Left-overs get a Make-Over

Having some leftovers like rice or veggies is not so uncommon in Indian kitchens. But making the rest of the household eat that the next day is as tough as mastering rocket science! My 2 cents for this! :)

I don't claim this recipe new, because almost everyone of us would have tried this sometime or the other. The ingredients vary based on each one of our tastes and time we have. More elaborate we make it, more tasty it becomes, but loses value as it is meant to be a chat-pata khana!! ;)

Now we know the secret of pleasing our little and loved ones with this vegetable rice!

Veggie Rice
Rice and Vegetables cooked with mild spices
Serves 2

What we need:
Rice - 2 cups
Onion (medium sized) - 1, finely chopped
Tomato (medium sized) - 1/2, finely chopped
Garlic - 2 Cloves, minced
Cooked Left-over vegetables - 1 cup
Cumin seeds (Jeera) - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tbsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tbsp
Jeera powder - 1/2 tbsp
Yoghurt (Thick Curd) - 2 tbsp
Salt - according to taste
Oil - 3 tbsp
Coriander - For garnishing
How to do:
1. Heat oil in a pan, and add the cumin seeds. When the seeds start to sizzle, add the onions and fry till they are soft. (Don’t brown them)
2. Add garlic and fry for a minute. Then add tomatoes, turmeric powder, chilli powder, jeera powder, salt and saute well till the raw smell goes off.
3. Add the veggies and saute for a minute.
3. Reduce the flame and stir in the yoghurt and mix well. Now, add the rice and mix thoroughly.
4. Remove from the flame, and garnish with fresh coriander.

Serve warm with raita or plain yoghurt.

Glory of the Green - Spicy Plain Palak

PALAK....! The green that used to make me go green.....!!! ;) Ya, there was no particular reason, but I never dared to touch palak in any form. But it was my sweet mom-in-law who broke the ice between me and PALAK!
It was during one of our usual trips to my in-laws place. On the lunch table, I was welcomed with a big bowl of green! I wasn't sure what type of green it was and I was too proud to display my ignorance by asking what it was. Yet my every instinct warned me about the so-called-enemity with Palak. But what else can I do with a darling hubby, loving MIL and caring FIL? So I quietly gulped down the first morsel with a spoonful of that green. But what?? Its not something I dreaded!! I really loved the texture, flavour and smell. I could hardly control my palates and curiosity that I smothered the greens all over the rice and started relishing it, ignoring the surprised stares of the 3 around me!!

Later that evening I learnt that it was PALAK and my MIL had prepared it in the simplest way. Then as the fairy tale story goes, now palak is a part of our weekly menu. So here I am, singing the glory of Green!!

Spicy Plain Palak
Spinach leaves blanched and cooked with mild spices
Serves 2

What we need:
Palak (Spinach) leaves – a bunch
Green chillies – 2 to 3
Cumin (Jeera) seeds – 1 tbsp.
Peppercorns – 4 to 5
Rice – 1 tbsp.
Salt - as needed
Water – as needed

For tempering:
Urad dal – 1 tbsp.
Asafetida – a pinch
Red Chillies – 2 or 3
Oil – 2 tbsp.

How to do:
1. Soak the rice in water for about 10 minutes.
2. Wash, clean and boil the palak leaves for about 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Cool the palak and grind it in a blender or mixie along with green chillies, cumin, peppercorn, soaked rice and salt.
4. Heat oil in a kadai and add broken urad dal, red chillies and asafetida.
5. When they are done, add the palak mixture.
6. Check the consistency; if it is too watery, dissolve a spoon of rice flour in a tbsp. of water and add it to the gravy.
7. Bring it to a boil and remove from the flame.
Depending on your taste, you can vary the number of green chillies.

Serve with rice and papad or rotis.

Quick Hyderabadi Egg Biriyani

As I had already disclaimed (is that a right word?), I am not very used to elaborate cooking and I don't try out recipes that require a lot of time and effort. I do accept that some of the authentic recipes taste best when slow-cooked with the correct ingredients. But I always find out a short-cut or a easy method to bring out the near-best of the same recipe. And that's how I discovered how to make quick, easy yet a ROYAL HYDERABADI BIRIYANI.

Being a hard-core EGG-ITARIAN (Oh, thats the term we have coined for egg-eating vegetarians! Funny, uh?) I just drool at the idea of a lip-smacking Hyderabadi biriyani! I resolved to find out a home-cooked method for this elaborate biriyani. I went over a few methods of cooking egg biriyani, and then tested out some of them, with a few additions here, and some subtractions there, and adding some extra ingredients and lo!!! The end-result was a lip-smacking, delicious biriyani fit for the king! And my king, V happily relished his share!
So here I am, sharing the easy way of doing the same!

Hyderabadi Egg Biriyani
Basmati Rice and eggs cooked and flavoured with authentic Garam masala
Serves 2

What we need:
Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Eggs - 2 to 3
Onion, big sized - 1, thinly sliced
Green chillies - 3, vertically slit
Whole garam masala - a handful
(Cloves - 3, Tej patta - 1 piece, Cardamom, broken - 3 to 4, Bay leaf - 1, Fennel seeds/Saunf/Sombu - 1 tbsp.)
Cumin (Jeera) seeds - 2 tbsp.
Pepper corn - 5 to 6
Garam masala powder - 1 tbsp. Optional
Salt - as needed
Water - 3 cups
Mint/Pudina leaves - few
Corainder leaves, finely chopped - 3 tbsp.
Oil/Ghee - 5 to 6 tbsp.

How to do:
1. Wash and soak the basmati rice for about 30 minutes.
2. Boil the eggs separately, peel and make some slits in them.
3. Heat a heavy bottomed vessel (preferably non-stick) and heat oil/ghee.
4. Add the whole garam masala, cumin and pepper-corns.
5. When they start to sizzle out, add the slit green chillies and onion.
6. Fry till the onions become translucent, soft and starts to brown.
7. Throw in the mint leaves and half of the corainder leaves, a pinch of garam masala and stir well.
8. Now drain and add the rice. Mix well until the water is absorbed and the rice turns a little hard.
9. Add the water (1.5 cups of water for 1 cup of rice), eggs, salt. Close the vessel/pan with a lid and cook on medium flame for about 20 minutes.
10. When all the water is absorbed and holes start to appear on the surface, reduce the flame, open the lid and mix well with a wooden spatula. Take care not to break the rice. Let it cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.
11. Remove from flame and garnish with the remaining corainder.

Serve hot with onion, cucumber or plain spiced raitha.

Egg-xilarating Egg-perience

EGGS - I love them. Though we hail from an orthodox community, where even garlic and onions are untouchables, eggs were exceptions for the sake of our health.

Eggs were mostly cooked in a very repetitive way in our homes, either plain omelette's or just boiled eggs. Though we don't complain (we just love to eat them in any form!), I have started trying out various other ways. And I was surprised to read in one of our blogger buddies page, that Eggs can be cooked in more than a 100 ways.

A simple egg curry for rice and rotis, that goes well with a papad or by itself! The base is the usual curry we do for most of the gravies; so it's not something new!! But for all those who love egg, this is a must-do recipe.

Egg Masala
Boiled eggs cooked in a mild onion-tomato gravy
Serves 2
What we need:

Boiled Eggs - 2 to 3
Onion, medium sized - 2
Tomatoes, medium sized - 2
Chilli powder - 2 tbsp.
Cumin (Jeera) powder - 1 tbsp.
Corainder (Dhania) powder - 1 tbsp.
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tbsp.
Green chillies, chopped - 2 (Optional)
Cumin (Jeera) seeds - 1 tbsp.
Salt - as needed
Water - as needed
Oil - 3 to 4 tbsp.
Corainder, finely chopped - to garnish

How to do:
1. Halve the boiled eggs and set aside.
2. Peel the tomato skin and roughly chop them.
3. Heat oil in a non-stick pan or kadai.
4. Fry the onions until they become soft and translucent. Now pick them with a fork and grind them along with the chopped tomatoes.
5. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan. Add cumin and when they start to sizzle, add the green chillies and ginger-garlic paste.
6. Stir well until the raw smell leaves. Now add the onion-tomato paste.
7. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes and then add the cumin powder, chilli powder, coriander powder and salt. If required, sprinkle a little water to avoid the mixture getting burned.
8. When oil starts to separate out, add a cup of water. Mix well and now add the halved eggs.
9. Bring the gravy to a boil and remove from the flame.
10. Garnish with chopped coriander.
Serve warm with rice or rotis.