Monday, June 26, 2017

Paneer Biryani | Pressure Cooker Paneer Biryani

Every time I sit down to compile a Biryani post(there are many here!)I remember what my friend always used to tell me-There's only ONE Biryani and that is Mutton Biryani,the rest are all Pulaos.However,as a staunch vegetarian,I beg to differ.That may be true partially but the vegetarian counterparts are a class of their own.Of course you are welcome to disagree but hey,I'm entitled to my opinion :)


The whole process of making a Biryani intrigues me.I've watched endless videos of how the Biryani is layered and then sealed and cooked on Dum.Earlier days,making Biryani was such a task but now with several innovative recipes like this,you can make it in just a few minutes if you keep the ingredients ready.

A while back,I had posted a recipe for Vegetable Dum Biryani made in a Pressure cooker using the OPOS method.This is a very similar recipe with few changes.I had bookmarked this recipe long back from Dassana's blog and waited for a special occasion to make it but as always that special occasion did not come and the Biryani took a long time to appear in my kitchen and then on the blog :)

With few ingredients,one pressure cooker and a passion for cooking,you could make this Paneer Biryani in a jiffy and surprise your loved ones.I made this for a potluck and needless to say,this one was loved by one and all.I was bombarded on whatsapp for the recipe and without any further delay,here it is.


Paneer Biryani | Pressure Cooker Paneer Biryani

Ingredients

For marinating Paneer

Paneer/Cottage cheese - 200 gms
Curd - 1/2 cup
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
Green chillies - 2,chopped
Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp,chopped
Mint leaves - 1 tbsp,chopped
Haldi - 1/4 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Biryani Masala OR Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp

For the rice

Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Ghee - 1/2 tbsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp

Ghee - 3 tbsp
Onion - 1 large,thinly sliced
Tej patta - 1
Cinnamon - 1' piece
Cloves - 2-3
Green cardamom - 2-3

Saffron - a pinch,soaked in 1 tbsp warm milk
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp,chopped
Water - 1 cup to 1.25 cups*

For garnish

Some grated paneer
Fried onions
Chopped coriander

Method

For marinating paneer - In a bowl take the curd and whisk till smooth.
Add the spice powders,herbs and salt.Mix well.
Gently mix in the paneer cubes without breaking them.Cover and keep aside for 30 minutes to marinate.If you are planning to keep it longer,then refrigerate it.

For preparing the rice- Rinse the basmati rice in running water till the water is clear of starch.Soak in enough water for 30 minutes.After 30 minutes drain all the water from the rice.
Add ghee and salt to the rice and mix well so that the ghee coats the rice grains evenly.

In a 3 ltr pressure cooker heat the ghee.Add the spices - tej patta,cloves,cardamom and cinnamon.
Stir well and add in the sliced onions.Saute the onions on a low-medium flame till the onions turn golden brown.This procedure takes a while,you could add a pinch of salt to speed up the process.
Once the onions turn golden brown,switch off the cooker and remove from the counter top.
Remove half of the fried onions on a plate.

For layering the Biryani - With a spoon layer the rest of the onions and spices in the cooker well.
Now layer whole of the marinated Paneer.
On top of the Paneer marinade evenly layer all of the rice.
Now layer the fried onions on top(keep a tbsp aside for garnish).
Sprinkle the soaked saffron milk and chopped coriander leaves on top.
Now pour 1 to 1.25 cups of water around the rice(do not pour in the center).
*For a soft textured Biryani add 1.25 cups water.I added 1 cup but I would add more the next time as I like the rice grains to be a bit softer.
Cover the cooker with the lid with whistle attached.Cook the Paneer Biryani on low flame for 20-25 minutes.It is ok if the cooker whistles in between.I cooked for 25 minutes.
Open the cooker once the pressure settles down and garnish with some grated paneer,fried onions and chopped coriander leaves.


Step by Step Pictorial

For marinating paneer 

In a bowl take the curd and whisk till smooth.
Add the herbs,
spice powders 
and salt.
Mix well.
Gently mix in the paneer cubes without breaking them.Cover and keep aside for 30 minutes to marinate.
If you are planning to keep it longer,then refrigerate it.

For preparing the rice- Rinse the basmati rice in running water till the water is clear of starch.
Soak in enough water for 30 minutes.After 30 minutes drain all the water from the rice.
Add ghee and salt to the rice and mix well so that the ghee coats the rice grains evenly.
Soak saffron in warm milk for about 10 minutes.

In a 3 ltr pressure cooker heat the ghee.
Add the spices - 
tej patta,cloves,cardamom and cinnamon.
Stir well and add in the sliced onions.Saute the onions on a low-medium flame till the onions turn golden brown.This procedure takes a while,you could add a pinch of salt to speed up the process.
Once the onions turn golden brown,switch off the cooker and remove from the counter top.
Remove half of the fried onions on a plate.

For layering the Biryani 

With a spoon layer the rest of the onions and spices in the cooker well.
Now layer whole of the marinated Paneer.
On top of the Paneer marinade evenly layer all of the rice.
Now layer the fried onions on top(keep a tbsp aside for garnish).
Sprinkle the soaked saffron milk and chopped coriander leaves on top.
Now pour 1 to 1.25 cups of water around the rice(do not pour in the center).
*For a soft textured Biryani add 1.25 cups water.
I added 1 cup but I would add more the next time as I like the rice grains to be a bit softer.
Cover the cooker with the lid with whistle attached.Cook the Paneer Biryani on low flame for 20-25 minutes.It is ok if the cooker whistles in between.I cooked for 25 minutes.
Open the cooker once the pressure settles down and garnish with some grated paneer,fried onions and chopped coriander leaves.



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Avil Milk/Milk Aval | Summer Special Drinks

Come summer and all day you feel like gulping down something cold and refreshing.I love Milk based drinks as it fills you up along with quenching your thirst,cool right?So while browsing through some recipes on a website,I read about this popular juice joint in Calicut which served Milk based drinks,all through the year.We had a similar joint in Ernakulam from where we got our regular dose of Sharjah Shake and the likes.It is from that shop I learnt the trick of freezing the milk for milkshakes which makes it creamier and thicker.
Avil Milk/Milk Aval is a very easy recipe which uses only a handful of ingredients,most of which is easily found in your kitchen.There are different ways to make this drink but I followed a recipe from my memory of drinking it in the juice shop in Ekm.The drink is quite filling because of the addition of Avil/Flattened rice flakes,banana and nuts.You could also take it up a notch by adding a scoop of ice-cream.
Avil Milk/Milk Aval

Ingredients

Avil/Aval/Flattened rice flakes - 1/2 cup
Cashewnuts - 10-12,chopped
Banana - 1 small
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Boost - 1 tbsp (you could also use Horlicks or any Malt drink powder)
Cold milk - 2 cups
1 candied cherry for garnish

Method

In a non stick pan,add the avil and dry roast for 5-10 minutes or until the avil turns crisp.This is a mandatory step because if added fresh,the avil would turn soggy.
In the same pan toast the cashewnuts till light golden brown in colour.
In a mixer/blender add the banana,sugar,boost and milk and blend together till smooth.
For assembling the drink - add roasted avil to a tall glass and top with the toasted cashew.Add the milkshake on top.You could also alternate layers of milk and avil but I just added one layer.
Top with some more avil and nuts.Sprinkle some Boost on top and garnish with a cherry.

Step by step Pictorial

In a non stick pan,add the avil and dry roast for 5-10 minutes or until the avil turns crisp.This is a mandatory step because if added fresh,the avil would turn soggy.
In the same pan toast the cashewnuts till light golden brown in colour.
In a mixer/blender add the banana,sugar,boost and milk and blend together till smooth.
For assembling the drink - add roasted avil to a tall glass and top with the toasted cashew.Add the milkshake on top.You could also alternate layers of milk and avil but I just added one layer.
Top with some more avil and nuts.
Sprinkle some Boost on top and garnish with a cherry.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tadka Pav | Simple Bread Recipes

When someone casually mentions about changing seasons and how they look forward to one particular season etc,I just smile gently.I live in Chennai where there are only 3 seasons-hot,hotter,hottest!Right now it's the third season and boy,we are literally getting roasted here.Though this time I hear it's pretty much the same in every city,sigh!
However there are a few silver linings for summer season.Curds set so well and the dosa batter ferments beautifully.I could gulp down gallons of juices milkshakes without any guilt and eat mangoes as meal by itself.One more advantage is the super quick rising of bread dough.Though I have to admit,I've never had a problem with that even otherwise,but in summers it is pretty quick.So one afternoon,when it was 42C outside I had an urge to bake bread.
I had bookmarked this recipe a while back and it was calling out to me.Immediately after my lunch,I set about making the dough and letting the dough rise.Even before tea time,I had fresh,warm Pav rolls on my dining table and I patted myself on my back.Not for making the bread but for choosing the hottest day of the month for doing it :)
Making Pav buns is on my to-do list and this one is it's close cousin.Tadka Pav or Pav rolls with a delicious Tadka added on top of the rolls immediately after they are out of the oven makes it an amazing roll which tastes delicious on its own.Goes perfectly well with a hot cup of Masala chai :)
Tadka Pav
Recipe courtesy - Rajshri Food

Ingredients

Maida/All purpose flour - 250 gms
Kasoori Methi - 1/2 tsp
Chat masala - 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/4 tsp
Haldi/Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 1 tbsp
Yeast - 1 tsp
Water - 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup
Refined oil - 15 ml
Salt - 1 tsp
Milk for brushing on top of the rolls

For the Tadka

Butter - 2 tbsp
Kasoori Methi - 1/2 tsp
Chilli flakes - 1 tsp
Chat masala - 1/2 tsp

Method

Add yeast and sugar into a small bowl.Mix in 1/2 cup of warm water and mix well.Let it rest for 5-10 minutes or till the yeast bubbles and froths up.
Meanwhile in another bowl mix together maida,kasoori methi,chat masala,pepper,red chilly powder and haldi.
Add the risen yeast mixture into the flour and knead well.Add more water if required to knead the dough into a soft but non sticky dough.
Mix together oil and salt and incorporate it into the kneaded dough.
Smear some oil into a bowl and place the dough inside and cover with a cling wrap or a damp towel.Let the dough rest for 30-45 minutes or until it doubles in volume.
Once the dough is risen,punch the dough and knead it briefly.
Make 12 equal portions out of it.Shape into smooth round balls and place into a baking tray.Cover with a damp towel and let it rise for another 30 minutes.
Once risen,brush the rolls softly with milk.
Preheat the oven to 230C for 10 minutes and bake the rolls for 12 - 15 minutes or until the rolls turn golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
Heat butter in a pan and mix in kasoori methi,chilli flakes and chat masala.
Brush this tadka generously on top of the warm rolls.
Serve warm with some masala chai. 

Step by step Pictorial

Add yeast and sugar into a small bowl.Mix in 1/2 cup of warm water and mix well.Let it rest for 5-10 minutes or till the yeast bubbles and froths up.
Meanwhile in another bowl mix together maida,kasoori methi,chat masala,pepper,red chilly powder and haldi.
Add the risen yeast mixture into the flour and knead well.Add more water if required to knead the dough into a soft but non sticky dough.
Mix together oil and salt and incorporate it into the kneaded dough.
Smear some oil into a bowl and place the dough inside and cover with a cling wrap or a damp towel.Let the dough rest for 30-45 minutes or until it doubles in volume.
Once the dough is risen,punch the dough and knead it briefly.
Make 12 equal portions out of it.Shape into smooth round balls and place into a baking tray.Cover with a damp towel and let it rise for another 30 minutes.
Once risen,brush the rolls softly with milk.
Preheat the oven to 230C for 10 minutes and bake the rolls for 12 - 15 minutes or until the rolls turn golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
Heat butter in a pan and mix in kasoori methi,chilli flakes and chat masala.
Brush this tadka generously on top of the warm rolls.
Serve warm with some masala chai

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