Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Celebratory Weekend Dinner - Part 1

The atmosphere in our house for the past month-and-a-half has been a little intense. All thanks to a big, scary MOTHER of an exam that's been looming over us, particularly over DH's head (and what a fiiiine head it is). This was no regular 3 hour paper, folks. This was a ridiculous two day, 8 hours a day, sick exam. All I could do was sit and be DH's personal cheerleader on the sidelines as he went through it, then give him the wifely pep talk for the 3 weeks after the exam.

But today the entire house breathed a sigh of relief because we got the exam results last night, and we made it! Now life can move forward! No more "let's see" or "depends on" or "in case" - now things are jumping! And I owe the big guy a real treat to make him feel special (naughty minds like mine will go there, and I don't blame you - had fun? Ok, back to reality now). I'll give him a few days to think about it. If he was a girl, I'd give him jewelry, a real sparkler, because it's one of those types of really BIG DEAL occasions! But being a guy, I might have to run in to my neighborhood Best Buy or maybe the Apple store. In the meantime though, I can make him one of his favorite desi-boy meals.

Resham Kabab using the pre-packaged Bihari Kabab Shan masala (available in any Indian/Pakistani grocery store), is something my mom's been making for years. Weird thing is that it doesn't look anything like a traditional kabab! But the flavors are all there - that deep, meaty, fragrant, warm, spicy taste. The structure reminds me somewhat of meatloaf, but it's more melt-in-your-mouth. And you've GOT to get into it with your bare hands, with parathas, rotis or even flour tortillas. After meeting DH, he introduced me to a novel pairing to go with it. Would you believe, sooji halwa (sweet semolina pudding)?!
This was many years ago, back in Pakistan, when DH took me to one of his favorite kabab haunts. I remember it being packed to the gills, a bit ramshackle and pretty rough around the edges. Like most girls, I thought "this is his idea of a date?!". But then the food was served. Plates of steaming, fresh kababs that were so tender that they were dissolving the minute they touched my tongue. DH had also ordered a sizable order of sooji (semolina) halwa, which I thought was dessert. DH suggested I follow his example - "break off a piece of your naan (bread), take a bit of the kabab, then add some halwa to it ... now eat the whole thing". I did what Iwas told, and that was possibly the night I fell for him (or was it the kababs and halwa? Too late to think about it now!).

Resham Kabab
(made using Shan's Bihari Kabab Masala)
Serves 8

2 lbs ground beef
1.5 cups fried onions (pre-fried, or 4 onions, sliced & browned in canola oil)
1.5 tsp ginger paste
1.5 tsp garlic paste
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt, whipped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (plus a bit more for garnish)
1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped (plus a bit more for garnish)
2 tbsp canola oil
1 package Shan's Bihari Kabab mix
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 lemon, quartered
1/4 cup raw papaya with skin, pureed (optional)
It's not "long black pepper" ... it's laung (which is cloves) AND black pepper. And I have no idea what the heck a "musk melon" is.
1. Put the raw ground beef in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Add the fried onions, ginger-garlic, yogurt, cilantro, mint, papaya (optional), oil and the whole Shan Masala package.

2. Get in there and mix it all up with your hands. Everything needs to fully incorporated, and evenly distributed. Press the mixture down evenly across the pan. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8-12 hours (or even upto 24 hours). But if you're using the papaya OR any other meat tenderizer, then just 8 hours is perfect.
3. When you're ready to cook it, preheat your oven to 350 F. Remember to take the plastic wrap off the baking dish before placing it in the oven! Let it bake for 45 mins - 1 hour. Keep an eye on it after 45 mins though. It should be bubbling and the top will start to brown. You want there to be a medium brown crust on top.
4. Take it out of the oven and let it rest for 10 mins. Garnish it with the sliced red onion, chopped cilantro and mint, and the quartered lemon (every person gets a quarter of the lemon to squeeze on their serving of the kabab), then serve. Preferably with naan, parathas, rotis or flour tortillas.
Verdict: This dish gets the award for most flavorful meal that uses minimal effort! Think about it - it's just dump, mix and bake. And you're a star - ta daaaaa! Leftovers are great, just like meatloaf, because you can make deeelish sandwiches out of it for days. Or take a paratha and roll it up with this kabab mixture inside, along with some raita and onions - instant kabab rolls!

You should definitely serve this with my quick 'n easy Sooji Halwa (Semolina Pudding) right alongside with it. I'll be posting that next, so watch out. Let me tease you with this though ...

Ooooo, aaaaahhhhh *applause*

Oh, and for those of you who have been kind enough to be thinking about my Ozzy and how you haven't seen him in a while, thought I'd give you lovely people a little update - here he is, soaking up the afternoon sun ...

As you can see, he's doing fine. Just fine :)


Doppelganger said...

Hahaha! I just died laughing! "Long black pepper" indeed! And muskmelon is actually cantaloupe, which is wierd because I've never actually seen it being used in a recipe like this. I've just had it raw, as fruit, with a little sugar sprinkled on top.

So to get to the fun part! your recipe! Wow! like...seriously!Wow!! You're going to have to forgive the proliferation of exclamation points, but this recipe is one that speaks, not to my belly, but to my soul. I love meat, and this kind of reallllly well-spiced, well-cooked, minimum effort meat dish is the best kind! So all I have to say is....Hhhhamuna, humunaaa! i was going to make Haleem this weekend, but some plans were made to be broken! ;) or atleast postponed.

Oh i do have a couple of questions. :)
a) If we're letting the meat mixture marinade (per se) for 24 hours, is it still ok to just refrigerate it or would freezing work too?

b) This isn't so much a question as a comment. I've been using meat tenderizing powder instead of the papaya in other recipes of this nature and it's also worked out fine. :)

P.S. I'm pretty sure my hubbs would enjoy the sooji halwa with this too! but me, I'm a purist; I like my meat with nothing but meat! ok, just bread and meat. :p

Muneeba said...

Glad to know u'll be giving this a shot - your carnivorous tendencies will be completely satisfied! Getting to your questions, yup, it's still fine to refrigerate the meat for 24 hours BUT (and this ties into your second comment) if you're using the meat tenderizer, you don't need to marinate it for that long! Just 8 hrs is perfect. I didn't have papaya OR the tenderizer, so I had to marinate it for longer. WHY do I keep forgetting to buy the meat tenderizer thingy dammit?!

Anonymous said...

mmm... this definitely looks flavorful and delicious! A very informative post.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of Shan's Bihari Kabab mix. I have used Garam Masala spice before is it the same? Your meal looks amazing!

Irene said...

I love meals like this - minimal effort and maximum taste!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and thank you so much for being so nice about my photography. Seriously, I don't do anything special. I have a great camera, the Canon XSi, and a 50mm macro lens (about $80). I also love using my tripod because you can set up your shot without having to put your camera down, and since your arm doesn't shake the camera when you take the photo, you can shoot even when the light is lower. I find that natural light is the way to go if you want a nicer photo. I've never been able to take a nice food shot at night or with a flash. That's it, I don't have any kind of props or secrets. If you want to see really great photos and an awesome tutorial, this is a great post by Helen from Tartelette. Now *her* photos are amazing! said...

Hey Muneeba,
Would like to have your permission to add your blog on my page under" blogs I follow" list.
Hope I get a yes:)

Muneeba said...

Oh Chuck, I wish it were so, but Shan's Bihari Kabab mix is not like garam masala at all! Do you have an indian store near you? Just ask for it by name - they're sure to know abt it.

Irene, you are too modest, missy. Your pictures are da bomb, and it can't just be the camera because the composition is really appealing too! But thks for the photography tips .. I need them! Now I know what to ask the hubbs for on my b'day!

Smitha - it's a resounding YES, and I'm truly honored.

Smitha said...

If I'm right, a musk melon is something similar to a cantaloupe but many mistake it for cantaloupe.

Anonymous said...

MMMMM...this dish looks so appetizing!!! Indeed, a very informative post!! thanks!!

Resh said...

i wish i had seen this recipe b4! i just went to the indian grocery store yesterday, and bought other mixes but not this one. Never seen resham kababs made in a casserole dish. this is def. a must try!

Waheed-ur-Raza said...

The correct recipe of Bihari Kebab uses 'Long Black Pepper' (Latin Name: Piper longum, is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae). This is nothing like 'Laung' or Clove.

So the ingredients shown on the packaging is right, it is Long Black Pepper and NOT Laung and Black Pepper. So for those that were laughing out loud, it seems the joke is on you.

Sabinah Rafiq said...

I made your Resham Kabab yesterday for iftaar and it turned out great. Everyone loved it! Can't wait to try some of your other recipes!