Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Marag and The Pulao

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What is this fishy looking dish”, random blog hopper aka RBH

“It is not fish, it is mutton, and a very tasty one at that”, my blog aka MB

“No, I meant it looks suspicious, what’s with this shadow play…Guru Dutt style”, RBH

“Oh this fantastic woman who writes my blog is very talented, she can shoot pictures at all angles…Kurosawa angle, Guru Dutt angle…anything…very talented”, MB with hint of pride

“Umm I think she needs more light, to light up her fishy dishes, ask her to adjust the white balance of her camera next time”, a not impressed RBH mumbling about how blogs will just put up anything and expect people to comment & such

“Oh she knows all about balance, you don’t have to worry, just eat it and move”..MB gruffly

And so I present to you the Marag as copied very diligently from Nabeela’s Blog.But if you notice I have multiplied all ingredients with 3 so it is technically not copying :D

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“But the title says it is Marag, why isn’t it soupy then and why is it served with a Pulao” connoisseur blog hopper aka CBH
“You know marag comes from Arabic maraq (marak or marag). Marga or marag in Iraq is a stew "of meat and vegetables simmered in tomato sauce". How did you make it look like this” CBH does not like this and is very flustered.

“Oh the woman who writes my blog is very talented, she can make a stew look like a gravy, a pulao look like a khichdi…anything…very talented”, MB with the hint of pride now faltering

Ok so I did make the Marag more thicker than it should be and hence served it with a Pulao instead of the traditional Arabic bread or Sheermal as is the norm in Hydereabdi weddings. But I made it thicker because I had to serve it with Pulao since it was D's birthday and the Bong friends preferred pulao, so it is not my fault. Also since Sra announced Grindless Gravies I had to send her something and I couldn't send her a stew so this is it. Blame it on her, on D or rice loving Bongs if you want to.

It tastes heavenly and so don't go by its looks here. Look at Nabeela's for how gorgeous it can be.
Also check Manisha's slow cooker version here (oops she too multiplied by 3 but god promise I did not copy from her, I really had 3lb of mutton)


Hyderabadi Marag

What you Need

Mutton (I used Goat meat you can use lamb) ~ 3 lb
Onion ~ 3 medium onion blend to a smooth paste. I DID NOT use the blender. I grated them in the grater just like my MOM used to. But whoever makes this PLEASE use the blender unless you are sending it to Sra.
Corriander leaves ~ 2 bunches of leaves
Green Chillies ~ 5-6 finely chopped. Again the original recipe does not use green chillies, they use serrano chillies in water and then use the water. I like it hot so added Indian green chillies

Yogurt ~ 2 cups
Ginger paste ~ 2 Tbsp
Garlic Paste ~ 2 Tbsp

Cumin seed ~ 3 tsp
Cinnamon Sticks ~ 3 sticks (length 1 finger )
Bay Leaf ~ 3
Cardamom Pods ~ 6
Cloves ~ 9
Peppercorns ~ 30

Black pepper powder ~ 1 tsp or more
Garam masala ~ 2 tsp
Sugar ~ 1tsp (optional)

Ghee ~ 2tbsp (nabeela says you should never skip this)
Olive Oil/Canola Oil ~ 3 tbsp

How I Did It


Though Nabeela’s recipe does not ask for it, I marinated the mutton overnight in 1 cup yogurt mixed with ½ tbsp Ginger paste, ½ tbsp garlic paste and a pinch of turmeric.
I took it out from the refrigerator an hour or two before cooking and sprinkled a little salt on it and let it rest.

The corriander leaves should be finely chopped and mixed with about 2 cups of water and microwave for 2 mins. Though only the water should have been used in the recipe I used the entire thing


Heat the Ghee + Oil in a pressure cooker and add all the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves, pepper corns and cumin. You may or may not follow this order but do add them.

When the spices start browning add the onion paste along with the sugar and sauté till the onion takes on a pinkish hue. Nabbela says to fry for 2 mins and ideally that should be it.

Add the Ginger Paste and the Garlic Paste and I also added the green chillies at this point. Saute for a couple of minutes.

Add the mutton and the yogurt. In my case this was 1 cup of fresh yogurt plus the marinade. Keep frying for some more minutes till the masala mixes nicely with the mutton.

Add the corrinader water(I also added the finely chopped leaves in there), black pepper powder, garam masala, salt and mix well.

I added only very little water at this point as I did not want t it soupy. You can add 1 cup of water or more if you want to have it as a stew.

Put the lid on the pressure cooker. I then lowered the heat and kept it on the flame to slow cook for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes I raised the heat and cooked till I could hear the “Phisssssssssh” of the cooker. In all it took me 50-55 minutes from closing the lid. After opening the lid I kep it on heat for few more minutes to thicken the gravy

Plain Pulao

What you Need

Basmati Rice ~ 4 cups

Whole Garam Masala

Bay Leaves ~ 6 small ones
Cinnamon stick ~ 2 the size of my finger, ok less thick
Cloves ~ 11-12
Elaichi ~ 8

Onion ~ 1 medium chopped very very fine and small
Ginger paste ~ 1 tbsp

Kaju/Cashew ~ ½ cup
Kishmish/raisins ~ ¼ cup
Milk ~ 1 cup
Saffron ~ a few strands (mine were pretty old and so did not give much color)

Water ~ 7 cups (idea is, rice:liquid = 1:2)
Salt ~ according to taste, ususally a little less since the Pualo will be served with a gravy
Sugar ~ ½ tsp
Oil ~ You can use Oil + Ghee or just Oil
Ghee ~ ½ tbsp (you can use more)

How I did It

Soak the rice for 30 mins, wash it and then let it to dry on a paper plate. You can also put it on a newspaper to dry like my ma used to

When the rice is almost dry smear the grains uniformly with the ghee and mix the cashew and the raisisns with it.

Heat Oil + Ghee or just Oil in a heavy bottomed cooking pan

Add the whole garam masala and wait a minute till they brown

Add the onions and sugar and fry till they take a pinkish-brown hue.

Add the ginger paste and fry for a few seconds.

Add the rice and sauté mixing the rice uniformly with the masala.

Soak saffron strands in milk, warm it and add the warm milk.

Add salt & water. Instead of adding all 7 cups of water together, I added 4 cups of water, covered and let the rice cook. When the water was almost dry and the rice was still uncooked, I gave it a light stir and added the 3 remaining cups of water. Cover and keep a close watch till rice is cooked.

Serve with anything you wish

Trivia: In Scotland oatmeal is mixed with fat, water, onions and seasoning, and boiled in a sheep's intestine to make "marag geal"' Outer Hebridean white pudding, served sliced with fried eggs at breakfast. So if you google for marag this what you will get other than Manisha and Nabeela's recipe


  1. HeHe!! Of course you didn't copy!!!;D

    Looks great,like the shadow play too! I don't get mutton here and Lamb tastes different from Mutton. Great recipes Sandeepa. Enjoy.
    Happy Thanksgiving, have a great weekend:))

  2. i think this is more satyajit ray style. i can hear the goopi gayin bagha bayin tune in the backgroud.

  3. As if your post wasnt enough to make me giggle helplessly Bee writes that funny comment! Still Guru Dutt is my opinion - very reminiscent of Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye...
    Not the best song for D's birthday! And I thought you were inclining towards commercial and OSO? What happened?? :-D
    PS - looove Nabeela's marag recipe too

  4. Oye Sandeepa, Guru Dutt angle was ekdum perfect :-D. The next picture should be in masala Farah Khan or David Dhawan angle, OK ;). Yeah, yeah, this lovely, witty lady who writes this cookbook, you know, everyone adores her :).

    Happy THanksgiving, dear! Enjoy this lovely combo :).

  5. i love guru dutt's movie and ur pic too;) u r too funny san... its pleasure to visit ur blog and read ur post (ofcourse i do come for recipes as well;).

  6. Nabeela's recipe x3 rocks to infinity and back! I made mine with lamb though. And, I made mine in a slow cooker. And, I used Thai chillies, so I think I am also safe. What say you?! I have to try this in the pressure cooker - I am so addicted to the slow cooker cos it's like me: s-l-o-w!

  7. Whether Guru Dutt Style or not, it does have a filmy touch to that pic :D marag is in my list, should try it soon..

    Happy Holidays :)


  8. Pulao looks great, I never tried adding raisins and milk to my pulao, I have a feeling that it makes the dish sweet:). I should try sometime.
    Happy thanksgiving and happy weekend.

  9. Looks great & super write up.. it was hilarious reading it.. You make it so interesting...

  10. Ki shundar. It's a bit like kosha mangsho na? When I go to back home to Calcutta, I demand it with polau as my first meal there.

  11. Lady,you had me in splits :DDDD...loved the 'philmi' angle...and the recipe too.

  12. yum yum!

    I made a huge lamb briyani the other day. tasted really good. Will try your oulao for sure.

  13. So this is it? Sandeepa darling, please put in the qualifier that your onion paste came out of the fridge that day (like you told me it does) and not out of the blender, otherwise I'll have everyone else baying for my blood ... er ... gravy. Hilarious writing!

  14. This looks divine - quite different looking from Manisha's slow cooker version which I have book marked ages ago but not yet made.... I'll check Nabeela's too... BTW tI agree with Mallika - this does look a lot like kosha mangsho.. yum yum...

  15. Hey sandeepa!!
    thats one amazing post!! you bring fun to the posts you write!!
    great recipes!!!

  16. Sandeepa, LOL but I need translation here, not too familiar with Guru Dutt style just that his heroines cry all the time.

    Marag as a gravy or soup well who cares looks absolutely fabulous. Do you have some left overs? We are driving by your neck of the woods, stop by for a taste?

  17. this if it gets made in our kitchen will be a joint effort.......i;ll make Pulao while Arka will have to make Marag as i cant cook meat....not yet! and where do u get your lamb from in US , Sandeepa?

  18. Love both meal and the rice dish.
    You have such a nice way of writting.

  19. guru dutt
    enjoy ur marag/pulao ...

  20. This is so cool. Perfect combo. Can't ask for anything more. Thx for the recipes

  21. I happen to think the first shot is lovely in its shadows and hushed golden light. I immediately was drawn to the textures of that plate, Sandeepa. I'd like one for myself. A family hierloom? It's got the "look," white balance be darned.

  22. So when are you going to take up your real job of comedy writing? :D

  23. I wish I'd read your post yesterday - could have cooked it for Sunday lunch . Looks lovely,reads easy and should taste absolutely delicious . About replicating, your account is hilarious!

  24. MB is cute or what..all defesive and protective ;) is ur long weekend coming along ??

  25. As usual, Sandeepa, your post is a pure joy to read as well as to drool over. So glad I BH'd in :)


  26. Hi Everyone
    Thanks for the comments. Had been busy over the long weekend and could not reply individually. Hope to get back into the groove

    Mallika & SJ

    Though this looks like Kasha Mangsho, it should actaully be more soupy. It is delightful, do try.

    SJ, yes Manisha's slow cooker version is great but I don't have a slow cooker so in the pressure cooker I kept it for a longer time

  27. copied or not... good lighting or not... this is one great dish sandeepa! Hope you had fun during the Thanksgiving break :)

  28. beautiful pic and lovelyyyyyyy pulao

  29. The marag looks perfect, would love to try this out sandeepa.

  30. I love marag! And I used the same sources you did...what a great recipe. Like Manisha, i was using mutton.

  31. Hahahaha, loved the prologue Sandeepa..:). The dish looks awesome.

    ~ Siri

  32. sandeepa,onek bhalo/maaja laglo post pore,pics o daron .
    mangsho to jemon kore banao bhalo lage,enjoy it
    hugs and smiles

  33. Haa haa haa! Bee, I think this is Satyajit Ray style! Sandeepa, you really do need music in the background now!

  34. Hi sandeepa:
    I tried this Marag yesterday. It came out wonderful. Thanks to your recent post because it reminded me that I wanted to make it from a long time. i followed Manisha's slow cooker version.


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