The much anticipated ‘Mega Marathon‘ starts today.Any regular follower of my blog will know that we ,a group of bloggers’ get together each week and blog on a thematic basis, taking up challenging ones to make it all the more interesting. This event is spear headed by dear Srivalli of Cooking 4 all seasons & Spicing Your Life.
In the past years, we have done Mega Marathons, in addition to the regular 3 days a week mini marathons. This time we have a ‘Regional’ theme for the mega marathon,meaning, we will be cooking and posting a dish(es) from 30 Indian States.
We have been thinking over this theme, pouring in our ideas and preparing for this like our life depended on it! It was great fun exploring and experimenting with each regional cuisine and here is the first post of the series…
So here we go….
Region – Andra Pradesh
Name of the dish – Hyderabadi Vegetable Dum Briyani, Double Ka Meeta
Course – Main and Dessert
Serves – 3 [Depends on how much a person eats 🙂 ]
I wanted to start this series with a bang and so went overboard with the choice of dishes. Then I narrowed down my list to these two of the most famous dishes from the elaborate Hyderabadi cuisine.
Hyderabadi cuisine is also called the Deccani cuisine.This was developed in the kitchens of the former Hyderabadi State which includes, Telangana region, Maratwada region And Hyderabad- Karanataka region.The dishes are extremely tasty and this is because of the fact that the ingredients are carefully chosen and cooked to the right degree for the right amount of time.
When we read about the Hyderabadi cuisine, we learn that it was born out of the Persian and Mughal influence and is more than 400 years old!
A couple of years back, a news article on this famous cuisine caught my attention.Chef Mehaboob Alam Khan, says that the Hyderabadi cuisine is slowly dying. The briyani is now looked upon as the sole representative of this elaborate and rich cuisine.
It is said that there are many categories in this famous cuisine. Like separate dishes for different occasions like weddings, banquet,parties and even for travel. There were foods that like Jahaji Korma that derived its name from Jahaj-meaning ship and they could carry this dish along during long travels. Similarly, Dum Ke Baingan, a brinjal/ egg plant dish cooked without waster but with liberal doses of ghee and would stay fresh for a long time! But all these seem to have disappeared!
The Chef goes on to say that the cuisine is also influenced by cuisines of Andra Pradesh,Karnataka, Maratwada giving rice to some unique fusions like cooking bitter gourds and green bananas together! This flavorful cuisine seems to be dying out and the Chef is going around the state trying to popularize this cuisine…..
Here are a couple os facts about the Hyderabadi cuisine… It uses a lot of fruits in its dishes- both fresh and dry. Lamb is most widely used meat.
Now back to the dishes of the day….
The Hyderabadi Briyani is one of the most famous Briyani recipe which had rice and meat in it. It is said that the Nizams/ Kings, served as many as 26 varieties of Briyani dishes for their guests!Needless to say, the Briyanis are very aromatic and flavorful. No wonder this is the iconic dish of this cuisine!
The Briyani incorporates meats in the form of like lamb, chicken and beef. Another popular version is by replacing mutton with vegetables and that is the dish I am serving here as the first course.
The main criteria for this dish is that the rice should be flavorful, cooked to the right degree and most important of all should not stick to the bottom of the pan in which it is being prepared.
The Dum process involves layering the rice and vegetables and covering the lid with a a dough strip so that the heat is not lost and cooking the vessel over a tawa / griddle / live coals. This process results in food that is really flavorful and the nutrients are not lost either.
Now , this briyani had loads of vegetables, the right amount of spices and ingredients like saffron, nuts and raisins to make it richer and tastier.
Behind the scene :
I made this for dinner one night and I was not really sure how it would be welcome on the table. My folks are used to really spicy stuffs and this one is quite mild. Yet, I served it for dinner,showing no emotions of any kind!
After a few morsels, hubby wanted to know from which restaurant I had got this as a take away. I thought he was going to say that it was not good or something on those lines. I replied that it was from PJ’s take- away and he was literally thrown off the chair! He said it looked just like the ones served in restaurants and the taste was awesome!
So that can tell you how flavorful this briyani was and how happy I would have been!
As for the kids, they enjoyed it as it was something very different to what we make on an every day basis.
Basmati rice- 1 cup
Oil- 1 teaspoon
Veggies of your choice
I used – Cauliflower florets, peas,carrot,beans,potato,green chilies- 2,slit
Rice flour as needed
Cardamom-2,Cloves-3,Cinnamon -1″ stick,broken,Bay leaf – 1
Ginger garlic paste- 1 teaspoon
Fresh and thick yogurt – 1/2 cup
Ghee- 2 teaspoons
Turmeric powder-1/4 teaspoon
Red chilli powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Briyani masala- 2 teaspoons
Salt to taste
Few saffron strands soaked in a little warm milk
Cashews and raisins as needed
Mint leaves and coriander leaves
A dough made of wheat flour and water for the dum process
Soak basmati rice for 15 minutes. Drain and cook with 1 1/2 cups of water[or the quantity you usually use to cook basmati rice] with 1 teaspoon oil.Spread it on plate to cool
Slice the onions thinly and add a teaspoon or so of rice flour over it. Gently toss the onions so that it gets covered with a fine layer of rice flour.Heat oil in a pan and spread the onion on the pan and cook till it caramelizes / turned brown and crispy. While doing this care has to be taken to move the onions around the pan so that it is evenly browned and does not get burned. Once it is ready, remove from pan and keep aside,or rather, very far from your reach, as these are quite tasty and very addictive!
Heat ghee in a pan and add the whole spice and ginger garlic paste. Saute for a couple of minutes. Then add the chopped vegetables and saute for a few minutes.Add the turmeric powder, red chilipowder, salt, briyani masala and stir to mix.
Add the yogurt and mix well. Cover and cook till the yogurt has been absorbed and the mixture is almost dry. Add a little bit of mint leaves and mix. Adding too much mint will lend a bitter flavor so add with caution.
Now, transfer this vegetable mixture into a small pressure cooker.Layer it with some of the fried onions and cashew and raisins. Add a portion of the saffron milk.
Top it up with a layer of rice and then again with the veggies, fried onion, a handful of coriander leaves, cashews, raisins.
Continue this layering till all the ingredients are used up.
Cover the pressure cooker with a flat plate that fits well and place the cooker on a tava or a heavy griddle. Seal the plate with the dough and palce a heavy weight over it as shown in the pic.
Cook on low flame for 20 minutes so that the vegetables are cooked but not mushy.
The briyani is ready to be served..
If you have a little bit of fried onions leftover, add to the briyani just before serving…..
Enjoy with a raita / spicy curry of your choice.usually it is served with Mirchi ka salan.You can try that combo as well.
The next item on our meal is the famous – Double ka meeta…
This is an Indian style bread pudding that is the from Hyderabadi cuisine.It is a delicious dessert that will make you want to forget those weighing scales and dig into this luscious pudding.
What is not to like when bread slices are deep fried in ghee and drizzled with cardamom scented sugar syrup and soaked up in a fragrant saffron flavored milk and topped with lots of nuts!
I am sure you have heard of Shahi Tukra. Well, these two dishes are something like sisters!
Generally,the bread slices are fired in ghee, but I have toasted the slices using a little ghee to reduce the calories. If you are in a mood to indulge in a rich dessert or want to serve it to some guests at home, go ahead and deep fry the bread in ghee and enjoy this delicious dessert….
Behind the scenes:
This one is really easy to make and very addictive too. The kids loved the soft and flavorful bread soaked in sugar syrup. And they kept coming back for the milk mixture to drink as I had chilled some to serve later.
Bread slices- 6
Ghee – to toast the bread
Sugar- 1 cup
Water- 1 cup
Cardamom powder- a pinch
Saffron- a few strands soaked in a little warm milk
Finely chopped nuts- almonds and pistachio- a few tablespoons
Chopped nuts to garnish
To make the sugar syrup, take the sugar ,water, cardamom syrup in a pan and heat it.When the sugar syrup reduces / thickens remove from heat and keep aside.
Heat milk with the nuts, saffron.Simmer till it thicken and keep aside.
Slice bread into triangles and apply ghee on both sides. Toast on both sides till golden brown.
Arange the bread slices on a serving tray / plate. Pour some sugar syrup over the bread slices. Pour the milk mixture over it so that the bread is completely soaked.
Serve garnished with chopped nuts.
Take a look at what my buddies cooked from Andra Pradesh…..