Friday, February 7, 2014

Meatball Biryani (Biryani Ya Kebabu)

This biryani recipe is for meat lovers. I have an earlier post on here for a chicken biryani. This dish doesn't take the prettiest pictures, but trust me when I say that what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in flavor and aroma-DELICIOUS!! Plus you can shape the meatballs the night before you intend to cook the meal, place them on a baking sheet covered in lightly greased Aluminium foil and store covered in the refrigerator. Just let them sit on the counter for 20 minutes the following day then bake them. This will save you time and enable you to put together a fabulous meal in no time. Here's the recipe...
-13x9x2 Aluminium foil baking pan OR lasagna pan.
-Rimmed baking sheet lined with Aluminium foil and lightly greased.
-Medium saucepan or sauté pan (for cooking the meatball sauce).
-Large saucepan (for cooking rice).
-2 forks.

Ingredients For The Meatballs:
-2 lbs ground beef (I used 89% lean, 20% fat ground chuck).
-2 medium onions, thinly sliced.
-2 large eggs at room temperature, beaten.
-1 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley.
-1 cup plain, dry breadcrumbs.
-1'tablespoon ginger/garlic paste.
-1/2 a jalapeño pepper, seeded and ground to a paste (if you like your food spicy, use a whole jalapeño).
-1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
-1 teaspoon cumin powder.
-1 teaspoon coriander powder.
-1 teaspoon salt (or less if you prefer).
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Ingredients For The Rice:
-6 1/2 cups water.
-1 tablespoon of salt (for cooking your rice)
-3 cups of basmati rice (or any long-grain rice), rinsed and soaked for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking,then drained. Doing this will help keep your rice from clumping together.
-1/2 cup plain, full-fat yoghurt.
-1/4 cup warm water OR warm milk.
-3 medium onions, thinly sliced.
-4 diced tomatoes OR 1 can (14.5OZ ), peeled, diced tomatoes.
-1 bell pepper, seeded and cubed (capsicum). Use whichever color you like.
-1/2 a jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced (if you like your food spicier, use the whole pepper).
-1/2,cup of odorless vegetable oil (I use pure canola oil).
-2 tablespoons tomato paste.
-1 tablespoon garam masala.
-1/2 a teaspoon cardamom powder.
-3 tablespoons odorless cooking oil (for drizzling over your cooked rice).
-1 teaspoon salt.
-1 generous pinch of saffron OR 1 teaspoon turmeric powder.

 Instructions For Preparing And Cooking The Meatballs:
-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celcius).
-In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and all the other ingredients except the eggs and the ground beef. Use a fork to combine these ingredients well.
-Add the ground beef into the breadcrumb mixture in the bowl. Using two forks or your clean hands, combine the mixture just until there are no dry ingredients in the bottom of the bowl. Do not over mix or your meatballs will be tough!
-Add in the beaten eggs and incorporate just until there are no traces of eggs to be seen (yellow).
-Scoop the meat mixture into your clean hands and shape into ovals (yes, we're stepping outside the box here ;) ). You want all your meatballs to be as close to the same size as possible so that they cook at the same rate. That is why I used a cookie/batter scoop. You can also use a tablespoon to do this. Place the shaped meatballs onto an Aluminium foil lined baking sheet that has been lightly greased. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheight (180 degrees Celcius) for 35-40 minutes or until crisp and slightly browned (but not burnt) on the outside.
-Gently transfer the cooked meatballs from the baking sheet  to your Aluminium foil pan. arrange the meatballs neatly in a single layer at the bottom, of the Aluminium pan.

Instruction For Making The Meatball Masala:
-In a saucepan set on medium heat, heat the 1/4 cup oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and fry until crisp but not burnt (dark brown).
-Remove half of the fried onions from the pan and set aside.
-Add the tomatoes, jalapeño pepper, bell pepper (capsicum), salt and spices. Stir and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until the ingredients form a thick paste.
-Add the tomato paste and stir; add in the yoghurt and stir. Allow to simmer for an additional 3 minutes.
-Spoon this paste over the meatballs in the baking pan and spread the paste around to make sure every meatball is covered. Set aside.
Instructions For Cooking the Rice:
-Place the saffron or turmeric powder in the warm milk or water, give it a quick stir and allow it to steep as you continue the following steps. Set aside.
-In a large saucepan, place 6 1/2 cups of water and add the tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil.
-Once the water has come to a boil, add the drained rice and cook until al-dente (halfway cooked. If a grain of rice is pressed between your thumb and index finger, it will break but still feel slightly hard). This should take 8 minutes.
-Drain the rice completely and layer it up over the meatballs and masala sauce.
****At this point, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celcius).****
Assembling Your Biryani:
-In no particular pattern, drizzle the milk/saffron or turmeric mixture over the rice. Be sure to leave areas of the rice with no color (to achieve the classic biryani look).
-Drizzle the 3 tablespoons of the cooking oil in no particular pattern over the rice.
-Dot the top of the rice with the fried onions that you had set aside.
-Cover the pan containing the rice/meatballs securely with Aluminium foil.
-Place the pan in the center rack of the oven and let it bake for 20-25 minutes until the rice is done and no longer al-dente.
-Serve your rice first on your serving platter and then spoon the sauce and meatballs up over the rice. Serve hot. Enjoy!