Daawat-e-Khas-An invitation to a Feast!

Shopped at Khan Market with the kids and husband hogging on some authentic Mughlai street food at “Khan Chacha’s”….

This triggered a chain of thoughts about the Mughal History and particularly Mughlai Cuisine in me….and I also thought that it is good for all of us to read a bit of history once in a while 🙂 So here goes…

Mughlai cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines, whose origin can be traced back to the times of Mughal Empire. Mughlai cuisine consists of the dishes that were prepared in the kitchens of the royal Mughal Emperors. Indian cuisine is predominantly influenced by the cooking style practiced during the Mughal era. Mughlai food is quite spicy and has a very unique aroma. On eating Mughlai food, one can get a feel of the ground spices. The spices used in the preparation of Mughlai food are easily accessible.

Mughlai food occupies a commanding position in the popular cuisines of India.

The rich preparation of Mughlai food consisting of flavored sauces and butter based curries is so tempting that food lovers are bound to crave for more and more food. Mughlai food offers an amazingly delicious variety of food ranging from hot spicy shorba or soup to ginger based roasted meats to kulfi with rose petals sprinkled on it. Even, the names of the Mughlai food are so attractive that a person gets tempted to try out different dishes.

In the 16th century, India was invaded by Mughals, who introduced their home grown exotic spices, nuts and fruits to India. Also, the Indians got an opportunity to learn new techniques of cooking. In the preparation of most of the Mughlai dishes, milk and cream are used liberally.

Mughlai Biriyanies, Pasandas, Kormas and Pulao are so enticing and yummy that people usually end up licking their fingers.

So People if you are currently dieting, or dreaming/planning to go on one…don’t visit this website coz I plan to go all Mughlai this month 🙂

But if you are one of those daring people like Marut Sikka…READ ON!!!

Lets start with a classic yet simple dish today…

VEGETABLE BIRYANI-

When I first attempted this dish I religiously followed Tarla Dalal’s recipe book, and the results were not bad..except that I first overcooked the rice till it was this soggy mass and then burnt the vegetables.

But after a couple of such failed attempts I first took Mom’s advice and learn’t how to cook the basmati rice to perfection and then tried my hand at this dish!

And Viola!!! I did it…I succeeded 🙂

What You need:

400 gms basmati rice
250 gms cauliflower (cut into flowerettes)
100 gms green peas (shelled)
100 gms carrots (cut into 2.5 cm long pieces)
100 gms french beans (cut into diamond shaped pieces)
3 potatoes (cut into four pieces each)
2 black cardamoms-Badi Elaichi
4 green cardamoms
4 cm cinnamon
4 cloves
8 peppercorns
1 tsp black cumin seeds
3 bay leaves
Few strands of saffron

Masala for the vegetables:
250 gms onions, sliced
3/4th cup yogurt
4 tsp chili powder
3 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tsp mint paste
1 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander-cummin powder
Salt to taste
3 tbsp ghee (butter) or more
Ghee (butter) for deep frying onions

For the garnish:
2 tomatoes (sliced)
2 capsicums (sliced)
2 onions (fried till crisp)
Few mint leaves

How to proceed:

To prepare the vegetables:

1. Clean the vegetables with warm water and dry them well.

2. Mix all the ingredients for the masala, except the ghee, and marinate the vegetables in it for one hour.

3. Heat ghee and deep fry the onions till well browned. Remove from ghee. When cool, grind to a paste.

4. Clean and cook the rice in double the quantity of water. When done, remove the rice and spread it on a plate. Keep aside to cool.

To prepare the rice:

1. Lightly roast the saffron, powder and sprinkle over the rice.

2. Heat ghee in a pan and season it with the whole spices.

3. Add the vegetables and saute for five minutes.

4. Add a little water and cook the vegetables till done and almost dry.

5. In a baking dish arrange alternate layers of rice and the prepared vegetables.

6. Top with garnish and bake in a moderately hot oven for 20 minutes.

7. Serve hot with raita and papad.

If you want to add that special touch to this preparation here’s what you can do:
Leave the rice just a bit uncooked(about 80% cooked) and layer the biryani in an earthen Handi :-)…after this make a round chapathi with roti dough and seal the handi with this raw chapathi. Now garnish this chapathi by brushing it on top with a little ghee/butter and sprinkling coriander leaves on it.
The Handi is not ready to go into the oven or onto an indirect head source like a roti tawa that is really hot and that has been kept on sim on the stove.

Try This and tell me how it was…

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6 thoughts on “Daawat-e-Khas-An invitation to a Feast!

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