17 June 2017

Mutton Dum Biryani

This recipe was learnt from a Muslim cook expert in Mutton Dum Biryani when we were kids. My mother followed it dutifully and I have picked it up from her. 

Serves 3 to 4 (1/2 measure)


  • 500 grams goat meat (front shoulder of young, adult male goat) See note below.
  • 500 grams Basmati rice
  • 5 to 6 cloves
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 125 grams onion, sliced finely
  • 125 grams tomatoes, diced
  • 50 grams ginger, ground to a smooth paste (one-tenth of the weight of meat) See note below.
  • 50 grams garlic, ground to a smooth paste (one-tenth of the weight of meat)
  • 1 bunch mint leaves
  • 6 to 7 green chili peppers, whole
  • Salt to taste
  • 125 ml oil
  • 1 heaped tsp chili powder
  • 1 or 2 lemon, juiced
Without Flash

With Flash

  • Wash Basmati rice and soak it in water for an hour.
  • Add water in another pan (large enough to cook rice), cover and keep it on simmer till gravy is ready.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add cloves and cinnamon and allow it to splutter.
  • Add sliced onions and whole green chili peppers and saute for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste and saute for about 5 to 7 minutes. Then add meat and salt and saute well for about 10 to 12 minutes. Add chili powder and stir well.
  • Now add half of the mint leaves, curd and tomatoes and stir just once or twice. 
  • Pressure cook for 3 whistles and simmer for about 4 minutes (more if the meat is tough) and allow to cool. 
  • In the meanwhile, allow the simmering water to come to a boil and add salt in it. The add the soaked rice.
  • Once the pressure is released, add lemon juice and taste. Add more if necessary, check for salt and allow the gravy to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • At the same time, allow the simmering water to come to a boil and add salt in it. The add the soaked rice. In about 4 to 5 minutes, the rice will start coming up to the top. After about 2 minutes when the most of the rice starts coming up to the top, drain the water in a pot. And add the rice into the gravy half first and add the remaining mint leaves on top of it and then add the rest of the rice. 
  • Give the cooker or the wide stockpot you are using a good shake so that the rice from the bottom comes up and vice versa. 
  • Wet a towel or a thick cloth and cover the lid completely with it. The lid should be airtight. Then place the pot with the drained rice water on top of the lid and cover it. (I also keep a brick on top of this for the heat to permeate to the cooker or the stockpot).
  • Keep it in simmer for 15 minutes. Check if the rice is done and if not simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove from flame and serve hot. 
Note 1:

Young, male adult goat meat has it won taste. I always check this and buy goat meat. To check for goat meat, you have to check the tail. The goat's tail is short and curved upwards while the sheep's tail is longer and curved downwards. 

Note 2:

I always use the ratio 1 part rice and 2 parts meat. Since ginger and garlic paste should be one-tenth of the weight of meat, if I use 500 grams rice and 1 kilo meat, I should use 100 grams ginger and 100 grams garlic. Also one large onion and one large tomato (roughly 75 to 80 grams) should be added along with the measurement given above. The rest of the measurements will remain the same. 

20 October 2016

Chinese Toffee Banana

I happened to watch this recipe on some food channel. It seemed so easy and yummy that I immediately set about doing it. Lucky I had all the ingredients in hand.

Serves 6


  • 2 bananas, cut into thick diagonal slices
  • 50 grams self raising flour (Use 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt with 1 cup flour for homemade self raising flour)
  • 25 grams corn starch + some for dusting
  • 90 ml water
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 120 grams sugar
  • Black and white sesame seeds for sprinkling

  • Mix self raising flour, corn starch and water into a smooth batter. Add a tsp of oil and mix it well. (The oil is supposed to make it puffy.)
  • Heat oil in a deep pan
  • Dust the banana slices in corn starch, dip them in the batter and cook them in the hot oil in batches until crisp and golden brown.
  • In a heavy pan, add the sugar over medium heat and keep stirring it till it just forms a caramel (just as it turns brown). Switch off immediately and remove from the stove.
  • Toss the fried banana slices one after the other to coat them completely in the caramel and drop them immediately into a large bowl of ice water. This will set the caramel. 
  • Almost immediately, drain them and sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds.
  • Serve hot immediately or with ice cream.
It is very important to coat the bananas immediately in the caramel before the caramel hardens.

12 October 2016

Greek Omelette

While browsing for different omelette recipes, I came across this recipe with gyro meat. That's when I started looking out for gyro meat recipes and tried it successfully. With gyro meat in hand, I was then able to make this delicious omelette for dinner. Recipe from http://www.shugarysweets.com/2014/04/greek-omelettes

Serves 4


  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 8 gyro meat slices
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Homemade Tzatziki sauce for serving (Recipe here: https://forthetastebud.blogspot.in/2016/10/gyro-meat.html)
  • Pan fry the gyro meat slices on both sides until crisp.
  • Beat eggs with water and salt.
  • Heat 1 tbsp butter in a non stick skillet. Pour 1/4 of the beaten egg into the skillet. Cover and cook on medium heat. When the egg is almost cooked and still moist, add 2 tbsp feta cheese, red peppers and 2 slices of gyro meat in the middle. Flip one side over the filling and the other side over this and cook for another 30 seconds. Slide onto plate.
  • Top with homemade Tzatziki sauce and serve hot.

Gyro Meat

I happened to chance on this Greek dish while browsing for a Greek omelette. It looked very yummy and delicious. So I looked at a couple of Gyro meat recipes and used the ingredients from one and the procedure from another and got a very yummilicious gyro meat to serve with pita bread and tzatziki sauce. Recipe from https://manfuelblog.com/2015/08/23/easy-homemade-gyro-meat-recipe/ and http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/gyro-meat-with-tzatziki-sauce-recipe.html

Makes about 30 to 35 slices

  • 450 grams lamb mince
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • Mix the lamb mince with salt, pepper and oregano. Form it into a tight ball, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. (I refrigerated it for about three hours.)
  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  • Process the onion in a blender for 30 seconds and turn it out into a cheese cloth to remove all the juices.
  • Put it back in the blender along with the garlic and the refrigerated mince. Process it to a fine paste.
  • Line a rectangular baking dish with aluminium foil and place the mixture into it. Form it into a rectangular loaf, making sure it is uniformly flat.
  • Bake in the oven for about 60 minutes or until the internal temperature reads about 165 to 170 degrees Celsius.
  • Remove all the excess fat and place it in the cooling rack with a brick covered in silver foil over it for 10 minutes. (I baked in the convection of my microwave oven so I left it in the oven for 10 minutes with the brick over it.)
  • Slice it thinly and pan fry it over the stove top until browned and crisp on one side to get the crispy effect in gyro meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie.
  • Make a sandwich with about 3 or 4 slices of gyro meat, slices of onion, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce inside pita bread or on top of it as desired and serve. (Recipe for homemade pita bread tzatziki given below.)
  • Alternatively, you could serve gyro meat with only the tzatziki sauce.
Recipe for Tzatziki Sauce
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I found them in Nilgiris Supermarket in Chennai). Alternatively, you could use hung yogurt instead. (Yogurt hung in a cheese for at least 7 to 8 hours)
  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen dill (I used 3 tbsp dried dill)

  • Dice the cucumber thinly and strain the juices in a cheesecloth.
  • In a bowl, combine the strained cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, pressed garlic, dill, salt and pepper.
  • Refrigerate and serve.

Recipe for Pita bread
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups + 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 to 2 tsp olive oil
  • Mix the water and yeast together in a bowl and let stand for 5 minutes till completely dissolved. Add 2 1/2 cups flour, salt and oil and mix well to form a shaggy dough.
  • Knead the dough for 5 to 7 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the hands and the work surface, but use it very sparingly.
  • Coat another bowl with olive oil. Set the dough in this bowl and turn it until completely coated. Cover it with a plastic wrap and allow it to rise and double in about 2 hours time.
  • Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 8 equal pieces on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it gently with a floured rolling pin about 8 to 9 inches and a quarter of an inch thick. 
  • Preheat the oven to 215 degrees Celsius. Bake it on a baking tray. The pita will start puffing up after 1 or 2 minutes. They are done when they are fully ballooned. (Pitas won't puff if the oven is not very hot so make sure it is preheated fully)
  • Keep baked pitas covered with a plastic wrap until all are done.

4 October 2016

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

I was looking at some recipes on the internet for some dessert while I happened to chance on this recipe. It looked very yummy and as I had all the ingredients in hand, I started on this right away. I did tweak it a little, though and used barnyard millet instead of rice but it turned out pretty well! http://allrecipes.com/recipe/168914/easy-chicken-and-broccoli-casserole/?internalSource=rr_recipe_a&referringId=219043&referringContentType=recipe&clickId=cardslot%201  

Serves 3

  • 1 cup barnyard millet, cooked (I used this instead of rice given in the recipe)
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 cans (300 ml) condensed cream of chicken soup (I used homemade one, recipe given below)
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice 
Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

Makes an equivalent of 4 cans (about 600 ml)

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • Salt to taste
  • Bring water and chicken stock cubes to boil in a saucepan. Stir and add 1/2 cup milk and bring to a boil again.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the seasoning to the remaining 1 cup of milk and whisk thoroughly until a smooth mixture forms.
  • Add this to the broth mixture in the saucepan and stir constantly until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from heat and use as required.

  • Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook uncovered until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse immediately with cold water to stop the cooking process. Once the broccoli is cold, cut into smaller pieces and place in a mixing bowl.
  • Preheat an oven to 175 degrees C.
  • Stir in the rice, chicken, cheddar cheese, yogurt, almonds, curry powder, garlic powder and lemon juice into the broccoli until evenly mixed. Spoon the mixture into a baking tray.
  • Bake in the preheated until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes and serve hot.

30 September 2016

Cajun Chicken and Mozzarella, Pizza Style Omelette

I was googling for chicken omelette recipes and found this delicious - looking Cajun dish. I have tweaked the recipe a little to suit the availability of ingredients from https://homemadewithmess.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/cajun-chicken-mozzarella-pizza-style-omelette/

Makes 3 omelettes

For the chicken marinade

  • 150 g chicken mince
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, I used 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder (I bought yellow mustard and powdered it)
For the chicken mixture
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped 
  • 5 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
For the tomato sauce
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 400 g tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste (Pureed and blended)
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Olive oil
For the omelette
  • 4 eggs beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Grated mozzarella cheese as required
  • Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients and set it aside for an hour.
  • Heat oil in a pan and cook the garlic till browned and aromatic. Add all other ingredients for the tomato sauce and bring to a boil on high heat. Simmer it for about 20 to 25 minutes or till it thickens.
  • In another pan, heat a little oil and fry the marinated chicken, onion, red pepper and mushrooms till the chicken is cooked and vegetables are soft. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  • Heat a smaller pan, add a drop of oil and ladle one third of the egg mixture into it. Cover and cook on low heat. Once cooked, remove to a glass plate. 
  • Ladle tomato sauce on it and spread the chicken mix over it. Top it with mozzarella.Bake at 185 degree Celsius till cheese is bubbling and golden, about 7 minutes.
  • Repeat process for the second and third omelette.
  • Serve hot with any sauce or salad of choice.

White Asparagus Soup with Shrimp

I had these 2 bottles of asparagus from my friends in Denmark sitting on my kitchen shelf for a long, long time.  I finally decided to make soup of them. I looked up some recipes in the internet and then created my own tweaking from a couple of them.

Serves 2 to 3


  • 2 bottles white asparagus
  • 200g shrimp, deshelled and deveined
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp butter, divided by half
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided by half
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 3 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Heat half the butter and olive oil in a pan. Add three fourths onion and cook until translucent.
  • Remove and puree along with asparagus and the liquid. Set aside.
  • Heat the remaining butter and olive oil and add the remaining onion and cook until translucent. 
  • Add the garlic and thyme and cook until garlic smells aromatic. 
  • Add the shrimp and saute until shrimp is cooked, about 3 to 5 minutes. 
  • Now add the asparagus and onion puree, the chicken stock cube and water to the pan. Bring to a boil and add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve immediately.