, potatoes and carrots. Add water or third extract of coconut if required. Add salt. Cook till the potatoes are done. Add the second extract of coconut milk and bring to boil. Add ¾ tsp pepper powder. Check taste. Add the first extract of coconut milk. Add the fried cashew nuts and raisins. Turn off heat when the stew is about to boil.

an optional note: dilute 1 tsp rice flour to the second extract of coconut milk to thicken the stew ( i have added  rice flour in this recipe)

*ingredients to boil the beef

Beef – 400 – 500 gms
Ginger – half inch piece
Pepper powder – ¼ tsp
Green chilly – 1 medium sized
Salt to taste


Pazham Puttu (Banana Puttu)

>> August 24, 2011

This is a recipe which i have learnt to prepare from my mother's aunt. As mentioned in my previous post, the banana used in this recipe is ethapazham which is a very nutritious fruit. The idea of mixing the puttu mix with banana is just to give a twist to the usual puttu with a sweet taste. The pazham puttu is usually prepared with rice flour and banana. I have prepared a wheat puttu with the fruit. Can be had as such or can be had with some milk and sugar. Try it....

the recipe
wheat flour - 1 cup
coconut, grated - 3/4 of a coconut or 1 (as much as you can grate)
salt - 1/2 to 3/4 tsp (or according to your taste)
water - 1/4 cup or less
            (or as required - the quantity of water is based on the texture of the wheat flour being used)
banana - 2 

if you do not have a puttu mould, just place the mix in a steamer and steam it.

the method

Mix the salt with the water and keep it aside.

Cut the banana into tiny cubes.

Place the wheat flour in a wide mixing bowl. Sprinkle the salted water (1 tbsp at a time) and mix with your finger as if to form crumbs. Repeat the process till the flour is just moist and crumby. Add the grated coconut gently run your fingers through the mix. Stir in the chopped banana and gently mix it. Take care that the wheat mix does not form lumps.

Boil water in a puttu maker or a steamer and fill the mould with the puttu mix. Cook for 2 minutes after the steam comes out of the lid.

Serve warm or hot with or without milk & sugar.

Also check out MEAT PUTTU


Pazham Pulissery (Banana in coconut & curd gravy)

>> August 15, 2011

Onam is round the corner and the pazham pulissery once had a prominent role in Onasadya. Yep, before the Sambar and Avial invaded the onasadya, it was the erissery and pulissery that was served as the main curries alongwith thodu curries like achar, puli inchi and the like.

Pazham pulissery is an easy recipe using ripe bananas aka ethapazham / nendrapazham (seen in the picture) that are specific to Kerala. This curry is a mix of the fruit, coconut and curd that will make you eat a lot of rice…indeed…

the recipe

banana - 2
water – 1 cup
turmeric – ½ tsp

green chilly – 3 or 4
cumin seeds – ¾ tsp
garlic – 3 cloves (optional)
shallots – 4 (optional
mustard seeds – ¾ tsp

grated coconut – ½ cup
water – ¼ cup
curd (beaten) – ½ cup
salt to taste

for the tempering
oil – 2 tsp
fenugreek seeds – ¼ tsp
whole red chillies (broken) – 3
curry leaves – 2 or 3 sprigs

the method

the recipe tastes good if cooked in a clay pot.

Cut the banana into two lengthwise and then chop them into small pieces. Boil 1 cup water in a clay pot and add the banana and turmeric powder. Meanwhile, grind the green chillies, cumin seeds, garlic, shallots and mustard seeds into a fine paste. Add it into the banana mix. Add salt and let the banana cook till it is soft and slightly mushy. Grind the coconut with about ¼ cup or less water into a fine paste. Add it into the cooked banana. Check the taste. If you feel it is less pungent you may add ½ tsp chilly powder (ingredient not included in the recipe). When the raw taste of coconut is gone, turn to low heat add the beaten curd and mix well. When the curry is hot enough but not boiled turn off heat.

In another pan, heat oil in medium fire and add the curry leaves, broken whole red chillies and fenugreek seeds. Stir well till the fenugreek starts to change its color. Pour it over the banana mix and close it immediately. Let it sit for sometime and then mix the pulissery and serve with rice.

The pulissery can be prepared in advance for the Onasadya. Preparing it previous day would be the best and refrigerate the same.


Beet Root & Potato Pepper Saute

>> August 12, 2011

Some might have a feeling that beet root is watery in taste. The addition of potatoes gives a creamy texture to this dish which goes well with rice. I usually prepare this in a pressure cooker so that the potatoes turn slightly mushy though they retain their shape. It can be prepared in a pan also.

the recipe

Beet root, cut into cubes of preferred size - 3 large
Potato, cut in similar size as the beetroot - 1 large
Onion, roughly chopped - 1
Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 or 2 tbsp
Curry leaves

the method

Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add the onion and stir till it is light brown. Turn to low heat and add the turmeric, pepper, chilly powder, salt and curry leaves. Stir till it is lightly sauteed and then add the cubed beet root and potato. Continue stirring in low heat for about a minute. Add 5 -8 tbsp water and put the lid and weight on. Pressure cook for 3 whistles and then turn off heat. You may find a little more water when the veggies have cooked. Place the pressure cooker on high heat and stir well till the water is fully evaporated. Serve with rice and rasam.


Prawn ball curry

>> August 05, 2011

This prawn ball curry is inspired by the meat ball curry recipe is famous in Anglo-India homes. I gave a slight Thai twist to the recipe by adding chilly flakes and soya sauce. The curry had a fabulous taste.

the ingredients

Prawns – 500 gms
Chilly flakes – 1 tsp
Garlic – 6 cloves
Salt to taste
Soya Sauce – 1 ½ tbsp
Lemon Juice – 1 tsp
Corn flour / Flour – 1 tbsp
Oil to deep fry
Onion – 1
Ginger Garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Turmeric – ¼ tsp
Chilly powder – ½ tsp
Pepper Powder – ½ tsp
Garam Masala – 3 tiny pinch
Tomato – 1 small or half (I used half)
Vinegar – 1 tbsp
Thin Coconut milk – ½ cup
Thick Coconut milk – ½ cup
Cooked green peas – ¼ cup
Salt to taste
Oil – 2 tbsp
the method

Clean the prawns and grind it with chopped garlic, salt and chilly flakes. Place the ground prawns in a bowl. Add the soya sauce and lemon juice to the prawns and mix well. Sprinkle the flour over the prawn and mix well. Grease your palm with flour and take a teaspoon full of the prawn mix and shape it into a ball. Ground prawn is very sticky. To prevent your hands from turning messy, use a cling film on your palm to shape the prawn. Repeat the process until the prawn mix is fully used up.

Deep fry the prawn balls one by one. It takes just about 25 – 30 seconds for the prawn ball / kofta to cook. Over frying will make the prawns hard and rubbery.

Heat a flat pan and add 2 tbsp of oil. Add the chopped onions and sauté till it is light brown. Add the ginger garlic paste. Add the turmeric, chilly and pepper powder. Add chopped tomatoes and vinegar. Sauté till the tomatoes are soft. Add thin coconut milk and the prawn balls and let it boil for few minutes in medium heat. Add the cooked green peas. Check salt and pepper. Add garam masala. Turn to low heat and add thick coconut milk. Turn off heat just as the curry starts boiling.

We had the prawn ball curry with chilly fried rice with peanuts & veggies. The curry tastes very good with bread also.


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