Saturday, January 19, 2008

Chicken Biryani

Chicken Biryani is an elaborate recipe of Chicken. After watching the movie "Cheeni Kum" I am really tempted to learn the basics and varities of chicken biryani. However, for now, I share an easy, yet delicious way to make the Chicken Biryani - my style. This takes me about 20 minutes of preparation and 40 minutes of total cooking time. So, in one hour, you can prepare a dinner that is sumptuous and tasteful as well.

I am listing the ingredients as they would be used.

Part I - Vegetables
1. Onion
2. Garlic
3. Ginger
4. Green Chillies
5. Tomatoes
6. Mint Leaves

Part II - Spices
1. Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
2. Chilly Powder - 1/2 tsp
3. Coriander Powder - 2 tsp
4. Garam Masala Powder - 1/2 tsp
5. Biryani Masala Powder - 2 tbs

Part - III
Whole Garam Masala
[Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Star Anise, Black Pepper, Bay leaves] -1/4 spoon of each
Part - IV
Rice - 3 cups
Chicken - 3/4 Kg [12-14 medium pieces]
Milk - 1/2 cup
Safron - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - to cook
Ghee / Butter - to garnish

STEP I - Making of the gravy

1. Wash and keep the rice soaked, while you are preparing the chicken
2. Wash and cut the chicken into bite sized pieces
3. Slice and chop all the vegetables in Part I [long and thin slices of onions and ginger/garlic/green chilly juliennes]
4. I use dry and crushed mint leaves. If you are using fresh mint, chop and lightly suate them and keep aside
5. In a deep cooking pan, heat oil [Fry 1/4 of the onions and keep aside for later use]
6. Saute all the vegetables other than tomatoes in Part I. The onions should turn golden yellow
7. Next add all the Spices in Part II and fry some more.
8. Now add tomatoes and cook some more, till the tomatoes start to loosen up
9. Take this mixture off the heat, let it cool, add the mint. Grind this mixture into a fine paste (add some water, if needed)

STEP II - Preparing the Chicken
Pre-heat the oven at 250 F. Meanwhile, do the following:
1. In a v.deep oven safe cooking pan, heat some oil
2. Add the whole garam masala in Part III
3. When they start to splutter and you get a nice aroma, add the ground paste (made above)
4. Add the chicken pieces and stir nicely and smoothly
5. Add salt (and a little water, if needed). Let it simmer on low heat till the chicken is little tender (not cooked)
6. Meanwhile, half cook the rice with water, safron strands , milk and 1-2 cardamom grains. [I microwave for 4 minutes on a low power]
7. Layer the semi-cooked rice with the Chicken and gravy, add a layer of fried onions (if you have kept some aside). The layer should be - Chicken -> Rice -> Chicken -> Rice -> Onions -> Rice
8. Put some dollops of Ghee / Butter on the top.
9. Cover and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

Garnish with fresh coriander, onion slices and slices of boiled eggs. Mirchi ka salan is good accompaniment for Biryani. You can find the recipe here. But, you can very well serve the biryani with yogurt. I usually beat the yogurt with some cumin and chilly powder and salt.
I hope you like it! Enjoy :))

Monday, January 14, 2008

For Makar Sankranti - A bengali sweet (Pati Shapt)

Sankranti reminds me of two things - "patishapt" and "Til laddu". "Patishapt" is a sweet crepe filled with coconut stuffing. My initial take was that one had to be really a specialist to make good patishapt, something that I definitely was not. And then, I got married and then I came seven seas across and then, I yearned for this and many such traditional dish and then my mom stopped making them back at home, because none of us siblings were with her. And it was then that I decided, I need to try! And I tried.

To my utter dis-belief and my mom's immense pleasure, I can make very decent patishapt. Not like ma, but close :)

Below, I am listing the ingredients and the method. Remember, I usually eyeball the measures. So, keep caution.

For the crepe
1. All Purpose Flour - 4 cups
2. Semolina (Sooji) - 1 cup
3. Milk - 1 Cup
4. Sugar - 2 tsp

For the filling
1. Grated Coconut - 1 cup
2. Milk - 2 cups
3. Sugar - 1/2 cup
4. Crushed Cardamom - 1/4 tsp
5. Raisins
6. Can also use Khoya for richer taste (1/2 cup)

1. Make the batter for the crepe by mixing all the ingredients together. You may like to let it sit for about an hour (i make instant)
2. Make the filling by heating on low heat all the ingredients. Keep stirring and it is done, when all the milk has been absorbed by the coconut and a thick consistency is formed.
3. In a flat pan, grease some oil (or ghee)
4. On low heat, with a deep ladle, pour a dollop of the mix and spread it into a medium circular shape
5. Flip upside down, when lightly brown.
6. Turn back once again and put the filling mixture in one straight line in the center of the crepe.
7. Slowly roll the crepe (like an omellette) and remove from the heat
8. Repeat this for the remaining - till the batter gets over or the filling :)
This is simply delicious ... it looks like a time consuming and a difficult process. But, I made it in less than 30 minutes.*

This one, for the traditions!
* My camera was not ready, so I borrowed this image from a website, which looked very much like the ones that I made.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Spicy Lemon Chicken

Chicken is my favorite and I like all kinds of chicken recipe. Today, to avoid making an elaborate meal, I just took few chicken pieces of my freezer and made this spicy treat for myself. This can be a very good appetizer, easy to make and a delight to taste buds.

1. Chicken Pieces [8-10]
2. Lemon Juice [2 tbs]
3. Cayenne Pepper (Red Chilly) [1 tsp]
4. Seasoning Salt [1 tsp]
5. Garlic [6-8 cloves]
6. Parsley [1 tsp]
7. Butter/Oil [1 tsp]

1. Mix the chicken pieces with the ingredients from 2 to 6
2. Put the chicken in a greased baking pan and bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes at 350F.
3. Remove from the oven, baste the chicken with some more butter and turn the pieces. Put in the oven for another 5 minutes
Serve hot with some onion rings and sauce.

Jelly Rolls

I had a family visiting with their kids. And I wanted to make something that would be sweet and fun for them. I browsed through the ingredients in my refrigerator and the idea to make this jelly rolls clicked instantly. This is how, I made it ...

1. Any Jam in the refrigerator (I used Stawberry Jam)
2. Shredded Coconut
3. Sugar
4. Spring roll Sheets

1. In a bowl, mix well ingredients from 1 to 3
2. Spread the jelly mix on the spring roll sheets
3. Roll into tight cylinders
4. Arrange in a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heat oven for 10-15 minutes at 350 F
Store in a tight fitted jar. Kids will freak out on this home made jelly rolls.

Methi Paneer

I tried this paneer recipe, quite as an experiment and to avoid shedding tears ...errr cutting onions. Made with minimum ingredients and very few spices, this delicious recipe takes 5 minutes of preparation.

1. Paneer [250 gms]
2. Tomato Puree [1/2 cup]
3. Butter [2 tbs]
4. Fenugreek leaves (fried kasuri methi) [1 tbs]
5. Red chilli powder [1/2 tsp]
6. Green Chillies [3-4]
7. Garam masala powder [1/2 tsp]
8. Yogurt [1/2 cup]
9. Salt as per taste

1. In a pan, melt the butter and add the ingredients from 1 to 6 above
2. Let it simmer for 4-5 minutes
3. Mix the yogurt with the garam masala powder and add to the pan
4. Cook further for 2-3 minutes
5. Finally, add the paneer pieces and cook for a minute
Enjoy the paneer with hot rotis !

Sweet Bread Sticks

This is a very interesting snack that you can be added to the party platter. Especially, kids can make this treat themselves ...

White Breads [8-10 slices]
Thickened (condensed) Milk [1 cup]
Sugar [1 tbs]
Grated Coconut [1 cup]

1. Cut the dark sides of the breads
2. Cut the bread slices in long vertical strips
3. Dip each stick into the sweetened milk
4. Dress them with the grated coconut
5. Arrange them in a lightly greased baking pan
6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 F for 10 minutes, or until the breads turn slightly brown
This is a sweet and crunchy finger food, extremely easy to make and can be enjoyed at any time.

Plum Cake

I recently made this, very easy to make, plum cakes - a mixed bag of sweet and tangy flavor...

All purpose flour [2 cups]
Sugar [2 cups]
Butter / Oil [1 cup]
Eggs [3]
Baking Soda [1/2 tsp]
Baking Powder [1/2 tsp]
Ginger Powder [1 tsp]
Chopped nuts [1/4 cup]
Salt [1/2 tsp]
Chopped Plums [1/2 cup3]
Raisins (optional)


Sift flour, with baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend together oil, sugar and eggs with the flour mix. Beat until blended. Add the plums and mix well. Mix in the nuts. Put in greased baking pan and bake at 300 degrees for about 1 hour
Optionally, top the cake with some whipped cream and Enjoy