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Friday, July 30, 2010

Flavors of Northern Indian

Friday, July 30th, 2010

I love Northern Indian cuisine. The aroma of spices and melt-in-the-mouth pilaf rice or briyani rice is just out-of-this-world. You simply must have the curry as well and not just any has to be the one that is rich with spices and yogurt and tomatoes. Especially if you add mutton to it, the flavor from the meat will enhance the quality of the curry.

Why do I love Indian cuisine? Well, I just have to put the blame on my childhood best friend who is a local Indian. Whenever her mom cooks mutton curry, I will definitely get invited to a meal of Idli and her absolutely yummy mutton curry. Idli is my favorite 'bread' of all breads in Indian cuisine. Idli is made from rice flour that is milled and added with sour milk, if I remember correctly. I used to follow my friend to get it milled. That was her chore and since we were best of friends, we practically go everywhere together. I wish I had gotten the mutton curry recipe and how to make the Idli from her mom but well, I was only 10 years old at that time.

So, last week I attempted at cooking Mutton Briyani and it turned out to be a success! With the help from my collection of culinary books, here is one recipe that is just fantastic. This recipe is taken from '200 Curries' by Sunil Vijayakar. To accompany this dish, I also cooked the Egg & Potato Curry - recipe is also taken from this book. In this book, the briyani is actually cooked with lamb but instead of lamb, I decided to go with mutton. Good thing is, you don't have to alter the rest of the recipe. It's 100% reliable.

By looking at the recipes, you might feel overwhelmed with all the preparations that you have to do but belief me, there's really nothing to it. It's very easy and simple to cook. Try it!

So, here are the recipes...

Royal Lamb (Mutton) Briyani

4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger root
150ml natural yogurt
6 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
500 g boneless lamb (mutton cutlets with bones), cut into bite pieces
8 tbsp sunflower oil
2 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp medium curry powder
200g canned chopped tomatoes
2 tsp cumin seeds
6 cloves
10 black peppercorns (optional)
4 green cardamon pods
1 cinnamon stick
200 g basmati rice
400 ml water (I used 200ml water, 200 ml evaporated milk)
1 tsp saffron (use tumeric powder as a cheaper substitute)
3 tbsp warm milk
butter for greasing
salt to taste

1. Mix together the garlic, ginger, yogurt and fresh coriander and rub into the lamb (mutton) and marinate, refrigerated for 4-6 hours. Heat half the oil in a heavy based pan, add half the onion and cook for 12-15 mins till golden. Add the meat and cook over high heat for 15 mins, stirring often.
2. Stir in the curry powder and tomatoes, season and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 mins or until lamb (mutton) is tender. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a separate pan. Add the cumin seeds, remaining onion, cloves, peppercorns, cardamons and cinnamon and stir fry for 5 mins. Add the rice and stir fry for 2 mins. Pour in the measured water (and milk), bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 6-7 mins. Remove from the heat. Mix the saffron with the milk and set aside.
4. Lightly butter a casserole dish and spread a thin layer of the lamb (mutton) over the base and cover evenly with half the rice. Drizzle over half the saffron mixture. Top with the remaining lamb (mutton) then the remaining rice. Drizzle over the remaining saffron, cover with the foil and then the lid. Cook in the preheated oven at 180C for 30 mins or till rice is done.

Egg & Potato Curry

2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 dried red chillies
curry leaves
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
200 g canned chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
400 ml coconut milk
6 eggs, hardboiled, shelled
2 potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
salt to taste

1. Heat oil in large nonstick wok or frying pan, then add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the garlic, chillies and curry leaves and fry for 1 min. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly for 5-6 mins.

2. Stir in the chilli powder, ground coriander, cumin seeds and tumeric and then stir in the tomatoes and sugar. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 mins, stirring often.

3. Stir in coconut milk, add the eggs and potatoes. Cook gently for 8-10 mins till the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and serve.

(I added eggplant and cabbage after coconut milk was added in)

Feeling hungry! Yeah, me too!


  1. I'm so hungry looking at your mutton briyani, and the egg curry, gosh, I'm drooling.....

  2. thinking of cooking this for xmas! haahaa indian xmas!

  3. Betul tak rugi i came!!! Bestnya!!!!!! Yesterday i bought 3 Indian recipe books from MPH!!


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