We also went off to Spain for a week and stayed in the quaintest, rural-est of places and I loved it. Of course the insect bites and the unbearable heat meant half of the time was spent in the pool or at the beach, but it was a good break and we had a blast.
Cooking wise, not a lot of experimenting has been happening, but I'm still cooking! This yakhni pulao was the after effect of a week long no-cooking scenario and after being sick of eating out, i decided to get into the kitchen and cook, and no less a rich pulao. I have tried this with beef and thought it was somehow much more flavourful then. It wasn't bad this time, very flavourful and such, but i remember the beef being a favourite at that time. Its a recipe that is supposed to be slow cooked, but me being me, decided to cook the mutton in a pressure cooker and then continue with the rest of the process. That cant have been the reason why the beef prep was better, because i did that the same way- in the pressure cooker.
Anyways, this is definitely one of those indulgent pulao's, but one definitely worth trying.
Recipe adapted from here (serves 4)
Mutton- 500 gms
Yoghurt- 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds- 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon- 2 ,1 inch sticks
Bay leaf- 1
Black peppercorns- 1 tsp
Onion- 1, roughly chopped
Ginger- 1 tbsp, crushed
Garlic- 6 cloves, crushed
Salt- to taste
Ghee- 1 tbsp
Onions- 1 medium, thinly sliced
Basmati rice- 2 cups, washed and soaked in water for about half an hour
Water- as needed to make
Into a pressure cooker add the mutton and all the ingredients listed up to salt and marinate for about an hour or so.
Add 3 1/2 cups of water to the marinated meat and pressure cook for about 20 minutes, or till the meat is completely cooked.
Remove the mutton pieces from the mix using a slotted spoon. It doesn't matter if the onions have disintegrated and the garlic and ginger sticks to it. Don't bother removing them, it only adds to the flavour.
Drain the stock using a sieve and discard the spices. You should have around 3 cups of stock. Add quarter cup water to the stock to make it 3 3/4 and keep aside.
Pour the ghee into a heavy bottomed pan and add the onions.
Fry on medium heat till they turn brown, around 15 to 20 minutes. They don't need to be crisp, just caramelised.
Into that add the meat (along with the onions, ginger garlic and whatever is clinging to it) and the drained rice and saute for a minute or so. Don't over do this, or else the rice would break.
Reduce heat to low and add the stock to the rice and meat and give a good stir. Check for salt and add more if needed.
Close the pan with a tight fitting lid, covering all sides with a wet cloth if you think steam would escape.
Cook for around 15 to 20 minutes, resisting the urge to open the lid.
Once the time is up, turn off the heat and leave the rice to rest for about 10 minutes without taking off the lid.
Fluff the rice, garnish wtith some fried onions and serve with raita and poppadom.
Notes: You know your rice cooking times, usually its around 15 minutes for me, but 20 is safe.
My ratio of rice to meat was not that right, I'd probably use 1 1/2 cups of rice next time.
Of course if you want to do it the right way, slow cook the meat till tender, in a heavy bottomed pan. Keep checking in between to see that water levels are not too low and that the meat is not getting over cooked.
If you don't want the onions disintegrating, keep it whole with and x slit at the base. Same with the spices if you dont want to keep biting into them tie them all together in a muslin cloth and use