Monday, 19 November 2012
As I have said numerous time before, I am a sucker for biryani, good or bad. I can thoroughly enjoy it without an issue. That said, I completely suck at making biryani the proper way and so cant flaunt it when I have guests over. I do experiment with different types of biryani when its just us at home and sometimes it comes out ok, but most of the time, not good.
When the lovely people over at Flora asked me if I wanted to try making the Keralan Prawn Biryani recipe from their new cookbook called 'Let's Get Cooking,' I jumped at it. With around 30 odd recipes contributed by mums (and dads), the cookbook was put together by Jean-Christophe Novelli and has an array of easy recipes you can whip up in no time. You can view all the recipes in the cookbook here. It was also my first time using Flora Cuisine, and I must say I'm pretty impressed with it. Its a much healthier cooking oil which can be used in place of any oil or butter and used for baking, frying, greasing, sauteing and what not. I have been regularly using it for my cooking now and I love it.
Coming to the recipe. One look at it and you will instantly realise its an easy peacy one, with no complications of a biryani. That said, its not the traditional biryani. So scoot if its what you are looking for. The rice here is cooked in a microwave, the prawn masala made separately and then both mixed together and served. Not the authentic biryani flavour you would get with this, but would suffice for one of those days you don't want to slog it out in the kitchen, but want something fancy and tasty. I had never cooked rice in a microwave and was wary about doing so, especially because it involved a huge quantity of ingredients and you definitely don't want to waste it by screwing it up. So I did a couple of Google searches, asked the contributor of the recipe (who btw has her own food blog) and some other friends and they all assured me it would turn out well as they regularly did it.
I was still too chicken to do it and so tried it out with a small quantity of plain rice the previous day. All I have to say is, I'm hooked. I'm kicking myself for not discovering microwave cooking earlier. Its so easy and convenient and the best part, individual grains of rice which are perfectly cooked and fluffy. I now make different types of pulao and stuff in the microwave, which I shall blog about later. So anyways, the whole thing doesn't take any time to put together especially if you make the prawn masala a day or two ahead. Which is what I did and all I had to do was make the rice, garnish and assemble it on THE day. Taste-wise, I thought it was more like a prawn pulao than a biryani, but who cares, it tasted good nonetheless.
Recipe adapted from Flora's Let's Get Cooking
Tiger prawns- 500 gms, peeled and cleaned
Chilli powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste
For the masala
Flora Cuisine- 2 tbsp
Onion- 1 large, thinly sliced
Ginger paste- 2 tbsp
Garlic paste- 2 tbsp
Green chillies- 2, slit
Coriander powder- 2 tsp
Mint leaves- 1/4 cup, cleaned and roughly chopped
Coriander leaves- 1/3rd cup, cleaned and roughly chopped
Garam masala- 1 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Water- 1/2 to 3/4th cup
Lemon juice- 1 tbsp
For the rice
Basmati rice- 2 cups, cleaned and soaked in water for around 15 to 20 minutes and then drained.
Flora Cuisine- 1 tbsp
Onion- 1 large, thinly sliced
Boiling water- 4 1/4 cups
Salt- to taste
Cashewnuts- 3 tbsp
Onion- 1 half, julienned
Raisins- 1 tbsp
Once the marinating time is over, you can start with the masala.
Place a large pan over medium heat and add the Flora Cuisine. Once hot, saute the onions till they turn soft and a light brown in colour.
Add the ginger, garlic pastes and green chilli and continue sauteing till the raw smell disappears, around 2 to 3 minutes.
Throw in the coriander powder, chopped mint and coriander leaves', garam masala and salt and mix it all in, stirring for about a minute or so.
Add the marinated prawns, water and lemon juice and simmer on medium heat till the prawns are cooked through and the masala is in semi-gravy form. Keep aside.
This can be made the previous day or 2 days in advance and refrigerated.
Season with enough salt, give a stir and cook without a lid in the microwave for about 10 minutes.
Simultaneously, heat 1 tbsp of the Flora Cuisine in a frying pan and sauté the onions for the rice till soft and light brown.
After 10 minutes, remove the rice from the microwave (carefully, bowl might be hot) and add the sauteed onions to it. Give a thorough mix and continue cooking for about 12 minutes.
Once the time is up, check to see if all the water has been absorbed and if not, microwave for a further 2 to 3 minutes.
Take the bowl out, cover with a lid and leave aside for 10 minutes. You will then notice that the rice is perfectly cooked, and no water remains.
To assemble, fluff the rice gently using a fork and mix it with with the prawn masala. Make sure you don't over do the mixing and break the rice.
If using garnish, then heat 2 tbsp of Flora cuisine in a frying pan and fry the cashew nuts, onions and raisins separately till lightly crisp, drain on paper towels and when ready to serve garnish with the same.
Serve with pappad, pickle and raita.
Quantities have been altered a bit to suit our taste.
I cooked the rice on full power (700Watts) for 22 minutes. Times vary according to your microwave power.
You can of course layer the biryani the traditional way and cook in the oven or on the hob top to get the 'dum' effect. But the whole point of this biryani is the simplicity and so I followed the above mentioned procedure
I froze the remaining biryani in an air tight container. Just take it out and let it thaw at room temperature before using and finally warm in a microwave before serving.
With thanks to Flora Cuisine for sending me all the ingredients to make this tasty Prawn Biryani.