Yelly Eats

No to takeaway – yes to biryani

So for someone who works a 9-5 job (well, okay, it’s really 8:30AM to 5PM) with a 2-hour commute (return trip, of course), giving up ordering takeaway for Lent can be quite disastrous because there are days when you simply don’t want to cook and you’d rather have pizza or chicken or a Chinese or Indian.  But there you go.  I have given up takeaways for lent.

Alan, bless him, has found something interesting in the aisles of Asda though.  He found a biryani spice mix for under £1.  There were instructions on the box about how to prepare the biryani.  I was excited.  If I couldn’t order a biryani, I would make it myself.  Granted it wouldn’t be my spice mix…but how spicy could it be (surely not as spicy as that biryani I ate in New York – that was like a volcano exploding in my mouth).

So I followed the instructions on the box.  The cooking process was quite fun, actually.

Ginger and onionsOnce the biryani was cooked, I plated up.  I artfully topped the bowl with mint and coriander.  I was so excited!

Lamb biryani

Then it felt as if I had bitten into a birds eye pepper.  I tell you, I was thankful we had mango lassi with our biryani and leftover yogurt because I have never made raita that quickly!

The next chapter of this biryani story is me trying to make biryani completely from scratch.  I don’t want to not feel my tongue when I eat one of my favourite Indian meals.

Watch this space!  Recipe testing is on the horizon.

 

Yelly Eats

Pistachio, coconut and cardamom burfis

We’re having a curry lunch at work tomorrow and we’ve been asked by the work colleague hosting the curry lunch to bring anything that we think will go with curry.   I’ve decided to bring roti bread (shop bought as I haven’t learned how to make them yet!) and pistachio, coconut and cardamom burfis.

I’ve always liked Indian food, but I must say that I’ve never really had proper Indian food until I moved to the UK.  One of the consultants who used to work for the government corporation I used to work for in the Philippines used to bring us Indian-inspired dishes and she introduced me to roti bread which I am now in love with!

Anyway, apart from the adorable roti bread,  I’m bringing pistachio annd coconut burfis to work tomorrow.  A burfi (or barfi or burfee, or borfee) is a sweet confectionery from India.  It is usually made with condensed milk cooked with sugar until it solidifies.  I saw this version being made about 5 or 6 years ago on a food-related channel on the Discovery Travel and Adventure channel.  It wasn’t until about 4 years ago, when I moved to England, funnily enough, that I had the opportunity to try making this recipe.  On the programme I was watching, it looked easy to make, and it was—very, VERY easy to make.  Most burfis ask for the condensed milk to be cooked in sugar until they harden, but as I am diabetic (and very lazy), I thought I’d try it without the long cooking process and the added sugar.  The condensed milk is sweet enough!

Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams dessicated coconut
  • 200 grams shelled pistachio ones (avoid the salted pistachios)
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 350ml sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

  1. In a small food processor, roughly chop the pistachios until they resemble small shards.  The chopped pistachios don’t have to be too processed because you do want to be able to bite into the occasional chunky piece of pistachio.
  2. Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and, using a mortar and pestle, grind the seeds into a fine powder.  I find this particular part of the preparation very therapeutic!
  3. In a large bowl, combine the 200 grams of the dessicated coconut (reserve 50 grams to roll the burfis in later), the chopped pistachios, the ground cardamom seeds and the condensed milk.  Mix until everything is well combined.
  4. With lightly oiled hands (because the condensed milk is very sticky!), scoop enough of the pistachio-condensed milk-coconut mixture to make a ball that’s about 1inch in diameter.  Once the balls are formed, roll them in the dessicated coconut you reserved.  Place on a plate or box to store.


The burfis can be eaten as soon as they are made but it’s much nicer if you refrigerate them for at least 2 hours before you serve.  These keep in the fridge for about a week.  Although, I very much doubt that they’ll last that long as they’re very moreish (moreish, or more-ish, is a word I learnedafter moving to England.  It means causing one to want more–usually food!)!