Friday, July 20, 2007

Mirch Ka Salan ( Chilli's in Creamy Sesame-Peanut Gravy)

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Of the many dishes that were born in kitchens of the Nizams of Hyderabad, the Dum Biryani, Mirch ka Salan and Haleem are the most famous.
A click for Mirch ka Salan's recipe on the web will generate numerous web pages offering a How- To for this dish.
A sucker for food usually finds another very easily. Its by this rule that I have found Inkey at my workplace. He and to a large extent his family has a big collection of authentic hyderabadi recipes with interesting stories around them. These are dishes they make on their relgious ocassions like Id etc.
I got my recipe for the Salan from him. What was amazing about this recipe is that it uses less ingredients (No onion, no ginger-garlic, no turmeric, no asafoetida) than the ones found in cookbooks and recipe portals, and the taste is out of the world.
Needless to say, armed with the recipe and an urge to try it out, I donned my apron. The only change I made was the addition of yoghurt. The end result, everyone who tasted it liked it, including my biggest wife ( we have a thing going, a to who cooks better :-D )

Chilli (Big, long panvel chilli, or Annaheim Chillies)– 1 Kg
Peanuts – 200gm
Cumin Seeds (Zeera )– 50 gm
Mustard Seeds – 50 gm
Cinnamon (Chakla) -50 gm
Sesame Seeds (Til ) – 50 gm
Poppy Seeds – 50 gms
Cloves – 2-3 (Minced)
Coconut (Roasted & Ground) – 200 gm
Yoghurt - 400 gm
Curry Leaves – Few
Black pepper – 10 gm
Tamarind - 20 gm

Pre-Preparation :
1. Wash, slit and de-seed chillies. If you do not want big chilies, cut into half. (Note - if you are de-seeding large amount of chillies by hand, rub oil in both hands, to save the hands from having a burning sensation later on)
2. Shallow-Fry Chillies and keep aside. Keep oil for making Salan.
3. Roast Peanuts slightly. Also, roast grated coconut and Poppy seeds and sesame seeds slightly.
4. Make a paste of peanuts, coconut, black peppercorns, Sesame seeds and poppy seeds with little water. This is the Salan Paste.
5. Soak Tamarind in lukewarm water to make tamarind water.

1. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil (same oil used for frying chilli's).
2 Add Clove, Cinnamon and mustard seeds.
3. When they begin to crackle, add in the salan paste.
4. Cook this mixture till the oil leaves the paste. This will take some time. Peanuts typically tend to stick and you will need to keep stirrung to avoid that. If it sticks too much, add a few drops of water. This may take a long time(20-25 minutes) and you will see that the paste turns a brown color.
5. Once the oil leaves the paste, add whisked yoghurt. Keep stirring again till oil separates again.
6. Add tamarind water and salt. Cook for 5 minutes.
7. Add chillies. Cook for 5 more minutes.
8. Serve Hot.

Serves - 10 people


supriya_swarup said...

Hey Gaurav, I completely love this site and the way you've put up your ideas. A true "Gastronomique" ideed! Very impressive.....By the ways food has always been my weakness too. I love trying new cuisines. There is always some experiment oon, in my kitchen....thought i already told you about it.

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