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Archive for the ‘Rice and Noodles’ Category



As far as my knowledge goes Yakhni Pulao is a traditional Kashmiri dish. Other than the fact that may be many generations ago my family may have had Kashimiri lineage, I have nothing common with that state or the cuisine. My early remembrance of eating anything Kashmiri was when I visited my sis in her college days and she had taken me to a restaurant. I was I think in sixth grade and to this day I can remember the sweet rice loaded with raisins which was absolutely nauseating! Then came my dear friend in college, hailing from Kashmir she talked so fondly of shalgam ka achar. (Turnip pickle). Now I am a die had fan of pickles and I can make a meal out of them. However this was again revolting to my palate. At that point I decided there was not much to dwell on in Kashmiri cuisine and the cold weather may have just made their taste buds blunt! What can I say I thought in my short span of years on earth I knew it all. 😦
Fast forward few years, add some of cooking experience and a situation where I had to cook different stuff everyday to keep both my and my hubby’s palate engaged. A Shalimar spice packet and an enthusiast neighbor who advocated that packet I set out to try Yakhni Pulao. First trial was a disaster. Not taste wise but texture wise. I lived, I learnt, I put my internet skills to good use, I looked at few recipes and inherited the goodness from them all! Voila, now not only can I make perfect yakhni pulao, I am so intrigued by Kashmiri cuisine which so intricately marries the spices.
Disclaimer: I don’t think this is the authentic way of making this dish.


What you need
1 pound mutton pieces (cut in to about 1 inch pieces)
1 1/2 cups Basmati rice
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 small onion chopped lengthwise
1 tablespoon fennel powder
1/2 tablespoon dry ginger powder
3-4 Cloves
6-7 black peppercorns
2 inch stick cinnamon
1 Bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon green cardamom powder
3 tablespoon ghee / oil
1 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
5 Green chilies cut length wise
3 cups chicken stock
½ cup Yogurt
10 – 15 mint leaves

How to make
Mix mutton with ginger garlic paste, salt, fennel powder, dry ginger powder, cloves, black peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaves and green cardamom powder.
Leave to marinate for about half an hour.
Heat ghee in a deep pan over medium heat.
Add caraway seeds sauté for a few seconds.
Add onions and sauté for couple of minutes
Add the marinated mutton and sauté for two to three minutes.
Add whole green chilies.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Cover and cook on medium heat till mutton is almost cooked, stirring in between.
Alternatively, you can cook in pressure cooker for 3 whistles on medium high heat.
In another thick bottomed vessel (or pressure cooker), whisk yogurt till smooth.
Separate the cooked mutton pieces from stalk.
Add to yogurt the mutton pieces one by one stirring all the time so that yogurt doesn’t curdle.
Mix in 2.5 cups of the stalk mutton was cooked in.
Wash and drain rice and mix well in to the mixture.
Cook on high heat.
When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cook covered till both mutton and rice are done.
Garish with chopped mint leaves

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I have been in a non food mood for about a month now. Though I have had phases where I didn’t want to cook, this is the first that I don’t even want to eat much.
I don’t look for answers to my quirkiness, I just live that phase out. In order to survive this phase I try and look for recipes that I wouldn’t usually cook. But I am in no mood to write down measurements, or take pictures! So I dug into my drafts and stumbled upon this recipe.
This is my mom’s recipe. I absolutely relish to last morsel whenever she makes this. It has a distinct maharastrian influence and taste.   So here is an attempt at getting my groove back 🙂
TidBit While I was googling to make sure tondekai was called ivy gourd, I found out that ivy gourd is a good source of protein and fiber, has medicinal effects and also is used in diabetes and sugar control  

What you need

1/2 cup length wise cut onion
2 cups of lengthwise cut ivy gourd (You can make 4 pieces from one ivy gourd)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 teaspoon red chilly powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1.5 cups of basmati rice
3 cups water
1 tablespoon goda masala *
3 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon ghee
4 teaspoon cilantro leaves chopped
4 Salt to taste
tablespoon grated coconut fresh / frozen

How to make

Heat oil in a wide mouthed pan, preferably non stick on medium heat
When the oil is hot add mustard seeds
When mustard starts cracking add the onions
Sauté onions till they turn slightly pink
Add turmeric powder and 1/2 of chilly powder and continue cooking for a bit
Add ivy gourd pieces and salt (salt per taste for onions and ivy gourds only) and continue cooking while stirring
Once the ivy gourd is cooked 3/4 of the way add 3 cups of hot water
Add basmati rice and continue cooking on medium low covered
When rice is cooked halfway (about 5 minutes in to cooking), add salt enough for rice and rest of the chilly powder. Mix gently
Cover and cook for another 3 minutes
Now add goda masala, and mix gently so as to not break the rice grains
Cover and cook for another 4 minutes till rice is cooked
At the end add ghee
Garnish with plenty cilantro leaves and coconut.
Points to Note
Much of the heavenly taste comes from garnishing, so don’t omit that step.
If you have a tangy tooth you can also add a dash of lemon juice. Add lemon only to what’s in a plate. Adding lemon to al of the rice will make it bitter when reheated.

* Goda Masala – My mom makes me a fresh batch of goda masala, and I have never bothered to learn what exactly goes into it. When I run out of what she has made, I turn to old faithful bedekar, which these days is easily available in Indian stores here in US. Till I learn from my mom how she makes it, here is a refence

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Mavinakai chitranna
We had many mango trees in our back yard. I fondly remember spending all summers climbing the mango trees, eating raw baby mangoes with salt when elders were napping in the afternoon and nibbling on salt soaked mango pieces being dried for pickles. Ah the good old days! Well but I never remember eating mango rice though? May be because my dad didn’t like rice in these forms? I would always see mango rice in my friend’s lunch boxes during Ugadi time.  There is something in the aroma of that rice which casts a spell on ya J          

  Now that I have my own family and making my own traditions, I always make mango rice during Ugadi and Ganesha time. It’s my humble attempt to relive those wonderful summers and lunch box nibbling. I have tried making this one in many ways and this particular one is a winner. The simplicity of ingredients keeps the aroma of raw mangoes mixed with turmeric intact and taste is just perfect. 

What you need

3/4 cup grated raw mango (use the widest tooth on grater)
6 tablespoon peanuts
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
5-6 small green chilies (cut in to thin slices)
5-6 curry leaves (roughly torn)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 tablespoon oil
2 cup cooked rice

 How to make

In a wide pan on medium flame heat oil along with peanuts*
When the peanuts turn light brown, add mustard seeds
When mustard seeds start to crackle add green chillies, turmeric power, curry leaves and mango
Season with salt and fry for couple of minutes
Add the cooked rice, mix thoroughly and continue frying for another couple of minutes
Turn the heat off and serve hot.

* I have seen that many people have overdone / burnt peanuts in many dishes.To avoid that, add the peanuts along with oil. This way peanuts cook thoroughly without being burned and     turn perfectly crispy. Same goes for chanda dal or Urad dal  use. If you add peanut / chana dal / urad dal after the oil has heated then there is too little time for them to cook before they start burning. That yields undercooked but surface burnt peanuts.

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bharlivangi.jpg

I have eaten many versions of Bharli vangi and Ennegai. As far as my knowledge goes, there is a slight difference between traditional ennegai and bharli vangi. Ennegai is an authentic recipe that the lingayats make. In this recipe there is no coconut instead peanut and gurellu is used and its cooked in lot of oil. This is another recipe for another day and today is Bharli Vangi day 🙂
I have never ever eaten any other vangi than the most tender melt in your mouth kinds that my mom makes. This isn’t just what I say but my dear hubby and friends say as well. These days my mom is visiting us from India and every single day we have a meal fit for feasts . This is another reason why I haven’t been actively posting ;). Today she made amazing jawar rotti and bharli vangi, so here it goes.

What you need
20 Small (1.5 to 2 inch diameter) tender eggplant
1 inch diameter size tamarind ball
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 cup grated coconut fresh / frozen
3 medium size onions ( about 2 inch diameter) diced
1/2 inch ginger chopped
6 to 8 garlic cloves ( Medium size) chopped
10 dry Red chili
4 Cloves
6 to 8 Black Peppercorns
1 to 1.5 inch cinnamon
3 or 4 Cardamom
2 pieces of Dagadphool *
2 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon jaggery / sugar
Salt to taste

* Dagad phool is a spice I have seen used much in Maharastra. It gives a real good taste to any eggplant dish. Since I live in NJ it isn’t much hard for me to find this spice in Indian stores. If it isn’t easily available, you can skip this one.

How to Make
In four tablespoon of warm water soak the tamarind for 15 to 25 minutes.
Remove the seeds and threads and mush the tamarind into a paste.
Heat 2 tablespoon of oil on medium heat.
When the oil is heated add mustard seeds and let it crackle a bit.
Add sesame seeds and fry that for a minute.
Add onion , ginger and garlic and continue frying for a minute.
When onion turns slightly pink ( cooked half way) through add remaining ingredients except chili powder and jaggery.
Continue frying till the onion is cooked.
While the roasted mixture cools, cross cut the eggplants lengthwise. Two slits lengthwise perpendicular to each other.
Add 3/4 of the tamarind into roasted mixture and grind into a thick paste with as little water as possible.
In a pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil on medium heat.
Add the slit eggplants and fry them for 2 minutes.
In a cup of water mix chilly powder, salt for eggplants jaggery and remaining tamarind paste.
Pour this mixture evenly on the eggplants.
Cook the eggplants till 3/4 done – Make sure not to overcook.
Cool the eggplants.
Stuff the ground paste into cooked eggplants, and put them back in the pan.
Add little water to the leftover paste and pour over the eggplants evenly.
Cook on low flame for about 5 minutes.

This serves great with jawar rotti and chapati

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How I cook Rice


I am going back to basics here. I am about to post a recipe for Chicken Biryani and I realized I will need to use rice now and later again.
I talked about rice in my Vegetable Pulao with Mint and Yogurt post before. This is an extension to that 🙂

There was a time I used to cook rice in microwave as I would get fluffy and non sticky rice.
Then I read somewhere that when you cook any carbohydrate in microwave for longer periods, its composition changes and it essentially becomes hard for the body to process. So no more microwave rice.

Wash rice for about 2-3 times in cold water. Never wash rice in warm or hot water as that starts the cooking process even before you want to.
Put few drops of ghee / oil in a pan and when it’s heated add washed rice and fry for about a minute.
Add about 1.75 times of water for 1 cup of rice to the pan and continue to cook on medium high flame.
Bring it to a boil.
When water starts bubbling, reduce heat to low-medium and cover with a lid.
Don’t peek, don’t stir and let it cook for 12-13 minutes. By then all water would have been soaked up.
Turn the heat off. Let it stand for 10 minutes.
There you have it most fluffy, separated and non broken grains – to the restaurant standard!
If you have nothing against cloves, try adding a few cloves to oil / ghee before adding the rice. It gives a wonderful aroma to rice.

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