Monday, March 30, 2009

Oven-fried salmon

This preparation is good for those watching their weight. It has very little oil and salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and has lots of vitamins and good stuff in it.


Salmon filet (skinless)- 1 pound( 454 gms)
Ginger-garlic paste - 1-1/2 tspns

Turmeric powder - 1/2 tspn

Kashmiri chilli powder - 1 tspn
Chilli powder - 1/2 tspn
Beetroot juice- 2 tbspns( optional - added for the color)
Oil- 1 tspn
Salt - to taste.


  • Cut salmon into 1-inch pieces.Put into a medium sized bowl.
  • Marinate it with all the above ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F( 177 C) for about 10 mins.
  • Line a baking tray with aluminium foil or parchment paper. Lay the peices on the tray and bake for 15 mins.
  • Turn the pieces of fish over and bake for 15 more mins.
  • Turn off oven and serve fish with a splash of lemon.

Luv 'n' luc'

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cracked the pepper.

I was in the mood for some research and decided to go ahead with it. The topic I researched is pepper. Just wanted to find some astonishing facts about it( if at all there were any). And, guess what I found? Some facts which were new to me and thought would interest you too. There are some unusual points too in the uses of pepper. Have a look, but before that try this tongue twister :

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper
If Peter Piper picked a pickled peck of pepper,
Where's the peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked?

So, who can repeat this twice,by rote, without stammering and within 15 seconds? I CAN:)

Do you know why pepper makes us sneeze???
Source -
A sneeze is a reflex that is triggered when nerve endings inside the mucous membrane of the nose are stimulated. Pepper, be it white, black, or green, contains an alkaloid of pyridine called piperine. Piperine acts as an irritant if it gets into the nose. It stimulates (or irritates) the nerve endings inside the mucous membrane. This stimulation will cause you to sneeze. Actually, the nose wants to kick out this irritant and the only way it knows how to do this is by sneezing."

Which company first made pepper mills??
Answer- Peugeot

Yes, Peugeot, the French car company, was the one that invented the mechanism in pepper grinders back in 1842. Though the internal technology of the actual grinding in every pepper mill out there is virtually unchanged from the original engineers' design, the exterior technology sure has come a long way. Peugeot makes the finest.

Source -
Black pepper is the number one selling spice in America.
The same pepper vine produces three different spices depending on the maturity of the pepper berry when picked and how it is dried.
Green Peppercorn -- immature berries are soaked in a salt water brine to preserve their green color, then freeze dried .
Black Peppercorn -- mature green berries that have been harvested and sun dried for seven to 10 days.
White Peppercorn -- fully matured berries that have turned red/yellow color and have been soaked in water to remove their outer skin, leaving the white pulp of the pepper berry

Bell peppers and chili peppers are not really related to “pepper” other than that they are all plants. Bell peppers were misleadingly called peppers by Columbus when he found them in the New World, because at that time pepper was a very expensive and highly valued spice.

It was only in the 1980's that pepper began being used as pepper spray and became a legalized non-lethal weapon.
Pepper Spray History- By James D. Anderson Although the use of pepper spray can't be dated back too long ago, but history reveals that red chili pepper was being used for self defense in ancient India and China. In ancient India, it was not as popular as it was in China. A secret martial art society of people in ancient Japan called the Ninjas has been using grounded pepper for disabling their opponents for a long time. Historical evidence reveals that in the Tukagawa Empire era in Japan, the police used a weapon called the "metsubishi." Metsubishi was, basically, a box consisting of chili pepper and the police used to use this box for blowing hot pepper into the eyes of people who were found guilty of some crime.

Keep colors bright: Add a teaspoon of pepper to the wash load. Pepper keeps bright colors bright and prevents them from running too.
Get bugs off plants: There's nothing more frustrating than a swarm of bugs nibbling at your fledgling garden. Just when things are starting to pop up, the bugs are there, chowing down. Mix black pepper with flour. Sprinkle around your plants. Bugs take a hike.
Kill an ant colony: If you find the ants' home colony a little too close to yours and it is causing them to relocate to your kitchen, cayenne pepper can help get rid of it. Pour the pepper down the ant hole and say so long to ants.
Next time you nick yourself in the kitchen, reach for the black pepper. Run cold water over the wound to clean it, using soap if you were handling meat. Then sprinkle on the pepper and apply pressure. In no time, the bleeding will stop. Turns out, black pepper has analgesic, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. Pepper doesn't sting, either.
The term 'peppercorn rent' is derived from the high price of black pepper during the Middle Ages in Europe, where it was accepted in lieu of money. Today this term means the opposite - virtually free!

Achooooooo.................Oh! Excuse me! I think this write up about pepper is making me sneeze;)
A big big cartload of thanks to all you guys who lent a hand in helping me decide on the one snap to be sent for the click contest conducted by Jai and Bee
The majority of you decided on number 1 and 3. So, I respect your time and opinions and have decided to send number 1.
This post is also an entry for the Think spice think pepper event hosted my Divya, initially started by Sunita

Luv 'n' luc'

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Hi guys.

Must be wondering what I'm doing with just a bundle of pics. Well, I need help deciding which one I must send in for the click competition conducted by Jai and Bee
Their theme for this month is wood and I thought I'll take some clicks of my wooden pepper mill. Please let me know if at all these shots are worthy to compete and if so, which one according to you should be sent. If you think that none of them are fit, then feel free to say so:). The first 2 pics are numbered 1 and 2 from left to right. The second row is 3 and 4 from left to right and last one is 5.
Thanks guys.

Luv 'n' luc'

Monday, March 23, 2009

Simple Vegetable Pulao

Hey guys! I'm becoming a busy bee now a days. All because we are planning to travel to a lot of places next month. Starting the second week of April, we are visiting the Grand Canyon- North and South rim, the following weekend- Chicago, the week after that- Michigan, Niagara and New York. Phew! That's going to be some trip. So, I'm in charge of all the bookings and reservations and travel info. So, now you know I'm not giving you some lame excuse.
I did not want to fore go making a post today. So, here's another simple dish which I'm sure all of you know about and prepare often. Simple vegetable pulao. My mother-in- law makes a different kind of pulao, which I love and I will post that recipe sometime soon.
This picture is being sent for the Holi Hai event conducted by Purva of

  • Ingredients:(Serves 2)
  • Basmati rice - 1/2 cup
  • Oil/Ghee- 3 tbsps
  • Cumin seeds- 1/2 tspn
  • Green chillies - 2(slit)
  • Bayleaf- 1
  • Cinnamon - 2 sticks( 1 inch )
  • Cloves - 4
  • Cardamom - 3
  • Carrots - 2 (diced)
  • Green beans - 10-15(chopped)
  • Green peas - 1/2 cup
  • Salt - to taste
  • In a pressure cooker or saute pan, heat oil and ghee.
  • Add cumin, green chillies, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
  • Add the vegetables, and salt.
  • Turn heat to low and stir for a minute.
  • Now, add rice. Stir fry on a medium flame for a minute.
  • Add a little less than 1 cup of water to the rice.
  • Cover and pressure cook on medium flame for 6-8 mins. If using a saute pan, cover and cook for 15 mins.
  • When done stir the rice .
  • Serve hot with raita or any gravy.
Luv 'n' luc'

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chocolate chip cookies

An all time favorite cookie . You must be wondering - Is there anything at all that she doesn't like? I am not answering that because right at this instant, I can't think of anything I dislike, as my mind is now full of choc choc choco chocolate chip cookies.
I love the flavor of brown sugar in cookies and this is one recipe which involves that ingredient. I remember, precisely, the very first time I had chocolate chip cookies. I was a teenager in my 8th grade. A friend, Divya, brought some of these delicious cookies to school which her mom had baked. I fell in love with them. I completed my board exams 2 years later, and we parted ways. And ever since, I have never tasted a cookie better than those that Divya brought. Till date, no cookie has beaten that taste which still remains vivid in my mind and taste buds.

Divi and I are still in touch today but unfortunately, not geographically close enough, to share those mmmm.....mmmm...cookies.

This recipe makes great chocolate chip cookies..........kinda close to those I remember from years before. Enjoyeeee!
Before the wonderful recipe, there's wonderful news. My, my!...........and here's one more award for me . I'm all smiles. Muneeba, the author of has presented me with this award. I feel that each award comes with a pair of wings too. Because , it always makes me fly high up into the sky:) It's been a great month for me and many thanks to Muneeba and to everyone who wishes well for me.

Have a great weekend guys:)

NOTE: Do not use an electric beater for this recipe. You just need to mix with a wooden spoon or ladle .

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs,beaten •
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda •
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt •
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips •
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts ( optional)


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix sugar, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl by hand.
  • Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. The dough will be very stiff.
  • Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2-inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Let cool completely on wire rack, then remove from cookie sheet and store.

Note: Make note of the2-inch space between cookies while spooning them out onto the cookie sheet. If sufficient space is not left then, you will end up with a big bar instead of small cookies.

Luv 'n' luc'


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Garlic bread

I know alot of people who love garlic bread and I myself fall into that category too. I love garlic and I love bread. So, how will I not like garlic bread? Serves as a great accompaniment for soups, pizza or fried chicken. I, usually, serve it with tandoori chicken. Usually garlic bread is made with garlic butter. But, to be on the healthier side, I've added a mix of olive oil instead of using large quantities of butter alone.
I'm not scribbling much today and that may provide some relief to many of you.
Just want to let you know one more thing. I received a huge bundle of awards from Purva of Thanks Purva
I also got a friends award from Lavanya of Thank you Lavanya. Much appreciated.

Ingredients : (5 -6 servings)
  • Baguette bread(long french bread) - 1 Loaf
  • Garlic - 3 medium cloves
  • Butter(room temperature) - 2 tbspns
  • Olive oil - 2 tbspns
  • Oregano - 1 tspn ( or italian seasoning)
  • Salt - to taste
Directions :
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Make a very fine paste of garlic and salt.
  • In a small bowl, take the soft butter along with olive oil, garlic-salt paste and oregano. Mix well.
  • Cut the baguette, lengthwise, into 2 halves.
  • Apply the butter mixer on the bread and bake for 7-8 mins , till the bread turns slightly golden brown.
  • Cut and serve hot.
Luv 'n' luc'

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tomato rice

How many of you have been to boarding school? ( Right now, I've put my hand up.....Anyone else?) I loved hostel life.

If you have not been a boarder, I think, that you have truly missed out on one of the most exciting experiences. Being surrounded by friends, fun and frolic. There may be many of you who disagree with me. Anyway....your entitled to your own opinions:)

While I was studying for my graduation and was in hostel, I had a big, big gang of friends and we did everything from bunking classes , to pretending to be sick and scooting for movies, sitting late into the night playing cards and chatting away non-stop and much much more...... But, mind you, we did sober stuff which were harmless. No harm to anyone, including ourselves. None of us, ever flunked a paper nor did we do anything our parents didn't approve of. We were serious where we had to be and had fun whenever we had a chance. They were good days....

Well, hostel life was great, except when it came to the food part. We were served cold, horrible meals and our lunches included no other veggie other than yams and potatoes on a regular basis. Coming to the idlys......they were stone-hard, and we often joked that it could kill someone if it rolled off the table. It could have been for a fact, but, never tried to prove it :)

But, there was one dish which was unanimously loved..... tomato rice. Served with potato chips (not surprising, potato again), the combination was utterly enjoyable. It rice was tangy and spicy. This is my take on that tomato rice, but I've included a veggie as well. No not potato this time:) It's peas. And I'm avoiding the chips too( for everyones sake).

Enjoy the weekend everyone. And beware! Today is FRIDAY THE 13TH. Spooky...

Ingredients:( serves 3-4)
  • Basmati rice - 1 cup ( or 4 cups cooked basmati rice )
  • Vegatable oil - 2 tbspns
  • Onion - 1 medium( chopped)
  • Garlic - 2 cloves( finely chopped)
  • Green chilli - 1
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tspn
  • Cloves - 2
  • Cinnamon stick - 1
  • Chilli powder - 1/2 tspn ( or to taste)
  • Garam masala - 1/2 tspn
  • Frozen peas - 1/2 cup (optional)
  • Tomatoes (roma tomatoes) - 5
  • Tomato paste( puree) - 2 tbspns
  • Boiling water - 1-1/2 cups( if using cooked rice, no need for water)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Fresh cilantro- 3 tbspns
  • Wash the rice nad soak in cold water for 10 mins.Drain and set aside
  • In a large sauce pan, heat oil and add the cloves and cinnamon.
  • Then add cumin seeds, green chilli and garlic and saute for 30 secs.
  • Add onions and saute till light golden.( about 3 mins)
  • Add garam masala and chilli powder. Stir well.
  • Now add the tomatoes and tomato puree and mix well. Reduce heat to medium-low. Let it simmer and reduce till most of the liquid is evaporated and you are left with a thick tomato masala. (takes about 1o mins).
  • Add peas a cook for another 5 mins.
  • If using cooked rice, just stir in the rice. Mix well so that all the rice grains are coated with masala. Stir in coriander leaves. Serve hot with raita.
  • If using uncooked rice, stir in rice and add the boiling water.
  • Cover the pan and set heat to medium and let the rice cook.( abt 13-14 mins)
  • Stir occasionally.
  • When the rice is cooked, remove from heat and stir in cilantro leaves with a fork.
  • Serve hot with raita

You might like to check out these recipes:

Luv 'n' luc'

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cheers to one more award and the coming of spring - Cranberry Mint Cooler

The weekend was wonderful. We had temperatures of 75 and 76 F. It was really awesome.

For today, thought I'll post something simple. A healthy mocktail. Mocktails are the non-alcoholic counterparts of cocktails. A mix of juices. Refreshing, cold and just the right thing to pull you back up on warm days. The mint in this mocktail adds a kick and zing .

In addition to the onset of spring, I received another Friends Award from the very kind Poornima and Superchef ( of poornimastastytreats and superchef-mirchmasala )

Big, big thanks to them. I really appreciate it.

That's reason enough to celebrate right? So, here's to spring and the awards which make me "spring" :).
This award comes with a clause (as typed below)
"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated."It also says : "Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

Here comes the toughest part. Choosing just 8 friends to share this award with. But, I have to and I've chosen to pass this award onto 8 very special people :

Cheers! To all of you.

The snaps from this post are my final entry to the magnificient click contest

Ingredients :(serves 2)
  • Ice cubes -10-12
  • Cranberry juice - 1-1/4 cups
  • Fresh mint leaves- 12 leaves ( plus more to garnish)
  • Sugar - 2 tspns ( or as per taste)
  • Lemon juice - 1/8 cup
  • Club soda - 1/2 cup
  • Muddle the cranberry juice, sugar and lemon juice in a jar.Allow sugar to dissolve.
  • Crush mint leaves with your fingers and add it to the jar with the juices.
  • Allow to sit for 5-6 mins.
  • Add the soda and ice cubes before serving.Mix well.
  • Serve on the rocks.Garnish with mint leaves.
Thunda, thunda.....Cool, cool!
Luv 'n' luc'

Friday, March 6, 2009

CHIP AND DIP....ANYONE? Tomato-corn chunky salsa with tortilla chips

Who doesn't like Fridays? I, absolutely love Fridays. Fridays are the days when I usually think mmm.....mmmm.......chip and dip.Why?Because for me, Friday sundown means relaxing and laying back on soft cushions watching movies in a dim lit room with a cartload of chips and salsa at my side and a frosted glass holding lemony Margarita................. heaving a heavy sigh, the comfort of 'Finally Friday'-the gateway to the weekend.Gateway to fun and frolic.So, it's juz chill time.
So, I've selected Kung Fu Panda to watch and puffed up the pillows on the couch and laid out a throw. With all that done, I headed for the kitchen to make salsa.

Now, this recipe is my take on salsa. I have added my own touch to it. Usually, salsa does not call for cooking anything, but it maybe my fear of salmonella that has led me to never eat uncooked tomatoes. So I kind of roast them. And why not? The salsa tastes great this way and the flavors more intense. I, usually, forego dinner on Friday nights, because I have an overdose of chips and salsa. So, beware everyone, this thing is so tempting, it can get you addicted :)
The Snaps in this post are participating in the magnificient click contest.

As, I've said before, in winter I use canned tomatoes because of the unavailability of good tomatoes. But now, with spring round the corner I've used all fresh tomatoes.. This is a simple recipe which has very fresh ingredients. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS:( serves 5-6)
  • Store-bought plain tortilla chips - 1 packet( I use Tostitos)
  • Fresh, ripe tomatoes- 10 ( chopped)( substitute with 2 14 oz. cans of diced tomato)
  • Green chillies -2 ( or to taste)
  • Onions (chopped) - 1(small)
  • Garlic( chopped)- 4 large cloves
  • Coriander - 2 cups( 1/2 bunch)
  • Cumin powder - 4 tspns
  • Sweet corn kernels - 1 can (14 oz.)
  • Chilli powder - 2 tspns( or as per taste)
  • Olive oil - 2 tspns.
  • Lemon juice - 3 tbspns.
  • Salt - to taste

  • Heat oil in a small pan and saute green chillies, onions and garlic in it for about 3 mins. Set aside.
  • Drain all the liquid from the tomato-can and place the tomato pieces in large sauce pan. Add chopped fresh tomato and cook on high heat for about 8-9 mins till most of the liquid from the tomatoes evaporates.Add salt and chilli powder. Stir well and cook for another minute.
  • Transfer to a blender. Add the sauteed onions, chillis and garlic.
  • Add coriander leaves. Pulse it for about 5 seconds. Not more because we need a chunky salsa (Do not grind it or make it into a puree)
  • Transfer to a serving bowl. Mix the cumin powder and lemon juice and stir well.
  • Serve with chips.
You might like a peek at these recipes too:

Luv 'n' luc

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Boomerang Mango Ice Cream with Apricot Glaze

I moved to Europe after my marriage and there.................I fell in love.....head over heels in love.
Hey!Hey! Before you come to any odd /weird conclusion about that first line, let me start my story.
There was a time, not long ago when I hated ice cream. [Can hear the gasps] It's not a fib.I hated the ice creams available back in my hometown, in India. But I never regretted not liking them. Infact, I was ecstatic that there was atleast one thing in the fattening food world that I didn't like:) But, that joy was short lived. I moved to Europe after my marriage and there.................I fell in love.........head over heels in love..... with ice creams.(Now, that first sentence is complete).
In summer, there were stalls which sold ice creams made from fresh fruit.No artificial anything was added. Just cream, fruit, cane sugar and pure and natural extracts(some added eggs). As, the saying goes- your food tastes only as good as the ingredients that go into it, and these treats tasted so rich and the flavors were so full. That was when I first tasted some of the finest store-bought ice creams made by the big names in the ice cream world like Haagen dazs. They were pricey, but, the burst of taste in your mouth and the depth of the flavors makes it all so worthwhile . It was an "out of the world" experience . The love affair has blossomed ever since.
I realised that fresh, good quality and natural ingredients are the key to making good nibbles. Soon, I started making luscious ice creams at home without having to pay those high prices. Now, that is dual gratification. Boomerang mango ice cream is one of those attempts. It will definitely make you come back for more( thus named boomerang ice cream)
In this recipe you can substitute heavy whipping cream with any ready whipped topping. I have used heavy whipping cream. But, feel free to use whatever you are comfortable with.
Personally, I don't like ready whipped toppings because most of them are not really dairy cream. They fall in the category of non-dairy creams. They are made from oil. It's good for lactose intolerant people. So, if you ask me whether I want ice oil or ice cream? know what my answer will be. So, I prefer whipping up cream at home.
Coming to the mangoes, in summer, I would generally make homemade sweetened mango pulp from fresh mangoes. But, in winter, the store bought can is good enough. And you don't have to have a glaze. The ice cream tastes really great otherwise too. The glaze adds to the flavor.
The snaps from this post are competing in the magnificient click contest
By the way, I'm on cloud nine today and I would love to share the reason. I recieved my first award.
Thanks to Poornima of poornimastastytreats for bestowing me with these wonderful awards. I'm honored and have to say that she's been very generous. Cheers! to everyone on that note.
Now, heading back to the ice cream part. This recipe has very few ingredients, 4 to be precise( excluding the apricot glaze) and you will be surprised at the wonderful outcome. Trust me...
(I reiterate, in this recipe you can substitute heavy whipping cream with any ready whipped topping. I have used heavy whipping cream. But, feel free to use whatever you are comfortable with . )
Prep time: 8-10 mins
Ingredients:(Serves 7-8)
  • Alphonso mango pulp- 425 gms (available in Indian grocery stores)
  • Sweetened condensed milk - 1/2 can(about 7 oz.)
  • Heavy whipping cream( chilled) - 225 ml( substitute with 1/2 a box of ready whipped topping like cool whip )
  • Powdered sugar- 3/4 cup(If using ready whipped topping then there is no need for sugar)
  • Apricot preserve- 6 tbspns (for the glaze)


  • In a large bowl, pour whipping cream and whip it with the help of an electric whisk.When it starts to thicken, gradually add powdered sugar and whip till stiff peak form. ( If using ready whipped topping, then you can avoid this step)
  • In a mixing bowl combine the mango pulp and condensed milk . Mix well.
  • Pour this mango pulp mixture slowly into the whipped cream and gently fold it in with the help of a hand whisk.( Do not use electric whisk in this process).
  • When the mixture is well combined, transfer it to a freezer safe dish/box and freeze for 7-8 hours.
  • For the glaze, mix the apricot preserve with 6 tspns of water. Glaze is ready. While serving ice cream, spoon some glaze on top of each scoop.
    There you go.........Slurp! lick........... Mango ice cream with apricot glaze........ Could there be anything easier? :)
You might like a peek at these recipes too:

Luv 'n' luc'

Monday, March 2, 2009


Did you know that biryani comes from the Persian word 'birian' which means 'fried before cooking'? Or that there are over 26 varieties of biryani made in India?
It is considered a royal dish of the Nizams and the Nawabs.But now a days,in India, you find restaurants specializing in biryani around every corner.
am a biryani fanatic. I just love the whiff of spices and the blend of flavors in it. I can eat biryani morning, noon and night.So, by now you would have guessed that this recipe is an all time favorite of mine.Vinit adores it too.Hyderabadi biryani is usually made with Mutton(Goat meat).But since I prefer white meat, I have substituted mutton with chicken.You can absolutely use whatever meat you prefer.
I have made this recipe easier to follow in many ways in comparison to the traditional method of making hyderabadi biriyani without compromising on taste .So, you don't have to run to your favorite restaurant everytime you crave hyderabadi biryani .You have it right at your fingertips.........Yippeeeeee! Here are the flavors which come straight from the Nawab's kitchen.

QUICK TIP: Now the easiest way to go about this recipe is to marinate the chicken or mutton ahead of time.I marinate it and refrigerate it overnight.In this way, the process of making biryani the following day becomes shorter and way easier.

Preparation of the marinade takes about 15 mins.
Preparing the biryani takes about 40 mins

INGREDIENTS (makes 6-7 servings)

  • 2 pounds chicken(which includes breast, thighs and legs), cut into 1-1/2 inch peices
  • 1 tablespoons papaya paste (tenderising agent)[OPTIONAL]
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons red chilli powder
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (1 to 1 -1/2 inches each)
  • 9 cloves
  • 3 bayleafs
  • 7 cardamom pods
  • 10 tbspns sunflower oil or vegetable oil
  • 4 large onions thinly sliced
  • 15-20 Cashew nuts
  • 1 tspn Saunf(fennel seeds)
  • 2 tbspns raisins
  • 5 tablespoons whole yogurt
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 green chiles, slit
  • 4 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron (about 10 strands fresh saffron) boiled in 1/2-cup milk for 5 minutes and set aside for 15 mins to allow the color and flavor to transfer to the milk. [ a substitute for saffron is 1/8 tspn of turmeric powder in milk. But ofcourse, the taste will have to be compromised a little if you are going for this option]
  • Coriander powder - 4 tbspns
  • Garam masala - 1 Tbspn
  • Coconut milk - 1 cup(divided into 2 equal halves)
For marinating the chicken:
  • Lay the chicken peices in a bowl. Add papaya paste,1 tbsn ginger paste, 1 tbspn garlic paste, salt, turmeric, chilli powder, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, and 2 cardamom pods. Mix the spices into the meat with your hands.
  • Strain the yoghurt in a tea strainer or a cheese cloth for 15-20 mins till all the whey drips out and you are left with a very thick curd.
  • Heat refined peanut oil or sunflower oil in a saute pan . Add 3 of the thinly sliced onions and fry until light golden and crisp. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Keep 1/3 part of these fried onions aside for garnishing.
  • Now fry the cashew nuts and the raisins in the oil and set on a tissue.Reserve the oil.
  • Pulse the fried onions in a food processor to get a very coarse paste and rub it onto meat and mix with hands. Add yogurt and mix again. Add lemon juice, half of the mint and half of the coriander leaves and 2 tablespoons of the oil that is leftover from the onions. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour( or overnight) for the flavor to develop.
For preparing the Biryani:
  • Par boil the 3 cups of rice along with 3 pods of cardomom and 3 cloves in 7 cups of salted water.Par boil means to boil only till the rice is half-cooked.[For example , if basmati rice takes 16 mins to cook fully, then this recipe phase requires for the rice to be cooked for only 8-9 mins]
  • When the rice is still crunchy in the middle, turn off the flame and strain it, reserving the starchy liquid that is drained from the rice.
  • Divide the rice into 2 equal portions. To one portion add the saffron milk and stir and set aside. To the second portion of plain white rice and add 2 tbspns of ghee.Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(177 degrees C)
  • In heavy bottom pan heat the oil left over form frying the onions along with 2 tbspns of ghee.Add the bayleaves, remaining pods of cardomom, saunf, cloves and cinnamom sticks.Then, add the slit green chillies and the remaining sliced onions.
  • Saute until golden brown.Add the remaining ginger-garlic paste.Saute well.
  • Now add the coriander powder,garam masala and the remaining mint and cilantro leaves.When the masala is well sauteed add the marinated chicken along with all the marinade.Add one 1/2 cup of coconut milk and 1/8 cup of water .Cook for 8 mins or till the chicken pieces are half cooked.
  • Then, take a lasagna dish or any flat based oven-proof bowl and make a single layer of this chicken masala. Spread evenly all across the base of the dish.
  • Layer the rice on top of the chicken masala.
  • You can layer the rice in 2 ways. One way is to layer the rice like in this picture here. Layer the ghee rice first on top of the chicken layer and then layer the saffron rice above the ghee rice.This is an easier method.
  • The second way is like in the first picture of this posting. Take the ghee rice and saffron rice and layer it alternatively. I have used 2 layers of rice( meaning, that below every ghee rice layer I have layered saffron rice and below every saffron rice layer, there is a ghee rice layer. (I opted for this layering style only for the sake of a good snap)
  • In a small bowl, mix the second 1/2 cup of coconut milk with 3/4 cup of the rice-starch drained from the boiled rice(which you have reserved earlier).
  • Pour the coconut milk-starch mixture evenly over the top of the rice .Cover the dish with a lid or a aluminium foil and pop it into the preheated oven for 30-35 mins.(Don't open the oven frequently while food is being cooked in it.This leads to sudden drops in oven temperature and your food will remain uncooked in the recommended time)
  • When the biryani is done, remove the foil and garnish with fried onions and cashews and raisins.
  • While serving the biryani dig right through to get all the layers on your plate.
  • Serve with raita.(raita is a simple salad made with yoghurt which is mixed in with chopped onions,cucumber,coriander leaves and salt)
Luv 'n' luc'


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