bir5I was so surprised to see De shelled mussels  in the fish section of a supermarket here in Dubai (they were not earlier easily available here) that at first I kept thinking that maybe it was something else (hee hee..my knowledge of seafood is yet in the tender stage!!) and I was trying to convince my husband the same. But he being the more experienced one, he just asked me to relax and bought some.  And it was ofcourse Mussel!

Next it was time to crack my head on how to handle the mussels. So the next day I ringed my mom to get an idea of how to cook it. I followed her directions and made simple fried mussels and it was great with the flavor very much intact.

So the next time I spotted mussels in the supermarket, I was the first one to rush and buy it. As I was successful in my first attempt, I was confident enough to embark on a more challenging journey this time. So what could it be… undoubtedly ‘Mussel Biryani’.

Servings: 4 persons

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Ingredients:

For marinating:

  • Deshelled Mussel – 400gms
  • Chili powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – for frying

For the masala:

  • Oil – 3 tbsp
  • Onion -3 nos(finely sliced)
  • Crushed Ginger – 1 tbsp
  • Crushed Garlic – 1 tbsp
  • Green Chilis – 6nos.
  • Tomato  -2 nos.(chopped)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
  • Fennel powder – 1 tsp leveled
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp heaped
  • Yogurt – 2 tbsp
  • Lime Juice – 1 tbsp
  • Curry leaves – 10 to 15 nos.

For the Rice:

  • Rice – 3 cups
  • Bay leaf – 1 no.
  • Cloves – 4 nos.
  • Cinnamon – 2 inch piece
  • Cardamom – 2 nos
  • Lime juice –  1 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Water – plenty for cooking

For Garnishing:

  • Onion – 1 no.
  • Cahew nuts – as requied
  • Raisins – as required
  • Ghee – 2  to 3 tbsp
  • Fresh Coriander leaves – as required

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Method:

Mussel preparation: In an earthern ware (preferably) heat the mussel. Heat till the mussels leave out water and cook them in that water for about 10 mins. Then remove from heat and allow to cool. Clean the mussels and rinse in the water from the mussel. (Never wash the mussels in fresh water as it will cause all the flavor to be lost.) Marinate the cleaned mussels with salt, chili powder and turmeric powder. Then heat some oil in a wok and fry the marinated mussels in it and place on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

For the rice: Rinse the rice and cook in plenty of water with the whole spices, salt and lime juice. Cook till the rice is done and drain the water and spread on a wide plate to cool.

For the masala: Grind together ginger, garlic and green chilis. Heat some oil in a deep pan and add onion and sauté till pink and tender. Then add salt, curry leaves and the ground ingredients and sauté for 3mins. Then add turmeric powder, coriander powder and fennel powder and sauté till the raw smell of the spices is gone. Then add chopped tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes become soft. Then add in the fried mussels and mix well so that mussels get coated well with the masala.Then add yogurt and lime juice and cook for about 3 mins and mix all the ingredients well once again and turn off the flame.

For the garnishing: Finely slice the onion. Heat ghee in a wok and fry the onion. Once the onion starts to turn golden quickly add in the cashews and when they too turn golden, add in the raisins and turn off the flame. When the raisins puff up, drain all the ghee into the rice and transfer the garnishing into a separate plate.

Assembling and Serving: In a wide and deep non stick vessel, first layer 1/3 of the masala and sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves over it. Then spread a layer of 1/3 of the rice and sprinkle a little of the fried onion, nuts and raisins. (You may also dot the rice layer with some ghee if you wish to make the biryani extra rich) Continue with the layering ( 2 more layers of the masla and rice)and finally garnish with the fried onion mix and some chopped coriander leaves. Cover with a tight fiting lid and heat on low flame for about 8 to 10 mins and remove from flame. Then mix the layers and serve garnished with fried onion, nuts and raisins.

Notes:

  • The Mussels should never be washed with water other than its own. This is a very important thing to be kept in mind as the Mussels tend to easily lose all their flavor if washed/ rinsed in fresh water.
  • I have opted for the easier and low fat method for cooking the rice. You can alternatively cook ‘Ghee rice‘ as is usually done.For that, heat 4tbsp of ghee and add 1/2 sliced onion whole spices, add 3 cups of soaked and well drained rice into it and roast the rice. Then pour about 6 cups of boiling water into it. Add salt and cook covered on low flame. Cook till the rice is done and all the water dries up.
  • In the final heating after the layering of the biriyani, its best to place an iron tray/tawa beneath the vessel to prevent the bottom layer from getting burnt.

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COCONUT CHAMMANTHI

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Coconut – 1 cup
  • Green chili – 2 nos.
  • Crushed ginger – 1 tsp
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • Fresh coriander leaves – a handful
  • Curry leaves – 10 nos.
  • Fresh mint leaves – a few (optional)
  • Lime juice – from half a lime
  • Salt – to taste
  • Vinegar – 1 tsp

Method:

Grind together all the ingredients till everything is well blend. Transfer he chammanthi into a bowl and serve with the biryani.

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