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!

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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!

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.

Eid Eats 2015: Falooda

Eid Eats 2015, hosted by Sarah of Flour and Spice, Asiya of Chocolate and Chillies, and myself, has finally arrived! Welcome!

I’ve been really excited to see what everyone is “bringing” to our fancy-pants party 🙂
To submit your post, simply click on the Eid Eats graphic below and follow the given instructions (submissions will be open form 7/15 through 7/18). Be sure to follow the guidelines (found here), and enjoy the party!

Also, whether you choose to bring something or not, hang around and check out the fun things everyone else is sharing. You’re sure to find some lovely Eid inspiration 🙂



Today I’m sharing with you all a delicious glass of cooling Falooda. Falooda is a traditional Pakistani/Indian dessert-beverage. Everyone seems to have their own spin on it, but generally speaking it is a concoction of milk, rose syrup, basil seeds, jello, vermicelli, and either kulfi or ice cream. The recipe I’m sharing today, really isn’t a recipe at all. All of the ingredients are layered in a tall glass, in as much or as little quantity desired. It’s a great treat to make and share on Eid because it screams fancy, and it is a quick dessert that can be pulled together in no time 🙂

While we’re at it, you can check out what Asiya is sharing here, and what Sarah is sharing here.  Also, if you would like to see the yummies our friends shared last year, you can check out Eid Eats 2014 here.

And my dear friends, Eid Mubarak! May this holiday season bring you and your families peace and happiness!

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Falooda

Yield: Varies

Ingredients:

  • Falooda sev/noodles
  • Basil seeds
  • Jelly crystals
  • Rooh Afza (Pakistani rose syrup)
  • Kulfi or ice cream
  • Milk, optional
  • Crushed almonds or pistachios

Directions:

Prepare Falooda sev according to package instructions. Once cooked, store immersed in cold water.

Soak basil seeds in plenty of water. Seeds will swell up and double in size after some time (overnight soak is best).

Prepare jelly crystals according to package instructions. Allow it to set. Once it is completely cooled, cut into small pieces.

In tall glasses, pour a small amount of Rooh Afza as the first layer. Add desired amount of Falooda sev (with some of its water). Add a spoonful of basil seeds, followed by jelly crystals. Top with a scoop of kulfi or ice cream, and garnish with nuts. If the Falooda seems too thick, add a splash of milk.

Serve immediately.

 

Mango Ice Cream

YOU GUYS! I HAVE BREAKING NEWS!

Are you ready?

I have discovered the code to an actual custard-based mango ice cream, that you actually churn in an ice cream maker, that tastes like the amazing stuff you find at Pakistani and Indian restaurants!

What? You’re not excited? You see, there’s something about this freezing wintery weather that has it’s own charm to creating and consuming frozen treats. I’ve been churning quart after quart of homemade ice cream lately (including an amazingly creamy egg-free chocolate ice cream, whose recipe I will be sharing soon!), and a recent nonscientific at-home survey concluded that the constituents wanted mango ice cream 🙂

A quick Google search will show you that most recipes are of the no-churn variety, and most include some variation of condensed milk and frozen non-diary whipped topping. Those options are great, and I even use a variation of those kinds of recipes for my Kulfi, but for this ice cream I wanted an actual custard base that needs to be churned.

I stumbled upon this recipe from Epicurious, and adapted it heavily based on the techniques that I picked up from The Perfect Scoop. The resulting ice cream was creamy and had the perfect mango flavor. I highly recommend using canned mango pulp sold in Pakistani or Indian grocery stores. Although they are overly sweetened when consumed as is, they lend the perfect mango flavor and sweetness after churning.

Enjoy my friends, as we are 🙂

And stay tuned for some more yummy frozen treats!

 

MangoIceCreamPic

Mango Ice Cream

Yield: 1 Quart

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 ¼ cup heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1 cup canned mango puree
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Set aside a large ice bath and strainer for later use.

Lightly whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside.

Pour approximately half of the whipping cream, mango puree, and corn syrup in a large bowl. Whisk well and set aside.

Combine remaining whipping cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm and steaming.

Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks (tempering), while whisking constantly. Add warmed yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spatula (check for doneness by running your finger across the coated spatula. If your finger leaves a trail that doesn’t flow back together, the custard is done). Pour the custard through the strainer into the large bowl of mango puree mixture. Add vanilla, stir to combine, and set the bowl over the ice bath and cool completely.

Once the custard has cooled, transfer to the refrigerator and chill for several hours, preferably overnight. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions.

Kulfi (Cheat Recipe!)

The days seem to be finally warming up in our parts, and we’ve been taking full advantage of it. We’ve been going for walks in our neighborhood and making regular trips to the park. The change in weather seems to bring about a change in our food preferences as well, where we’re opting for lighter and cooler meals. Enter this delicious Kulfi.

Kulfi is the South Asian Subcontinent’s equivalent of Western ice cream. Traditionally, sugar and milk is cooked over low heat until much of it has thickened and reduced. Although delicious, ain’t nobody got time for that! The recipe I’m sharing today was given to me by a good friend (Hi Reetu!), and cuts the time to a fraction. It’s quick to whip up, and always leaves behind a great impression. No one will know that it takes literally 5 minutes to throw together 😉

KulfiPic

 

 

Kulfi

Yield:  20-25 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 16 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • ½ cup ground unsalted nuts (almond or pistachio) (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until completely combined.  Pour into molds and freeze for at least 12 hours before serving.

Note:  Small disposable cups can be used as kulfi molds.  Cover cup with aluminum foil and insert a wood stick into the center.  The foil will help keep the stick in place.