because gluten-free food doesn't have to be rubbish

Goli gosh

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One thing I have noticed about Indian food, both whilst I was in India, and cooking recipes from a book, is that it can be quite time consuming. It’s not necessarily difficult, or complex, with strange techniques (though that certainly does apply to some of the breads and desserts) but  sauces often have to be simmered for hours, meat grilled and then added to curries, different part prepared separately and, over the course of hours, brought together. Despite my knee-jerk reaction to such recipes, which is to either skip them, or simplify them down beyond all recognition, I have started to see that these long cooking times, and separate steps are necessary to layer different flavours and textures, and they really infuse a dish with taste. One reason home-cooked curries don’t taste the same as “authentic” ones is this lack of a long cooking time or layering of techniques. That and the use of curry pastes….

With my new-found, if somewhat obvious, knowledge I decided to attempt a recipe which ordinarily I would have glossed over as being far too complicated, goli biryani. This involved making a whole array of different sauces and mixtures, before layering up each of the mixtures in a degchi. I had absolutely no idea what one of those was, so I used the only ovenproof, lidded dish I had on hand, which is a gyuveche dish I brought back from Bulgaria. Turned out, they are actually moderately similar in style, and in fact biryanis are in style a close relative of the Bulgarian gyuveche recipe in terms of method, layering up meat, vegetables and in the Indian case rice, and baking them in the oven so the flavours meld together.

Goli biryani
From Khazana of Indian Recipes

I urge you not to skip any of the steps, as the result as the layers seep into each other in the oven is divine. I have listed some ingredients twice, as they are used for different parts of the recipe in different quantities; this is intentional. Read the whole recipe first before starting!

150g basmati rice
1 bay leaf
300ml chicken stock
6 tablespoons yoghurt
1 teaspoon coriander leaves, minced
1 teaspoon mint leaves, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Pinch of turmeric powder
2 tablespoons milk
3-4 threads of saffron
250g chicken mince
1 tablespoon coriander leaves
1 green chilli, minced
1/4-inch piece of ginger, minced
1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 green cardamom pods
2 cloves
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4-inch piece of ginger, minced
1 green chilli, minced
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder

1. In a medium saucepan boil the rice with the bay leaf and stock until cooked. Drain off any excess liquid and set the rice aside.

2. Divide the yoghurt between to bowls. Into one, mix the teaspoon of minced coriander leaves and mint leaves. Into the other mix the cayenne and turmeric powder. Set aside.

3. Heat the milk in a small bowl in the microwave until just warm. Put the saffron threads in the milk and set aside to steep.

4. In a medium bowl mix together the chicken mince with the remaining tablespoon coriander leaves, the minced green chilli and the minced ginger. Mix well, roll into balls a little large than a walnut (makes about 8-10 balls) and leave balls to set a little on a plate in the refrigerator for half an hour.

5. In a frying pan or wok heat a little oil until it shimmers. Add the chicken balls and sear for a minute on each side (about 4 minutes in all) so they are golden brown on the outside. Remove the meatballs from the pan and set aside.

6. To the pan add the cumin seeds and cook for about 30 seconds until they start to crackle slightly. Add the nutmeg, cardamom and cloves, and then the sliced onion, and cook for a couple of minutes, until the onion starts to brown. Add the garlic and ginger and the minced green chilli, along with the coriander powder. Stir well. Finally add the yoghurt which contains the cayenne and turmeric and stir well again.

7. To this mixture return the chicken balls, add about 150ml water and cook for 5 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced by about half and is lovely and thick.

8. In a degchi, or small, narrow-mouthed ovenproof dish with a lid, layer half (about 5) of the chicken meatballs, with some of the sauce from the pan. Layer half of the rice on top, then spoon half of the coriander/mint yoghurt on top of that, and finish with half of the garam masala powder and a tablespoon of the saffron milk. Repeat, by layering the rest of the meatballs, topped with the sauce, then the yoghurt mixture, and the rest of the rice. Finish with the remainder of the garam masala and the saffron-infused milk. Place the lid on the pot and cook for 15-20 minutes in 180 C oven.

9. Remove from the oven, take care when removing the lid in case of escaping steam, and serve immediately, with raita or a vegetable curry.

Serves 2.


Written by guffblog

7th August 2011 at 12:34

Posted in Main courses

Tagged with , , ,

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