Sunday, September 28, 2014

A comeback, with Mutton Tahari

I feel like mouthing an aging bollywood actress, "comeback? What comeback? I ‘ve been here all along." But the facts are clear, the ‘latest post’ is dated April 2013, and an embarrassingly poor frequency of posts, this is definitely a hiatus.

The apologies
Dear Blog,
You've been in my thoughts for months and probably years, thought of you when I traveled to a fascinating place, ate a memorable meal, cooked a half decent dish. In the pictures I’ve clicked, in the notes I made, in the thoughts in my head, the experiences I’ve had, lie a lot of unfinished stories, some written and some unwritten. You, my blog, hold a special place in my heart to say the least, but like many a well-placed intention, this one failed to translate into a well-run, well updated place. Sorry.
Love (really)

The promises
I don’t promise to not go missing in action once again or lose steam to pen (in this case type) my thoughts, but what I do promise is to keep the passion for all things food up and running, no matter what, because that’s what brings me back to this place again and again. I also hope to include travel and, for the lack of a better word, lifestyle content onto this blog. So here’s to the person from Poland who probably uses a linux OS to browse my blog (courtesy blogger stats), I love you and I will try not to disappoint you.

The proof
Writing a comeback post on a food blog with no recipe is like saying, “I’ll be back soon”, only to disappear from the back door.
So here goes my recipe for Tahari, a hyderabadi dish that ranks way high up in my list of comfort food. It’s like biryani but not as grand, it’s like pulao but way wholesome. The bonus is that it is a one pot dish that can be eaten with just a side of yogurt raita. I’ve eaten quite a few versions of tahari, but this one is my favorite, it’s a well balanced flavor that is relatively lighter, provided you don’t binge on multiple servings!

French beans (deveined and cut into 1 inch pieces) – 8-10
Potatoes (cubed) - 3
Carrots (peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch pieces) – 3
Peas (shelled) -1/2 cup
Methi leaves (big leaf, whole without stems) - 1
Tomatoes (medium sized, finely chopped) - 7-8
Limes (juiced) - 1
Coriander leaves (finely chopped) – ½ cup
Mint leaves- (finely chopped) -1/3 cup
Green chillies (slit) -10
Onions (medium, sliced) – 5
Ginger garlic paste -4 tablespoons
Yogurt – 400 gms
Mutton (with our without bone)- 1 kg
Redchilli Powder -4 teaspoons
Turmeric- ½ teaspoon
Cloves – 3-4
Cinnamon – 1-2 medium sized
Cardamom – 3-4
Shahzeera (thin variety) -1 teaspoon
Garam masala powder -1 teaspoon
Salt -2 tablespoons
Rice (Basmati or plain) -7 cups
Oil – about 6 tablespoons
Hot water - as required

  • Wash, clean and cut all veggies and set aside separately. Preheat oven to 2000C. The more traditional method calls for deep frying the vegies but I prefer baking them, both taste pretty much the same. If you feel that the potatoes are slightly tough, a short boil should help.
  • In a pressure cooker pour oil and fry the onions till golden brown, take care as to not turn them dark or crispy. After about 5-7 mins, add ginger garlic paste and continue frying.
  • Meanwhile, place the potatoes in one baking tray and carrots and beans in another, drizzle some oil and bake the former for 15 mins and latter 10 mins.
  • Back to the onions, add a dash of water if needed to fry them further, there should be no smell of raw onions persisting. Next add the following at 5-10 minute intervals, tomatoes; red chilli powder, salt, garam masala powder; yoghurt; meat. Place the whistle of the cooker and cook for about 5 mins on high followed by 10 mins on medium heat. The tomatoes and yoghurt should provide enough liquid for the meat to cook but if you feel appropriate you may add a little hot water before fastening the whistle.
  • Wash and soak the rice for 30 mins, while the meat cooks
  • Open the cooker, check for the ‘doneness’ of the meat, it should be almost done but not falling apart. Add the baked veggies, methi leaves, coriander, mint, lime juice and continue cooking. Add the whole garam masala- cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, shahzeera. By this time the meat veggies mixture should be in the form of a thick spicy gravy with the oil floating on the top.
  • Add about 2 cups of boiling water to the mixture, plus a teaspoon of salt, you can transfer the mixture into a larger cooking vessel if you want. Add the rice and cook for 5 mins uncovered followed by 10-15 mins covered. Additional water may be needed for the rice to completely cook.
  • I’ve seen people serve a tablespoon or so of hot liquid ghee over their plate of tahari, personally, I cannot bring myself to literally add extra calories to a dish, but if you don’t mind it I guess it will taste pretty delish. Otherwise just raitha should be perfect.

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