Saturday, November 02, 2019

Chicken Keema Biryani

Chicken Keema Biryani
Biryani is a rich and wholesome dish that takes center stage at any festive meal. It consists of layers of fluffy, aromatic Basmati rice, a rich meaty base and loads of fried onions, herbs and aromatic spices that are steamed in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. 

This chicken keema biryani uses ground chicken that is cooked first, separately from the rice. I've cut down on the processing time by using a ready-made spice mix called Shan Pilao Biryani mix whose strong and spicy flavours works its magic on the ground chicken which serves as a base layer for the biryani. Basmati rice is soaked for 20 minutes, drained and air-dried before being spread evenly over the chicken base and topped with cilantro, mint and deep fried onions. Heated chicken broth is poured carefully around the edges of the saucepan and this one-pot dish is simmered over low heat for 25 minutes until all the liquids are absorbed by the rice.

This main dish is best accompanied by a cool and soothing Raita along with vegetable sides such as Green Beans Posto and Tomato Chutney.


Friday, November 01, 2019

Panch Mishali Shukto - 5-Vegetable Stew

Panch Mishali Shukto
Shukto

Shukto (shook-tho) is a classic Bengali dish and is the traditional beginning or starter to both festive and ordinary meals at the Bengali table. It's a melange of colourful vegetables (purple eggplants, orange carrots, white radish, white potatoes and green bitter melons) and textures (crunchy bitter melons, carrots and radish and soft melt-in-the-mouth potatoes). If available, do add shojne data/drumsticks and kanch kola/green bananas

Bitter melon is the main ingredient in shukto, revered for its bitter flavour and so good for balancing blood sugar levels. Because Hubby abhors bitter melon, I've made shukto sans bitter melon for him, hence the two pictures above.

Using very little oil and hardly any spices, this dish gets it zesty flavour from ginger and black mustard paste or shorshe bata that is blended with salt and a green chili. The eggplant pieces are fried first and set aside, the crunchy vegetables and potatoes are then stir-fried in ginger paste, eggplant returned to the skillet and then all of it simmered in mustard sauce.

This side dish which is both vegetarian and vegan, is best eaten with freshly steamed Basmati rice.


Tomato and Onion Raita

Tomato and Onion Raita
Raita is an Indian salad that is tossed with a yogurt dressing. It cools the palate which makes it the ideal accompaniment to a spicy meal. It goes well with rich biryanis and pulaos or with a simple naan or any Indian bread.

Ingredients
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp. garlic paste
1 tomato, diced
1/2 onion, minced
2-3 stalks cilantro, minced
1 green chili, minced
1/2 tsp. Kashmiri mirch/red chili powder
A pinch of sugar
Salt to taste

Optional Add-Ins
Grated cucumbers, carrots, apples, raw mango or tomatoes can be dressed with this raita along with raisins, cilantro and/or mint. I've used tomatoes and onions.

Directions
  1. Blend yogurt until smooth and free of lumps.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
  3. Garnish with minced cilantro, ground black pepper and chili powder.
Serve this raita as a salad with an Indian meal accompanied by a biryani, pulao or any Indian bread.