The Extraordinary Extras: Mirchi Ka Salaan & Shahi Raita

While cooking a main meal never downplay the role of side dishes, your accompaniments or your ‘extras’. These dishes give your meal that spark that makes them shine. Today let’s learn to make two such extraordinary extras that should be your best friends if you wish to serve Indian, especially Mughlai dishes – Mirchi Ka Salan and Shahi Raita.

MIRCHI KA SALAN

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This is an excellent accompaniment with any type of biryani or parantha. Mirchi is hindi for Chili Peppers, but not to worry, the chilies used in this dish are the yellowish, green ones that are either very mildly hot or not at all. This dish is traditionally from Hyderabad. So here we go!

Ingredients:

  • Chilies 12-15
  • Tamarind paste 1 & 1/2  tbl spn (mixed in 1 cup water)
  • Oil to deep fry chilies plus 2 tbl spn
  • Salt to taste

For masala:

  • Onion 1 (sliced, fried till brown and crispy)DSCN1272
  • Dried red chilies 4 (fried)
  • Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
  • Fresh grated coconut( or dessicated) 1/4 cup (browned)
  • Peanuts 1/4 cup (roasted and skinned)
  • Sesame seeds(white til) 1& 1/2 tbl spn (roasted)
  • Coriander seeds 1tbl spn (roasted)
  • Ginger 1(1/2″size)
  • Garlic 4 cloves

For tempering:

  • Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
  • Nigella seeds (kalonji) 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves 1 tsp

Method:

Make a smooth paste of all the given ingredients for masala using 1/2 cup of water. Keep aside.

Wash, wipe and slit the chilies length wise,without cutting them into parts. I kept the stems as I think the dish looks better with the stems on, but you can remove it too.

Deep fry chillies in oil for a minute and keep them aside.

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In a wok add 2 tbl spn of oil and temper with all ingredients given for tempering. As it starts crackling, add the masala paste and fry for 3-4 minutes . Add tamarind pulp mixedwith water. As it starts boiling, add the fried chilies. Simmer for 2-3 mins. Add salt to taste.

Your Mirchi ka Salan is ready to be served hot.

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Now let’s go on to our next preparation.

SHAHI RAITA

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Raita is the best accompaniment for biryani or may be used as a dip for any spicy dish like tandoories or kebabs,as it’s refreshing taste balances the richness. It’s taste should be tangy,sweet and sour.

It can be prepared by mixing fruits(fresh or dry),pulses(sprouts),or vegetables with chilled curd. You can always use different spices or herbs like mustard,ginger,cinnamon or anything of your choice.
I personally love fruits in raita,so in any raita I make,I use some fruits .

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chilled curd( Indian yogurt)
  • 2tbl spn chopped green onion
  • 1 small tomato chopped
  • 2-3 tbl spn chopped cucumber
  • 1 big leaf lettuce chopped
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate/pineapple(cubed)/grapes(halved)/orange(skinned,seeded and cubed)
  • 2 tbl spn chopped mint leaves
  • 4-5 tbl spn honey
  • a generous pinch of nutmeg powder
  • 1 tbl spn cashew nut (halved)
  • 1 tspn raisins (kismis)
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp roasted red chili powder
  • salt(preferably black salt)to taste
  • 1/2  tsp chat masala

Method:

Lightly whisk the curd and add all the above ingredients,except salt. Mix well. Refrigerate. Before you serve,add salt. If you mix salt beforehand it tends to sour the curd. Decorate with fruits, spices or herbs.

And that’s it. Remember to serve it cold for an even better taste. And you can always add your own ingredients, and other fruits of your choice as Raita is the best dish for any kind of food experiment. So go ahead and try your own! If you love your creation, please don’t forget to let me know by commenting. Happy Cooking! 🙂

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