Tuesday, July 21, 2009

1001 Easy Biryanis

Almost all experts agree that Biryani is a Persian dish, coming to India with the Moguls / Arabs. However, many wrongly believe that the name Biriyani is derived from Beiryan ( Persian : to fry) which they claim refers to rice being fried in oil before being cooked.

In fact, you can still order Beryani in Esfahan, Central Iran (modern day Persia). But you’ll be served a meat sandwich ! The original Persian Beryani does not have rice at all. It is just chopped up, boiled and fried meat served between two pieces of Persian flatbread. This meat sandwich is the ancestor of our Biriyani. Later, rice came to replace the flatbread. This was made possible by a technique called Dum pukht ( Persian : "steam-cooked") where both rice and meat were steamed together. This technique led to the creation of the Biryani we know and love today. Beriyan ( frying) did not create the Biryani, but Dum Pukht ( steam cooking) did. This is why a Biryani is still called Dum Pukht in Persia and dan pauk in most of South East Asia. (especially Burma).

A Biriyani is in fact a rice sandwich, where layers of meat / veggies served sandwiched between layers of rice. It is interesting to see that many rules for a good sandwich also apply to a biriyani.

1. It should be perfectly cooked, but not soggy.

2. It should have multiple layers

3. It can have vegetable / meat fillings

4. It should be assembled in a colourful, artistic way, with all layers clearly visible - the brilliant white of the rice layer, with splashes of saffron, the brown/ red/ orange meat layer, and the whitish brown layer where these layers mix.

In addition, the golden rule in a biriyani is that no two grains of rice should stick together.

Many confuse between Biryani and another middle eastern rice recipe, the pilaf. Remember that a Biryani is a sandwich at heart, whereas a pilaf ( pulao) is not. A pulao is a one pot dish where rice gets cooked in a meat / vegetable broth. (Interestingly the Spanish paella, is a variation of the pulao and the Cajun / creole Jambalaya is also another version of the pulao) But it does not get assembled in layers like a Biryani.

Like any recipe, when Biryani moved into different regions, it used the rice, flavouring agents and additives much loved in that region. The utensils used, the fuel and the cooking style also changed from region to region, giving us a huge array of Biryanis.

In India, we see two major classes of biryanis – the Pakki biryani of Awadh ( Lucknow) and the Kachi Biryani of Hyderabad. The north Indian Pakki Biryani is closer to the spirit of the original Biryani, as it remains a sandwich at heart. Cooked meat and cooked rice are layered and steamed together to make the pakki ( cooked) Biryani.

The Hyderabadi Kachi ( raw) Biryani is a completely different invention. Here the sandwich is assembled with raw ingredients ( meat and rice) and they are steamed together. This is possible because of the fact that both meat and rice take similar times for getting completely cooked.

Most biryanis use variations of these two major styles. Keeping in mind the spirit of the biryani, we can now mix and match the base, flavouring and additives, giving rise to a countless array of Biryanis.

The base : One cup = 200 ml
The long grained Basmati rice is the most preferred rice as it is aromatic and does not stuck together. But as you travel further south, you’ll see Biryanis made from the shorter Seeraka Samba or even from the hardy Ponni rice. Biryani made from Ponni keeps well and lasts much longer than that made from Basmati. Ensure all rice is well washed and cooked so that no grains stick to each other after cooking. Both raw or parboiled rice can be used. Raw rice cooks faster but par boiled rice is firmer and chewier. To make rice softer, it can be soaked in water for an hour before being cooked. , Stir frying rice also makes it less prone to sticking together. Rice can also be cooked along with a variety of flavouring agents like cinnamon, bay leaf, clove, cardamom etc. but care should be taken to see that the rice does not get coloured by the addition of spices. A Bangladeshi biriyani uses puffed rice instead of rice. Some Srilankan / Arcot Biriyanis use iddiappam ( string hoppers) as a base instead of rice. (I tried cooking a biryani with rice flakes and it was delicious ! I just soaked thick rice flakes in water for five minutes, layered them with cooked meat gravy and steamed it over a slow fire for 10 minutes. There is no reason why you cannot use other grains in cooking biryanis)

The key skill to master:
Cooking rice perfectly is the key to a good Biryani. Cook it anyway you like, but when you assemble the biryani, the rice should be almost ( but not completely) cooked and no two grains should stick together. The easiest way is just to dump rice in lots of boiling water and keep tasting till it is almost done. Then drain water using the colander and use rice for Biryani.

Once you have rice ready, all you need to do is to layer rice and meats in a vessel. close it and bake it or cook it over a slow fire for 15 - 30 minutes, so that the flavours merge. That's it, your Biryani is ready !

The favouring techniques :
These vary from region to region and actually from cook to cook. A variety of whole spices is fried in oil / ghee. Onions are then fried and other ingredients are added. Popular ingredients are cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, saffron and bayleaf are often added. Kewra / saffron water / rose water is sprinkled on top just before serving.

Different regions have their own flavouring. Asafetida and fennel powder is used in Kashmir, green chilies and southern spices like coriander powder, turmeric powder are used in Hyderabadi biryanis, Kalpaasi & Marathi Mokku in Dindigul Biryani, Khus Khus in Malabar biryani, cashew-cumin- fennel paste in Arcot biryani, black cumin and fennel in Awadhi biryani, almonds and cashew ( and sometimes coconut) in Malaysian Nasi biryani, a paste of sesame seeds, black cumin and dry fenugreek leaves in Memoni biryani. Experiment with your favourite flavouring techniques !

Additives :
A whole range of meat / vegetables can be used in a Biryani. Mutton / chicken are most common. In Kerala we find the fish / prawn Biryani, in parts of Tamilnadu we see the Turkey Biryani and
in Karachi we bump into the Beef Biryani. Almost any meat can be used for a Biryani. The Nizam of Hyderabad boasted of 49 varieties of Biryani made from quail, deer, hare etc. A variety of vegetables can also be used in to cook up the Tahiri ( Tehri) Biryani. Sindhi & Calcutta Biryanis include potatoes, a combination unthinkable elsewhere.

Utensils :
Different regions cook biryani using their traditional cooking utensils(made of copper / bronze / aluminium / mud etc). Some regions prefer wide, shallow utensils, some prefer cylindrical utensils and some regions prefer the conical vessel with a rounded base – the handi. The biriyani is cooked over different fires - wood fire, charcoal, coconut shell embers etc. Most large scale cooking of Biriyani happens in the open.

Side dishes:
Biryani is eaten with a wide variety of additives.In Sri Lanka it is eaten with a pickle, Mint Sambol ( mint chutney), or scrambled eggs. Indian biriyanis are usually served with Raita. South Indian Biriyanis are served with a sour dish of eggplant (brinjal) or Mirch ka salan, In addition , In Tamilnadu a Muslim biriyani meal is complete only with the serving of a dessert ( sweet sticky rice / bread halwa).

The technique of Dum :
‘Dum’ is a technique where the vessel is sealed and cooked from above and below with gentle heating. This gentle cooking allows the flavors of rice and meat to mix and slightly dries out the rice, making each grain separate. Usually the vessel is placed in a ring of charcoal, the lid is sealed with atta and charcoal is placed on the lid. This gentle cooking may last from 30 minutes to over an hour.

Though it is true that traditional Biriyanis from each region follow a similar recipe, with minor variations, there are no hard and fast rules about what goes into a Biriyani, as long as the spirit of the recipe is followed. Remember that the meats and rice need to be perfectly cooked, layered and the rice grains should not stick to each other. As long as you follow this, you can experiment with a variety of bases, flavouring techniques and additives and will end up with lip smacking biriyanis everytime !

Marination :
The process of soaking the meat in a tenderizing paste is common to North Indian biriyanis. Usually yogurt is mixed with ginger- garlic paste, spice powders and the meat is coated with this mixture and rested for 1 – 2 hours . A variety of tenderising agents like raw papaya paste, lemon juice etc may be added. Though meat is usually marinated for 1-2 hours, some regions follow the overnight marination method where the marinated meat is refrigerated overnight. South Indian Biryanis do not use marinated meats.

Layering :
In a vessel, add a thick layer of rice as the bottom layer. Spread the garnish (fried onions, mint / cilantro leaves, lemon juice) over it. Add a thick layer of meat / vegetables. Spread the garnish and add another thick layer of rice. Sprinkle a couple of spoons of milk in which a few strands of saffron has been soaked. Seal the top of the vessel with a tight fitting lid and bake. Baking can be done over charcoal embers ( placed both on the bottom and top of the vessel), in an oven, or a thick heated steel plate ( to ensure even heating and prevent scorching).

Experiment with a variety of bases, flavouring techniques and additives to create never before cooked Biryanis !

Friday, July 17, 2009

1001 Muesli Recipes

This cookbook lists 1000 Budget friendly Muesli recipes . Click the image to view and print the cookbook.

This One pager for Anu, whose idea resulted in this cookbook. 

Muesli is a breakfast cereal usually made from rolled oats, fruit and nuts, eaten mixed with yogurt or milk. Introduced by a Swiss physician in 1900, it soon became a popular breakfast cereal in the west. Filled with fruit, whole grains and nuts, muesli is a healthy way to start the day.

The original Bircher - Benner Muesli recipe:
A spoon of rolled oats, a spoon of lemon juice, a spoon of sweet cream, a spoon of crushed nuts (hazelnuts / almonds) and a grated sour apple - all mixed together.

Cereal flakes are made by steaming and flattening cereals. This process partially cooks the cereal. Though corn flakes are the most popular, all cereals can be flaked/ rolled. All of these can be mixed in with muesli.

Toasting cereals : Heat a pan. Add a handful of rolled/ flaked cereals. Stir and toast 5 minutes on medium heat.


Probably because most consumers do not realize how simple it is to make Muesli, manufacturers make a killing on it. A kg of packaged Muesli  nearly 10 times the cost of the ingredients.

With dry fruits / nuts, rice flakes, corn flakes and oat flakes being available at dirt cheap rates, all you need to do is to mix them up to have your own muesli. Muesli lasts for months and needs no refrigeration. So you can easily mix up a big batch on a lazy Sunday and live off it for months. If you mix in some powdered milk while mixing muesli, all you need to do is to add water while eating. This then becomes an ideal travel / camping food and an emergency meal. Have a small pack in your office / car / briefcase and you have food security! Just three handfuls of muesli can power your body for a full day!

Fresh fruits can really liven up muesli. Use loads of fresh, seasonal fruits with muesli and you’ll never go back to oily / heavy breakfasts again!

1001 Easy Microwave Paneer Curries

Click the image on the left to view the cookbook.

This cookbook lists 1000 microwave Paneer curries, greatly simplified, so that a first time cook can easily cook them.  10 different types of paneer is combined with ten different bases and 10 different flavouring techniques to create a thousand different recipes.  These recipes are graded from easy to tough – 000 being the easiest and 999 being the toughest.

 Paneer types :

Column 1 lists the 10 different types of ‘paneer’ as listed below : 

0.:    Plain Paneer can be used in many curries, but it has the tendency to fall apart on prolonged cooking.

1.:   Crumbled Paneer is used in dry or gravy based curries called Burjis

2.:   Achari Paneer  is paneer marinated in a spicy pickle. This is then used in a curry.

3.:   Marinated Paneer  is paneer soaked in the basic marinade of yogurt and spices for an hour or more.

4.:   Stir fried Paneer holds its shape well on cooking.

5.:   Flavoured Paneer  is paneer prepared with a variety of flavouring agents.

6.:   Exotic Paneer  is made from a variety of milk from other mammals.

7.:   Tofu   is made by curdling soya milk . A variety of tofu is available and firm tofu can be used in place of paneer.

8.:   Grilled/ deep fried  Paneer, with its crunchy exterior and a soft interior, provides the curry with an interesting texture.

9.:   You can also experiment by using any non melting cheese ( like the halloumi or the Hispanic cheeses like queso panela, Queso Manchego etc). You can also use any combination of the above types of paneer. A variety of vegetables or pulses can also be cooked along with paneer. 

For explanation of bases and flavouring techniques, please see 10 simple paneer recipes and  100 Paneer recipes. And that’s my submission for MEC, hosted by Ramya for her event Protein rich foods.

 Model Recipes : For detailed recipes, check out these  recipes from my fellow bloggers.

Shahi Paneer
Paneer Burji,
Paneer Makhanwala
Paneer Jalfrezi

1001 Rolls

This cookbook lists 1000 easy roll recipes. Think of rolls as tubular sandwiches. Ten types of flatbreads are paired with 10 sauces and use 10 fillings to create a 1000 different rolls. Click the image to view and print the cookbook.

Flatbreads are quick to make and double as a container. Edibles wrapped in a flatbread taste much better than when they are served separately. This magic is what makes rolls like Mexican Burritos and Indian katti rolls so popular. India boasts of a rich collection of flatbreads and all of them can be turned into rolls. Apart from wheat flour, most other flours lack gluten (the glue which makes flour kneadable) and are hard to knead and even harder to roll out. So making rolls with non-wheat flours takes practice. The shortcut is to mix in wheat flour, as listed above. As you gain practice, gradually reduce the amount of wheat flour used. Another trick is to use boiling water to knead these low – gluten flours. The heat partially cooks them to starch and makes them more manageable. Low – gluten flours are also difficult to roll into thin discs. The easy way is to pat them by hand into a thin disc on a well oiled plastic sheet. The disc is peeled off and cooked on a hot skillet (tava).

Off this goes to Divya's Show me your sandwich event.

1001 Sweet Indian flatbreads

Unleavened flatbreads are a staple of  north Indian cuisine. Sweet flatbreads are not very common, but taste delicious. These breads can be thick or thin, small or large, stuffed or plain. They are eaten with a variety of dals or curries and serve as edible cutlery -  being used both as a plate and as a spoon. Wheat is the most common flour used for flatbreads, but different regions prefer different flours. Each state has its own flatbread, mostly made from the locally available grain. Punjab prefers maize flour, Bihar  uses rice flour & Gujarat likes pearl millet flour.  All these flatbreads have their equivalent but thicker Tandoori version where they are baked in a tandoor ( open clay oven). 

Due to scarcity of fuel, India ( and China) did not embrace baking and ovens are very rare in Indian homes. Flatbreads are cooked on a hot skillet and only in restaurants do we get oven cooked breads like the Naan and Tandoor roti.

1001 Easy Grain Salads

This cookbook lists 1000 simple grain salads. Ten different grains are paired with ten different additives and ten different dressings to create a thousand different grain salads.

The base:A variety of grains listed in column 1 can be used as a base. 

The additives : Almost anything edible can go into a salad. Some common additives are listed in column 2. 

Dressing : Dressing acts as the sauce and makes the salads extra delicious. A variety of simple dressings listed in column 3 can be used. 

Grains are seeds of food crops. Cereals are edible seeds of grasses.  

Cooking Couscous
(Semolina granules) Pour one cup of boiling water to one cup of readymade, quick cook couscous. Cover for five minutes. Fluff up with a fork.

Cooking Bulgur (Steamed, dried & crushed wheat). Add three cups of boiling water to one cup of bulgur. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain water.

Cooking Corn: Microwave whole corn with husk, on the highest setting for 2-3 minutes. Let cool. Remove husk and silk. Use a sharp knife and cut down the sides, cutting out the kernels.

Cooking Rice: Add a cup of rice and two cups of water to a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on medium flame for two whistles. Let cool. Puffed rice / rice flakes need no cooking.

Cooking Millets / Barley / Sorghum/ Rye / Spelt: To three cups of water, add three pinches of salt and a cup of hulled, ready to cook millets, or pearl barley ( hulled barley) or sorghum or rye berries or spelt.  Let soak overnight. Drain, add to a pressure cooker with three cups of water and pressure cook on medium heat for 3 - 5 whistles. Let cool & drain water.
Cooking Teff : Bring two cups of water to a boil. Add half a cup of white / red/ brown teff. Stir, cover and cook on medium heat for 15 - 20 mins till all water is absorbed. 

     Sprouted Salads
Grains like Barley, oat, rye and wheat, buckwheat, spelt, triticale, pearl millet, oats & quinoa can be sprouted. These sprouts can be added raw to the salads instead of the cooked grains to create a range of sprouted salads.

Sprouting Grains.
Soak a handful of grains in water overnight. Line a colander with cloth. Add the soaked grains and let water drain away. Fold cloth over grains and keep away from direct sunlight. Place the colander under running water 2 -3 times a day to wash and rinse the grains. Sprouting should happen in 1 – 3 days.

 Salad Tips :

·         Mix in dressing just before serving

·         Hollowed out fruits like water melon / squash serve as great salad bowls.

·         The base should not be cooked very soft as it will absorb the dressing and become mushy. Slightly undercooked base is perfectly okay.

·         Remove as much water from the base as possible before mixing it into the salad. You can use large paper towel lined pans for this purpose.

·         All salads above can be served cold or at room temperature.

·         Cold grain salads are perfect for summer.

 The ‘Indian fried dressing’ or Tadka adds a lot of crunch and a burst of extra flavour to any of the salads above. Heat a spoon of oil, add a pinch of cumin / mustard. Mix in with the salad just before serving.  

And this goes to Lisa's No Croutons Required - Salads event.

1001 easy Fritters ( Pakoras)

1001 Pakoras
Any edible flour can be made into a batter, into which a variety of goodies can be dipped in and deep fried. This is the logic behind all the fritters, North Indian pakoras, Japanese tempuras, American hush puppies, South Indian bajji, North Indian bhajias, South Indian bondas, Japanese kakiage, South Indian pakodas, French beignets., Italian frittas and all such recipes, which exist in virtually every cuisine. Understanding the principle behind deep frying is the only way to cook a light and crispy fritter every time.

The batter:
Different cuisines use different flours to make the batter. Column 1 lists some of them

  • Gram flour forms the base for most North India Indian pakoras which are served with a spicy chutney.
  • Wheat flour is the base for Japanese Tempuras. Whole-wheat / All purpose flour is mixed with equal amount of ice cold water and mixed briefly to make a light Tempura batter , which gives a light and crunchy texture. Eggs can be mixed in this batter. Almost all veggies, seafood, meats can be dipped into this batter and fried. Tempuras are served with a dipping sauce.
  • Dry flour , usually gram flour, is used in south Indian Pakodas ( chiefly onion, spinach, cabbage). The water content in the veggies makes the flour cling to them. These are eaten plain as a snack.
  • Yellow corn meal batter is used in southern states of America to cook up Corn fritters / Hush Puppies . These are served with maple syrup / honey.
  • Finger millet flour is used to cook up Ragi pakoras popular in Tamilnadu.
  • Rice flour is used to cook up Almojabanas, a Puerto Rican recipe.
  • Rava (cream of wheat) mixed with yogurt can be used to cook up a crunchy fritter.
  • Any edible flour can be used to make a batter. Some all purpose flour is usually mixed in so that the batter made from flours which have less gluten can cling to the stuff being fried.

The flavouring
A range of flavouring agents listed in column 2 can be mixed in with the batter to cook up scores of variations. Some fritters like the Tempura use little or no flavouring.

The goodies:
A variety of goodies listed in column 3 can be dipped into the batter and deep fried. There are no fixed rules about the goodies & batter combination. Experiment with your favourite goodies!

Fry safe!

Rushina, whose blog is on my most admired list, calls for aPakora competition and was nice enough to request an one page pakora cookbook. I really enjoyed doing this one. This also goes to Srilekha's EFM - Savouries & Shanti's Lovely Winter Recipes.

1001 Easy Momos ( Tibetian Dumplings)

Click the image on the left to view the cookbook.
Momos / momo-cha  are steamed dumplings. These are a  traditional delicacy in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, and Ladakh. They are also common in North East India. They have now become a common street food in many north Indian cities

Though most momos are steamed, the cooking technique can be tweaked as below :

Variation 1 : Instead of steaming, you can drop the dumplings into salted boiling water and cook for 10 minutes.
Variation 2 : Heat a spoon of butter. Add the steamed or boiled momos. Stir and cook on gentle heat for a minute. This gives them a crispy skin. 

When momos can be served in a bowl drenched in a hot and spicy sauce, they are called C-momos. Steamed and panfried momos are called  Kothey momos . Steamed momos can also be deep fried and taste like a chewy version of our Samosas.

Modak ( Kozhukattai) is the closest equivalent to momos we have in Indian cuisine. Though traditional momos use just wheat flour, we can apply our roti making expertise to combine an array of different flours with different flavourings and fillings to create a huge array of momos. If you’ve learnt to make a roti, you can make a momo. And if you are in a rush, you can use any dry curry as a quick filling. 

Tips : 
1. Use hot water for kneading dough. The dumpling would then have a greater elasticity and would hold its shape well.
2. While rolling out, keep the middle slightly thicke than the edges. This will prevent the stuffing from leaking out.
3. Use a pinch of yeast / baking powder while kneading. This leavens the dough and makes the momos soft.

Off this goes to Shrutei's Steamed Treats event.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

10 Simple Mangalore Catholic Curries

This cookbook lists 10 Mangalore Catholic curries, greatly simplified so that a first time cook can easily cook them.

Converted Roman Catholics fleeing the Portuguese inquisition (for  retaining their ‘pagan’ rituals) settled in Mangalore. Over time, they adopted the local customs, language ( Konkani) and their cuisine evolved as a fusion of Goan, Portuguese and Mangalore cuisines. Like all coastal cuisines coconuts and sea food are heavily used. Due to the Portuguese influence, this is one of the very few parts of India where pork is relished.

Use of red rice, use of hog plums as a souring agent, raw cashewnut in curries, fish / shrimp powder as flavouring and the use of fiery meet mirsang  are hallmarks of Mangalore Catholic cuisine. 


 The following curries are listed in this cookbook:

1.: Sweet & sour Chutney 

2.:  Kane Ghasi (Lady fish curry)   

3.:  Galmbi Chutney (Dried prawn chutney)

 4.: Murmurai Vaingen (Brinjal Chutney)

 5.:  Kane Fry (Lady fish fry)  

6.:  Dal Sar  (Lentil curry) 

7.:  Ros Curry – (Fish curry with coconut milk)

8.:  Pork Baffat (Sour Pork Curry)

 9.:  Kori Ghasi (Chicken curry) 

10.: Kori Adajina (Dry chicken curry)

Friday, July 10, 2009

10 Simple Peanut Recipes

 Peanut : A Primer

Peanuts are not nuts, but legumes (same family as Peas / beans / pulses). A native of  South America, it was introduced by the Portuguese to the rest of the world. India and China account for over 50% of peanuts produced ( but export very little). US and Argentina account for over 50% of world's export of peanuts.

Usage in cuisines

Though mostly roasted / fried and eaten as a snack, peanuts appear in a few cuisines as an active ingredient. It is blended with onion / garlic / chilies and used as a sauce  in Peru and Indonesia. A similar blended sauce ( Thogayal) is cooked in Tamilnadu. In West Africa, peanut butter is often mixed in stews to cook Maafe. In the west, it is chiefly used as a garnish in salads, in cookies and in breads. 

Famine food

Peanut butter enriched with oil, powdered milk, sugar vitamins and minerals is used for emergency famine relief and to reverse severe malnourishment. Mix in peanut butter with some powdered milk and sugar and you have an ideal camping food. A spoon or two of enriched butter is enough to power your body for a few hours.

Anti Aging

Peanuts are packed with protein - making it nutritionally equivalent to meat and eggs. Like many nuts, roasted peanuts are rich in  anti oxidants and resveratrol ( an anti-aging chemical)


This cookbook lists 10 simple recipes using Peanuts, which pales in comparison with the genius George Carver’s 109 recipes using Peanuts. The following recipes are listed in this cookbook:

1.:     Peanut Podi ( Spicy Peanut powder)

2.:     Peanut butter

3.:     Peanut coconut chutney

4.:     Buddala Pachadi ( Andhra’s Spicy Peanut dip)  

5.:     Peanut butter milkshake  

6.:     Peanut sauce

7.:     Peanut milk 

8.:.    Thai Satay Sauce

9.:     Peanut Sundal (Peanut dry curry)  

10.:   Peanut Chikki ( Peanut brittle) 

And this is for Pavani's JFI- Peanuts, an event started by Indira.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Rice Recipes from the British Raj

The Raj Cuisine A fusion of Indian spices & cooking techniques with western stuff (vinegar, beef, ham, smoked kippers etc) created this cuisine, so loved by the British. These recipes were adapted from traditional Indian recipes and modified to suit the English palate. The Indian Khichidi became Kitcheree / Kedgeree, the Pulao became the Pellow and unusual ingredients like smoked kippers found their way into rice dishes.
This One page cookbook lists 10 simple rice recipes popular in British kitchens during the British Raj. The following recipes are listed in this cookbook. 

1.: Boiled rice 

2.: Rice Kheer (Rice pudding) 

3.: Pish Pash  (Chicken rice) 

4.: Mung Dal Bhoonee Kitcheeree / Kedgeree (Lentil rice )  

5.: Masoor Dal Bhoonee Kitcheeree 

6.:  Chana Dal Bhoonee Kitcheeree 

7.: Green Pea  Bhoonee Kitcheeree 

9.: Chicken Pellow ( Pulao) ( Flavoured Chicken rice ) 

10.: Prawn Pellow ( Pulao) ( Flavoured Prawn rice)  

And this goes to Bombay foodie Simran's AWED Britain event, started by DK.

10 No cook Mango Recipes

Click the image on the left to see the cookbook. This cookbook goes to cooking for all season's Mango Mela &  Srivalli’s Mango Mela and  lists 10 simple no cook Mango recipes listed below  :

 1.:  Mango fruit salad 

2.:  Mango Raita

3.: Thick Mango Juice

4.:  Mango Muesli

5.:  Green Mango Chutney

6.:  Mango Smoothie  

7.:   Mango Lassi

8.:.  Mango Milkshake   

9.:   Green mango pickle 

10.: Mango Shrikhand

Off this goes to Cooking 4 all season's Mango Mela &  Srivalli’s Mango Mela

Simple (P)re-cooked recipes

Idiot proof cooking with leftovers :

Using precooked stuff to create fresh dishes is really simple. The basic logic is to use precooked stuff as the base and the recook it with spices and additives, so that you get a fresh, flavourful dish.


These are ideal for leftovers as idlis / dosas / chappatis / parotas etc, which become tasteless unless served piping hot. But when they are chopped up and recooked, they not only become delicious, but also store well and can be eaten even when they get cold..


It takes great skill to produce fluffy, soft Idlis, soft chappatis, flaky parotas or crispy dosas. However, as these are recooked in these recipes, it is okay if these are not perfect to begin with. You can purchase them from almost any street food stall and after cooking they’ll all taste as delicious as the ones bought from the finest restaurant. It does not matter if you have bought idli / dosa / parota from a posh restaurant or from a street food stall. After recooking, you’ll rarely be able to spot the difference.


Many of these were in fact developed to use up leftovers. Idli upma was invented in homes to use up leftover idlis. It is rarely served in restaurants. Kothu parota / Muttai parota are wildly popular in street food stalls and were invented as a way to use up leftover parotas. Vada kari was the solution to leftover masala vadas. Sambar idli / Sambar vada / Dahi vada were developed to use up leftover Idlis & vadas. I’ve extended this concept in creating chappati / parota noodles and stir fried dosa.

These are ideal when suden guests drop in or for using up leftovers. And that's my  final submission for Divya's Show me your breakfast event.

1001 Quickie Breakfasts

Quickie Breakfasts
I've been a big fan of quick breakfast recipes, which can be cooked under five minutes. The trick is to use ready to eat food ( Bread/ corn flakes / puffed rice ) or preprocessed food ( Rice flakes/ couscous ) or leftovers ( idli / parota / pasta). Just flavour these and throw in some veggies , stir fry all together and your breakfast is ready in a jiffy. And this goes as my entry for  for Divya's Show me your breakfast event & The Singing Chef's Weekend Express Breakfasts.

Here are the model recipes for 1001 Quick breakfasts with detailed recipes and great photos

Priya's Aloo Poha
Padma's Atukulu Upma
Raaga's Mixed Vegetable Poha
Anuradha's different take on Rice flakes
Kanda Poha recipe with a writeup on rice flakes
Vanaja's Kurmura Ugrani
Laavanya's Idli Upma with a nice technique to crumble Idlis
Meena's Pasta Upma
Jasmine's Cuscous Upma
Mahima's Kothu Parota
Preeti's Cornflake Upma
Deepa's Bread Upma

Full Meal Salads

This cookbook lists 1000 simple salads that can serve as a full meal. Ten different bases are paired with ten different additives and ten different dressings to create a thousand different salads. Easy salads like Panzella (recipe # 023), Tabuleh (recipe # 343):: Pasta Salad (recipe # 612) :: Corn Salad (recipe # 412) :: Couscous Salad (recipe # 228) can be quickly created using this cookbook.

The base:
A variety of cereals / cabbohydrate sources like beans & potatoes as listed in column 1 can be used as a base
The additives :
Almost anything edible can go into a salad. Some common additives are listed in column 2.
Dressing :
Dressing acts as the sauce and makes the salads extra delicious. A variety of simple dressings listed in column 3 can be used.

Cooking Couscous (Semolina granules) Pour one cup of boiling water to one cup of readymade, quick cook couscous. Cover for five minutes. Fluff up with a fork.
Cooking Bulgur (steamed, dried & crushed wheat). Add three cups of boiling water to one cup of bulgur. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain water.
Cooking Corn: Microwave whole corn with husk, on the highest setting for 2-3 minutes. Let cool. Remove husk and silk. Use a sharp knife and cut down the sides, cutting out the kernels.
Cooking Potato: Peel and chop potato into cubes. Microwave covered for 3 – 5 minutes or add to boiling water and cook for 3 – 5 minutes till they are tender. Drain water.
Cooking Pasta: Add a handful of pasta in a liter of boiling water with four pinches of salt. Stir. Cook for 4 – 8 minutes, stirring occasionally till it is done. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Cooking Rice: Add a cup of rice and two cups of water to a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on medium flame for two whistles. Let cool. Puffed rice / rice flakes need no cooking.
Cooking Millets : To three cups of water, add three pinches of salt and a cup of hulled, ready to cook millets ( Pearl / Foxtail / Proso / Finger millet). Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes till all water is absorbed. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool.
Cooking Barley: To three cups of water, add three pinches of salt and a cup of pearl barley ( hulled, fast cooking barley). Cook on medium heat for 10 – 12 minutes till all water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and let cool.

Salad Tips :
• Mix in dressing just before serving
• Hollowed out fruits like water melon / squash serve as great salad bowls.
• The base should not be cooked very soft as it will absorb the dressing and become mushy. A slightly undercooked base is perfectly okay.
• New potatoes are perfect for salads.
• Remove as much water from the base as possible before mixing it into the salad. You can use large paper towel lined pans for this purpose.
• All salads above can be served cold or at room temperature.

The ‘Indian fried dressing’ or Tadka adds a lot of crunch and a burst of extra flavour to any of the salads above. Heat a spoon of oil, add a pinch of cumin / mustard. Mix in with the salad just before serving.

And that's my second submission for Divya's Show me your breakfast event.

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Okay, let me start from the very beginning. 1500 crore years ago, with a Big Bang, the Universe is born. It expands dramatically. Hydrogen forms, contracts under gravity and lights up, forming stars. Some stars explode, dusting space with the building blocks of life. These condense into planets, one of which is Earth. Over time, self replicating molecules appear, multiply and become more complex. They create elaborate survival machines (cells, plants, animals). A variety of lifeforms evolve. Soon, humans arise, discover fire, invent language, agriculture and religion. Civilisations rise and fall. Alexander marches into India. Moguls establish an empire. Britain follows. Independence. Partition. Bloodshed. The license raj is in full sway. I'm born. India struggles to find its place. Liberalisation. The Internet arrives! I move from Tirupur to Chennai. Start a company. Expand into Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East. Poof! Dot com bust. Funding dries up. Struggle. Retire. Discover the joy of cooking, giving, friendships and the pleasures of a simple life. Life seems less complicated. Pizza Republic, Pita Bite and Bhojan Express bloom !

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