Friday, October 23, 2015

Vegetable Raita


Raita is a term used for a yogurt preparation. It can be made with many different
ingredients, but the base is always plain yogurt.Very cooling, it is a great accompaniment
to spicy dishes and can be prepared in a jiffy.
The vegetable raita is a traditional accompaniment to Biryanis and  Pulaos.


1&1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/4 cup cold water
1 red onion finely chopped
1 firm tomato finely chopped
1 cucumber peeled and finely chopped (i like to use kirby or persian cucumbers)
1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 finely chopped green chilli(optional)
salt to taste
a pinch of red chilli powder
1 tsp chaat masala (you can substitute with ground cumin )


Whisk yogurt with water and salt till smooth.Add the rest or the ingredients
and mix well.Serve cold.


Vani's Special Chicken Biryani

Biryani is the yummiest one pot meal.It consists of different layers of taste and texture.
There are innumerable Biryanis and a multitude ways of preparation.
I combine two kinds into my preparation, the Sindhi Biryani and the Hyderabadi
Kachhi Biryani.It takes a little while but the effort is worth very delicious morsel.


2 & 1/2 lbs boneless chicken pieces (you can  use bone-in if you prefer, but make
sure that it is cut into small pieces)

For the marinade:

1 & 1/2 cups yogurt
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp garlic paste
salt to taste
2 bay leaves
2" piece cinnamon
4 green cardamon crushed
4 black cardamoms
6 cloves
2 star anise
1/2 a pack of Sindhi biryani masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp cumin poeder
1 tbsp coriander powder
juice of 1 lemon
4 onions sliced and browned
2 tbsps chopped cilantro.

For the rice:

3 cups basmati rice
2 tbsps fried slivered almonds
2 tbsps fried raisins
2 tbsps fried cashew halves
6 tbsps ghee
a big pinch saffron
1 cup milk
2 onions slices and browned
2 tbsps chopped cilantro
3 big potatoes, peeled and cut into big chunks (optional)
2 big pieces of foil


Clean the chicken and marinate it with the marinade ingredients for
a minimum of 12 hours and upto 48 hours.Refrigerate in a covered container.

Wash and soak the rice in about 5/6 cups of water for 4/5 hours.
Add salt to the rice while soaking.

Fry  the almonds, raisins, cashews and onions.

Chop the cilantro finely.
Soak the saffron in warm milk for about 15 minutes.

 To cook the biryani, start by assembling the ingredients.

Take 2 big pots which have fitting lids.
Start by layering the chicken and potatoes at the bottom of the pans.

Now drain the rice and top the chicken mix with the rice.

Now spread the nuts, raisins, browned onions, cilantro and the ghee on top of the rice.

Pour the saffron milk on top of this.
Seal the pans tightly with foil so that no steam escapes.
Now cover with the lids.

Keep a griddle under the pots so that the chicken does not burn.
Cook on a low flame for an hour. Do not get tempted to peek :)
After an hour, turn off the gas and let it rest for 5/10 minutes.
Very carefully lift the foil off.Use extreme caution as very hot steam
escapes at this point and can burn your hands.
I like to serve the Biryani in the pot that it is cooked in as the fragrance
that is released upon opening it is just so appealing.
I open the foil on the dining table itself so that all the guests can relish the fragrance.

I like to serve the Biryani with a side of pickles, papad and vegetable raita.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy Diwali

Happy Diwali, Saal Mubarak and Happy Bhai Duj to all.

Once again it is the time of  the year to celebrate.
Celebrate the triumph of good over evil,
of light over darkness.
With prayer, gaiety and sweets galore we
celebrate this victory of the inner self over the
base instincts , with Friends and Family.

I made a lot of different sweets ; Kaju ji Mithai,
Narial ja Ladoo , Besan ja ladoo, Bhugal Mawa,
Karanjia and Dal Kachoris.

Some of the recipes are already there and some to soon follow.
Had a Pooja last night and shared the goodies with
friends and family.


The  lighting of the oil lamps signifies the burning away of evil and
the presence of light in our souls.

May Goddess Lakshmi bring wealth and peace to all.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Moong Dal Kachoris - Moong Lentil Filled Puffs

This is a savoury that I always try to make for Diwali ,to counter all the sweets :)
and also because it is so festive.
It takes some time and effort but is absolutely worth it.
This quantity makes about 50/55 pieces.


For the shell:

4 cups flour (maida)
4 tbsps ghee or butter
salt to taste
about 1 & 1/4 cups warm water

For the filling:

1 & 1/2 cups yellow moong dal
1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2 tbsps ghee
salt to taste
1 tbsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp powdered cumin (ground jeera)
1 tbsp fennel seeds lightly crushed (saunf)
2 tbsps dry mango powder (amchur)
You can substitute lemon juice for the amchur, but the taste lent by amchur is
a pot of water to boil the dal

3 to 4 cups oil for frying.


Add the salt and ghee to the flour and mix well.Now gradually
add the warm water and knead the dough till smooth and firm.
You may not need all the water so add gradually.
Cover and keep aside for about half an hour.

Soak the dal for 5/6 hours.

Now boil the pot of water and add the turmeric to it.
when the water comes to a rolling boil, add the dal and
boil for about 10 /12 minutes till soft  to touch.

Do not overboil as it will get mushy.It should be cooked
but the grains should be separate.
Now drain well in a colander.

Heat the 2 tbsps ghee in a pan and add the cumin seeds.
Let it splutter and turn golden.

Now add the fennel, the boiled dal, the salt, ground cumin, chilli powder and the amchur.
Mix well but lightly so that the spices are well mixed but the dal does not turn mushy.

Now comes the time to roll and fill and assemble the kachoris.
Divide the dough into small balls.

Roll them out into small discs.

Fill with 1 tbsp of the filling and bring the edges together.

Then lightly flatten and make sure that the edges are totally sealed.

Heat oil in a pan and slowly slide 4/5 of the kachoris and fry on a
slow/medium flame till golden on both sides.

While you fry one batch, roll and fill the next batch.
Make sure you do not fry on high flame as it will remain uncooked
on the inside.
Serve hot with green chutney or sweet tamarind chutney.
Tastes good on its own also.
You can store in the fridge for about two weeks.
To serve, warm in the oven.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Karanji - Coconut stuffed treats


It is Diwali time again, time to make sweets and savouries, time to light up
diyas, time to decorate with rangoli and torans, time to rejoice, time to
spend with loved ones.
I started of by making Karanji's , a must in Maharashtrian households come Diwali.
This sweet is one of my personal favourites.
There are two ways to make these, one with a dry filling and one with a moist.
I make the one with the dry filling.

This quantity makes 40 Karanji's.


For the cover:
3 cups flour (maida)
3/4 cup semolina (rawa)
1 cup warm milk
4 tbsps ghee or oil

For the filling:
2 cups  dry shredded coconut (unsweetened)
3 tbsps white poppy seeds(khus khus)
1 tbsp white sesame seeds (til)  (optional)
6/ 8 tbsps chopped nuts (almonds, cashews)
2/3 tbsps golden raisins
8/10 tsps brown sugar or grated gur
(i added 8 tsps.You can taste and sweeten as per your taste).

about 4 cups of oil for deep frying

Mix the flour and the semolina and add the ghee.Mix till it
resembles bread crumbs.Using about 3/4 cup of the milk
knead the dough to a firm texture (not hard).Knead till smooth.
Cover and keep aside for about half an hour.

In the meantime, dry roast all the ingredients for the filling on a slow flame,
except the sugar.

Roast till light golden and you get a nice aroma .
Now turn off the flame and add the sugar and mix well.

Now make small balls of the dough.

Roll these into small discs.

I roll about five at a time.
Moisten the edges with warm milk.
Now lift the disc carefully in your hands and fill
with one tbsp of the filling.

Now seal the edges.

Now crimp the edges with a fork.


Or you can delicately fold the edges.

Now heat the oil in a pan and do not let it smoke.
On a low/medium flame fry 4/5 of them at a time.

By the time you fry one batch, you can roll and stuff the next batch.
When they puff up, gently turn them over.Fry till golden on both sides.

Let cool completely and then store in an airtight container.

Do not fry on high flame as they will not cook from inside and will
not be crisp.
Stays good for at least  two weeks if you dont finish eating it in the meantime :)