Kashmiri Biryani, Methi Chaman, Girda, Phirni

On festive occasions or during the holy month of Ramadan, the Kashmiri meal is more elaborate and requires special menu planning. A variety of curry dishes, such as methi chaman, biryani, homemade bread like girda and delicious desserts, especially phirni are prepared. The family comes together to enjoy the festive feast. 

VIEW INDIVIDUAL RECIPES

Girda
  • Duration:12 hours
  • Serves:4–5 people

Authenticity Slice

Kashmiri

Begin the preparation to make bread one night in advance. This way, the dough could easily be fermented for 10–12 hours. It can be baked in the morning and served through the day.

Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour (maida) (2 cups)
  • Whole-wheat flour (atta) (2 cups)
  • Clarified butter (ghee) (1 tbsp)
  • Sugar (1/2 tbsp)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Yogurt (dahi) (1 tbsp)
  • Poppy seeds (khus khus) (1 tsp)

Method

  • In a mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour (maida) and salt. Stir to combine.
  • Knead dough, using 1 tbsp water at a time.
  • Let this dough rest for at least 12 hours. These 12 hours are needed for fermentation.
  • Keep the dough covered in a warm and draught-free enclosed place.
  • Once the dough is fermented, in another bowl, mix ghee, wheat flour, salt and sugar.
  • Combine this mixture with the fermented dough and again, knead the soft, malleable dough using water.
  • Divide the prepared dough into even-size small pedas (balls).
  • Roll out bread of oval shape from these pedas of about 4–6 inch diameter.
  • Coat the bread’s surface with curd and sprinkle poppy seeds on it.
  • Make small depressions on these breads with your fingertips in about four rows.
  • Heat a pan (tawa) over medium-high heat.
  • Cook girda on the pre-heated tawa by covering it with the pan’s lid. Cook until the bread is light brown in colour, after which, cook it directly over the flame.
  • Enjoy your hot girda with noon chai.

Kashmiri Biryani
  • Duration:1 hour
  • Serves: 5–6 people

Authenticity Slice

Kashmiri

Always remember to parboil the rice i.e., cook it only 70–80%, for this biryani.

Ingredients

  • Basmati rice (2 cups)
  • Water (7 cups)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Saffron (kesar) (¼ tsp)
  • Carrot (gajar), diced (1/4 cup)
  • Cauliflower (gobi), cut into florets (1/4 cup)
  • Peas (matar) (1/2 cup)
  • Clarified butter (ghee) (4 tbsp)
  • Caraway seeds (shah jeera) (1 tsp)
  • Cinnamon (dalchini) (1 stick)
  • Green cardamom elaichi (2–3)
  • Cloves (laung) (2)
  • Mace (javitri) (1)
  • Fennel powder (saunf) (1 tsp)
  • Ginger powder (saunth) (1 tsp)
  • MTR Lal Mirch/Red Chili Powder (1 tsp)
  • Asafoetida (hing) (a pinch)
  • MTR Garam Masala (1 tsp)
  • Yogurt (dahi) (6 tbsp)
  • Label (For the layers)
  • Mint (pudina) and coriander (dhaniya) leaves, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • Saffron (kesar), soaked in warm milk (1/2 tsp)
  • Almonds (badam) and cashews (kajoo), deep-fried (1/4 cup)

Method

  • Wash and soak rice in water for 30 mins.
  • Drain the soaked rice and cook it in approximately 7 cups of water till it is partly cooked.
  • Drain the remaining water and sprinkle saffron on the rice. Stir to combine and set aside, covered.
  • Heat ghee in a pan over medium heat and add the whole spices. Fry for 10–20 secs until aromatic.
  • Next, add the veggies and sauté for 5 mins.
  • Add dry spice powders and sauté for 1–2 mins.
  • Then, add yogurt along with 1 cup of water and salt. Stir to mix.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and cook till the veggies are cooked.
  • Next, grease a heavy-bottomed kadhai or handi with a tablespoon of ghee.
  • Layer the base with 1/4 of the cooked rice.
  • Sprinkle some of the chopped mint and coriander leaves.
  • Pour a tablespoon of the saffron-dissolved milk.
  • Now layer with the vegetable curry.
  • Add mint, coriander and saffron-dissolved milk again.
  • Make 2–3 layers in a similar way.
  • Cover tightly with an aluminium foil and place a lid on top.
  • Simmer the biryani over low heat for 10–15 mins. Turn off the heat.
  • Let the biryani sit for another 5–10 mins.
  • Garnish Kashmiri biryani with mint and coriander leaves, fried nuts and saffron milk.
  • It’s now time to serve the mouth-watering biryani piping hot with some chilled raita or hot curry on the side.

Methi Chaman
  • Duration:40 minutes
  • Serves: 4 people

Authenticity Slice

Kashmiri

For an authentic experience of methi chaman, make sure to not cook the curry for too long after adding the soft pieces of paneer to it.

Ingredients

  • Cottage cheese (paneer) (500 gm)
  • Fenugreek leaves (methi) (1 bunch)
  • Fennel powder (saunf) (2 tsp)
  • MTR Haldi/Turmeric Powder (1 tsp)
  • Green cardamom (elaichi) (3–4)
  • Cloves (laung) (4)
  • Cinnamon stick (dalchini) (1)
  • Cumin seeds (jeera) ( 1 tsp)
  • Milk (½ cup)
  • Asafoetida powder (hing) (a pinch)
  • Salt ( to taste)
  • MTR Garam Masala Powder (1 tsp)
  • Ginger powder (saunth) (1 tsp)
  • Clarified butter (ghee) (1/3 cup)

Method

  • Cut paneer into small cubes and set aside.
  • Heat 1/4 cup of ghee and deep-fry the paneer slices till they turn golden brown.
  • Transfer to a plate and soak them in milk to keep them soft.
  • Chop the fenugreek leaves finely and wash them in water to remove dirt.
  • Next, grind the leaves to a fine paste in a grinder or stone mortar and pestle.
  • Heat ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan and add asafoetida.
  • Next stir in cumin seeds, whole spices and sauté till they are aromatic.
  • Add dry spices, salt and 1 1/2 cup of water. Stir to combine and let the mixture simmer over low heat.
  • Once the mixture thickens, add the paneer cubes and allow them to simmer for another 5 mins.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander and serve methi chaman with rice or chapatti.

Phirni
  • Duration:40 minutes
  • Serves:6 people

Authenticity Slice

Kashmiri

Traditionally, phirni is always cooked over low heat so that the milk thickens while cooking, resulting in a rich and creamy dessert.

Ingredients

  • Milk (1 litre)
  • Sugar (1 cup)
  • Rice (½ cup)
  • Saffron (kesar) (a pinch)
  • Green cardamom (elaichi) (4)
  • Almonds (badam) ( ¼ cup)
  • Pistachios (pista) (¼ cup)

Method

  • Wash and soak rice in water for about 1 hr.
  • Dissolve saffron strands in 2 tbsp of warm milk and keep aside.
  • Make a fine powder of pistachios, almond and cardamom in a mixer. Set aside till required.
  • Drain soaked rice in a colander and pat it dry on an absorbent kitchen towel.
  • Blend rice in a mixer to a coarse powder. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Add ½ a cup of milk (at room temperature) to the powdered rice and mix well to make a paste. Keep aside.
  • Boil remaining milk in a heavy-bottomed pan, reduce the heat to low once the milk starts bubbling.
  • Stir in the rice paste, saffron mixture and dry fruits powder.
  • Keep stirring frequently until the pudding starts to thicken.
  • Now add sugar. At this stage, it is always better to taste phirni and adjust the amount of sugar accordingly. Once all the sugar has dissolved and rice is cooked through, the pudding is ready.
  • Turn off the heat, let the phirni cool down for some time. Stir it every once in a while to prevent a thick layer from forming on the top.
  • Once the phirni has cooled down, pour it into an earthenware bowl. Refrigerate it for at least 1 hr before serving.
  • Serve this yummy summer dessert chilled garnished with chopped nuts and saffron strands.

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