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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spicy Prawns Biryani

No wedding or celebration in Kerala is complete without Biryani and so is any of my weekend. Over these years I’ve explored and prepared a variety of them viz.- Hyderabadi, Sindhi, Arabic etc. and loved all of it! My mom is a specialist in Dum Biryani and I wish to attain her crown some day.

I would love to share this delectable Prawns biryani recipe which I’m sure you’ll love. Biryani is generally prepared with lamb or chicken, and very rarely do you get to taste prawns biryani and that too prepared in the ‘dum’ style. The rice is cooked separately and alternative layers of prawns and rice is arranged and cooked on a very low flame for a long time. Do not attempt if you are in a hurry!!
It appears to be a lengthy process, but the work is definitely worth it. Its more on the spicier side, hence you may wish to reduce the no.of chillies to suit your taste buds.

Serves : 6-7
For the masala:
Prawns – 1kg
Onion – 8(big) thinly sliced (lengthwise)
Tomatoes – 3 (thinly chopped or slightly pureed)
Ginger paste – 2 tbsp
Garlic paste – 3-4 tbsp
Green chilli – 10 nos ( grind into paste )
Coriander leaves – finely chopped
Juice of 5 lemons
Whole garam masala – Cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf, cloves.
Ghee and Cooking oil.

Masala powders :
Garam masala – 2tbps
Turmeric powder- 2 tsp
Red chilli pdr – 5tsp
Coriander powder- 1 teaspoonful

2 sliced onions – golden fried in ghee for garnish.

Masala preparation:
Marinate prawns with 3tsp red chilli pdr, ¼ tsp turmeric, 3 lime juice, salt & leave for 1hr.
In a non stick dish add 3tbs oil and slightly fry the prawns. Do not overcook the prawns as it’ll get hard.
Remove prawns from pan and add some more oil (1/2cup would be needed). Add 2 cardamom & 3 cloves.
Add 6 sliced onions and sauté. Add ginger garlic paste,green chilli paste & salt.
Saute till the onion has slightly browned and add the masala powders (1/4 tsp turmeric pdr, 2tsp red chilli pdr, 1 large tsp coriander pdr). Saute well for 5mins. Next add the tomato puree and sauté well until the oil separates. Add juice of  3 lemons and finely chopped coriander leaves. Masala is ready for the ‘dum’.

Ghee rice preparation
Long grain basmati – 3 mugs( I use the regular coffee mug).
Wash and soak the rice for 30mins to1hr. Drain out water and leave for 15mins.

In a large non-stick dish add 1 cup ghee. Add whole garam masalas ( 4 cardamom , 3 cloves,1 cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf), add 2 finely chopped onions(cut lengthwise ).
Saute slightly and don’t let it brown. Add 5 mugs of water. Add ¼ tsp turmeric pdr, juice of 2 lime and salt to taste.
When the water boils, add the rice and stir well. leave lid open for 5mins, stir once again  and then close lid and simmer for 15mins or until the rice is ¾ cooked and the water has completely dried out.
Remove half of the prawns masala from the dish and keep aside.
Layer half of the prepared ghee rice over the prawns.
Now add fried onions and sprinkle 1tsp of garam masala.
Spread the remaining prawns masala over the rice and finish with another layer of rice.
garnish with fried onions,1tsp of garam masala and coriander leaves.

Cover and simmer for 30mins on low flame. Switch off flame and keep covered for another 30mins. Open lid and mix the rice and prawns until well combined

Garnish: Sprinkle finely chopped coriander leaves and fried onions.
Serving suggestions: Serve with  Raita , pickles and pappad.
Notes: The essential requirement for a good Biryani is to use good quality fragrant long grained basmati rice

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oreo Chocolate Truffles

This one’s for all you chocolate lovers…especially dedicated to my better half & kids.
All you need is just 3 ingredients and the combination of the trio is simply magical.
The below recipe makes around 22-24 truffles…I lost count….’cause whilst I was in the counting process they were simultaneously being wolfed down by my kids.
Thanks to Danielle for sharing this award winning recipe on Foodbuzz.

Oreo Cookies- 18 nos
Philadelphia Cream cheese ( or any local product)– 150 gms
Cooking chocolate/Dark chocolate – 200 gms

Put the cookies (including cream filling) in the food processor and pulse until the cookies are completely crumbled.
Add the cookie crumbs and the cream cheese in a medium bowl. Combine until the mixture is a solid heap of deliciousness.
Scoop out the desired amount and form into balls.

Refrigerate them for 30mins-1hour to add to the firmness. This makes them a bit easier to dunk into the chocolate without losing their shape. Dunk the formed truffles into the chocolate coating and let set on a piece of wax paper, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle chocolate chips or cookie crumbs as desired.

For the chocolate dip: Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave stirring constantly and carefully dip truffles one at a time using a fork,allowing any excess chocolate to drip into the bowl (not letting the choco balls to be damaged). 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hot & Sweet Mustard Mango ( Kadu Manga )

With summer dawning in, there’s certainly one pleasure and that’s ….mangoes. From juices to pickles there’s a wide range of recipes that can be prepared from this ‘king of fruits’.  I’ve decided to share this yummy yet simple recipe, which is an excellent dish to go along with rice or rotis. As the name suggests it includes sugar, salt and red chili… so you can well imagine what an amazing combo this might be.  
For best results it should be cooked in a mud clay pot.( Cooking in clay pot brings out a different taste and eliminates the hazards associated with non stick dishes). I picked up mine from Kerala and generally use it for traditional cooking.  
Don’t worry if you don’t own one... I’ve suggested an alternative for that.
Please do prepare it and write in your comments.

Green raw mangoes- 2 nos cut lengthwise with skin.
Red chili powder- 3 tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
Water – 2cups
Salt & Sugar to taste

Mustard seeds : 2 tsp
Curry leaves – 6-7
Oil- 2tsp


1-     Take water in a mud clay pot and add red chili powder, turmeric, fenugreek, mango pieces and salt.
2-     Cook until mango has softened and cooked thoroughly. Remove from fire.
3-     The water would have reduced to half by now.
4-     In oil, splutter mustard and curry leaves and pour into the pot. Cover for 30-40mins until the clay pot has absorbed the excess moisture and the watery gravy has thickened.
5-     If you do not own a clay pot you may cook in a heavy bottomed dish; remove the mango pieces once cooked and reduce the gravy by stirring constantly over high flame.
6-     You may wish to add 2 tsp of sugar along with salt during step1. I prefer to add it just before eating.

Serving suggestion: Add sugar and mash it along with the mango pulp and its ready to gormandize.