Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dum Vegetable Biriyani

My search for the perfect  ultimate vegetable biriyani recipe will never end….But today I pounced on a good good recipe….the moment I saw it I was elated….Being a pure vegetarian my search for a biriyani was totally restricted to a purely vegetarian recipes. I was on the top of the world that I finally found out a near to perfect recipe for a chicken biriyani-a dum version that I could easily convert to an authentic Only Veg version.
But I was under doubt if the recipe for non-veg would work for veg also…But I decided to substitute and go ahead…

Biriyani is said to have been invented in the kitchen of Mughal emperors and means` `fried ‘’or ``roasted’’ in Persian. The spices and condiments used in biryani may include, but are not limited to, ghee, nutmeg, mace, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bayleaves, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, onions, and garlic. The premium varieties include saffron.For a non-vegetarian biryani, the main ingredient that accompanies the spices is the meat—beef, chicken, goat, lamb, fish or shrimp. The dish may be served with dahi chutney or raita, korma, a sour dish of eggplant (brinjal), boiled egg and salad.

The difference between biryani and pulao is that while pulao may be made by cooking the items together, biryani denotes a dish where the rice (plain or fried) is cooked separately from the thick sauce (a greatly reduced curry of meat or vegetables). The curry and the rice are then brought together and layered, resulting in a dish of the contrasting flavours of flavoured rice (which is cooked separate with spices) and intensely flavoured sauce and meat or vegetables. This separation is partly of necessity: the proportion of meat/vegetables to the rice is high enough to make biryani a one-dish meal, and the cooking time of each of the main ingredients is significantly different from each other. In a properly made biryani, the final dish is dry or minimally moist, with the individual rice grains separate, as opposed to a risotto, where the rice is of a creamy consistency. However, many biryani recipes call for the rice to be cooked for three-quarters of the usual time, followed by layering with the meat/vegetable base, and then a final slow-steaming until fully done: this approach allows the flavours to blend somewhat. (Source Wikipedia)

Well my fears were totally baseless because the recipe turned out fine…when I opened the dum seal of the vessel I cooked biriyani in I was envigoured by the intense aroma of the wonder full spices that went into the biriyani. It tasted just as fine. Here‘s the recipe for u-:

Vegetables (1/2 kg) which includes
Carrot-3 medium sized chopped
Potatoes-2 medium sized chopped
French beans-4
Cauliflower florets-1 cup
Tomato-1 medium sized to grind
Other Ingredients
Tomato-I medium to grind
Green chilli-4-6(I used4)
Onion-3 or2 big
Ginger garlic paste-3/4 tsp
Scallions-4to5(I used4)
Coriander leaves-a handful
Mint leaves-a handful
Lemon juice-of 1/2 lemon (optional)
Curd-1/4 cup
Garam masala-1/2 tbsp
Dalda-1/2 cup
Ghee /clarified butter-2 tbsp (first) +3tbsp (second time)
Rice-350 gm
Turmeric powder-1/8 tsp
Saffron- few strands
Kewra essence-2 tsp(optional)
Cashewnuts -6
Milk/coconut milk-1/4 cup or more

Spices (a handful) include-:
Karupatta-11/2 -2
Thakollam-1or 2
Fennel seeds-1/2 tbsp(some use cumin or caraway instead)
For Garnish
Coriander leaves-little
Mint leaves-little
Pineapple chopped-1 /2 cup
Fried onion- handful

For Masala layer-:
Pressure cook the vegetables other than tomato (1 or 2 whistles)
Make  separate pastes of  following-:
Green chilli

Take Dalda / vanspathi. and melt in a thick bottomed vessel
Add garlic and ginger paste or chopped, green chilli paste, scallions paste, tomato paste, curd, onion paste, turmeric powder and salt to taste. Also add coriander leaves and mint leaves. Stir for 20-30 minutes till colour changes and oil separates
Add boiled vegetables
Add tomato cut into pieces, coriander and mint leaves
Add lime juice (if using) and mix
For Rice layer
Take 6 cups of water.
Add spices and salt and let water bubble
Then add rice and cook till 75percent cooked. Drain water.
Layer the masala at the bottom of the vessel and the rice on the top.
Sprinkle kwela essence
Soak saffron in little milk.Grind badam (4) and cashew nuts(6). Mix it to milk/coconut milk and pour over layered rice
Pour¼ cup of melted vanaspathi and ghee mix over the layered rice.
Sprinkle kismis,cashewnuts,fried onion,pineapples chopped,coriander and mint leaves
Dum cook with maida seal for 20-30 minutes till maida seal hardens
Remove seal and use a fork to mix the layers so that the masala coats the rice
Serve hot with a raita and korma.
Changes made from the actual recipe-Actual recipe- Garlic-3, ginger-5, coriander-1 sprig, pudina-2 sprig

Actual recipe with Mutton

Mutton -1 kg

Green chilli-12





Curd-1/2 cup


Garam Masala-1 tbsp

Coriander Leaves-4 sprigs

Mint leaves-4 sprigs

Dalda-1 cup

Ghee-4 tbsp

Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp

Jeera-1 tbsp

Cashew-100 gms

Kismis-50 gms


Pineapple-150 gm




Star anise-3


Chop onion,ginger,garlic,shallots,coriander leaves,mint leaves,tomatoes. Take ghee and dalda

 in a frying pan.Add chopped vegetables. Saute well.Add garam masala,turmeric powder.Add mutton and curd.Mix well

Cook rice with jeera and spices till half done.Spread on top of sauted vegetables and mutton.

Fry cashewnuts and kismis in ghee and fry some onions till golden brown.Spread on top of rice with mint leaves,coriander leaves and pineapple slices

Cook rice and masala mix in dum using aluminium foil or maida dough

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Butter Naan

 Made Naans at home today…they came out well. Soft, warm and homemade. By the way it’s a really easy recipe….And you don’t need a tandoor …. you can make it on your stove top…..

 Aniket(my sonny) would’ nt even let me take proper snaps as he wanted to eat more…He pointed to the Naans sitting on the table and made a sorry face…So I first made sure his lil tummy was filled with this dinner delight. Aniket , loved it. So did Appu his friend…..Both the kiddos chomped away the naans without the usual storytelling and coaxing, usually a prerequisite to even eat a morsel….These days kids are choosy about what they like and what they don’t…unlike our times…..they want change and mothers like me have to constantly strive to live up to their expetations…

Naan is basically made with yeast leavened dough cooked in a tandoor served hot brushed with butter….Naan is a word that originated from Iran where it is used as an everyday name  for bread.I have used both wheat flour and all purpose flour in the recipe….
I garnished My naans with sesame seeds and fresh chopped coriander leaves. You can use onion seeds/kalonji seeds/Nigella seeds .This may be added while kneading the dough or at the end while garnishing the Naans…..                                                                                                                                                            


All purpose flour-2 cups
Wheat flour-2 cups
Warm milk-1 cup or more
Sugar-2 tsp
Instant yeast/Active dry yeast-2tsp
Salt-2 tsp
Yogurt-3 tbsp
Baking soda-3/4 tsp
Butter for brushing
Nigella seeds/Sesame seeds
Coriander leaves
Mix sugar ,milk,yeast.Stir and keep aside to rise. Cover the vessel with a lid.
In a bowl take wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt.Seive and mix.
Add yeast mixture , oil and yogurt to dough. Knead with hand or a food processor till dough is smooth, pliable and elastic. You may use more milk if required.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl .Cover with a lid. Allow to rise to double in size for about 1 hour.
When dough doubles after 1 hour punch it back and knead for 2-3 minutes
Allow to rise again to double in size in a covered vessel.
Divide into balls and roll out  balls into oval  or tear shape which is not too thin.
Sprinkle nigella seeds, sesame seeds and chopped coriander. Use rolling pin to press them onto  the dough
Take a non-stick pan and heat it till hot.It is important that the pan is really hot otherwise the naan will stick to the pan.
Lift the naan and apply water with your palm on the side that is not garnished with seeds and coriander leaves .
Place the  wet side down on pan. Allow Naan to puff  up in places .Now use kitchen tongs to place the garnished side directly over the flame and allow it to be cooked uniformly all over.. Allow it to puff up. Make sure they donot get burnt or charred by using the tongs to move it over the flame rather than holding it to cook a particular area for a long time.

Butter the naans and serve hot with any curry of your choice.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Khaliat Nahal (Honeycomb buns/ Beehive Buns)

I loved these beehive like looking buns....Well I loved the taste tooo....I even went ahead and used the savoury version without filling for a grand Pav Bhaji breakfast this morning....

I was happy my buns came out fine....Since my oven is a small one I had only a small honey comb shaped Khalait Nahal .....Well like how Aparna's blog says Khaliat Nahal means bee hive in arabic as suggested by its appearance.They are baked close to each other in a round pan where they form a honeycomb like pattern.They are usually made sweet with slightly sweetened dough filled with cream cheese.After they are baked they are covered with sugar syrup/ glaze which is typical of many Middle eastern confectionery.

This bread is served for Iftar and its shape lends itself to be torn apart easily to serve oneself.Though they are made sweet usually they can also be made with savoury fillings without glaze....
This recipe makes 18 small buns or you can halve the recipe and make 9-10 buns in a6''or7'' round pan.

Source:My diverse kitchen


Milk-1 cup lukewarm

Instant yeast-11/2 tsp

Sugar-1 tsp

All purpose flour-2 1/2 cups

Sugar-3 tbsp(for sweet bread)

Salt-3/4-1 tsp (for savoury bread)1/4 tsp(sweet bread)

Butter-40 gms

Milk-2 tbsp

White sesame seeds-2 tbsp

For filling

1 cup of filling (approximately) of your choice, either sweet or savoury

Savoury - cream cheese OR crumbled feta cheese OR crumbled paneer/ cottage cheese

Sweet - cream cheese (traditional filling), or any other filing of your choice like chocolate,   dried fruit like dates, apricots or raisins, chopped nuts, chopped fruit , sweetened coconut filling, etc.  

Sugar syrup/glaze

Sugar-3/4 cup

Water-1 cup

Saffron-one pinch

Honey-1 tbsp

Lemon-1 tsp


Make sure your melted butter has cooled down a bit before using it. Put 2 cups of the flour, salt,sugar (if making the sweet bread only) and melted butter in the bowl of your processor. Run a couple of times to mix well.

Combine the milk, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and keep for 5 minutes. Add this to the processor bowl and knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough which is not sticky. Add as much of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour as you /need to get this consistency of bread dough. 

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning it to coat completely with the oil. Cover and let it rise till double in volume, for about an hour.

Turn the dough out onto your work surface. You won’t really need to flour it as the dough is quite manageable as it is. Cut it into 2 halves. With your palms, roll out each half a “rope”  about 9” long. Cut each rope into 1” pieces so you have a total of 18 pieces.

Take each piece and flatten it out a little and place half a teaspoon of filling in the centre. Pull up the sides and wrap the dough around the filling, pinching it closed at the top. Smoothen it into around ball. Place this in a well-greased round 9” cake tin. Repeat with the remaining 17 pieces and the filling. Arrange the filled balls of dough in concentric circles, filling the base of the cake tin.

Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for about 30 to 40 minutes. Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle the sesame seeds over this. Don’t use the sesame seeds for sweet bread, only for the savoury one. Bake the buns at 180C (350F) for about 25 minutes, until they’re done and a nice golden brown on top.
Let them cool in the tin for about 5 minutes and then on a wire rack.

If you’re making the sweet version, make the sugar syrup/ glaze during the first rise of the dough. For this put the sugar, water and saffron in a small pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes until it starts thickening a bit. Take it off the heat and add the honey and the lime/ lemon juice. Mix well and let it cool. Keep aside till needed

When the sweet buns come out of the oven, pour the syrup all over the top of the Honeycomb”.  The bread should be hot and the syrup/ glaze should be cool. If you want your Honeycomb Buns to be less sweet, just brush the syrup/ glaze over the top.Let it sit for a while for the syrup/ glaze to set a bit. Serve them warm with tea/ coffee.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pots De Creme

 I saw  a flurry of posts for Pots de crème this summer….I loved the creamy creamy look these little pots of joy carried…So I made a mental note that I will be making them..

My sonny Aniket now goes to play school .So I get enough time to explore my cooking fantasies ….One such afternoon I made pots de crème . They came out really well...When he came back from school I promptly gave him some….he had his bowlful...full....scraped clean..

But more than him my mom  loved her bowl of Pots de crème… mother is very frank when it comes to my cooking which is why I always ask her for her unbiased opinion….and this time I loved to hear it from her…..she commented ‘’Could u make me more?''


Egg-1(50 gms)
Egg yolk-2(35 gms each) room temperature
Granulated sugar-50 gms/1/4 cup
Vanilla extract-½ tsp
Salt a pinch
Heavy cream /heavy whipping cream (30-40 butter fat content)- 120 ml/1/2 cup
Milk-1/2 cup
Cooking chocholate-60 gms
Instant coffee/expresso powder-1/2 tsp(optional)


Beat eggs,yolks,sugar,vanilla extract,salt till light and fluffy for 1-2 minutes.
In a saucepan add cream,milk,chocholate,coffee powder .Heat and stir with a spatula .Let it simmer  till it bubbles  around edges ,at medium heat.
Gradually add the hot cream milk mix to egg mix while whisking it constantly so that eggs do not curdle.
Pour the mix into a saucepan again and heat it till in low heat stirring constant (less than a minute- so that mix  bakes faster).
Drain the mix and pour into ceramic bowls or ramekins.
Put them into a tray  and pour boiling water in the tray halfway up  sides of tray.(water bath).
Cover with aluminium foil with holes.
Put in the oven 30-40 min at 150 C till  set but they are  wobbly.
Take them out of water bath and cover them with plastic wrap after they cool for 1 hr.Chill overnight or for minimum 6hrs.(You can chill it for 5 days maximum) .
Serve cold. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Peas and Carrot Rice

This is  an easy PEASy recipe .A tasty quick fix .Something you could  make when you  don’t want to go through the long process of making a biriyani but u still w ant to be enamoured by the  delight of flavoured rice .Just boil the peas and chop the carrots add the garam masala and spices and there you are ready with some flavoured colourful good looking rice.

Well I had frozen peas in my freezer and I wanted to make something with it. So I decided to welcome Aniket with the carrot peas rice when he came back from playschool. Aniket loves carrots so he would eat the carrots first when I fed him his afternoon meal .Then he meticulously picked out the peas and ate it,last came the rice.....

As for me what more do I want…..flavoured  rice with a favourite salad….yummy lunch isn’t  it? I loved it…..


Basmathi-1 ½ cups
Water-21/2 cups
Onions-1 sliced long
Carrots-2 chopped into cubes
Peas-1/2 cup
Green chilli-1
Star anise - 1 
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch long stick  
Bay leaf - 1 
Peppercorns - 1/4 spoon (Optional) 
Cumin seeds - 1/4 spoon 
Fennel seeds - 1/4 spoon 
Salt - As per taste 
Ghee /Dalda- 4 to 5 spoons 


Par boil the chopped carrots.
Boil water and add frozen peas .Cook till peas is soft.
Soak rice for 15 minutes and wash well(3 times)
Take dalda or ghee/clarified butter and sauté fennel seeds, cumin seeds ,peppercorns, bay leaf, star anise, cinnamon sticks.
Add onions sliced. Saute till translucent.
Add greenchilli, peas and carrot chopped.
Add rice and fry.
Add water and close lid of pressure cooker without weight.
Cook in high flame till steam comes
Lower flame and cook for a minute or two
Switch off gas,put on weight  and allow to cool for 10 minutes
Use a fork to mix the rice after opening the pressure cooker.

Serve hot.