Sunday, September 17, 2006
Sunday lunch, and a forgetful cook(book)
Unusual it would be, I decided, and summoned ingredients for a tomato bread pudding (!) but as it turned out, ended up making Yakhni Pulao instead. This recipe’s been lying in wait in a much-used, dog-eared, spice-and-grime-stained cookbook for many years and revealed itself to be not so labour-intensive if you didn’t grudge slicing four onions fine at the outset. No masalas to be pounded/ground, no meat to be marinated for hours, just some tears to be shed.
Between slicing the onions, reading the recipe and pressure-cooking the meat, I forgot that the recipe called for one cup of beaten curds. And guess what, the cookbook went on to forget too! And it asked me to fry three onions crisp and save another, but didn’t tell me what to do with that! I realized only halfway through the procedure, but I didn’t really bother to deduce at which stage the curds and the solitary onion went in but I bet my pulao came out tasting all golden and mellow because it lacked the tartness of the curds. The onions and raisins lent it a touch of sweetness.
What you need: 500 gm mutton, 250 gm Basmati rice, 2 pinches saffron soaked in ½ a cup of warm water, a handful each of raisins and cashew nuts (I used very few) fried in ghee (clarified butter), 2 tsp garam masala (curry powder), 6 green chillies, 3-4 tbsp ghee/oil, 10 flakes garlic, 1-inch piece ginger (I used an equivalent amount of ginger-garlic paste), 2 cardamoms, 2 tsp fennel seed (saunf), 2 tsp coriander seed (I used powder), 2 pieces cinnamon, salt
Method: The meat goes into a pressure cooker with 1-½ glasses of water, the ginger and garlic, chillies, salt and the whole spices (cardamoms, fennel seed, coriander seed and cinnamon) tied in a piece of muslin. I dispensed with the cloth. (I suppose the forgotten cup of beaten curds goes in now.) Once it’s done, strain the stock, reserve it. I cooked the meat on high pressure till the cooker hissed thrice, then on simmer for about seven minutes.
In half the amount of ghee, fry the meat till it turns pink; remove. (Maybe the lonesome onion goes in at this stage, just before you pop the meat in?) Put in the rest of the ghee, add the rice, fry till pink (my rice didn’t turn pink).
Add the stock, warm water (dunno where this came from, but I warmed some) and salt — now, figure out how much water you need to use — my 250 gm of rice came to two cups, so I used four cups of liquid including the stock, the ½ cup of saffron water and the warm water, and added about 1-1/2 cup more later (as the rice hadn’t cooked completely). Once it’s done, cover the rice with the fried onions, garam masala, fried mutton and nuts and raisins, cover tightly (or put some heavy stuff on the lid so that no steam escapes) and let everything infuse for about 20 minutes. Mix and serve.