Sunday, July 20, 2014

Shahi Mutton Biryani

Biryani, is a rice based dish. It is cooked with Chicken or Mutton, and there are spices used in cooking this dish, that add to its taste and make it a very special dish. I prefer to always use Basmati (long grain rice) to prepare biryani.
A favourite dish of the Mughal Emperors and till date is a favourite with all. Biryani is known for its flavour and spices and has a royal look and taste.
There are a few steps but its totally  worth it , as the result is amazing !!!
Ingredients for Marinating Mutton
2 pounds goat mutton (cut in small pieces with bone)
2 tsp plain yoghurt
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 to 3 green chillies chopped finely
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilie powder
2 tsp ready Shaan mutton biryani masala powder (available in Indian stores)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves

Marinate Mutton pieces

Layering of Biryani

Cooking Biryani

Biryani cooking further in Oven

Mutton Biryani

Mutton Biryani

1. Marinate mutton with all the above ingredients.
 Mix and add 2 tsp store bought Shaan Mutton biryani masala .Add finely chopped mint leaves and fried sliced onions. Mix well and cover to marinate for at least 1 hour.

For Rice
3 cups Basmati long grain rice
3 to 4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 Bay leaves
4 to 5 peppercorns
2 big cardamom
3 to 4 small cardamom
1 tsp salt 

2. Heat water to boil  rice, add  rice and the remaining ingredients. Cook  rice till almost done. Drain and keep aside.

Mutton Gravy
2 finely sliced onions
1 cup tomato puree
1 tsp salt (can add less salt as the marinated mutton has salt ) 
1 tsp  red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 to 3 finely chopped green chillies

1. Heat 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) add sliced onions,allow to turn golden brown. Next,add ginger garlic paste , add the marinated  mutton, and continue cooking for another 10 to 12 minutes, till mutton appears softer and the oil separates.
 2.Then add tomato, stir for 4 to 5 minutes, season with salt,turmeric,red chilli powder,coriander powder and add 1 cup water and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles.

 Layering ( Placing cooked rice and cooked mutton in layers to cook further in the oven)

I like to use a deep baking tray that I bake the rice and serve the biryani in.
1.Grease the tray with very little ghee. Add a layer of cooked rice , followed on top by sliced fried onions and mint leaves. 
2.To this add a layer of cooked mutton along with very little curry, that will help keep this dish moist. Also add few drops of saffron milk.( In 1/4 cup milk, add 5 to 6 strands of pure saffron) Followed by again a layer of rice, and this way repeat the layers. Cover with silver foil and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes and enjoy piping hot biryani with yoghurt or just by itself :)))

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Spicy Chipotle Pasta

Chipotle peppers are found in the Southern parts of Mexico and South America. Basically jalapeno pepper that are left to dry  become red in colour. Later they are processed and given a smoky flavour .When added to the pasta sauce , this Adobo chipotle pepper sauce  adds a kick to the dish with its spicy flavours.
We have tasted  Spicy Chipotle pasta dish  at Cheese Cake Factory, a restaurant close by, and it is an absolute favourite. Till my daughter experimented  this recipe and made this dish at home and its now a favourite for all of us.

Last weekend we planned a get away with 2 other family friends. We booked a vacation home, in Sonoma county for a 2 day get together. We decided to cook there and the dish my daughter made is this Spicy Chipotle Pasta, it turned out so good  everybody loved it's taste and wanted to know how to prepare this dish. Here you go.. enjoy making it with love and have a good time with friends and family.
Talking about this place where we went its close to Russian River in Sonoma county, up in the hills with stunning views of the the valley below and the pretty starry nights as the sun sets. Oh yes and the rising sun was very peaceful too.
We took lots of pictures , very scenic and the got the opportunity to star gaze at night time!! It was magnificent and magical views !!!
The kids, enjoying kayaking in the river,  was a great trip.

1  pound box Penne Pasta 
2 medium bell pepper's ( red and yellow preferably)
1 medium white onion (diced in tiny cubes)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 small can  ready chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce (store bought)
Salt to taste
2 tspn Honey
4 cloves garlic ( don't worry we won't use all  the garlic in the sauce, save some for later,will let you know )
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese 
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped finely for garnish
1 packet tortilla strips colourful for garnish (available in American grocery stores)

Saute onions

Add veggies

Bake asparagus

 Pasta sauce 

Party time with spicy pasta 

Method: 1. Using a chopping board, dice onions into tiny cubes, next dice both the bell peppers, keep aside. Finely chop cilantro , and keep aside. Remove the outer skin of 4 to 5 cloves of garlic and finely chop.
Clean, and trim off the heads of the asparagus  and chop the asparagus into medium size pieces.Using a a mixing bowl,add olive oil 2 tspn, add salt, black pepper and the asparagus. Stir and keep aside.
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees, and lay the cut asparagus on an oven tray, and allow to bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Take a large boiling pot, fill with 1/2 water,add 1 tspn salt, 1/4 tspn oil and allow  water to boil. Add in  pasta and cook for about 15 to 20  minutes,making sure the pasta are well done :) Strain and keep aside. 
3. For preparing sauce, heat a medium sauce pan on medium heat,add in butter and olive oil, add in the diced onions, as they begin to appear translucent add the finely chopped garlic, cook for another 30 seconds till the onions and garlic appear well mixed. Add in 2 tspn honey. Next add the diced bell peppers, and stir to cook the peppers for about 4 to 5 minutes, add 2 to 3 tbsp of  adobo sauce(for that smoky flavour)
4. Now add in peas, continue stirring for about a minute. Check for salt, and add 1/4 tspn if required.  Reduce heat and stir in  2 cups of heavy cream. This will give a softness and richness to the sauce. Add the pasta, next add parmesan grated cheese and allow the sauce to cook for another 4 to 5 minutes as it thickens, close the burner.
Serve warm pasta , garnished with freshly chopped coriander leaves and tortillas strips.

With  the remaining garlic pods I have another interesting side dish to go along.
3 to 4  remaining garlic pods
2 tspn olive oil
2 tspn balsamic vinegar
1 tspn salt 

Simply cut off the top of  whole garlic's, drizzle a few drops of  olive oil, on each garlic, wrap it in foil and bake on a baking sheet for about 20 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees, till garlic appears soft and little browned in colour.Open the foil and sprinkle each cooked garlic pod with balsamic vinegar and enjoy this cooked garlic with toast or bread 
A complete dish , have fun with friends, over a glass of white/red wine......enjoy:) Will post some pictures of baked garlic soon

Misal Pav

Misal, means  a mixture, of 2 or 3 beans that are soaked, overnight and later cooked in a spicy curry and enjoyed with pav ( bread). It is a very popular dish  in the Western region of India in the State of Maharashtra. Also  prepared for breakfast.

For making Misal, first wash and soak overnight , moong, moth and matki (beans) in 2 cups water. Next day strain the water and allow the beans to sprout , by placing them in a cloth and tieing  the cloth  loosely, sprinkle some water over the cloth to keep it moist. Next day it starts to sprout , these sprouted beans are considered very nutritious and wholesome full of fibre. Indian cooking not only tastes good, but most of the dishes prepared have nutritional quality and the spices we all know offer medicinal values too. Do try making these as they are good for you:)

1 cup Moth sprouted (ready sprouted beans are available in store)
1 cup Matki sprouted (beans or legumes)
1/2 cup Whole green Moong sprouted
1 tspn salt to taste
2 to 3 green chillies finely diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic chopped finely
1 inch ginger grated or chopped finely
1 medium onion finely chopped
1/4 cup dried grated coconut
2 to 3 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
1/4 cup freshly chopped coriander leaves for garnish
1 cup spicy ready mix chevda available in Indian stores
1 packet ready pav ( bread)

Misal Pav

1 Wash and soak all three legumes (beans), and next day drain the excess water if any , and tie them loosely in a cloth and sprinkle few drops of water. If you want them to sprout more , than leave them another day and use the next day to prepare the dish. Or else, you can pressure cook the soaked legumes in a pressure cooker by adding 1 cup water and 1/2 tspn salt. After 2 whistles, close the pressure cooker.
2.In a pan, heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil. Add cloves and cinnamon,add the chopped onions ,stir for 5 to 6 minutes,add ginger ,garlic,green chillies, add the grated coconut and  continue stirring.Add in the chopped tomatoes, and cook till they appear softened. Now add in the seasoning's,salt,red chilli powder, cumin powder,turmeric  and 1 tspn freshly squeezed lemon juice. Drain the cooked beans, and add to the  pan and carefully mix together. Cover with a lid and cook another few minutes,close burner and garnish cooked Misal.
Serve with pav, and garnish with ready mix and chopped coriander.

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