Today I m guest blogging at Kankana’s blog Sunshine & Smile. She is a lovely friend and it’s a huge pleasure to share her space today. I have been in touch with kankana via twitter for over 6 months now and she is full of warmth, energy & enthusiasm, which reflects in each of her blogposts. Her blog is full of mouth-watering dishes from different cuisines and whenever I land at her page, I leave hungry and smiling 🙂 Thanks so much for having me here!
I have wanted to share this minced mutton rice pilaf recipe for a long time & knowing Kankana’s liking for non-vegetarian food, this was a perfect opportunity. This recipe combines three of my loves into one – meat, potatoes & rice. It is a super comforting & easy meal, which is usually a weekend special at my home.
Hop over to her blog to see my post here. You can find the printable recipe here.
Ingredients:- (Serves 2-3)
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water (or as required for cooking your rice variety)
3 tbsp mustard/canola oil
2 bay leaves
2″ cinnamon stick
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp black peppercorns (or to taste)
2 tsp red chili powder (or to taste)
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
1 lb lamb/mutton, minced
1 large potato, peeled & cut into cubes
10-12 fresh mint leaves, chopped
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro/mint leaves for garnish
Pick and clean the rice. Wash under running stream of water. Set aside.
Using a mortar & pestle, coarsely pound the fennel, cumin,coriander & black peppercorns seeds. Set aside.
In a heavy bottomed, wide mouthed pot, heat oil to smoking point on high. Once smoking, reduce heat to medium, wait for 2 minutes and then add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, & cloves to the pot.
Once the spices crackle & you smell the aroma in about 20 seconds, add the chopped onions to the pot. Cook on medium till onions start to turn brown. About 5-6 minutes.
Add the pounded cumin, black peppercorn,fennel & coriander seeds next and sauté for another 30 seconds.
Next add the ginger-garlic paste along with tomatoes & red chili powder. Cook on medium for another 6-7 minutes till you see oil separating on sides of the pot.
At this point, turn the heat high and add the minced meat & potatoes. Cook the meat on high with continuous stirring (not mushing) till it changes color. You will also see fat & water separating from the meat but keep on cooking on high for 8-10 minutes.
Once the meat has browned, add the washed basmati rice along with chopped mint leaves. Add the 2 cups of water (or as required) for cooking. Since the mince will leave more water as it cooks, I suggest less water than required.
Let the rice soak for 30 minutes.
After the rice has soaked, cover the pot and let the contents come to a boil on high. About 8 minutes.
Once boiling, reduce heat to low and let rice cook covered till done. About 10 minutes. After rice is cooked, put the heat off and let the rice sit covered for another 15 minutes, undisturbed.
Open the lid, fluff the rice with fork and garnish with chopped cilantro/mint.
A 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???
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!
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.
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
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]
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.
If you want to serve the chicken as appetizers, cook them to perfection on the outdoor/indoor grill itself & serve with Mango Mint Chutney.
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.
This spice rub is serves as a flavorful condiment to add indian twist to your grilling.
1.5 lb of [bone-in ]mutton, cut into medium pieces [or lamb or beef]
1.5 cups of buttermilk [slightly sour]
3 fat garlic cloves, grated
2″ shoot of ginger,grated
1 tsp nutmeg, grated
Salt to taste
Whole Spices :
2 cups onions , thinly sliced
10-12 whole dry red chillies
1 tbsp whole black peppercorn
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 nos black cardamoms, cracked open
3 bay leaves
1″ shoot of cinnamon
1 twig mace
4 tbsp cooking oil [I use mustard, you can use olive/canola]
2-3 cups warm water
How I did it:
Wash and pat dry the mutton pieces.
In a ziplock plastic bag, pour in the buttermilk, grated nutmeg,grated garlic & ginger along with salt.Give it a shake to combine well.
Next, tip in the mutton pieces into the bag and give it a shake again to make sure that the buttermilk covers all the pieces.Lay the bag flat in a big square tray and let marinate overnight or at least 3-4 hours.
Making the Stew :
[Method 1 : Cooking in an Open pot [with lid]/Dutch oven]
Heat the oil in a pot/dutch oven to a smoking point on medium heat.TIP: When using mustard oil, you need to heat it up till the point it starts smoking to ensure the raw smell is gone.For 4 tbsp oil, atleast good 8-10 minutes.If using olive/canola, the heating time will be way less.
Once heated,reduce the heat to low and wait for 5 minutes to lower the temp a bit so that spices don’t burn.Add all the whole spices except dry red chillies to the oil and cook until the spices emit their aroma..around 3 minutes.
Next add the onions, raise the heat to medium and cook the onions stirring constantly untill they become translucent to light brown.
Add the dry red chillies then.
Strain the mutton pieces from the buttermilk mixture, retain the marinade.
Add the mutton pieces to the pot and on high heat, cook the mutton pieces for 10-12 minutes until all sides of the meat have browned.
Next, add the marinade & 2 cups of warm water to the pot, check the salt and cover the pot/dutch oven.
Let the water come to a boil on high heat and then reduce the heat to as low as possible.
Let the meat simmer in the pot/dutch oven for good 4-6 hours periodically checking to make sure the liquid doesn’t dissipate, and adding warm water if needed.
The stew is considered finished when the meat is very tender, just about to fall apart from the bones and the flavor of the gravy is intense. Adjust the salt again if needed.
Garnish with chopped cilantro & serve with warm khamiri rotis [yeasted flatbreads] and onions.
[Method 2: Using a pressure pan/cooker]
The time taken by this popular Indian method is very less and the taste is slightly different and less intense. The cooking steps remain the same except that you need to cook the meat as per your pressure cooker.To give a rough estimate, the meat will take at least 25-30 minutes with 6-7 whistles on a low heat to become tender.