Jul 11

Chicken Dum Biryani

Eid is the one occasion where the aromas and flavours of Biryani call out to me. I love a good mutton biryani and was really keen to make the one I has posted in my blog a while back but the kids vetoed my brilliant plan and insisted on a chicken biryani.

Now I had never made a chicken biryani so started checking recipes and asked a few friends too. Fatema Talwala came to my rescue and gave me an awesome recipe that I am sharing here. I followed her recipe blindly as I know her non vegetarian food is finger licking good.

It has just the right amount of masala and spice and its full of flavour without being too rich. My guests loved it so much that they took little doggy bags home.


1/2 kg rice par boiled (arround 90% done)

750 grams chicken cut in big pieces

2 tbsp Ginger garlic, green chili paste

1 heaped tbsn coriander powder

half cup curd



1 tbsp Jeera

1 tsp Shah Jeera

2′ dalchini

2 tejpata

4 cloves

6-7 black pepper

3-4 elaichi

8-9 chopped garlic cloves

1′” chopped ginger

2-3 chopped green chillies

1 sprig curry leaves

3-4 medium onions paste

1/2 pkt Amul cream 200ml

3/4 tsp garam masala powder

1/2 cup chopped coriander

2 tbsp chopped mint

quarter 3 potatoes and fry them

1-2 pieces of coal

pinch of kesar soaked in 1-2 tbsp milk

Food colour (optional)

Birista (3 onions fried till crispy and brown)


  1. Marinate the chicken with ginger, garlic, green chillies paste, salt, coriander powder, curd for  half an hour.
  2. Cook the rice with some ghee, salt and a few whole garam masalas till 90% done. Spread on a plate to cool, Fluff the rice.
  3. In a pan, take pure ghee add cumin seeds. When they splutter, add Shah jeera, crackle whole garam masala, add chopped garlic, ginger, green chillies, curry leaves and saute till fragrant.
  4. Now add the onion past. Saute till the onions turn brown.
  5. Add the marinated chicken, mix well and cover and cook till the chicken is almost done.
  6. Add some fresh cream, garam masala powder and half of the chopped coriander and chopped mint.
  7. Add pieces of fried potatoes, see to it that chicken gravy is thick.
  8. Smoke this masala by heating a piece of coal till red. Put the coal in a small steel bowl and pour ghee on it. When it smokes, put the container in the chicken vessel and cover with a lid. The smoke will spread in teh vessel giving a lovely flavour to the chicken.
  9. Grease a vessel, make a layer of rice add kesar soaked in milk. If you want, you can add some food colour too dissolved in water.
  10. Spread the chicken, now add crushed birista (browned onion), add chopped coriander, mint leaves, pour some hot ghee.
  11. Spread another layer of rice, again pour Kesar soaked in milk and some food colour soaked in water.
  12. Sprinkle some water, coat the rim of vessel with wheat dough and place a lid, cook on dum till biryani is done about 20 mins.

Jul 05

Coimbatore’s Hotel Annapoorna’s Sambhar

I have this friend who loves her sambhar rice and could gorge on it daily. I would keep cribbing that ‘how can u eat the same thing nearly every day’. But she would grin with satisfaction and I knew she was in foodie bliss

One day she sent me a video of this sambhar and I literally rolled my eyes up. I mean usually my friends tag me on exotic dishes asking me to make it. But here I was sent a sambhar recipe video of all the things.

Now the sambhar my mom taught me is simply superb and I don’t mess with a good thing. Just to humour her I decided to make this recipe. It’s from a blog called Kannamma cooks and it’s a completely diff process than anything I have read.


Trust me this variant is super yumm and perfect with a bowl of rice and some papad. Though wouldn’t discount my moms Sambhar recipe just as yet, that still is the best. The sambhar masala here is made from scratch and gives a really nice flavour. Do give it a try.


1/2 cup Toor Dal

2 Drumsticks

1 chopped big onion

1 chopped Tomato

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoon oil

2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

5 black pepper corn

5 fenugreek seeds

2 tablespoon chana dal

1 tablespoon urad dal

1 sprig curry leaves

3 dry red chillies

1/4 teaspoon Asafoetida (hing)

3 tablespoon fresh coconut

1 1/2 teaspoon jaggery

Marble size tamarind

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 stalks coriander leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon ghee

1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2 sprigs curry leaves

1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

1 tbsp minced garlic



  1. Wash and soak 1/2 a cup of toor dal in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Pressure cook the dal with the water for 1 whistle and keep on slow gas for 5 mins.
  2. In another cooker add  the drumsticks, onion and tomatoes. Add one cup of water, a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of turmeric. Cook for 4 whistles.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and add in the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, pepper, fenugreek seeds, chana dal, urad dal. Fry for a minute.
  4. Once the chana dal is brown, add in the curry leaves, dry red chillies, asafoetida, coconut, jaggery and the tamarind. Fry for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
  5. Grind the mixture with half a cup of water to a paste. Let the paste be very slightly coarse. Set aside.
  6. Take a heavy bottomed pan and add in the ground masala and one cup of water. Let it come to a boil on medium flame.
  7. Once its boiling, add in the cooked vegetables along with the water used for cooking. Add in the salt. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes on medium flame.
  8. Add in the cooked dal and let it continue to boil for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Heat oil in a kadai and add in the mustard seeds when the oil is hot. Add in the curry leaves and garlic, fry for a minute and switch off the flame.
  10. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of red chilli powder and immediately pour it on the sambar. The red chilli powder might burn if kept in the oil for too long. So have an eye on the kadai.
  11. Add in the coriander leaves and a tablespoon of ghee. Switch off the flame.


Jun 16

Eggless Swedish Chocolate Toscatarta

This is a chocolate version of the Swedish Almond Cake or Toscatarta. The butter moist sponge is fudgy and oh so chocolatey while the crisp almond top gives it a beautiful contrast.

Good eggless recipes are hard to find. And this ones a keeper. It’s a recipe shared by Anuja Sule from Simple Baking and it’s been on my pending list since ages. Now kicking myself that why didn’t I try it sooner.

This is the perfect cake to serve at tea time to impress your guest list.

195 grams all purpose flour
200 grams caster sugar
25 grams cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
75 grams butter, melted
1 cup (240 ml) warm water
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
For the topping:
50 grams butter
100 grams almond flakes
50 grams caster sugar
2 teaspoon all purpose flour
3 tablespoons Amul cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
  1.  Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Butter and line with parchment paper, an 8 inch round cake tin.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, sifted cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. Add the melted butter, water, lemon juice/vinegar, and vanilla extract. With a fork or whisk, mix all the ingredients together until well blended.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for around 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre if the cake comes out MOIST but not totally clean, as the mixture will still need another 10 minutes of cooking. Increase the heat to 200 degree Celsius.
  5. Just before the 25 minutes are up, make the topping. Place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When it has melted, add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil, allowing the mixture ti bubble away for 1 minute.
  6. After the cake has been cooking for 25-30 minutes, remove it from the oven, and spoon the almond mixture evenly over the top.
  7. Place it back in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the topping is golden.
  8. Leave to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes. Carefully unmould from tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Courtesy – Anuja Sule from Simple Baking’s Happy Bakes



Mar 13

Butter Chicken

Disclaimer – this is not an authentic Punjabi butter chicken but it’s so yum that I can say cross my heart and hope to die if u don’t like it. It’s a mish mash of recipes that ensures the burst of flavours a good mix usually brings.

I hate sweet butter chicken that u get in the restaurants. I don’t get it, where does it say that Butter chicken should be meetha. It should be rich and creamy with a hint of spice and this version promises u that.

It’s not a very tedious or lengthy procedure but it’s not one of those jhatpat ones too. It’s created with love to be devoured with some parathas and a side of pyaaz kachumber. Enjoy



1-1.25 kg raw chicken

Tomatoes – 5 (cut in 4 pieces)
Green chili – 2-3 (slit in 2)
1/2 tsp Red chili powder
4 Cloves
4 Green cardamom
Salt to taste
2 chopped onions
Ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp garam masala
Butter – 2 tbsp
Cream – 1 packet
Kasuri Methi – 10gm
1 tbsp Maida


  1. Take a heavy bottomed pan and combine the tomatoes, water, green chili, red chili powder, cloves, green cardamom and salt. I usually put the cloves and cardamom in a tea ball so that it is easier to take it out later. If you wish, you can put them in a muslin cloth or put them directly in the pan and remove them out later.
    Put the pan on high heat for the first 5 minutes and then lower the heat to medium.
  2. Reduce this mixture to a sauce like consistency (this may take 20-25 minutes).
  3. Once the curry is done, shut off the flame and let it cool a bit. Once it is a little cool, take out the cloves and cardamoms.
  4. Using a blender or a food processor, puree the curry till it gets a smooth creamy texture.
  5. In a kadhai, heat oil add the onions and fry. When pink add the GG paste and fry it off.
  6. Add the tomato mixture and bring to boil.
  7. Adjust salt and add garam masala and kasuri methi
  8. Mix well add the chicken, the butter and cook covered
  9. When cooked add a tbsp of Maida and dry excess water.
  10. Add cream and dhania.


Mar 13

Meat Hirwa Masala

It’s been a while since I have cooked something to post on my blog. There are actually quite a few dishes that are saved but have been too lazy to post. I keep getting side tracked. And now with no maid my hands are full.

My friend Sahana kept telling me post something Mughlai or mutton or something yummy. I just didn’t have the time to research recipes or try out something new. But I remembered a recipe I saved 2.5 yrs ago that I had made just once but never posted. It’s by this fantastic chef and friend Suchit who is so busy managing his exceptional restaurants in Pune that he has no time to post anything new. How I miss his posts.

Am so glad I saved this one and made it today. The mutton is made in green masala and is slow cooked over time. Really finger licking delicious

1&1/4 kg mutton
2 cup fresh coriander
1/2 cup pudina
4-5 green chillies
6 peppercorns
2 tsp salt
2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp oil
2″ piece of ginger
12-15 cloves of garlic
200 gms curd

Masala paste:
3 large chopped onions
1 tbsp butter
Pinch of sugar and salt
2 tbsp dessicated coconut
15 cashews

Other ingredients:
1 bay leaf
2 large chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp dhania powder
1 tbsp jeera powder
1 tsp garam masala
100 ml cream
Few strands of kesar

1) In a mixer blitz together coriander, green chilies, pudina, peppercorns, salt, turmeric, oil, ginger and garlic to a fine paste.
2) Apply this to the chopped up mutton pieces along with curd. Marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
3) Meanwhile start caramelizing the onions with butter, a pinch of sugar and some salt.
4) In a pan, dry roast cashewnuts & desiccated coconut (separately) till lightly browned.
5) Once done, let it cool and blitz cashew, coconut and onions to a fine paste.
6) in a large cooking pot, heat ghee add a bayleaf and the ground masala and fry till the oil separates.
7) Add tomatoes and cook until it’s soft.
8) Add garam masala powder, jeera and dhania powder. Fry it for a minute.
9) add the marinated mutton and fry on a high flame while stirring constantly for 10 mins. Reduce heat to low, keep covered (I used a deep lid overturned with some water in it) and cook for another half an hour while stirring every 10 mins to ensure the masala does not burn. (There’s no need to add water at this point in time as the curd and the liquids from the meat itself will ensure a gravy consistency.)
10) at the end, add cream and a few saffron strands. check seasoning. Mix well.
11) Garnish with fresh chopped coriander.

Note – Spice can be adjusted as per taste. U can add 1 tsp red chilli powder while frying the dry masalas.
If the mutton is tough. Please pressure cook the marinated mutton for a couple of whistles on high and then add it to the masalas or alternatively cook it for longer time in the masala. DO NOT pressure cook the masala.



Feb 17

Spaghetti Bolognese

A hearty pasta that fills your heart and belly at the same time. The sauce originates from Bologna in Italy and is a meat based sauce. The sauce is simmered with tomatoes and a mince of mutton or beef. It is usually served with a flat pasta but in many places around the world, its become popular to be served with spaghetti.


1/2 pkt Spaghetti

500 gms mutton mince

2 big onions

5 skinless tomatoes puréed or chopped

1/2 pkt tomato purée

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

10 minced garlic


1 tsp Chilli flakes

1 tbsp maida

Mixed Italian herbs – fresh or dried

Parmesan cheese

5 babycorn

1 pkt mushtoom

150 gms brocolli

  1. Boil the pasta al dente
  2. Blanch or roast the tomatoes or remove skin and chop or purée as per preference.
  3. In a pan, heat olive oil and add the onions and garlic. Sautée to pink
  4. Add the mince and brown it well
  5. At intervals add the tomato, pkt purée, Worcestershire sauce, chilli flakes and if u are adding dried herbs (fresh herbs will taste better if added towards the end. Let this cook out for an hr adding little water as it becomes dry (Alternative is to put everything in a cooker for 2 whistles and 5 minutes but taste will differ)
  6. When half done add the baby corn, when nearly done add the mushrooms and a couple of mins before u shut the gas add broccoli and maida.( All the veggies are raw and added at different intervals as their cooking times are different – remember we also want a crunch to the veggie)
  7. Adjust seasons and switch off gas
  8. At serving time, pour the sauce in the Center of the bed of pasta and top with cheese.


Feb 10

Tequila Lime Chilli Chicken


I am an avid Masterchef Australia follower. One day Nigella made this finger licking tequila chicken and I literally drooled looking at it. Marked it on my to do list and promised to make it soon. Unfortunately life took over and I never got a chance to make it.


Today, i was sending a secret valentine hamper to a friend and thought, this is the perfect occasion to make the Tequila chicken and send her. So made a few changes to Nigella’s recipe and here u have it. Trust me its not just yum but exotic too.


My blog completed 2 years on January 21st and due to my ill health, I was unable to post something to commemorate this occasion. The tequila lime chilli chicken is the perfect dish to showcase for my anniversary. Its so me.




1 kg chicken pcs with bone

75 ml tequila + to glaze

zest an juice of 2 small limes

3 tsp chilli flakes

2 tbsp sriracha sauce

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp olive oil

10 crushed garlic

1 tbsp maida


  1. Mix tequila, olive oil, lime juice, zest, chilli flakes,sriracha,  salt, garlic.
  2. Add chicken to this marinade and massage it well with the marinade
  3. Keep for 4 hours or overnight if possible.
  4. Transfer to an oven proof dish (do not cover) and cook for 35-45 mins at 200C in a pre heated oven.
  5. When cool, transfer the liquid to a pan, add sugar and adjust seasoning if needed.
  6. Add Maida and mix well, add little tequila to mix it all.
  7. When the sauce gets thick, add the chicken and mix well till the sauce coats the chicken and gets a golden brown colour.

Dec 07

Japanese Cotton Cheesecake

japanese cotton cheesecake

A cake I absolutely adore and that’s saying something since am not a cheesecake lover. I waited months for my birthday to come just to order this from a baker friend and relished it. So when I saw this challenge posted by my baker friend Anuja I did the happy dance.


Now there are many recipes out there but u are always left in doubt if it would work or not. So when ur handed a tried and tested recipe on a platter, you have to give it a shot.


Everything went as planned but I did make a huge error. I made a mistake of not going as per my ovens heating temperament and followed the recipes instruction. The middle rack created havoc with the cake and I had to wing it with the rest of the baking time. Thanks to Mani Vinaik who kept advising me. I would have given up if it wasn’t for u. The cake is good but I feel could have been softer and that’s because I didn’t bake it as it should have been.

But I do know what not to do the next time. And yeah. I do make everything look pretty

japanese cotton cheesecake

Recipe from Anuja Sule’s http://www.simple-baking.blogspot.in


125 grams cream cheese

110 grams amul fresh cream

3 egg yolks (room temperature)

3 egg whites (room temperature)

70 grams caster sugar

40 grams all purpose flour

30 grams cornflour

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 th teaspoon cream of tartar (or salt)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Preheat your oven at 160 degree celsius. Line a 6 or 7 ing baking pan with parchment paper. No need to grease it. Set it aside.

Sift the all purpose flour and cornflour, set aside.

Melt cream cheese and cream over a double boiler (or in a microwave) . Cool the mixture.

Once the cream cheese mixture is partly cooled, add in the egg yolks, vanilla extract, lemon juice and mix until incorporated.

Add in the sifted all purpose flour and cornflour. Mix well until incorporated. Run the mixture through sieve once, to get rid of any lumps.

Make the meringue, whisking egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. You can beat with a stand mixer or handheld mixer. Add in the sugar and whisk until SOFT PEAKS form.

Take 1/3rd of the meringue and fold into the cheese mixture, then fold in another 1/3rd of meringue. After that,  fold in the remaining 1/3rd meringue. FOLD GENTLY. Once you are done, if the total volume of the mixture is almost unchanged while it’s texture is foamy and smooth and free of bubbles, then you have got it right.

Place the baking pan into a large baking tray (with high sides) and pour hot biiling water into the tray, upto 1/2 the height of pan.

Place it on central rack of your oven and bake at 160 degree Celsius for 40-50 minutes, until the cake top is golden brown. Then lower the temperature to 140 degree Celsius and continue baking for 20-30 minutes more.

Once the cake is baked, turn off the oven, slightly open the oven door and leave the cake inside for about 15 minutes. The cake will shrink a little and pull away from the sides of the pan. Now you can take it out of the pan, remove the parchment paper and let cake cool completely on the rack.

Refrigerate the cake for atleast 4 hours or overnight,  before serving.



# If the cake rises too high and sinks in the oven, that means the baking temperature or upper heat is too high, or cake is placed too close to upper heat.

# If the cake doesn’t rise or is too dense or chewy, it happens due to improper beating if eggs or wrong folding technique that deflates the air bubbles.

# It’s normal that the cake will shrink about 1/2 inch to 1 inch after cooling. If the cake rises, yet shrinks significantly after being taken out of oven, then it means that it is under baked or another reason is, over mixing the egg white mixture with the cream cheese mixture.

# If there are cracks on surface, it happens due to lack of sufficient water in water bath, or too high upper heat. But don’t worry, most if the cracks will settle down once the cake cools down.



Dec 07

Prawn Pulao

prawn pulao

Today being a holiday, I woke up late and around 11 am thought – let’s try a new dish. I haven’t made any savoury recently and I also had prawns in the freezer.

I didn’t want to make the regular dishes with prawns so thought why not try a pulao. Messaged a few friends who were generous enough to share their recipe. Am gonna try them soon too especially Mafrin’s Aunts Parsi prawn pulao.

prawn pulao
My friend khurana was kind enough to share this recipe by Nagina Hassan and I decided to give it a shot. I prefer short and easy recipes, this one was kind of elaborate though the final product is yum.

prawn pulao



1 kg cleaned deveined prawns

2 cups washed basmati rice

4 sliced big onions

5 big tomatoes chopped

4tbsp. ginger garlic green chilli paste

2 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp turmeric

whole spice – 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 4 green cardamom, 1 stick cinnamon, 2 black cardamom, 2 bay leaf, 1 star anise, 6 cloves




2 tsp garlic paste

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala




3 tbsp. fried onion

2 tbsp. mint

pinch saffron



  1. Marinate the prawns for an hour.
  2. Cook rice till about 60% done, drain and leave to dry.
  3. Take a big vessel, pour oil and add the whole spices.
  4. When it sizzles, add the onions and saute till brown.
  5. Add the paste of  ginger garlic and chillies. Let it fry a while.
  6. Add the dry powder masalas and mix well till it leaves oil.
  7. Add the tomatoes and cook it till its soft and the masalas leave oil.
  8. Add 1/2 glass water, mix well and add the par cooked rice and mix.
  9. Meanwhile in another pan, add oil/butter and fry the prawns till they turn slightly pink in colour
  10. Add the prawns to the rice and mix well.
  11. Now garnish with mint, fried onions, saffron, garam masala, red chilli, ghee.
  12. Now put it on dum for 15-20 mins. serve hot.


Oct 07

Eggless Oats & Cranberry Cookies


A delicious eggless cookie with a wonderful sweet salty chewy flavour. A wonderful mix of oats, cashews and cranberries makes this cookie hard to put down. This recipe is courtesy Anuja Sule who runs a Facebook group called Simple Baking’s happy bakes and shares some wonderful recipes to attempt.





113 grams cashews, toasted and coarsely chopped

113 grams dried cranberries

170 grams butter, room temperature

210 grams light brown sugar

260 grams Quaker Oats

105 grams all purpose flour

30 ml milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until creamy and smooth, then add milk and vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, soda and cinnamon powder. Add the flour mixture to this and beat to incorporate.
  4. Then stir in the chopped nuts, oats and raisins and mix everything together.
  5. Use a large spoon (or an ice cream scoop) to make the balls of the dough and place it on the baking sheet about 1.5″ or 2″ apart. Now press the balls slightly by your fingers to flatten them.
  6. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the sides are golden brown in colour (mind you, it will still be a little soft in middle. It will harden once it cools down).
  7. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them on a wire rack to cool completely.


Note –  You can refrigerate the batter, while baking in batches. At any point you feel that the batter has become loose because of the heat/humidity, just keep in fridge till the butter in it hardens a little and then use it.

Recipe courtesy – Anuja Sule from Simple Baking



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