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Tom Thomas

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  1. hi , Thanks for posting the video , it is indeed very informative.

    Kitchens in India have different recipes for making biryani, Hyderabadi Biryani has lot of masala , Awadhi biryani is quite subtle, kolkatta biryani will have potatoes in it etc.


    But when we say Biryani , it has to be meat and rice cooked in slow process and layered.


    As far as your queries goes:

    1.) Indian cooking is little complexed , we add lots of ingredients  while making our base gravies , it gives taste and apart from  the health benifits of spices  in masala.


    2) curd usually an integral part in making biryani , curd gives body and sourness to the gravy, it also helps in tenderizing the meat.


    3) Rice is put on top because , biryani is supposed to be layered.

     more over when the lid opens in front of the guest , the rice on top with colours look pleasing and it holds the mystery inside ( meat, keeps guest interested also)


    4) water was required to make chicken gravy , as the rice was also supposed to go in the same vessel as chicken , so he used the water in which rice was boiling , so as to save water soluble vitamins.

    a very simple logic is , hot water saves time 


    Hope I was able to relate every query of yours.






    Happy cooking

    • Like 1
  2. India is a country of different cultures , u can find different folklore , arts , songs , religion etc all amalgamated in one fine land ,apart from these amazing and diverse traditions , we have been blessed with some extraordinary cuisines which have mushroomed with time in different parts. Some of the dishes not originated here but have been given to us by invaders from the east who brought with them the skill and taste.


    So when a legend says that Mumtaaz Mahal ( wife of Shah Jahan who made Taj Mahal: one of the 7 wonders of the world ), was once visiting army barracks and she saw the army under nourished so she ordered the chef to cook a complete meal and the chef cooked biryani , we are not surprised. Biryani is derived from Farsi word “Birian” which means” fried before cooking” and cooking style referred is Dum (slow cooking process in a sealed pot).

    There are some other legends also saying nomads used to burry an earthen pot full of rice, meat and spices into the pot, and eventually when the pot was dug up, biryani was ready.

    Whatever the legends says, we have been blessed with this culinary masterpiece which comes in all different varieties in India, be it Hyderabadi biryani (made famous by Nizams), Kolkata biryani, malabari biryani, and my favourite Awadhi biryani.


    Here is my recipe of biryani (Rice with moist and flavourful chicken)





    chicken                  1 kg

    yoghurt                 ½ cup

    salt                        1 tsp

    Ginger paste         1 tsp

    Garlic paste           1 tsp

    Garam masala       1tsp

    lemon                    1 tsp


    1.       Make a marinade with all the ingredients , smear it on chicken and keep in refrigerator for 2 hours.





    Basmati rice ( long grain)         500 gms

    Cardamom green                      6 no.

    Cloves                                       6 no.

    Cinnamon stick                          1 no.

    Cumin                                        1tsp

    Bayleaf                                      2 no

    Clarified butter (ghee)              2 tbsp

    Lemon                                       1 no.

    Water                                        1.5 litres




    1.       Soak basmati rice in water.

    2.       In a thick bottomed pan , add clarified butter and bayleaf.3

    3.       Stir for few seconds and add remaining spices.

    4.       Once the spices are tempered add soaked rice and stir a little

    5.       Add water and lemon juice and cook till half done.

    *Well I like to cook my rice in ghee and then add water , it gives a good flavour to the rice, if one has to omit little fat then this step can be avoided.




    Chicken                   1 kg

    Green cardamom     3 no.

    Garlic paste             50 gm

    Onion sliced            200 gms

    Ginger paste           30gm

    Red chilli powder    150 gms

    Coriander powder   4 tsp

    Salt                         To taste

    Turmeric                   1   tsp

    Garam masala(cloves, mace, cardamom, cinnamon)  2 tsp

    Ghee                        100 gms

    Cream                      200 ml

    Yoghurt                    200 gm



    1.       Add ghee (clarified butter) in a thick bottomed pan and add sliced onions.

    2.       Cook till onions are light brown, now add ginger and garlic paste.

    3.       Cook till garlic’s pungency is removed.

    4.       Add marinated chicken and cook for another 5 minutes.

    5.       Now add all the masala and yogurt cover with the lid and let the chicken cook.

    6.       Once it is 90 % done, add fresh cream and stop cooking.



    1.       Take a thick bottomed pan.

    2.       Pour a spoon of clarified butter and then lined the bottom with rice .

    3.       Now pour chicken curry made on top of it.

    4.       Sprinkle finely cut cilantro and mint.

    5.       Again repeat the steps 2 times  on top of each other forming a layer.

    6.       Once finished rice should b on the top most layer.

    7.       Sprinkle some dum masala (fennel , cardamom and cloves )

    8.       Now seal the container with a lid and put some weight on top of the lid to entrap the steam.

    9.       Put it on a very slow fire and cook till rice and chicken is cooked ( 20 min)

    10.   Serve with yoghurt.

    • Like 8
  3. I made my first attempt at Nadan Meen Curry tonight.  Here's my report and my feedback.


    First of all, it was delicious!   :smile:


    I did come away with a number of questions, but I'll show some pictures of what I did as I go.


    First, the raw ingredients, as near to what you specified as I could manage:


    attachicon.gifRaw ingredients.jpg



    You didn't specify what kind of oil to use to begin cooking.  I happen to have some red palm oil, and I used that.  It adds an interesting color, as can be seen with this photo of the onion, which was already beginning to soften, and the garlic, which had just been added.  In your notes you indicated that the onion, garlic and ginger should all be added at once.  (I usually end up burning the garlic when I do that, so I added it after the onion was already softened.)


    attachicon.gifSweating just added garlic.jpg


    Your instructions say to add the fish "when the masala is cooked"...I realized I didn't know what that meant!  I probably added the fish too soon.

    attachicon.gifSimmering 2.jpg


     It was well-cooked enough after a short simmer that I removed it to a warm oven while I cooked the sauce down.  


    It took a while to cook the sauce down, and I wondered just how thick it should be.  Here's the fish and sauce, ready to serve:


    attachicon.gifReady to serve.jpg

    and here's a plate of the fish and sauce over rice.  Bread and vegetables were served separately.




    We both thought it was delicious!  We'll be trying it again, possibly with thicker fish (these were thin fillets) and certainly with a shorter cooking time to the fish.  If I can lay my hands on the missing ingredients, I'll add them.



    First, thanks so much for this recipe!  It passes the taste test!

    Second - and this is the test of communication - how close did I come to what you tried to explain?

    Hi Smithy...

    Well the fish looked amazing , Although i personally like my sauces a little thin when having with rice as it moistens the rice well.

    While cooking onions first and ginger garlic next , as rightly mentioned saves those burnt garlic.

    The chilli powder used in india is reddish and gives a reddish tinge to the gravy. 

    Thankyou so much for trying the recipe , been working on the next will post soon.



  4. Tom Thomas: Several dishes you mentioned in your first post caught my attention as they sound so similar to what we enjoyed in Malaysia. We were staying with friends in the northern tip of the country, a village in Kadah province. What really got my attention was the fresh fish coated  with spices and shallow frie you mentioned. My friend said they used mackerel, rubbed with salt and turmeric and fried until crispy. The flesh was almost dry and so easy to eat with the hands. Can you elaborate? I tried when we got back home and it just didn't turn out the same...



    we do the same , but because we foind black peppercorn in abundance here in kerala , we use that too

    what you can do is take some shallots , garlic and turmeric , mix with salt and pepper and little lemon juice and make a paste 

    ( we use stone gridlers for making paste as   they give a peculiar flavour to the marinade).

    score ur fish and marinate it , let it absorb all the marinade and then shallow fry the same.

    you can keep it in refrigerator after marination just to harden the flesh.


    my mother also applies salt as first coating she says it hardens the flesh as water is drained off because of salt ( i dnt use this method)


    Do send me feedback 



  5. Thank you very much for taking time to read my post much appreciated . Actually I am so happy because it was my first post and I always had this apprehension whether readers would like it or not.




    Coming to all the questions:

    @ smithy : any fresh water fish will taste better with this recipe , i haven't tried this recipe with Shrimp but i think , shrimp would be requiring just little more masala and slightly thicker curry.

    and thank you very much once again u have given me one of the best compliments


    @ Hassouni: Thank you very much for your reply , "Meen" is a term we use for fish in Kerala , i would recommend any fresh water fish over salt water fish (sea water), yes you are right that kokum is used as souring agent but the fruit which we use in this recipe is  kodam Puli, which is different , but kokum is an equally good substitute.


    @ Kenneth : Thank you for your reply , we use powdered turmeric as it is easily available , fresh turmeric is used in kerala but in ayurvedic preparations mostly.

  6. Kerala( southern most state of India), we  call it "GODS OWN COUNTRY", why won’t it be ...

    Lush green fields , beautiful rivers and lakes , backwaters , unadulterated spices , Big coconut trees (now even come in varieties with yellow coconut on them), sprawling beaches , ancient temples , mysterious shrines , beautiful churches , enthralling wild life, pure ayurveda , amazing martial arts , enchanting dance forms , classical music and top of all beautiful people.

    It’s an amalgamation of extraordinary things, but the thing that has left the most biggest impact on my soul, is the cuisine of this beautiful state.


    Coming from a Malayali family(resident of kerala), I always looked forward to our visits to Kerala just for the food, the smell of those freshly cut bananas deep frying, fresh fish coated in spices and shallow fried, rice delicacies cooked in banana leaves, greatest varieties of tubers, stews, appams, parotha and for the sweet tooth’s the Special Halwa(convection) from those lovely bakeries which are mushrooming everywhere in the state.

    Being a coastal state Kerala cuisine has in it lots of seafood delicacies, beautiful fresh water fishes, cooked in aromatic masala is a feast for soul.

    Being a avid foodie there are varieties of recipes which I would love to share but the recipe which I will be sharing is the one which I always look forward to and the one unique taste which I deeply miss, although I have been trying this recipe here in Delhi but the taste which comes from cooking in earthenware (chetti) dish  and using kokum / gamboge ( souring agent found in kerala) and fresh ingredients of Kerala is not matched.
     The smell of the curry with deep red colour is something for the senses to feel. So I would like to share one my mother’s recipe which is meen (fish) curry


    Fish -                                500 gms

    Salt-                                  2 tsp

    Turmeric -                        1 tsp

    Fenugreek Powder -      1 tsp

    Red chilli powder  -        2 tsp

    Onion -                              2 tbsp chopped 

    Ginger-                             1 tbsp finely chopped

    Garlic -                              1 tbsp finely chopped 

    Kokum/ gamboge -        2 no.

    Curry Leaves -                 7 nos.

    Water -                              2 cups



    1.      Finally chop ginger , garlic and onions and keep aside

    2.      Rub little salt on the fish pieces (skinned or de skinned fillets) and keep it to rest.

    3.      Take oil in a special earthenware (called chetti), add oil and sauté onions, garlic and ginger.

    4.      Once the raw aroma of garlic is not felt, add turmeric, coriander, fenugreek & red chilli powder.

    5.      When the masala is cooked add  kokum and fish

    6.      Add water and little salt and let the fish cook in water.

    7.      Reduce it till the desired consistency is reached.

    8.      Serve with rice or kappa

    if you don’t have( kokum/ gamboge) , tamarind or tomatoes can be used as alternative. This dish tastes best with boiled kappa (which is a tuber found in Kerala) or with steamed rice.



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