Biryani – Fish edition

Biryani is a heavenly matter of a dish consisting of rice and meat and/or vegetables. Together with selected spices and ingredients, a holistic sensory experience arises with no need for extra sides. Cooking time depends heavily on the ingredients, which meat or vegetables you choose. I do not know the origin of this dish, but besides the countries in southeast asia, I’ve come to understand that even Arabs / Chinese have their own versions. I’m quite fond of using fish, and a combination of rice and fish along with fragrant spices is an absolute winner! Don’t be alarmed by the number of ingredients, most of it is spices, non perishables and can be stored for a long time. This will serve 3-4:

Filleted fish of choice, 300-400 gms, cut into cubes
Basmati rice, 400 gms, washed and soaked in cold water
1 tomato
3-4 small potatoes, peeled and cut in small slices (app. 0,5 cm)
1 onion
1 lemon
1/2 cup yoghurt Dill, fresh (1/2 cup) or dried (1 tsp)

Spices for marinating the fish:
salt, 2 tsp
red chilli, 1/2-1 tsp (by taste)
powdered paprika, 1 tsp
turmeric, 1 tsp
coriander powder, 1 tsp
sugar 1 tsp
garlic powder, 1/2 tsp
green cardamom, 1/2 tsp
carom fenugreek leaves, 1/2 tsp
black pepper, 1/4 tsp
dried mango powder, 1/4 tsp
cloves, 2-4
canola oil, 2-3 tbs
and juice from half a lemon

Mix the spices with the oil and lemon juice and marinate the fish for at least one hour. Fishbiryani I marinated my fish for two days, one day more than initially planned. Unforeseen things (and dinners!) always appear and delay my planning! lol.. Fishbiryani2 1 & 2. Fry the onion in the butter/oil mixture until golden.

3. Add the yogurt, stirr well and let it simmer for a minute or two, then add the marinated fish. Try not to stir too much around in the pot after you’ve added the fish, otherwise it will end up mushy. I usually grab the handles and give the pot a light “shake” just to mix things up a bit. You can also use a slim wooden spoon to stir lighter around.

4. Add the potatoes that you’ve cut into thin slices. Fish does not take long to complete, so it is important that the potato pieces are small enough so they’ll get tender in 5-10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, boil the rice (amount of rice with 1,5 as much water). I use my regular pot for this purpose and not a rice cooker. The rice is supposed to be cooked a little over halfway, let’s say two-thirds done. Once you’ve reached this point, add your dill. Mix this into the rice. This gives a lovely aroma and a delicious appearance that goes well with the fish.
Now, you are ready to make the heavenly combination: Fishbiryani3 1. Divide the rice in two parts, and add one half as a layer at the bottom of a pot.

2. Add all the fish curry as the second layer.

3. On top of that, put your sliced tomatoes and a few slices of lemon.

4. Add the rest of the rice as the final layer. You may also add crispy, fried onions as a final step on top of that. I, unfortunately did not have time for this today, me= too hungry!

5. Now, close the lid and tighten it well around with a muslin cloth so no moisture escapes from your pot. This is supposed to steam lightly on very low heat (I put mine on 2 of 10) for 10-15 minutes. So now, you just have to wait patiently, open up and let the wonderful aromas fill your room and house. Biryani is said to be the food for kings, probably introduced by the Mughals, but I have no idea! This is best served with a nice raita (or plain yoghurt if you prefer that, to neutralize the spices!) and a fresh salad.

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Annual stats

I know that there is a statistics function in wordpress, but I’ve never managed to particularly use or even checked it out properly. Today I, and probably most of you, got this “annual report” from wordpress; some numbers together with pictures; and I got this intriguing picture:

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 19.41.40

My readers during the past year (or few months actually!) cover almost the entire globe! The darker the color, the more readers you have in that particular country, and white area means no readers. I also have a few areas in Africa/South Africa and I think that’s amazing! I have not been blogging for even half a year, so I’m humbled to see that so many people appreciate what I do even though it’s not big stuff at all.

I hope you all had a great year and I wish you an even better 2015. Happy new year y’all!

More Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Other than partying and luxury experiences, there is much to see around Dubai, depending on your interests. It can also be a good break for your wallet;)
We used one of our days to take a half day trip to Abu Dhabi. There, we visited the grand mosque of Sheikh Zayed, which can accommodate up to 40,000 worshipers. The mosque is huge and white so it can be nice to have sunglasses, as in it’s brigthness you can hardly open your eyes on a sunny day! Also, remember to bring something to cover your head before entering the mosque area. There are restrooms to the right of the main entrance for women, and left for men. Now it would certainly have been a greater experience to go there on a Friday, to witness the Friday prayers and to see the real scope of the mosque. Since we have small children, we chose another day to avoid the big crowds. Though there was still a good number of tourists. It looked as if the large area was open to public, while the prayers were going on in other smaller wings, separately for men and women of course.

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From top-left: Indoor skiing at Emirates mall, aquarium and fountain show, both at Dubai mall. Bottom: the Sheikh Zayed grand mosque

We paid app. 600 AED’s by taxi for a round trip from Deira, Dubai to the mosque, it took about one hour each way.

At the top experience – Burj Khalifa

One of the things I was most excited about was of course the experience of the world’s tallest building. We bought the tickets a few days in advance, a lot of people and demand meant that we did not check well enough through our ticket options.

After a bit of waiting and a security check, we were flowed through hallways and corridors to the lifts that supposedly goes  at the speed of 10 metres pr. seconds! You’ll notice the pressure! On your way to the lifts, which takes a while, large screens and posters showing fun facts about the tower and it’s construction process, are set up. As for most things in Dubai, you have the VIP-option to skip the waiting  process by paying double the amount for the fast-track ticket 😉 When it was our turn with the elevator, I was both surprised and disappointed. It was a cramped elevator of normal size with common walls. By some reason I had expected me a glass elevator on the outside edge of the building which gives the opportunity to enjoy the views simultaneously. Even in Norway we have the glass elevator at the Radisson Plaza hotel. Inside, the lights were dimmed and a display showed how quickly we sped up the number of floors until 124th floor.

The Burj Khalifa, elevator, view 1+2

The Burj Khalifa, elevator, view 1+2

What is not noticeable by eyesight, is that the tower sways several meters back and forth in the wind-rich desert surroundings. Therefore, right at the top one may get a feeling of light-headedness and dizziness. There were a lot of people at the top, and everyone  wanted to have the best look at dubai from all possible angles, leaving the tall windows plastered with people at all times and it all felt very tribulated. If I’ll ever repeat the prosecc again, I’d probably – maybe – eat at one of the restaurants/cafes to get a more pleasant and calmer experience to get most out of the being on “the top” experience.

You may read more at the tower’s official homepage 🙂

 

Staying in and counting down!

The weather you see out here now, is not much to brag about. It’s been like that for several days now. Even if the sun would come out, it is for such a short time. I think we all have been sensing our dropping serotonin levels for quite a bit. Of course, I am not too sad about leaving in a few days, we’ll probably be getting enough sun and all.

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from this to.. this? yes, please!

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This is in celsius…

Such difference in temperatures requires rethinking in terms of wardrobe! Now, I’m mostly in thick coats and scarves etc .. and inspiration for a lighter, summer wardrobe is not easy to find. Winter glamor is all well and good, but it will be really nice to get to a part of the globe far away from this as well. We have, after all, at least four to five months of it left… 😀

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Exotic saithe soup

When I was a child, instant fish soup was a special treat for me. Getting older and more conscious of quality and taste, I wanted something else than the salty mixture of corn starch and dried vegetable flakes … I have since tried and tested many fish soups over the years. This kind of soup is best when it is slightly creamy and thick, and therefore most soups need a thickening agent. But that eventually destroys the consistency, also giving it poor durability if you plan to save some for later. This soup, inspired by here, contains only ingredients that contribute to its delicious flavor and naturally gives a smooth consistency, without the need of starchs. It’s really easy to make, and ready in less than 20 min!

You will need:
400 gms saithe fillets without skin and bones
4-5 leaves chinese cabbage
3 pcs scallions
1 can coconut milk
chopped canned tomatoes, 1 can
1 dl. cream (optional)
2 dices of fish or vegetable stock
half tbs chili paste
1 tbs soy sauce
salt/pepper to taste

seisuppe

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You follow these super simple instructions: Cut saithe fillets into small cubes, the chinese cabbage into thin strips and spring onions into small pieces. In a saucepan, combine coconut milk, cream, canned tomatoes, stock cubes, chili paste and soy sauce, and bring to boil. I crushed my stock cubes so they would easily dissolve. When this has been boiling for a few minutes and mixed up, add the scallion and the chinese cabbage. Let this boil for a couple minutes. Now, turn the heat off and put the fish cubes in the soup. Do not stir too much after adding the fish, otherwise it will dissolve and your soup will become muddy! Let it all simmer for a few minutes before serving. Add salt/pepper to taste, and you are good to go 😉

Winter comfort, Lillyhammer!

The winter is supposed to be in full swing. It’s cold and gray and rainy. The leaves that had so nice colors when dropped, has long withered and turned into soil. It’s hard to imagine something funny about exactly this, except if it was snow. White, luscious, flyffy snow! Last year’s winter in this country was quite depressing with perhaps at the top 3 to 4 weeks of snow (if it really was that much). That scenario will probably repeat itself this year, as the weather forecasters have predicted.

I have at least thought myself to be a place with enough snow to gorge myself with so I do not miss it through next year too. We imagine a little north, but not so terribly far north. The city is called Lillehammer and for most of the world this is known as a place Winter Olympics took place in 94. For me, this was our first home as a married couple and it will be interesting to go there for a little vacation and relaxation with family and our son, actually born there. I can’t waaaait, lol! 😀

 

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Cabins from Lillehammer

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Boots; unknown, scarf/socks; Cubus, pajama; VS, cardi’s; Odd Molly