Some Indian Food recipes and Kitchen Tips

Tips on Indian Cooking

When I started cooking first I had to learn everything by trial and error. These are some of my recipes for my daughters who are both newly married [:-)] whenever they feel nostalgic for Mom's cooking. Others are also welcome !

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vegetable Biryani


Basmati Rice 1 cup, cleaned in water and soaked for 15 minutes

Beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces 1/4 cup
Carrot, diced 1/4 cup
Green Peas, shelled 1/4 cup

Ginger and garlic, ground to a fine paste 2 tsp

Green chillis, slit 2

Coriander leaves, chopped 1/4 cup
Mint Leaves, chopped 1/4 cup

Cinnamon, 1 inch piece
cardamom, 2
Cloves, 2
Bay Leaf, 1

curd: 1/4 cup
Juice of half a lemon
Tomato 1, slit into 4 pieces
Onion, sliced into thin pieces, 1

cashewnuts,to garnish, 4-5 pices roasted

oil or ghee, 2 tbsp

Heat oil in a flat bottomed non stick vessel which has a wellfitting lid. Fry the onions to a golden brown colour, drain and keep aside for garnish along with the cashewnuts.

In the same oil put in the dry spices of cinnamon cardamom, bayleaf and cloves.

After 10 seconds, put in the coriander leaves and mint leaves, along with slit green chillis.

Then add the ginger garlic paste and fry till oil separates.

Now add the vegetables, curd, lemon juice and tomato. Saute on high heat till water evaporates.

Add the washed and drained rice and mix gently with a wooden ladle. Add 2 cups of boiling water, salt to taste, (a tsp of chilli powder if you like a spicier version).

Cover with the lid and when it is boiling bring down the heat and simmer till the rice is cooked, turning it gently once or twice to help it cook uniformly well.

Spread in a serving dish, garnish with cashew, fried onion and corander leaves.

Serve hot with Onion pachadi (sliced onions mixed with a cup of curds and salt to taste).

Friday, July 20, 2007

Curd Rice, Making curds

How to prepare curds at home (for beginners):

For setting curds, warm milk slightly and pour into a earthern or ceramic bowl. Mix in a tsp of plain yoghurt, stir with a spoon, cover and keep in a warm place to ferment into curds. If you live in very cold regions you can keep this inside a hotpack vessel. Or cover it with a teacosy. The idea is to keep it warm enough to ferment. When it is solidly set, keep it inside the fridge. Now you can start making curds the next day onwards using a tsp of the curds you made with yoghurt at first. Remember to make it a routine to set curds when you boil milk for coffee in the morning. This way you have a constant supply of curds to be eaten with your South Indian Meal (or even to make Raitha with a North Indian Meal). Curds is very good for health as a source of calcium in your daily meals. The helpful bacteria in the curds (Yes, there are bacteria which are friendly and live in your stomach all the time!) helps digest your meals properly. Milk might not suit some people but curds overcomes this disadvantage as it is actually predigested in the fermentation process. It is the Indian equivalent of yoghurt, which can be prepared at home.

To make curd rice, first cook 1 cup of rice in 3 cups of water for more time than you cook for ordinary rice, say 10 minutes of pressure cooking instead of the 6 minutes needed for ordinary rice.

Take out the rice and in a vessel mash it when it is still hot with a broad spoon. Add a teaspoon of salt and mash further. Add cold water, about half a cup, to make it a soft, to a paste-like consistency.

To season:

Heat a tsp of cooking oil in a small pan. Splutter a tsp of mustard, 2 green chillis-slit lengthwise, a few curryleaves and a few slivers of ginger. Add a pinch of asofaetida after taking it off the heat. Pour this into the rice paste and mix well.

When rice is cool, add a big cup of thick fresh curd and mix well. There should be no lumps.

Add a few pieces of carrot and cucumber, cut into small cubes to garnish the rice. You can add seedless fresh green or black grapes too for special occasions.

Now curd rice is ready!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Semiya Payasam


There are lots of sweet dishes prepared under this name. Payasam in TamilNadu meals is somewhat similar to the 'kheer' in North India.

Basically, you add sugar or jaggery to well-cooked rice or dal or any pasta, (usually cooked in milk or coconut milk for added rich taste). Let it blend into the payasam on slow heat. Then garnish it with pieces of nuts and dry fruits fried in ghee.

So the recipe is limited only to your imagination. All the recipes that appear here are what I have evolved from my mother's recipes and improved over time with tips from various people.

You can make Semiya payasam in a jiffy. Here is the recipe:

Semiya (vermicili- Thin sticks of pasta) 1/2 cup, broken into small pieces (or you can use the ready made Bambino broken semiya)

Sugar 1 cup

Milk 1 litre

cardamom powder 1/2 tsp

Ghee to roast the semiya

Cashewnuts and raisins (broken and roasted )


Mix 1 tsp of ghee with the semiya in a microwave vessel. Cook on high for 1 minute to roast it slightly.

Mix half the hot milk with it and cook further for 6 minutes or till the semiya is tender.

Add the sugar and cook till it is dissolved.

Add the rest of the milk and cook till it is thick.

Flavour with cardamom powder

Garnish with roasted cashewnuts and raisins.

Alternatively you can add milkmaid at the end instead of boiling the milk. Adjust the amount of sugar for this.

For semiya you could substitute sabudhana. You can cook rice or puffed rice (poha) also instead of semiya. You can use channa dal or moong dal too. In case you use dals, add jaggery instead of sugar, and coocnut milk instead of ordinary milk, to make it more delicious and differntly flavoured.