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Thalassery Mutton Dum Biryani!

Hello, my lovelies!!!! I am baaaaaack!!!! Ok, I do need to apologize for the extremely long hiatus...and no, I am not going to make any exc...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The perfect Hummus!

I was born and raised in the Middle East, in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was only in 2002, when my dad was offered a better job opportunity, that we shifted to Dubai. So technically, though I'm Indian, I consider Dubai to be my home. In fact, so does A, considering that he was born and raised here too. 

On the 2nd of December, the UAE celebrates it's 41st National Day. So, I thought, what better way to commemorate the happy occasion than by making a dish that's really close to the hearts of almost all Arab people. Hummus is nothing but a chickpea based paste that serves as the perfect dip/side dish to anything..meat, salads, or just plain bread. Personally, I like to eat it all by itself!! The 2 main things required for Hummus are Chickpeas and Tahina paste (also called Tahini), both of which are readily available in all markets and groceries. Tahina paste is ground sesame seeds which you can make from scratch at home or just buy it ready made  like I did. Trust me, this recipe is really simple to make as you will see below, in fact a total of 20 minutes max. And trust me, you will absolutely love it, guaranteed! I was looking around for the perfect recipe and got it  from Deedee's Mediterranean kitchen. Dede in fact has got some great Mediterranean recipes, so do check out her site for more Arab recipes! So, here's wishing the UAE in advance, and here's introducing my very first Mediterranean recipe, woohoo!!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 can of chickpeas (approx 450 gms)- I used the brand "California Garden"
  • Tahina paste- 4 tablespoons
  • Yogurt- 4 tablespoons
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • Garlic cloves- 2
  • Salt- To taste
  • Chilly powder- Garnish
  • Olive oil- Garnish
METHOD
  • Drain out the water from the can of chickpeas and rinse it once or twice under normal running water.
  • Put the chickpeas into a blender, and to this add the tahina paste and the yogurt. Blend it into a smooth paste. This could take a while, so to make the process easier, you could add 2 or 3 teaspoons of water. Ensure that the paste does not become too watery, because hummus should be thick.
  • Now add the lemon juice, salt and mashed garlic and blend properly to get a thick creamy paste.
  • Optionally, you could also add a few mint and parsley leaves, which gives it a great aroma. Unfortunately, I didn't have them with me, so had to skip that step.  
  • Once the hummus is ready, spread it out on your serving dish with the back of a spoon. You will notice that there will be quite a few ripples in the mixture, only because it is thick. 
  •  Sprinkle a little chilly powder (optional) as a final garnish and pour some olive oil all over. This makes the hummus more moist.
  • Additionally, you could also garnish it with a few olives. 
Though I didn't have olives (and I'm not a very big fan of them anyways!), I was pretty lavish with the chilly powder and olive oil. So, wasn't that an easy breezy recipe? Here are the final pics. Let me know your thoughts!



So, what do you think? It does look a bit plain, but if you want more color  go ahead and add a few olives and some more chilly powder!

Do try this out and let me know the results. Till next time, adios amigos and God bless!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pineapple pachadi!

Hello all! All my UAE friends, hope u guys had a great weekend..and are all set to start afresh. I guess the rest of the world is gearing up for their weekend..and what better way to start the weekend than with a new recipe on the menu, huh!!
Pineapple pachadi was something that I was planning on cooking for a very long time, but for some reason, never got along to do it. The normal pachadis that I cook are beetroot and cucumber (vellarika), but this was something that I was planning on trying for quite a while. So, much to my surprise on Thursday, I realized I had all the ingredients I was looking for..which is a bonus as far as I'm concerned, lolz! I looked around quite a bit for what I thought was the perfect recipe and came across one from the Yummy Team, which I thought was just perfect. There's just one difference though, they've used jaggery in their dish, while I've avoided it. So, for a more detailed step by step procedure, check out Yummy O Yummy, but for the moment, check out my recipe minus the jaggery!

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 gm can of pineapple chunks
  • Yogurt- 1 cup
  • Shredded coconut- 6 tablespoons
  • Chilly powder- 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds- 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds- 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Dry red chillies- tempering
  • Oil- 1-2 tablespoons
  • Curry leaves- Garnish
METHOD
  • Cook pineapple slices with the turmeric and chilly powders and some salt for about 15 minutes on a medium flame, till they become soft and mushy.
  • While this is cooking, grind together coconut, yogurt, a pinch of mustard seeds and the cumin seeds to  a smooth paste.
  • Once the pineapple slices are cooked, let them cool down and grind them completely to a smooth paste.
  • In a pan, combine the coconut and pineapple pastes and cook on a low flame for about 5 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil, else it may curdle.
  • In a frying pan, heat oil and fry the curry leaves and dry red chillies. Pour this over the pachadi.
Tada, yummy pineapple pachadi is ready! You could also use fresh pineapple. Since I had a tin at home, I thought I'd try it with that. 

This was how the final result looked...


There you are, doesent that look good? This is typically a sadya item, but since it's so easy to make, am sure you can adapt it for normal lunches too. So, chk out the recipe and let me know your thoughts. Till next time, take care and God bless!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kerala style Potato Curry!

I'm feeling a little guilty...only because I posted a non vegetarian recipe earlier. I felt that I was being a bit inconsiderate to my veggie pals..he he! This recipe suddenly took me back to my college days for some reason, only coz I thought of one of my dear friends, Namitha. She's a pure vegetarian. The other day, she mailed me saying that she wanted to jump on a plane and come and see me, just to talk to me. That really teared me up. College days, no one can ever take that from you, I guess...So this one's for you Nami.. I hope you like it.

INGREDIENTS

  • Potatoes- 2 medium sized
  • Onion - 1 medium sized
  • Ginger Garlic paste - 1 teaspoon (If using fresh ginger and garlic, 2 garlic pods crushed and a small piece of ginger crushed)
  • Green chilies - 4-5 slit through the middle
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
  • Thick coconut milk - 1/2 cup
  • Water - 2 cups
  • Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Oil - 1 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Curry leaves - garnish
METHOD
  • Boil potatoes with their skins for 20 minutes on a low flame. Once boiled, allow them to cool and peel of their skin. Cut them into cubes.
  • Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds.
  • To this, add the ginger garlic paste and green chilies.
  • Now add onions and salt and wait for the onions to turn slightly brown.
  • Add the turmeric and coriander powders. Fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add the potatoes to this along with the water. Wait for it to boil properly and the gravy to thicken. This could take almost 10 minutes.
  • Finally add the coconut milk and wait for it to boil for another 2 minutes.
  • Check salt levels. Switch off the flame and garnish with curry leaves.
Hot and creamy potato curry is ready. A couple of pics for your viewing pleasure.



Doesn't this curry remind you of sunshine? For some reason, I just feel so nice looking at it..he he! Looks like I'm completely losing it...so before I drive you even more crazy, am signing off! Take care darlins!


I am back...with Chicken Biryani!!!

Helloooooooooooooooo my darlings!!! I have to start of by apologizing ..for not being in touch for so long. I truly am sorry. If you remember, I was in Canada for a bit, on a project. As of August though, my job finished and I was permanently back to Dubai to be with A!! In the excitement of things, I have to be honest, I did become a teeny tiny bit lazy, but i promise, I never did forget you guys. I really mean that! This chicken biryani is proof of that. I made this in August, for my father in law's birthday, and saved up the pics for you guys. See, so sweet of me right..:P. Yeah okay, that was a bit too much even for me. Enough of me already, how have you been? I have to thank you for being so supportive and still checking out my blog and even becoming members, despite me being so inactive. So, I have decided to make it up to you by posting a scrumptious chicken biryani recipe! Biryani can actually be made in several ways. There's no hard and fast rule to make a biryani. Some people cook the chicken and rice together, while others, like myself cook it separately. Likewise, some people marinate the chicken with all the ingredients listed below under "For Marination" and include curd as well, but I don't. Irrespective, made in the right proportions and with an ample amount of love, any dish turns out to be scrumptious! This biryani is very special, coz it's my mom's very own recipe. The first time I ever made this was for my sister in law, brother in law and mother in law..and they absolutely loved it. Enough with the melodrama already, let's get this show on the road!!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 kilos chicken
For Marination
  • Coriander powder- 3 tablespoons
  • Chilly powder- 2 tablespoons
  • Turmeric powder- 1 teaspoon
  • Salt- To taste
  • Lemon juice - 1 lemon
For Gravy
  • Onions - 4
  • Garlic - 1 whole piece
  • Ginger - 1 whole piece
  • Green chilies - 7
  • Curd - 1/2 litre
  • Tomatoes - 1 big or 2 small
  • Coriander leaves - A handful
  • Mint leaves (Pudina leaves) - A handful
  • Oil - 4-5 tablespoons
For Rice
  • Basmati Rice - 3 cups (1 cup=240 ml)
  • Boiling water - 2 cups
  • Butter - 1 tablespoon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Cloves - 2
  • Cinnamon- 1 small piece
  • Cardamom - 2 
  • Salt - To taste
METHOD
  • First, marinate the chicken with ingredients under "For Marination" section. Ideally, it would be nice to marinate it overnight. However, if you don't have time, marinate it for at least 30 minutes. Also, using your blender, blend yogurt along with coriander and mint leaves and set aside. 
  • Start preparing the gravy. For this, pour oil into a non stick vessel and wait for it to heat.
  •  Once oil is hot, add the ginger, garlic and green chilies and saute till they turn slightly brown. 
  • Now add the onions and a little salt, so as to cook the onions faster. Wait for the onions to turn golden brown.
  • Now add the tomatoes and mix together till it turns into a fine paste. 
  • Finally add the chicken and the curd mixture, mix thoroughly and keep closed for 15 minutes on a medium flame.
  • During this time, was the basmati rice at least 3 times, pour water so that it is just above the rice, and set this aside. You can start preparing the rice once the gravy is ready.
  • Take the pan in which you will prepare the rice. Into this, pour 2 cups of boiling water, add the cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, lemon juice and butter and wait for it to boil thoroughly. 
  • After 20-25 minutes, check the chicken gravy. It should be ready. Check salt levels, switch of the flame and set aside.
  • Time to prepare the rice. Once the water starts boiling, add the washed rice to this and stir it once. Keep stirring every couple of minutes. Basmati rice is tricky, because if overcooked, it becomes really sticky. The rice needs to be only half cooked, so once you pick a grain of rice and squeeze it, one half will remain solid while the other half gets mashed. It should take approximately 5-7 minutes to cook the rice. 
  • Once the rice is semi cooked, switch off the flame and drain the rice to remove all water. 
  • Now, we need to combine the rice and chicken so as to make the biryani. For this, take a non stick sauce pan, and butter the bottom.
  • Pour the gravy at the bottom of the dish, and layer the rice above. Put a few chicken pieces on the rice and put more rice on top, until you finally end up with rice on the very top. 
  • Keep this pan on the lowest flame on your stove and cook for approx 30 minutes, so that the semi cooked rice gets completely cooked.
  • As a garnish, set aside a few coriander and mint leaves and sprinkle on top once the flame is switched off.
Tada, chicken biryani is ready! Serve with a delicious cucumber raita, papad and pickle. Don't you want to see the final results?

Scrumptious Biryani!
Closeup of the biryani!

So, what do you guys think? Promise me that you will try this out and let me know, okay? So, till next time, adios amigos, take care and God bless!


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