FESTIVE BIRIYANI


Why I titled it festive biriyani ?Because it is a richly flavoured biriyani ,which can be prepared 

with chicken,mutton,or prawn.My first preference would be with mutton and then comes 

the rest.The preparation in grinding takes a little more time,but it’s worth the labor as this 

recipe has unique aroma and flavour.You could make the biriyani curry the previous day and 

add the rice the following day.This biriyani tastes even better the next day.When I make this 

biriyani I always make more…So now let’s get into the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1 kg basmati rice

3/4  -1kg mutton

4 onions sliced

4 onions ground coarsely(just pulse in the mixie.Do not grind fine)

5-6 tomatoes

3-4 inch piece ginger

2 -3 whole pods garlic peeled

15-18 green chillies ground separately

6 red chillies ground separately

1 cup curd

juice of 4 limes

1/4 cup coconut ground fine

10 cardamoms

7 cloves

3 inch piece cinnamon

1tsp.saunf

1tsp sea moss(optional)

1 cup mint leaves

1/4 cup coriander leaves

1/2 cup ghee

1/2 cup oil 

Salt to taste.

METHOD

Grind the ginger+garlic together coarsely and set aside.Before you start making.reserve a 

tsp.of ginger-garlic paste,green chilli paste,red chilli paste,and roughly chopped onion 

and set aside this mixture for the final adddition.

Heat the ghee and oil(set aside 2 tblsp of this oil to add later).

Add the whole spices,and the onions and cook till onions are light brown.Next add the coarsely

ground onions,salt,and sauté till translucent.The ingredients have to be added one by 

one,giving time for each ingredient to release its flavour and blend.

Next add ginger-garlic paste,then green chilli paste,and red chilli paste.Add chopped tomatoes

and cook till tomatoes are soft.Now add the mutton and cook for 5-10 minutes.Add curd and 

ground coconut and sauté well.Cover and cook the mutton in its own juices without adding 

water,until it is tender.

Once the gravy is done,remove the meat pieces from the gravy and set aside.Add the soaked 

rice (20 minutes) to the gravy.Pour water 1 inch above rice level.Add lemon juice and check for 

salt.

Heat the reserved oil in another vessel,add add the reserved onions and masala paste,with the 

mint leaves,and sauté till the leaves change color.Add this tempered paste to the meat and rice 

mix.Lastly add the meat pieces on top.Add coriander leaves.Cover and cook on a slow flame till 

done.Mix well and serve with your favourite accompaniments.

Awaiting your comments .

WHEAT FLOUR PIZZA WITH CAPSICUM SAUCE


This pizza is made with wheat flour ,and no tomato sauce added .I just made a

tangy capsicum sweet sauce(red peppers only).You could add slices of tomato if you

like,or serve with tomato sauce if you like.We had it tomato free.Vegetables can be your

choice.Well,i added only cucumber and some thin green capsicum slices .

The preparation of the dough had a slight change(my twist).Let’s get into the recipe.

Ingredients for the dough

250 gms wheat flour

1/2 cup white flour (you can opt out if you like)

2 tblsp.milk powder or 1/2 cup warm milk

1 egg yolk

2 tsp.active yeast

3 tblsp.olive oil.

1 tblsp.sugar.

1/2 tp.baking soda.

1-2 tp.salt

curd to apply on dough.

Method

Mix in the yeast to 1/2 cup lukewarm water.Sprinkle sugar on top,cover and allow to

rise.Once you see active fermentation,add in to the flour with the rest of the ingredients

and bind to a soft dough.Apply curd on the dough .Cover and allow to double in size.

Once it has doubled roll out into pizza shapes you like.Place on greased trays,cover till

you make the sauce.

For the red pepper sauce

3-4 red capsicum cut and seeds removed.

1 inch ginger

4 pips garlic

1 tsp.chilli paste.

1 tsp.kashmiri chilli powder

2 tblsp.vinegar

3-4 tblsp.of jaggery or sugar(preferably brown)

salt to taste.

Method 

Grind all the ingredients together .Cook on a slow flame till you get a thick saucy texture.

For the cheese sauce.

2 cups milk

2 tblsp cornflour

1 tsp.black pepper powder

1/2 cup cheddar cheese grated.

salt to taste

Method

Make a thick flowing paste with cornflour and milk.Heat the rest of the milk,simmer and

add the cornflour mixture preventing lumps.Next add the rest of the ingredients and

cook for 2-3 minutes.It will look like custard.Set aside.

For the topping

Thin slices of cucumber,green and yellow capsicum rings.

tomato slices (optional)

1 cup mozzarella cheese or plain cheese grated .(optional)

Assembling

Apply the prepared capsicum sauce on the prepared dough(if the dough has risen

up.punch it down flat.)Arrange the cucumber and capsicum slices.Drizzle the cheese

sauce.Add mozarella cheese and bake in a hot oven (200 degrees for 10 minutes per

pizza).

Pan pizza also can be made with this dough,as this dough has a nice texture (soft inside

and crispier on the crust.

Note: Olives and herbs can be added as per your choice.

Herbs can be added to the dough too.

INNOVATE AND ENJOY!

 

 

 

DUM KA ROAT HALWA(Ash Gourd Halwa)


This is an awesome halwa originating from South India.It is also known as kaasi halwa.

The dominating ingredient is the ash gourd.I have given pointers to health benefits

before,but as it’s my style to first get into health benefits shall give a few points.

The intense cooling property in ashgourd,gives relief to acidity and peptic ulcers.

The juice of ashgourd taken with lime juice or amla helps obese , diabetic,anaemic

patients.It is best to include this vegetable in any form for general health.It is an

excellent combination when cooked with dhal.

Today i would like to share this sweet and healthy recipe with you all.Believe me it excels

in taste competing with carrot halwa.Let’s get into the recipe now!

Ingredients

500 gm ash gourd (peeled and grated)

1 cup sugar

1 cup mawa /khova(you can use 1/2 cup milk powder if you can’t find khova)

4 tblsp.fine rawa (sooji,rulang,semolina)

3 tblsp.raisins

1/4-1/2 cup cashewnuts

1/4 cup milk (coconut milk also can be used for a variation)

1/4 cup ghee

1/2 tsp.powdered cardamom

a pinch of salt

Method

Heat ghee in a wok ,and fry the cashewnuts and raisins and set aside.In the same ghee

add the grated gourd with a pinch of salt,till the liquid in the vegetable dries up.Next add

the rest of the ingredients,and cook on a medium flame till it gets the texture of halwa.

Transfer to a plate and serve warm or  after it is cool.

Some areas they keep this halwa in the oven for a few minutes to get the crusty burnt

look on top,or maybe for longer shelf life.Well i avoided the oven ,believe me it was

yummy!

Note:Those who want to opt for jaggery( vellam ),instead of sugar also can go ahead and

try.Please do send in your comments.

Those who love to add food color may do so.I have not added color.

 

PRUNE ‘N’ WALNUT PIE


Prunes and walnuts are both listed under nutritious category.Prunes especially,though

the health benefits are excellent,some do not like prunes (dried plums),so this recipe is a

good way to introduce into the diet.To endorse a few benefits of prunes  now

1. The content of fibre,sorbitol (a sugar alcohol that can loosen the stool) and a natural

laxative compound diphenyl isatain  are beneficial to the digestive tract.

2. The high soluble fibre helps to keep the sugar levels stable,as it delays the absorption

of  sugar into the blood stream.It also makes you feel full and satisfied after a meal,hence

overeating is avoided.

3.They help in lowering cholesterol,and improving bone health effectively.

Hope this outline is enough on the health note,and let’s move on to the awesome recipe.!

Ingredients for the basic tart pastry (9-10″ pie)

2 cups flour

120 gm butter

1 egg yolk

2 tblsp.sugar

1/4 tsp.salt

1/2 tsp.vanilla essence

Method

Mix all these ingredients and bind to a soft dough.Keep covered for 30-35 minutes.Do not

knead too much,but lightly put it together.If the dough is kneaded too much the pastry

will be tough.You can prepare this the previous day,and keep covered in the

refridgerator,and use it when needed.For this recipe,you could prick the base of the

pastry, and directly pour the filling,without prebaking the pastry .

For the filling

18-20 prunes

100 gm butter

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

50-75 gm walnuts

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup rum,or grape juice (lightly heated to soak)

Method

Heat the grape juice lightly and soak the prunes for a few hours or overnight for a richer

taste.If using rum or any other liquor you needn’t heat .Remove the prunes from the

juice(do not discard the juice) and arrange on the pricked and unbaked pastry.

Cream the butter and sugar till creamy.Add one egg at a time ,beating well after each

addition.Sift flour and baking powder,and add to the mixture.Add the rest of the

ingredients,with the rum or grape juice.(it should be of a dropping consistency.)

Pour the mixture over the prunes,and bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes,or untill

done.Serve warm or cold with cream or a blob of ice cream.

Well!we had it plain.Looking forward to your comments, and suggestions.

Variation:Dates,dried apricots,and dried figs  can be substituted for prunes

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KERALA VEGETABLE BIRIYANI


India is blessed with different cultures,languages,traditions, so is the Indian cuisine too.If

you take a look at the glossary of  the types of biriyani in India,it is a long list.Today i am

going to share with you a Kerala type biriyani.This is not too spicy but has a good flavor

with  coconut milk creating the twist .Before i go into the recipe i would like to share

with you the method of frying crisp onions for biriyanis and pulaos.

Fried onions for pulaos and biriyanis 

Onions sliced fine (quantity depends on how much you need)

salt.

oil for frying.

Method

Transfer the sliced onions to a bowl.Add salt and ,mix well with your hands for 3-4

minutes and squeeze out the water from the onions .Fry the onions in oil till golden

brown.Drain on absorbent kitchen paper.Use as required

For the Kerala biriyani

500 gm basmati rice washed and soaked for half an hour.

2-3 onions sliced

5-6 green chillies sliced

2 tblsp ginger garlic paste

1-2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cummin seed powder

1 tsp whole peppercorns

1 tsp.fennel seed powder

1 tbsp.garam masala powder

2 tomatoes coarsely pureed

few mint leaves

few coriander leaves

2 cups thick coconut milk

whole spices (3 cardamons,3 cloves,2 inch piece cinammon,sea moss a pinch,javitri a

small piece)

2-3 cups vegetables of your choice cut (peas ,carrot,beans,cauliflower,potatoes).

1/2 tsp.turmeric

1/2 cup curd

salt to taste

1/4- 1/2 cup ghee

For the garnish

1 cup fried onions

1/4 cup fried cashewnuts

a few raisins fried in ghee.

saffron strands mixed in 1/4 cup milk (optional)

METHOD

Cook the rice  with required salt until 3/4th done.Drain and set aside.

Heat ghee in a thick bottomed vessel or biriani pot,and add the whole spices,onions and

fry till onions are light brown.Add the green chillies,ginger garlic paste ,salt,and spices

and saute till raw smell is gone.Next add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes,and then add

the cut vegetables.Saute for a few minutes,and add 1 cup water.Cover and cook till

vegetables are cooked.Add coconut milk and remove from fire.Transfer half of the gravy

into another bowl. Top the remaining gravy in the pot with half the rice ,mint,and

coriander leaves and half of the garnish.Pour the remaining gravy on top of the layered

rice,and lastly the remaining rice and garnish the same way.Add milk and saffron

strands on top if you are using.Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook on a slow fire for 10

minutes.Serve with raita and curries you prefer.

Variations:The same recipe can be done with chicken  too.

                    In addition to the vegan list tender jak biriyani,egg biriyani,paneer,or only cashew 

                    biriyani could be made with the same recipe

Try and let me know your valuable comments

 

GREEN GRAM ‘N’LEEK CUTLETS


Green gram needs no introduction or explanation to health benefits,so I would like to directly 

get into this easy recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1cup cooked green gram dal(moong dal)

1 leeks chopped finely/spring onions

2-3 green chillies finely chopped

1 tsp ginger garlic paste

1 tsp garam masala powder

Salt to taste

1 egg

1 cup breadcrumbs or enough to bind .

Oil to fry.

METHOD

Mix all together in a bowl and bind .Make into shapes you like and fry (deep or shallow)in oil till golden brown.

Variations :You could use vegetables of your choice .

                     You can add 1/4 cup minced mutton or any minced seafood.

                     Grated paneer can be added as another variation

                     Grated boiled egg also can be added.

Anyway try all your innovations too and send me your comments and suggestions !

BEETROOT JUICE HALWA


It was a long time,since i had this on my mind,brought into action only yesterday.Unlike

carrots beetroot is not loved by many.I have posted a recipe of beetroot halwa before

Beetroot halwa.(the link to it),but it was grated beetroot halwa.This time it is made with

only the juice.Whew!the time taken was more than the grated one,but worth the try.Kids

who have an aversion to this healthy and nutrient vegetable,will surely love it.

Let’s get into the recipe now.

INGREDIENTS

4-5 medium sized beetroots

3/4 -1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp.salt.

3/4 -1 cup ghee

3-4 tblsp.of cornflour

1/2 tsp.cardamon powder

few nuts (pistachios,cashewnuts,melon seeds)

METHOD

Extract 3 cups of juice from the beetroots  using a blender or juice extractor.

Heat a thick bottomed vessel or a non stick pan.Add the beetroot juice with half of the

ghee and cook for 10-15 minutes (the raw smell has to be out)

Mix the cornflour without lumps in a little water,and add to the beetroot mixture .Keep

mixing ,and you will see the mixture thicken..Do not allow the bottom to get burnt ,so

keep stirring.Next add the sugar and the spices.After you see the sugar blended well,add

the ghee gradually untill the mixture leaves the sides of the pan .Add the nuts and

transfer to a greased tray..Apply a tsp of ghee on top.Cut into shapes you like.

 

 

 

OLD FASHIONED RICE FLOUR CAKE


This recipe comes from an old recipe book which i found lately.Can’t make out which

year but it should be more than 50 years.The recipe was with only milk,but i thought

coconut milk will taste better with rice flour,and it did.To get a richer taste cashewnuts

may be added,which i did not add,but still tasted good.So,let me share this recipe with

you now.

INGREDIENTS

16 oz.flour(white flour/maida)

8 oz rice flour

8 oz.butter

8 oz.sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp.baking powder

1 tsp.vanilla

a pinch of salt

1.5 cups coconut milk.

1/2 cup cashewnuts

METHOD

Separate egg whites and yolks. Beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.Beat egg

whites with a pinch of salt till stiff and set aside.

Add egg yolks and beat well.Fold in the flours with the rest of the ingredients.

Fold in egg whites finally ,and bake in a greased tin for 2 hours or until done.(180

degrees)

 

WOODAPPLE CHILL(DIMBUL KIRI)


As the summer is taking full control ,in Tamil nadu ,i think it’s best to keep hydrated with

cool and healthy drinks,avoiding fizz or aerated ones.Today i’m going to share with you

woodapple nectar or dimbul kiri called in Srilanka,In Srilanka this fruit is widely

available and also consumed raw like a  spicy sambol,and the ripe ones are either eaten

in the shell with sugar or made into a drink.This fruit with a hard wooden shell has loads

of health benefits.It is good for diabetic patients,nursing mothers,fights bacterial and

viral infections ,a  good blood purifier,good for respiratory problems as it eases out the

phlegm in the system.So now i’m getting into the benefits of coconut milk..why?As it is

part of the drink.

Coconut milk rich in fibre,and highly nutritious with  minerals like iron,calcium

,magnesium,..and Vitamin group of C,E,B1,B3,B5,B6.Unlike cow’s milk,it is lactose

free.Consuption of coconut milk (medium chain saturated fatty acid) may protect the

body from infections,and viruses.

So let me close the healthy part and get into the recipe.Simple recipes got big write up….

INGREDIENTS

2 ripe woodapple pulp

1 cup coconut milk

sugar to taste.

a pinch of salt.

METHOD

Blend the pulp,coconut milk and the rest of the ingredients.Chill in the refridgerator and

serve.Those who like it thin may add more coconut milk or water.

Serve with vanilla ice cream for the extra richness.Even chocolate ice cream can be

served with,but i like it with vanilla ice cream,

Without ice cream itself it tastes excellent,so its your choice .

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TANGY ROSEMARY CHICKEN


The  fragrant herb is a good combination with chicken and lamb.It is a good

antioxidant,memory booster,and also improves in digestion.It is also rich in iron,calcium

and Vitamin B6

Pregnant women and those who take statins,blood pressure medications,and diuretics 

like lasix should not take these more ,as it may cause miscarriages and side effects.

So let’s get into the recipe now

INGREDIENTS

500 gm boneless chicken preferably

1-2 tblsp.flour

Lemon sized tamarind

Few rosemary leaves

3-4 green chillies chopped 

1 tblsp chillie paste

Ginger-garlic chopped fine 

1/2 tsp pepper

Salt to taste

1 tblsp sugar or jaggery

Oil for frying

METHOD

Toss the washed chicken in flour and fry till golden brown and set aside.

Put tamarind in a pan with a cup of water and boil till the tamarind is soft and pulpyPut off the 

flame,add chilli paste,jaggery,salt,pepper powder and cook till it is thick like sauce.

Add a tblsp of oil(from the fried oil) to a wok and heat it.Add garlic,ginger,rosemary,green 

chillies and sauté for a few 2-3 minutes.Add the fried chicken and the thickened sauce 

andblend well.Remove from fire.Pieces of fried omelette may be added while serving.