Monday, September 15, 2014

Brinjal Biryani - Pressure Cooker Method

My aunt gave the recipe for this eggplant briyani either when I was talking to her on the phone one day or on facetime. Not that I facetime a lot. It is DD2's favorite pass time and if I did not watch it she will be on face time all day long. Anyway my aunt gave me the recipe from a magazine (Kumudam) where a few celebrities had shared their recipes of which one of the actresses had shared a recipe for brinjal biryani.


Apple Green Eggplant

I tried growing a new variety of eggplant called apple green this year - an attractive looking green colored eggplant. While normally I grow the short variety purple eggplants this time around I gave this new variety a try. It is sweeter with none of the usual hint of eggplant bitterness.

I made the biryani with Kalijira rice which reminds me of the Seeraga Samba rice that I much prefer compared to the Basmati rice. If you do not like eggplant/brinjal, the recipe can be easily adapted to any vegetable of choice quite easily. Potatoes and Cauliflower can easily be substituted.

The one thing that needs to watched carefully when cooking biryani is the liquid that is added to the rice. Soaked and unsoaked rice require different quantities of water. The soaked rice requires only part of the water that is needed when the rice is not soaked. Let the water come to a boil and cook the rice partially before closing the pressure cooker lid and do not wait for the pressure to release. Cook it for 6 or 7 or 8 depending upon how much liquid remains when you close the lid of the cooker and place the weight on top.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add the seasonings - curry leaves, cloves and cinnamon. Saute for a few seconds and add the sliced onions and slit green chilies. Saute till the onions start to brown.
Add in the grated ginger and garlic and saute till the garlic loses it raw smell about 2-3 minutes.



Add in the sliced brinjals along with the coriander powder, red chili powder and turmeric powder and saute for 3-4 minutes.




Add in the chopped tomatoes and salt and let cook till the tomatoes become mushy.




Drain the soaked rice and add to the brinjal masala and saute for 2-3 minutes. Whisk the yogurt into the coconut milk.




Add the coconut milk and water. Let it come to a boil. Check for salt, add ghee on top. Add the weight and in medium low heat cook for 7-8 minutes more. Let the pressure cook cool and fluff the rice up.




Brinjal Biryani
Preparation Time:20 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes
Ingredients
  1. 6-8 medium sized brinjals washed and cut into thick slices, if you prefer keep the jackets on
  2. 1 1/2 cups of kalijira rice washed and soaked for 20 minutes
  3. 1 cup of thinly sliced onions
  4. 1 tbsp grated ginger and garlic
  5. 6-8 green chilies
  6. handful of chopped mint + handful of chopped coriander
  7. 1 tbsp coriander powder
  8. 2 tsp turmeric powder
  9. 2 tsp of red chili powder (or to taste)
  10. 1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes
  11. 1/2 cup coconut milk extracted from about 3 tbsp of grated or frozen fresh coconut
  12. 2 tbsp of curd(yogurt)
  13. Seasonings: curry leaves, cinnamon sticks 2 small pieces, few cloves
  14. Salt to taste
  15. 1/2 tbsp oil
  16. 2 tsp of ghee (option and none for vegan)

Method
  1. In a pressure cooker heat oil and add the whole spices - cinnamon and cloves followed by the
    curry leaves, give a few seconds and add the thinly sliced onions and green chilies and saute till the onions start to turn slightly brown.
  2. Add in the grated ginger and garlic and saute till the garlic loses its raw smell - for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add in the mint leaves and coriander leaves and saute till the leaves are fully wilted.
  4. Add in the sliced brinjals along with the coriander powder, red chili powder and turmeric powder and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add in the chopped tomatoes and salt and let cook till the tomatoes become mushy. Takes approximately 4 minutes or so.
  6. Drain the soaked rice and add to the brinjal masala and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Whisk the curd into the coconut milk, this makes about a cup, add water for the rest. (see Note for water quantities)
  8. Add the coconut milk and water. Let it come to a boil. Check for salt, add ghee on top. Add the weight and in medium low heat cook for 7-8 minutes more. Let the pressure cooker cool and fluff the rice up.
  9. Note:Kalijira rice requires 1 3/4 cups of water per cup of rice. When soaked all it requires 1 1/4 cup of water for a cup of rice.


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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Guess!

Guess the Vegetable!



Hint: The vegetable has something to do with swimming.
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Tomatoes Tomaotes! What do you do? - Tomato Juice and Tomato Salsa

July, August and September are the months when there are plenty of fresh tomatoes around especially if you grow them in your garden or have access to a good farmers market. The kind of tomatoes I have this season are the small ones - slightly bigger than salad tomatoes but smaller than the cooking tomatoes. The first thing I attempted with the bounty was this tomato pickle. Ever since I figured the easy way of making it, I have made it 3 times already.



I still had plenty of tomatoes. I remembered the tomato juice we used to have back home and thought I'd give that a try. While this really does not require a recipe it is here anyway.

When DD2 came with me to the grocery store one day she stopped by the rice chips tasting table which also had some fresh salsa. At her insistence I bought the chips, compared to potato or corn these are really good. I did not want to carry home a bottle of salsa when I had a lot of tomatoes sitting ready to be used. I promised her we'd make some at home.






Tomato Juice
Makes about 4 glasses
Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:5 minutes
Ingredients
  1. 3-4 cups of tomatoes
  2. 3-4 tbsp of sugar (more or less as required)
  3. a small pinch of salt
Method
  1. Make a simple syrup or you can simply add the sugar directly.
  2. Take a 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan and add sugar and let it come to a boil. Turn off the heat and cool the simple syrup.
  3. Blend the tomatoes and pass it through the sieve to remove the seeds and skin.
  4. Add sugar syrup and serve once chilled.





Tomato Salsa
Preparation Time:15 minutes + 20 minutes for soaking the onions
Ingredients
  1. 15 small tomatoes or 2 if plum tomato sized
  2. 1/4 cup of finely chopped red onions or shallots
  3. juice from 1 lime/lemon
  4. few pickled jalapeno or banana peppers diced into small pieces
  5. salt to taste
  6. a dash of sriracha (optional)
  7. 1 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves (I did not add any)
Method
  1. In a non-reactive bowl add the onions and squeeze the lemon/lime juice and let it sit for 20 minutes at least but a couple of hours will make sure the onions lose their pungency.
  2. chop the tomatoes into small pieces, I get the seeds out usually if there are too many.
  3. Mix in the chopped peppers. Sprinkle salt, coriander leaves and the hot sauce. Mix well.
  4. Salsa can be served with chips or better yet eaten just like that


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