A day in the kitchen
It was once a tradition that the new bride of the house will cook a hearty meal for the entire family as soon as the wedding ceremonies come to a conclusion. This may no longer be expected from a bride, but someone who can cook a hearty meal does win a lot of hearts.
Although a lot of young women now indulge in culinary experiments from a very young age, most do not have many recipes 'up their sleeves'. But cooking can be an interesting pursuit and its rewards some find even therapeutic.
The following are some recipes that almost anyone can try. True, some will require prior experience, others are pretty simple. Maybe it's safe to say that the recipes below are for every 'bouma' of the house, irrespective of their age and cooking prowess.
MUTTON PAKKI BIRYANI
Biryani is dated back to the Mughal reign during which Mumtaz Mahal had ordered her chefs to make something special for malnourished soldiers. The chefs came up with a rice dish which was layered with meat, rice, nuts and spices. It was highly nutritious and equally delicious. Steam cooked in the 'dum pukht' method, which means 'slow cooked' in Persian language; thus the delicious aromatic meat biryani was born. There are other legends of course, but this being one of the most prominent one.
1 kg mutton, cut into small pieces
½ kg basmati rice, washed and soaked in water for 30 minutes
½ cup chopped onion
2 onions, sliced (for garnishing)
2 tbsp biryani masala
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp cumin seeds
2-3 bay leaves
2 star anise
10 black pepper corns
2 stick cinnamon
1 black cardamom
1 bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
Juice of ½ lime
½ cup yoghurt
3 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
5 saffron strands, soaked in 2 tbsp of warm milk
4 tbsp ghee, 2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Cut and wash mutton pieces with water, drain and keep it aside. Heat little oil on a skillet and fry sliced onions and caramelise until they turn brownish black in colour. These will be used to garnish the biryani. Heat oil in a pan, add whole garam masala, onions, ginger-garlic paste and salt. Fry till onion turns light golden. Now add mutton pieces.
Add green chillies, handful of coriander leaves, red chilli powder, lime juice, yoghurt and cover it with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes. In a separate vessel, add 4 cups of water. Add salt, cumin seeds and soaked rice. Cook until rice is 90 percent cooked. Remove and strain the rice.
Now make layers in a baking pan. First, add half of the rice at the bottom of the baking pan and pour a dollop of ghee, chopped coriander, saffron milk and then arrange few cooked mutton pieces on top of the rice. Again add remaining rice on top of the mutton pieces and add ghee, saffron, milk and mutton pieces with the gravy of the mutton, which you had reserved. Cover this pan with aluminium foil and bake in preheated oven at 350 degree Fahrenheit or 180 degree C for about 20 minutes. Remove and garnish with the fried onion. Serve hot.
BEEF FILLETS PASANDA
Pasanda is a popular North Indian and Pakistani meat dish, derived from a meal served in the court of the Mughal emperors. This beef is marinated with the mixture of flavourful spices and yoghurt, which gives the meat an exceptional flavour. ALthough pasanda is usually served as a meat curry, it may also be prepared in kebab form.
1 kg round steak, cut into pieces
1 cup yoghurt
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp ground black cumin
½ tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sliced onion
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 bunch fresh cilantro (for granish)
4 fresh green chillies (for garnish)
In a bowl, combine yoghurt, ginger-garlic paste, pepper flakes, cumin, clove, turmeric and salt. Mix in beef until evenly coated. Set aside for 30 minutes. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Fry sliced onion until golden brown. Remove two tbsp of fried onion, and set aside for garnish. Reduce heat to low. Place meat in skillet, cover and cook until tender, about 35 minutes. Check every 10 minutes, and add water if necessary. Pour in lemon juice, and simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro, green chillies and reserved fried onion. Serve hot.
food prepared by chef md. basir, ds cafe