Tag Archives: raita

Home Cook’s Pressure Cooker Mutton Biriyani with Thayir Pachadi/Raita

img_6848

 

That was a simple Sunday that started with the usual home made bread for breakfast.  Sundays can turn out to be one of the laziest days, yet the best is expected to come from the kitchen.  Thankfully for me, Cooking has always been a stress buster and an energy creator. This attitude can be termed as the height of optimism by those relaxing Sunday souls, who refuse to enter kitchen on holidays.

With the same positive energy, to make that lazy Sunday a flavorful one, I chose to try a Mutton Biriyani, a favorite delicacy throughout the world, with some good mathematics to post here. Mathematics with Biriyani…. certainly not written due to stress in brain activity. But, Biriyani needs meticulous measurements to bring out that ultimate aroma and taste.

I’ve tried to be accurate with the quantity of ingredients involved in the making of Mutton Biriyani. Additionally, reducing the effort involved in the making of good Biriyani, Pressure Cooker is used for quick cooking. This is no advertisement for Pressure Cookers, but believe me… it does reduce the stress of watching the Biriyani in a Pot or Handi cook to long grainy soft perfection.
A note on the history of Biriyani in India-

 

Though it may appear to be a dish indigenous to India, in reality the dish originated quite far away. Biryani is derived from the Persian word Birian, which means ‘fried before cooking’ and Birinj, the Persian word for rice. While there are multiple theories about how biryani made its way to India, it is generally accepted that it originated in West Asia.

There are records of a rice dish known as Oon Soru in Tamil literature as early as the year 2 A.D. Oon Soru was said to be made of rice, ghee, meat, turmeric, coriander, pepper, and bay leaf, and was used to feed military warriors.
http://www.thebetterindia.com/60553/history-biryani-india/

 

Just type – ‘oon soru’ and browse the internet. Your box would be filled with websites that talk about the same above said detail, verbatim. Which website posted the basic article is unknown. The above article gives a very fine and elaborate write up on different biriyanis in India.

An elaborate research would provide different insights into the culinary secret behind the speciality rice in Tamilnadu. I’ve heard people well versed in Tamil literature, talk about ‘Oon Soru’ and the practice of cooking rice with meat among the early Tamils.

With various popular versions of Biriyanis-  Hyderabadi, Lucknowi or Old Delhi’s famous Mughal preparations, Tamilnadu has its own versions – Dindukkal Biriyani, Arcot Biriyani, Ambur Biriyani, Chettinad Biriyani and so on. There is one more variety that has no popular name, but the version is different from home to home – that’s the Home Made Biriyani, with the tasteful signature of the amateur home cook.

So, this Sunday I decided to make the Home Cook’s Mutton Biriyani – with step by step elaborate procedures for purpose of sharing here. This is a two-way process, where meat is pressure cooked initially with turmeric and salt, and then pressure cooked again together with spices and rice. This second part, makes the biriyani an easier version, where no ‘Dum’ (closed cooking in sim flame) is required and hence, is less time consuming, but no compromise in taste.
With the urge to cook Biriyani, came a list of other things that go well with the exotic Rice.

a. Thayir Pachadi – Onion and Yoghurt Raita

b. Kathirikkai Salna – Mildly spiced, tangy Gravy with brinjal/egg plant that is served alongside Biriyani

c. Mutton Vadhakkal – Spicy, Pan fried Mutton – the perfect munching companion for the succulent Biriyani

A successful Sunday with special delights calls for 2 connected posts on the lunch served. So, first – Biriyani and Pachadi, I call it the match made in kitchen, which is supposedly a cook’s heaven of culinary creations!
Home Cook’s Pressure Cooker Mutton Biriyani

 

img_6859

 

Ingredients (serves 3)

 

long grain basmati rice

img_6750

 

and meat

img_6746

 

  • basmati rice – 1 ½ cups – (app. 225 gms)
  • mutton – 500 gms
  • turmeric powder – ¼ tsp for cooking meat separately + ½ tsp while making biriyani
  • salt – to taste
  • oil – 3 tsp (for caramelising onions) + 3 tsp (for making biriyani)
  • clarified butter – 3 tsp

Dry Spices

 

img_6763

 

  • cardamom pods – 7 no.s
  • cloves – 7 no.s
  • cinnamon – 2-3 sticks
  • bay leaves – 2 no.s
  • big cardamom – 1 no.
  • fennel seeds – 1 ½ tsp
  • pepper corns – 1 tsp

To chop

 

img_6755

 

and green chillies

img_6765

 

  • ginger – 50 gms
  • garlic – 30 gms (app. 3 small pods)
  • onion – 3 large – 165 gms
  • tomato – 2 large – 130 gms
  • green chillies – 5 -7 no.s (finely chopped)

For freshness

caramelised onions with mint and coriander

img_6771

 

  • mint leaves – 3 tsp
  • coriander leaves. – 3 tsp

Exotic touch

 

saffron in water

img_6782

 

  • generous strands of saffron soaked in ¼ cup hot water tsp bring out that gorgeous colour
  • nutmeg – ½ tsp grated

Method of Preparation

 

img_6856
Part I

  1. Wash and soak basmati rice at least ½ an hour before pressure cooking meat
  2. Soak saffron in ¼ cup hot water

 

soaked rice

img_6789

Part II– Cook Mutton

  1. Remove fat as far possible from meat
  2. Mix turmeric and salt to meat and keep aside for 15 minutes
  3. Wash and clean well
  4. Squeeze out excess water from the washed meat
  5. In a pressure cooker, add meat, ¼ tsp turmeric and salt with water enough to cook for approximately 30 minutes
  6. Pressure cook meat till done (It takes 30-40 minutes to be cooked well)
  7. Do not forget to use the meat broth to cook the final Biriyani.

Part III– Getting things ready – grinding, slicing, chopping, caramelizing.

 

  1. Coarse grind ginger, garlic, fennel seeds and pepper corns together in a blender (without water). Though full pepper corns are fried with spices in Biriyani, I prefer to grind as there is no wastage on the plate. Additionally, ground pepper corn spices up the Biriyani with its unique flavor.
  2. Thinly slice onions. Caramelize sliced onions in 3 tsp oil.
  3. Finely chop green chilies and tomatoes separately. Keep aside.

 

img_6770
Part IV – Let’s do it – THE BIRIYANI

1. Heat pressure cooker and add oil and clarified butter.

2. Drop all the dry spices except pepper corns and fennel seeds (already blended with ginger-garlic)

img_6768

3. Next, add the ground ginger-garlic-pepper-fennel paste with green chillies and sauté.

 

img_6786

4. Add the chopped tomatoes and sauté till soft and mushy.

5. Then, add the caramelized onions and mix well.

6. Strain rice without water and add to the hot ingredients in the cooker and stir well.

 

img_6792

7. Add nutmeg, turmeric powder and salt.

8. Strain mutton and save the cooked broth.

9. Add cooked mutton pieces and mix.
10.The most important ingredient- WATER

Now, it’s time to add water. I go by this ratio and it turns out good.

img_6799
For 1 cup of rice – 2 cups of water;
For 2 cups of rice – 4 cups water minus ½ cup = 3 ½ cups water
For 3 cups of rice – 6 cups of water minus ½ cup = 5 ½ cups water
For 4 cups of rice – 8 cups of water minus 1 cup = 7 cups water

So, for this biriyani, where 1 ½ cups rice is used, less than double or less than 3 cups, i.e. 2 ¾ cups of water is used.

  • Mutton cooked water – 1 cup
  • Saffron water – ¾ cup
  • Extra plain water – 1 cup

That works out to be 2 ¾ cups water for 1 ½ cups of rice.
Alter plain water according to the quantity of mutton cooked water you have. Add water, mix well.

11. Check for salt. As mutton is already cooked, the water tasted does not consist raw meat. So, go ahead, taste and add salt if needed.

12. Close cooker with lid in full flame. Keep in full flame for 3 whistles. Switch off and wait for the pressure to release by itself.

 

img_6860

13.Open cooker and serve hot Biriyani.
Biriyani- Thayir Pachadi / Biriyani- Onions in Yoghurt: Match made in heaven!

Thayir Pachadi – Onions in Yoghurt

img_6868

 

Biriyani needs a Thayir pachadi or Raita as in North Indian cuisine. Vegetable, chicken or mutton biriyani, is incomplete without the accompaniment of Pachadi.

Though, there can be many varieties of Pachadi/Raita. In Tamilnadu, a pachadi with just onions and little green chillies for spice is generally served with Biriyani.

  • thinly sliced onions – 3 no.s
  • thick yoghurt – to soak the sliced onions (approximately 3 cups)
  • chopped green chillies – as preferred
  • salt – to taste
  • coriander leaves (fresh) – for garnish

 

Mix all ingredients together and garnish with coriander leaves. In a restaurant that serves, vengaya pachadi or onion raita – yoghurt is less than mentioned above. But I prefer to have more yoghurt to the quantity Alter quantity of yoghurt as preferred.

 

img_6848

My 100th Post! Kootanchoru – Typical Home Town One Pot Meal.

Is Knocking Century a great mile stone? Cricketers and Bloggers would agree unanimously. When my paternal die hard cricket fan thaatha (grand father) would take me to Chennai M.A. Chidambaram Stadium to watch cricket matches, as a ten year old I would jump screaming high to sixes and fours of Ravi Shastris and Kapil Devs alike. Till today I no nothing much about the game but what I liked the most was getting ready early in the morning with packed lunch and snacks and more snacks and ice-cream to be bought at the stadium and a whole day of watching different kinds of people enjoying their day. That was a perfect outing of a grandpa-grand daughter duo – chatting, munching, screaming, clapping and jumping through out – more work-out than those cricketers on the field.

Today, I feel the same excitement when I jot down my 100th post. A big THANKS to all of you who’ve kept my pen writing.

I wanted to present one of the most fabulous One Pot Meals of my home town – Thirunelveli and the nearby districts my maternal Thoothukudi. It is called KOOTANCHORU – literally translates as might be – ‘combined rice’. (Kootu means combination/combine and Choru means Rice)

 

IMG_3887

 

Kootanchoru is –
1. a combination of rice and lentil – thuvaram paruppu or split pigeon peas;
2. with as many country vegetables and one green leafy vegetable preferably Arai Keerai (Amaranth Greens), salt and turmeric powder;
3. cooked in a kuzhambu/curry of tamarind and ground coconut-spice paste
and
4. seasoned with mustard, dehusked black gram, curry leaves and vadagam (sun-dried onion seasoning).

 

One-Pot Meal
With the culinary world turning its eye towards One-Pot Meals,  Kootanchoru is a healthy whole meal with high nutrient value; though with a long list of ingredients, it involves less time and work in cooking. While the rice, lentils and vegetables are cooked in the ground spice paste, the house would be filled with a unique aroma – I call it the true flavor of THE TAMIL  cuisine, common to every down south –  Indian household.

As I have mentioned, the ingredient list is elaborate, the initial preparation involves slightly more work, but the cooking proccedure is quite simple. The aroma and flavor of the meal is worth the effort of initial tasks!!

PONGAL – the harvest festival of the Tamils (refer – https://dosaikal.com/thai-pongal-the-harvest-festival and https://dosaikal.com/pongal-in-cambodia/), is just five days away. Kootanchoru is also a special meal during Kaanum Pongal or the fourth day of the harvest festival where people visit their friends and family and also spend the time on a Picnic. Kootanchoru can also be a picnic meal!

While the joy of a 100 posts rekindles memories of my paternal grandfather who has also been a wonderful friend till he left us a year and a half ago, the word Kootanchoru reminds me of my maternal grandfather who would take us all grandchildren on different picnics and shower us with the delicacies of Thoothukudi.

Coming from a family where the huge extended family, with maternal and paternal aunts (athais, chithis and periyammas) and those special aunts wedded to uncles (athais and chithis), I think each one in the clan are excellent cooks and my kootanchoru can never match their flavor of their hands; Or now in the next generation, the tasteful endeavors of my cousins – experts in variety of cuisines!
The Making –
Kootanchoru

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

1. main ingredients

  • puzhungal arisi/par boiled rice – 1 heaped cup
  • thuvaram paruppu/split pigeon pea – 1/2 cup
  • oil preferably gingelly oil – 1 tsp for the base of the cooker
  • puli/tamarind – lemon sized soaked in 1/2 cup water
  • manjal podi/turmeric powder – 1/2 -3/4 tsp
  • uppu/salt – to taste

 

rice and lentil

IMG_3854

 

2. mixed vegetables cut to medium size pieces – 5-6 cups of the same measuring cup of rice

  • kathirikkai/egg plant
  • vaazhaikkai/raw banana
  • carrot
  • beans
  • chenai/yam
  • urulai/potato
  • kothavaarangai/cluster beans
  • avaraikkai/broad beans
  • chinna vengayam/shallots – 10 no.s uncut for frying
  • oil for frying shallots – 3 tbsp

 

vegetables and shallots

IMG_3797

3. greens – 1 cup

agathi keerai/amaranth greens or any other greens, the second preference would be murungai keerai/drum stick leaves

greens and tamarind water

IMG_3808

4. to grind – garlic is a key ingredient!

  • grated coconut – 1/2 cup
  • seeragam/cumin seeds – 2 tsp
  • milagai vatral/red chillies – 3 no.s
  • pachai milagai/green chilli – 1 no.
  • poondu/garlic cloves – 10 no.
  • chinna vengayam/shallots – 5 no.s or 1/2 of normal big onion

 

IMG_3801

 

5. seasoning

  • oil – 3 tbsp
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • ulundham paruppu/dehusked black gram – 1 tsp
  • chinna vengayam/shallots -6 no.s or periya vengayam/onion – 1/2 – cut long and thin strips
  • karivepilai/curry leaves – 15 leaves
  • vadagam/sun dried onion balls – 1 or 2 no.s

 

IMG_3826

Method of Preparation
Initial Preparation

  1. Wash rice and lentil; keep aside
  2. Grind the grated coconut with the above mentioned spices into a smooth pastewith little water
  3. Wash and soak tamarind in water
  4. Cut all the vegetables and amaranth greens or any spinach of your spinach and keep ready
  5. While using eggplant, potato and raw banana, keep them in a bowl of water to avoid discoloration
  6. Peel the skin and wash the shallots and keep aside

Procedure – I

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pressure cooker on lighted stove and start adding all ingredients one after the other in order–

  1. rice and lentil without water
  2. ground coconut and spice paste
  3. cut vegetables
  4. chopped greens
  5. turmeric powder and salt
  6. tamarind water

Procedure – II

  1. Add 4 cups of water for every cup of rice-lentil mix. I have used total 1 1/2 cups both combined – so I added almost 6 cups. This is not inclusive of the tamarind juice of 1/2 cup and the water content in the spice paste.
  2. A total of 4 cups for 1 cup is ideal. Parboiled Rice needs more water for a well cooked – semi mashed consistency and that is what is needed for Kootanchoru.
  3. Do not close the cooker; let the mixture boil in medium heat. Keep stirring as the mixture might stick to the bottom of the cooker, as there is less oil. Generally no oil is added to the cooker but I added to be on the safer side
  4. In a separate pan, heat 3 tbsp of oil and fry the whole shallots reserved for frying
  5. Add the fried shallots and also the oil to the rice-water-spice mixture
  6. When the mixture starts boiling, close the cooker with lid and wait for the first whisle
  7. Keep the stove in full position; After the first whistle, reduce and cook for 5 mins. Switch off gas
  8. Open the cooker after 20 minutes; Kootanchoru is almost ready.

 

fry shallots separately

IMG_3858

 

add fried shallots to the ready to be cooked kootanchoru

IMG_3864

Procedure – III
Seasoning:

  1. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan
  2. Add mustard seeds and dehusked black gram
  3. When mustard seeds splutter and the gram turns brown, add the long stripped onions, curry leaves and vadagam
  4. Pour this on top of the cooked Kootanchoru and mix well
  5. If one doesn’t have vadagam, more onions can be cut into strips and fried brown and added
  6. Kootanchoru is ready and tastes best with Thayir Pachadi  and Appalam.

 

IMG_3867

 

fried seasoning ingredients on top of the cooked rice

IMG_3870

The Exclusives –
1. Vadagam
IMG_3828

a. Vadagams are sun-dried seasoning ingredients, stored for months at homes. They may contain mustard seeds, dehusked black gram, curry leaves and onion. Variations depend on the family.

b. In Thirunelveli, we have a different vadagam made of onions, not only used for seasoning but mainly had as accompaniment to thayir saadham/yoghurt rice as fritters (like the sun dried chillies). See – https://dosaikal.com/thayir-saadham-mor-milagaicurd-rice-sun-dried-chillies/. Since I did not have the original fritter vadagam, I have used the seasoning vadagam.
2. Thayir Pachadi

 

IMG_3978

a. Pachadi can be a yoghurt based salad or raita in Hindi. There are various kinds of pachadis – specially yoghurt with onions for Biriyanis, yoghurt with cucumber for combination rices like lemon rice or tamarind rice or mint rice, or just a soothing pachadi of yoghurt, onions and tomatoes for any meal. Carrot, Beetroot, Pineapple, mango… anything can go in as Pachadi,

b. Typical/Original Pachadis have a coconut-green chilli paste added to the yoghurt base. What we have done is a simple one with yoghurt and salt alone as base.

c. Since my daughter doesn’t prefer tomatoes, I used onions, cucumber and green chillies mixed in yoghurt and salt.
3. Appalam

 

IMG_3936

a. Appalam is exclusively South Indian. In the North, they are called Pappads – made spicy too. Pappadams in south are another variety of discs which puffs up when deep fried.

b. They are thin disc shaped fritters,  made of dehusked black gram flour. There are also other varieties like rice flour appalams, jack fruit appalams and so on.

c. They are deep fried or roasted on stove, nowadays microwaved and are had generally with a rice based meal.

d. They can also be substitutes to vegetables on a lazy day.

 

IMG_3930

Kootanchoru is not only a humble and simple symphony of various ingredients, but one of the best aromatic and flavorful meals from the southern part of Tamilnadu.
NOTE:
Do not miss the garlic to be ground with other spices. The flavor of garlic is one of the key essences to the flavour of this rice.