Thursday, 29 December 2011

Lemon Rice( Rice cooked with Lemon Juice)

Lemon Rice

Tangy spicy and delicately flavored rice preparation from southern India is my favorite as it is nutritious, easy to make, tasty and good to pack for lunch box. The yellow color or rice dotted with brown fried nuts along with the green color of coriander leaves and white of fresh grated coconut makes it extremely attractive. This preparation of rice can be kept for 24hrs. with out refrigerating.

Preparation Time: 5min
Cooking Time: 10 min.
Servings: Makes four large servings
Ingredients required for making Lemon Rice 
  • 150 gm. Rice
  • 25 ml. Lemon juice
Lemon Juice
  • 50gm. Ground nuts
Shallow fried groundnuts
  • 4-5 Curry leaves (sweet neem leaves)
Curry leaves
  • 1/2 Tea spoon mustard seeds
Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 Tea spoon Cumin seeds
Cumin seeds
  • 1 Red dry chili
  • 1/4 Turmeric Powder
  • 1 Tea spoon sugar
  • 1 Tea spoon finely cut coriander leaves
  • 1/4 Fresh coconut
  • Red chili powder to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • oil
  • Water

Direction For Making Lemon Rice:
  • Wash and soak the rice in 200ml. water for 30 min.
  • Shallow fry ground nuts to brownish color.
  • Grate the fresh coconut.
  • Cook the soaked rice in the cooker or a thick bottom pan.
  • For lemon juice, squeeze two or three lemons and pass the juice through sieve to remove the seeds.
  •  Keep the lemon juice aside.
  • Spread the hot rice on a plate so that the grains of cooked rice do not stick.
Rice after boiling
  • If the grains of cooked rice are sticking to each other  keep the cooked rice in a sieve and pass running water through the cooked rice and drain the excess of water.
  • Take oil in a wok and heat on high flame.
  • Break the Red dry chili to two or three pieces.
  • To the hot oil add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and pieces of red chili.

  • Lower the flame.
  • Let the seeds splutter and the flavor of red chili, curry leaves, cumin seeds mustard seeds to come out by cooking for 10-15 seconds.
  • Added cooked rice and mix it thoroughly.
  • Add Turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt and mix thoroughly.
  • Add sugar mix and cover.
  • Cook on low flame for 2 min. with occasional stirring.
  • Add lemon juice and mix thoroughly and cooked for 2-3 min on high flame.
  • Add fried ground nuts.
  • Mix and keep it covered for 2-3 min. for the flavor of lemon to seep in rice and ground nuts.
  • Remove the wonderfully yellow colored lemon rice in a serving bowl and garnish it with grated coconut / coriander leaves
Lemon rice 
    No accompaniments required with lemon rice. Just serve and eat :).Since lemon also acts as preservative so this preparation of rice does not get spoilt even in summer for 24hrs. Thus it is very good for not only lunch box but also for travel and picnic.

    • Do not cook for too long after adding the lemon juice.
    • Ground nut should be added last to maintain the crispness.
    • Do not over fry the ground nuts.
    Suggested Variation:
    •   Ground nut can be replaced by almonds and cashew nuts.

    Sunday, 25 December 2011

    Tamarind Rice (Rice cooked with spicy Tamarind pulp)

    Tamarind Rice
    This preparation of rice is most popular in southern India. Tamarind rice is eaten in southern India with relish right from breakfast to dinner. The tangy taste tickles the taste buds and the experience is amazing. When I used to keep tamarind rice or lemon rice for my son’s lunch box, the standing order used to be please keep two lunch boxes full of it one for me one for my friends! Because of tamarind this preparation of rice does not get spoilt even for 24hrs. in summers so an good rice dish for traveling and picnic.

    Preparation Time: 10min.
    Cooking Time: 10min.
    Servings: Makes 4 large servings.

    Ingredients required for making Tamarind Rice
    • 150gm. Rice
    • 25gm. Tamarind
    • 50gm. Ground nuts
    • 1 Tea spoon Cumin seeds
    • 1 Tea spoon Mustard seeds
    • 2 Red chilies
    • 4-5 curry leaves (sweet neem leaves).
    • 1 tea spoon red chili powder
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 tea spoon sugar
    • 5 ml. oil
    • Water. 
    Direction for preparing Tamarind Rice
    Step 1 
    • Wash tamarind and soak in 50ml. water for 10min.
    • Mash the soaked tamarind to pulp.
    • Pass the mashed tamarind through a sieve.
    • Discard the solid on the sieve and keep the pulp aside.
    • Pulp of tamarind is ready.
    Tamarind Pulp
      Step 2
      • Wash the rice and soak it in 200ml. water for 30 min.
      • Put the soaked rice in cooker along with the water used for soaking and close the lid.
      • Cook the rice on high flame till the pressure builds in the cooker.
      • Lower the flame when the pressure builds in the cooker and cook for 3-4 min. on low flame.
      • Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
      •  If the grain of cooked rice is sticking remove the rice from cooker and take the rice in a sieve and pass running water through rice and drain nicely.
      Boiled  Rice
        Step 3
        • Take 5ml. oil in a wok.
        • Heat it on high flame.
        • Fry ground nuts till light brown and remove the fried ground nuts and keep aside.
        • To the remaining hot oil add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
        • Add cumin seeds, curry leaves and red chilies.
        • Let the seeds of cumin splutter but they should not become black.
        • Add tamarind pulp, salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder and sugar.
        Tamarind pulp being cooked with seasoning
        • Cook for 1min. so that the mixture becomes thick but not dry.
        • Add cooked rice to the mixture in the wok and mix gently to make a homogeneous mixture of rice spices and tamarind.
        Rice being cooked with seasoning and Tamarind pulp
        • Add fried ground nuts and mix.
        • Cover and cook on low flame for 5 min. with occasional stirring.
        Tangy, spicy, and a hint of sweet tasting, tamarind rice is ready. Take out in a serving plate and garnish with grated fresh coconut. ( if fresh coconut is not available you can garnish with grated dry coconut), fresh green leaves of coriander. No accompaniment is required with tamarind rice but if your family insists serve papad with it
        Tamarind Rice
        • The mixture of tamarind pulp with spices can be made and kept in fridge for a week also, so for the ease of making tamarind rice you can make it and keep in the fridge.
        • You can use cashew, almonds also along with ground nuts or  replace  ground nut with cashew and almonds.
        • Tamarind mixture can be prepared and kept in fridge and used as and when required.
        • You can boil rice in a thick bottom pan also instead of cooker, I personally prefer pressure cooker as it is easy and fast.
        Suggested Variation:
        Ground nuts can be replaced by Cashew nuts / Almonds.
        Raisins can be added along with Ground nuts / Cashew nuts / Almonds. 

        Friday, 23 December 2011

        Mutton Biryani (Rice layered with Spicy Mutton)

        Mutton Biryani
        Most of the cooking is done by me now a days in pressure cooker on gas/cooking range, yet the sight of mutton biryani brings the old memories back when it used to be cooked in a big Degchi on coal stove with smoldering amber on the top of lid and we children used to wait patiently for the lid to be opened by my friends mom in most ceremonious manner, by first removing the ambers then removing the dough used for sealing and last lifting the lid slowly! There is no other word in my lexicon for this rice preparation except mouthwatering and lip smacking. It is said that to believe you have to see but in case of food eating is believing, so I encourage you to put some hard work and cook mutton Biryani. Goat meat being red meat is high on fat content and so not too good for people with high cholesterol and heart diseases. But nothing is too harmful if taken in moderation.

        Preparation Time: 30min. (Marinating time not included)
        Cooking Time: 60min.
        Servings: Makes 6 Large Servings.

        Ingredients required for making Mutton Biryani
        • 150gm.Basmati Rice.
        • 500gm. Mutton cut to pieces.
        • 8 cloves.
        • 2 Black Cardamoms.
        • 3-4 Green Cardamom. 
        • 1/2Teaspoon of Saffron.
        • 4 Petals of Star aniseed.
        • 2cm. Cinnamon sticks (two).
        • 50gm. Garlic Paste.
        • 50gm. Ginger Paste.
        • Red chili powder to taste.
        • Salt to taste.
        • 5mm. Piece of Nutmeg (grated)
        • 1kg Onions for mutton.
        • 2 medium size onions for frying.
        Onion slices
        • 15-20 Cashew
        • 20-30 Fresh Mint Leafs (made to coarse paste) and 10-15 mint leafs shredded.
          • 50-75 gm.Ghee
          • Water.
          Ingredients for Marinade
          • 200gm.Thick Curd.
          • 1/2 tea spoon Turmeric Powder.
          • 1 Tea spoon Red chili Powder.
          • 1 Pinch of Nutmeg Powder.
          • 50 gm. Garlic Paste.
          • 50gm. Ginger Paste.

          • 1 Tea spoon juice of Raw Papaya (optional).
          Marinade Ingredients
          Directions for making Marinade:
          • Take thick curd, garlic paste, ginger paste, nutmeg powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, and papaya juice (Optional) in a bowl.
          • Mix all ingredients to a creamy consistency by beating them with a spoon/fork.
          •  Marinade is ready to be used.
          Directions to make Mutton Biryani
          Step 1.
          • Wash the rice in running water and soak it in water for 30min.
          • Wash mutton pieces in running water and drain them of excess of water.
          • Take washed and drained mutton pieces in a bowl and coat each piece with the marinade.
          • Keep aside for marinating for minimum 2-3 hrs.
          •  Soak saffron in 10 ml. water.
          • Cut 2 onions thin, long and fry them to light brown color and keep aside.
          •  Fry 2-3 whole green chilies and keep aside.
          Fried Onion slices and green chilli

          Step 2.
          • Take the fat and few small pieces and bones of mutton in a thick bottom pan.
          • Add 4 cloves, one 2cm. stick of cinnamon, I black cardamom, 2 petals of aniseed and salt.
          • Add 300ml. of water cover.
          • Keep it on high flame and boil.
          • Once the water starts boiling lower the flame and let it simmer till the water reduces to 200ml. (It will take approx.. 15min.).
          • Cool it and sieve the stock. Keep the stock aside for cooking the rice.
          Mutton Stock
          Step 4.
          • Drain water from  the soaked rice. 
          • Take drained rice in a thick bottom pan and add the stock of mutton, little salt (to taste).
          • Cover and cook till the rice is partially cooked.
          • Remove from gas and allow it to cool.
          • The grain of partially cooked rice should separate from each other.
          • If the rice grain are sticking to one another then wash hot rice in running water and spread to cool. The picture of cooked rice is to show how rice should be after cooking. It was cooked in water for vegetable biryani. The rice cooked in stock will be yellowish in color. But the texture will be same.
          Partially cooked Rice
          Step 5.
          • When the partially cooked rice is cooled divide it into three equal portions and keep aside.
          Step 6.
          • Cut  Onions to thin long slices.
          Onions for Gravy
          • Take 20 gm. ghee. 
          • When the Ghee is hot add 4 cloves, 2 petals of star aniseed, I black cardamom, one 2 cm. cinnamon stick, grated nutmeg piece, and cook for 30sec.
          • Add cut onions and cook till they are brown in color.
          • Add 1 tea spoon Garlic paste and 1 tea spoon Ginger paste and cook for 1 min.
          Onions and ginger garlic paste cooked for mutton
          • Add tomato , chopped coriander leafs  and cook for a minute.
          Tomato, coriander leafs added
          • Add 
            • Red chili powder 
            • Mint paste and cook for 1 minute with regular stirring
          Fresh Coriander and Mint added to Onions
          • Add marinated mutton and cook on medium heat with occasional stirring for 15-20 minutes or till the mutton gets cooked.
          Mutton added and mixed
          • Cover and cook for 5 min. Mutton should have a very thick gravy.
          Mutton For Biryani
            • Remove from gas and cool.
            • Divide into two equal portions.
              Step 7.
              • Take a 10ml ghee in a thick bottom pan or pressure cooker / oven proof container.
              • Put a layer of cooked rice and pat gently.
              layer of rice over ghee
              •  Put layer of mutton with the gravy on the top of rice layer.
              First layer of Mutton over rice
              • Put 1/3part of fried onions on the top of mutton.
              • Put another layer of rice and pat gently.
              • Put the remainder mutton and it’s gravy on the top of rice layer.
              • With the third portion of rice make the final layer of rice.
              First layer of Mutton over rice
              • Spread the remaining mint leafs after shreddind and chili on the rice layer.
              • Pour the 15-20 gm of ghee / 10-15 ml. oil over the last layer of rice.
              • Spread saffron water over the rice laye. (Optional)
              Final layer of rice on the top sprinkled with shredded mint and chilli
              • Cover the pan / pressure cooker / Oven proof container. (If you are using pan then seal it with wheat dough / oven proof container can be seal packed with Aluminum foil).
              • Keep on low flame for 30-40 min.over a thick iron plate (tawa) 
              Sealed and being cooked 
              • Remove from gas and allow the steam to settle.
              •  Mutton biryani is ready.
              Mutton Biryani
              •   Take out biryani in a Rice serving dish and garnish with fried Almonds and Cashew nuts and fried onions.
              Mutton Biryani
              • Biryani's best companions are Curd/raita/Pickles and papad.
              • If you want to shorten the procedure then you can omit making the mutton stock and cook rice in excess water and when rice is partially cooked drain the excess of water.
              • I personally prefer making mutton stock and cooking rice in it as rice gets rich flavor of mutton when cooked in mutton stock.
              • Raw papaya juice enhances the cooking of mutton and reduces cooking time.
              • Make sure the partially cooked grains of rice are well separated.
              • Use ghee as the flavor of mutton biryani comes best with ghee (clarified butter).
              • Saffron adds distinct color and flavor to the biryani.
              Suggested Variations:
              • Layering of rice and mutton can be done in a pressure cooker and then cooked without putting gasket on the lid. Just weight on the lid. Keep this cooker on the tawa and cook over low heat.
              • Finely cut almond, cashew nuts pistachios can also be used for layering along with mutton and fried onions.
              • The ratio of mutton to rice is 2:1, if so desired you can increase the rice ratio.

              Thursday, 22 December 2011

              Chicken Biryani (Rice layered with spicy chicken)

              Chicken Biryani
              Chicken Biryani is the famous Mugalai, rice and chicken preparation. Hyderabad and Lucknow are famous for Mughal food and biryani is one of them. Being a hostelite I used to be invited for lunch / dinner at my friends place whenever in her house biryani was cooked. The wonderful smell from the kitchen used to double my appetite and the delicious taste used to make me eat till my stomach would start protesting. What a wonderful gesture my friend’s mom used to make, by packing it for my dinner also.  To my friends who love cooking and eating, this rice preparation does take time and efforts. But then good things come with hard work.

              Preparation Time: 30 min.
              Cooking Time : 3 hrs maximum
              Servings: 6 Large Sevings
              Ingredients required for Chicken Biryani
              • 500gm.Dressed Chicken cut to pieces.
              • 200gm. Basmati Rice.
              • 500gm.Onions. (400gm. Finely cut and 50 gm. Cut to thin long slices).
              • 50gm.Garlic Paste.
              • 50gm.Ginger Paste.
              • 1/4 Tea spoon Black cumin seeds (Sah jeera).
              • 4-5 Cloves.
              • 2 Black Cardamoms.
              • 4 Green Cardamoms.
              • 3cm. Cinnamon Stick.
              • 4 Bay leaves.
              • 2-3 Petals of Star aniseed.
              • 10-15 gm. Garam masala
              • 1/2Teaspoon saffron
              • 10-15 Cashew nuts
              • 50ml.Ghee(clarified butter) / cooking oil.
              • Red chili powder to taste.
              • Salt to taste.
              • Water.
              Ingredients required for Marinade
              • 100gm. Thick Curd.
              • 1/4 Tea spoon Turmeric powder.
              • 1 Pinch of Nutmeg powder.
              • 10gm. Ginger Paste.
              • 10gm. Garlic Paste.
              • 1/4 Tea spoon Red chili powder.
              • 15-20 Fresh Mint Leafs crushed to coarse paste
              Coarse Paste of Mint leafs
              Directions for Marinating the Chicken
              • Wash the chicken pieces and drain.
              • Mix 
                • Curd, turmeric powder, 
                • Nutmeg powder, 
                • Ginger paste, garlic paste, 
                • Chili powder, 
                • Paste of Mint leafs and beat with a spoon. Marinade is ready.
              • Prick the chicken pieces with a fork.
              • Coat the chicken pieces with the marinade.
              • Cover and keep aside for at least 3-4hrs.
              Directions for making Biryani
               Step 1.
              • Wash the skin and neck/wing portion of chicken which is left after dressing the chicken with a mixture of fresh lemon juice and water.
              • Take the washed skin, and neck/wing portion in a pan and add 300ml. water 2cloves, 2-3cm. cinnamon stick, 1/2 tea spoon salt and boil for 15min.
              • Filter the mixture through a sieve.
              • Discard the skin and pieces and keep aside the liquid.
              • 200 ml.Chicken stock is ready.
                Step 2. 
              • Soak saffron in 20ml luke warn water. 
              saffron soaking in water
              • Wash and soak rice in 200ml. water for 30min.
              • Drain the water from the soaked rice.
              • Discard the water. In any case it will not be too much
              • Add 1/2 Tea spoon salt and the chicken stock.( Made in step 1) and 200 ml water.
              • Cook the rice in a thick bottom container till it is almost done but not completely cooked.
              Rice Cooking In Chicken Stock
              • Drain excess of water and keep the partially cooked rice aside.
              • The grains of partially cooked rice should not be sticking to each other but should be separated from each other separated.
              • If you feel they are sticking then pass running water through the partially cooked rice when it is hot.
              • Mix thye Partially cooked rice with Saffron water. if any string of saffron are undissolved add them also in rice.
              • Keep aside for further use.
              Partially Cooked Rice mixed with Saffron
               Step 3.
              • Take 15ml. Ghee/oil in a wok and heat.
              • Break open black cardamoms.
              • When the oil is smoking hot lower the flame, add 2 bay leaves, 2-3 cloves, black cardamoms, cinnamon stick, and cook for 30sec.
              • Add finely cut onions and cook on low flame till golden brown.
              • Add garlic paste and cook for one min.
              • Add ginger paste and cook for 1min.
              • Add marinated chicken and mix thoroughly.
              • Add salt, chili powder to taste and mix.
              • Add garam masala and mix.
              • Cook on low flame with regular stirring for 5min.
              • Add 250ml. of water, mix and cover.
              • Cook on low flame for 10 min. with occasional stirring.
              • Remove the wok from gas.The chicken should be just done not over cooked.
              Step 4.
              • Take 10ml. ghee /oil in a thick pan and heat.
              • When the ghee/ oil is hot add 2 bay leaves, 2-3 cloves, green cardamoms, Shah jeera, nutmeg powder and cook for 30 seconds
              • Remove and keep aside in a bowl.
              • Seasoning is ready.
              • Fry slices of onion and cashew to golden brown color. keep aside.
              • Divide the rice into three equal portions.
              • Take10ml ghee/oil in a thick bottom pan or pressure cooker heat till warm.
              Ghee st the bttom layer
              • Remove from gas and put an inch thick layer of one portion of rice mixture on the top of ghee/ oil and pat slightly.
              • Divide the chicken with gravy into two portions.
              • Spread one portion of chicken on the rice layer.
              First Layer of Chicken Over Rice
              • Spread the second portion of rice on the chicken layer.
              Secon Layer of Rice Over Chicken
              • Spread the second layer of chicken over the rice layer.
              Chicken over Second Layer Of Rice
              • Cover the chicken layer with last portion of rice by spreading the rice mixture evenly.
              Second Layer of Chicken Covered With Rice Layer
              • Spread the seasoning prepared in step4  and Golden brown fried onion slices on the top of the last rice layer.
                Final Layer Of Rice Sprinkled with Seasoning and Fried Onions
              • Put 2-3 teaspoon of ghee on the top. (Optinal)
              Ghee spread at the top before baking
              • Cover the pan with a lid and seal with wheat dough.
              • Place a heavy iron plate on gas and keep the pan with chicken and rice on it. Cook for 15-20 min. on low flame. (If the whole material is taken in a baking dish then it can be baked in preheated oven at 150oC for 30 min.).
              Sealed before baking
              Biryani Baking
              • Remove from heat/ oven and let it cool for 10min.
              • Open the lid take out chicken biryani in a serving plate, garnish with golden brown fried onion, Cashew nuts and fresh coriander leafs. Serve hot.
              Chicken Biryani With Boondi raita
              • Those who do not like to make stock can cook rice in water but the flavor of chicken in rice comes out best when rice is cooked in chicken stock.
              • Those who do not want to use skin for making stock can use only neck and wing portion to make the stock.
              Suggested Variations:
              • Instead of baking or using a thick bottom pan biryani can be made in cooker also.
              • If making in cooker then do not put he gasket (rubber ring), put the lid with weight and place the cooker on the tawa over the low heat.
              • The skin brings enough fat in stock, which gives very good flavor and texture to the biryani, yet those who bare averse to skin can use only wings and neck portion to make the stock.
              • if stock is not made then plain water can be used to cook the rice.


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