Bonjour! Wish you all a glorious 2017 It’s been a long hiatus. I have missed all of you, and I have missed blogging. Where have you been? You ask.
I have been away doing something wonderful, kind of answering a life call if I may say so. I have been doing this:
It’s a been a little less that two years since this opportunity presented itself to me. It was more or less a decision taken on an impulse, but the kind you know is just right for you. How you know, you don’t know, but you know.
It changed my life in ways I cannot express, and yet allowed me to be the same in every respect that mattered.
I bought a Kumon Math and Reading Center, underwent extensive training, and have been very busy learning the ropes of running a business, and being a teacher. It’s a unique opportunity, where I get to do both, run a business and satisfy my teacher’s soul by seeing kids, big and small, prosper right in front of my eyes. Those twinkling eyes, impish smiles, knotted brows figuring out the next problem, or even those searching eyes, imploring you to help them cross over the little hurdle they are facing right now, it’s a high unparalleled.
We do a lot of fun stuff at the center.
I had a Halloween party.
We had a ‘store’ for Kumon dollars (Kumon dollars are pretend dollars that are given out for successful completion of an assignments)
We all dressed up as Santa.
We had an Award ceremony too!
It has come with its challenges too. The financial, the physical, and scatterbrain feeling when one is doing too many things at the same time….
In all of this, I am a bit sad to say that my cooking has taken a back seat. Some days even when I have time, I don’t have the energy to cook an elaborate affair. However, after a little more than year of running the center, and full filling myriad other social responsibilities, I think I am beginning to settle down into a routine. I have a long, long way to go. In the meantime, I get in touch with my cooking genes every once in a while, and bring one of those dishes that is quick and easy, but delicious to the boot.
To ring in the brand new year, I started off with a carefully crafted goat/lamb biriyani dish that has fascinated me since childhood. It’s a kind of biriyani you don’t get in restaurants or even in the regular biriyani books. It’s similar to Yakhni biriyani but not with as many spices and without the yogurt. The star of this dish is coriander seeds. My mother learned it from a Pakistani friend in Iran during the days when Iran was still under the Shah’s rule. Over the decades, she has made changes and perfected it to a point where it’s acquired an identity of its own. It’s light, fragrant, flavorful.
I have named it Lazeez Biriyani
And yes, makes for a pretty sight. Doesn’t it?
- 2 lbs mutton/lamb
- 3 green cardamoms
- 1 black cardamom
- 1" cinnamon stick
- 6 cups of water (or enough to cover the meat)
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups of water
- 1 tbsp of coriander seeds
- 3 green cardamoms
- 4 cloves
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 3 cups of rice
- 3 potatos peeled halved.
- 3 onions finely chopped
- 2 tsp ginger garlic paste (freshly made)
- 2 tbsp ghee
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- salt to taste
- 6 eggs boiled
- Put all the ingredients and cook till the meat pieces are cooked about ¾th of the way. I pressure cooked for 15 minutes.
- Pick the meat out and strain the remaining liquid and reserve for later.
- In a separate container put the ingredients and boil until the liquid is reduced to half (about 1-1/2 cups)
- Wash rice and soak it in 6 cups of water for 30 minutes. Drain well.
- Heat ghee in a pan. Crackle the cumin seeds, add the onions.
- Once glossy, add the coriander seeds and the meat.
- Saute well and when the meat is browned add the ginger garlic paste.
- Add potatoes
- Add about one cup of stock and let it cook until the meat is tender.
- If you are using pressure cooker, bring it to a whistle and cook for 10 minutes on the low.
- In a separate pan, add 1 tsp of clarified butter. Add 3 clove pods, 1 bay leaf and lightly saute the drained rice.
- Add the rice to the meat. Slowly add stock #1 and #2 (In total about 5 cups of stock)
- Cover the rice well, and cook for 20 minutes on low.
- For pressure cooker: Simply bring it to one whistle and and let it cool down.
- Peel the boiled eggs and cut them in half and place them right on top of the cooked biriyani
- Serve with mint or tomato riata.
- Tips: The tenderness of the meat will alter the cook time of the meat, as will the altitude.
KUMON MATH AND READING: For those who are interested, Kumon Math and Reading is one of the oldest and most successful after school programs offered worldwide through their Franchises. Kumon works with what we call ‘The Kumon method’ to develop mental Math agility; core mathematical concepts and algorithms; Reading, phonetics, comprehension, vocabulary, and writing skills – while learning at their own pace, completely individualized. Be it enrichment or remedial, Kumon Math and Reading has been helping children gain confidence and independent learning abilities for decades now.