Tuesday, January 29, 2013

S-I-X and Counting years, and Bengali Mutton Biryani

Life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony.                                                                                                            Martin Luther King, Jr.

 The first time I met the. Husband. He came across as a hermit. He’d think a lot before speaking. During our dates, he’d just nod in agreement at whatever I wanted to order, even if it meant fiddling with food for him. Once, he came to meet me from Portugal and got a small souvenir from there as a gift– he never gave me that present lest I hate it. He was shy and reticent and nowhere near the ‘Happy –go-Lucky’ attitude I sported. Then the oddity happened, the journey of the opposites began.

I continued being me, just the spirited social soirees were re-scheduled for the day and the nights were reserved for the happy home cooking.  It was frowned at but tolerated well. Year after year, city after city. Then, almost six years later I’m practically running the risk of sounding like him. It amazes me how we’ve changed almost effortlessly over the years, it’s cozy to share a life with someone who enjoys watching Little S patiently as I work at my home office or whose idea for a great weekend is selecting the best thriller movies and waiting for me to watch it with him. I know the.husband has come a long way since the day I first met him, when for the New Year’s night he offered to party at chic nightCLUB while I was happy just huddling with my fellas at home.

Of course my daily life is not all that musical as it sounds now.

We have our rough rides every now and then, still in the middle of all the daily chaos and chunks of months that moves in almost a clockwork fashion, I have to admit that I have now started longing for these quiet days at home, with nothingness on the mind and where the only agenda be laughing nonstop with our daughter and cooking a one pot meal before settling in with a movie to watch together—and as I rush to seize these moments, I pray that they will become less rare and more a way of life.

That’s just the beginning of how we've been tied together in time.

Somewhere I suspect, this Bengali version of Mutton Biriyani has a major role to play too. When the extent of our marital disharmony revolved around the debate of Who’s from a better Biriyani place -The Hyderabad vs The Lucknow, this Bengali Mutton Biryani version entered the kitchen to save our souls.

Bengali Mutton Biriyani


1 kg Mutton/ lamb meat (marinated overnight in raw papaya paste, can use any other tenderizer)
500 gm. of basmati rice(washed and soked for an hour)
3 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
2-3 potatoes cut into big cubes
1 large onion finely chopped
1 cup plain yogurt/dahi
2 tsp. red Chili powder
Kewra essence few drop
Few strands of saffron soaked in 1 tsp warm milk
Salt to taste
1 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Biryani Masala

Biryani Masala (powder roast the masala, or you can use the readymade Biriyani Masala from Store)
7-8 Cloves
3-4 green Cardamom
A pinch of grated Nutmeg
1/2" Mace
1 tsp. Cumin
1tsp of white Peppercorn
2" Cinnamon stick

Cook the rice in a deep bottomed pan spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Cook till done, but not mushy, drain the water, add a tsp of ghee and keep aside.

Take oil in a heavy bottom pan or in a pressure pan and once the oil is hot, add chopped onions and fry till they are golden brown. Add the meat pieces sauté on high heat. Now add the ginger, garlic paste and sauté with the meat pieces. Now add yogurt and red chilies powder and add 3 tsp. of the Biryani Masala. Finally add the potato halves add the salt and sugar, and fry all of them together with the meat and spices. Cook in the pressure pan until the meat is tender.Once done, assemble the biryani.

In the serving pan add a layer of rice, then meat and gravy, add the saffron infused milk, then a few drops of Kewra. Repeat the process. Till all the rice is exhausted.This is the easy way out without the dum and cuts my time in half! Let it stand and heat well before serving.

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