Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tilda & My Mother's Signature Biryani

Recently I did an article on Tilda Rice with my colleague Sudeshna Sen who's based in London. Tilda - which is one of the best known Basmati brands in Europe & US - is an example of a global brand created and promoted by a global Indian family. The London-based Thakrars, who set up Tilda in the 1970s, are a Gujarati family who lived in Uganda before 1972 and moved to UK during the Idi Amin dictatorship. The company is now a big exporter of basmati rice from India to major markets in North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa. The Thakrars are even known as the rice kings in UK.
Tilda basmati is a well known brand among South Asians in UK, US and Europe and the company now plans to launch many of its products in India too riding the retail boom. An interesting promotional activity undertaken by Tilda in UK is sponsoring events with the Craft Guild of Chefs and the company has even published a recipe book with signature biryanis by UK's famous chefs.

And now the company plans events with top chefs in India too and is planning to bring Cyrus Todiwala, MBE and founder & executive chef of London’s famous restaurant chain Cafe Spice Namaste to India.

Tilda sees South Asians all over the world as its brand ambassadors.The company sponsors the TUCO University Chef of the year competition in UK every year. And talking about signature biryanis I would like to share with our readers my Mother's Signature Biryani. This is possibly the most simple and yet most delicious biryani in the world. A lot of my busy friends and family have told us that this is the ideal recipe for entertaining people during the weekend and provides a quick and tasty option. Another good thing about this recipe is that it's not too high calorie either.

So here's My Mom's Biryani - something that I've grown up with and will always love.
1.Mutton 1kg.
2.Yogurt (dahi) 800gms
3.Basmati Rice 4 cups/you could use Tilda! ( 1kg apprx)
4.Onions 2 large or 3 small
5.Oil for frying
6. Jeera(cummin seeds), Methi (fenugreek), Mouri (aniseed/saunf), Sukno lanka dry (2-4 dried red chillies) fried and powered
(1 teaspoon of all the spices and half teaspoon of fenugreek)
7. 6 cups of water
8. Turmeric powder
9. Salt to taste
1. Marinade the meat in yogurt and the spices and
turmeric powder for 2 hours.
2. Put in a pressure cooker
and add 1 cup water. Cook till meat is soft (about 15
20 mins, according to the quality of the meat.

3. Meanwhile cut onions into thin slices and fry in about 2 or 3
tablespoon of oil till golden brown.

4. Wash rice and drain
5. When u can open pressure cooker, put the fried onions
with oil and put in the rice.Add rest of water
6. Close cooker again and put on fire, wait till the pressure builds. Now lower the heat and
keep for only 5 mins not more (this is important.)
7. Open pressure cooker when u can.
8. Don't try release pressure by lifting the wieght with a spoon


Anonymous said...

couldn't quite follow the link between the Tilda story and the recipe

ishani said...

Basmati rice, obviously - the patent dispute behind which, of course, is history! By the way, anonymous posts are pretty disgusting and I'm all for eliminating them from this blog. In any case, this is a semi-personal space and I don't even owe you an explanation for posting a very good recipe over here!

Kaisar Ahmad said...

The connection is pretty clear - you need rice for Biryani and so it was an association of ideas. The Indian Government recognises these connections - thats why we have the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Salt. Everyone knows salt is needed to make fish palatable and no good Indian - certainly no Bengali - would dream of eating good fish with anything other than rice. Hence lumping control of these ingredients together under one bureaucratic umbrella.

Debjani said...

Ishani, it was such a co-incidence to see the post and particularly the recipe, right after I marinated the meat for this biryani. This is the main fare for my daughter's birthday party tonight. Ever since I got this recipe from you I have cooked it all the time and almost everyone who has had a lunch or dinner at my house has really loved it. Its really simple and comes out right every time. And now I dont even have to sweat over giving them the recipe, they can find it right here. By the way, adding green chillies instead of red also makes for an interesting variation to this dish. What would we do without recipes?

ishani said...

Thanks. I've found tons of blogs on food, recipes etc some of which in fact are pretty good. Besides recipes they link up food, culture, places, memories, families and all kinds of stuff. In fact, we had discussed this to an extent in the literary & cinema context in your post on movies before. I think the food blog connection is worth exploring sometime in future in terms of an article. Meanwhile here's a link that establishes the Tilda & recipe link:
Finally, belated Happy Birthday to baby Girl!