Tuesday 6 March 2012

African Safari

ManTom sent me a friend request on Fb. While the name sounded as pleasant as dimsum, I could swear on my last dumpling that I knew no one by this name. That the display pic was an abstract painting only made me click on the not now button. ManTom lay forgotten along with Black&White and Green Valley Open Sky. When you are donkeys years old & have worked in more places than you care to remember, the mutual friends list cannot help you identify mystery men with dalmatians as their DP.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Shift scene to dinner time in the office. I am having my dalia. A smart young man stops by, says a hi & then,' I sent you friend request on Fb twice, you did not accept it.' The tone is accusatory, the look innocent. 'Oh really, I'm so sorry, man, I must have missed it. I'll check.' 'It's ManTom.' I almost choke on the bland dalia. 'Manish Tomar, it's YOU. Gawd, how am I supposed to identify that kinda name with no photograph!!!'
                                                                                                  ManTom is a dynamic youngster with a sense of humour that's enviable. He was the sharpest guy in his training batch & has an edge that distinguishes him from the mediocre. He is tolerant cz when he asks you for a barbecue recipe & you give him sambhar instead, he does not splash it on you. Instead, he makes it himself & shares pics with the world. 
                                                                                                      When I made Chicken Biryani, East African Style, I thought of ManTom. And today I see him in the Food Stall. Talk of telepathy!

There are 3 layers in this biryani. Note the Ingredients layer-wise. 

The 4th/bottom layer:
1. 1 cup long grained rice
The 3rd layer: 
1. 1 large onion finely chopped in jullienes(see pic)
2. 2-3 green chillies(optional)
The 2nd layer:
Same as 4th layer
Top Layer:
1. 250gms chicken pieces
2. 2-3 small potatoes- whole
3. 1 medium onion -grated
4. 3 cloves of garlic- grated
5.  1 small piece of ginger - grated(use 1 1/2tsp ginger garlic paste instead of 3&4, if you want)
6. 1tsp whole garam masala(cardamom, cinnamon,clove)
7. Biryani masala(I swear by Shan/Laziza)- 2-3tsp
8. 1/2 cup coconut milk
9. 3/4- 1cup water
10. 1tsp sugar 
11. Ghee/oil- to cook
12. Salt-to taste  

1. Boil rice in an open pan by adding a tsp of ghee & a pinch of salt. Strain the starch & put one layer of the cooked rice in a serving bowl.

2. Fry the chopped onions & green chillies & put on top of the rice layer.

3. Heat ghee/oil & add sugar. When sugar caramalizes, add the potatoes & fry for 3-4 mins.

4. Allow whole garam masala to crackle & then add the grated onion & saute on medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
 Add the ginger & garlic paste/grated after the onion has fried for a while.

5. When oil leaves the pan, add the chicken & fry well. Add the biryani masala & fry for 3-4 minutes.
Add the coconut milk & 3/4cup water & give the chicken one whistle.
If you are making the chicken in a wok, cover & cook till chicken is tender.

 6. Decorate another layer of rice on the fried onion layer. Top it up with the chicken.

The rich gravy will permeate into the rice & make the biryani so mouth-watering, you will not want to share it!

In the Indian style, we arrange the layers & give the vessel a 'dum', cook it on slow heat for 10-15 minutes.
In the East African, the layers are arranged & biryani served. No further cooking.
Serve hot with raita. 

Hey guys, this Holi watch Paan Singh Tomar. Amazing movie. What makes it unmissable is the last name. Tomar ;)
Man/Paan Tomar ki jai!