Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Afghan Ruz Bukhari and Giveaway Winners!

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My little monster was down with fever a few days back. This was the first time in my life as a mother (which is about 18 months) that she had a bad fever. A, just like he has been for the past few weeks, was traveling and I was alone at home with her. She was playing and jumping all around and I didn't even realize that she was sick until I was getting her ready to go to bed. I waited  for a few hours hoping that temperature will come down but finally at midnight I called her doctor. Front desk picked up and promised to return my call. While I was waiting for the call, my anxiety and nervousness was soon turned into panic! I had to keep my mind busy so I logged on to twitter and tweeted about it. In minutes I got so many messages and emails of support and confidence. Rebecca who blogs at Chow and Chatter couldn't resist picking up the phone and calling to check on me. All of a sudden I realized that I was not alone waiting for the doctor's call anymore. When someone asks me about what I love most about the blogging world, I have to say experiences like this!



Its just amazing how people you have never met or spoken to get so much closer to you. I've met so many talented people through my blog and got to learn so much from them. One such friend I made is Ria who is a great food blogger (also from India) and blogs at Ria's Collection. A lovely blog with beautiful stories and photos and fabulous recipes! Ria told me about the Afghan Ruz Bukhari recipe that she was going to try. She was trying it for the first time and had got it from another common friend of ours. Bindu, who again we have never met but have gotten closer to. I was so intrigued by the recipe and all the talk about it that we decided to try it together and if it turns out well, maybe we can share it with YOU.



Yes, it turned out pretty good and hence we are here! Sharing it together and sending our love and thanks to Bindu who is not a blogger but is a great cook and definitely an awesome teacher.
I was so amazed at how good this dish turned out to be and that made me curious about its history. So I went to Mr. Google but surprisingly I didn't find much about it. So if you know anything about its origins, please let me know! But what I can tell you about this dish is that its an Afghan take on biryani, its SO easy to put together and has great flavor with little use of spice. If you consider salt a spice then that's the only spice I used for this dish!

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Ingredients: Serves 8-10
(I made a few tiny little changes to Bindu's original recipe but its pretty much hers.)

1.5 pounds lamb with bones (cut into medium size chunks)
3 cups of Sela Basmati rice (Sela basmati is a variety of basmati rice that is just milled a little differently giving it a slightly yellow color and is perfect for slow cooked rice dishes like biryani or pulao. You can find it in any Pakistani or middle eastern store)
3 cups thinly sliced onions 

2 cups thinly silvered carrots
1/4 cups oil
1/4 cup raisins (I used golden raisins but you can use black raisins)
3 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
6 cups water
Salt

Method:

Thoroughly wash the rice and soak it in water for at least a couple hours.
Meanwhile wash the meat thoroughly with water, squeeze out all the excess water and let it out in the air to dry. You can even let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Take a big thick bottom pot, heat oil in it.
When oil is hot, add lamb and stir it well so that lamb doesn't stick to the bottom. Keep stirring until the meat doesn't stick to the pan anymore.
Meat will start oozing liquid, keep cooking until all the liquid dries out.
Then add onion. Cook it until the onion turns translucent.
Now add water and salt to the lamb. Cook till the meat is "almost" done but not all the way through.
Drain out all the water in which the rice is soaked.
Now in a big vessel with lid arrange a thin layer of rice. Then arrange all the meat on top of the layer of rice, over which you will have to arrange the carrots and then on top of that a layer of raisins which are washed and soaked in water for 15 minutes. Top it all off with all the remaining rice.
After you're done with the layering, you need to pour the remaining broth from the meat all over the rice and start cooking.
Once the water starts boiling, check the salt (it should be pleasantly and not strongly salted, only then will you be able to taste the carrots and the raisins); add tomato puree; gently stir it in the water above the rice to mix thoroughly.
Cover the pot with lid and let it cook. Normally it should take about 18-20 minutes for the rice and everything else to cook well, but keep checking and if you feel that the rice is not cooked and water is almost dried out, add a little more water.
The finished dish should have rice with each grain separate and a slight orange color from the tomato puree. 
The dish is typically served with a simple salad:
Ingredients:
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cups chopped tomato
1/2 cups chopped carrots
1/2 cups chopped cucumber
1 tbsp chopped parsely
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt
Just mix everything together (this is not the typical Afghan style salad and they make it a little differently but this is what we enjoy in our family!)
Oh wait, there is something else I had to talk about. The winners of the giveaway! Little monster helped me find the four lucky winners of the fabulous cookbook by Monica Bhide. Following are their names with their comments.
Rookie Qookie said...
Congratulations for the lovely year spent in Blogosphere!! Wish you well for many more years to add :) Have been following you and loved all the Indianness you bring to your blog and recipes.Now why whould I not want this Book!! Well I have no reason not to want and would enjoy learning more from all the beautiful recipes..
Cheers,

Reshmi 
Maranda said... Congratulations on your blogiversary!!!! I'm so sad I missed the giveaway. I would have loved to win this cookbook since I'm falling in love with Indian food lately.
I've made your garlic chicken a couple times now and it is ALWAYS delicious!! Here's the url http://mannadonn.blogspot.com/2011/01/garlic-chicken-indian-style.html
Chow and Chatter said... happy birthday to your lovely blog, lovely gift away maybe one day you can give away your cookbook
Sneh | Cook Republic said... You go girl! Congratulations on your Blogoversary :-)


Congratulations! Please email me your names and addresses.

 “Get Grillin’ with Family Fresh Cooking and Cookin’ Canuck, sponsored by Ile de France CheeseRösleEmile HenryRouxbe and ManPans.” 

58 comments:

  1. Oops! Little angel was sick? How is she now? I hope now she is absolutely fine and jumping around. Give a hug from me.

    la...la..la..! Afghan recipes are rocking and seeing everywhere these days. Congrats to all winners!!

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  2. Yeyy Prerna, we did it :) All thanks to Bindu for the recipe and the fun and anxiety that came along with it :) We should do this more often,don't you think so? After seeing your pics, I think I should have taken some better ones :) I almost started with the salad, then thought I'd let it go as we both like biriyani's plain :)

    So glad to hear lil' A is doing better now!

    Hugs!

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  3. Hope you little monster is doing fine now! I hope she is back jumping around happy and healthy.

    This dish looks really nice. I like lamb a lot but Arvind says he doesn't like it much and is hoping that someday I can change that view point of his :)

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  4. yum. pretty photos, as always, Prerna. x shayma

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  5. I don't eat lamb but am so touched to hear about the connection you've formed with these women. I love the idea of trying the same recipe despite physically residing in different locations and sharing your sharing through your blogs. A lovely story and dish, Prerna!

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  6. great dish love Afghani food and my pleasure thats what friends are for :-)
    hugs Rebecca

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  7. Glad to hear your little one is better.

    The absence of spice in this dish almost make me think of it as tomato rice (which we have here) than a version of biryani. I've yet to get an opportunity to try Afghan food but this is a new dimension to look forward to.

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  8. Hope your little bee is feeling better now, it is always difficult the very first time, may be more for you than her. Loved the photos, you girls really did a great job,Bindu sure is everyone's wise friend.

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  9. That is the best part of blogging! I love all the kind, like-minded (food obsessed?) people I've met.
    This dish is new to me - I haven't had much experience with Afghan food. Which is sort of strange, as I lived in Fremont, CA - which has the highest Afghan pop. in the U.S. But I just read a wonderful memoir called 'Day of Honey', and now I determined to learn more about Middle Eastern cooking in general.
    O, and I love the photographs - so gorgeous.

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  10. Having a sick child is tough - Have been through it many times with my three children - But you know what i always pray - a fever here, a cough or cold now and then is fine - NOTHING BEYOND that!!! EVER.... I am sure your little one will feel better soon -
    As for the biryani, I am a vegetarian, but I am sure it tasted GR8 :))

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  11. A was sick??!! How is she doing now?

    This sounds like a wonderful dish, and so simple with few ingredients. The hubby won't eat lamb, so I do not make it that often, but will have to do it for myself sometimes. And yes I LOVE the photographs, as always.

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  12. As a mom I can understand how we feel if our lil one is sick.. just passed this stage 4 days back. Hope she is doing fine now. The Dish looks scrumptious with ur lovely shots as ever.

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  13. Your little one must be all better now :-) but it can be extremely frustrating and daunting when your child is sick. But they are so strong and resilient, the little angels, that they spring back real quick!

    I can smell the spices by just looking at your pictures. I can only imagine how lovely it must taste :-)

    I won!! lol, thanks. I really appreciate it. But since I live in Sydney (Australia), I would like to request you to give my prize to someone with a US address. Oh shoot! The book would've been great :-)

    As always, love your post!

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  14. Hope your little one is feeling better! I love visiting your blog and being introduced to new recipes and am in total awe of your photos, so inspiring!

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  15. As a mom, I know how hard it must be for you to be away from family when your daughter gets sick. But it's lovely to hear that you have some great friends around you. Biryani looks great and pics are heavenly! I must admit I've never heard of this biryani before though!

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  16. Congrats to the winner!

    That is one lovely dish! I don't know much about Afghan food, but I've seen that it is very similar to Indian and Iranian food...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  17. That sounds simplified version of version....looks drool worthy....Congrats to the winners....

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  18. I was first introduced to Ruz Bukhari by a Pakistani friend and whenever she calls me for food ideas I tell here cook your ruz bukhari - she is best at it :-) Social Media and specially twitter has to be a great thing in my life too. Ask a question and people are so willing to help and send you well wishes, instantly makes you feel good :-) I hope A is doing good now. Love the pictures!

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  19. It looks amazing and reminds me of the biryani I posted last week. Oh I have to try this now!

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  20. Glasses of chilled white wine are soooo photogenic... ;)

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  21. Hi
    Thanks for your photography tips, guess I have a lot to learn in this field. I see that you haven’t used any chillies in this recipe and I reckon the rice will taste a bit sweet because of the carrots and raisins if I am right, but on the whole it looks delicious.

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  22. I hope your lovely daughter is feeling better. I have a little monster of my own who's just short of turning 18 months. She raises a storm every single day and but while I am baking, she hangs around and helps with tasting the dough too. Thats her favourite part!
    The biryani looks really good and I would try this for sure.

    Thanks for sharing!!

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  23. Gorgeous Prerna, and naturally gluten free too!

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  24. i don think il ever get hold of a bag of sela rice, but im tempted 2 try it out with normal rice.

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  25. Prerna Glad your daughter is feeling well
    the combination looks wonderful and lovely pictures
    we make Afghani biryani a little different If you like check out the way I make it is under the recipe page
    Congrats to the winners
    Regards

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  26. I'm definitely going to make this. Will have to use regular Basmati though. Can't get Selma in these parts.

    Glad that the little one is well now.

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  27. Saw in Ria's place you both were doing the same dish. Wish i had a plate of this.
    I can imagine how nervous you were while waiting. Indeed food bloggers are amazing, especially in times of need, isnt it funny how much support one gets from ppl you have never seen. Happy to hear your little one is ok now.

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  28. Indian food is very delicious. Thanks for the two recipe of the rice and the salad. I recently found another recipe on anther site that teaches you how to make South Indian Coconut Rice, super tasty! Try it out yourself at http://www.fourgreensteps.com/community/recipes/vegetable-a-side-dishes/south-indian-coconut-rice

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  29. wow, Speechless on u r pictures and a great recipe..

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  30. Beautiful pictures as always, and the recipe sounds delicious! Looks pretty simple. Now I just have to find a Middle Eastern store to find that kind of basmati--I'm sure in Chicago there has to be one close by!

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  31. Hi Prerna, been going thru your blog for some time now, subscribed to it through...love your pics and recipes! This dish is really intriguing as there are absolutely no spices involved, am definitely going to try it! I hope your lil' one is fine now...I have a 21-month old lil boy myself and so know how it is with a busy lil toddler at home! Take care!

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  32. This dish looks really good. I like this idea, try the same formula, despite his living in different locations and share your sharing, through your blog.

    Kitchen cabinets

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  33. OMG! I won?!?!?! I thought for sure I had missed it!!!

    My husband has spent some time in Afghanistan and he loves the food and the people. I've been trying to master Kabuli pulau but I think I had the wrong rice. I showed him this picture and he about jumped out of his seat. He's so excited and I can't wait to make this for him!! Any other Afghan recipes you have or know of would be greatly appreciated!

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  34. wow lovely blog ! very well presented :)
    you can view and follow my blog if you wish http://kitchensojourn.blogspot.com ... i will be really happy :D

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  35. Congrats to all the winners!!! That's wonderful!

    I really need to jump on the Afghan bandwagon and make some of these fantastic dishes!

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  36. very nice! I love the simplicity of this dish, I can taste it. I always eat kachumbar with rice dishes. :)

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  37. hi! i just popped over from dessert for breakfast and simply ADORE your blog! i couldn't help but hit the follow button! look forward to following you in the months to come! xo kate

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  38. Hope ur little baby is doing well now. I can imagine ur concern and the tension, I have a 2.5 yr old and a traveling hubby, and have been thru something like this.
    Warm hugs to the li'll one!

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  39. I'm glad your daughter is feeling better now, I know how scared you were the other night, it's good to have the support of friends, even those we have never met in person in times of crisis. I'll have to try and find Sela Basmati rice near me, I'd like to try it.

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  40. Thanks a lot :) Just got back from a lot of Travelling and was pleasantly surprised with the GiveAway announcement.

    Cheers,
    Reshmi

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  41. Hope your daughter is better. My 19-month old just got over the flu and even though he is my second child and we have had our share of illnesses to deal with, a mother still always gets a feeling of anxiety until her child is well again. I love learning about dishes from different cultures and know nothing about Afghan cuisine. Also, I didn't realize there were different varieties of basmati for different cooking methods. Thanks

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  42. Maranda, for more recipes, take a look at Meghan's site. There's a lot more recipes from appetizers to desserts!

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  43. looks perfect n delicious...

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  44. i love Afghan food:) your photos are beautiful! thank you for sharing this and have a great weekend.

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  45. It's so awesome that you and Ria decided to do this together. And you've sure made some awesome bloggy friends :D

    The biryani looks and sounds awesome, especially after coming here after already seeing and loving Ria's!

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  46. Pretty photos and delicious dish as well of course.

    Hope your little one is better.

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  47. I am a recent lamb-convert. I must try this soon! I'll come back to let you know how it turns out :)

    Now, I actually stopped by to ask you a question: what is your favourite thing to do with okra? I just got 2 whopping kilos of it and I'm excited to try some with Indian flavours!

    Thanks!!!

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  48. Yum, the Bukhari looks very delicious! and your photos are amazing too.
    I'm new to the blogging world but it seems like a place to meet new exciting people!
    -Bonnie

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  49. hi.. first time here and I'm drooling over your recipes.. awesome creation with amazing clicks.. love to follow u!!

    Rasoi

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  50. Prerna, this looks so delicious! Love everything about it. As always, beautiful photos as well.

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  51. Yum! this looks delicious Prerna! That first real fever can be really scary. How sweet of Rebecca for calling you. Congrats again on your blogoversary and to the winners!

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  52. Congrats to all the winners. And this dish reminds me so much of Biryani... I am missing my mother's Biryani now :) Glad you are able to meaningfully connect with people on Twitter - that's what the medium is all about!

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  53. I like this take on biryani - especially love the pretty orange carrot pieces that brightens the dish up.

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  54. lovely blog and pictures! hope the little one feels better!

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  55. Beautiful side dish recipe...
    We would love if you submitted this recipe & any two other side dishes to this week of the Get Grillin' event that Cookin' Canuck and I am hosting :)
    xxoo

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  56. It looks so so tempting, I am making it this weekend :D
    Indian restaurants Oldham

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    Replies
    1. Please do and let me know how they came out!

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  57. Wow! Perfect rice recipe ever. I have tried it and it was so delish.

    Grace Crawford DFW Spine & Joint Center Cold Laser Therapy For Knees

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