Sunday, March 29, 2015

Murgh Pulao - One pot meal

I am a stickler for recipes that are easy to cook but doesn't compromise on the taste factor. And of late I have also become a lover of one pot meals. In such hurried lives that we all live, its a boon to be able to cook up nutritious tasty food without slogging it out too much in the kitchen. This is one such recipe - Murgh Pulao. It is not as heavy as your typical biryani but packs in a lot of flavours nevertheless. Similar to yakhni pulao but not really that. This particular recipe is heavily inspired by the Bangladeshi Morogh Polao - a very traditional chicken rice dish which is not too spicy but is extremely flavourful. The orginal recipe would include marinating the chicken in poppy seeds paste and also use a lot of nuts - cashews and raisins. I have however made a simpler version that I learnt from my mother which works well for a regular weeknight meal. And the fact that it uses very little oil is an added bonus.


Gobindo bhog rice/ or any kind of short grained rice - 1 1/2 cup

Chicken - 500 gms - cut into medium sized pieces

Ginger paste - 1 tbsp.

Garlic paste - 1 tbsp.

Mace - a few strands

Nutmeg - 1 tsp- grated

Fennel - 1 tsp

Cardamom - 4 nos

Cinnamon - a small stick

Cloves - 4-5 nos

Bay leaves - 2 nos

Onion - 1 large - finely chopped

Ghee - 1 tsp

Salt - to taste

Sugar - a pinch

Turmeric powder -  1 tsp + a pinch

Green chillies - 4-5 - slit at the top

Water - 3 cups

Mint leaves and green chillies - for garnish


Wash the rice well, mix in 1 tsp of turmeric, drain well and let it dry on a flat surface.

Now we need to prepare a broth in which we cook the rice.
In a pressure cooker , add the chicken pieces, ginger-garlic paste, mace,nutmeg,fennel,cardamom,cloves, cinnamon, salt and 3 cups water. Put the cooker on heat and let it get a couple of whistles.
Remove from heat take out the chicken pieces,strain and keep the broth aside.

In a bowl take the par boiled chicken pieces and smear with a little turmeric and keep aside.

Heat the ghee in a non stick pan or kadahi. Ensure its non stick and deep bottomed so that the rice cooks well.

Add the chicken pieces and sauté till they turn light brown in colour. Remove from pan and keep aside.

In the same pan, add the bay leaves and the finely chopped onions. Fry till they turn golden brown. Keep the heat low or else the onions burn. Now add the washed and dried rice. Fry the rice for 5-7 mins or till it starts to leave oil on the sides. Now place the sautéed chicken pieces on top of the rice and  add 2 1/2 cups of the broth. Give it a good mix, cover the pan tightly and let it cook. Keep the flame low.

The rice doesn't take too long to cook so keep a watch.It would take around 10 mins for the water to dry up. Remove the cover, fluff up the rice with a fork. Add a pinch of sugar, the green chillies, give a gentle mix and put the lid again for 2 mins. Your murgh pulao will be ready to serve by now.

  • Short grain rice is preferred but basmati rice can be used too.
  • The left over broth - if any can be used for cooking curries and gravys and lends a great flavour.
  • Be cautious while cooking the rice. Don't open the lid often as that could make the pulao soggy. always keep the flame low.
  • You could also add cashews and raisins at the last stage to add to the richness of the dish.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Aloo Ka Achaar - Nepali Style Potato Salad

The thing with having foodie friends is that you are constantly learning new things from them too. My one such very dear friend A is my partner in crime when it comes to food. We do lunches and dinners to satiate our souls every now and then! She is from Nepal and she treats us to these Nepali delights often. I wouldn't be exaggerating, if I say that she make the best momos I've ever had, so much so that now I never want to eat momos outside! Nepali cuisine is extremely under rated I would say and there is definitely more to momos. One such delightful dish is this Aloo ko Achaar - Nepali Style Potato Salad that A makes and we all love . She was very kind to part with the recipe and I did not lose much time preparing it in my kitchen. It is a delightful salad made with potatoes, red onions, garlic and sesame seeds. And what makes it so different is the tempering with mustard oil . Serve it as a starter with your drinks or as a side dish to your meal - you are going to love it anyway!


Potato - 2 large sized - par boiled - thinly sliced

Onion - 1 large - thinly sliced

Garlic paste - 1 tsp

Sesame seeds - 1 tbsp - dry roasted and grounded into a powder

Green chillies - 2 - finely chopped - use more or less as per taste

Lemon juice - 1 tbsp

Salt - to taste

Turmeric powder - a pinch

Chilli powder - 1 tsp

Mustard oil - 1 tbsp

Fenugreek/methi  seeds - a few

Spring onion - finely chopped- for garnish


In a bowl mix together the thinly sliced potatoes, onions, green chillies, turmeric powder, chilli powder , salt, sesame seed powder and the lime juice. Give it a good gentle mix.
Check if its well seasoned. Feel free to add more lime juice as per your taste.

In a small pan heat the mustard oil and splutter the fenugreek/methi seeds. Temper the salad with this. Give it a mix. Garnish with chopped spring onion and some toasted sesame seeds.

This is best served at room temperature. A tells me that another variation would be to add dried fish or shrimps to enhance the taste. Sometimes even diced cucumber is also added to it. The options are many and in any which way this is one yummy dish that can be prerpared in a jiffy.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Banana Oats Mini Bundt Cakes - with a chocolate drizzle

When life gives you over ripe bananas, bake a cake! No, seriously, In today's age when each and everything costs a bomb you don't want your hard earned money go down the drain. So  nothing should go waste. And when you see so much poverty around you when even a square meal a day seem a distant dream for so many people, prudence is necessary. I don't  know any other way of using up these odd smelling over ripe bananas, than to turn them into some cakes or muffins. Only the taste of bananas can be over whelming so I like it best to mix it with some chocolate. So here try my recipe of Banana Oats Mini Bundt Cakes - or you can simply make some muffins.


Wheat flour - 1/2 cup

Oats - 1/4th cup - any rolled oats - dry grind into a fine powder

Cocoa powder - 1/2 cup

Eggs - 2 nos

Olive oil - 1 cup

Sugar  - 1 cup

Mashed bananas - 2 nos - the over ripe ones

Vanilla powder/ vanilla essence-  1 tsp

Baking powder - 1 tsp

Chocolate sauce - for drizzling on the cake - optional

Sprinkles - for decoration - optional


Preheat oven to 180 deg. centigrade.

Prepare bundt tins or muffin tins.

Sift together wheat flour, oats, cocoa powder and baking powder. Keep aside

Cream the olive oil and sugar together. Beat well till light and fluffy . Add the vanilla powder/essence and beat further.

Add the eggs , one at a time , beating well after each addition.

Add the mashed bananas and give it a good mix.

Now gently fold in the wheat flour mixture. Add in two batches, mix well after each addition.

Pour mixture into the prepared tins , bake for 25 - 30 mins or till done.

Drizzle some chocolate sauce and decoate with sprinkles before serving.

  • Baking time might vary from oven to oven, so please keep a check.
  • A dollop of vanilla ice cream would go very well with warm cake.


Summer Salad with Lemon Pepper Vinaigrette

In anticipation of those dreadful summer days I am already exploring cool summery recipes. Come summers - well, its already here considering the temperature is already soaring as high as 35 degress we all need to plan our diet to include fresh vegetables, fruits a plenty. Salads will surely be a part of our daily menu. Like this Summer salad made with everyday vegetables with a generous drizzle of Lemon Pepper vinaigrette.

On my recent visit to Bangalore to spend two days with my friend of 15 yrs sans the little boy and the husband I explored few food stores in the city and was spoilt for choices. I was like a little girl in a candy store who didn't know what to buy and what to leave. What first caught my fancy was the variety of peppers - I didn't know of more than 3 kinds and here there were more than 10! There was pink , long and green pepper that I was seeing for the first time. Ideas started flooding my head and I picked up an assortment of 6 kinds of pepper.There were hoards of other stuffs I picked up which would need a dedicated post I suppose. Coming back to my Summer salad with a dressing of lemon pepper vinaigrette using some pretty pink peppers! Those peppers were a revelation..very sweet at the first bite with a woody fiery after kick to  it. I couldn't resist eating those while I prepared the dressing.


Penne pasta - 1 cup - boiled al dente - follow instruction given on the packet

Cucumber - 1 cup - diced

Red bell pepper - half cup - diced

Cherry tomatoes - a handful - halved

Green olives  - a handful - halved

Oilve oil - 1/4th cup

Rice wine vinegar - 1 tsp

Lime juice - 1 tbsp

Pink pepper - 1 tbsp. - crushed

Black pepper - 1 tbsp. - crushed

Coarse sea salt - 1 tbsp. - crushed

Fresh mint leaves - few sprigs - roughly chopped for garnish

Lettuce or any other salad leaves - few leaves for garnish

Grated Parmesan cheese - for garnish - optional


For the vinaigrette:

Mix together the olive oil, rice wine vinegar,lime juice, crushed pepper and salt. Give it a good stir and keep aside.
This dressing can easily be stored for later use .

For assembling the salad:

Line a salad bowl with the salad leaves. Toss together the pasta, diced cucumber, red bell pepper, tomatoes, olives into the salad bowl. Put in a good drizzle of the vinaigrette. Give it a good mix. Throw in the chopped mint leaves and some grated parmesan. Serve chilled.

  • This salad is best served chiiled. You can use whatever freash vegetable that catches your fancy!
  • Instead of pink pepper use normal black pepper and white pepper.
  • Rice wine vinegar can be substituted with apple cider or even normal vinegar.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Assam 1860 Tea - For those who like a robust cuppa

Few days back I received an email from Assam 1860 - a tea company who wanted me to sample  their tea brand. Me being a tea lover opted to give it a shot. Also the fact that they are from my home state Assam, kind of prompted me a little more. So few days back I received a neatly packaged box of tea waiting to be brewed! Now tea is an integral part of our lives - me and the husband. Growing up in Assam, only made this love for tea stronger. We both take our tea time very seriously and very carefully choose the brand of tea that we drink. We do experiment at times and pick up a new brand here and there out of sheer curiosity but mostly stick to our regular stuff. We start our mornings with a steaming cup of tea ( which the husband makes) a ritual , that has been on for the last 12 years!

Now coming back to Assam 1860 - what I found striking was the packaging. Clearly labelled packets of tea bags and also a small portion of tea leaves is what arrived for me to taste. Recently I have become a black tea convert and was happy to try the tea bags. For a proper cup of tea ie. with milk and sugar, I would usually use the stronger tea leaves. I tried both variations with Assam 1860 and found the flavours very distinct and robust. The freshness of the tea surely shines through. However for people who like to drink black tea I would recommend not to dip the tea bags for too long or it could leave a bitter aftertaste.
I also made myself a cup of masala chai with milk and sugar and elaichi and found pouring myself a refill as well. Assam 1860 is of single origin and unblended variety. I am no tea connoisseur but definitely a tea lover and was very happy with this brand.

The tea is produced and manufactured in their own family owned tea gardens thus cutting out on middlemen and not compromising on the quality, freshness and to maintain a competitive pricing. For more information you can log on to their website -

I am definitely going to be ordering my stash in bulk and would highly recommend all tea lovers to give Assam 1860 a shot!