Cooking| Katchi Biryani … perhaps Hyderabads most renowned biryani

“Biryani is often called India’s signature dish”
Pratibha Karan

Katchi BiryaniThis was an opportunity I wasn’t going to miss. It took a little organising. Mr PAB had to come in early from work to get the kids off the school bus. I had to bake like a mad hatter all morning for the next day was an early  soccer match {read 7.30am reporting time…brrrr}, yet I HAD to be attend the event. It was a demo workshop for Pratibha Karans delicious Indian cookbook, simply called – BIRYANI!biryaniI remember twisting my younger sisters arm almost a decade ago to buy me Pratibha Karans earlier book Hyderabadi cuisine – A Princely Legacy, which at the time cost a princely sum. It is entirely worth owning. Every picture in that cookbook is royal, the commentary steeped in history and culture. Pretty as can be crockery and tableware, with ancient bric-a-brac, used in the photographs, A Princely Legacy is worth every page. I have cooked  from it often, had many questions for the ‘biryani expert’ … which is why I HAD to get to this biryani workshop.Pratibha Karan, BiryaniWith such delicious thoughts in my muddled head, I hopped into a cab and was driven 25 miles in horrid traffic to get to the demo. The event was organised by Perfect Relations & Random House, hosted at  Godrej Nature’s Basket in Defence Colony, South Delhi.

The biryani is India’s most beloved dish — one that has spread to all the four corners of the country and assumed many forms. It originated in the Mughal courts, flowering in the jagirs of Awadh, and it is in Lucknow, Delhi and the small Muslim principalities of north India that one finds the classic versions, subtle, refined, and delicately flavoured. Pratibha Karan gives us not just the definitive recipes from these regions but unearths rare and old dishes such as a biryani made with oranges, Rose Biryani and Kebab Biryani. In the south, the biryani has an equally distinguished lineage, if not more so. There are the blueblooded biryanis of Hyderabad which include gems such as the Doodh ki Biryani, Keeme ki biryani and Bater ki biryani. Away from the royal courts, the biryani has adapted itself into a spicy local delicacy in Tamil Nadu, with many towns like Salem, Aambur, Dindigul boasting of their own signature version of the dish.

Katchi BiryaniPratibha Karan shared lesser known tips of biryani making with patrons of Godrej Nature’s Basket, and took them through the evolution of this mouth watering delight. She offered a blend of culinary, cultural and historical insights of this much loved dish, and shared her ‘Qabooli’ recipe {a vegetarian biryani} with special tips thrown in. The only disappointment was that there was no live cooking demo, which most patrons who attended the workshop expected. Else, it was a pleasure to hear her talk, to feel her passion for biryani and food culture, her eyes glistening with joy. She took questions from curious and enthusiastic foodies, guided them towards making the perfect biryani, sharing her expertise large heartedly. Armed with a copy of her book that Random House generously gave me, I left the workshop feeling uber-confident, ready to win the battle of biryani. {For those who are vegetarians, the book offers a number of delectable vegetarian biryani recipes too}.

Katchi BiryaniIt was just a matter of time and I got myself geared for the challenge. A challenge because I have had some miserable biryani failures of late, and have been cooling my heels on this particular front! I read the book cover to cover, wanted to try so many, and then finally settled for the Katchi Biryani, katchi meaning raw. In the authors words, “This is perhaps Hyderabad’s most renowned biryani. Both the rice and the meat are layered in an almost raw form in the pan. Therein lies it’s unbelievable magic. Many claim Katchi Biryani is th ultimate biryani dish”.Pratibha Karan, BiryaniI was sold, and just had to try my hand at the magic. I reduced the papaya marginally as I marinated the lamb overnight. I planned to ‘throw‘ together my biryani with minimal fuss the next afternoon, after returning from soccer, which is exactly how it went. Good planning {pat myself on the back}, it was a fuss free experience, and we waited with baited breath to see the outcome. Katchi BiryaniIt didn’t disappoint at all. My word, the aroma was great, each grain of rice was separate … I was walking on clouds. Mr PAB exclaimed it was the best ever; he had waited for this for 20 years! Wait no longer. Give this a go. After I made it and got it right, I did read a review on the web to say this was a fiddly biryani to get right. Maybe I’m plain lucky, or maybe I’ve ‘arrived’ on the biryani scene. Whichever way, this was a meal in itself, full of flavour, each grain of rice separate {test of a good biryani}, and tasted even better the next day!

Katchi BiryaniKatchi Biryani
FromBiryani’ by Pratibha Karan, pg 76
This is perhaps Hyderabad’s most renowned biryani. Both the rice and the meat are layered in an almost raw form in the pan. Therein lies it’s unbelievable magic. Many claim Katchi Biryani is th ultimate biryani dish.
Preparation: 25-30 minutes
Marination Time: 5-6 hours
Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves 8-10
1kg mutton, mix of medium pieces from shoulder, and chops
1tbsp ginger paste
1 1/2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp raw papaya paste {skin & pulp ground fine together}
‘A
4 onions, finely sliced {about 300gms}
15 green chillies, ground {I used 3 chopped, and 2 whole}
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp garam masala
500gm yogurt, whisked
Juice of 3 limes
650gm long grain rice {I used basmati}
A liberal pinch of saffron soaked in 1/2 cup warm milk
2 tbsp ghee
150ml refined oil
Salt to taste
Katchi BiryaniMethod:
Wash the mutton, and drain well. Add ginger, garlic and papaya paste to the mutton, and rub in well. Set aside.
Heat 150ml oil, and fry the sliced onions in this until golden brown. remove from oil, cool a little, and then crush by hand.
Add the crushed fried onions, remaining oil that the onions were fried in, and the remaining ingredients of ‘A’ to the meat. Add salt to taste, mix well and leave to marinate for 5-6 hours. {I reduced the papaya paste by a 1/4 tbsp, and left my meat to marinate in the fridge overnight}
Rice
Wash the rice well. Soak for 20minutes. bring 3 1/2 ltrs of water with salt and 1 tsp oil to a boil. Once the water bbegins boiling, add the rice and cook for about 3 minutes, until 20% done. Drain immediately, and transfer rice to a flat pan.
Assemble & serve:
Transfer the marinated meat to a heavy bottomed large pan, and place over high heat. Stir until it comes to a boil, then cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Add a cup of water, and when it comes to a boil again, lower the heat and spread the partially cooked rice over the meat in a uniform layer. Cover with a tight fitting lid, and place a heavy weight/ stone over it to prevent the steam from escaping. Cook on ‘dum‘ for about half an hour. {I cooked mine for 25 minutes}.
Open lid, sprinkle the saffron milk over the rice, dot with the ghee, and cover once again with a tight fitting lid. Cook on very low heat for about 15 minutes, until the rice and meat are done and steaming hot. {I did the second 15 minutes of ‘dum’ cooking with a griddle under the pan. }
To serve, take out the biryani in large chunks from the sides without mixing to retain it’s multi-hued glory. Serve steaming hot.
Note: I grind a small green papaya, skin included, and freeze it in an ice tray. I keep the frozen cubes in a zipbag, and use 1 cube for 1 tbsp when required.

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥
Katchi Biryani

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Mushroom Soup, Fougasse, Char-grilled Broccoli Salad… & Holiday Gift Ideas!

“I live on good soup, not on fine words”
Moliere
It’s time for a savoury break… short & crisp recipe as most of my family has been bitten by the flu bug. We have a house full of sniffles & coughs, and this soup is the call of today. This is also my Mom’s fave soup which she now makes more often than me. I put together this simple recipe ages ago, yet had to call her for the recipe yesterday because amnesia struck me!!


It’s off for Meeta’s Monthly Mingle which is rightfully calling for warming soups this time. I think I am just about making it in the nick of time. The mingle this month is being hosted by SunshineMom @ TongueTicklers. I used some wonderful superfood milled nut flour in the soup, which I got from my FBC09 goodie bag. This Linswood milled nut flour is about the most versatile superfood I have come across. easy to use & a great larder necessity, I find myself reaching out for it all the time.

I used it here in this wonderful French Fougasse, a beautiful bread which has become a firm favourite in our house. I make this bread often, with different fillings to keep the monotony at bay.… This time it had a little lingering taste of the milled nut flour within, and the filling was of roasted red bell pepper, mature cheddar cheese and chopped walnuts. You can find a Red Bell Pepper, Walnut & Gouda French Fougasse recipe here, & a French Fougasse with Ricotta, Walnuts & Romesco here. I brushed the top of one loaf with sea salt, and used roasted sesame seeds for the other.

Our meal was yummier with the addition of this beautiful , deep flavoured char grilled broccoli salad from a book that my sweet friend Hilda of SaffronBerry recently gifted me in London, the Ottolenghi – The Cookbook. I have been eyeing that salad from day 1, and today was just the right day to make it. I will share the recipe at a later date… but here is a picture of how robust and delicious broccoli can get!

Quick Mushroom Soup
Ingredients:
200gms button mushrooms, sliced
2 spring onion, chopped with greens
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp butter
250ml cold milk
1 tbsp cornflour
250ml chicken/vegetable stock; or milk (I used milk this time)
Dash of cream
1-2 tbsps milled nut seeds, optional
Salt and pepper to tateMethod:
Saute onions and garlic in butter til they become translucent. Add mushrooms and stir fry till they release thier liquid
Dissolve the cornflour in cold milk and add to above, stirring constantly till it begins to thicken.
Add chicken or vegetable stock and stir till comes to a simmering boil.
You can grate some cheese in if you like, or add a dash of cream/half and half if you like. Season with salt and pepper.
Cool and blend with immersion blewnder to keep slightly chunky consistency.
Before serving, heat through, add a tbsp or 2 of milled flour seeds. This adds a wonderful nutty texture and flavour.
Serve hot with a swirl of cream, sprig of fresh basil and wholewheat, oven baked croutons.

Oven baked croutons

Cube 2 slices of whole wheat bread, toss in 1 tbsp of olive oil / canola oil, 1 tbsp of milled nut seed flour, and a dash of salt. Make sure it is mixed well. Bake at 180C for 10 minutes till crisp and golden. Cool and store in an airtight box.
♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥


I’d like to offer some holiday gift suggestions too for a season which is full of the spirit of goodness, joy & sharing. It has been my ultimate pleasure to work with BloggerAid for the following cookbook which has now become a reality. It’s a wonderful book to gift for the holiday season, more so because 100% of the proceeds from sales will go to the UN World Food Programme. About the book…


Available from createspace at https://www.createspace.com/3405882.

Recipes from bloggers around the world making a difference By BloggerAid-CFF, Rhonda Renee, Mark Haak, Peter Georgakopoulos, Deeba Rajpal

Food does not simply nourish the body; food also celebrates what makes the world diverse, as well as, what unites us. The BloggerAid Cook Book is a collection of international recipes illustrating that we can work together and unite for a greater cause. The authors of this cookbook are food bloggers from around the world who have endeavored to make a difference by raising funds for the World Food Programme and encompassing their passion for “all things foodie” at the same time. Through these recipes they share their traditions and insatiable curiosity about new flavours. They pay tribute to the home cooking of our grandmothers, while celebrating the exoticism and richness of a world brought closer together by their hopes to make a difference. With recipes such as Tomato-Cheese Ravioli with Eggplant Sauce, Spicy Serundeng Tuna and Peanuts, Serrano Ham Paella with Oyster Mushrooms, Raspberry Mascarpone Bites and Triple Layer Orange-Passion Fruit Tart we are doing our part to say that bloggers can change the face of famine.

We chose the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) to receive the funds generated by the cookbook because of the wonderful work this organization does. The WFP has touched the lives of our members, many of whom are from countries where poverty is often a way of life. More specifically, 100% of BloggerAid’s proceeds from the cookbook will benefit the WFP’s School Meals Programme, which benefits an average of 22 million hungry children each year. School meals are important on many levels. In countries where school attendance is low, the promise of at least one nutritious meal each day boosts enrollment and promotes regular attendance.

This book is a virtual way for all of us, wherever we may be and however rich or poor we may be, to pull up a chair at the same table and share what we have.

Publication Date: Nov 10 2009
ISBN/EAN13: 1449561926 / 9781449561925
Page Count: 224
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 8″ x 10″
Language: English
Color: Full Color
Related Categories: Cooking / General

I was thrilled to see the BloggerAid Cookbook being offered by Meeta @ What’s For Lunch Honey as part of her bidding package for Menu For Hope. Do stop by at WFLH to see what more the package includes… you will not be disappointed!


A few days ago I was pleasantly surprised to receive a beautiful package ,via Val’s blog More Than Burnt Toast which had an assortment of pretty glass bottles filled with spice blends. They are from an artisanal food company, ‘Made With Love, whose product range includes ‘Spice Blends and Delectable Edibles‘. Made with Love is a family run business with a back to basics focus on integrity, insight and simplicity. We create our Spice Blends & Delectable Edibles from whole dried foods blended and packaged with care and attention to detail.

It was a beautiful gift to receive. Do stop by and take a look at what they have to offer. Their vision and commitment reflects that they work hard to source earth-safe packaging and organic materials.


Another great gift idea for foodies would be this excellent cookbook software from The Cookbook People. I received my own copy of this fantastic software from BloggerAid for winning an in house competition, and am really enjoying building my own cookbook page by page. The cookbook people are “committed to helping families keep their cherished recipes, so they designed their own family cookbook software. Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software prints your home-made family cookbooks. One copy…or as many copies as you want. Whenever YOU want. Because you make it yourself on your own computer!”

If you like, you could even add on a recipe binder or recipe box!


There is always place for yet another cookbook on our already stuffed bookshelves. One book I have immensely enjoyed reading, drooling over & planning to cook from is the ‘Ottolenghi – The Cookbook’ that Hilda gave me. It’s a book from the heart. It has history, it has stories, it has beautiful pictures & it has the ‘pick me up & cook‘ urgency in it! (I just cooked from it this afternoon; a char grilled broccoli salad … irresistible!)

In the author’s words “The Cookbook is our first attempt at “summing up” Ottolenghi food for the home cook. The 140 recipes cover everything we do: our prominent salads and roast vegetable dishes, cold meat and fish, substantial main courses from our dinner menu in Islington, some of our wholesome breads and savoury pastries, and a good mixture of the sweets that distinctively adorn Ottolenghi’s windows. We encourage you to use this open window into our world.


My last gift suggestion for today is a blend of foodie goodies like what we got in out goodie bags at the FBC09. Linswood has a wonderful array of super foods on offer. Throw into the bag some matured cheddar cheese, some quality organic olives, some Maldon sea salt, & you will be thanked forever!

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THE BLOGGERAID COOKBOOK … a cookbook with a heart!

Bloggers Uniting to Aid in the Alleviation of Hunger…

We’ve been at it for a while. It all began with 2 wonderful, large hearted and fabulous ladies who joined forces in aid of world hunger. Val @ More Than Burnt Toast & Giz @ Equal Opportunity Kitchen began weaving a dream, an almost impossible dream, but hey, they did it! They focused on expanding their message and how to help others in need, in this worldwide crisis of world hunger. Val & Giz launched BloggerAid, and united a band of bloggers from across the globe, inspiring us to create & contribute original recipes for a cookbook.
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Now finally, after many months of editing, checking, re-editing, designing covers, giving suggestions, voting on the cover etc, we are excited. The members of BloggerAid-Changing the Face of Famine, have published a cookbook where 100% of the proceeds target children and education through the World Food Programme called School Meals. Purchases can be made by clicking here.
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Do you like the book cover? (I am editing my post to reflect Giz’s comment.) Actually, the idea for the ‘globe nestled in a pair of small hands’ for the cover was one I suggested much earlier during the design stage. I was amazed at the response & passion it evoked at the time. Was even more ecstatitic to know that it finally won in the voting stage by a large margin. The photographs for the cover (this one & the other proposed one) were both taken by a fabulous Sydney lifestyle blogger, Peter G of Souvlaki For The Soul. He is an extremely talented food blogger and photographer.

The BloggerAid-Changing the Face of Famine Cookbook is now available through the Create Space estore. The estore is a connection of Amazon. You won’t find the book on the Amazon.com site – royalties for the School Meals Programme are much higher through the estore. The children need as much support as we can give them!!!

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This side, ‘Oven Roasted Baby Potatoes & French Beans’ was my contribution to BloggerAid for our special cookbook. There are exciting recipes from across the globe to be found within this beautiful book. The BloggerAid Cook Book is a collection of international recipes illustrating that we can work together and unite for a greater cause. The over 130 authors of this cookbook are food bloggers from around the world who have endeavored to make a difference by raising funds for the World Food Programme and encompassing their passion for “all things foodie” at the same time.
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We are a growing group of international food bloggers determined to make a difference in aid of world famine. The love of food and community that brings us together drives the compassion of its members to reach out to our world to help those less fortunate than we are. Banded by a mission of helping to make a change in a world where starvation affects such a profound number of people, we will raise money and awareness for the hungry in communities both at home and abroad.
Want to join in? Check out the link here.
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100% of BloggerAid-CFF’s proceeds from the cookbook will be sent directly to the WFP’s School Meals Programme, which benefits an average of 22 million hungry children each year. School meals are important on many levels. In countries where school attendance is low, the promise of at least one nutritious meal each day boosts enrollment and promotes regular attendance. Our children are the key to a better future.
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In Val’s words… This book is a virtual way for all of us, wherever we may be and however rich or poor we may be, to pull up a chair at the same table and share what we have. Click here to buy The BloggerAid Changing the Face of Famine Cookbook.
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