Mutton Kabsa and Memories
I love the recipes with a good sprinkling of nostalgia associated with them. This Mutton Kabsa for instance… It’s aroma, its unique flavor, it always takes me back to my beautiful life in Saudi Arabia. My birthplace. Kabsa is a Saudi staple and is made with Mutton, Chicken or even Prawns. The simple and humble dish is prepared quite easily, with all the Saudi homes having their own trademark spice-blend to enhance that irresistible, comforting aroma and flavor. Here, I am sharing an authentic preparation of Mutton Kabsa. Prime Indian Mutton (Goat meat) is best for Kabsa.
My mom made this Kabsa so perfectly!! I would be so thrilled when I walked in the door after school and got that distinct whiff of Kabsa Spice!!
Thalassery Beef Biriyani has been a long requested recipe here on RAS. Those of you who frequently visit for my Malabar style recipes, I hope you will enjoy my recipe for a delicious Beef Biriyani.
Thalassery is truly a place represented by its hospitable locals, who are always happy to feed a hungry soul… The varieties of delicious Arab and Mughal influenced foods, as well as the vast array of sweet and savory snacks, makes any trip to this place undeniably ‘Unforgettable’!
Although famous for its endless list of tea time snacks, the Thalassery Biriyani is, without doubt, the most famous dish from the region.
Thalassery Biriyani is a cultural embodiment and is reminiscent of foreign influences in Malabar. It is a by-product of the Mughal-Arab cultural influence in North Kerala due to the trade that lasted for centuries before the 1900s and the emigration to the Middle East of locals from the 1970s onwards.
So here is my special recipe for Thalassery Beef Biriyani. I hope you will make it and send me a pic! This post has taken forever with getting all the ingredient measures to perfection. If you follow my recipe, I guarantee you success.
Buffalo meat is often used in this recipe, and I believe it tastes so much better. In fact, many delicious curries and fries that one mistakes to be beef throughout Kerala is actually Buffalo meat.
Another key ingredient in Thalassery Biriyani is the variety of fragrant rice used. Although Basmati is famous in Biriyani, Thalassery prides itself in using the indispensable Wayanadan Kaima/ Jeerakasala rice to make this authentic Biriyani. It is a very short delicate grain with a lovely fragrance that permeates throughout the popular rice dish. Since good quality Kaima rice is not always available, you may use Basmati if you can not find it.
The cooked rice and meat is layered in a sealed pot, in the ‘Dum’ method of sealed cooking which prevents any steam from escaping and enforces the flavors to marry well with each other. The aroma throughout the house when the Dum (pronounced ‘DHuM’) is cut open is quite captivating.
Beef Kare Kare is a rather unique way to cook beef. This Filipino dish combines stewed beef and yummy stir fried vegetables with a delicious, taste-bud friendly sauce made of peanut butter and ‘bagoong’ – a sautéed dried shrimp paste! Sounds interesting? If you are a serious foodie, this is one dish that you must try out. If you like peanut butter, you will love it.
‘ Bagoong Guisado ‘ is a sautéed shrimp paste. This condiment is really quite tasty! Unlike Thai or Malaysian shrimp paste, it is sautéed, and comes in small bottles. You can even have it as a condiment along with your rice.
My filipina friend, Lyn tells me that I must add enough peanut butter to be able to taste it. It isn’t supposed to be a hidden flavor. Two other special ingredients are used in Kare Kare. One being the Banana Blossom. Although I love it, I didn’t want that texture of the entire blossom affecting the smoothness of the dish so I used banana blossom flower that comes dried in packets. The second special ingredient, is Atsuete/ Annatto /Achiote Seeds. These seeds were introduced to Filipino cuisine by the Spanish and are often used as a natural coloring agent. The seeds have a mild peppery aroma, when fried, similar to sichuan pepper – I felt. They are also known as ‘Poor mans Saffron ‘ and can help to give rice a yellowish color similar to the color imparted by saffron, but much cheaper! When fried in oil, as in the Kare Kare, they give a nice reddish color. The seeds however must be removed after frying as they taste bitter.
Quite a unique sounding dish. Wouldn’t you say? It is quite yummy, I tell you .
Asian Black Pepper Beef with Curry Leaves
This Asian Black Pepper Beef with Curry leaves has a lovely aromatic sauce that can be poured over rice or noodles. The combination of butter, curry leaves, onion and bell peppers flavors the tender beef in such subtle but effective tones. At our place we love this over rice or crispy noodles with a fried and oozy egg on top!
Chinese Beef Stir Fry with Vegetables
Chinese Beef Stir Fry with Vegetables is very commonly made in Chinese homes, with any vegetables that you may have. I particularly love adding sawi spinach / xiao bay chai/ Japanese mustard greens. Other popular options are broccoli, green bell pepper or mushroom. This is a dish that can be made in 20 minutes and it’s just awesome with steamed white rice. My little one calls it ‘ The juicy beef ‘ .
Lamb Chops with Cherry Sauce
Lamb Chops with Cherry sauce. These savory chops with sweet and sour sauce are perfect for entertaining or on special occasions. I used lamb loin chops. Quite the ‘Fancy but Simple meal’, as I call it; served with a Mesclun Salad and Mashed Peas.
Rogan Josh | Kashmiri Mutton Curry
This is the hugely popular Mutton Curry from the beautiful Kashmir Valley. One of the menu items of the ‘Kashmiri Wazwaan’, the traditional Kashmiri banquet. Rogan Josh was bought to Kashmir by the Mughals. The dish is of Persian origin and is rich and deeply aromatic. Rogan / Roghan is derived from the Persian word ‘روغن’ which actually means, ‘ghee’. Josh, ‘جوش; means boil, and is also used as an expression of intensity. So essentially Rogan Josh, means ‘boiled in ghee with intensity or at high heat’. A perfect dish for the cooler climates.
Mutton is used (Goat Meat) here, and the meat is cooked so tender in the ghee. So delicious that it just has to be experienced to know the deliciousness! This is how the Pandit style Rogan Josh is made. No onions or garlic in the preparation.
Some versions of the curry use yoghurt to add a sour note. I mush prefer the one without yoghurt as I have made here. The trademark color of the Rogan Josh is also very appealing. A fiery red color, that originally comes from the ‘Mawal ke phool’ or Dried Cockscomb flower , a red flower, indigenous to the Valley. Since it is not easy to find, deep red kashmiri chilli powder combined with kashmiri saffron is used to get the natural red color. Alternatively, these days Ratanjot or its powder is used, however these days it is often mixed with synthetic coloring. If you have neither, simply use a good bright red kashmiri chilli powder.
I served this for this Eid ul Adha along with Shirazi Rice and it was quite a hit.
Chunky Beef Stew
The classic American Chunky Beef Stew is a meal in itself. Tremendously comforting with some homemade bread, buttermilk biscuits or dumplings. I remember having beef stew in the winter months while growing up in Dhahran, where winters were very cold.
Singapore is usually always hot or rainy.. but I do sometimes get a craving for this stew. The kids will eat it up faster than most meals and the hubby loves it too.
Whenever I get really good stewing beef, I always have this recipe in mind. Nope, it’s not a soup, its not smooth or watery..oh and no it’s not a curry either!!! It’s chunky and you have to rummage through the contents to make sure each spoonful has all the elements. The ‘browned’ beef promises a wonderful pearlescent gloss to the gravy. The gravy, that is simply heart warming and delicious. So good for something so simple!
A dutch oven or cast iron pot is traditionally used.. but I have made it in my trusted pressure cooker without any trouble too.
Galouti Kebab – The Royal Melting Kebabs
The Galouti Kebab (Galawati Kebab) is quite different as far as Kebabs go.. It truly melts in your mouth! I bet the phrase ‘melt in mouth’ was coined after having these kebabs! There is an interesting story behind the melting kebabs… The Rulers / Nawabs of Lucknow (formerly known as Awadh) were notorious for their exuberant lifestyles filled with vast luxury. But on the bright side (for us), many a regal dish was created on demand and till today remain prized recipes. Their fanciful palettes demanded and their Bawarchis (head chefs) delivered exciting food fit for a King! Galouti Kebab, legend has it is the product delivered to the aging Nawab of Kakori (Wajid Ali Shah) , Kakori is Famous for the Kakori Kebabs. The nawab had lost his teeth, and demanded for a kebab which would not require the use of his teeth! Hence was born the softest, most delicate kebabs in the world! The Royal Melting Kebabs.
Try to stick to this recipe, to get the authentic taste. Check out the video.
Dawood Basha | Lebanese Meatballs in Tomato Sauce Served with Saffron Rice
Dawood Basha or Lebanese Style Meatballs with Pine Seeds in a Simple Tomato Sauce. These meatballs, are tender, with a melt in mouth quality. Dawood Basha was the first Governor appointed by the Ottoman Empire. These meatballs were perhaps his favorite. They are very famous, served over rice. My love for Lebanese food, started early on in life. The food is generous, warm and inviting.
Traditionally, these meatballs are cooked in sheep tail fat, but ghee is a practical substitute. Served with a Simple Saffron Scented Rice, this makes for a very easy to prepare and comforting meal.