Vegetable Dum Biryani

Preparing dum biryani at home may sound quite overwhelming. It is definitely more time taking than your regular pulao and other kinds of rice, but it is totally worth the time you spend making it. If made with the right balance of ingredients and spices, your biryani will taste amazing, bursting with flavors.

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I had asked a friend of mine to bring Kabsa Spice Mix from Saudi Arabia. It is commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine. The spice mix mainly consists of cardamom, black pepper, cumin, cloves and coriander powder. It can easily be made at home too. I didn’t have to add any other spices to my biryani. The spice mix was more than enough. It just made the whole process so much more easier for a lazy person like me. You can add various other vegetables, dried fruits, etc to your biryani. I chose to keep it simple as I was making it for the first time.

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Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 1/2 Cup Long Grain Basmati Rice (washed pre-soaked for 15-20 minutes)

200 gms cottage cheese cut in cubes

3 medium sized onions (one cut in julienne and two finely chopped)

3 medium sized tomatoes finely chopped

A handful of French/green beans

2 roughly diced carrots

5-6 cloves of garlic finely chopped

3 green chillies

2 tsp finely chopped ginger

1/4 tsp red chili powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

Kabsa Spice Mix (use whole spices if not available)

½ tsp red chili garlic paste

Few sprigs of finely chopped coriander

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 pinch asafetida

2-3 tbsp curd

Oil/Ghee

Salt to taste

Wheat flour dough for sealing the lid (dum)

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Method

  • Boil pre-soaked basmati rice. Add 2-3 whole peppercorns, 1-2 cloves and salt (optional) to it. Keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a non-stick pan and fry onions that we cut in julienne. Sprinkle salt in the oil to release moisture from the onions. Keep aside

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  • In the same oil fry cottage cheese cubes until golden brown (optional). In a separate bowl, add curd, cottage cheese cubes, chili garlic paste, salt. Keep aside

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  • In the same pan, add cumin seeds and asafetida to the leftover oil
  • Next, add garlic, ginger and green chilies. Saute for two minutes until it releases its flavor
  • Add chopped onions and saute until translucent
  • Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chili powder, 1 tsp kabsa masala. Mix well and let it cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Add carrots and green beans. Cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • In the end add cottage cheese and mix well. Add 1/4 cup water if required. Cover and cook until oil comes to the surface. It will take not more than 5 minutes. Add little coriander and mix well.

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  • Next, for the layering; spread one portion of paneer and vegetables, then boiled rice. Sprinkle few crispy fried onions and kabsa spice mix. At this point you can even add saffron and milk or dried fruits at this time.
  • Add another layer the same way. It is up to you as to how many times you would like to layer it. I did it twice. It also depends on the pot you’re using.
  • In the end, cover the pan with a lid and seal it with dough. Put is on a low flame for 15-20 minutes and serve hot. Alternatively, you can layer it in an oven proof pot and place it in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees celsius. The dough becomes hard. That’s when you know your biryani is ready.

Biryani4Serve it with nice chilled raita or plain curd.

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Enjoy 🙂

Broccoli and Cream on Toast

This recipe I have come up with is really simple. It requires very little cooking time and can be made in a jiffy. It is definitely nutritious, and we all know how healthy greens are for your body. Feel free to add your own veggies for your toppings like zucchini, mushrooms and bell-peppers. Red and yellow color would just make the topping more colorful and appealing. Green chili gives the topping a slight kick which is good. Do give it a try. It is delicious. 😉 Adjust the quantity of the ingredients according to your liking.

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This is what you will need:-

Ingredients (Makes 3)
11/2 cup broccoli
1 medium-sized red onion (roughly chopped)
1 finely chopped green chili
A handful of green beans
A few sprigs of coriander
3 tbsp fresh cream
Grated Processed Cheese
1 tsp Olive Oil
Chili flakes, freshly cracked black pepper and salt for seasoning

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Method

  • To make the topping, heat olive oil in a pan.
  • Add onions and green chili. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and sauté on low-medium flame until translucent.

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  • Next, add green beans and broccoli. Sprinkle a handful of water and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. We want the keep the filling slightly crunchy. You can even blanch them beforehand and add them to the onions along with rest of the ingredients.

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  • Add fresh cream, seasoning of your choice and grated cheese. Mix well and add coriander.

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  • Place the topping on your toast. You can even use toasted garlic bread. Butter it and toast well.

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Enjoy 🙂

Easy: Vegetables in Penne Pasta

Sometimes you wish for something and you get something else in return totally unexpected. That is how unpredictable life is. I believe food and life are very similar to each other. You can make anything out of it. Be it a complete mess or something nice and beautiful! Something worth tasting. 🙂 Usually, you need a particular sauce to go with your plain boiled pasta. But, what if you don’t want to make any? No worries, this pasta I’ve made here doesn’t  require you to make any kind of sauce and is quick and easy to prepare. Oh! And of course, delicious too. No compromising on taste. Feel free to use your own choice of vegetables.

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Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

Penne Pasta

250 ml milk

1 medium-sized onion (julienne)

3-4 cloves of finely chopped garlic

2 cubes processed cheese

¼ chopped capsicum

½ carrot cut in small cubes

1 bowl of Button Mushrooms

½ cup of cottage cheese cut in cubes

1 finely chopped green chilli

2 tbsp Olive Oil

Salt to taste

Freshly ground Black pepper

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Method

  • Add pasta to a pot of boiling water. Add salt and a tsp of Olive oil. Let it cook al dente.

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  • Heat Olive oil in a seperate pan. Add garlic and green chilies. Saute for a minute or two on a high flame.
  • Add onions and a pinch of salt
  • Next, add cottage cheese, carrots, mushrooms and any other veggies of your choice except capsicum. Let them cook on a medium flame. Add cheese cubes cut in small pieces (so that they melt easily).
  • Add milk and bring it to a boil.

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  • Add pasta and capsicum.  Mix well. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper and hog onto it with buttered garlic bread! Slurp :p

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Happy cooking! 🙂

Brinjal Fry in Thick Tomato Sauce

The subtle flavor that comes from the brinjal fry combined with a thick tangy tomato sauce just makes this dish so flavorsome and tasty. It does require quite a bit of preparation just like any other Indian curry, but it is just worth the time spent. Nevertheless, it is easy to make and tastes best with a mild dal (lentil) and jeera (cumin seeds) rice – A good combination! Hope you all give it a try and I am sure you all will definitely like it. 🙂

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This is what you will need :

Ingredients (Servings: 3-4)

250 gm brinjal

4 medium sized tomatoes

2 small sized onions

3-4 garlic cloves

2 inch piece of ginger

2 green chilies

1 tsp lemon juice

Whole spices for Spice Mix (1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 green cardamom, 1 black cardamom, 3-4 whole black pepper, 1 small bark of cinnamon stick, 1-2 cloves)

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp red chili powder

1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp chana masala (optional)

¼ tsp asafetida

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

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Method

  • Preparing Spice Mix– Dry Roast whole spices in a non-stick pan on a low flame until they release their flavor. Form a powder with the help of a mortar and pestle. Keep aside.

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  • Drop in your green chilies, ginger, garlic and onions in the mixer grinder. Add 2 tbsp water and form a paste.
  • Add tomatoes in the mixer grinder and blitz to form a puree. Keep aside.

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  • Marinating and Frying Brinjal- Cut brinjal into thin slices and drop them in water for a minute or two.
  • Combine 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp salt (adjust it to your liking) and spice mix (keep 1/2 tsp aside for the tomato sauce) and rub it evenly on the brinjal slices.
  • Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan and place the slices evenly and fry on a low flame. Check and turn after 5 minutes. Cook and keep aside.

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  • Preparing the gravy- Heat olive oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and asafetida. Let it release its flavor.
  • Add ginger garlic green chili and onion paste. Sauté for two minutes.
  • Add tomato puree and let it cook.
  • Next, add leftover turmeric powder, chana masala, red chili powder, leftover spice mix and ½ cup water. Simmer and cook until oil comes on top. Add lemon juice.

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  • Combine brinjal with tomato sauce and serve hot.

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It tastes good with rice and mildly spiced yellow dal (lentil)

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Enjoy! 🙂

 

 

Burnt Ginger Garlic Vegetable Fried Rice

When it comes to cooking delicious food, always make sure never to compromise on good quality ingredients. Try your best to find the the best possible quality available. There are so many different kinds of rice. If you want each cooked grain of rice separate from one another, it is important to use rice of a good brand.

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If you have leftover rice, you will have yummy fried rice in front of you in no time. Toss it up with your favorite ingredients and you will be good to go.

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This is what you will need:

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked basmati rice (Wash and soak rice for 15 minutes. Boil rice four cups of water. Add ½ tsp salt. Check after 5-7 minutes. Squeeze half a lime. Drain the water when done and let the steam escape. )

4-5 finely chopped garlic

1 tbsp finely chopped ginger

1 green pepper finely chopped

1 tbsp finely chopped green chili

2 medium sized finely chopped red onions

1 cup finely diced blanched carrots

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 tbsp white vinegar

½ tsp asafetida

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt to taste

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Method

  • Heat olive oil in a wok and add ginger and garlic. Brown them completely on a medium flame. They will become crunchy. Add asafetida and green chili. Saute.

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  • Add onions and saute until translucent.

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  • Add soy sauce and vinegar. Next add in carrots, green pepper and rice. Season with salt.  Mix well and serve hot with your favorite gravy.

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Note: We had fried rice with potato gravy. To make it, fry the potatoes and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan. Add asafetida, tomato ketchup, 1 tsp honey, chili flakes, soy sauce, water, cornflour to thicken the gravy. Add in the potatoes and season with salt. Sprinkle dry coriander.

Happy Eating! 🙂