As a norm we try to abstain from non-veg food on Tuesdays which is considered to be an auspicious day by Hindus, a day marked for Lord Hanuman.

But just as the forbidden fruit is always more tempting, my daughter always has this demand urge of eating chicken or fish on Tuesdays. Although we never compel her to follow this custom but I certainly try to explain to her that not eating non-vegetarian food on ‘a’ particular day won’t make a difference; she can have it some other day.

Last Tuesday she demanded biryani which is very unlike her coz she always prefers chicken curry or mutton curry over biryani. Most of the time she has her way around but this whole week my husband has been travelling and I was in no mood to cook elaborate meal for just the two of us. I considered the idea of making something which would taste close to non-veg curry. For me, it’s the black gram or Bengal gram that comes closest in this bid.
I considered transforming the Bengal grams into biryani. I was unsure of it being received cheerfully by my daughter but I was pleasantly surprised by her response – very pleased and full of praises! What more can a mother ask for J
This measurement serves two,
For Kale Moti:
¾ cup Bengal grams (soaked over-night)
1 onion, medium size (finely chopped) – I used large onion coz I like masala in my chana
½ tsp ginger pate
½ tsp garlic paste
1 tomato, medium size (finely chopped)
1 bay leaf
2 cloves
½ inch piece cinnamon
1 ½ tbsp ghee or butter (I used mustard oil for a more robust flavored biryani)
Salt to taste
¼ tsp hot chilli powder
2 green chillies, split in 3-4 pieces (I do not chop them fine so that those not wanting to eat it can easily trace it out)
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
In pressure cooker add 1½ glass of water and add the Bengal grams. Add ½ tsp of salt and pressure-cook them.
In a thick bottomed pan heat the oil and carefully add the whole garam masala – cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf.
As soon as these crackle, add onion and fry till golden brown. Add 2 tbsp of water and along with it add the ginger and garlic paste. (This way the ginger garlic paste won’t stick to the bottom of the pan and will get well incorporated in the masala)
Stir fry for a minute and then add the chopped tomato and salt, turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, green chillies and garam masala.
Cook till the masala has an assimilated look and the oil separates (towards the edges and top)
Add the Bengal grams (without water) and cook till the masala is well incorporated (approx. 5 minutes)


For fragrant rice
1 cup basmati rice
1 black cardamom
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
½ tsp salt
Wash the rice till the water runs clear.
In a pot take sufficient water and add the salt cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf. Cover the pot and let the water boil.
Once water starts to boil, tip in the rice and stir it well.
Cook the rice till it is par boiled or half cooked.
Strain the water and keep the rice aside.
(Remove the whole garam masala from the rice)
For garnish:
2 tsp mint leaves, (torn if they are large)
1tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (dhaniya patta)
2 tbsp milk (lukewarm)
1 pinch saffron
1 tbsp deep fried sliced golden brown onions (In 2 tbsp of oil fry 1 small sliced onion till they become golden brown; stirring all the while)
Soak the saffron in milk
In an oven-proof container, transfer the Bengal grams and smooth it out with a spoon. Sprinkle a little fresh coriander and mint leaves over it.
Spoon over the rice over the grams and evenly spread it over.
Garnish the rest of the mint and fresh coriander, drizzle over the saffron milk and sprinkle the golden brown onions (mine turned brownL).
Seal the top with a cover or foil.
Cook in a moderate hot oven for approx 15 minutes.
Remove the seal and serve hot with Cucumber Raita
Note: If you cook the Bengal grams in vegetable oil or mustard oil, drizzle some ghee over the top of the rice for flavour
Note: This makes a nice lunch pack for school 

Cucumber Raita

Making a cucumber raita is simple. I used 1½ cup of yoghurt and to that I added shredded cucumber, flavoured it with roasted ground cumin seeds, salt, black pepper, chat masala (available at Indian grocery stores) and dry ground mint. 


Note: Adjust the amount of these ingredients as per your taste


Linking this post to MLLA # 42 hosted by Kiran and also to Susan of the The Well Seasoned Cook

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