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.

Guest Post: Asiya of Chocolate And Chillies

Hey hey hey! Look at who we have here today! It’s my homegirl Asiya who blogs over at my favorite (Asi, it’s favOrite, not favOUite 😉 ) space on the internet, Chocolate and Chillies!  Not only is she a co-host with me and Sarah for Eid Eats 2016, but she is one of my closest friends and confidantes.  She holds a special place in my heart, and I am so grateful and blessed for her friendship.

You know those cartoons where there’s an angel on our right shoulder and a devil on the left?  Well Asiya is the angel on my right shoulder, giving suggestions on where to cut fat in recipes, or where we can swap wheat flour in for all-purpose flour.  My foodie desires are like the devil on your left shoulder, whispering things like, “more butter baby!”

Well, since it’s Ramadan and the Shayateen are chained up, I’ll hand it over to our Angel Asiya, and she can share the healthy and delicious yummies that she’s been up to 😉

***

Ramadan Mubarak!  I hope everyone’s fasts are going well and we are all making the most of this blessed month.  I’m very excited to be guest posting on Henna’s fabulous blog!  Henna and I have been good friends for a few years now. Over these years, Henna has become one my closest friends.  She is someone you can go to for advice or for just a “Hey Girlfriend!!!!”  It’s amazing how the internet connects people who otherwise would never have met.  Not only is Henna a wonderful friend…but she is also a great cook!  Her blog is full of delicious recipes.  Our family has lately been enjoying her Cajun Chicken Pasta.  It has been a big hit!  Her recipe for Chicken Keema has been a life saver on many occasions when I’ve needed something quick to whip up or if I have run out of adrak laysan (ginger garlic paste).  Bolani is one of my favourites and Henna’s recipe was delish!

Now for the recipe I am sharing with you today!  I find in Ramadan it can be hard to keep a balanced diet, especially with these long fasts.  Also, with our traditional South Asian diet, we tend to indulge in a lot of deep fried goodness.  So today I am sharing a recipe the helps to balance out all those unhealthy iftaris.  It’s a one pot meal and super quick to make which is a great help during Ramadan.  You can have it on its own or pair it with some grilled chicken or fish.  Leftovers also make a great suhoor!  For a change you can have leftovers wrapped in a tortilla topped with some sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

Thank you Henna for sharing your space with me and for letting me guest post on your blog!

 

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

 

One Pan Mexican Quinoa 

Adapted from Damn Delicious

1 tbsp canola oil

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 green chilli, minced

1 cup quinoa

1 cup water

1 19 oz tin black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tomatoes, diced

1 cup frozen corn

1 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp minced cilantro

Over medium-high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add garlic and green chilli.  Cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.  Add quinoa, water, black beans, tomato, corn, chilli powder, cumin powder, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat.  Cook until quinoa is cooked, about 15-20 minutes.  Mix in lemon juice and cilantro.  Enjoy!

Ground Beef Puffs / Keema Puffs (Patties)

I’ve shared a lot of nontraditional (nontraditional for us Pakistanis) Ramadan foods, and I think it’s time to share some traditional Pakistani Ramzan fare 😉

We love the deep-fried goodness that are pakoray (fritters) and samosay (triangular meat or vegetable filled pastry), but we try to limit our intake of them to 1 to 2 times a week (2 is really pushing it) during Ramadan.  I love the ease of homemade Puffs/ Patties (pronounced pey-teez), and they make for a really impressive addition to your spread.  The key to amazing Patties is to use a good quality puff pastry, and you need a knockout filling recipe.  I finally scored a filling recipe that I can use as my go-to from Fatima Cooks.  The resulting Patties are delicious and gorgeous, and totally stand up to the beauties from Pakistani bakeries 🙂

 

KeemaPuffsPic

 

Keema Puffs/ Patties

Yield: Varies

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ onion, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 pounds puff pastry, thawed and cut into desired size (may need more/less)

Directions:

Heat oil in a vessel over medium-high heat. Add onions and ginger-garlic paste, and sauté until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add coriander powder, cumin powder, black pepper, red pepper flakes, red chili powder, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add ground beef, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Stir often while breaking up large lumps. Cook until all liquid has evaporated and mixture is dry. Cool completely, then add cilantro. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F and set aside a parchment lined baking sheet.

Prepare an egg-wash by whisking egg and water together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Lay puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground beef mixture in the center of the pastry. Fold pastry as desired and seal edges by pressing down gently with a fork. Place on prepared baking sheet and continue with remaining ground beef and pastry, placing at least 2-inches apart. Brush with egg wash, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and on the bottom. Cool for a few minutes before serving.

Note: Puffs can be kept frozen and baked at a later time. Freeze unbaked puffs (with egg-wash) in a single layer on a parchment or plastic wrap lined baking sheet. When completely frozen, remove from pan and store in a freezer-safe container. Bake unthawed, adding a few minutes extra to baking time.