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Brunch one pot meals Rice Dishes Vegetarian

Tahiri -Slow cooked Basmati Rice With Black Spices

                                            Featured on Food Buzz Top 9Summer might be officially gone in many of the states but in my part, the temperatures are still in nineties.Though the sun sets early now & morning sun has started to feel cozy and relaxing, days are still quite sunny & hot. However, it rained last weekend. We hardly get any rains out here, I think the last bit was long back in May, so whenever it comes pouring down, its time to rejoice in my house.Usually, its super lazy day with TV or book on the couch, comfort food to fill up and loads of chai which I enjoy while sitting beside the window as rain drops rattle against the glass. Thats one corner of the house which keeps me alive amongst the gloom from cloudy skies in the rest of the apartment, especially when I m alone.

I literally wait for the summer to end to make some dishes.The wet & cold weekend (yup the temperatures dipped to 64 ),made me crave my grandmom’s tahiri which is one of my favorite things to make since the autumn sets in to the finish of winter. Not missing the little chance I got last weekend, this rice dish was our comfort meal. The best part being that this is a one pot meal, has the perfect amount of spike to it, is loaded with satiating goodness of starchy vegetables and leftovers taste all the more better! Just few minutes of preparations & you are all set for a soul satisfying meal.It really need no side dish even coz its so much flavorful on its own, just a bowl of plain yogurt or green chutney/pickle will be more than enough. If you really want to indulge, add a dollop of cold butter or ghee over the steaming bowl of rice, let it melt and find its way right to the bottom on its own & you are good to go! The best part about this dish is the bottom burnt layer of rice which is achieved by a technique called  dumpukht  (see recipe).

My best memories of eating tahiri are of Sunday lunches when we sat on charpai(cot) under the bright winter sun amid the home-grown decor of winter vegetables in my grandmother’s vegetable garden. I remember picking up fresh stalks of young garlic and onions right from the soil and eating it with tahiri. The taste of unwashed, organic stuff was unmatched.I am a survivor of such homecooked authentic Indian dishes.A mention of these winter lunches still takes me back there, of the food relished during those growing years, times spent with family amid laughter & gossip.

The trio of vegetables that go into tahiri which is a speciality dish of  state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) is standard – white potatoes, cauliflower & peas.Called by the same name, this dish is quite similar to a non vegetarian rice recipe popular in south indian states – where it is made with minced meat.These vegetables go so well with the warmth of black indian spices – cumin, black cardamom, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg & cinnamon. The spices are fresh ground into a paste and then rice & vegetable are open cooked on low heat along with the paste for long to bring about the depth of flavors. The result is a aromatic pot full of comfort- the rice is not hot but has the right amount of spice kick for soothing the senses.

Tahiri is not pilaf, its cooked low & slow by a technique called dumpukht or indirect slow heating. What differentiates it from biryani is the fact that unless you make kacchi biryani, the rice & meat/ vegetables are separately half cooked, layered & then cooked to perfection. In tahiri, rice & vegetables cook start to 95% doneness in the spicy broth and finished via dumpukht cooking.  I hope all these techniques make sense 🙂

Utensil Required : A wide mouthed, heavy bottomed pot with lid/kadhai with lidIngredients (Serves 4)1/4 cup oil (canola/vegetable/any unflavored oil)3/4 cup thinly sliced red onions 2 bay leaves2″ cinnamon stick2 black cardamom, cracked open (substitute with 5 green cardamom)3/4 cup peas (fresh or frozen)3/4  cup cauliflower florets1 large russet potato, peeled and  cut into 1/2″ cubes1 cup basmati rice1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg1/2 tsp garam masala Salt to taste2.5 cups water (or as required for cooking your rice variety, check package instructions)Chopped cilantro for garnishNote:- Cut the potato & cauliflower florets such that they cook perfectly in the time it takes rice to cook. 
Spices to be soaked in 1/2 cup water for 30 minutes:-
2 tbsp whole black peppercorns 4 whole dry red chillies (adjust to tolerance)1 tsp whole cumin seeds1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds4 whole cloves2 ” fresh ginger shoot, peeled & crushed roughlyMethod:- Pick & wash rice 2-3 times under running water. Set aside. Thaw the peas if using frozen. Tip the soaked spices above into a blender jar & churn to make a smooth mix. We dont want a too fine or too coarse textures here, just ensure that the black pepper seeds are crushed properly.Transfer to a bowl & set aside.
Heat oil in pot/kadhai on mediumOnce the oil is smoking, add the sliced onions. Cook the onions till they are light brown. About 8 minutes. Next, reduce heat to low & add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, black cardamom & the ground spice mix to the pot.
Cook the spices with regular stirring till you see oil separating on sides of the pot. About 6-8 minutes. At this point, add the vegetables along with washed rice to the pot. Gently combine everything to mix well.Remove from heat & pour the water required for cooking the rice into the pot, give everything a stir , add salt to taste & let the rice soak for 15 minutes.Once the rice has soaked, transfer the pot to medium heat. Cover the pot & bring to a boil, reduce the heat to very low, and let cook for 10-12 minutes (or the time required for your rice variety to get 95% cooked). Turn off the heat, open the lid, add the grated nutmeg  & garam masala, gently mix with a wooden spoon & leave to steam on its own over the stove for another 5-8 minutes, undisturbed.
While the rice is steaming, heat up a cast iron skillet(enough to hold the cooking pot).Once the skillet is hot, reduce heat to very low, transfer the rice pot over the skillet & let the rice cook for another 10 minutes on dum (indirect slow cooking technique).We want the bottom layer of rice to crisp up & burnt (almost). After 10 minutes, fluff up with a fork , garnish the rice with chopped cilantro. Serve with plain yogurt & salad. 
Categories
Indian Curry Non vegetarian Side Dishes

Bhuna Murgh – Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices

Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with SpicesA traditional & (sometimes) time-consuming dish like this is a must in my house at least once a week..mostly middle of the week.The week usually starts on a very low note with soups,salads, lentils-rice etc thanks to our upset stomachs crying for simple home cooked meals to wither away the weekend damages from uncontrolled eating outside.Once we are back to normal,a recipe like this is required to do away the boredom of simple [ read bland] foods.Notice the vicious cycle & the excuses to cook heavy food,eat and enjoy! Such dishes,loaded with  indian flavors keep my guy happy.He has this unfathomable love for indian food, not that it’s a miracle [considering that he is an indian] but I m amazed at the fact that how can anyone eat [or at least want to eat] indian food 365 days of the year and never get bored of it for once???

Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices

A typical scene whenever we are getting ready to eat out is like this:-

Me – “Lets go to OG (Olive Garden for italian ) or PF (Chang’s for chinese)”

Him -“As you say.Get ready! ”

After half an hour – Me, happily dressed, getting into the car & asking to double confirm “OG or PF?”

Him – “Where do you want to go?” ( hoping that I might have changed my options)

Me -“OG” (replying shamelessly even after knowing that he doesnt like italian)

Half way, through the drive, he feels that there still might be a chance to change.He tries again,for the third time now ” You REALLY wanna eat italian?”

Mostly, not because I m trying to be a good wife (or whatever ),I give in to eat indian coz I don’t want to spoil the poor guy’s dinner 🙂 You should see the spark in his eyes as he locks the car in front of the restaurant!

Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices

Alright,this dish you might or might not get in the indian restaurants so make it at home.Its a rich, spicy & really flavorful preparation.”Bhuna” is basically a technique of searing the meat first,cooking a thick spice paste in oil,adding the seared meat to it & then slow cooking in its own juices it for 2-3 hours.The slow cooking results in deep strong flavours but a very thick sauce.”Bhuna” literally means browned, the meat in this dish has a brown look due to all the slow cooking & particularly the used of many black indian spices that make there way into the recipe.Boneless meat will not work in this recipe unless it’s a very thick cut.If using chicken, try to use the dark meat portions like thighs & drumsticks. The beauty of this two-in-one recipe is that the spice rub is so flavorful that you can drop the sauce preparation & grill the chicken pieces to make a perfect summer appetizer. As always I shy away from use of tomatoes in meat dishes, you can add some if you want.

Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices

Printable Recipe 

Ingredients :- [Serves 4]

  • 2 lbs chicken, bone in, skinned [7-8 pieces,use thigh/drumsticks or dark meat portions]
  • 1 tsp oil for rubbing on chicken +more for brushing on the grill pan
  • 1.5 tsp salt

For the spice rub :-

  • 4 whole dry red chilies
  • 2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 black cardamom pods, cracked open
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns [ Adjust to taste]
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
For the sauce :-
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic ,grated
  • 2″ ginger shoot, grated
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1″ cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt, beaten [slightly sour]
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro, chillies etc for garnish [optional]
Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices
Method:-
  • Wash the chicken pieces thoroughly & pat dry using a paper towel.Once dried, rub the 1 tsp oil & 1.5 tsp salt over the pieces.Set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, on low heat,roast all the whole spices [except turmeric,nutmeg & salt] till you smell the aroma.About 5 minutes.
  • Let the roasted spices cool down a bit.Once cooled, tip into your coffee grinder or using mortar & pestle, coarsely grind the spices.
  • Add turmeric, ground nutmeg & salt to the ground spices to make a mix.
  • Lay the chicken pieces in a single layer and thoroughly rub half the amount of spice mix all over.Let sit for another 5 minutes. Mix the rest of the spice mix with beaten yogurt & set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat a grill pan [or a normal pan] to smoking hot.Once hot,brush some oil on the pan and layer the chicken pieces on the pan. Here, the idea is just to sear the flesh of the chicken [not cook it].You can even do it in the same pot in which you want to cook the sauce,I prefer a wide open pan for the sake of searing all piece in one go & easier flipping.Let sear for about 5 minutes on each side. Once seared, remove from heat.Reserve the drippings if any. Note:- You can use your outdoor grill too for this purpose.

  • While the chicken is being seared, heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot with lid on medium heat. [ or use your slow cooker for this purpose]
  • Once the oil is smoking, lower the heat & add the chopped onions to the pot.Cook the onions till golden brown.About 8 minutes.
  • Next, add the grated ginger & garlic to the pot along with bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Cook for 1 minute more.Let the heat be on low.
  • Add the spice mixed yogurt to the pot next and combine well with onions.Cook for 2 minutes with constant stirring to avoid curdling of the yogurt.You will slowly see yogurt releasing water. TIP: Whenever adding yogurt to hot pot, ensure that the stove is on the lowest mark.
  • Add the seared chicken pieces to the pot next, pep up the heat to medium and cook the chicken pieces for 5 minutes.Check the salt now [ remember we rubbed chicken with salt earlier] and adjust if required. Also,add the drippings[ if any] from the grill pan to the pot.
  • Again, reduce the heat to lowest possible on your stove, cover the pot and let the chicken cook to fully done.About 25-30 minutes.Avoid adding any water to the pot.As the chicken will cook,it will release its own juices which are enough to cook it.You will need to stir in between once or twice. Avoid adding any water to the pot.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove from heat and let sit covered for another 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro & sliced chillies.
  • Serve warm with chapthis, naan [flatbreads] or cumin rice.
Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices
Notes:-
  1. If you want to serve the chicken as appetizers, cook them to perfection on the outdoor/indoor grill itself & serve with Mango Mint Chutney.
  2. This recipe can be used for goat meat,turkey, beef or lamb also.The cooking time will very as per the kind of meat used.
  3. This spice rub is serves as a flavorful condiment to add indian twist to your grilling.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!