Chicken Kabsa

Being raised in Saudi Arabia, I’ve literally grown up eating delish-Arabic food. Shawarma and Kabsa being my all time favorites.

Kabsa (Arabic: كبسة‎‎ kabsah) is a family of mixed rice dishes that originates from Saudi Arabia, where it is commonly regarded as a national dish. Though kabsa is believed to be indigenous to Saudi Arabia, it is often served in countries such as Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Iraq and Kuwait. The dish is also popularly known as makbūs (Arabic: مكبوس‎‎) in most Arab states of the Persian Gulf, but is served in the same way.

Kabsa

Ingredients:
Serves: 4-6

Rice – 2 cups
Chicken – 750 gms
Oil – 6 tbsp
Cardamom – 3
Clove – 6
Pepper corns – 1 tbsp
Cinnamon sticks – 2
Bay leaves – 2
Chopped Onion – 2 cups
Chopped Tomatoes – 2 cups
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Green chili (slit) – 3
Turmeric – 1 tsp
Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Garam Masala – 2 tsp
Dried lemon – 1
Salt – to taste

Step 1: Wash 2 cups of rice and soak in water for about 30 mins to 1 hour.

Step 2: Add whole spices to hot oil in a pressure cooker and once aromatic, add in the chopped onions and saute until translucent.

Step 3: Toss in the tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste and green chili and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add salt as per taste.

Step 4: Now add the chicken along with turmeric, chilli and garam masala (which is an added variant) and keep covered for about 5 minutes.

Step 5: Drain the rice and add to the cooker along with 1.5 cups of water and a sliced  dry lemon. Close the cooker and cook on medium flame until first whistle. Keep covered till the pressure is released.

Enjoy with laban (buttermilk) and shattah (hot sauce) as they call it.

 

Masala Khichdi

Those who follow my posts definitely know how lazy I am. Nothing excites me more than one-pot meals. 😀 😛 What could do more justice than a tempting bowl of Masala Khichdi? 😉

A few days ago, someone posted pictures of some drool-worthy Khichdi, on a food page I follow. It looked so good. I couldn’t wait to try it for myself. 😀

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Ingredients:
Serves – 6-8

Dal (Lentils) – 1 cup //(Soak overnight)
Brown Rice – 2 cups
Ghee – 3 tbsp
Onion – 2 (chopped)
Curry leaves – 8-10
Tomato – 2
Dried red chillies – 3 (crushed)
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tsp (heaped)
Chopped Cabbage – 1 cup
Carrot – 2 (grated)
Potato – 1 (grated)
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp (heaped)
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala – 1-2 tsp
Water – 6 cups //boiled
Salt – according to taste

Step 1: Heat some ghee in a pressure cooker. Add onions. Saute until translucent.

Step 2: Add tomatoes and curry leaves. Cook until the tomatoes lose their raw flavor.

Step 3: Add in ginger-garlic paste, masala powders and the veggies. Mix well. Sprinkle some salt.

Step 4: Add in the rice, dal and water. Close and cook for 6 whistles or 30 minutes on low flame. Turn off flame. Set aside until all the pressure leaves the cooker. Adjust salt according to taste.

Step 5: Enjoy hot with curd, pickle and pappad. 🙂

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Prawn Biriyani (Veggie Loaded)

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Biriyani is an all-in-one dish. One of the best options to go for, when you don’t want to prepare tons of dishes to get your daily nutrition. It has got carbs, protein AND your daily dose of veggies.

This one, is a simple and quick prawn biriyani, with lots of hidden veggies. 😀

Ingredients:
Serves: 4-6

To cook the rice:
Rice – 1.5 cups
Cinnamon stick – 1
Cardamom pods – 6-8
Aniseed – 1
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Cloves – 4-5
Lime squeeze – 1 tsp
Rose water – 1 tbsp
Water – as required

Prawn Marinade:
Prawn – 1 kg
Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Salt – 0.5 tsp
Lime squeeze – 1 tbsp

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Water – as required
Oil – 1 tsp + 4 tbsp
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Onions – 3 (chopped)
Curry leaves – a bunch
Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1.5 tsp
Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Garam Masala – 1-2 tbsp
Pepper – 1 tsp
Cumin – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 2-3 tsp
Tomato – 1 large (chopped)
Carrots – 3 (grated)
Beans – a bunch (chopped)
Capsicum – 1/2 (chopped)
Yoghurt – 1/2 cup
Chopped Spring Onion – 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves – 1-2 handful (chopped)
Pineapple essence – 1 tbsp (optional)

Step 1: Marinate the prawns and keep aside for 30 minutes.

Step 2: In a non-stick pan, heat 1 tsp oil. Drop the prawns into the pan along with 1/4th cup of water. Cook until done and the water evaporates.

Step 3: In a big non-stick pan, heat some oil and ghee. Add onions & saute until translucent.

Step 4: Add spices,chopped veggies, yoghurt and prawn. Mix well. Cook until done.

Step 5: In the mean time, to prepare the rice, boil water in a large pot, along with all the mentioned spices. Now add the rice. Cook until ‘almost done’.

Step 6: Drain the water. Transfer to rice to the same pan as the prawn-masala. Cover and cook until rice is completely cooked. Drizzle some pineapple essence & garnish with coriander leaves.

Enjoy hot with some Raita and pickle. 🙂

Quick Raita:

Yoghurt – 1 cup
Water – 1/8 cup
Green chilli – 2 (finely chopped)
Onion – 1 (finely chopped)
Cucumber – 1 (finely chopped)
Salt – as per taste

Step: Grab a bowl. Mix everything well. I like to use my hands as I feel it helps incorporate the flavors better. 🙂

 

Pasta with Spicy-Baked Sea food & Thyme-Veggies

We complete 11 months of togetherness! 😀 So obviously, I had to come up with something special for the night. 😀

Last Night’s Dinner:
Spicy-baked fish, prawn, thyme-flavoured-veggies & some pasta, coated with olive oil and garlic powder. Simple and healthy. 🙂

 

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Ingredients:
Serves: 2

Fish fillet – 1
Prawns – 1 cup
Fish masala – as required
Tomato paste – 1 tbsp
Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Carrot – 1
Broccoli – 1 cup
Cooked Pasta – 1 cup
Olive oil – as required
Thyme – 1 tbsp
Garlic powder – 1 tsp (heaped)
Salt – as per taste

Step 1: Coat the fish and prawns in fish masala, tomato paste, chilli powder and salt as per taste.

Step 2: Coat the veggies with some oil and thyme.

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Bake for 20 minutes or until done.

Step 3: In the mean time, cook the pasta. Once cooked, drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some garlic powder. Mix well.

Kerala Appam / Pal-Appam (Milk Appam)

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Appam or Palappam is my favorite South-Indian breakfast. Appam is a type of pancake made with fermented rice batter and milk. Some people like to have it with just sugar. I like to have it with stew or egg curry. You can even eat it just by itself. Doesn’t matter because it is that good.

Mom was making appam the other day and I just asked her the recipe out of curiosity. I never thought making appam was so easy.

Ingredients:
Makes about 8-10

White Rice (uncooked) – 1 cup
Brown rice (uncooked) – 2 tbsp

Milk – as required
Yeast – 0.5 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp + 3-5 tbsp
Salt – according to taste
Step 1: Soak the white rice and brown rice in water, for a minimum of 5 hours.

Step 2: Wash, rinse and strain the rice. Add this rice to a blender. Pour milk up to the level of rice in your blender. Blend along with yeast and 1 tsp of sugar. Adjust the thickness with more milk if required.

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Let the batter rest overnight. This allows it time to ferment.
Now, adjust the salt and sugar. Add salt according to taste. Add about 3-5 tbsp of sugar, again, according to taste.

Step 3: Heat a curved non-stick pan. Pour about half a cup of batter to make each appam.

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Step 4: Hold the handles and spin the batter around the pan. Cover and cook until done.

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Note: If you don’t have the kind of pan to make pal-appam, you can make it make on a regular pan, and it would like this.

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Quick & Easy Lasagna

Being served a fist-sized portion on a magazine sized plate is something we all hate. I personally loathe places/people that are stingy with regard to food. Who doesn’t?
 
Whenever we order lasagna at a restaurant, they present us with this tiny slice of it as though they’re undergoing some crisis. I mean, Seriously?

That’s when I was like, I need to make this at home and eat as much as I want and not bother troubling them in their time of ‘crisis’.

Lasagna is made with several layers of pasta sheets alternated with sauces and various other ingredients.

In my version,
Lasagna = (Pasta Sheets) + (Meat cooked in Tomato sauce) + (Bechamel Sauce)

Ingredients:

Pasta Sheets – 8-10

Meat cooked in Tomato Sauce:
Oil – 2-3 tbsp

Sausages – 10 (ground)  //You could use any kind of ground (minced) meat – 3 cups
Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
Tomato Paste – 1 cup
Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt & Pepper – to taste

Bechamel Sauce: 
Butter – 4 tbsp
Flour – 5-6 tbsp
Milk – 2.5 cup
Salt- 2 tbsp
Pepper – 1 tsp
Cheese – a handful (any kind) //optional 

To garnish:
Chopped Spinach / Parsley – a handful  (optional)


Step 1:  Boil the pasta sheets and let them cook until 80% done. Strain and keep aside.

Step 2: In a non-stick pan, heat some oil and add the tomato paste, garlic paste, chilli powder and sausages to it. Cook for about 5 minutes or until done.

Step 3: In a pan, heat the butter and add the flour to it until well incorporated. Now add in the milk and whisk until its starts to thicken. Turn off the flame and let it cool while it continues to thicken. Add salt, pepper, and a handful of your favorite kind of cheese. Mix well.
(Here’s the link to Laura Vitale’s Bechamel Sauce recipe. I’ve followed the same technique, but used only the ingredients mentioned above.)

Step 4: In a baking dish, smear some oil and start layering.

Minced meat, bechamel, pasta sheets, bechamel, minced meat, bechamel and so on.

I like to start with minced meat as I feel it serves as a decent base. I also like to end with minced meat and top with the bechamel sauce. This way, once baked, its like a thick layer of bechamel and you can see the meat through the cheese. Makes it look all the more tempting. You could also sprinkle some chopped spinach/parsley leaves on top. I’ve used spinach as I like the flavor it imparts.

It wouldn’t take much time to set as all the ingredients are already cooked. Bake for a total of 20 minutes or until done.

Slice & enjoy hot! 🙂

Tomato-Fish Rice

This is a very simple recipe that I came up with, when I had just started to cook. So obviously, its going to be super easy.

In the beginning, the main ingredient I added to anything and everything was tomato paste. It is still one of my favorite ingredients to add to a dish because I absolutely love the flavor it imparts.

Ingredients:
Serves: 2

Brown rice – 1.5 cup
Fish fillet – 3 pieces
Fish Masala – as required (I used ‘Eastern’)
Oil – 5-6 tbsp
Onion – 1 cup
Capsicum – 1 (chopped)
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 heaped tsp
Tomato Paste – 0.5 cup
Chilli powder – 1-2 tbsp (add according to how spicy you want your dish)
Salt & Pepper – to taste
Coriander leaves – a handful (chopped)

Step 1: Marinate the fish and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

Step 1: Boil the rice until cooked. Strain and keep aside.

Step 2: Pan-fry the fish in minimal oil. When its almost done, you can start scrambling the fish in the pan itself. Once done, transfer the fish to a plate.

Step 3: In the same pan, add a little more oil if required and saute the onions until translucent. Add in the chopped capsicum and cook for a while.

Step 4: Add tomato paste, ginger-garlic paste, chilli powder and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes or so until its raw flavor is lost.

Step 5: Now mix in the cooked fish, rice and coriander leaves. Serve hot.

You could add in more ketchup/hot sauce according to your taste.

Healthy Red Fried Rice (using brown rice)

My husband is the kind that feels weirdly uncomfortable if he hasn’t eaten anything from out. So I make it a point to “try” and make our home-cooked meals as healthy as possible. On a regular basis, all I do is limit the amount of oil. But today, I made fried-rice, using brown rice. I added beets to make it look red and tempting.

Ingredients:
Serves: 4

Brown Rice – 2 cup
Oil – 4 tbsp
Chopped Onions – 0.5 cup
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 heaped tsp
Meat masala – 1 tbsp
Beetroot – 2 medium-sized
Capsicum – 1
Broccoli – 1 cup

Step 1: Boil the rice until cooked. Strain and keep aside.

Step 2: Chop all your veggies into tiny pieces.

Step 3: In a large vessel, heat some oil. Now saute the onions until translucent.

Step 4: Add in the mixed veggies along with the ginger-garlic paste and meat masala.

Step 5: Once the veggies soften, add in the rice, little by little, and mix well.

Bombay Mutton Biryani

Weekend Special! Every Saturday in Saudi (which is like Sunday elsewhere) Mom makes it a point to come up with something special. Today she decided to make some “Bombay Mutton Biryani”, and luckily, I got to watch while chopping up the onions and stuff.

Her key ingredient is this Bombay Biryani Masala by Mehran.You could follow the exact instructions on the back of this packet, or follow my Mom’s instructions.

Ingredients:
Serves: 4 

Basmati Rice – 2 cups
Mutton – 750 gm
Water – 1 cup
Ghee-1/2 cup
Oil – 1/2 cup
Chopped Onions – 4 cups
Raisins & Cashews – 1+1 handful
Garlic – 1
Ginger – 1
Tomato – 2
Yoghurt – 5 tbsp
Coriander leaves – 1 cup
Mint leaves – a handful
Bombay Biryani Masala by Mehran – 1 pack
Salt – to taste

Step 1: In a pressure cooker, add the chopped mutton with 1 cup water and salt to taste. Cook for about half an hour on medium flame. Remove the mutton pieces. You could make Mutton Broth-Soup using the broth.

Step 2:  In a non-stick vessel, add the oil and ghee mixture, and saute the onions until golden brown. Once done, remove the onions and stir-fry the cashews and raisins. Remove from oil and keep aside.

Step 3: Into this same vessel, add in the crushed ginger-garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes afterward. Cook until done.

Step 4: Add in 5 tbsp yoghurt, half-of-the-fried-onion-mixture, coriander and mint leaves, bombay biryani masala and the cooked mutton. Add salt to taste. Mix well & let it cook for another 4-5 minutes.

Step 5: Half-cook the basmati rice. Add this half-cooked rice over the mutton mixture. Cover and cook until the rice is completely done.

Step 6: Spread the fried onions, raisins and cashews on top. Serve hot.

For the Raita:

Onion – 1
Cucumber – 1
Mint & Coriander leaves – a handful
Yoghurt – 1 cup
Buttermilk – 0.5 cup
Salt – to taste

Chop the onion, cucumber and leaves into tiny pieces. Grab a bowl and mix all the ingredients together.

You’ll have to dig-deep for the mutton! 😀

Egg Fried Rice

When I’m not in a mood to just make plain rice,  I make my hubby’s favorite “Fried Rice”. Its so simple, it hardly takes 10 minutes, once the rice is cooked.

Ingredients:
Serves: 4

Basmati Rice – 2 cups
Oil – 3 tbsp
Mixed Veggies – 2 cups
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 0.5 tsp
Chopped Spring Onion -1 cup
Egg – 2
Soy Sauce – 0.5 cup (or as required)

Step 1: Wash and rinse 2 cups of basmati rice. Cook until done, and strain.

Step 2: In a large vessel, heat some oil. Add in the mixed veggies along with the ginger-garlic paste. Once the veggies soften, add the spring onion too.

Step 3: Break 2 eggs into the pan and stir it around until cooked.

Step 4: Add in the rice and soy sauce in small quantities and mix well. Adjust the soy sauce according to the color and taste you are aiming for.