Bagaaray Baigan is a famous dish from Hyderabad that was introduced by the Nizams, the longstanding rulers of the city. The Nizams, who were an off-shoot of the Mughal Empire, introduced their cuisine and soon intertwined with the existing South Indian flavors of the region to make what is the current cuisine of Hyderabad. Bagaaray Baigan is composed of small eggplants tempered with various spices and tamarind pulp, a key ingredient popular to the region. It is now popularly served as a side dish to the famous Hyderabadi Biryani, but is also just as delicious with simple white rice or naan. This dish is the cousin to the another side dish of Biryani, Mirchi Ka Salan, which is derived from he same concept with a few minor changes, notably the use of peppers instead of eggplants.
Dry Spices for the Paste:
2 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
3 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
3 Tbsp Peanuts
4 Tbsp Dry Coconut Powder
1 Tbsp Poppy Seeds
1 Tbsp Cashews
1 Large Onion Sliced
1 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 Tbsp Red Pepper Powder
1 Tsp Turmeric
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Cup Oil
For the Tempering:
1 lb Purple Indian Eggplants
2 Sprigs Curry Leaves
1 Tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 Tsp Kalaunji(Black Seeds)
4-5 Whole Green Chili’s
3 Tbsp Tamarind Pulp
1. Take a small pan and dry roast on a low flame the following spices individually for the paste: Cumin, Coriander, Peanuts, Coconut Powder, Poppy Seeds, and Cashews.
2. Next, heat about 1/2 cup oil in the pan and add the onions. Caramelize the onions to a light brown color. Let cool.
3. In a blender, add the spices, caramelized onion(with the oil used for frying it), ginger-garlic paste, red pepper powder, turmeric, and salt. Add about 2 cups of water and blend into a smooth paste.
4. Now prepare the eggplants. Wash clean and dry completely. Leave the stem on so it does not fall apart while cooking. Next, cut 2 slits in the eggplant from the bottom to form an X(See pic below).
5. Now you are ready to start the next step of tempering.
6. Take a pot and heat half a cup of oil. Turn the heat to low and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black seeds, and curry leaves. Cover if needed, as it may splatter.
7. Next, add the eggplants and green chilis. Fry everything together until the eggplant starts to change to a brown color(5 minutes).
8. Add the paste of spices and mix together. Keep on low and simmer for about 15 minutes until the eggplants are cooked and soft.
9. Now take the tamarind pulp and dilute in about 1/2 cup water. Add to the pot and stir. You will see the color change to a darker brown hue(Depending on the color of your tamarind). Adjust salt if needed. Let simmer for another 10 minutes on low heat until the oil starts to separate.
Bagaaray Baigain is now ready to enjoy!
Shaami Kabobs are a melt-in-your-mouth minced meat patty consisting of beef(or mutton), channa daal(chickpeas), onions, and various spices. They are popularly served as an appetizer, but can very well be served as a side dish with rice. While testing out recipes for Shaami Kabob, I got intrigued by what the history behind this unique recipe could be and learned a few cool facts. First off, the etymology refers to Bilad-al-Shaam, a region of present-day Syria, where most of the chefs had migrated from during the Mughal Era. As for the story behind the recipe, legend has it that it was invented by a Mughal Era chef for the Nawab(ruling nobleman)of Lucknow. According to various myths, the Nawab was overweight and toothless due to his overindulgences of being a Nawab. So as not to miss out on eating the delicious food made by his chefs, he challenged his chef to make such as dish that could be eaten without having any teeth, thus was born the Shaami Kabob.
For about the last month, I have been on a mission to come up with a good recipe to share with you all. In the past, my shaami kabobs have always been lacking in one area, the final texture. I’ve always struggled with getting that perfect softness without it falling apart on me and without compromising on the flavour. After many consultations with family members and trial tests, I am officially Shaami Kabob’d out! Not really, but I am very excited to finally have a version to share with you all. So, please do try it out and let me know if any more tweaking can be done. My recipes are always a work in progress and can always be improved with feedback. Happy Kabobing!
(yields about 15 kabobs)
2 lb Boneless Beef(cut into small cubes)
2 Medium Onions Sliced
1/4 cup Channa Daal
2 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Red Pepper Powder
1 tbsp Salt
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Whole Black Peppers
1 Cinnamon Stick
4-5 Whole Green Chilis
1/2 Cup Roughly Chopped Cilantro
1/2 Cup Roughly Chopped Mint
2 Egg Whites
Oil for Frying
1. In a pressure cooker or electric pressure cooker(Instant Pot), add the beef, onions, channa daal, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, red pepper powder, salt, garam masala, whole black peppers, cardamom, cinnamon stick and green chilis. Mix everything together well and add about 1 cup of water or until it is covered.
2. I set my electric pressure cooker on the ‘Meat’ setting for 30 minutes. For a regular pressure cooker, cook on medium flame for 30 minutes.
3. Once the meat is cooked, uncover the pot and cook further to reduce the remaining liquid in the pot. I cook it just until the meat mixture starts sticking to the pot. It should be a sticky consistency and not too dry. Allow to cool completely.
4. Next, take a food processor to mince the meat. Take about half the meat mixture, add to it one egg white(used for binding) and half the chopped cilantro and mint. Mince the meat completely to a pasty consistency. Repeat with he other half of the meat.
5. Now you are ready to make the patties. First taste and adjust salt if needed. Next, make sure the mixture is mixed completely and you have a nice sticky, pasty consistency.
Here is the part I always struggle with, and it’s ok!
*If you feel your mixture still feels dry and crumbly, add 1 more egg white and 1 tbsp yogurt. This should help make it softer.
* If you feel the mixture is too soft and may fall apart while frying, add 1 tbsp besan(gram flour) to act as an additional binding agent.
6. Form round patties using about 1/4 cup of meat each. Roll the meat into a nice round ball. Then using the palms of your hand, flatten to make the round patty. You can also make it into a diamond shaped patty by adding points to the two ends of the the patties(See picture below).
7. Heat a frying pan with enough oil to shallow fry the patties. Slowly add the patty to the pan and fry until browned on each side, being careful while flipping.
Your Shaami Kabobs are ready to serve!
Kichdi (Red Lentil and Rice)
Kichdi, Khatta, Anda, Papad...When all put together, you have the most popular breakfast meal in Hyderabad. Growing up, it was tradition for my mom to make Kichdi for Sunday Brunch every week. Kichdi is a very healthy dish that simply consists of ‘rice and lentils’. Yet, it is only one component of the entire meal. It is traditionally served with a chutney called Khatta, that is made of tamarind. Along with it, we either make an omelette called ‘pyaaz ka anda’, kheema(ground beef), or a fine delicacy of Hyderabad, ‘talay huway gurday kaleji’(fried kidney and liver). It is then paired with mango pickle, some ghee, and pappadums for some crunch. Now you have a meal! Obviously, this is not a light meal when put together, so it has become more of a staple meal for Sunday dinners in my home and is a popular favorite among the family.
Do check out the side dishes for Kichdi below:
Pyaaz Ka Anda
1 1/2 Cups Rice
1/2 Cups Red Lentils(Masoor Ki Daal)
1 Medium Onion Sliced
1 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 Tsp Turmeric
1 Tsp Shah Zeera
4 Pods Cardamom
1 Cinnamon Stick
3 Cups Water
2 Tsp Salt
1. Take the rice and lentils and wash them thoroughly. Cover with water and let soak.
2. In a medium pot, heat 1 tbsp oil and fry the onion until slightly browned.
3. Turn the heat to low, add the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, shah zeera, cardamom, and cinnamon stick. Sauté all the ingredients together well.
4. Drain the water from from the rice and lentils mixture and add to the onions.
5. Lightly sauté and mix everything together. Add the 3 cups of water and salt. On medium heat, bring the water to boil. Cook until the rice is about 3/4 cooked then cover the pot and let cook on a low flame for about 15 minutes until the rice and lentils on completely cooked.