Tamarind Rice


 

Lemon rice and Tamarind rice are like twins. But I’ve seen more people prefer lemon rice, may be its bright color and the fresh lemon scent helps. But tamarind rice is a comfort food, often offered in Hindu temples. Its used to be a great travel food, as it tastes good in room temperature and it actually tastes better 3-4 hrs after you make it. I don’t know if its still popular in this age of pulavs and fried rice, but I think its a rice dish that we just can’t let go.

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  • Tamarind water
    (Soak tamarind preferably overnight to get the most out of it. If in a time crunch, soak it in hot water and take the juice filtering out the seeds and other solids) Image
  • Red chillies, Urad dhal, channa dhal, mustard seeds, peanuts, vellam/jaggery/brown- sugar, curry leavesImage
  • The ingredients in the picture below are to make a flavor enhancing pixie dust that you sprinkle at the very end. The quantity of black pepper could be alarming, but you need only 1 tsp of this powder for 1 cup of rice. If you are still not a fan of heat, reduce the black pepper and increase channa dhal and coriander seeds. Be careful with fenugreek though, more can make the powder bitter. This powder can also be used in curries like sambar or vegetable sides. Sprinkle at the very end for a fresh flavor. 

         Black pepper, Coriander seeds, fenugreek and channa dhalImage

  • Fry the ingredients in the above photo in 1 tsp of oil. Let them cool down completely. Grind it to a smooth powder. Store in an air-tight container for later use.Image
  • Heat about 3 tbsp. of sesame oil and add the ingredients in the order below :

         mustard seeds
         urad dhal
         channa dhal
         red chillies
         curry leaves
         peanuts

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  • When the peanuts get roasted slightly, add the tamarind juice.Image
  • Add turmeric powder, Asafoetida , jaggery and salt. Bring to a good boil.Image
  • Allow it to reduce and lower the heat.Image
  • You know its done when the oil separates. This quantity is good for 10 – 12 cups of rice. Allow it to cool completely and store it an air-tight container. Doesn’t have to be refrigerated.Image
  • Cook 1 cup of rice and mix with 1 tbsp. of the prepared wet mix. Finally sprinkle 1 tsp. of the powder and mix well.Image
  • No matter how many new cuisines we expose ourselves to and how many new tastes we get introduced to, some foods scream ” Home”, “Warm” and “Comfort”. This is one such rice. Enjoy !Image
     
     
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Dhum Biriyani (simplified)


There are more than hundred ways to cook biriyani. This is just one of them. I have combined various steps and tips from many recipes I have tried over the years to simplify the recipe. This is a well tested , fool-proof recipe that guarantees yummy biriyani with authentic taste, flavor, color and texture.
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There are usually three layers in Dhum Biriyani.
1. Rice
2.Meat with gravy
3.Garnish

First, cook the rice. I do not prefer Basmati rice for biriyani. The best option is to use biriyani rice(kichadi samba) or Jeeraga samba. If not, regular raw ponni rice can also be used. 
  1. Soak 3 cups of raw rice in water for 30 mins

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2.  In a pan, heat up 2 tbsp. of ghee and 2 spoons of oil. Fry Bay leaves, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom and Fennel.

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3. Stir in the soaked rice and mix well so that each grain is coated with oil.

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4.Usually I use 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice for regular cooking. But for biriyani I only use 1.5 cups of water for 1 cup of rice. (You can use coconut milk or chicken stock instead of water).
Add salt , cover and cook.
 
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5. Rice is cooked al-dente. (It takes about 10 -13 mins). When we cook in dhum later rice will be cooked thoroughly. This way we can make sure, the rice doesn’t get mushy and the grains stay separate at the end. So the first part, preparing the rice is done.
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6. Now to make the meat gravy : Cut and clean chicken pieces.
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7. Chop : Onions, Tomatoes, Green chillies,  Mint, Curry leaves, Coriander leaves(optional)

You will also need: ginger garlic paste, plain yogurt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala

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8. In a wok , heat up 2 tbsp. of ghee or butter and 2 spoons of oil and fry the same spices :
Bay leaves, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves and Fennel. Saute onions, green chillies, curry leaves and 2 tbsp. of ginger garlic paste.
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9. Saute mint and add the tomatoes.
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10. When tomatoes soften , add chicken. When chicken begins to change color, add turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala.I would add very little coriander powder. If you have a good chicken curry masala, you can add that too.
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11. Add a cup of plain yogurt. Add salt. Taste the curry and add more chilli powder or salt as needed.
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12. Cook until you get a thick gravy. Chicken should not be overdone.
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13. Now for the third part of garnish: Thinly sliced onions  and Mint leaves chopped
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14. In a pan, heat up a spoon of oil and sauté the onions. when the onions brown , add the mint.
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15. Now we have everything we need to start layering the biriyani.
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16. In a baking dish, add a layer of rice. Then add a layer of meat and sprinkle some sautéed onions and mint over them. Repeat layering like this until you have used up all your rice, meat and garnish.
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17. Roughly for 3 cups of rice, you should be able to repeat the layers atleast 3 times. Cover the dish tightly with foil.Place the lid over the foil. Make sure its sealed tight. Else, the rice and meat will lose moisture and we will end up with a very dry biriyani. Bake in the oven at 300 degrees F for 1 hour.
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18. You can serve the biriyani as such with layers or…Image
 
Mix the layers well to get the traditional look. If you do not have an oven, you can layer the biriyani in the electric rice cooker and set it up in “warm” mode (instead of “cook”) for an hour.Image

 
 

Yam Burger


           This is 100% vegetarian burger recipe, I am sure you would appreciate the taste
and texture of yam/suran in the place of potatoes.
 
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  • Grate carrots, cut green beans, chop onions and cilantro, mince ginger and garlic or use 1 tsp. of ginger-garlic paste, and take some corn too.  

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  • Cook the yam pieces in boiling water until tender and drain the water.

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  • Mash the cooked yam by pressing down with fork, it doesn’t have to be smooth.

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  •  In a skillet, heat 3 tsp of oil and fry some fennel seeds and then saute the chopped onions and giner and garlic.

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  • Saute the green beans, once they soften add the grated carrots, corn and cilantro.

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  • Add the mashed yam and then add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala and salt.

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  • Mix well and cook for 5 mins. Turn off the heat and sprinkle 1 tbsp of besan (gram flour/chick peas flour) and squeeze in the juice of 1/8 th of a lemon and mix well.

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  • Allow the mixture to cool down and them shape into patties.

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  • In a skillet heat about 1 tbsp of oil and place the patties gently. Cook in low heat and cook each side for 3-4 minutes.

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  • Assemble the burger as you like and enjoy with your favorite sides.

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