Sunday, June 10, 2012

Of cakes and biriyanis


I haven't put up a post for a long time, so, I thought to start with two together. The cake was inspired by a pound cake recipe for pistachios that I came upon on Orangette. I only replaced the pistachios with pecan, and worked with one less egg.
The Other image is of a spread that my mother cooked up to honour son-in-laws; called Jamai Shasthi. The biriyani was my handiwork. a Hyderabadi biriyani styled thingy. Not the katcha version since everything had been pre-cooked. What is lacked in depth of character was made up for how quickly it could be put together. An excellent party dish. 

There are numerous recipes up on the web. The marination and making sure that the emat remains somewhat undercooked is the key elements. The couple of points I always include in my Hyderabadi biriyani I ahve listed below.

1. Lots of crispy fried onions. Slow caramelising onions requires pateince but quite worth the effort since it adds an extra dimension. So make sure you make the effort. Once drained they can be stored, so you can make a big batch and store it in the refrigerator.

500 gm sliced onions
200 ml groundnut/sunflower oil
2 pinch of salt

2. A couple of layers of mandolin sliced potato not only adds a delicious layer of crisp potatoes at the very bottom of biriyani pan, but prevents the meat in the lowest layer from overcooking. I routinely put ghee and then put them in overlapping layers. The first layer of meat goes on this, followed by the half cooked rice.  

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Even proven recipes have variants. If you have tried a variant successfully please let me know the link or type it in!