Thursday, 10 December 2015

UlavaCharu / Horse Gram Vegetable Biryani ~ Happy Blog Hopversary


Continuing the Blog Hop Anniversary Celebrations with this post. An year of unending learning, joys which transcended from different corners of the world, a whole bunch of chatter, making the most gloomy day sunny, oh when I look back on this Blog Hopping journey, it does bring the hugest smile on my face. A year of unflinching support from miles across, a whole year where I scaled new heights , traversing through a treasure trove of recipes, ingredients unknown, new methods of cooking and also bringing back long lost dishes and many dear to the tummy recipes. All this was made possible by the lovely ladies, the most enthralling and crafted Bloggers of ~ Culinary Hoppers.


These Blogger friends raised the bar of each post to such heights with every Blog Hop post, that I was forced to get out of my comfort zone and cook and document recipes that I would have never ever envisaged of cooking before. Thanks to their encouragement and push that I could make an entire platter of dishes from the State of Karnataka or experiment with vegan and glutenfree dishes. Another beautiful bit is that I have started to cook more vegetarian food and have found this new love for vegetables in a home of meat and fish lovers. The excitement before each Blog Hop is palpable. There is this childlike anticipation about the scrumptious recipes that one would get to savour visually. That's not all their words of affection filled with motivation are my most priciest trophies gathered from Blogging. Means truly truly a lot to me.

Celebrating the Blog Hopversary on the 10th of December, the gamut of dishes that we as a team decided to put up has indeed set the ball rolling for all the revelry to follow. Totally excited about all the decadent dishes that will soon be posted on individual Blogs. I just can't wait for my visual indulgence. Dear Readers do check out the celebration dishes from the Culinary Hoppers, right at the end of this page.


For the second Blog Hopversary dish I have brought this decadent and very popular Biryani dish from the Southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The star ingredient of this dish is Horse Gram which is extremely nutritious and according to scientists from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, unprocessed raw horse gram seeds is beneficial for Diabetics because of its anti-hyperglycemic properties. Apart from the numerous benefits the flavour horse gram in combination with tamarind, aromatics and vegetables offer to this Biriyani, makes this a must try dish. According to an article published in the Deccan Chronicle that UlavaCharu Biriyani is currently the hot favourite in cities like Vizag in Andhra Pradesh over other Biryanis. So you can see why I decided to introduce this extremely yummy Biryani to you my dear readers.

A very exotic Indian spice is used in this Biriyani. It's called Dagad Phool / Kalpasi / Pathar Ke Phool, Black Stone Flower. It is available online or in Indian stores. It looks like scraped paints from a wall or paper confetti. Dagad Phool imparts a gorgeous aroma when tempered in oil. Dagad Phool is a lichen and should be cleaned before using. Its distinct fragrance offers a new dimension when used in marinades and rice dish.

So let's start the process of cooking UlavaCharu Vegetable Biryani.

Recipe Adapted From ~ Vah Reh Vah 

ULAVACHARU/HORSE GRAM VEGETABLE BIRYANI RECIPE: 

AUTHOR : PIYALI MUTHA
SERVES : 4
CUISINE : INDIAN / SOUTH INDIAN
TYPE : RICE DISH
TIME : 30 MINUTES PREPARATION + 60 MINUTES COOKING + OVERNIGHT SOAKING OF THE HORSE GRAM

INGREDIENTS :

Note : Click on the highlighted ingredients to buy them online. Or else you can buy all the ingredients which are easily available in Indian stores worldwide. 

2)  2 Cups (400 Gms approximately) Biryani /Long Grain Rice
3) 2 Cups ( 250 Gms approximateley) Cut Mixed Vegetables ( I used Cauliflower florets, beans, carrots, green peas, potatoes cut into bite sized pieces)
4) 2 Medium sized onions thinly sliced
5) 2 Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
6) 1 Tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
7) 1 Tsp Roasted Coriander Powder
8) 1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
9) 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
10) 1 Sprig of Curry leaves
11) 1 Tbsp Tamarind paste ( If the tamarind is very sour use less)
12) 2 Tbsp oil
13) Salt to taste

FOR TEMPERING : 

1) 2 Bay Leaves
3) 4 Pods of Green Cardamom
4) 2 Strands of Mace/Jaavitri
5) 4 Cloves
6) 1 Star Anise/Chakri Phool
7) 1/2 inch Cinnamon stick

FOR GARNISHING:

1) 20~25 fried cashew nut halves
2) 2~3 Sprigs mint leaves
3) 1 Tbsp fresh Coriander leaves Chopped
4) 4~5 slit Green chillies 
5) 1 Tbsp of Clarified Butter/Ghee

THIS IS HOW WE MAKE ULAVACHARU / HORSE GRAM BIRYANI :

1) First we have to make the UlavaCharu (Tangy Horse Gram Clear Soup very popular in the Southern Indian State of Andhra Pradesh. Horse Gram is called Ulavalu in Telegu, the language spoken in Andhra Pradesh). Wash the Horse Gram thoroughly and soak overnight covered with water. In the morning drain the water and in a pressure cooker cook the horse gram covered with enough water ( I used for 1 Cup Horse Gram : 3 Cups water) till completely cooked. 

It takes about 20 whistles in a conventional pressure cooker to get the horse gram cook completely. Once totally cooked you will see that the horse gram retains its shape and you can easily mash it using your fingers. Remove from the flame and strain the horse gram. Do not throw the liquid away as we will use it for making the Charu (tangy soup).


2) Now take the fully cooked, drained Horse gram in a food processor or grinder and grind to a thick sticky paste. Return this thick horse gram paste back into the same pressure cooker or any pan, add back the strained liquid, stir well. I normally bring this liquid to a boil for everything to be incorporated well but even giving a good stir is suffice.
NOTE : Instead of using a food processor you can mash the horse gram using a masher. Also grinding the cooked horse gram can be a little tricky as it is very thick. Add a few spoons of its liquid which you strained earlier to make the grinding process easier.


3) Using a strainer again strain the liquid. You will notice the mashed horse gram being left behind in the strainer. Using the back of a spoon, bring out through the strainer as much as horse gram paste as possible. By doing this you get a thick liquid which is what we want for our Biryani. This is the horse gram liquid ready to use for the Biryani.


4) Next cut the mix of vegetables in bite sized cubes. Don't cut them too small as we want a nice bite when we eat them with the Biryani and they should not break and get mixed up. Assemble all the ingredients under FOR TEMPERING on a single plate ready to use.

5) Heat oil in a pan. When hot add the black cumin and allow it to crackle. Next add in all the remaining ingredients under FOR TEMPERING let them become fragrant.


6) Once the whole spices release their aroma, add the sliced onions, ginger garlic paste and saute till the onions become soft. Next add in the cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chilli powder and salt. Mix well. Then add in the curry leaves and mix and saute for 1/2 a minute.

7) Add in the vegetables and incorporate everything nicely in the pan with your spatula. Mix such that all the vegetables are coated with the spices. 


8) Now pour in the horse gram liquid and stir well. Next add the tamarind paste and ensure that it gets completely dissolved in the liquid. Give everything in the pan a nice stir, simmer and allow the vegetables to cook and the liquid to thicken. Check for seasoning and add salt if required.
NOTE: Keep a couple of things in your mind. Don't let the veggies overcook and the horse gram liquid should become quite thick. If we have a runny UlavaCharu our Biryani will become soggy. Check out the picture below to understand the right consistency of the gravy. 
While checking for seasoning keep in mind that there will be rice added to the ULAVACharu and veggies and add salt accordingly.



9) Cook the rice in a separate pan as per the instructions on the rice packet till the rice is 80% cooked. The remaining we shall leave to cook along with the UlavaCharu on Dum. As the next step is the layering of the Biryani before it is left to cook on Dum, we need to get our garnish ready. 

Heat Ghee in a pan and add cashew nut halves and mint leaves and fry them till crunchy. Now we are ready for layering our Biryani.


10) Take a deep botton pan or earthen pot and spread out the rice as the first layer. Next layer is of UlavaCharu along with the vegetables. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves over this layer. Add the remaining rice over the ULAVACharu Layer.


11) Finally add the slit green chillies, fried cashew nut halves and mint leaves.

Close the pan with a tight lid so that steam cannot escape and the contents of the pan cooks on Dum or its own steam. You can seal the pan in the traditional way that it is done by using wheat flower dough. Click --> HERE to see a pictorial description of how it is done.
Place the pan on a low flame and let it cook for at least 10 minutes.


Remove from the flame. Do not remove the lid of the pan until you are ready to serve the Ulava Charu Vegetable Biryani. Serve this delicious rice dish along with a bowl of yogurt dip with veggies/ Raita. I am sure you will love this nouvelle BIRYANI as much as I did. It's GLUTEN FREE and if you replace the clarified butter with oil in the FOR GARNISHING section of the ingredients, this is a VEGAN Rice dish. 
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ULAVACHARU/HORSE GRAM VEGETABLE BIRYANI RECIPE: 


AUTHOR : PIYALI MUTHA
SERVES : 4
CUISINE : INDIAN / SOUTH INDIAN
TYPE : RICE DISH
TIME : 30 MINUTES PREPARATION + 60 MINUTES COOKING + OVERNIGHT SOAKING OF THE HORSE GRAM

INGREDIENTS :

Note : Click on the highlighted ingredients to buy them online. Or else you can buy all the ingredients which are easily available in Indian stores worldwide. 

2)  2 Cups (400 Gms approximately) Biryani /Long Grain Rice
3) 2 Cups ( 250 Gms approximateley) Cut Mixed Vegetables ( I used Cauliflower florets, beans, carrots, green peas, potatoes cut into bite sized pieces)
4) 2 Medium sized onions thinly sliced
5) 2 Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
6) 1 Tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
7) 1 Tsp Roasted Coriander Powder
8) 1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
9) 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
10) 1 Sprig of Curry leaves
11) 1 Tbsp Tamarind paste ( If the tamarind is very sour use less)
12) 2 Tbsp oil
13) Salt to taste

FOR TEMPERING : 

1) 2 Bay Leaves
3) 4 Pods of Green Cardamom
4) 2 Strands of Mace/Jaavitri
5) 4 Cloves
6) 1 Star Anise/Chakri Phool
7) 1/2 inch Cinnamon stick

FOR GARNISHING:

1) 20~25 fried cashew nut halves
2) 2~3 Sprigs mint leaves
3) 1 Tbsp fresh Coriander leaves Chopped
4) 4~5 slit Green chillies 
5) 1 Tbsp of Clarified Butter/Ghee

THIS IS HOW WE MAKE ULAVACHARU / HORSE GRAM BIRYANI :

1) First we have to make the Ulava Charu (Tangy Horse Gram Clear Soup very popular in the Southern Indian State of Andhra Pradesh. Horse Gram is called Ulavalu in Telegu, the language spoken in Andhra Pradesh). Wash the Horse Gram thoroughly and soak overnight covered with water. In the morning drain the water and in a pressure cooker cook the horse gram covered with enough water ( I used for 1 Cup Horse Gram : 3 Cups water) till completely cooked. 

It takes about 20 whistles in a conventional pressure cooker to get the horse gram cook completely. Once totally cooked you will see that the horse gram retains its shape and you can easily mash it using your fingers. Remove from the flame and strain the horse gram. Do not throw the liquid away as we will use it for making the Charu (tangy soup).

2) Now take the fully cooked, drained Horse gram in a food processor or grinder and grind to a thick sticky paste. Return this thick horse gram paste back into the same pressure cooker or any pan, add back the strained liquid, stir well. I normally bring this liquid to a boil for everything to be incorporated well but even giving a good stir is suffice.
NOTE : Instead of using a food processor you can mash the horse gram using a masher. Also grinding the cooked horse gram can be a little tricky as it is very thick. Add a few spoons of its liquid which you strained earlier to make the grinding process easier.

3) Using a strainer again strain the liquid. You will notice the mashed horse gram being left behind in the strainer. Using the back of a spoon, bring out through the strainer as much as horse gram paste as possible. By doing this you get a thick liquid which is what we want for our Biryani. This is the horse gram liquid ready to use for the Biryani.

4) Next cut the mix of vegetables in bite sized cubes. Don't cut them too small as we want a nice bite when we eat them with the Biryani and they should not break and get mixed up. Assemble all the ingredients under FOR TEMPERING on a single plate ready to use.

5) Heat oil in a pan. When hot add the black cumin and allow it to crackle. Next add in all the remaining ingredients under FOR TEMPERING let them become fragrant.

6) Once the whole spices release their aroma, add the sliced onions, ginger garlic paste and saute till the onions become soft. Next add in the cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chilli powder and salt. Mix well. Then add in the curry leaves and mix and saute for 1/2 a minute.

7) Add in the vegetables and incorporate everything nicely in the pan with your spatula. Mix such that all the vegetables are coated with the spices. 

8) Now pour in the horse gram liquid and stir well. Next add the tamarind paste and ensure that it gets completely dissolved in the liquid. Give everything in the pan a nice stir, simmer and allow the vegetables to cook and the liquid to thicken. Check for seasoning and add salt if required.
NOTE: Keep a couple of things in your mind. Don't let the veggies overcook and the horse gram liquid should become quite thick. If we have a runny UlavaCharu our Biryani will become soggy. Check out the picture below to understand the right consistency of the gravy. 
While checking for seasoning keep in mind that there will be rice added to the ULAVACharu and veggies and add salt accordingly.

9) Cook the rice in a separate pan as per the instructions on the rice packet till the rice is 80% cooked. The remaining we shall leave to cook along with the Ulava Charu on Dum. As the next step is the layering of the Biryani before it is left to cook on Dum, we need to get our garnish ready. 

Heat Ghee in a pan and add cashew nut halves and mint leaves and fry them till crunchy. Now we are ready for layering our Biryani.

10) Take a deep botton pan or earthen pot and spread out the rice as the first layer. Next layer is of UlavaCharu along with the vegetables. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves over this layer. Add the remaining rice over the ULAVACharu Layer. 

11) Finally add the slit green chillies, fried cashew nut halves and mint leaves.

Close the pan with a tight lid so that steam cannot escape and the contents of the pan cooks on Dum or its own steam. You can seal the pan in the traditional way that it is done by using wheat flower dough. Click --> HERE to see a pictorial description of how it is done.
Place the pan on a low flame and let it cook for at least 10 minutes. Remove from the flame. Do not remove the lid of the pan until you are ready to serve the UlavaCharu Vegetable Biryani. Serve this delicious rice dish along with a bowl of yogurt dip with veggies/ Raita. I am sure you will love this nouvelle BIRYANI as much as I did. It's GLUTEN FREE and if you replace the clarified butter with oil in the FOR GARNISHING section of the ingredients, this is a VEGAN Rice dish.
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DISHES FROM THE SOUTHERN REGION OF INDIA BY THE CULINARY HOPPERS TO CELEBRATE OUR FIRST BLOG HOPVERSARY