Think Hyderabadi cuisine and its hard to go beyond the Biryani. And its for a good reason too. The spicy meat and rice dish cooked Dum style deserved every single bit of its stellar reputation. I remember staying in Hyderabad for 3 months and every day was pretty much a kebab and biryani day. Of course we had to drink copious amounts of beer to wash it all down. I can only thank God that I was there only for 3 months because by the end of it I could hardly walk my pudgy self to the nearest restaurant.
I have such great memories of the city, romantic dinner at the Waterfront restaurant overlooking the beautiful Hussain Sagar, sweating through the Paradise Special Biryani in the non AC section, the best punjabi food ever in Angeethi, the unlimited-beer-chinese buffet in Mainland China, and the best were the countless small places serving everything from puri-subzi to one memorable kebab of chicken leg stuffed with mutton kheema! I spent endless days traipsing through the local markets, simply to look at the lustrous pearls. And when I say 'look', I mean buy! By the end of it I could bargain like a local and keep a straight face through it too. I loved the peculiar Hindi the locals spoke, the Nizami hauteur of not waking before the sun blazes in the afternoon sky, the effortless mix of small town charm with big city comfort, the winding roads of Banajara Hills, the rocking boats on the way to the Giant Buddha...the list is endless. I loved my time there and would definitely visit again.
When I saw an announcement for RCI Hyderabad, I thought it would be a good time to revisit my memories there. So reading up about hyderabadi cuisine on Wiki, I came across Lukhmi, a savory patty filled with minced meat. It sounded easy enough and definitely something I haven't tasted before. I read up on it and got an idea of the recipe. Keema, dough, deep fry...how do you go wrong with that? I used boneless chicken thigh meat in all my recipes since I didn't have mutton.Whatever I read on the net was enough to give me an idea about making the keema. So I just followed my own recipe and eye balled most of the spices. It turned out pretty good, very very hot with addition of green chillies and chili powder.
Since I still had some energy and a little bit of minced meat left, I made the easy-peasy Sheekh Kebabs, Debu's favorite. Here's the recipe I used.
1 cup of minced meat
1 medium onion
1/2 inch piece of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
2-3 green chillies
a sprig of fresh coriander leaves
a palmful bread crumbs
salt to taste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2-3 green cardamom pods
1/2 inch of mace
1/2 inch piece cinnamon
Grind the dry spices together and mix with the minced meat. Chop the onion very fine or you could grate it and add that to the mixture. Grate the ginger, garlic and chop the coriander leaves finely and add. Quickly knead everything together, try not to overwork the meat. Oil your palms and form patties. The traditional method is to put them on a skewer and form a cylindrical shape. My mixture was a little loose and it refused to form anything kind of shape on a skewer, so I shaped it into round patties and baked them in an oven on 350 degrees for about 40-45 mins. I turned them over after 45 mins and baked for another 5-10 mins.
After the Lukhmi and Shikampur kebabs, these were not so impressive but but still nice in a familiar kind of way. The onion, ginger and garlic kept the meat really moist and fork tender.
And to Here I cook for the Non-Veggie Recipe Event.