The past few days have been glorious. I illustrated some delectable recipes from the incredibly insightful and perceptiveRana Safvi.Rana, as you already know, is an author and historian with a passion for culture and heritage. She is the founder and moderator of the popular #shair platform on Twitter which is credited for reviving popular interest in Urdu poetry. Her bookWhere Stones Speak: Historical Trails in Mehrauli,The first city of Delhiis a unique blend of historical facts and haunting Urdu verse.
All the following recipes and information are from Rana’s website which is a treasure trove of information about language, culture, food, history, architecture and whatnot! You can check it outhere.
Here’s the entireDastarkhwanspread-
Beginning with the recipes…
This chutney was a favourite of the last Mughal Badshah Bahadur Shah Zafar and I found it in an old recipe book from the 20th century. It’s calledRahat-e-jaanmeaning ‘that which provides solace to the heart because of its nutritional ingredients’.
- Carrots(gajar)– 125 gm
- Carambola(kamrak)– 125 gm
- Lemon juice (250 gm)
- Mint leaves(pudina)– 75 gm
- Red chilli powder(lal mirch), to taste
- Sugar – ½ kg
- Ginger(adrak)– 50 gm
- Cumin(zeera)& Fenugreek seeds(methi)– 1 tsp
Chop finely and put in lemon juice. Marinate for a day
The word musallam means whole and is used when a full chicken or leg of mutton slow cooked. This is a simple recipe and not the time consuming one from olden days.
All it needs is some patience.
- Take a full chicken, plucked and cleaned from inside.
- Marinate overnight (12 hours) in following marinade:
- 250 gm ground onion paste
- 2 tbsp each ginger and garlic paste
- 2 tbspdhaniyapowder
- 1 cup thick curds
- 1 tbsp ofgaram masala
- Salt, Chilli powder to taste
- Heat oil in a shallowlaganaorkadhaiwhere the full chicken can easily fit in.
- Pour in 1/2 cup oil
- Fry 1 finely diced onion in the oil till golden.
- Put the chicken on top of it and let it cool on each side for 15 minutes.
- Use two big spoons to turn it over to keep it intact.
- When done remove chicken on to a flat serving dish.
- Pour the roasted marinade on top.
- Garnish with sliced boiled eggs.
- Enjoy with pitta bread and hummus
Khichda is made with seven types of cereals and grains. It has a rough texture with everything whole but well cooked. Haleem is a paste made by beating the meat and mashing the cereals and grains. Also, seven types of cereals and grains aren’t always used.
- Fry four onions. Onions should not be too brown or the masala looks dull and brownish. Remove 3/4 for garnish.
- Add masala – paste of 1 onion, ginger garlic (2tbsp)
- Haldi 1 tbsp , Mirch to taste. My personal opinion- if your nose doesn’t run and eyes don’t water from the chilli, it’s not worth calling it a khichda!
- Lazy cooks use too much oil as roasting time is reduced.
- Should look bright and the oil should have left sides when the masala is done.
(Note: Meat can be substituted by soya chunks for vegetarians)
- Keep meat aside.
- Cook the dals and cereals together with haldi and salt.
- Now mix meat and dals add 3 tbsp of Shaan masala for haleem( but only the powder not the pulses).
- Cook for 15 min.
- Serve with lemon wedges, fried onions, ginger julienne, hara dhania and hari mirch.
One whole leg of mutton (around 1¼ kg)
Roast all masala given below separately then grind with water. Don’t grind chana dal too finely.
- Dry Coconut – 2″ piece
- Almonds – 20
- Posta – 2 tbsp (to be ground with salt & water)
- Red chilli – to taste
- Roasted chana dal – 50 gms
- Nutmeg, mace – a pinch (powdered)
- Laung – 10 pieces
- Choti elaichi – 8 pcs
- Badi elaichi – 2 pcs
- Zeera- 3 tsp
- Tez patta – 5 pcs
- Dalchini – ½” piece
- Garlic – 12 cloves
- Ginger – 1″ piece
- Onions – 4
- Ghee 200 gms
- Raw papaya – paste 50 gms (with skin)
- Pinch of saffron
- Few drops of keora
- Curd – 2 tbsp (beaten- not too sour)
- Fork the meat and then apply the raw papaya and leave for an hour.
- Remove the raw papaya by wiping with a tissue.
- Apply all the masalas and leave for at least an hour (longer the better).
- Remove half the masala and keep aside.
- Heat ghee and brown one onion sliced finely.
- Add meat, water and cook.
- When the meat is half-done, add the rest of the masala and cook till tender.
- The water should be completely dry.
- Add beaten curd and brown nicely.
- Remove from fire and add saffron and keora.
- Cook over a very slow fire.
- If cooking in a pressure cooker, add all the masalas together (but the taste won’t be the same!)
Bharwaan Karela (with mince)
- 500 gms medium size karela
- 500 gms mince
- 1 onion – sliced
- 1 onion paste
- 1½ tbsp ginger garlic paste
- ½ tsp garam masala
- Salt and red chilli powder to taste
- Mustard oil
- Make a cut in whole karela and take out seeds. Boil for a few minutes in salt water and throw away the water.
- Fry the seeds and keep aside.
- Heat oil and fry the sliced onions. Add the ground and powdered masala to it and saute till done.
- Add keema and cook till tender. It should be dry.
- Mix the karela seeds in it and stuff in karela.
- Tie with a thread so karela doesn’t open.
- Fry on a slow fire till tender.
Khatte Meethe Machli ke Kabab
- Fish – (boneless) – 500 gms
- Besan – 2 tbsp (roasted lightly on dry tawa)
- Laung, elaichi – 5 each oil (ground)
- Saffron – a pinch
- 1 egg
- Red chilli and salt to taste
- Adrak and onions, finely chopped
- Lemon juice (of 6 lemons = 1/2 cup)
- 3 tbsp sugar
- Mint leaves
- Steam fish and debone.
- Mix all the ground and powdered ingredients to the fish mix.
- Add finely chopped onion and adrak to it.
- Shape into kabab and fry.
- Cook the sugar and lemon together and keeping the kababs in a plate, pour this hot mix on them.
- Garnish with a few sprigs of saffron.
- 1 litre milk
- 2 tbsp soaked and ground rice
- Boil milk.
- Add the ground rice. The ground rice should be of pouring, semi-liquid consistency.
- Pour into boiling milk, stirring continuously to prevent lumps being formed. Cook till milk is yellowish because of condensation and thickens.
- Once the milk thickens and rice integrates, it can be left to cook on its own.
- Add sugar and dry fruits.
- Pour in an earthen dish. Cool and serve.
If you have questions about the recipes or have tried these at home, please comment below and let us know!