Thursday, June 9, 2016

Kofta Biryani

A special occasion tradition that we like to have once a while even when there is nothing in particular to celebrate. Whilst the recipe is the same whether I cook it with lamb or chicken, this smoke kofta version is my favourite. Smoked anything is a favourite of mine really.  
Then there is the kofta. Everyone's family has a delicious biryani recipe.  But that doesn't mean I can't start that tradition with my own little family. This recipe is definitely a keeper and one I hope will evolve into an heirloom recipe. It is requested often and I have a feeling it will be one of the first recipes I lovingly hand down to my own children when they head off to greener pastures. 

Ingredients (serves 4)
oil, for deep frying
1kg (2lb) onions, finely sliced
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 cardamom pods
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2·5cm (1in) piece ginger, grated
250ml (8fl oz) tomato paste
75ml (3fl oz) yoghurt, whipped
1 tbsp brown sugar, plus 1 tsp extra
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
4 tbsp fresh coriander, leaves picked and chopped
pickled onions, to serve
raita, to serve
For the koftas
300g (10oz) beef mince
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2·5cm (1in) piece ginger, grated
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
For the rice
350g (12oz) basmati rice, rinsed and soaked
1 cardamom pod
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp saffron
20 minutes preparation time and 2 hours cooking time
1. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan. Deep-fry the onions, in batches, over a medium heat, until golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper, using a fork to separate any clumps (this will help keep them crispy). Repeat with the remaining onions and set aside, until needed. Using the same oil, deep-fry the potatoes over a medium heat until cooked through and golden. Drain on paper towel and set aside, until needed.
2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Meanwhile, make the koftas by mixing the mince, garlic, ginger, chilli powder and 2 tbsp water, until combined. Season well. Roll the mixture into small balls around 2.5cm (1in) in diameter and drop into the boiling water. Cook for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside. For the rice, bring another pan of salted water to the boil and drop in a cardamom pod. Cook the rice following the packet instructions, then drain. Leave for around 20 minutes, until dry.
3. Put the 2 tbsp milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Crush the saffron in a pestle and mortar and add it to the milk. Heat in the microwave for 20 seconds, then pour it over the dry rice; fluff with a fork. Set aside.
4. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the 3 tbsp sunflower oil over a medium heat and add the cloves, cinnamon stick, turmeric and cardamom pods. When the cardamom pods have puffed up, add the garlic, ginger and tomato paste. Add three quarters of the fried onions to the pan (reserving the rest to garnish), crushing them a little with a spoon, until they melt into the mixture.
5. Add 300ml (½pt) water and cook, partially covered, over a low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes. Add the yogurt and sugar; stir until combined. Add another 300ml (½pt) of water and simmer, covered, over a low heat for 30 minutes more (adding more water, if needed). Add the fried potatoes and koftas for the last 10 minutes of cooking, making sure not to stir it too much otherwise the koftas will break up.
6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to gas 3, 170°C, fan 150°C. Layer up the kofta mixture and rice in a deep, ovenproof dish. Start with a thin layer of gravy and koftas, followed by the rice, a handful of the reserved crispy onions, mint and coriander. Repeat, until everything has been used up, making sure the top layer is rice. Scatter over the remaining crispy onion, then cover with a lid or foil and smoke it with charcoal before sealing, cook bake for 20 minutes. Serve the biryani with pickled onions and raita.

Pancakes with honey and mascarpone cheese

Our summer has finally come to an end. It's been long and eventful. Filled with lots of travel, family visits, and reunions. And work too amongst all the play. We are celebrating Ramadhan. A few birthdays were dotted along the way. We ate a lot.

We visited the beautiful city of Sydney. One of the most amazing places I've been to. That's when I realised how much I missed raw nature, the countryside, seafood, the mountains and rain. Yes, rain. And fog. And that light! Sydney has amazing light. And beautiful sky. Always a beautiful shade of blue.. When its not rainiing (pun intended).  Haa haa

And the best part of the summer holidays- long and leisurely breakfasts. We had eggs every way possible- baked, fried. Ofcourse scrambled ones always made it on the top of the list. They're just the way I like it.  
But what we all did agree on and always have is, pancakes. They're usually the Saturday pancake kind. Standard batter but different toppings. Hershey's Chocolate syrup kids, Honey for me, Nutella for everyone. They loved it with peanut butter, cream, banana, walnuts you name it. Oh, and additional sprinkles for the kids. 

These are a slight variation though, semolina pancakes. I first had these in dubai at Al-barsha . I was smitten, still am actually.

They smothered theirs in honey butter. I decided to fill mine with honey sweetened instead. We were just leisuring actually so its seemed only appropriate. They went down well, really well actually. Although the kids would have preferred to have their topped with sprinkles. 
Pancakes with Honey
250g (8oz) fine semolina
2 tsp flour
1 tsp instant yeast

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp sugar

480ml (16fl oz) warm milk

500g (16oz) mascarpone cheese

4 tbsp honey, plus extra to serve
butter, for greasing
pistachio nuts, to serve

In a large bowl, combine the semolina, flour, yeast, baking powder and sugar. Put the milk in a blender and add the dry ingredients. Whizz until the pancake mixture is combined and no lumps remain. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave in a warm, dry place for 45 minutes, until slightly risen and bubbles have formed on the surface.
Meanwhile, whisk the mascarpone with the honey and set aside. When you are ready to cook, whisk the pancake mixture – it should be the consistency of double cream. If it is too thick, add a little water.
Put a large nonstick pan over medium heat and grease with butter. Ladle some batter into the pan, tilting and swirling it around for an even layer. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the bottom is set and many bubbles have formed on top. Using a fish slice, remove the pancake from the pan and set aside on a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter.
To serve, drizzle with a little more honey and scatter over the raisins, almond flakes.
Makes about 40 pancakes.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Next chapter of my life

LIfe, Dubai, Burj Khalifa, ParisRemember me? How are you, dear followers? Drop me a line so it doesn't feel like shouting out into empty space. I've missed blogging, and hope to get back to it, but I see a few of you have left, there are plenty new faces around, and the blogging world is still its fiiiiiine self.

 It has taken me much longer to get back to blogging this time around. And I have my reasons for it. Some of them justified and some not so. Also, when I saw that my last post was more than 10 months ago, and that too not much of a post, I seriously considered if I even want to continue at all.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Easy sugar cookies.

I feel like the sugar cookie is something that, for the most part, everyone loves.  Some people have different aversions when it comes to things like oatmeal raisin (raisins?  ew!) or chocolate chip (some like thick and fluffy, others like thin and "greasy"), but no one can really complain when it comes to good 'ole plain sugar cookies.

I like my sugar cookies thick, fluffy, chewy and soft. I played around with the proportions and ingredients  and settled on the recipe below.

I love mine with some almond flavoring, but you could definitely flavor these to your liking.  I love the twist that almond extract gives these cookies, but using another extract won't affect the texture of the cookie.

 Easy sugar cookies, Best cookies, M&M cookies, Almond cookies, Quick Cookies, Mothers Recipe Cookies, Grandmoms secret cookies recipe, gangnam style

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dahl Or Lentil Soup.

Lentil soup as it is popularly known here.. Arabs love it. My neighbor whose an Arab loves it, she learn't the recipe from me and makes it often..  Like many of you, I currently don't live where I spent my childhood. Dubai is what I currently call home. My family and friends are all back home..
But still I have managed to make unbreakable bonds and loving relationships in just 3 years...

Dahl or Lentil Soup, Daal, Health food,Simple cooking, Arabic cousine, Arabs love it, Comfort food, India
This is where I have made my home, my family. We moved to this apartment when three years ago when it was just a shell. With time, we have filled it up with furniture, love, memories and a growing family. And wonderful aromas of baking, play kitchen and a little bundle of joy cooing and crawling along....

Learning and sharing new and old treasured recipes is what i like the most... collecting and sharing.
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