Monday, 31 March 2014

Lentils Soup

I made lentils soup for brunch today. This soup is for kids , yes no spices and no onion. Just lentils with tomato, salt and tiny pinch of pepper to taste.

Lentils soup can also be given to babies above 7 months old. This is protein packed soup made of yellow lentils / split yellow moong dal. My son when he was 8 months old, I introduced this soup in his diet. It is quite filling soup and tastes so good. Babies will love the taste and quickly accept it as part of their regular diet. However each baby is different and so is the diet for them. Follow your paediatrician's advice on when to start lentils for your baby.

As a general guideline, by around 7 to 8 months, babies would be eating 3 serving of solid food items along with breast milk / formula, cereal, Vegetables are fruits. Introduce lentils and small amount of protein in babie's diet after 7 months.

Please start with very small quantity of soup to begin with. Make sure your baby is not having allergic reactions and then increase the quantity as per baby's needs.


  • 1/2 Cup Yellow Moong Dal
  • 1 Tomato pureed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Oil /ghee
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 and 1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • a pinch of ground pepper ( optional )


1. Wash Moong Dal and soak it in regular tap water for 15 minutes

2. In a pan over low heat, heat oil. When the oil is hot, add cumin seeds. When they splutter add pureed tomatoes
3. Saute tomatoes for a minute
4. Drain moong dal and add it to the pan and sauté for a 2 minutes on low flame
5. Add salt and mix well. Add water and cook on lowest flame settings for 20 to 25 minutes
or until the dal is cooked and mushy
6. Add a pinch of pepper and mix. Switch of flame
7. Let it cool completely before serving

Banana and Dates Loaf

Its been so long since I baked anything. Sometimes its due to frequent power outage and other times I feel lazy to bake. Its summer here and it is so so warm. I am cooking just one pot meal everyday. I do not want to spend too much time in the kitchen.

Yesterday I came across this post in one of the FB groups. It was about Banana and dates loaf with whole wheat and oats. Perfect looking loaf with awesome texture. I couldn't wait to try. I followed her recipe from her blog to make this loaf. Original recipe had ingredients measured in grams. Since I do not have a weighing scale , I converted into US cup measurement.

Good thing about her recipe is that she used whole wheat flour and oats along with All purpose flour making it healthier. My kids loved it. Its is packed with flavour and tastes delicious. It has melt in mouth texture :)

Recipe Source :


  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Oats ( I used Quaker instant oats )
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar ( I powdered granulated sugar in a mixer grinder )
  • 1/2 Cup Butter at room temperature
  • 2 Eggs at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoon Hot Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 Ripe Bananas
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 Cup Dates chopped finely ( I used seedless ones; if with seed, remove seed and chop finely)


1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a loaf pan and set aside

2. In a small bowl, mash bananas with a fork


3. In a mixing bowl add All purpose flour, wheat flour, oats and baking powder. Sift two times


4. Add baking soda to the hot milk. Let it rest for about 5 minutes until milk is frothy


5. Add frothy milk to the mashed bananas and mix


6. In a large bowl add butter , powdered sugar, salt . cream it for about 2 minutes using a spatula



7. Add beaten eggs to the butter and mix well


8. Then Add mashed banana with milk and mix well
9. Finally add the dry ingredients in 3 batches. Mix everything together
Add 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour to the chopped dates and mix these dates gently in the batter




10. Pour the batter in the prepared loaf pan


11. bake at 180C for 50 minutes or until the tooth pick inserted comes out clean
12. Remove the pan from oven, let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan


13. Invert the loaf on a wire rack and cool completely
14. Slice and serve


Chicken Briyani

This is a quick version of Chicken Briyani , also called as Kacchi Briyani. Unlike traditional biryani, rice and raw meat are cooked together in this biryani. Chicken is marinated in a yogurt based marinate for one hour and then it is cooked with onion, tomatoes , spices based gravy along with rice. I served chicken biryani with red onion raita , slices of boiled egg.

Preparation Time : 30 Minutes
Chicken Marinate Time : 1 Hour
Cooking Time : 30 Minutes


  • 1 Cup Basmati Rice
  • 2 Cups of water
  • 2 Onion chopped finely
  • 1 Large tomato chopped finely
  • 1 Inch Ginger
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1 Green Chilli
  • 1 Teaspoon Coriander powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
  • 3 Tablespoon Oil + 1 Teaspoon Ghee
  • 2 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Green Cardamom
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 1 Inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 4 Cloves
  • Salt as required
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 Egg boiled - for serving


Marinate chicken :

  • 200 Grams Chicken pieces ( without skin ; I used drumsticks and thigh pieces; I usually don't use breast piece since it is too dry when its cooked)
  • 2 Tablespoon Curd
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chilli powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Preparation :

1. Soak Basmati rice in regular tap water for 15 minutes
2. In a spice grinder, grind ginger and garlic along with 1 tablespoon  of water. Grind it to a fine paste


3. In a bowl add all the ingredients listed under marinate chicken. Use 1/2 Teaspoon ginger garlic paste from the paste we prepared in the above step #2 . Mix well. let the chicken marinate for about 1 hour.



1. In a pan on medium flame, heat oil. When the oil is hot, add ghee and add bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon stick, black and green cardamom. Clove and cardamom will splutter


2. Now add mint leaves and Green Chilli stir it quickly. Add onion immediately and let the onions sauté till they are soft. Add the remaining ginger garlic paste and saute
3. Let ginger garlic paste sauté until the oil separates from the mixture. You should be able to see oil on the top of onions, that's the indicator that when ginger garlic is not raw
5. Add tomatoes and fry until they are mushy


6. Add coriander powder, red chilli powder and give it a good stir


7. Add marinated chicken along with 1/4 of water and increase the flame to high. Cover the pan with a lid and let the chicken cook for 5 minutes


8. Wash the rice and drain completely. Add rice to the chicken and mi everything together. Add remaining 1 and 3/4 cups of water. Add salt. Check salt and spice
9. Reduce the flame to lowest setting. Close the pan with the lid and let it cook for about 15 to 20 minutes
10. Check if the rice is cooked through and the chicken is also cooked through and the water evaporates completely
11. Switch off flame and let the lid be on for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, open the lid and gently mix everything with a fork

12. Add chopped cilantro leaves for garnish and serve hot with slices of boiled egg along with red onion Raita


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Pilau flavored with whole spices, nuts and dry fruits

Plain pilau / nuts pilau is my moms recipe. She makes this pilau when we have unexpected guests at home. This is a most flavourful pilau that can be made in jiffy. My mom makes spicy egg curry and raita to go along with it. This pilau does not require vegetable broth. Rice is cooked in water, yet the flavour is awesome because of the crushed garlic and whole spices we use in the making.


  • 1 Cup Long grain Rice / Basmati Rice
  • 1 and 1/2 Cup water
  • About 10 shallots chopped finely ( You can use one medium onion instead of shallots)
  • 2 Tablespoon Oil

  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 Green cardamom
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 3 Cloves
  • 6 Crushed garlic cloves
  • 10 whole black pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 Inch Ginger finely chopped
  • 10 mint leaves (optional)
  • Salt as required
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut milk
  • a pinch of saffron
  • Salt as required
  • 10 cashew nuts
  • 10 Sultanas / raisins


1. Soak rice in regular tap water for 15 minutes
2. I made this rice in pressure cooker since I was in a hurry to go out. But , this rice should be made in a pan.
3. In a pan, heat oil. When the oil is hot, reduce the flame to lowest setting and add cashew nuts and fry until they are nice golden. Remove from oil and drain them on a paper towel. In the same oil fry sultanas or raisins quickly and drain them on a paper towel.
4. In the same oil Cumin seeds, whole black peppers, add bay leaf, cloves, green cardamom, black cardamom.


4. Fry for a minute. Then add crushed garlic, ginger and mint leaves and fry until garlic turns light brown color. Do not burn garlic
5. Now increase the flame to medium and add chopped shallots and fry until shallots are soft
6. Drain rice and add it to the pan. Stir / mix everything together. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water , 1 tablespoon coconut milk and saffron. Add salt to taste



7. Reduce the flame to lowest setting and cover the pan with lid. Let the rice for 15 to 20 minutes. If you are cooking in pressure cooker, cook for 2 whistles on low flame




8. Once the rice is cooked, add the fried cashew nuts and raisins to the rice and mix gently with a fork. Do not over mix or break the rice
9. Serve hot with curry and raita

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Lentils and Potato Rice

Lentils and Potato rice is a one pot meal flavoured with Indian Spices and can be made very quickly. It tastes similar to risotto. It is called Khichdi and it is one of the most comfort food for all seasons. Khichdi is served with lots of ghee spread on the top.



  • 1 Cup Rice
  • 1/4 Cup Yellow Moong Dal
  • 1 Medium potato Chopped
  • 2 Cups of water
  • 1 Onion Sliced
  • 1 Tomato Chopped
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 inch long Cinnamon Stick
  • 5 Cloves
  • 1 Green Chilli
  • 10 mint leaves (optional)
  • 5 Garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 Inch long Ginger piece cut in strips
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 3 Tablespoon Oil
  • Salt as required


Directions : 

1. Soak rice and moong dal together in regular tap water for 15 minutes

2. In a pan over medium flame, heat oil. When the oil is hot , add cumin seeds. When they splutter, add bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon stick

3. Then add mint leaves , Green Chilli, garlic and ginger. Let the garlic fry for a minute
4. Add sliced onions and fry till they are soft

5. Add tomatoes and fry till tomatoes are mushy

6. Add turmeric powder and salt
7. Add potatoes, rice and dal along with water. Reduce the flame to the lowest setting and let the rice cook for about 20 minutes or until the water is evaporated and rice is cooked



8. Serve hot with red onion raita

Rooh Afza Lemon Sharbat / Indian Lemonade

Summer is here ! We are chilling with refreshing drinks everyday. Today its watermelon Juice and Rooh Afza lemon sharbat. Rooh Afza is an non alcoholic concentrated squash available in stores. It is made out of fruits, herbs and vegetable extracts. It is believed to have cooling effect on the body.

It has a strong floral flavour and very beautiful pink color when mixed with water or milk. We grow up drinking rose milk and this lemonade every other day during Ramzan fasting. We also add sabja seeds (basil seeds) to the rose milk. Chilled lemon sharbat and rose milk are heavenly drinks for summer. It not only quenches thirst , but gives cooling effect and its is soooo refreshing.


  • 400 ml of Water
  • 4 Tablespoon of Rooh Afza ( it has sugar , so we will use less sugar in the lemon sharbat)
  • 2 Tablespoon Sugar
  • Juice of 4 Lemons ( about 4 Tablespoons)
  • a pinch of salt
  • Lemon Slices for serving 


1. In a mixing bowl add chilled water. If you are using regular water, add ice cubes
2. Mix Sugar, Salt  to the water and stir until sugar dissolves

3. Add lemon juice and rooh afza and mix well with a spoon

4. Taste and check for sweetness. Add more sugar if you like it sweeter
5. Serve chilled with lemon slices and ice cubes


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Peanut Brittle / Peanut Chikki

Chikki is an Indian sweet made out of jaggery and peanuts. Preparation of chikki is very easy , just make syrup out of jaggery and then add roasted peanuts and then mix them such that peanuts are coated with jaggery. Then the mixture is rolled in to balls.

In addition to peanut chikki, there are chikkis made out of cashew nuts, almonds, puffed rice, desiccated coconut. Each chikki is named after the ingredient it is made of. In south India, peanut chikkis are very famous. My kids love them as snack. It is rich in protein. I pack it for my son's snack box to school.

This chikki is made out of just two ingredients , roasted peanuts and granulated sugar. Very easy right? yes, any recipe with less than 5 ingredients, I am happy to try. Easily available ingredients in the kitchen. I have 1 Kg of peanuts in my freezer and I decided to make chikki apart from peanut chutney, peanut rice and aubergine pilaff :)

Here is the recipe for Chikki : 
Yield : 6 squares

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 Cup roasted Peanuts
  • 1/2 Cup granulated white sugar (regular sugar )

Directions :






1. Remove skin of roasted peanuts and grind it coarsely. Grease a tray and set aside



2. In a heavy bottomed pan, add sugar. Keep the flame on medium. Don'tt add water. Let the sugar melt on its own and it will just turn into white syrup



3. Reduce the flame to lowest setting and then add grind peanuts. Make sure you add peanuts immediately when the sugar is melted. Don't wait for the sugar to brown / carmelise. Add peanuts to the syrub and Stir everything together


4. It will become like a thick gooey ball. Switch off flame and transfer the content into the greased pan immediately. Spread the mixture with a flat spoon or spatula
5. Mark impression on the mixture in the shape of squres or rectangles. If you do not mark it now, the mixture will be hard every quickly and you wont be able to cut them into pieces or into shapes
6. Let it cool for 5 mins or until you can handle the mixture without burning your hand
7. Using a sharp knife cut into pieces by running the knife over the marked impression
8. Once cooled, store it airtight container