By now, you may know I am a very impulsive cookbook buyer. Anything that catches my attention makes its way to my book collection. Most of the time I buy them through online sources, so usually it’s the reviews that get me through to the books. I must say that it has landed me into trouble by getting my hands onto really useless cookbooks. That’s a totally different matter…
“The Jewels of Nizams” was one of my online purchases last year. I loved the way the book looked from the out, and then the phrase, “Recipes from the Khansamas of Hydrebad” really pushed me to get it through. The book is authored by Geeta Devi, whose other popular book is “Dastarkhan-e-Mughlai: 101 Easy to Cook Hyderabadi Recipes“. The book is done by Roopa Publications and the first edition released in 2013. In the introduction, the author does say while her initial book had more of well known Hydreabadi delicacies, this book has the lesser known delicacies that took shape from the kitchens of the Nawabs. I must say that the book truly sticks to some very rich and different food experience.
The book has over 80 recipes, ranging from Gazak (starters), main course, rice, desserts and achars, with main focus being on the first two topics. I did find that there was no division between the non-vegetarian and the vegetarian dishes in the book, and moreover the emphasis is more on the former, as is known with Hyderabadi cooking. All recipes are mentioned by their traditional name with an English translation – one thing I feel should be a part of cookbooks especially if focusing on regional cuisine. I love the size of the book, it is very handy to go through and the clicks which are there are really good. The only disadvantage I would say is the thickness of the pages of the book, makes it very uncomfortable to use, though in the long run, it keeps the book as good as new. Also, there are only five dessert recipes, which I feel is too less, but for those who are looking at knowing more of starters and main course, there are plenty.
Going through the names, you may feel the recipes are complicated, but I found most of the recipes to be with very much available ingredients, with only some which may need additional purchasing like char magaz, chironji and khoa, which would anyway be there in a Hyderabadi kitchen. Some of the recipe I am really looking to try are the Biriyani Golkanda, Paneer Noorjahani, Aamras Ki Kofte and a very intriguing Anokhi Kheer – a kheer with white onion!
You all might be wondering – despite having such rich recipes in the book, why did I select this recipe? First of all, I have big fans of drumstick in my home. My girls love sucking through it and spitting off the outside. 😀 Also, I don’t have any recipe including this humble vegetable. When I saw this recipe in the book, I was astonished that this simple recipe is one of the best kept secrets. If you love the tangy tomato flavor, then this one is definitely for you.
This dry dish involves some deep frying of the drumsticks, but I didn’t do that. I sauteed it till soft and then drained it, to add it back to the curry at the end. We had it as side with rice, gravy and fish fry and all of us loved it. Normally we add this vegetable into our sambar, so this was a nice change and my girls really enjoyed it. My dish didn’t have much gravy as in the picture of the book but nevertheless tasted really good. I am sure this would be an easy side dish to have with chapathis as well. Hoping on to the recipe…
- 3 drumsticks, cut into small peices
- 2 tbsp oil
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 inch pc ginger, cut into stips
- 4 tomatoes, pureed
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Coriander leaves for garnishing
- Heat the oil in a saucepan. Splutter the cumin seeds.
- Fry the onion till wilted. Add the ginger and saute till raw smell is gone.
- Add in the powders and salt and saute for a minute. Add the pureed tomato and bring to a boil.
- Add the drumsticks, sprinkle in a little water, and cook till the curry is dried and the drumsticks are cooked. Stir occassionally.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot as side for rice and curry or along with chapathis.