A few weeks ago I was visiting family in Hyderabad. It was a month of fun and relaxation, not to forget the “eating” which always goes along with my holiday. Just before I left we went to the Secunderabad Sailing Club at Hussain Sagar, a large lake in the middle of the city. It is one of the largest man-made lakes in Asia, and quite unique for such a large metropolitan city in India (especially one with almost 7 million people!).
The Sailing Club’s lunch buffet had a large variety of typical Hyderabadi dishes. While enjoying all the food I realized how time-consuming all these dishes were to make and they are usually made for weddings or special occasions. This got me thinking as to how I could simplify making them in America and came up with short cuts for three of the dishes. The first one is Dham Murg Masala, (baked masala chicken), Tomato Kut (tomato gravy with boiled eggs) and Double Roti Ka Meeta (Indian Bread pudding) If you have the basic Indian spices on hand, these are so simple to make, they can be made as part of an everyday meal or for a party.
Dham Murg Masala (Baked masala chicken)
2 pounds boneless chicken, cut into 2″ pieces
3 medium onions, thinly sliced (or 1/2 cup fried onions from the Indian grocery store)
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts or almonds
1/2 teaspoon chile powder (cayenne pepper)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1/2 – 3/4 cup yogurt (preferably greek yogurt)
1/4 cup lime juice
1″ cinnamon stick (or 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder)
3 whole cloves (or 1/8 tsp clove powder)
3 whole cardamom (or 1/8 tsp cardamom powder)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup mint leaves chopped fine
2-3 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup hot milk (optional)
pinch saffron (optional)
If you don’t have fried onions, then simply fry the sliced onions in oil until golden brown. Put the onions in the blender with the next 13 ingredients, blend until the mixture is smooth. Add this marinade to the chicken. Mix well and set aside for a few hours or overnight.
Add the cilantro and mint to the chicken and stir until well mixed. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a 9″x 13″ baking dish, add 1 tablespoon oil to the bottom of the pan, and spread the chicken. Drizzle the remaining oil over the chicken. If using milk and saffron , steep the saffron in the milk for 5 minutes and pour over the chicken.
Cover the dish with heavy duty foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges.
Tomato Kut (Tomato gravy with eggs)
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 whole red chillies
2 cans condensed tomato soup
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tbsp peanuts , ground
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chili powder (cayenne)
1 tbsp brown sugar (or molasses)
3 tsp sesame seeds, dry roasted and ground
4 large eggs, hardboiled, cut in half
Heat oil a large saucepan over medium high heat. When oil is hot add the mustard seeds and as they start to splutter add the red chillies.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pan (except the brown sugar and eggs). Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar continue to simmer for a few more minutes.
Pour the tomato mixture into a serving bowl and add the eggs. Enjoy!
Double Roti Ka Meeta (Indian Bread Pudding)
5 slices white bread (Pepperidge Farm) trim crusts
2 tablespoon butter
2 cups half and half
1 cup whole milk
4 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon saffron
1 cup toasted almonds, chopped fine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 8″ x 8″ baking pan.
Toast the bread till light brown and butter the slices. Cut the slices into 3 pieces and arrange the bread in the baking pan. Scald (bring to boil) the half and half and milk. Add the sugar and saffron. Stir till sugar is dissolved and steep for 5 minutes.
Add about 3/4 cup of the hot milk mixture to the beaten eggs, stirring well .( this is done in stages as the hot milk can scramble the eggs if all the milk is added at once.) Add in the remaining milk. Pour over the bread slices in the dish. Place this dish into a larger baking dish. Pour in boiling water into the larger dish until the water comes up half way.
Bake for 40 minutes till a skewer comes out clean. Serve with toasted almonds and whipping cream.