November 26, 2008

Vegetable Biryani

I love rice & I am a complete one-pot meal person. Vegetable Biryani is one such dish that I'd love to indulge in ocassionally. Infused with a lot of vegetables & Indian herbs & fresh spices, its one of the finest representatives of Indian cuisine.


As with any popular recipe, there are several versions of preparing Biryani. I myself have three versions of this dish which is make alternately.

The one that I have for you today is the simplest & easiest of the three. I usually make this version when I need to whip up a good meal in a hurry. The other version is that of my mother's which I grew up with & is a family favourite. I shall be posting that soon.

The list of ingredients is a little long. Don't be petrified by looking at the list. It's fairly simple to make.

Here is how I made it,

Preparation Time
: 40 minutes

Ingredient
s:
  • Basmati/Long grained rice - 1 1/2 cups
  • A pinch of saffron dissolved in a tbsp of warm milk
  • 2 red onions - sliced into thin strips
  • 1 green bell pepper - cubed
  • 1 carrot - cut into long strips
  • 2 potatoes - cubed
  • 1/2 cup french beans - cut into long strips
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup green peas - fresh/frozen
  • 2 tomatoes - chopped
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 3 green chillies - slit length wise
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • A small stick of cinnamon
  • 4 -5 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp kitchen king masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt as per taste
  • Oil
  • Juice of half a lemon

Method:

  • Wash rice in several changes of water. soak in water for 30 mins
  • Pressure cook the rice with saffron in 1 1.2 cups of water. Oncc done, spread rice on a large tray & let it cool completely.
  • Heat Oil in a heavy bottomed pan, Add cumin seeds & let it pop & splutter
  • Add ginger-garlic paste, Bay leaves , turmeric & green chillies
  • Add green cardamoms, cinnamon sick, cloves, star anise, peppercorns & saute for a while.
  • Add onions & saute till they turn transparent.
  • Add chopped tomatoes & saute for a while.
  • Add all the dry powders except kitchen king masala & garam masala
  • Saute till oil separates.
  • Add potatoes & carrots & cook till almost done.
  • Add french beans & cauliflower florets & cook till tender. At this stage you may require more oil for cooking.
  • Add green bell pepper & green peas & saute until tender
  • Add yogurt & mix well. bring it to a boil. Add Garam Masala, kitchen king masala & salt as per your taste
  • Add cooked rice, squeeze lemon juice. Mix well & garnish with chopper cilantro

Serve with onion raita or any gravy of your choice. Enjoi !!!

I thoroughly enjoyed playing around with the spices & inhaling the aroma that emanated from the kadhai . . .

We enjoyed this with simple onion raita & Spicy Potato Wedges on the side. We licked our plates clean & put a delicious end to a great day ! ! !

This goes to Srivalli's Rice Mela ! !

November 22, 2008

Ribbon Pakoda

After gorging on all those sinful sweets during Diwali, Its time for some savory treats. Ribbon Pakoda is one such snack that tantalizes the taste buds. Though, Iam not very fond of deep frying, these spicy, crunchy tidbits are well worth the efforts.


There are various versions of making Ribbon Pakodas. The one that I have for you today is the one that my Mom & Grandmom have been following since ages.

Preparation Time: 30 mins

Ingredients
:
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1 cup chickpea flour/besan
  • 1 tbsp butter - unsaltedred
  • 2-3 tsp Red chilli powder
  • A generous pinch asafoetida
  • Salt as per taste
  • Oil for deep frying

Method:

  • Mix together all above ingredients except oil in a large bowl
  • Add water to the mixture & knead well to form a soft non-sticky dough
  • Meanwhile. Heat oil in a wide saucepan for deep frying
  • Place a small portion of the dough inside a Murukku Maker, squeeze into hot oil & make a big circle. DO NOT overcrowd the pan
  • Deep fry till golden brown
  • Place them on absorbent towels to soak up excess oil
  • Store them in air-tight containers & when completely cool

Enjoy with HOT Tea/Coffee or whenever you feel like munching on to something !!!

Here is what a Murukku Maker looks like :




NOTE: Other versions call for using either equal quantities of rice flour & chickpea flour or reversing the proportions used here. Feel free to adjust the proportions as per your taste.

November 17, 2008

Cabbage Dal

I love experimenting with different kinds of Dal/Lentils & vegetables. Since Dal is part of our everyday fare, I keep trying out different combinations to avoid boredom. one such combination that I really liked is Cabbage & Moong Dal.


These two compliment each other perfectly. This is really simple to make. If you guys are bored of your regular Dal Tadka, Go ahead and make this for a change.

Preparation Time: 20- 25 mins

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups cabbage - shredded
  • 1 cup - moong dal
  • 1 onion - finely chopped
  • 1 tomato - finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli - slit lengthwise
  • 1 tsp - red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp - ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp - cumin seeds
  • A handful of curry leaves
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tsp oil

Method:

  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, When hot, add cumin seeds, once the seeds pop & splutter, add green chilli, ginger garlic paste, turmeric, curry leaves & saute
  • Add onions & fry until transparent.
  • Throw in chopped tomatoes & add red chilli powder. Cook till oil separates & the raw smell disappears.
  • Add moong dal & saute for a minute
  • Add about 2 cups of water & cover the pan with a lid & let the dal cook for a while. Keep stirring in between.
  • Once the dal is half cooked, add shredded cabbage & add another 2 cups of water.
  • Add salt & mix well, cover the pan again & let it cook. Keep stirring in between. Add additional water, if necessary,
  • When done, check the taste & mix well. Transfer into a bowl.

Serve HOT with rotis or steamed rice. Enjoi !!!

NOTE: The proportion of Dal:Cabbage is entirely upto you. If you want a creamier taste. You could add more of Dal. Or, you could even keep the proportions equal.

November 11, 2008

Sweet Corn Fried Rice

Fried Rice is one of those lovely comforting foods that everyone in the world seems to like. And, it is also one of the best ways to use up leftover rice & vegetables. In a rice loving family like ours, this is an all time favourite.

Fried Rice is typically cooked on high flame and requires vigorous stirring. The trick is to chop the vegetables really small so that the insides are cooked & the vegetables retain a nice crunch.

The most important point to remember is to cool the rice completely before stir frying it. Steaming the rice & stir frying it immediately makes the rice very sticky. This is why leftover does wonders in this case.

I had a huge pack of unused sweet corn lying in the freezer for months. I thought the best way to use it up is to make a simple fried rice out of sweet corn & a few left over vegetables available in the pantry.

There is no hard & fast rule as to what should typically go into fried rice. I made this on a whim & it turned out just lovely.

Here's how I made it,

Preparation Time: 30 mins

Ingredients
  • 1 cup long grained rice - cooked. Leftovers will work wonders
  • 2 onions - sliced into long strips
  • 1/2 cup - American sweet corn - fresh/frozen
  • 1/2 cup - Green peas - fresh/frozen
  • 1 carrot - sliced into long strips
  • 3 green chillies - slit length wise
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tbsp oil

Method:

  • If not using leftover rice, clean rice in several changes of water & let it soak for 15 mnutes. Drain out excess water & pressure cook rice with 1 1/4 cups of water. When rice it cooked, spread it evenly on a plate & let it cool completely
  • Meanwhile, Heat oil in a wok, add ginger-garlic paste & green chilles
  • Add sliced onions & a pinch of turmeric. Saute until onions turn transparent. Add chopped carrots & stir fry till carrots are tender.
  • Throw in sweet corn & green peas & saute for a couple of minutes
  • Add rice, vinegar & soy sauce. Now add salt as per taste
  • Mix well
Serve HOT with tomato sauce or any other sauce of your choice.
We had ours with some hot garlic sauce. It was one complete meal by itself. Enjoi !!!