Archive for the ‘Recipe Marathon’ Category

Recipe Marathon: Day 3: Nargisi Biryani (Egg Kofta Biryani)

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Claypot-Biryani

Before I start my four column story, I just wanted to ask you all a question. I have been blogging only for couple of months, and though I visit all of the yummy recipes by the participants of the marathon, I am not able to leave a comment as I am hosting this from wordpress and I am only able to comment with my URL/Name option. Are there any other options, please let me know as I am still in the learning phase :)

During weekdays,when packing lunch boxes I look for recipes that can stay, hold their shape and will taste good after a couple of hours. There is no point in making spaghetti and eating a tough one/soaked in sauce for lunch. Instead, I can get a steaming hot plate of pasta from a soup shop nearby or make it for dinner. I am not too fond of packing dosas either, unless there is a shortage of frisbee in the work place . For lunch, I pack gravies like panner butter masala, aloo curry or some usual sambar rice or rasam .

So, the only time we get to taste elegant lunches like biryani is during weekends. I mean, would you want to hurry up and finish biryani on a 20 minute lunch break or are you willing to savor it for the weekend?

By the time we get up(every saturday, if I can add), we are always in the mood to prepare some variety rices. If you remember my stories on sis and her biryanis, and have tried my paneer kofta biryani , this is the meat free version of it.The Nargisi biryani. And that is what I am going to serve my fellow runners for a fulfilling lunch during this Marathon .

My sis works with a lot of people from the middle east in her office and she learnt this recipe from an Iranian friend’s mom. She uses egg instead of the chicken meat ball and I followed suit.

Pot-in-Sink

If you plan ahead you can put it together in a jiffy. I make my biryanis in a clay pot so I have to soak it in water for a good 30 mins to an  hour before I put this together, but by that time I can also cook the rice. So I wont call it a recipe that takes half a day to cook. Besides, it tastes awesome so even if it did take half a day to cook , I would try this at least once.

Here is a filling biryani, to bundle up some energy for the rest of the marathon.

Recipe 5: Nargisi Biryani

Ingredients:

List 1: (To make the koftas)
Hard boiled eggs- 3
Boiled large potatoes- 4
Salt- to taste
Garam Masala Powder- 1/2 tsp
Gram flour -1/2 cup
Oil- to deep fry

List 2:(Marinade for the rice)
I make a yogurt based masala and it can be made and stored in the refrigerator for a day.I usually make it the night before I make biryani.

Well whisked thick yogurt- 1 cup
Roma tomatoes-2
Green Chilies-2
Bay Leaf-2
Cloves-2
Cardamom-2
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder- 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder- 3/4 tsp
Garam Masala Powder- 1 tsp
Salt- to taste
Mint leaves- handful
Cilantro- handful

List 3: (Making the rice)
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Bay leaf-1
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Oil- 1 tsp
Basmathi rice- 1.25 cups

List 4:
Red onion- one large
Steamed,drained vegetables like cauliflower, carrot and peas – 1/4 cup
Cilantro, mint, green onions- to garnish
Lemon juice- to taste

Method:

Instructions on using a clay pot can be found from my previous post here.

Step 1:

marinade

Chop the tomatoes, chilies, mint, cilantro and mix everything given under the marinade section.Prepare the marinade atleast an hour before you make biryani or make it the night before and store in a fridge.

Step 2:

coating-eggs

Remove the shell of the hard boiled eggs and cut them into two. Mash the boiled potatoes till smooth, without lumps. Mix gramflour, salt and garam masala powder to the mashed potato. Add water (2 tbsp) and make a thick batterish-pulp. The potato mash has to be thick yet spreadable. Take a half cut section of the egg and start coating it with the mashed potato pulp.

Make sure that you cover the egg fully, and no egg white can be seen. Similarly cover and coat all eggs. Pour oil in a pan and wait till it gets hot. Deep fry the potato covered egg till golden brown. Drain on a paper towel. If any white of the egg is visible, when it comes into contact with the oil, it is going to burst giving a hot oil shower to the chef.

Fried-egg-Kofta

Step 3:

Jeera-rice

Soak Basmathi rice in water for 10 minutes. Heat oil in a frying pan, add cumin seeds and bay leaf, add the drained rice, stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to the usual vessel you’d make rice in, add salt and water (1 cup rice: 2 cups water) and cook the rice. Fluff it and keep aside.

Step 4:

Cut the onions lengthwise(julienne slice). Heat oil in a pan(use the same pan used to fry rice), add the chopped onions and fry till transparent. Pour in the prepared mariande and let the yogurt sauce thicken (7-10 minutes), giving off all the water. Add the steamed vegetables, Stir well to coat, taste if salt is enough. Do not add any water to this gravy.Switch off.

Putting it together:

Coat the bottom of the clay pot/ baking tray with ghee. Spread a layer of rice. Spoon over some of the cooked marinade, arrange couple of the egg-koftas, cover them with another layer or rice, and pour some mariande on top, arrange the remaining egg koftas, cover with rice. Garnish with cilantro, mint or green onions. Cover the mouth of the pot with a tin foil.

Bake in a 375 oven (No need to preheat if using claypot) for 40minutes. Carefully remove the foil, pour lemon juice on top… mix without breaking the egg koftas and..Serve it steaming hot with raitha and chips.

Serving-Biryani

Suggestions:

1) You can boil the potatoes in the cooker along with the rice saving time.

2) How about adding mashed carrots and beans to the potato to get some more vegetables?

You can, but make sure that everything is well mashed else, you are going to get an oil shower when you deep fry them.

3) Baking the Koftas: Have’nt tried it, planning to try it sometime soon.

4) If you don’t want to use eggs, use vegetable koftas. But make sure that you dont over do the eggs as the eggs are coated with potato and gram flour so you could end up with more eggs than what you counted.

Meet you all tomorrow with something light for Tea!

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Recipe Marathon: Day 2: Mirchi Ka Salan (Jalapenos in a Sesame peanut Sauce)

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Salan-Intro

Ooola la la yeooo..oola la la…….No, I have’nt gone insane. That’s the catchy tune of the kingfisher brand. Ever since we got ndtv goodtimes at home, N watches a of couple of shows- Highway on my plate, kingfisher calender girl hunt 2010 (ofcourse), and Marut Sikka’s Lock stock and two smoking tikkas.

Once there was this advertisement about kingfisher food guide and he caught the name of Mirchi Ka Salan. That translates to couple of things like what,where, how, and when. The task of finding all of these were give to me, as usual. After searching the internet and glancing at my cookbooks, this is how it got untangled:

What: A spicy, tangy gravy made of chilies.
Where: Famous in Andhra Pradesh
How: Easy, grind the masala, saute the chilies and there you go.
When: Made it as soon as I found it, goes well with jeera rice and rotis.

(This recipe is given in Marut Sikka’s cook book Indian Flavors and also in Tarla Dalal’s Curries and Kadis and also in a couple of blogs. Each recipe calls for some ingredient that is not found in other books/blogs and this is an adapted recipe as I do not always use all the ingredients and mix and match).

Recipe no 6: is Mirchi Ka Salan, and it is placed in the “Serve for Lunch” section of the recipe marathon, hosted by Nupur of One hot stove.

Ingredients: (serves-2)

List 1:
Jalapenos- 6 numbers
Oil – one tsp
Salt- a pinch or two

List 2:

Peanuts- 1/4 cup
White sesame seeds- 2 tbsp
Cinnamon – a small 1″ piece
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Black Pepper- 4 or 5 each
Ginger Garlic Paste- 1 tsp
Red chilies- 4
Desiccated coconut- 2 tsp
Red onions- 1/4 cup
Coriander seeds- 2 tbsp
Cloves-2
Salt- to taste

List 3:
Sesame oil- 1 tsp
Water- 1 cup
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste
Tamarind- 1″ piece or tamarind paste 1/4 tsp

Method:

Sear-Chilies

Chop the stem of the jalapenos and use a spoon/knife and scoop out all the seeds. Soak them in warm water for a few minutes till all the seeds are floating in the water. Discard the water, wipe the jalapenos dry. Heat oil in a pan, stir fry the jalapenos sprinkling some salt on top(That will sweat them). Cover for 2-3 minutes and let it soften(do not add any water). Sear all sides of the jalapeno in the same way. Keep aside. The chilies may make you cough when you sear them, so cook them with some ventilation :)

Salan-Ingredients

Toast peanuts and remove the skin. Toast sesame seeds, cumin, coriander seeds, coconut,cinnamon, red chilies, black pepper, cloves and onions separately and grind them together with the ginger garlic paste. Add a little bit of water and lightly salt it and grind to a smooth paste.

Soak tamarind in hot water and extract 1/4 cup of juice.

In a kadai or a pot, pour sesame oil and the ground paste. Stir fry for a minute and add the turmeric powder and tamarind water. Mix well. Let it simmer and wait till you see the bubbles on the sides. Drop in the jalapenos and cover. You can add extra water if you want the gravy to be runny, if you want it thick, add water accordingly. Let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Switch off.

Salan-Peas-Rice

Serve with rotis or simple, non spicy rice dishes like jeera rice, plain rice or peas rice . We had it for lunch with peas pulao.

Suggestions:

The salan was not too spicy, as I had removed the seeds from the chilies and then cooked them in tamarind water. The spice was actually from the cinnamon than the chilies and the dish was mildly sweet. Beware of the masala that is inside the hollow chili though, that was a bit hot. If you are still worried about the chilies, the gravy is nice and nutty and you can just use the gravy masala or try it with peppers(capsicum) or green eggplant (the lemon sized ones).

Other improvements: We had a gravy like salan for lunch and we still had some leftover gravy for dinner. N suggested to thicken it even more and the thickened salan was better than the gravy-ish salan.

This Salan is a refreshing change from all the fruit cakes we have had in the past week. Hence, this is my entry to
Shama Nagarajan’s Christmas food festival 09.

shama

Even though it is the holiday season, it is weekend!! What to expect tomorrow? Just a hint: A level above my Paneer Kofta Biryani. Direct from the Middle East. Don’t forget to tune in.

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Recipe Marathon: Day 1: Sun dried tomato thokku and spicy egg dosa

Friday, December 25th, 2009

I thought of taking part in this
marathon hosted by Nupur
with a 7 course meal concept. Before I started blogging, I’d be randomly reading blogs and I had marked a couple of recipes to try out. These recipes are from different categories, breakfast, gravies, elegant dinners and twists in traditional ones.

I’ll be starting with recipes in breakfast and moving on to the elegant dinner as we move forward in the marathon.

Recipe 7: Sun dried Tomato thokku

I saw this recipe from Sheela’s space. I immediately fell in love with the recipe as I love pickles and thokkus like anything. And I have never heard of sun dried tomato thokku. I just use them for pastas. And Sheela’s recipes are very creative, like this adai waffle.

My first step in the marathon is tomato thokku dosa. This is how it goes. The thokku part is very simple and uses 3 major ingredients.

tomato-thokku

To make the thokku:

Sun dried tomatoes(without oil)- 5 each
Dried red chilies- 5
Fresh roma tomato- 1
Salt- to taste
Sesame oil- 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Hing- one pinch

Method:
Soak red chilies and dried tomatoes in hot water for 10 minutes to plump them up. Blend chopped tomato, red chilies and dried tomatoes without adding water to a smooth paste.

Make sure that you add the fresh tomato while grinding and do not just use sun-dried ones.

Heat oil in a pan and add hing and mustard seeds. When they splutter, add this blended tomato and salt and let it bubble and thicken (5 mins) till the oil is absorbed and let out again. Store in a air tight container.

Now, this is what I did with the tomato thokku. N had visited Kanyakumari in the 90’s and he was after me to make a special tomato egg masala dosa he had there. And I made my adapted version of the dosa with this thokku for breakfast.

Ingredients:
Dosa batter- 1 cup
Tomato thokku- 1/4 cup
Sliced onions- few
Cilantro- well chopped- few strands
Green onions- few strands
Oil- 2 tsp

Method:
1) Ladle the dosa batter thin like how we’d make a dosa. Make sure that the pan is hot.

2) Break an egg on top of this dosa and scramble it quickly, spreading it all over the dosa.

spread-egg

3) Spoon some thookku on top and scramble it as well.

spreading-thokku

4) Add the sliced onions, cilantro, green onions and pour some oil on top.
All-Egg-Dosa

5) When the egg is cooked on top, flip and cook the other side.

Egg-Dosa

Serve hot as it is or with any chutney. To be honest, it tastes good on its own.

Suggestions:

We liked the combination and were thinking about different fillings on top of the egg thokku – grated panner, chopped baby spinach, cheese etc., etc..build up as many layers as you want. The tomato thokku keeps the dosa moist and it is not heavy, greasy food. And its much lighter than the potato masala dosa. My favorite part : No need to grind chutney or make sambar or gulp down podis with it.

Besides, this thokku can also be used as a tomato paste for gravies/tomato rice and I always like ingredients which can be used for more than one recipe.

Stay tuned, we are going to enter into the Lunch Territory with a spicy-tangy combo!
See you all tomorrow.

This dosa is going to srivalli’s kids delight event

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