Archive for June, 2013

Chicken Biryani

Posted: June 28, 2013 in Biryani, Chicken, Mughlai
Tags: ,

chicken biryani

Biryani is a wholesome and flavorful dish which can be termed as “king’s dish” due to varied ingredients like toasted nuts and raisins, saffron (most expensive spice in world), fragrant Basmati rice, etc. This dish is far away from regular “one pot” rice dish due to varied flavors which is loved by everyone from kids to old people. In my opinion, Sunday is  one of the favorite day for making Biryani as you have ample amount of time to prepare this dish. Biryani is believed to be invented by Mughals and is now popular worldwide. Amongst all different types, Chicken Biryani is the most relished which can be made in different variations like Lucknowi Biryani, Hyderbadi Biryani, Kerala Biryani, etc. each representing specific place in the country accompanied with interesting flavors. Biryani’s can be cooked in different styles like Dum Kacchi Biryani (rice and chicken/meat/vegetables cooked together through slow cooking), Pakki Biryani (rice and other ingredients cooked separately and then assembled together), etc. Here I have used the method of Dum Kacchi Biryani. When you go through the process you will find it a bit tedious but all the efforts put in are worth the end result so don’t fear to experiment it. Serve this with raita (yogurt), pickled salads and I can bet you that it will make your day.

Ingredients :-
For Marination :-

Chicken, Washed and drained
1 kg/2.3 pounds
Turmeric Powder
1/2 teaspoon
Ginger Garlic Paste
1 and 1/2 tablespoon
Thick yogurt
3/4 cup
Green Chillies, Slit lengthwise
4-5
Coriander Powder
1 tablespoon
Cilantro Leaves
1/2 cup
Mint Leaves
1/2 cup
Juice of Lemon
1
Everest Biryani Masala
2 tablespoon
Salt
1 tablespoon
Oil
1 tablespoon

For Biryani :-

Large Onion, finely sliced
2
Cilantro leaves
2 tablespoon
Saffron
1 teaspoon
Milk, Luke Warm
1/2 cup
Basmati Rice
3 cup
Cloves
6
Peppercorns
10
Cardamoms
4
Cinnamon Stick
1 inches
Ghee
2 tablespoon
Bay Leaves
3
Star Anise
1
Mint Leaves
10
Oil
3-4 tablespoon

Method :-

  • Marinate Chicken with the ingredients under the Marination section. Keep aside for at least 3-4 hrs and if possible overnight.
  • Wash and soak rice in water for at least 20 minutes.
  • Cook Basmati rice in lots of water alongwith bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, 1 teaspoon oil, salt till its half cooked.
  •  Strain the water and spread the rice on a large wide plate. Allow it to cool.
  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a vessel, add sliced onions, saute for 8-10 minutes till caramelized. Remove and keep aside.
  • Add the saffron to the luke warm milk and combine well. Keep aside
  • Take a heavy deep vessel to prepare the biryani. Add 3 tablespoon oil to it and add the marinated chicken and spread out over the vessel. Cook out on high flame for 2 minutes.
  • Reduce flame and spread half of the rice over chicken layer. Next sprinkle half of caramelized onion and  a tbsp of cilantro leaves and pour about one fourth cup of saffron milk over the rice.
  • Over this spread remaining rice and then sprinkle other half of caramelized onion, ghee, remaining cilantro leaves, mint leaves and remaining saffron milk.
  • Place lid and seal the edges of lid with wheat dough. Heat a griddle/tawa on high flame. Once heated lower the flame and put the vessel on top of griddle. Let the biryani cook on low flame for 20- 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and don’t remove the lid for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes remove lid. Combine the biryani well and serve it with your choice of raita and curry.

chicken biryani1
Note :-

  • Soaking sliced onions in milk for 10-15 minutes will improve crispiness.
  • If rice becomes mushy, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours and assemble it as mentioned above.
  • Using the best quality aged (old) Basmati rice, good quality chicken and best saffron will elevate flavors of this dish.
  • Slit chicken into pieces and marinate for 3-4 hours so that marinated juice is assimilated evenly throughout.

strawberrymousse

Recently, I have started liking Mousse due to its creamy, soft & airy texture. Mousse is a type of food that incorporates air bubbles to give light and airy texture which can be categorized in savory or sweet category. It can either be made with whipped eggs or with whipped cream. I have tried Mango Mousse with whipped cream which tasted very nice (watch out for future blog post). It then inspired me to make a Mousse low in calories & fat without compromising richness and taste. This led me to make this recipe which I can indulge as much as I want as its ‘guilt free’. Its perfect for summer as its easy on stomach. In this recipe, I have made mousse using Tofu but I was skeptical and wasn’t sure how it will turn out. To my surprise it actually tasted delicious and has almost similar rich &  creamy texture as butter or cream. This is an elegant dish which can be made in a short time. I have adapted this recipe from whippedbaking.com.

Ingredients :-

For the Mousse

Tofu, Firm and drained
1 14 oz container/400 gms (approx)
Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup
Fresh Strawberries
2 16 oz container/1 kg(approx)
Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon

For the Strawberry Sauce

Fresh Strawberries
12 oz/350 gms (approx)
Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons

Method :-

To make the Mousse :-

  •  Blend tofu, sugar, strawberries, and lemon juice in a food processor until it forms smooth paste. Pour into individual cups and chill before serving.

To make the Strawberry sauce :-

  • Heat a pan on medium heat. Add strawberries and sugar to it and let the strawberries boil till it reduces in sauce like texture. This will take about 10-15 minutes. For me it took 12 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and strain it through colander. Leave strawberries on colander to drip liquid, gently pushing them with a spoon to squeeze out more syrup.
  • Refrigerate it until use.

Assembling the mousse :-

  • Cut some cubes of fresh strawberries and mint leaves for garnishing.
  • Take out the chilled mousse from refrigerator and drizzle the sauce on top of it.
  • Garnish with strawberries and mint leaves.
  • Serve cold.

strawberry mousse

Note :-

  • You can try this recipe with any seasonal fruits.
  • If fresh strawberries are not available, you can use frozen as well.

Asparagus Souffle

Posted: June 8, 2013 in Baked, French
Tags: , ,

IMG_0688

My love for mother nature and its colors inspired me to cook something “green”! Colors depicts different aspects of life like sadness, joy, fear, warmth, anger, etc. This dish with bright color and bold flavor is dedicated to mother nature. After hearing Souffle for the first time, I was very skeptical about it as it sounded little weird but when I came to know more about it, I was very impressed with the preparation style and end product. Traditionally, Souffle is a French dish. Its lightly baked cake with egg yolk folded in beaten and fluffy egg whites and mixed with your choice of ingredients. You can have serve it as a savory item or as a dessert. After baking is done, its fluffy look and texture is really amazing but it slumps in about 10 minutes. In this recipe, I have used Asparagus as the main ingredient and loved the texture, color, and taste of this beautiful dish. I have adapted the idea from allrecipes.com

Ingredients :-

Asparagus, trimmed and chopped
1 bunch
Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoon
All Purpose Flour/Maida
2 tablespoon
Cold Milk
1 cup
Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper
to taste
Garlic, Minced
2 clove
Eggs, Separated
4
Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
1/2 cup

Method :-

  • Cook asparagus in a saucepan of boiling water until bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer asparagus immediately to ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat a pan over medium heat and add butter to it. Whisk in flour and stir until mixture becomes paste-like and light golden brown. It will take about 2 minutes.
  • Whisk milk into butter-flour mixture, bring to a simmer and cook until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne pepper.
  • Place milk mixture, garlic, and asparagus in a blender and puree until smooth.
  • Pour asparagus mixture into a large bowl; stir in egg yolks and Cheddar cheese.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • Generously butter 4 (6-ounce) ramekins,
  • Beat egg whites in a large glass or metal mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Lift your beater or whisk straight up: the egg whites will form soft mounds rather than a sharp peak.
  • Stir half of egg whites into asparagus cheese mixture until just combined. Gently fold remaining egg whites into mixture.
  • Fill prepared ramekins about 3/4 full and place on a baking sheet; bake in the preheated oven until edges are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes

IMG_0693

Note :-

  • Original recipe called for white Cheddar cheese. But I had Mozzarella at home so i used it.
  • In the original recipe only half garlic clove was used. But as I love more of garlic so I increased it.
  • You can try this with any pureed vegetables like broccoli, spinach, artichokes etc.
  • To make it bit more spicy you can increase the quantity of Cayenne pepper and can also some curry powder to enhance the taste of it.

dahi bhindi

Hope you all had very good Memorial Day long weekend. Its been a while I have posted anything on my blog. Okra is one of my favorite vegetable and I love to try different recipes using it. I love its crispiness after deep/shallow frying. The dish which I have tried here is scrumptious and delicious and was surprised to not see it in the menu of Indian restaurants in the USA. I think this dish will be a winner in the restaurants and people will surely like it (of course, if properly made). Dahi Bhindi can be cooked in 3 different ways (that I know of) – Rajasthani, Kerala and Hyderabadi style (each representing different states, flavors and culture of India). This particular recipe follows the Hyderabadi style adapted from Tarla Dalal (famous Indian food writer/chef) with some variations. The creamy texture of the gravy with crisp okras will just amaze you to think how simple dishes can sometimes be so incredible. This will definitely make you more hungry. Hope you would love it like I do.

Ingredients :-

Bhindi/Okra, Washed, dried and chopped
2 cups
Onion, Finely chopped 1 large
Tomatoes, Finely chopped
2 large
Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 teaspoon
Sugar
1 teaspoon
Yogurt, beaten
1 cup
Grated Coconut, Frozen/Fresh 1 tablespoon
Cashew Nuts 6-8
Warm milk 3-4 tablespoon
Kasoori Methi/ Dried Fenugreek Leaves
1 tablespoon
Garam Masala
1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder
1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder
1/2 teaspoon
Amchur Powder/Dried Mango Powder
1/2-1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Coriander Powder
1/2 teaspoon
Oil
1-2 tablespoon


For tempering :-

Mustard Seeds
1 tablespoon
Curry Leaves
6-7
Cumin/Jeera
1/2 teaspoon
Urad Dal/Split Black Lentils
1 teaspoon
Red Chillies, Halved
2-3
Hing/Asafoetida
A pinch
Oil
1 tablespoon

Method :-

  • Soak the cashews in warm milk for about 10 minutes.
  • Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan and add okra pieces to it. Saute the okras on high flame till it crisp.
  • Remove and drain okras on a tissue paper. Keep them aside till needed.
  • Grind soaked cashews and coconut to smooth paste adding the milk used for soaking. Keep it aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and urad dal in it. When they crackle add red chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves.
  • Add the chopped onion and saute it until they turn light golden.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for another minute till the raw smell disappears and onion turns golden brown.
  • Now add all the dry masalas/powder (garam masala powder, red chilli powder, amchur powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder) along with Kasoori methi and fry for 2 minutes.
  • Mix the chopped tomatoes and fry it until tomatoes turns mushy and oil separates out.
  • Now add grounded cashew-coconut paste and mix it well. Keep stirring for a minute.
  • Add yogurt, sugar and salt  to taste and mix well.
  • Depending on the consistency add 1/2 – 1  cup of water. Simmer the gravy for about 5 minutes.
  • Mix in the okra pieces and adjust the seasonings according to taste. You can add more water if consistency is thick and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve hot with Roti/Indian bread or Rice.

dahi bhindi1

Note :-

  • You can even deep fry the okras. That will turn the okras more crispy. I prefer pan frying for healthy option.
  • Make sure okras are well dried before you cut.
  • Cook okras without adding any salt and do not cover. This will reduce / remove the stickiness in the Okra.
  • Adding sugar is optional to reduce the sourness of the dish.
  • You can save some of the tempering to add it at last as garnishing.