Mirchi ka Salan

Mirchi ka Salan is one of those dishes that you have to spend a ton of time making it and then it fades away as a side dish. But a biryani, especially a Hyderabadi biryani, without a really good salan is just a dinner incomplete.

Salan, either Mirchi or any other time needs time and patience. My order of making biryani dinner is to make the biryani first and set it up for 4hrs of slow cook & then start the salan. This will need about 2hrs.

To keep it simple, follow the steps below:

  1. Take a non-stick pan and heat it till its hot. Put the flame on a simmer and add a small cup of groundnuts. Roast them for 2mins till they become slightly brown and their skin starts coming off. Then add, using the same small cup as before, sesame seeds. Roast these for a minute. Now turn off the flame and add a small cup of grated coconut. Mix well and leave it on the pan for another 2-3 minutes. Now put them in a blender and let them cool.
  2. In the same non-stick pan, add a lot of oil. Heat the oil well and add a small spoonful of mustard seeds. When mustard seeds splutter add cumin seeds, red chillies, methi seeds. Let all of these cook for a bit.
  3.  Cut 1 big onion into small rings and add it to the mixture and let the onions sauté for a while. Onions don’t need to be brown but they need to get soggy. Now add salt, curry leaves and let the curry leave get soft.
  4. Now add a spoonful of ginger garlic paste cook till raw flavor is gone. Now add turmeric, red chilly powder, cumin powder, coriander powder. Mix all of this well.
  5. Now grind the groundnut, sesame & grated coconut mixture into a fine paste by adding water and add it to the frying ingredients. Add water till the mixture becomes really thin and has no lumps.
  6. Now comes the most important part. Put this on a slow flame, cover with a lid and leave it without touch for 60mins. No short cuts here, just leave it as it is. After 60mins and take a look. If you do not see oil separated out fully, leave it on for another 30mins. The whole taste rests on this step.
  7. Heat some oil in a different pan, slice big mirchi’s vertically; remove the seeds and fry them in the oil. The mirchi need not get deep fried but needs to be fried enough to hold shape.
  8. Slice mint and coriander leaves and add it to the simmering mixture. Now add 3-4 spoons of yogurt to this and mix well. At this point, the mixture may get thick. Add some water if needed. At this time, taste a little to check salt, spiciness. Add what is needed.
  9. Heat some oil, put a lemon sized serving of tamarind and squeeze the juice out.
  10. Add the tamarind juice to the simmering mixture and taste again.
  11. Now add the fried mirchi to the mixture, cover the lid and simmer for 10mins. This will get the mirchi to soak in the flavors.
  12. Serve along with biryani.

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