Minced Meat and Lentil Biryani / Keema Masoor Biryani (Memon Masoor Pulao)

2 posts in one week? Whaaaat?

Well, this is my first shot at the Muslim Food Bloggers Challenges. Every month there is a new theme, and the month of February’s was Biryani. Biryani is basically just a spiced rice dish (often times paired with meat). In the South Asian culinary scene, the difference between Biryani and Pulao is that biryani is cooked in layers (the rice is par-boiled and then layered with the meat/masala), whereas in pulao the rice is cooked with the spices in a broth.

I chose to share the recipe for a very traditional Memon (the sub-ethnic group that I hail from) recipe, Masoor Pulao. It’s a bit of a misnomer because although it is called a pulao, it’s actually cooked in layers like biryani.

I’m excited to share this recipe for several reasons, but mostly because (a) I’ve always had trouble taking pictures of traditional Pakistani food, and I’m ready to take the plunge, and (b) it’s a recipe that has been passed down in our family, and I’m happy to finally be sharing it with actual measurements (y’all know how much trouble it is to find a desi recipe using actual measurements and not “a little this, a little that”!)

Enjoy!

keemamasoorbiryanipic

Keema Masoor Biryani

(Memon Masoor Pulao)

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

Note: Measurements are in actual measuring spoons/cups and not eating utensils.

  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • 2/3 cup brown lentils
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¼ cup neutral flavored oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1-2 green chilies, to taste, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppers
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • Handful chopped mint
  • Handful fried onions
  • 3 boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in half

Directions:

Rinse rice in cold water a few times, cover with water, and set aside.

Heat a small saucepan filled with water over medium-high heat. Add lentils and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until mostly cooked through (should not be mushy; there should still be a bit of bite to the lentils, as they will continue cooking with the rice later). Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Add meat and ginger-garlic paste and cook for a few minutes. Add chilies, coriander powder, black pepper, garam masala, red chili powder, turmeric, salt, and lemon juice. Cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add yogurt, mix well, and cook until mostly dry. Add lentils, mix, cover, and remove from heat. Set aside.

Heat water (enough to boil rice in) in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Add black peppers, bay leaves, and salt. Once it comes to a boil, add soaked rice (drain before adding), and cook until about 75% cooked through. Drain and set aside.

In a large vessel, drizzle in a bit of oil. Top with half of the rice, followed by the meat and lentil mixture. Top with cilantro, mint, and fried onions. Cover with remaining rice. Sprinkle on additional fried onions, and gently place the boiled eggs on top. Cover. Cook over low heat until the rice has finished cooking, about 30 minutes.

 

 

Check out everyone’s interpretations and adaptations of this month’s challenge below!

Ranch Chicken Pizza

Have you tried pizza without marinara sauce? This was my first foray into making pizza without a traditional red sauce, and MY GOD! WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG?!

Literally, so so good!

I happened upon this recipe after my son asked that I make pizza for dinner (I had already set a packet of frozen chicken out to thaw). It worked out perfectly, because it also gave me a chance to use up a few vegetables that were past their prime. Win-win 😉

(Recipe courtesy of Annie’s Eats; crust and pizza)

 

ranchchickenpizzapic

Ranch Chicken Pizza

Yield: 1 Large Pizza

Ingredients:

For Crust:

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • Oil, for greasing the bowl

For Pizza:

  • ¾ – 1 pound boneless chicken, cut into bitesize pieces
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup ranch dressing
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar, Colby, or Mexican blend cheese

Directions:

Make Crust:

Combine ¼ cup water and yeast in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Add remaining water and oil, and stir to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine bread flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add yeast mixture. Once all of the dough has come together, increase speed to medium and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set aside until doubled, about 2 hours.

Make Pizza:

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown, while stirring often, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Lightly sprinkle pizza pan or half-sheet baking pan with cornmeal or semolina. Roll out pizza dough to fit pan, leaving the edges slightly thicker for the crust.

Spread the ranch dressing evenly over the crust, followed by mozzarella cheese. Top the cheese with the cooked chicken, green onions, and tomato. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.

Place the pizza in the bottom rack of the oven and bake until the crust has browned and the cheese has melted, about 13-17 minutes.

 

Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Not too long ago, my brother mentioned that I don’t post enough “main” dishes on the blog. I took a step back and realized that he was right. He made me realize that I seem to share recipes for the occasional treats or indulgences, and rarely the regular day-to-day meals. My goal for the coming year is to focus more on daily meals, including traditional Pakistani fare.

Coming to this recipe, it’s a delicious and healthy meal that comes together very quickly. I adapted it from here based on dietary restrictions, and it’s a meal I come back to time and time again.

broccolichickenstirfrypic

 

Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch, divided
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste, divided
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes, optional
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons neutral flavored oil, divided
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish

Directions:

In a bowl, combine chicken, sugar, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, ginger-garlic paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, red chili flakes, and salt. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine remaining cornstarch and water and set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat. Add broccoli, remaining ginger-garlic paste, 2 tablespoons water, salt, and pepper. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green and crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Heat skillet over high heat again and add remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add chicken and stir-fry until lightly browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add broccoli and cornstarch mixture, bring to a boil and remove from heat. Garnish with green onions.

Cranberry Orange Scrolls

Winter is here, and it’s here in full effect. Although I can do without the snow and freezing temperatures, there is something awe-inspiring about watching the seasons transition and the changes they bring. I enjoy buying produce seasonally, and this was the first time I bought fresh cranberries. I stumbled upon this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and I’ve been on a roll (pun intended) making these scrolls!

The marriage between cranberries and oranges is a match made in heaven, and the cranberries, when baked, dot the dough like gorgeous little rubies!

 

CranberryOrangeScrolls

 

Cranberry Orange Scrolls

(Overnight)

Yield: 12 Scrolls

Ingredients:

For Dough:

  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large whole egg
  • Zest of 1 orange, divided
  • 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant or active dry yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt

For Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, pulsed into a course crumb in the food processor (not fully pureed)
  • Orange zest from above

For Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons orange juice or milk

Directions:

Make Dough:

In the bowl of a mixer, combine buttermilk, butter, sugar, egg yolks, whole egg, and ¾ of the orange zest together. Add 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, yeast, and salt, and mix until evenly moistened. Add remaining 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour and mix on low speed until soft and not overly sticky, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow the dough to double in size, about 2 to 3 hours.

Assemble Buns:

Lightly grease two 9-inch pans or a 9”x13” pan. Set aside.

After the dough has doubled, punch it down. Transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 12”x18”. Spread the melted butter evenly over the surface, followed by the brown sugar, pulsed cranberries, and remaining orange zest.

Starting with the longer side, gently roll into a log. Lightly pinch the seams together to seal. Using a knife, gently cut the log into 12 sections. Place the scrolls cut-side up in the prepared pans. Cover, refrigerate, and allow them to rise overnight, up to 16 hours.

Remove scrolls from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Make Icing:

In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar and orange juice or milk together until smooth and no lumps remain. Drizzle over warm scrolls.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Thanksgiving came and went, and I’m sitting here asking myself where the year went? We’re about one month away from ringing in 2017. 20-17. Let that sink in.

 

Sweet potatoes are in season every season, but we find ourselves loading up on them especially during the cooler months.  I stumbled upon this fabulous recipe by Grandbaby Cakes for Sweet Potato Pound Cake, and I was sold. I had one lonesome sweet potato hanging out in my pantry, and I just knew that it was destined for greatness.

sweetpotatopoundcakepic

 

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Yield: One 9”x5” Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mashed roasted sweet potato
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup neutral flavored oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a greased loaf pan.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine mashed sweet potato, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and oil. Mix on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and mix on medium-low speed until thoroughly combined. Add cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and ground ginger. Mix on low speed until completely combined.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes.

Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

 

Note: Cake can be kept at room temperature for a few days.

Instructions on roasting sweet potatoes: Wash and pat dry potatoes. Place each potato on a square piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with a tiny bit of neutral flavored oil. Wrap loosely with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 40 to 60 minutes. Potatoes will be ready when they can pricked with a fork easily. Cool slightly before using.