Easy LunchBox Series. · One Pot One Shot (OPOS) · Rice Varieties.

Fragrant Green Pulav – One Pot Dishes.

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It has been 7 years since Anubhavati was born and I must say it has been an amazing ride!  The journey has taught me a lot, not only in documenting what I cook for my family, but more in terms of photography, presentation and definitely my writing skills. Many of my readers mention that they enjoy the little titbit or narrative that comes before the actual recipe itself!!

Pilafs and one pot meals are always a pleasure to cook up and serve as they enable to act as a source of carbohydrate, protein and vitamins all in one…not to mention the fact that they are fuss free and easy. One of my favorite has been my mom`s version of the mixed vegetable rice – Vegetable bhath. My kids love this version as the rice is pinkish red because of the addition of beetroot!  They also love my Mint Rice and the Tomato Rice that I make!

This one was passed on to me by a friend K and she was more than happy to let me feature it on the blog. The star ingredient of this rice is really Green Chillies. The heat and the spice is only from the chilies and the resulting flavour is unique and very delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Cups Basmati Rice.

2 Carrots.

1 Cup Peas.

6-7  Green Chillies.(Reduce if needed).

1 Bunch Cilantro.

1/2 Tsp Garam Masala.

1 Tsp Dhania Powder.

Turmeric.

6-7 Cloves.

4-5 Cardamom.

1 Onion chopped.

Handful cashews.

1/3 Cup Coconut Milk Powder.

PREPARATION:

  • Grind the cilantro, cashews and the green chillies to a coarse paste adding NO water. The green chillies are the star ingredient here and the aroma and flavour is allowed to shine in the dish. We do not add any red chilli powder.
  • Dice the onions, carrots, and potatoes if needed, and thaw out the peas and corn if using.
  • Soak the basmati rice in water for about 30 minutes.
  • Take a pressure pan and add about 2-3 tsp of ghee or oil.
  • Season with bay leaf, cloves and cardamom crushed.  When the aroma starts wafting from the seasoning, add the chopped onions.
  • When the onions are sauteed, add all the chopped veggies, salt and allow it to cook halfway through.
  • Add the pulsed chilli-cilantro paste and mix it in. Now follow with all the dry spices – Turmeric Powder, Dhania Powder and Garam Masala.
  • The mixture has to get cooked and the raw smell from the spices should slowly disappear.
  • Now add the soaked and drained rice, coconut milk powder and about 2 1/2 – 3 cups of water depending on the final consistency. Add salt to taste. You could also add a spoon of ghee to facilitate the cooking.
  • Close the pressure cooker, place the weight and cook on low/sim for about 25 minutes.
  • If on opening, there is excess water, let it cook for a couple more minutes.
  • If its mushy after 25 minutes, switch off the stove and allow it to stay open until its ready to be served.
  • Fluff with a work and serve with a cup of Boondhi Raita.

 

 

No Need of Onions!!! · Rice Varieties.

Saravana Bhavan “Rangoli” Gujrati Khichdi.

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You just cant go wrong with relatively simple comfort food. The most comforting foods are the most hearties and the most easiest. The very first time we went to the Rangoli Restaurant at T.Nagar was something I could never forget. I got to sample comforting, wholesome gujrathi and rajasthani rustic cuisine here and I was completely smitten. I remember starting the course with the huge thali plate with a multitude of minuscule steel cups. They had around 2 dry vegetables, 2 gravies and one daal, curd, pickle, shrikhand, dessert and sample starters. They also serve unlimited hot and super soft rotis with refills of the accompaniments too. Then they served hot khichdi with a dollop of desi ghee. It was almost redolent with the aroma of freshly melted ghee on a bed of hot mushy khichdi which almost reminded me of the “paruppu sadam” we eat as kids. Now I was hooked!  It was the simplest of all the dishes that were served but I could never really recreate it at home for quite some time. I guess it was the basmati rice thats cooked to a mushy consistency and I figured it out completely by accident. It`s really my goto dish on days that are crazy, rainy and otherwise dull.

Vegetarian-Restaurant-Dubai

Pic Courtesy:Google.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup Basmati Rice.

1/4 Cup heaped Moong Dal.

Handful of Toor Dhal.

5-6 Cups Water.

1 Tsp Ghee to add to rice.

Salt to taste.

Seasoning:

2 Tbsp Ghee.

2 Tsp Jeera.

1 Cinnamon Stick.

10 Curry Leaves torn.

PREPARATION:

  •  Wash the rice and dal until its clean and add the 6 cups water.
  • Transfer to a pressure cooker vessel and add a Tsp of ghee.
  • Pressure cook as you would for regular rice/dal. I normally wait for one whistle and then bring down the flame to sim and THEN cook for ten minutes. Switch off.
  • When ready to release pressure, open the lid and with a masher, mash the rice well until mushy.
  • Season with the ingredients specified and pour over the khichdi.
  • Serve piping HOT with pickle or Paneer Butter Masala. 
  • This khichdi is cooked with moong daal which rapidly thickens with time. Always better to open the cooker and season and immediately serve when ready.
Rice Varieties.

Cabbage Rice – And no one will know its cabbage!

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Cabbage has always been a vegetable that’s regularly cooked in  my mother`s home as its extremely nutritious and rich in vitamins and  minerals. As a kid,  I would hate the unpleasant aroma of cabbage in the process of getting cooked.  My grandmother loved making Cabbage Thoran by simply garnishing cooked cabbage with a dash of roughly pulsed green chillies and coconut. The fresh raw spice from the green chillies, swathed on the seemingly innocent cabbage, would zing it up to a whole new level.  I also make Cabbage Avial and sometimes simply season and cook cabbage and peas together. Still YUM! I was looking for a one pot meal to include cabbage and Mallika Badrinath`s version seemed to be on the same lines as my Pudina Rice Recipe. One can never ever go wrong with a mint-cilantro-green chilli base! I tweaked it by adding just cilantro!  And we have a winner!!!

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 Cups Basmati Rice.

2 1/2 Cups Water.

A few drops of ghee/ oil.

3 Cups Cabbage Diced.

1/2 Cup Frizen Peas.

1 Onion diced fine.

1 Green Chilli Sliced long.

A pinch of turmeric.

Salt as needed.

Ground Masala Base:

1/3 Cup Grated Coconut .

1 Tbsp Pottu Kadalai/ Chutney Dhal/ Cashew Nuts.

1 Tsp Poppy Seeds/ khus Khus.

3 Cloves.

1 Inch Piece Cinnamon.

1 Bunch Tender Coriander Leaves.

2 Green Chillies.

Seasoning:

3 Tbsp Oil/ Ghee.

1 Tsp Jeera.

1 Tsp Channa Dal.

1 Tsp Urad Dhal.

1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds.

A few broken cashew nuts.

6-7 Torn Curry Leaves.

1/4 Tsp Hing.

1/4 Tsp Cardamom Powdered (Optional)

PREPARATION:

  • Wash the rice until the water is clear and add the measured water, a drop of ghee,  and cook in the rice cooker. When done allow the rice to cool for some time.
  • Grind all the ingredients that’s required for the masala base . Add the cashew/dalia, red chillies, whole spices, coconut and then finally the cilantro. Pulse to a dry rough mix.
  • Take a large wok and add about 3 tbsp of oil. Temper with the above mentioned seasonings and add the diced onion and the sliced green chili.
  • Add the pulsed masala mix and incorporate in to the kadai. Stir for a couple minutes.
  • Add the shredded cabbage, peas, turmeric powder, a little salt and sprinkle a few drops of water. Cover and cook but take care that the cabbage never gets burnt.
  • The cabbage has an unpleasant aroma when over cooked but since it cooks in the ground masala, this smell is completely morphed.
  • When the cabbage is well cooked,  add the cooked and cooled rice.
  • Mix the rice in to the flavored cabbage in the kadai and gently turn without breaking the rice grains.
  • When well mixed, taste and adjust for salt.
  • Delicious cabbage rice can be served with Carrot Raita and chips.

 

Kid Friendly Recipes. · Rice Varieties. · Salads/ Recipes for the Calorie Conscious.

Millet Spinach Khichdi.

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Food is the most primitive form of comfort” 

Comfort Food for me is almost always food that’s traditionally made at home , mingled with a gazillion  memories  of partaking it with my sisters. Everyting seemed a lot more fun with them around. Even a simple meal of Vethakuzhambu, Alu Fry, and Pepper Rasam would feel almost like nectar. Eating out was almost a rarity and when it does, my staple order would definitely be Restaurant Style Vegetable Fried Rice and Gobi Manchurian.  Most recently since we have started having Gujarati Thali at  Saravana Bhavan Gujrathi Restaurant at T.Nagar, Chennai, we are a big fan of their Gujrathi Khichdi. Its almost a replica of mushy dal rice, simply seasoned with cumin seeds and a glob of ghee. Try it piping hot, and its instant comfort food. This Khichdi is made with millets and spiced with spinach ground with cilantro leaves to give it that zing., This is my entry for the Shhh Cooking Event for the month of October 2014.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 Cup Brown Rice.

1/2 Cup Millet.

1/4 Cup heaped Moong Dal.

5 Cups Water.

1 Tsp Ghee.

Salt to taste.

Grind to a Paste:

1 Cup Spinach chopped and cleaned.

1 bunch cilantro cleaned.

2 Green Chillies.

1 Red Onion roughly chopped.

Seasoning:

2 Tbsp Ghee.

2 Tsp Jeera.

1 Cinnamon Stick.

10 Curry Leaves torn.

PREPARATION:

  • Wash the brown rice , millet and moong dal  a couple times and allow to soak for about 30 minutes.
  • Measure out the ground paste. The paste + Water must roughly add to about 5 to 51/2 cups of liquid.
  • Add the ground paste+ water, salt to taste, a tsp of ghee and give it a quick mix.
  • Pressure cook the rice-millet- dal mix for  1 whistle and reduce the flame to sim for 10 minutes and switch off.
  • When the pressure is released, mash the rice/millet well.
  • Take a wide mouthed pan and add ghee, and when hot, the seasonings.
  • Pour out the khichdi on to the pan and mix and serve HOT with Mango pickle or Rajma Gravy.
  • Mouth watering, simple, healthy yet tasty Spinach Khichdi is ready.
  • Substitute Brown Rice for Basmati Rice/ Sona Masoori/ Cracked Wheat etc.

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Rice Varieties.

Hyderabadi Vegetable Dum Biriyani – and not a drop of oil/ghee!!!

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I have always loved the flavour of Hyderabadi Dum Biriyani which is slow cooked in the dum with the flavours of various layers of rice and marinated vegetables, intermingled with the aroma of cilantro, mint and spices. My neighbour in Bangalore Gayathri always used to make Hyderabadi Vegetable Biriyani and share it with me. On one occasion, when her mom was visiting her, she offered to teach me to make it the elaborate way, with loads of ghee and oil, marinated vegetables etc and the end result was an extremely delicate taste of the biriyani which would explode in to a hundred flavours in the mouth. This is a version made WITHOUT A DROP OF OIL, on requests from many of my readers. Please feel free to add ghee if needed and if you feel that its very dry.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Cups Basmati Rice.

4 Cups Water.

1 Onion diced small.

1 Onion diced in to long slices.

2 Medium Carrots diced.

20 Florets of Cauliflower.

1 Cup French Beans diced.

3/4 Cup Green Peas.

6-8 Green Cardamom Pods.

2 Large Black Cardamom.

15 Cloves.

1 Bay Leaf.

1 1/2 Inch Cinnamon Stick.

1 Tsp Caraway/ Shahi Jeera.

2 Tbsp Fresh Ginger Garlic Paste.

1 Tsp Turmeric Powder.

1 Tbsp Red Chilli Powder.

1 Tbsp Dhania Powder.

1/2 Cup Yoghurt.

1/2 Tsp Rose Water.

1 Cup Tomato Puree.

A few strands of saffron.

1 Tsp Garam Masala.

1/4 Cup Chopped Corriander.

1/4 Cup Chopped Mint.

PREPARATION:

  • Wash the basmati rice a couple times and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Move the rice to a rice cooker and add 3 green cardamom,  one black cardamom, 5 cloves and a 1/2 inch of cinnamon. Cook until 3/4`ths done and set aside. Drain excess water and allow to cool for some time.
  • In a non stick pan add the remaining green cardamoms, black cardamom, clove, cinnamon, caraway seeds and bay leaf. Saute for a couple of minutes and add the onions, carrots, cauliflower, french beans and green peas.
  • Add a little salt and the ginger garlic paste and mix well. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and dhania powder.
  • Around the same time, heat a cast iron skillet and spread the long slices of onions on the tava. Keep the flame on medium low and allow to grill/ carmelise.
  • Whisk yoghurt with rose water and saffron. If the consistency is too thick feel free to add a little milk to make it creamy. Set aside.
  • At this time, pour in the tomato puree in to the pan along with 1/2 tsp Garam Masala and mix well.Simmer for about two minutes.
  • Take a large glass bowl or simply use the rice container in the rice cooker.
  • Arrange a layer of rice at the bottom. Over that, arrange half of the cooked vegetables  followed by another layer of rice. Sprinkle half of the remaining 1/2 Tsp garam masala powder, half the coriander leaves, half the mint leaves and half the yogurt mixture. Sprinkle a little of the carmelized onions.
  • Arrange the remaining vegetables followed by the remaining rice.
  • Sprinkle remaining yogurt mixture, mint leaves, corriander leaves and the grilled onions. Cover with a silicon lid and cook in the microwave oven for four to five minutes on HIGH (100%). Else finish up the cooking in the rice cooker for about 7 minutes or so. Please keep checking to make sure that the rice is cooked well enough to be served.
  • Let it stand for five minutes, garnish with more finely chopped cilantro  and then serve.
  • Scoop out vertically down so you can get the rice and the vegetables in one scoop.
  • Hot Hyderabadi Dum Biriyani without a drop of oil is ready to be served with cold Carrot Raita.

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Rice Varieties.

Chettinad Mushroom Biriyani with a twist!!!

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There are always people who dont like mushrooms and then there are us – the people who love mushrooms for their taste, texture and versatility. I always have a brown bag of mushrooms ready in  my refrigerator. My all time favorite mushroom dish is the Restaurant Style Mushroom Butter Masala which I love to pair with simple Jeera Pulav or Peas Pulav. But on days when I really feel like eating spicy food, I resort to this Chettinad Mushroom Biriyani  or sometimes the Hyderabadi Biriyani. My sister wanted me to try this from Divya`s post and I readily obliged.It`s a simpler version of the Hyderabadi Biriyani and definitely a lot more forgiving in the prep work, but very very delicious to say the least. I savour this biriyani with simple Cucumber Raita. I made this Biriyani with brown basmati rice and added Seitan instead of soya nuggets for added protien!

INGREDIENTS:

2 Cups Brown Basmati Rice.

1 Pound Mushrooms Cremini/ Bella or White.

2 Onions sliced long and thin.

1/2 Cup Coconut Milk.

1 Packet of Seitan.(optional or you could substitute with Soya Chunks, or Tempeh)

MARINADE:

1/2 Cup Fresh Curd.

2 Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste – Fresh.

1 Tsp Red Chilli  Powder.

1 Tsp Dhania Powder.

1 Tsp Garam Masala Powder.

A pinch of haldi Powder.

1/2 Cup Mint Leaves.

1/2 Cup Cilantro chopped.

WHOLE SPICES FOR SEASONING:

2 Tbsp Ghee/Butter/Oil.

1 Inch Cinnamon.

4 Cloves.

1/2 Tsp Cardamom Powder or 2 Cardamom Pods.

2 Star Anise.

1 Tsp ShahJeera.

1 Tsp Jeera.

PREPARATION:

  • Wash the basmati rice and soak it in 3 cups water for about 30 minutes.
  • In a kadai, add a spoon of oil and shallow fry the onions until they are completely brown. I have a Calphalon Sear Pan so I can sear all the onions without a drop of oil.
  • Now we  work on the marinade – Add the seitan and the mushroom on to a bowl and add all the ingredients under “Marinade” and finally add half of the yummy pan fried onions. Save hte rest for later.
  • Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, take a wide mouthed non stick pan and add 2 tbsp of ghee. Now season it with all the ingredients under “Seasonings” and give it a second to fry in the oil.
  • Add the marinated mushroom+Seitan mixture in to the pan and saute on a medium low flame until you see the mushroom getting cooked, sweaty and start shrinking.  This should take about 5-6 minutes.
  • Now add the coconut milk to the pan and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Now add ONLY the rice that has been soaking but SAVE the water in which it was soaked.
  • Ahh you threw it out, never mind, just get fresh 3 cups of water!!!!
  • Add in the required salt and then the 1 Tsp of Garam Masala.
  •  Add the 3 cups of water and cover and cook undisturbed for about 15 minutes or until the grains of rice are cooked fluffy and to perfection.
  • Garnish with fried onions and serve with a side of thick Cucumber Raita.

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Indo-Chinese Cooking. · Rice Varieties.

Restaurant Style Steamed Vegetable Dumplings/ Dimsum/ Momos – Delicious Indo Chinese Starters!!!

 

Steamed Vegetable Momos.

The very first memory if having a steaming hot dimsum was in a restaurant in Bangalore just after I was married. I remember that I really loved the taste of the filling, combined with the soft elastic outer cover, almost stuck with the filling, and dipped in a red fiery sweet sauce in a teeny white ceramic cup, I was transported to heaven. It always strikes me as to why appetizers always taste way better than the main course, and the reason why we only get to sample one or two???  The next time around, it was at Mainland China, Chennai. I remember the plate of steaming hot dumpling served with the fragrant Black Pepper Sauce. This time around I had been craving for this dish as usual and I decided it was really time to try it on my own. It is a slightly labour intensive procedure but the end result is definitely worth the effort. As a starter for a small party or at a dinner for friends, it is better to make the stuffing ahead and simply assemble it before hand. Easier said than done right???

INGREDIENTS FOR OUTER DOUGH:

2 Cups All Purpose Flour/ Maida.

1 Tsp Sesame Oil.

1 Tsp Salt.

Water.

Vegetable Stuffing.

INGREDIENTS FOR FILLING:

( I grated all the veggies in a mini food processor so the filling was very finely chopped. )

1 Cabbage julienned.

1 Carrot grated finely.

1/4 Cup fresh Sweet Corn kernels.

1/8 Cup Shredded Paneer.

6 Garlic Pods chopped finely.

2 Inch Ginger chopped finely.

1 Bunch Spring Onions chopped finely.

1 1/2 Tsp Pepper Powder.

Salt to taste.

3-4 Green Chillies Chopped very fine.

1 Tsp Sesame Oil.

Finely Chopped Cilantro.

PREPARATION:

  • For the outer dough mix all purpose flour, sesame oil, salt and water to make a pliable dough. Keep covered until assembly.
  • To prepare the filling, take a wok and allow to heat. Add the sesame oil and the chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies.
  • Allow a few minutes for the oil to get perfumed with the ingredients in it.
  • Now add the thinly chopped cabbage, carrots and the sweet corn. (I was out of  paneer to I made my dumplings without them.)
  • Optionally you could run the veggies through a food processor and mash them up roughly to get a homogenous mass. I am guessing the guys at Mainland China do that!!!!
  • Allow all the veggies to mix in with each other. They should not be overcooked at this point as they will  anyways getting steamed inside the filling.
  • Add pepper powder and salt and finally the shredded panner. Mix thoroughly.
  • Garnish with finely chopped cilantro.
  • This step alone could be prepared ahead and stored in an air tight container.

ASSEMBLING THE DUMPLINGS/DIMSUMS.

  1. Roll out 4-5 balls with the all purpose flour dough and take out one. Keep the rest covered.
  2. With a rolling pin make in to thin chappatis dusting with the flour.

  1. Using a round cookie cutter or a steel tumbler, cut out rounds from the chappatis.
  2. Flatten and roll out each little circle to make them thin and elastic.
  3. Transfer the  cover on to your left palm and spoon out some of the filling on to the centre.
  4. Use sesame oil to line the inside of the top semi circle of the dumpling.
  5. Use your fingers to pleat and pinch the edges together to form a closed dumpling.If this is too challenging, simply make the dumplings in to “half moons” ( bring the edges together) or “big hugs” ( almost like a kozhakattai.)
  6. As you make each dumpling, transfer them directly to the  idli plates generously brushed with sesame oil and arrange on them neatly so they do NOT stick to each other.Keep these dumplings covered too.
  7. Once you have completed making the little dumplings, steam in medium heat for about 8 minutes.
  8. Switch off and transfer to a casserole and serve HOT with Tomato Sweet & Spicy Dipping Sauce.

HINTS:

  1. Keep the dough and dumplings covered at all times as they dry up very fast, as its the quality of maida to harden with exposure.
  2. While making the fillings, you can also try stretching the little dough circles that you have cut up. If the consistency is  just right, you might be able to make them a little longer just by stretching. Else you can always use the help of the rolling pin.
  3. I served them up in Manchurian Sauce as a gravy side dish with Indo Chinese Fried Rice.