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gluten free

“Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey.”
Eli Brown

Bhune Murgh ki Biryani  … fragrant, rich, flavoursome yet very homey. This one pot layered biryani was indeed a surprise, a biryani that cooked up quiet well for once. I have a love/hate relationship with making biryanis, often ending up in a puddle of tears. They never come out the way I’d like them to look and taste, and I had all but given up. This one recipe has given me immense confidence!It’s thanks to this cookbook from Notion Press, A Culinary Journey for the Love of Biryani, that I tasted success. Yet I want to talk about Notion Press first as they offer the novel concept of self publishing in India. It is startups like these that are changing the way books are created. Notion Press is a publishing platform for authors from India that helps create, publish, and distribute print and eBooks. In an attempt to make publishing as easy as possible, they offer a variety of customized publishing solutions. I’m already tempted to say the least, but now, back to the cookbook on hand.I love the feel of a good cookbook and the cover image and design had me immediately interested. Don’t judge a book by the cover they might say, but that’s exactly what I did. It’s a warm , yet beautifully styled cover which tells the story to perfection, spices and all. I couldn’t find credits for the image {maybe I missed it}, but I sorely missed more images within. A single image is not enough to whet my visual appetite…The paper feels good. Quality is important and it’s been taken care of well. The biryani cookbook offers over 100 ‘tantalizing’ recipes, and I have to agree since what I cooked was very promising indeed. Co-authored by Tanuj Singh and Varuna Mathur, it has a good narrative. The foreword is a great read, followed by notes to the readers; light-hearted warm, very homely, very interactive. It leads you to the kitchen and gets you playing with pots and pans almost immediately!
I bookmarked a few recipes, and have to say that the book is not error free. I  think perhaps with self publishing, the onus lies on the content writer, not the publisher. The book would improve with better editing and grammar checks. A couple of recipes skipped the meat altogether. The ingredients are not uniform across the book; sometimes in weight, sometimes a measures, other times a number. Also some capitals, some not is a bit of a distraction. Most importantly, the number of servings are missing across the book. The new cook will certainly be at sea as he/she attempts to guess how many mouths the recipe caters to. And of course, more pictures please. That said, the book is still a keeper!
Finally zeroed down to the Bhune Murgh ki Biryani, trying to play it safe, well aware of my past biryani disasters. The introduction had me smiling. “If ingredients could make a dish, this is one of the top variants in the list. With rice being cooked in cardamom, and chicken in whole spices, cashew and khus khus paste provide that richness and a crunchy edge to the dish thereby rendering it as a pretty common home-style“.For me it turned out to be pretty uncommon and quite a lot of fun. As they say in the notes, the book is “about perceiving cooking as an emerging process with no guidelines, no limitations but loads of creativity and fun.” That was so me, and just what I did. I took shortcuts to the steps, for eg, added whole cardamom to the water to cook rice in. I ground the onion and cashew together with the poppy seeds. I browned the onions first and then cooked the chicken in the same wok and remaining fat to simplify things. I finally baked the biryani layered in a ‘lagan‘ or Indian copper pot in a low oven for about 45 minutes. It still worked well.I am proud to say I have salvaged my reputation quite a bit with this Bhune Murgh ki Biryani from the book. Needless to say, I am already itching to try another one. I find biryanis most comforting, a one pot meal that hold eternal charm, hold nostalgic memories, and are ever so satisfying. The book also includes a few biryani recipes from around the globe which are interestingly unique in their own ways – Durban Biryani, Irani Biryani, Nasi Biryani, Swahili Biryani to name  few. It’s a good book to have on hand. Cuts out the work for weekend lunches! Oh and it offers a variety of pilafs, vegetarian biryanis  and accompaniments too.
My next biryani might be the Kashmiri Biryani or the Matka Murgh Biryani. Perhaps the Sri Lankan Muttom Biryani or Kolkata Biryani. Gosh, the book actually spoils you for choice! You can find it here – A Culinary Journey for the Love of Biryani

Bhune Murgh ki Biryani {roasted chicken biryani}
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The Bhune Murgh ki Biryani is a one pot comfort meal, rich, flavourful and homely. The flavours tease the palette and the chicken is beautifully spiced. It turned out to be deliciously good, and quite a keeper from the biryani cookbook. Be light on the spices if you are cooking for the first time, or like mild food. {Minimally adapted from 'A Culinary Journey for the Love of Biryani'}
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Bhune Murgh ki Biryani {roasted chicken biryani}
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
The Bhune Murgh ki Biryani is a one pot comfort meal, rich, flavourful and homely. The flavours tease the palette and the chicken is beautifully spiced. It turned out to be deliciously good, and quite a keeper from the biryani cookbook. Be light on the spices if you are cooking for the first time, or like mild food. {Minimally adapted from 'A Culinary Journey for the Love of Biryani'}
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Ingredients
Rice
Bhuna Chicken
For frying onions
For layering dum
Servings: people
Instructions
Rice
  1. Wash and soak rice for an hour. Meanwhile, boil some water in a vessel and add salt and green cardamom to it. {I used whole cardamoms}. Once the rice is 3/4th cooked, drain it and keep aside.
Fried onions
  1. Heat ghee in a deep wok and fry the sliced onions until golden brown. Drain and reserve. Use remaining ghee for cooking chicken, adding more if required. {This is what I did. The instructions are missing from the recipe}
Bhuna Chicken
  1. Heat ghee in a deep kadhai/wok and add grated ginger, garlic, whole red peppers and carom seeds. As the garlic gets brown, add the onion paste and fry. Mix in the cashews and khus khus paste and continue to fry. Sprinkle garam masala powder and Kashmiri red pepper powder and mix it well. Cook until the fat starts showing at the surface, adding water occasionally as required.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and let them cook over high flame till the chicken is cooked. Stir as needed. {I cooked over high heat for 5 minutes, then covered and simmered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until done}.
Layer the dum {slow cooking}
  1. Once the chicken is cooked, add the rice to cover the chicken masala. Sprinkle the saffron and milk mixture on it along with some ghee and fried onions. Cover the lid and cook on 'dum' for 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Notes
  1. I layered the chicken masala and rice for final 'dum' {slow cooking} in a heavy bottom metal 'lagan' / pot, dotted it with ghee, sprinkled over the soaked saffron and milk, topped it with fried onions, and sealed the mouth with heavy duty aluminium foil. Baked it at 150C for an hour.
  2. I reserved some fried onions for garnishing, and served the biryani with a garlic raita/spiced garlic yogurt.
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“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.”
Albert Einstein

Red Wine Strawberry Jelly with orange whipped cream … such a delicious way to end 2016, and ring in the new year! Have a great new year. HNY 2017.

Catch you on the other side. This one’s short & sweet!

Red Wine Strawberry Jelly with orange whipped cream
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Light, fun, easy to make, and a visual delight, the Red Wine Strawberry Jelly with orange whipped cream is a great make ahead dessert. Visually exciting and flavours that pop, berries work really well in this recipe!
Servings Prep Time
6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 minutes 4-5 hours
Servings Prep Time
6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 minutes 4-5 hours
Red Wine Strawberry Jelly with orange whipped cream
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Light, fun, easy to make, and a visual delight, the Red Wine Strawberry Jelly with orange whipped cream is a great make ahead dessert. Visually exciting and flavours that pop, berries work really well in this recipe!
Servings Prep Time
6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 minutes 4-5 hours
Servings Prep Time
6 people 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 minutes 4-5 hours
Ingredients
Jelly
Cream topping
Servings: people
Instructions
Jelly
  1. Warm 100ml juice and pour over the gelatin in a small bowl. Stand for 5 minutes for gelatin to soften.
  2. Put the remaining juice and star anise in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Take off heat, and stir in the wine, followed by the softened gelatin.
  3. Divide the strawberries between the serving glasses/bowls. Strain the jelly mixture and pour into the glasses over the strawberries. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours until set and chilled.
Cream topping
  1. Whip the cream, sugar and orange zest at high speed {with sugar if desired} until medium peaks form.
  2. Top the set jelly with piped whipped cream.
  3. Garnish with sliced strawberries and chill until ready to serve.
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“Either give me more wine or leave me alone.”
Jalaluddin Rumi

These Lamb Chops with Red Wine turned out to be the best I’ve ever made. And I thought lamb chops were difficult to make. The simplest of ingredients – rosemary, garlic, and a limited edition Shiraz from Big Banyan Wines came together ever so beautifully to create this dish with so much character & loads of depth. Minimal fuss … & it was love at first bite!

As I have always say, it’s simple, good quality ingredients that make any dish shine, and this was no different. The wine really sang out loud! Then again, garlic & rosemary are one of my favourite savoury pairings, in fact most of my breads have the two. I use copious amounts of garlic in my food, and I think it’s the best ingredient ever! And then there’s wine…

If I talk about wine, I am far from a wine connoisseur, yet I do enjoy a good wine. In addition, I find the very idea of cooking with wine very therapeutic; very engaging actually because it always surprises. I love cooking and baking with red wine because it feels like a celebration, romanticizing the very idea of serving food. The red has a character that I like!

The ruby red Shiraz is one of my favourites. As they say at Big Banyan, “Because of its strong character Shiraz is considered the ‘man’ among wines. Its distinct, robust personality is unmistakable, making it a powerful wine among of the ‘big reds’. Its aromas burst alive in warmer temperatures, like Australia and India. So open a bottle and explore the deepest, darkest recesses of our wine’s soul.”

You might remember the Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau I did last year around the same time. It is one of my favourite holiday desserts, and the spiced jam is an exciting jam! Using the red this time in a savoury way was equally fun! The colours and flavours just popped. Deep, delicious, well balanced flavours in the lamb chops. Above all, so simple to make.

 How do you like to cook with wine? Do you enjoy it too?

Lamb Chops with Red Wine
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These Lamb Chops with Red Wine turned out to be the best I've ever made. Rosemary, garlic, and a limited edition Shiraz from Big Banyan Wines came together ever so beautifully to create this dish with so much character and loads of depth.
Servings Prep Time
2-3 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2-3 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Lamb Chops with Red Wine
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
These Lamb Chops with Red Wine turned out to be the best I've ever made. Rosemary, garlic, and a limited edition Shiraz from Big Banyan Wines came together ever so beautifully to create this dish with so much character and loads of depth.
Servings Prep Time
2-3 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2-3 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Instructions
Marinade
  1. Whisk all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl.
  2. Pat dry the lamb chops, rub in the marinade gently. Leave covered in the fridge for 4-6 hours, better still overnight.
To finish
  1. Heat the clarified butter /ghee in a heavy bottom pan.
  2. Over high heat, sear the chops on both sides. Pour over the marinade and drizzle with honey. Let the marinade bubble and reduce a little.
  3. Transfer to a heat proof casserole. Cook in microwave covered on high power for 5 minutes / or until done.
  4. Return to the pan, throw in fresh rosemary sprigs and garlic cloves. Cook until the wine reduces to a nice thick sauce and coats the chops. Taste and adjust seasoning if required.
  5. Serve with a sautéed broccoli salad, grilled onion rings and fresh rocket greens. Of course a glass of Shiraz on the side!
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