2 posts in one week? Whaaaat?
Well, this is my first shot at the Muslim Food Bloggers Challenges. Every month there is a new theme, and the month of February’s was Biryani. Biryani is basically just a spiced rice dish (often times paired with meat). In the South Asian culinary scene, the difference between Biryani and Pulao is that biryani is cooked in layers (the rice is par-boiled and then layered with the meat/masala), whereas in pulao the rice is cooked with the spices in a broth.
I chose to share the recipe for a very traditional Memon (the sub-ethnic group that I hail from) recipe, Masoor Pulao. It’s a bit of a misnomer because although it is called a pulao, it’s actually cooked in layers like biryani.
I’m excited to share this recipe for several reasons, but mostly because (a) I’ve always had trouble taking pictures of traditional Pakistani food, and I’m ready to take the plunge, and (b) it’s a recipe that has been passed down in our family, and I’m happy to finally be sharing it with actual measurements (y’all know how much trouble it is to find a desi recipe using actual measurements and not “a little this, a little that”!)
Keema Masoor Biryani
(Memon Masoor Pulao)
Yield: 4 – 6 Servings
Note: Measurements are in actual measuring spoons/cups and not eating utensils.
- 3 cups basmati rice
- 2/3 cup brown lentils
- 1 pound ground beef
- ¼ cup neutral flavored oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
- 1-2 green chilies, to taste, sliced lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons coriander powder
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 ½ teaspoons red chili powder
- ¾ teaspoon turmeric
- Salt, to taste
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ¼ cup yogurt
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppers
- 4 dried bay leaves
- Handful chopped cilantro
- Handful chopped mint
- Handful fried onions
- 3 boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in half
Rinse rice in cold water a few times, cover with water, and set aside.
Heat a small saucepan filled with water over medium-high heat. Add lentils and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until mostly cooked through (should not be mushy; there should still be a bit of bite to the lentils, as they will continue cooking with the rice later). Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Add meat and ginger-garlic paste and cook for a few minutes. Add chilies, coriander powder, black pepper, garam masala, red chili powder, turmeric, salt, and lemon juice. Cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add yogurt, mix well, and cook until mostly dry. Add lentils, mix, cover, and remove from heat. Set aside.
Heat water (enough to boil rice in) in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Add black peppers, bay leaves, and salt. Once it comes to a boil, add soaked rice (drain before adding), and cook until about 75% cooked through. Drain and set aside.
In a large vessel, drizzle in a bit of oil. Top with half of the rice, followed by the meat and lentil mixture. Top with cilantro, mint, and fried onions. Cover with remaining rice. Sprinkle on additional fried onions, and gently place the boiled eggs on top. Cover. Cook over low heat until the rice has finished cooking, about 30 minutes.
Check out everyone’s interpretations and adaptations of this month’s challenge below!