Dec 11, 2017

Vegetable Biryani


Vegetable Biryani



Preparation Time : 25 mins

Cooking Time : 20 mins Serves: 3 - 4

Ingredients


Basmati Rice - 1 1/2 cup Water - 3 cups

Fresh lemon juice - 1 tbsp Onion - 2 medium size Green chilli - 2

Ginger garlic paste - 1 1/2 tsp Tomato - 1

Salt to taste

Mint leaves - handful

Cilantro leaves - 2 tbsp chopped

Carrot - 1 large

Green Beans - 6-8, chopped to small pieces Fresh/frozen peas - 1/3 cup

Green or red bell pepper - 1/3 cup chopped (optional) Cauliflower florets - 10-12


Spice Mix


Chilli Powder - 3/4 tsp Coriander seed powder - 1 tsp

Optional enhancer: Biryani Masala powder- 2 tsp flat (available as a mix) Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp

For the Seasoning

Oil - 2 tbsp

Ghee - 1 tbsp or butter 1.5 tbsp Cloves - 4-5

Cinnamon - 2 (1 inch piece) Cardamom - 2
Bay leaf -1

Fennel seeds - 1 tsp

For Garnishing

Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp finely chopped Ghee/Clarified butter - 1-2 tsp



Cashew nuts or almonds or pine nuts – 2 tbsp

Rinse and soak basmati rice for 15 mins. Drain the rice and keep it aside.

Cut onions thinly lengthwise. Slit green chillies. Rinse, cut cauliflower into florets and put the florets in salted hot water for 4-5 minutes. Drain the water and keep it aside. Chop carrots and bean into small pieces.

Frozen peas can be microwaved with a TBSP water for couple mins to soften them up.

In a heavy bottom vessel, heat oil + ghee, add all the dry spices mentioned under seasoning. Saute for a few seconds till the seeds start crackling.As it sizzles, add the sliced onions and green chilies

Saute till the onions start turning translucent, don’t let them brown.




Add the ginger garlic paste and lightly stir and saute till the raw flavor goes away. Next, add the tomatoes.

Stir for a min or two, then add turmeric powder, biryani powder (optional), red chili powder and stir for couple mins, then

Add all the vegetables. Stir and saute for 2- 3 mins.


Add the drained rice now, mix well with all the vegetable and spice powders by stirring.

Next add the water, salt to taste and raise the heat again to start cooking. Once it reaches a boil, bring to simmer, cover with a lid and stir occasionally, not too much to prevent mushing.

When cooked well, add the finely chopped cilantro and mint leaves. In a separate pan, heat up the oil and prepare the garnish by roasting the nuts. Add to rice over the serving bowl if serving from a separate bowl. Otherwise, add to the big vessel itself.

Serve warm with yoghurt. Or if you make raita, serve with that. You can also add grilled paneer pieces or grilled tofu pieces at the “add vegetable stage” to increase protein content.

Dec 1, 2017

Ginger Cardamom Chai

I grew up drinking chai (spiced Indian tea with milk). It is made in similar fashion across a wide region from the middle east to the far east.

A pictorial flowchart to making chai. Image credits at the bottom page.
List of ingredients:

2 cups

1 cups
cold water

whole milk OR.. Half cup half and half + water to make up.
2 table spoons
Loose black tea (Red Label or Taj Mahal) or some Darjeeling/Assam varieties
(OR 3 bags
(Sometimes I use Tetley black tea bags- Low mess option, slightly  weaker tea)


1 inch piece
fresh ginger (crushed in mortar and pestle or under a strong wrist)
2 teaspoons
black peppercorns
2 whole
cardamom pods (crushed in mortar pestle –
or use a pinch cardamom powder in a rush)


2 TBSP

(OR 5 teaspoons
Honey

Sugar)

Steps:

In a quart pan, add cold waer, spices, ginger and tea leaves. Start heating the water to a boil.

As the water just starts boiling, add the milk. (I microwave the milk to warm to speed up if needed).

if using sugar, you can add sugar directly if everybody has same "sweet" needs.
if using honey or different sweet needs - do not add sweetener here.

*** As it starts to boil again, switch off. Perhaps even move from the heat. This is the step where it routinely spills over, especially if left unwatched or on those glass top/electric stoves. **

Strain through a mesh strainer into cups.

Add honey, stir and enjoy.


Image derived) from my personal pictures and users: wikimedia commons (tea leaves, glass of milk, glass of water), freshfoodinaflash.com (straining tea), http://bombayspiceabq.com (pepper)

Nutrition Info (Screenshot of my Recipe on MyFitness pal)


Oct 5, 2017

Chana Masala Veggiefied- Chickpeas with Vegetables with rice

This is a variation on the traditional north indian dish of "chana masala" - aka Chhole. most recipes that are popular from the north indian state of Punjab. Back in India, the road side truck stops are the ones that rule flavor contests on this one.

I have taken the general recipe and added lot of vegetables to it, so that it is more carb-friendly!

Chana masala is simple to make dish and you can skip most of the vegetables that we discuss here. You would need to keep onions, tomatoes, green chilis and ginger-garlic as the minimum # of fresh ingredients needed for this recipe. Some of the illustrations I will use include in mixed to rice, which is a common way to consume this in India. Many folks also eat it with rotis or chapatis or naans (naan bread). Don't forget to keep some Water H2O if things get spicy.

Note: the general procedure for most "curries" involves roasting cumin seeds in hot oil, let crackle, then add chopped red onions, sauteing those for 2 mins on medium heat, add the minced garlic, ginger, saute for a min, then add veggies,saute for 2 mins,add tomatoes, sprinkle turmeric and red chili powder- cook for a min or two, then add the pre-cooked chickpeas.

Saute the veggies in a small amount of hot oil. Start with onions, as it starts browing, add green and red bell peppers, green chilis, minced or finely chopped ginger and garlic. Red chili powder (optional for a kick), salt, cumin powder can be added.

Throw in drained chickpeas (I used a can).
Mix in the already cooked rice. I used basmati rice, added a spoon of ghee for flavor.

Mix it up to coat the rice well and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves or provide them at table for garnishing on serving plate. Provide wedges of lemon or lime at the table to enhance flavors on the plate.


Sep 14, 2017

Caprese and Chhole

Mixing up Italian and Indian is not something to be done lightly. I will stop with political humor there (Indian politics), but get to briefly describing what I made for a Labor day barbecue event hosted by a British friend of mine in the US.

A simple caprese salad appetizer,easy hand held food.

A simple to make,but complex flavored chickpea rice dish. (Chana masala + sauteed veggies + basmati rice)

Sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh leaf basil, Virgin olive oil drizzle.

Saute the veggies in a small amount of hot oil. Red chili powder, salt, cumin powder go well here.
Note: the general procedure for most "curries" involves roasting cumin seeds in hot oil, let crackle, then add chopped red onions, sauteing those for 2 mins on mediumheat, add garlice, ginger finely chopped pieces, saute for a min, then add veggies,saute for 2 mins,add tomatoes, sprinkle turmeric and red chili flakes - cook for a min or two, then add chickpeas.
Throw in drained chickpeas (I used a can).If you cook chickpeas fresh, then drain and add.
Mix in the already cooked rice. I used basmati rice, added a spoon of ghee for flavor.

Mix it up to coat the rice well and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves or provide them at table for garnishing on serving plate.


Aug 23, 2017

Taco Tuesday - Revisited

Tuesday dinner. Homemade veggie tacos based off a texmex delight I love from a restaurant at pennstate area. Black beans were lightly sauteed with roasted cumin seeds, minced garlic, rock salt,  black pepper, turmeric powder.

Loved it though as it took under 30mins.

Bean and potato tacos
Taco Tuesday Ingredients
Cheddar cheese mixed in with Mashed potatoes. Fresh pico de gallo (fine chopped items on wooden board with lemon juice and salt). Shortcuts galore: beans from can, instant mashed potatoes from powder, corn tortillas are store bought.
Cooked and seasoned black beans
Ingredients for fresh salsa (pico de gallo)


Beans, Mashed potatoes etc.

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