Hyderabad’s 400-year-old culinary history, like its culture, is unmatched by any other state in India. Of all the Muslim cuisines, Hyderabadi is the only one in the sub-continent that can boast of a major vegetarian section. This has much to do with the local influences. Considering that the elite of the erstwhile Hyderabad state came from the north of India and was almost entirely Muslim, this is a little surprising. The nation’s vegetarians, of course, stand to gain by it.
Some of the salient features of Hyderabadi food are the key flavours of coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds. The main spice is chilli, which is used in abundance and is the reason for the one word used to describe Hyderabadi cuisine - fiery!
The cuisine draws its flavour from two rich legacies - the Deccan cuisine of Nizams and the spicy Andhra style of food, laced with mustard, garlic and chillies and eaten with doles of chutney and pickle.
Wash and drain mince. Peel, wash and roughly chop three onions and finely chop the remaining one. Peel, wash and finely chop ginger. Roast chana dal and powder. Lightly crush peppercorns, fennel seeds and onion seeds.
Crush coriander seeds separately. Clean, wash and chop coriander leaves. Heat one tablespoon of ghee in a pan and fry roughly chopped onions till they turn brown. Cool and grind to a paste. Mix this paste with the minced meat.
Heat three more tablespoons of ghee and add the mince-onion mixture. Cover with a lid, remove from heat and shake well twice or thrice. Place the pan on low heat. Uncover after two minutes. Add half a cup of water, coriander seeds and mix well.
Continue cooking, stirring frequently till all the water has been absorbed. Heat one tablespoon of ghee in a separate pan, add chopped ginger, finely chopped onion, roasted chana dal powder, cardamom powder, clove powder, cinnamon powder and crushed peppercorns-fennel seeds-onion seeds.
Add the mince, salt and mix well. Beat yogurt with egg white and mix into the mince mixture. Shape this mixture into flat circular croquettes, one and a half inches in diameter and half an inch thick.
Heat ghee in a shallow frying pan and fry kababs till golden. Drain onto an absorbent paper. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped coriander leaves.
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