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.