Archive for the ‘Biryani’ Category

From the kitchen this week: Garlic and Herb Buns, Thiruvathirai Kootu and Bachelor Biryani

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Instead of writing three posts I just thought of sharing all recipes in one post, so without a big introduction here are the recipes.

This is a bun I baked to go with some sundried tomato pesto pasta last week for dinner. You can make it as pav buns if you wanted to, just omit the herbs and garlic. I used to make aloobuns/vegetable buns posted here and I just followed the same recipe for this garlic buns too.


All purpose flour- 2 cups (I used 200 ml measuring glass)
Dry yeast- 2 tsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Sugar – 2 tbsp
Melted slightly warm butter( not room temperature butter)- 4 tbsp
Water- as needed to knead
Olive oil- 2 tsp
Butter- 1 tbsp- to brush while baking
Garlic- finely chopped- 1 tbsp

Herbs: I used Italian seasoning which has thyme, basil and I also added some red pepper flakes. Or you can use cheese!


In a wide bowl, add about 1/4 cup of warm water. Dissolve the yeast,sugar and salt, slightly whisk it to mix well. Add the flour little by little and get a crumbly texture. Then add melted butter, start kneading slowly to incorporate and then add water as per requirement and knead well to a thick dough.Keep it covered in a warm place for atleast an hour for the dough to double in volume.

After the dough doubles just sprinkle a teaspoon of flour on top if it, punch it down, divide it into equal parts, roll each part in to a ball, coat again with olive oil,sprinkle some dried herbs/garlic/red pepper flakes/cheese or a little bit of it all(!!) and cover and keep in a warm place for 10 minutes to rise.

Pre heat the oven to 375F . Bake these buns at 375 for 15-20 minutes or till the top is golden brown. Keep watching the color, it can get burnt. You can smell the aroma of buns when they are done!

The buns would have joined together(because of the rise and baking), gently separate each bun, let it cool down for 2-3 minutes. Serve with any spicy chutney or ketchup and enjoy with a hot cuppa tea or serve with pasta!

Thiruvadirai Kootu:

The next one is very special to me as I grew up in Chidambaram and the Nataraja Ther(Chariot) during the month of December along with the star Thiruvadiarai is celebrated with a traditional kali and kootu(dal). My sister and I would pull the chariot with others(a big crowd, in thousands) and then come home for this feast. The chariot festival is celebrated twice a year, once around June/July and the other in December/January. I just thought why not make the kootu for lunch instead of waiting for those special days in December.

If you think about it, this is a excellent choice for your fridge/freezer cleaning days. This kootu has to be made with 7 different vegetables and lentils as during the month of December or January it will be harvest time but for a change from pulao or biryani if you have couple of carrots, beans, lentils and garbanzo beans or kidney beans, put it all in, it tastes so divine in this kootu.


Mixed vegetables(carrots, peas, pumpkin, snake gourd,long beans, Potato,Indian eggplant)- 1 cup
Cooked Mashed toor dal- 3/4 cup
Mixed beans(cooked garbanzo beans, red kidney beans, black eyed peas)- 1/2 cup
Peanuts(soaked in water)- 2 tbsp- optional
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Tamarind water- 2 .5 cups(1/4 tsp tamarind paste in 1 cup water and add another cup as it dissolves)

For tempering:
OIl- 1 tbsp
Curry leaves- 1 spring
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Coconut- grated- 1 tbsp

For the spice powder:
Chanadal- 2 tbsp
Red chilies 3 (add another chili if you like it spicy)
Coriander seeds- 2 tbsp
Coconut- 4 tbsp


Chop the vegetables into 1″ cubes. In a pot, add these vegetables, salt and turmeric powder, tamarind water, cover and let it cook. When the vegetables are half done, add the cooked lentils and cooked beans along with the soaked peanuts. Cover the let it cook through.

In another pan toast the chana dal, red chilies, coriander seeds to a golden brown color (toast separately) and transfer it to a blender(if you toast them all together coriander seeds may burn). Just toast the coconut in the hot pan and immediately transfer to the blender before it turns brown. Let the ingredients cool down and blend them to a fine powder.

Add this powder to the kootu pot as you add the beans(half way through cooking).

Once the vegetables are cooked through, the lentils and beans are all combined, switch it off.

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, as it splutters add curry leaves. Just as you are about to pour this over the kootu, add the grated coconut to the tempering pan and pour it over the kootu. The coconut will thicken the kootu, if not you can mix 1 tbsp of rice flour with less than 1/4 cup of water and add it to the kootu when it is simmering.

Traditionally this kootu is served with kali(rice and jaggery) but we had it with plain rice and some carrot-cucumber kosamalli.

Bachelor Biryani:

Though I keep saying little R, my son is growing up to be the tall R :) And as he is about to join the “terrible two” age group those classic characterics are starting to show off- refusing to sit in the cart that he used to do before(now he wants to push it and run all over the mall), refusing to sit in a restaurant for a meal, starting to make choices(which means wearing those blue pair of shoes forever along with that same comfy pair of shirt that he likes), a big no no to the vegetables that he used to eat before, thinking that he is the boss of the house(says who??) etc etc., He is going to a summer camp for couple of hours a week and apart from the usual places I take R to, dropping him and picking him up is another job for me these days! So after a long list of complaints about the stuff I have to do all week, N took over cooking and made this biryani for the weekend- this is so simple, one pot dish and he used to make this for me couple of years back.

This is how it it goes:
Basmati rice(soaked in water)- 1 cup
Onion- medium size- 1
Tomatoes- 2, chopped
Mixed vegetables(carrots, beans, peas, cauliflower, potatoes and even paneer if you like)- all together- 1 cup
Green chili-1
Mint leaves- half a bunch
Cilantro- half a bunch
Coconut-1/4 cup
Garam masala powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil- 2 tbsp
Fennel seeds- 3/4 tsp
For garnish- finely chopped cilantro and mint leaves


Keep aside about 1/4 of the onion for stir frying and chop them finely. Chop the rest of the onion into cubes. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan, add cubed onions ,tomatoes and salt and stir fry well for 4-5 minutes. Now add the mint leaves, Green chili,cilantro and stir fry again for another 3-4 minutes. Transfer the contents to a blender, add coconut and bled it to a smooth paste(adding little amount of water if necessary).

Heat oil in a pressure pan or cooker, add fennel seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the chopped onions and salt and fry till onions turn transclucent. Now add other chopped vegetables and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Drain water from the rice and add it to the pan, mix them gently.

Measure the ground masala paste, if it measures to one cup you will need one more cup of water to cook the rice(Rice to water 1:2). So pour the masala paste, required amount of water and add the garam masala powder. Mix gently and cover and cook on medium flame for one whistle. See, this is so easy compared to the marinades/frying/dum biryanis, right?

After the pressure cooker has cooled down, open the cooker and gently separate the rice grains with a fork. Garnish with cilantro and mint leaves and serve hot with any raitha and chips!

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30 Minute Biryani?

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Like everybody else, N and I love to eat this delicious, aromatic rice dish, made at home or at a restaurant. Though I make variations like Paneer Kofta Biryani and Nargisi Biryani, since I make them in a clay pot, it takes me time to put each and every layer if I am making it for a party. Most of the times, I take the responsibility of bringing a main dish to a potluck dinner and I look for dishes that taste good but takes little time to make.

This Cooker Biryani is one such recipe I came across at Srikar’s Kitchen and the method was so easy that off I went to the kitchen to try this biryani. Believe it or not, it takes only about 30 mins or so to put this dish together, so even if you are looking for a change in your Sunday Lunch, this could be it!


Rice- 1.25 cups (I used ordinary ponni rice, did not use basmati)
Tomatoes -2
Ginger- 1″ piece
Garlic -1″ piece
Potato,Carrot,Peas,Beans,Cauliflower- all together 1 cup
Green chilies- 2
Red chili powder- 3/4 tsp
Biryani masala- 3/4 tsp (or use garam masala powder)
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Salt 1 tsp(approx)
Water- 3 to 3.5 cups
Ghee- 1 tbsp
Canola oil- 1 tbsp
Fennel Seeds- 1 tsp
Clove and Cardamom- 2 each
Bay Leaf- 1
Coriander leaves- to garnish
Lemon juice- 1 tsp


You can make this biryani directly in a cooker, or you can stir fry in a pan and then cook it like normal rice in the rice vessel of the cooker.

Soak rice in water for 10-15 minutes. Since this was a trial, I wanted to make it with plain rice, you can use basmati rice like we normally do for biryani’s.

In the mean time, finely chop the onions.

Blend tomatoes, ginger and garlic into a thick paste. No need to blanch the tomatoes.

Chop all other veggies into desired shape. Slit the green chilies in to two lengthwise.

Heat ghee and oil together in the frying pan, add fennel seeds,bay leaf, cardamom and clove, saute for a minute, then add the sliced onions, salt and fry really well till onions are golden brown in color.

Now add the tomato paste,green chilies and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add the red chili powder, turmeric powder, biryani masala and stir fry well. Add the chopped veggies and coat the tomato-masala powder well on to them.

Keep stir frying for 5 minutes so that veggies will get cooked. But at any point, do not add water to these veggies.

Now drain the water from the rice, add it to the tava and fry the rice for 2 minutes. The trick is to stir fry the veggies well before adding the rice so that they all cook evenly. Transfer the contents to a cooker pan, add 3.5 cups of water and cook for 2 whistles in the cooker.

Garnish with cilantro and lemon juice and serve hot with any raitha! You can also add fried paneer or nuts to the biryani.

This delicious plate of Biryani goes to BB#6 Pot Luck hosted by Nupur.

This 30 minute Biryani is also my entry for Priya’s CWS-Cooking with Fennel Seeds event.

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Recipe Marathon: Day 3: Nargisi Biryani (Egg Kofta Biryani)

Sunday, December 27th, 2009


Before I start my four column story, I just wanted to ask you all a question. I have been blogging only for couple of months, and though I visit all of the yummy recipes by the participants of the marathon, I am not able to leave a comment as I am hosting this from wordpress and I am only able to comment with my URL/Name option. Are there any other options, please let me know as I am still in the learning phase :)

During weekdays,when packing lunch boxes I look for recipes that can stay, hold their shape and will taste good after a couple of hours. There is no point in making spaghetti and eating a tough one/soaked in sauce for lunch. Instead, I can get a steaming hot plate of pasta from a soup shop nearby or make it for dinner. I am not too fond of packing dosas either, unless there is a shortage of frisbee in the work place . For lunch, I pack gravies like panner butter masala, aloo curry or some usual sambar rice or rasam .

So, the only time we get to taste elegant lunches like biryani is during weekends. I mean, would you want to hurry up and finish biryani on a 20 minute lunch break or are you willing to savor it for the weekend?

By the time we get up(every saturday, if I can add), we are always in the mood to prepare some variety rices. If you remember my stories on sis and her biryanis, and have tried my paneer kofta biryani , this is the meat free version of it.The Nargisi biryani. And that is what I am going to serve my fellow runners for a fulfilling lunch during this Marathon .

My sis works with a lot of people from the middle east in her office and she learnt this recipe from an Iranian friend’s mom. She uses egg instead of the chicken meat ball and I followed suit.


If you plan ahead you can put it together in a jiffy. I make my biryanis in a clay pot so I have to soak it in water for a good 30 mins to an  hour before I put this together, but by that time I can also cook the rice. So I wont call it a recipe that takes half a day to cook. Besides, it tastes awesome so even if it did take half a day to cook , I would try this at least once.

Here is a filling biryani, to bundle up some energy for the rest of the marathon.

Recipe 5: Nargisi Biryani


List 1: (To make the koftas)
Hard boiled eggs- 3
Boiled large potatoes- 4
Salt- to taste
Garam Masala Powder- 1/2 tsp
Gram flour -1/2 cup
Oil- to deep fry

List 2:(Marinade for the rice)
I make a yogurt based masala and it can be made and stored in the refrigerator for a day.I usually make it the night before I make biryani.

Well whisked thick yogurt- 1 cup
Roma tomatoes-2
Green Chilies-2
Bay Leaf-2
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder- 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder- 3/4 tsp
Garam Masala Powder- 1 tsp
Salt- to taste
Mint leaves- handful
Cilantro- handful

List 3: (Making the rice)
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Bay leaf-1
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Oil- 1 tsp
Basmathi rice- 1.25 cups

List 4:
Red onion- one large
Steamed,drained vegetables like cauliflower, carrot and peas – 1/4 cup
Cilantro, mint, green onions- to garnish
Lemon juice- to taste


Instructions on using a clay pot can be found from my previous post here.

Step 1:


Chop the tomatoes, chilies, mint, cilantro and mix everything given under the marinade section.Prepare the marinade atleast an hour before you make biryani or make it the night before and store in a fridge.

Step 2:


Remove the shell of the hard boiled eggs and cut them into two. Mash the boiled potatoes till smooth, without lumps. Mix gramflour, salt and garam masala powder to the mashed potato. Add water (2 tbsp) and make a thick batterish-pulp. The potato mash has to be thick yet spreadable. Take a half cut section of the egg and start coating it with the mashed potato pulp.

Make sure that you cover the egg fully, and no egg white can be seen. Similarly cover and coat all eggs. Pour oil in a pan and wait till it gets hot. Deep fry the potato covered egg till golden brown. Drain on a paper towel. If any white of the egg is visible, when it comes into contact with the oil, it is going to burst giving a hot oil shower to the chef.


Step 3:


Soak Basmathi rice in water for 10 minutes. Heat oil in a frying pan, add cumin seeds and bay leaf, add the drained rice, stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to the usual vessel you’d make rice in, add salt and water (1 cup rice: 2 cups water) and cook the rice. Fluff it and keep aside.

Step 4:

Cut the onions lengthwise(julienne slice). Heat oil in a pan(use the same pan used to fry rice), add the chopped onions and fry till transparent. Pour in the prepared mariande and let the yogurt sauce thicken (7-10 minutes), giving off all the water. Add the steamed vegetables, Stir well to coat, taste if salt is enough. Do not add any water to this gravy.Switch off.

Putting it together:

Coat the bottom of the clay pot/ baking tray with ghee. Spread a layer of rice. Spoon over some of the cooked marinade, arrange couple of the egg-koftas, cover them with another layer or rice, and pour some mariande on top, arrange the remaining egg koftas, cover with rice. Garnish with cilantro, mint or green onions. Cover the mouth of the pot with a tin foil.

Bake in a 375 oven (No need to preheat if using claypot) for 40minutes. Carefully remove the foil, pour lemon juice on top… mix without breaking the egg koftas and..Serve it steaming hot with raitha and chips.



1) You can boil the potatoes in the cooker along with the rice saving time.

2) How about adding mashed carrots and beans to the potato to get some more vegetables?

You can, but make sure that everything is well mashed else, you are going to get an oil shower when you deep fry them.

3) Baking the Koftas: Have’nt tried it, planning to try it sometime soon.

4) If you don’t want to use eggs, use vegetable koftas. But make sure that you dont over do the eggs as the eggs are coated with potato and gram flour so you could end up with more eggs than what you counted.

Meet you all tomorrow with something light for Tea!

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Paneer Kofta Biryani

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Most often our weekend menu would be a variety rice like tomato rice or biryani or bisi-bela-bath. Since weekends are the majority of the time hubby and I get to spend in the kitchen, we cook these dishes talking, chopping veggies, making raithas etc.,

I should thank my sister here for teaching me how to make a proper biryani. She lives in the middle east and she can give you recipes for 10 different types of biryanis just like without any reference, egg biryani(muttai biryani), nargisi biryani, kofta biryani, dum biryani, plain tomato and onion biryani, biryani with plain spices, nuts and fruits….So the only thing I do when I get to meet her is to eat(or rather stuff myself) and copy down all her new experiments.

I also followed her advice on getting a good clay pot(mann-pathiram) to make biryanis to get that earthy flavor. I searched for the pot here in Houston and got a good clay pot for around $10 in an indian store. Its just amazing that the rice never sticks to the clay pot. Natural non stick??

The only thing I gotta remember is to soak the clay pot and its lid in water atleast an hour before cooking. The first time I cooked with the pot, I soaked it in water overnight.

This weekend I started making koftas and jeera rice but then changed my mind halfway(too lazy to make another gravy) and made kofta biryani instead. Here is the recipe for the biryani, it is kind of time consuming and will take atleast 2 hours from start to finish but the taste is amazing!

Measurements are for 2-3 people:

For the rice:
Basmati rice- 1.25 cups
Jeera- 1 tsp
Bay leaf-1
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Cardamom- 2-3 pods
Clove- 2 sticks
Butter- 1 tbsp

For the marinade:
Finely chopped tomatoes- 1 cup
Well beaten yogurt(without lumps)- 1 cup
Ginger garlic paster- 1 tsp
Red chili powder-1/2 tsp
Garam Masala powder- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Finely chopped green chilies- 3 numbers
Finely chopped coriander leaves- 1/4 bunch
Finely chopped mint leaves-1/4 bunch
Cardamom pods-2 numbers
Finely Chopped Onion- 1/4 cup

For the Koftas:(makes 14 koftas)
Grated Paneer- 1/2 cup
Potatoes- 4 numbers
Carrot- 2 numbers
Peas- 1/4 cup
Beans-a few well chopped
Salt- to taste
Garam Masala Powder- 1/2 tsp
Kofta Masala Powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp
Oil- 2 tbsp

To make the rice:
Wash and soak basmati rice in water for 10 minutes. Heat a pan and add butter to it. When the butter melts add cumin seeds, bay leaf, cardamom, clove and the drained rice. Fry well till the sizzling sound of the soaked rice disappears. Transfer to a cooking vessel, add 2 parts water to one part rice(I added 2.5 cups) and cook like normal rice in a pressure cooker. When cool, fluff up the rice with a fork.

Preparing the marinade:
Mix everything under the marinade list except onions and let the marinade sit inside refridgerator for at least 30 mins. The more time it sits, the more it absorbs the flavors. I prepare it ahead of time and let it sit overnight sometimes.

Preparing the koftas:

Boil and mash potatoes and peas. Grate carrots. In a pan, add oil and saute mashed potatoes, peas, grated carrots,beans and grated paneer with garam masala powder, salt , kofta masala powder. Cook till there is no raw smell(7-8 mins). Add coriander leaves and let it slightly cool.

When cool enough to handle, make lemon sized balls out of the mixture. I do not deep fry koftas, but I fry them in my appam pan. When both sides of the kofta turns brown remove and keep aside.

Putting it all together:

Heat oil in a pan(again) and add the chopped onions that we didnt use for the marinade. When onion turns brown, pour the marinade to the pan and let all the water from the yogurt evaporate. Do not add additional water to cook. Just let the water from the yogurt sizzle away, and reduce, wait till the oil separates(12- 15 minutes). Keep aside.

Now is the time for our clay pot. Pour out all the water we used to soak the pot in. Slightly smear the inside of the pot with ghee. Always fill the bottom layer with jeera rice. Pour a ladleful of cooked marinade on top and add a couple of cooked koftas then start another layer of rice,cooked marinade and finish the top layer as rice later. Pour some lemon juice on top if desired. Garnish with cilantro,mint leaves. Wrap the top completely with a foil. Keep the pot inside oven and then start the oven to pre heat. Never preheat the oven for clay pots as it may break. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. A similar procedure can also be followed for baking any biryani in a baking tray. Remove the foil and serve hot with raithas. Enjoy!!

I would like to send this entry to the event Jihva for Ingredients originally started by Indira of Mahanandi.

This JFI event is hosted in November as Jhiva for Ingredients-Paneer.

This Paneer Kofta Biryani also goes to WYF speciality food event.

This paneer kofta biryani also goes to SriLehkas EFM Variety rice series.

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