Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chicken Biryani (Quick and Easy)

Every Friday evenings my family likes something fancy. Before leaving for work, I stood in front of the refrigerator wondering what to make with a tray of chicken that I had purchased the previous day. I didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen after a long day at work and thought of making something like a one pot meal which would make everyone happy which resulted with this recipe.

When I first tried making Biryani over a decade ago, it was a never ending process and it made me feel I was in the kitchen forever. I found this unplanned recipe very simple and good for any first timers.


2 cups basmati rice, washed & soaked for atleast 10 mins

3 lbs cut up chicken (with bone)
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup coriander leaves (cilantro),chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves
4 green chillies, slit in half
6 cloves
4 green cardamom
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp pepper corns
1 medium onion, chopped roughly
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2"ginger, chopped
1 tsp saunf (fennel seeds)
1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds) + 1 tsp
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp haldi powder (turmeric)
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp jeera powder (cumin)
saffron, a pinch
3 tbsp oil
2-3 tbsp milk
food coloring (red/orange)

How it's made:

Marinate chicken for 6 hrs with all the above ingredients except rice, milk and food coloring. In a heavy bottom deep pan, cook marinated chicken until 3/4th done. Do not add water.

While the chicken is cooking, in a separate pot, boil 4 quarts water with a tsp of oil, salt & 1 tsp jeera. {You can add whole garam masala (cloves, pepper corns, cinnamon  cardamom) which is optional}. Add rice & cook until 3/4 done. Drain and set aside.

Warm 2-3 tbsp milk, add food coloring & set aside.

To the 3/4th cooked chicken,(which should have about 1/2-1 cup liquid left behind) add rice and spread evenly. Do not mix with chicken. Pour colored milk on rice. Cover dish with tight fitting lid. Cook on high heat for 2-3 mins. Lower heat to simmer for 15 mins. Mix chicken & rice just before serving.

Serve with raita.

Serves: 6

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fish Rava Fry (Konkani Fish Fry)

Seafood has always been my favorite food. Growing up & living on the coastal area of Karnataka we had seafood every day of the week unless it was a religious day.  A small piece of fish at every meal would be a fulfilling enjoyable meal. Amma cooked different variations of fish fry but this one is my all time favorite. I find the crunchiness of  Rava very appetizing. Deep frying gives the fish a very crunchy coating but I prefer to shallow fry to keep it healthy!


2 medium size King fish
1-2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
1/2 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
1/2 cup rava/sooji/semolina
oil for frying

How it's made:

Cut fish into 1/2"thick slices. Wash under running water. Pat dry. Add a tsp of water to the chilli powder, haldi, hing, coriander powder, salt & make a paste. Rub the paste onto the fish & set aside for a few mins. Roll fish in rava until well coated & pan fry in a few tsp of oil for 4-5 mins on either side on medium high heat. Drain on paper towel. Serve hot.

Serves: 4 -6

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Banana Bread

Banana Bread is something that I make every time when I have over ripe Banana's. This recipe was passed on  by my Akka (Fathers sister) & has turned out perfect every time I've made it. The original recipe was a combination of whole wheat flour and maida (flour). But recently, I decided to try to make it healthy and used whole wheat flour only & it turned out well.


1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup ripe mashed bananas (approx 3 medium)
1/4 cup margarine, room temperature
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup roasted, crushed walnuts

How it's made:

Pre-heat oven to 350deg F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except raisin & walnuts. Beat at medium speed for 2-3 mins. Fold in raisins. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan or a pan lined with wax paper. ( Greasing pan is not required if you decide to use wax paper).

Top with walnuts. Bake for 45-50 mins or until toothpick/skewer/knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely for an hour & store in airtight container.

Note: For glass pan, set oven temperature to 350 deg. For metal pan, 325 deg. 
         All my friends & relatives who inquired on how ripe the bananas should be for this                recipe, here is the image.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Palak Kulitha Kodel (Spinach Horse gram Curry)

I like the combination of palak & kulithu. 2 healthy ingredients makes this dish delightful on a cold autumn evening.


6 oz Kulithu (Horse gram)
1 bunch fresh spinach
1/2-3/4 cup kook (Chinese potato)
1 cup fresh grated coconut
6 dried red chillies, roasted
marble size tamarind
5-6 cloves garlic

How it's made:

Wash & pressure cook horse gram. Clean & roughly chop spinach. Grind coconut along with red chillies and tamarind with a little water to a fine paste.
In a heavy bottom pot, add cooked horse gram, spinach, Chinese potato and salt to taste. Cook for 5 mins. Add ground masala. Boil for 10 mins.
In a "phana davlo"or skillet, heat oil. Add peeled crushed garlic cloves. Fry until light brown and season it to the curry. Serve hot with plain white rice and dalitoy.

Chinese potato can be substituted with kadgi (jack fruit).

Serves: 4

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Grilled Vegetables

Our charcoal grill has been put to use almost every weekend since mid March! We all love the smokey flavor of grilled food and have had several gatherings in our backyard this summer. To add to this, we had an abundance supply of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in our vegetable patch. Our veggie patch was going strong until last weekend and we had our last pick and grill your veggies!


1 recipe green chutney (see recipe below)
10 oz pack white mushrooms
2 green peppers
2-3 tomatoes/ 1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 green squash
2 large onions
8-10 wooden skewers

How it's made:

Clean veggies thoroughly. Cut green peppers, tomatoes, squash, onions into big chunks. (They shrink a bit once they are grilled). Marinate veggies with green chutney and let them sit for a few mins. Skewer them and place them on a hot grill. Grill each side for 5 mins.

How to make Green Chutney:
1 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 green chilli
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp chaat masala
1 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste

Grind all the above ingredients to a fine paste with very little water & set aside.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dal Fry


1/2 cup tur dal
2-3 tbsp split moong dal
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
2 green chillies, slit in half
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
1/4 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
coriander leaves
1 tsp oil/ghee
salt to taste

How it's made:

Wash tur dal & moong dal. Pressure cook with about 1 cup of water.
In kadai, heat oil/ghee. Add jeera. Fry for a few seconds. Add green chillies, garlic, tomato, haldi and salt. Salt helps to break down tomatoes & helps quicken cooking process. When tomatoes are mushy, add cooked dal and coriander leaves. Adjust seasoning. Serve with plain white rice, jeera rice or roti.

Serves: 4

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fish Biryani

Fish Biryani was a favorite when I was growing up. Amma cooked this occasionally on a Sunday morning since her recipe was very elaborate. She made it with Pomfret (also known as "Manji" in Konkani) and it's the best Fish Biryani I've ever tasted. Now that everyone prefers boneless fish, I make it with Tilapia. My recipe isn't as elaborate as Amma's but I like recipes that are simple and easy to cook. Amma made all fresh spices from scratch but I am a big fan of "Shan" masala and use it quite frequently in my cooking. I will try to cook and post Amma's recipe on a lazy Sunday!


1 lb boneless tilapia (about 3-4 fillets)
2 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked for 20 mins
2 medium onion, chopped fine
2 tbsp ginger, chopped fine
2 tbsp garlic, chopped fine
2-3 green chillies, chopped fine
1/4 cup coriander leaves, chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
2-3 tbsp yogurt
1 packet Shan Fish Biryani masala
Salt to taste

How it's made:

Boil 4 quarts of water in a large pot, add salt and basmati rice. Cook rice until 3/4 cooked. Drain water and set rice aside. (Rice can be cooked in rice cooker also).
In a wide heavy bottom pan, heat oil. Fry onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies. When light brown, add shan fish biryani masala, coriander leaves and mint leaves. Fry for a minute. Add yogurt. Mix well. Add fish cut into cubes. Stir well once, cover and let it cook for 10 mins. Add the cooked rice on top of fish curry & cover dish with a tight fitting lid and let it cook on simmer for 10-15 mins.

While serving, scoop from top to bottom with rice and fish since fish tends to break very easily. Serve hot with raita.

Serves: 6

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Alsande Upkari (Long Green Beans/Yard Long Beans stir fry)


3 cups alsando, cut into 1"pieces
1 small potato
1 tsp black mustard seeds
2 dried red chillies, cut into 4 pieces
salt to taste
1-2 tbsp grated coconut for garnishing(optional)
1 tsp oil

How it's made:

In a "Kayli" or skillet, heat oil. When hot, add mustards seeds. Once it splutters, add red chillies. Fry for a few seconds. Add alsando(long green beans), potato & salt to taste. Cover & cook on medium high heat until vegetable is tender. Garnish with grated coconut. (I didn't use coconut this time since I made this for my toddler nephew). Stir well. Let stand for a minute. Serve hot with plain white rice & dalitoy.

Serves: 2-3

Monday, September 3, 2012

Baingan Bharta (Eggplant curry)

After several trial & errors, I found this recipe to be the best. This recipe source is from a very close friend of mine who is an excellent cook. Although this is not the traditional Baingan Bharta recipe, my family & friends love the taste of how it's made. I try to roast baingan on our charcoal grill every time we use it-  which is quite frequent during summer's :-) The rest of the season, I roast it on my gas burner on medium high heat. Some roast in the oven too- but I had a very bad experience & never went back to oven!


1 large round bottom eggplant
1 medium onion sliced + 1 small onion, chopped, fried and ground to a paste
1 small tomato, chopped
1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
4 green chillies, chopped fine
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp haldi powder (turmeric)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 cup frozen green peas
Coriander leaves

How it's made:

Wash baingan. Coat it with a thin layer of oil and roast. Once roasted on all sides (which takes about 15- 20 mins on gas burner/charcoal grill), set aside & let it rest covered for a few mins. Peel off charred skin & roughly chop into chunks. 
In a pan (I like to use kadai), heat 2 tsp oil. Add jeera. When color changes, add sliced onions & green chillies. Fry until onions are light brown. Add frozen green peas & let it cook for a few mins. Add tomato & salt to taste. Cook for a few mins until tomatoes are mushy. Add eggplant, chilli powder, garam masala & haldi. Cook covered for 8-10 mins. Lastly add ground onion paste and coriander leaves. Mix well. Adjust seasoning. Serve hot with roti.

Serves : 4

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Tandoori Chicken

We all love grilled food and spending time in our backyard with family & friends. This summer our grill has been put to use at least once a week! This is a very simple version of tandoori chicken with my favorite store bought Shan masala. I keep this masala handy in my pantry for anytime barbecuing.


12-14 chicken drumsticks, skinned
1 packet shan tandoori masala
1/4 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp meat tenderizer (optional)

How it's made:

Wash chicken drumsticks. Pat dry and poke holes with a fork or slit diagonally.

Mix in shan masala with yogurt and meat tenderizer. Pour marinade over the chicken to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat grill. Place chicken on grill and cook for 15 mins on one side.

Turn and baste as needed. Cook until meat is well done.

I tossed in a few mushrooms which was marinated with the same tandoori masala and a few onion rings. It takes less than 5 mins to get grill marks on them.