Tag Archives: simple sunday meal

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

Varutha Meen, Varutha Kathirikkai with Thaalicha Paruppu/ Pan Fried Fish and Pan Fried EggPlant with Seasoned Lentil


the platter

IMG_0788

Why not try this for a simple sunday meal or even a relaxed saturday meal? Steamed Rice – Thaalicha Paruppu with varutha meen – pan fried small fish and varutha kathirikkai – pan fried spicy eggplant!

Here we get small river fish – which my daughter loves when pan fried… but when cooked in gravy, it is a tedious affair to remove bones. Especially with an inexperienced, recently converted non-vegetarian mother like me.

Cambodia’s inland fisheries are the fourth most productive in the world given the combined capacities of the Tonle Sap (Great Lake) and the Mekong River, where more than one million people depend on the fisheries sector for employment, income and food security.  Thailand is the largest importer of freshwater fish from Cambodia. http://www.genderandtrade.org/gtinformation/164419/164436/165013/thailand_combodia/

The fish is very quick to make and so is the eggplant – ofcourse the eggplant needs some cutting but the fish – might have been moulded the right size straight from heaven!


marinated fish

IMG_0742

Coming to the platter – I just made Steamed Rice and Thaalicha Paruppu (quick-and-easy-thaalicha-paruppuseasoned-lentil) for the main course. As south indians, we always mix up the rice with the lentil or any gravied curry. And compulsorily need a side dish – be it semi gravy kootu(stew of vegetables) or a dry vegetable to have with the mixed lentil and rice.

Now enters the fish and eggplant as side dishes or accompaniment to the main course or the only course on a lazy weekend – lentil and rice. The marination can be an insult to true marination – as in the true sense, we sprinkle the spices and fry – but – a lazy day’s true treat – without doubt!


I. Varutha Meen – Pan Fried Fish

IMG_0949


Ingredients

  • chiriya Meen/small fish – 1/4 kg (has appr. 25 fishes)
  • cooking oil – 5 tbsp (for frying)
  • gingelly oil – 2 tsp and curry leaves – a few for seasoning

to marinate

  • turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  • pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
  • salt – 1/2 tsp or as per taste

Method of Preparation
  1. Clean the fish and apply salt and turmeric and leave it for 15 minutes. This is believed to help in effective cleaning of any fish before cooking
  2. Wash well again and then mix in the marinade
  3. To check salt, mix turmeric, pepper and salt separately and taste for salt and spice and then mix the fish in the spice mixture
  4. Set aside for a minimum 1 hour in fridge
  5. Heat oil in pan and place the marinated fish
  6. Fry till the fish gets the brownish glow and is crispy
  7. Remove in absorbent paper
  8. Heat 1 tsp gingelly oil in a pan – might be the same pan
  9. Add the washed curry leaves and fry
  10. Place the pan fried fish in a serving bowl
  11. Garnish with the fried curry leaves.

in the pan

IMG_0423


done!

IMG_0429

 

II. Varutha Kathirikkai – Pan Fried EggPlant

IMG_0791

Eggplant is very low in calories and fats but rich in soluble fiber content.  The peel or skin (deep blue/purple varieties) of aubergine has significant amounts of phenolic flavonoid phyto-chemicals called anthocyanins.Scientific studies have shown that these anti-oxidants have potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.

It contains good amounts of many essential B-complex groups of vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (B3).Further, this vegetable is an also good source of minerals like manganese, copper, iron and potassium. http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/eggplant.html


Ingredients

  • kathirikkai/Eggplant – 2 no.s (I used the long ones)
  • cooking oil – 5 tbsp or a little more

to marinate

  • turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  • salt – as needed
  • red chilly powder – 1 tsp
  • coriander powder – 1 tsp

Method of Preparation
  1. Wash eggplant and cut into 1 inch thick pieces
  2. Keep the pieces in water or the eggplant tends to darken
  3. When you are ready to marinate it, take out of water and mix the spices and leave for 15 minutes
  4. As usual heat oil in a pan and fry till done on both sides.


marinated eggplant

IMG_0941


in the pan

IMG_0943

Serve fish and eggplant with steamed rice and thaalicha paruppu. There is always Yoghurt at home and that helps to end the day’s meal with thayir saadham – that is just plain yoghurt and rice!


Note:
  1. The quantity of spices can be altered as per taste of the family
  2. Fish can be used with the head or without. I use them without the head
  3. A dash of lemon juice while marinating gives a wonderful flavour in both; or just add after the fish is crisply done.
  4. Lemon juice after the eggplant doesn’t suit much though.
  5. For marination of eggplant, sambar powder can also be used for even more lazier ladies (I do it sometimes)!

Call it a Simple Sunday Meal and why two dishes? Do some of you feel this way – just opt one per week! Sometimes I feel guilty when my daughter asks why is there a lot of empty space in her plate….. in search of more side dishes! Now, with fish and eggplant her plate was not empty!!

Why even cook the thaalicha paruppu/seasoned lentil? It happens my friend… tttooo lazy for anything. Take that Plain Yoghurt from the fridge… Have you cooked your rice atleast? Make Thayir Saadham/Curd Rice (thayir-saadham-mor-milagaicurd-rice-sun-dried-chillies) or just mix Rice and Plain Yoghurt on the lunch table. Enjoy with fish or eggplant!! A sumptuous meal and some rest too!

Rice with Meen Kuzhambu/Fish Curry

This can be a quick and easy sunday non-vegetarian meal – not to waste much of the precious weekend family time in the kitchen. One can also make this meen curry on a friday/saturday evening and store for the next day lunch/brunch! I don’t think this can be called an exact kuzhambu as generally kuzhambu is a thinner version. This can be fish in a thick gravy/thokku! Add more water and it can be converted to a simple kuzhambu.

 

 

 

The word ‘curry’

Curry has become a very popular and sort after word in the UK and many parts around the world…

 

The earliest apparent mention in print in the English language occurs in a translation (1598) of a Dutch traveller’s account of voyages in the E. and W. Indies. Referring to Indians, this text states that: ‘Most of their fish is eaten with rice, which they seeth in broth, which they put upon the rice, and is somewhat sour but it tasteth well and is called Carriel, which is their daily meat.’ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/encyclopedia/definition/curry/730/

 

The word comes from “Kari” which is from the Tamil language and was later anglicized into “curry”. Curry powder itself is not a single spice but a blend of different spices and can be mild or hot. This golden colored spice is one of the oldest spice mixes and is most often associated with Indian cuisine. http://www.indepthinfo.com/curry/history.shtml

 

There is also another view to the origin of the word curry in english –

 

200 cooks and several philosophers were summoned by King Richard II to produce the first English cookery book ‘The Forme of Cury’ in 1390. The book contained 196 recipes. None of these recipes have any thing in common with Indian curries. ‘Cury’ was the Old English word meaning cuisine based on French ‘cuire’ meaning: to cook, boil, or grill.. After the cookery book, Cury became a popular part of English vocabulary. The term Cury became associated with stew. http://www.indiacurry.com/faqhistory/hfaqcurry.htm

 

 

 ‘Kari’ means Meat

The word ‘curry’ is believed to be the anglicized version of the tamil word ‘kari’. But, in Tamil, the word kari/curry might denote meat..

Kozhi kari kuzhambu means Chicken Gravy – where kozhi means chicken, kari means meat and kuzhambu means gravy;

Aatu kari kuzhambu means Lamb Gravy – Aadu means Lamb, kari kuzhambu means meat gravy;

The same applies for Meen kari kuzhambu where Meen means Fish; and 

Kothu Kari means Minced Meat.

 

Most people in the world today know what a curry is – or at least think they do. In Britain the term ‘curry’ has come to mean almost any Indian dish, whilst most people from the sub-continent would say it is not a word they use, but if they did it would mean a meat, vegetable or fish dish with spicy sauce and rice or bread. http://www.menumagazine.co.uk/book/curryhistory.html

 

Now, the Meen Curry. 

Meen Curry

Ingredients (serves four)

  • meen/fish – 500 gms (any variety – with bones or fillet as preferred)
  • garlic – 6 cloves
  • onions – 2 medium
  • tomato – 2 medium
  • tamarind – marble sized ball
  • red chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • coriander powder – 3 tsp
  • pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
  • turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • salt – as needed
  • oil – 4 tbsp
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • vendhayam/fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • curry leaves – a few

 

 

 

 Method of Preparation

  1. Clean the fish pieces; apply salt and turmeric powder and keep aside
  2. Finely chop garlic, onions and tomatoes separately
  3. Wash and soak tamarind in 1 cup hot water
  4. Heat oil in an iruppu chatti/Pan
  5. Add mustard seeds, when they splutter add fenugreek seeds and curry leaves
  6. Add chopped garlic, onions and tomatoes and fry for a while
  7. Add turmeric, chilli, pepper and coriander powders and salt and fry well
  8. Strain the tamarind and add the pulp
  9. Cook till the raw smell of spices and tamarind goes away
  10. Add the fish pieces and let the fish cook in the pan with closed lid in sim position
  11. The fish would be cooked in 5 -7 minutes or a little more
  12. Thicken the gravy if needed or add some water to make it thinner
  13. Serve hot with rice.

 

 

 Note:

  1. After the fish is washed, a paste of turmeric powder and salt is rubbed over the fish pieces and kept for at least 1/2 an hour
  2. Soak tamarind in hot water to easily get the pulp or paste
  3. Meen Kuzhambu tastes best when made in an earthen pot.