Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Salmon Biryani

Chilly gloomy day again, not as cold as yesterday though but dull anyway. Mom came over early with plans to make biryani, thats pretty much the only reason I decided to get out of bed. Indian food is really exciting, and though I really don't have any indian/pakistani or south east asian roots (other than the fact I was born in Pakistan) my family make some good biryani, if I do say so myself.

The really great part of all this is that now we use the prepared spice mix which cuts time and allows us to enjoy perfect biryani everytime anytime, hooray!
Helping mom out in the kitchen we first began to mix all these ingredients into a large bowl:

- 8 thawed and chopped salmon steaks (cut into 2X2 inch squares with scissors)
- 1 cup cilantro chopped
- 6 cloves minced or grated garlic
- 2 tsp dried mint
- 1 heaping tbsp minced ginger
- 1 box Shan Chicken Biryani spice mix
- 1/2 cup packaged fried onions (or freshly prepared by frying 5 onions chopped thinly and turned in oil until golden)
- 1/3 cup plain tomato sauce
- 1 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 3 tbsp oil

Mom Mixed the above gently with large spoon "so salmon pieces stay whole and do not break apart or mush together" she said. Then we covered with plastic cling wrap and set aside to marinade for 2 hours.

One hour through the marinated process she washed and soaked 4 cups of rice (scela or golden basmati) in a large bowl with cool water (rice amount indicated on spice mix package)
Cloves, pakistanti cardemum, cinnamon sticks.
After two hours are up she goes on to boil a large pot of water with some pakistani cardimum, cloves and a few cinnamon sticks along with the salt once the water reaches a boil. Straining the rice she adds it to the boiling water in the large pot.

1 19 oz can of lentils drained(or prepared homemade boiled black lentils)

1/2 cup thawed frozen peas (optional)

1/2 cup oil heated in small pot on the stove

1 cup hot milk (heated in microwave)

Meanwhile she spread salmon and spice mixture (masala) into a large lasagne pan (steel or glass) - strained lentils go nicely spread on top then the thawed peas.
Once the rice is boiled in the water for 15-20 minutes she scoops it out of the water with a slotted spoon and lays it on top of the mixture in the casserole dish, once it's all spread she lays the saffron on top and uses either food colouring or cumin and turmeric powder to create little coloured areas in the rice by dabbing the powder then spreading it with the back of a spoon in certain areas. Finally the hot oil is spooned evenly over the top and then the milk as well. It's covered with oven safe clingwrap then foil on top and set inside a preheated 350 F oven for around 40 minutes.
** Optional: sometimes we add a few whole hard boiled eggs between the rice and masala just before baking.

Meanwhile mom makes a yogurty sauce to go with it by thinning out the yogurt with a bit of water then adding a tablespoon of mint chutney from a jar.

I await impatiently for it to come out of the oven though it must cool down entirely or else as mom says "the flavours don't settle" so more waiting ... ... ..

FINALLY it's out and mom stires it a bit poking at the rice here and there while yelling "ready eat?" to my sisters in their room.
Now I'll be spending the rest of the day guzzling down tons of cold water!

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