Sunday, August 22, 2010

Breakfast + Dinner = Blinner?

DH recently bought a carnivorous plant - one of those Venus fly-trap creatures, right out of some freaky B-grade horror movie - for our house, and moi am not happy! It's giving me this creepy crawly feeling down the back of my neck, and I am wiggin' out here! Me thinks it's done some voodoo on my new basil plant too, because the poor thing is wilting away. I also have nightmares about it growing to ginormous proportions one night and coming after me and Baby B. Right after it makes a tasty morsel out of Ozzy. Of course, it will leave DH alone because that man has been feeding it dead flies every day. Ewwww and urrrrrgghhhh! *shudder*

Boys are so icky and disgusting sometimes.

Yes, I said "icky". No, we're not back in the 2nd grade. And no, I never said I was an accomplished writer.

Anyway, that's neither here nor there. I don't know why I relented to DH buying this creepy little plant (which, by the way, he finds fascinating and all kinds of awesome, and has named "Rambo"). It's not like the damn thing has solved the problem with all the flies we're plagued with this hot summer. I mean, it's tiny, and DH is doing all the work for it! So at this current moment, it has no purpose, other than giving me the willies.

BUT, it is Ramadan, I remind myself. *sigh* And one needs to practice greater patience and tolerance this month. So the friggin' plant stays. For now.Speaking of Ramadan, something rather odd is happening this time around. Dinner and breakfast seem to be blending into one meal. Think about it; by the time sunset rolls around, it's nearly 9pm these days, and that's when we break our fast i.e. iftar. Then a few hours later we wake up and eat a heavy breakfast at sunrise, i.e. sehri, to keep us going for the rest of the day. Hence, it feels like we're having blinner all month long! So it makes sense that I share a "blinner" recipe with you, which honestly, is not Ramadan-specific. It's too good to not eat regularly during the rest of the year.
I've grown up with this Hyderabadi specialty called Tala Hua Gosht. Quite a mouthful, huh? Let me break it down for you. It's crispy, spicy, shredded ... meat. The simplest thing to cook, because you really can't mess it up. And these days I add crispy fried potatoes to it, which just makes it divine. A childhood favorite of mine that's become even better over the years.
One of the major flavor components is coriander. In both its forms - seeds and leaves. These pretty, darling coriander seeds (found in most grocery stores now, in the spices section) are dry roasted in a pan for 5 mins, then ground up to make a fragrant powder. Before I get ahead of myself, let me just give you the darn recipe, and you'll see how it all works.

Tala Hua Gosht / Crispy Meat 'n Potatoes (inspired by me Mommy, and also Mona from Zaiqa)
Serves 4

Click here for printable recipe

1 lb boneless veal
3 smallish potatoes, peeled and diced
Canola oil
1.5 tbsp ginger+garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric, divided
1 tsp red chili powder
3/4 tsp roasted coriander powder
Pinch of black pepper powder
2 tbsp lemon juice (optional but highly recommended!)
Cilantro/Coriander leaves, chopped
2 small green chilies, chopped for garnish

1. Boil the meat with 3-4 cups of water, along with 1 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp turmeric, till completely tender. Take the meat out and shred it with your fingers. Keep aside. Save about a 1/4 cup of the boiling liquid too.

2. In a large skillet, heat up 2 tbsp of oil and shallow-fry the potatoes till golden-brown and crispy. Remove them from the pan using a slotted spoon and keep aside.
3. In the same pan, add another 1 tbsp of oil and saute the ginger-garlic paste for a few seconds. Then plunk the shredded meat mixture right in, along with the saved cooking liquid, as well as the rest of the turmeric, red chili powder, roasted coriander powder, black pepper and another 1/2 tsp of salt (or more to taste).
4. Turn the heat up high and keep stirring the mixture till the liquid evaporates and the meat starts to brown at the edges and get crispy.
See the delectable crispiness happening? Brown food is good food!

5. Add the potatoes back in, as well as a handful of chopped cilantro/coriander leaves. Mix well, then turn off the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and serve, garnished with more chopped cilantro and green chilies.

Verdict: This. Is. So. Good. I. Can't. STAND IT! Seriously, what's not to love here dear readers? You have your regular meat and potatoes raised up to some serious mega-tasty and spicy heights. J'adore! Pair this with your favorite daal - one of my favorites is this one - and hot chapatis or parathas, and you've got yourself a winning combination that will win anyone's heart. It's a perfect meal to have as blinner during Ramadan.
I'll be submitting this to Lubna's "Joy from Fasting to Feasting" event on her blog Kitchen Flavors, as well as Mona's "Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival" event on Zaiqa.