Laxmi and Jayshri's Gujarati Indian cookbook, A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That (a 2018 Gourmand Best in the World winner in two categories and now being reprinted by popular demand), came about when Jay asked her mother to teach her some of her cooking so she could document it, as so much of the beloved food she grew up eating was intuitive cooking, rather than from a recipe. That idea soon blossomed into a fully-fledged cookbook, so others could also have the opportunity to recreate the incredible flavours of Gujarat cuisine.
A one pot wonder. Biryani is an Indian dish that includes rice and either lamb, chicken or vegetables infused with beautiful spices and served with a yoghurt sauce. Known as the 'royal' dish among all the exotic rice dishes.
|½||cinnamon stick, broken|
|1||whole star anise, broken|
|1||medium onion, chopped|
|2 Tbsp||clarified butter (ghee), melted|
|1 Tbsp||fresh green chilli, minced (see note below)|
|1 tsp||fresh garlic, minced (see note below)|
|1 tsp||fresh ginger, minced (see note below)|
|¾ tsp||turmeric powder|
|½ tsp||garam masala|
|500g||lamb shoulder chop, diced (or 500g boneless thigh chicken, diced, or 2 cups mixed veges)|
|1 large||potato, 1cm dice|
|¼ cup||tomatoes, blended, tinned or fresh|
|1 cup||long grain rice|
|½ cup||orange lentils|
|1 cup||unsweetened Greek yoghurt|
|½ tsp||ground cumin|
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- Heat oven to 180°C fan bake.
- To make yoghurt sauce: Combine all ingredients and set aside until ready to use.
- In a large saucepan heat oil on a medium heat. Add cloves, cinnamon and star anise for 1 minute or until darkened. Add onions and cook for 3-5 minutes or until browned. Add clarified butter, chilli, garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric and garam masala. Stir paste to infuse.
- Add meat and potatoes, cook for 7-10 minutes on medium heat. Add water and tomatoes, simmer for 6 minutes.
- Add rice and lentils. Simmer for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Empty into a casserole dish, and cover with foil. Bake on 180°C for 20 minutes or until rice has cooked.
- Serve hot with yoghurt sauce.
Green Chilli Paste (lee-lar-mar-cha)
Makes 1 cup
Measure 1 cup of fresh green chillies, ensuring chillies are washed from pesticides and dirt. Remove the stalks. Place in a blender or food processer with 3 tablespoons of oil and blend to a paste. Transfer to an airtight container and use fresh for 1 week or freeze in small portions like ice cubes and defrost as you require them. Alternatively, large amounts can be frozen in a roasting tray, cut into cubes and stored inside a resealable bag, defrosting cubes as required.
Garlic Paste (la-sin)
Makes 1 cup
Alongside the importance of ginger is garlic. Measure 1 cup of garlic cloves and peel. A handy tip is to lightly crush them so they are easier to peel. Put garlic cloves and 3 tablespoons of oil into a blender or food processer and blend into a paste. Store the same ways as the green chilli paste.
Ginger Paste (ah-doo)
Makes 1 cup
The second most essential ingredient is ginger. To prepare a ginger paste, lightly peel 1 heaped cup of fresh ginger with a potato peeler. Chop in 2-3cm sized bits. Place in a blender or food processor with 3 tablespoons of oil and blend into a paste. Store the same ways as the green chilli paste.
These recipes are an edited extract from A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That - A Mother's Secret Spice: Love, by Jayshri and Laxmi Ganda. Self-published. RRP $70. See gujaraticookbook.com.