Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thalassery Biryani is one of the popular biryanis of Kerala. This is a pakki (cooked meat) type of layered biryani kept under dum and served. This biryani is prepared using a special type of flavourful rice called Jeeragasala/Jeeraga samba. The rice is cooked separately by following reduction method. There will not be any extra water drained. This biryani varies from other biryani, it has not masala powders like turmeric, chilli powder or coriander powder in it. In this biryani instead of yogurt, tomato and lemon juice are used to make the biryani masala.

The addition of rose water gives more flavour and dimension to this biryani. It is a kind of less spicy biryani with rich in ghee, cahews and raisins. Thalassery biryani is served with  mildly spicy and sweet Dates Chutney.

Thalassery Biryani

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Cuisine: Kerala

To make cooked rice:
Jeeragasala (Khyma)/ Jeeraga samba raw rice (or) Basmathi rice- 4 cups
Rose water-1 tablespoon
Cinnamon bark- 3 pieces, cloves- 5 cardamom- 5
Ghee-1 teaspoon
Salt- to taste

To make fried Onion and nuts and raisins:
Ghee- 3 tablespoons+ oil(or) vanaspathi-1 cup(You could use only ghee to make this)
Onion-5 medium
Cashews- 20 nos
Raisins- 20 nos

To make the chicken masala:
Oil- 2 teaspoons
Ginger, crushed/paste- 1 inch
Garlic, crushed/paste- 5 big cloves
Green chillies,crushed/paste - 15 nos
Tomato, chopped- 3 medium
Chicken, cut in to pieces- 1 kg
Salt- to taste
Corinder leaves- 3+2 tablespoons
Mint leaves- 1½+1 tablespoons
Lemon juice- 1/2

Garam masala powder: 1 teaspoon+ extra to sprinkle
Jeera-1 teaspoon shahi jeera-1 teaspoon, fennel seeds- 1 teaspoon, cinnamon- 3 big bark, cloves- 1 teaspoon, cardamom-6 nos, Mace-3 and Nut meg- 1/2 slightly roasted and powdered.

To make saffron milk:
Hot milk- 1/2 cup
Rose water- 1 tablespoon
Saffron strands- 1 pinch


Fried onion, cashew and raisins:
  • Heat ghee+oil (vanaspathi) together in a pan and add the thinly sliced onions and fry till golden colour. I have fried in two batches.
  • Remove them from ghee and add the cashews, once they starts to get golden colour add the raisins and fry toghter in the oil till it puffs up.
  • Remove them from ghee and keep with the fried onion.
To make the chicken masala:
  • Grind the ginger, garlic and green chillies together  as a coarse paste. (You could do separate too). 
  • Add the onion fried remaining ghee inside the heavy bottomed deep pan. Add the paste and cook in that ghee till raw flavour leaves.
  • Now add the chopped tomato and cook till soft. 
  • Add the chicken and salt; Cook in the masala for a minute and add some coriander and mint leaves. Then add a teaspoon full of garam masala and mix well.  
  • Add half a cup of water and close with a lid and cook the chicken till soft.
  • Switch off the gas and keep aside till the rice get cooked.
  • On top of chicken masala drizzle some lemon juice. Add half of the fried onion, some cashews, raisins and some chopped coriander and mint leaves.
To make saffron milk:
  • In a glass take half a cup of hot milk and a tablespoon of rose water and add some saffron strands. Allow to soak for 5 minutes.
To make the cooked rice:
  • To  make the cooked rice, take 6 cups of water and add rose water, a teaspoon of ghee, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Now wash the rice and add straight away and add some salt to cook the rice.
  • Add 1½ cups of water for a cup of rice to cook. I have added 6 cups of water for 4 cups of rice to cook. Allow to cook the rice on low flame as it tend to catch at the bottom. Cook the water by reduing method do not drain any water.
  • When the water almost evaporates the rice is 80 percent cooked. Layer the hot rice straight away on top of chicken masala.
To layer the biryani:
  • Add half of the cooked rice and spread evenly on top of the chicken masala.
  • Sprinkle some of the fried onion, fried cahews and raisins, chopped coriander and mint leaves and some garam masala.
  • Take 3-4 teaspoons of onion fried ghee and sprinkle on top of rice using a spoon.
  • Sprinkle half of the saffron milk with rose water.
  • Again layer half of the remaining hot rice and spread evenly.
  • On top of that add some fried onion, cashews, raisins, coriander and mint leaves and sprinkle some garam masala powder.
  • Sprinkle 3 teaspoons of onion fried ghee over the biryani.
  • Drizzle the saffron milk over the last layer and close with a lid tightly without any gap and keep some weight on top and cook the biryani under dum for 15 minutes.
  • If the flame is low you can keep straight away. Otherwise keep a flat tawa  once it becomes hot transfer the biryani vessel on top of that and cook for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes open the biryani vessel and dig from deep down and serve with rice and the chicken masala from down. Sprinkle some fried onion, cashewa and raisins.
  • Serve with the Dates Chutney.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Dates pickle is a Malabar delicacy generally served with Biryanis especially with Thalassery Biryani.
This is an easy to prepare pickle with limited ingredients. This is not similar to the dates chutney served with chats. It varies in taste as well texture, it has the mild spiciness, the ginger and garlic bites in between. Perfect with biryanis as well as pulao. This is a finger licking good pickle.

Dates is rich in nutrients such as iron which is good for the health. I think like the same and buy and will keep it as such. Now on wards i planned to include in my cooking and make some healthy recipes.

Kerala Dates Pickle

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time:10 minutes
Cuisine: Kerala
Makes: 1 cup

Dates- 1 cup (after removing the seeds)(20-25 nos)
Oil- 3 teaspoon
Mustard seeds- 1/2 teaspoon
Dry red chillies-3
Curry leaves- 2 strands
Ginger, chopped- 1½ teaspoon
Garlic, chopped- 1½ teaspoon
Green chillies, chopped- 1
Jaggery, grated- 1 tablespoon
Chilli powder- 1/2 teaspoon (increase according to your spice level)
Salt- to taste
Vinegar- 2 tablespoons
Malabar Dates Pickle

  • Deseed the dates and cut or tear them into two or three pieces.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Once it splutters add the dry red chillies and curry leaves.
  • Add the chopped ginger and garlic and green chillies together and fry in that oil till the raw flavour leaves  and the roasted aroma arises.
  • Add the chopped dates and jaggery and chilli powder and saute in that oil for ten seconds.
  • Add a cup of water and a pinch of salt. Bring it to boil and allow the dates to cook and become soft.
  • Add extra water if you want and allow the water to reduce while cooking and the dull colour of the dates changes to dark and bright colour. The texture changes to glassy smooth texture.
  • Once it reduces in quantity the oil starts to separate on sides like halwa.
  • Now add the vinegar and cook till the vinegar get absorbed by the dates mixture.
  • Switch off the gas and allow the mixture to cool and transfer it on a air tight container and refrigerate.
  • Use within two weeks time.
Malabar dates pickle

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Instant Chicken Pulao: Biryanis are every ones favourite. But the making of biryanis are generally a head ache. It calls for lots of ingredients, vessels and the very long cooking process. These are the main things stops us making biryanis. Pulaos are similar to biryanis but simplified and less spicy and with less masals added when compare to biryanis.

I used to make chicken pulao  by two methods. One is pressure cooker method and another one is the instant method prepared in a pan with precooked basmathi rice. Both versions are tasty this version has very limitted ingredients when compare to the pressure cooker method.

Chicken pulao recipe

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Cuisine: North Indian
Serves: 2-3

Chicken breast/boneless- 1 no (250 grams)
Basmathi rice- 1½ cups
Oil- 3 teaspoons
Jeera/ Shahi jeera- 1/2 teaspoon
Cinnamon bark-2 small, cloves-3, cardamon-3, bay leaf-1
Onion, chopped lengthwise-1 medium
Ginger garlic paste- 1 teaspoon
Garam masala powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Pepper powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Salt- to taste
Sugar- pinch (optional)
Lemon - 1/2 medium
Coriander leaves, chopped- 2 tablespoon
Ghee- 1 teaspoon
Cashew nuts- 10 nos

  • Half cook the rice with enough salt and drain the excess water. Spread the cooked rice in a broad bowl/plate and allow to cool.
  • Cut the boneless chicken into long thin strips. Then give slanting cuts to get thin pieces which has more surface area and cooks fast.
  • Heat ghee in a pan and roast the cashews till golden colour and set aside.
  • In a separate pan heat oil and add the jeera, cinnamon bark, cloves, cardamom and bay leaf and fry in that oil till the flavour arises.
  • Add the thinly sliced onion and cook with a pinch of salt till the edges starts to get golden colour.
  • Now add the ginger garlic paste and cook in that oil till raws flavour leaves for about thirty seconds.
  • Add the chicken pieces, salt and sugar and cook till the colour of the chicken turns to pink to white.
  • When the chicken almost cooked the moisture from the chicken stops to ooze out from chicken. 
  • That stage add the garam masala powder and pepper powder and mix well.
  • Add the half cooked rice and mix well. Add salt if needed.
  • Pour the ghee with the roasted nuts on top of the rice and mix well.
  • Now switch off the gas and add the coriander leaves on top.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice and mix well.
Instant chicken pulao

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mirchi ka Salan is 'Chilli Curry' a Hyderabadi delicacy generally served with Biryanis. This curry is spicy and creamy goes well with all types of biryanis as well as rotis. This peanut based chilli gravy is generally served with Hyderabadi Biryani in all special occasions like wedding.

This gravy is totally different from other gravies which are prepared using tomato based. This is creamy and rich in flavours. As the seeds from the chillies are removed they are less spicy and could able to eat.

You could use bajji chillies  of dark colour or light colour. You could used long variety or big ones (ooty milagai) too for this recipe. I have used less oil for this recipe if you use more it floats on top and resembles the restaurant ones. But the taste remains the same so i used less oil to cut the calories.

Hyderabadi Michi ka salan

Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Cuisine: Hyderabad

Bajji Chillies- 15
Peanuts- 1/4 cup
Sesame seeds- 1 tablespoon
Coconut (or) copra- 1 tablespoon
Poppy seeds/ Kasakasa- 1 teaspoon (optional)
Jeera- 1 teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds- 1 teaspoon
Peppercorns- 1/2 teaspoon (use up to 1 tsp according to your spice level)
Onion- 1
Ginger,chopped/paste- 1 inch
Garlic, chopped /paste- 2 big cloves
Oil- 2+1 teaspoons
Turmeric powder- 1/4 teaspoon
Chilli powder- 1 teaspoon (adjust according to your spice level)
Coriander powder- 1 teaspoon
Tamarind water- gooseberry sized
Jaggery - 1 teaspoon
Salt- to taste

To temper:
Oil- 2 teaspoons
Mustard seeds- 1/2 teaspoons
Curry leaves- 1 strand
Hyderabadi Michi ka Salan

  • Cut the coconut into pieces almost same size of peanuts and roast the peanuts and coconut together till the coconut and peanuts get roasted; transfer onto a plate and allow to cool.(If you use)
  • In the same pan add the other sesame seeds, poppy seeds, jeera, fenugreek seeds and peppercorns; roast till nice aroma arises no need to roast till golden; Allow to cool(If you use grated coconut roast along with this)
  • In a pan add a teaspoon of oil and cook the onion with some salt. Add the chopped ginger and garlic and cook till the raw flavour leaves for about a minute.
  • Slit the green chillies using knife and remove the seeds.
  • Heat two teaspoons of oil in a shallow pan and roast the chillies till it get cooked and get blisters allover the skin.
  • Now add the above roasted ingredients on a blender jar and powder well. Then add the onion mixture and add a cup of water and blend well to make a smooth paste.
  • Add a cup more water and mix well with a spoon without any lumps (to avoid lumps in curry) to make a creamy paste and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  • Reduce the flame to low and add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder and mix well for a second.
  • Immediately add the soaked tamarind  juice and jaggery and bring it to boil.
  • Now add the creamy paste and salt and allow the mixture to boil for 10 minutes and allow the gravy to become thick.
  • Now add the roasted bajji chillies with the oil if any.
  • Mix well and allow to cook for 2 minutes or till the chillies become soft (but not mushy)and slightly crunchy.
  • Turn off the heat and serve with Biryanis or Rotis.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Vazhakkai Masala Kootu is an easy to make flavourful dry item served with rice. Plantain/ Raw banana is so versatile item which could be used to make many dishes like potatoes because of its texture. Used by vegetarians a lot as it is a best alternative for meat in many preparations like kofta curry etc. This cooks fast and become tender so it saves time in cooking. Kids too like it because of its soft texture. Best vegetable for those who are health conscious.

About the taste of this kootu it is rich in garam masala flavour. I have learnt this recipe from a tv show and i make this now and then. I love this preparation with hot plain rice. It goes well with rice, rasam, dhal curry, curd..etc.

Vazhakkai Curry

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Cuisine: Tamil
Serves: 5-6

Raw Banana- 2 (I used to make with mountain banana, Monthan/ peyan)
Onion-1 medium
Turmeric powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Salt- to taste

To temper:
Oil- 2 teaspoons
Mustard seeds- 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leasves- 2 strand

To grind as paste:
Coconut- 1/4 cup
Dry red chillies- 4
Garlic cloves- 2 big
Peppercorns- 1/2 teaspoon
Fennel seeds- 1/2 teaspoon
Cinnamon bark- 1 small piece
Cloves- 2
Cardamom- 2

  • In a blender jar add the coconut, dry red chillies, garlic cloves, peppercorns, fennel seeds,cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Pulse twice and then sprinkle some water if required and grind as a coarse paste; set aside.
  • Peel and cut the banana into small pieces and immerse them in water to prevent browning.
  • Heat oil in a pan and the mustard seeds once it splutters add the curry leaves.
  • Add the chopped onion and cook for a minute till the onion colour changes to pale.
  • Now drain the cut banana from water and add with this tempering. Sprinkle some salt, turmeric powder and enough water to cook the banana. 
  • Cook the banana till soft but it has to to hold its shape.
  • Now add the ground masala and mix well; cook till the raw flavour leaves and the nice aroma arises.
  • Sprinkle extra curry leaves and check for salt and add if needed.
  • Serve with rice, rasam or parippu curry combination.
Vazhakkai curry

I have shared earlier many types of biryanis which is popular in India as well as Tamil Nadu. One such biryani is popular in my home town. This biryani is popular in a hotel called Prabhu situated in Nagercoil and i have tasted even last time when i visit my home town. I have happened to watch the preparation through Kairali Tv and i am so excited to share the recipe with you.

About the taste of the biryani it is spicy and rich in garam masala flavour. They have added 1kg rice for 1/2 kg mutton (2:1) proportion and added lots of whole garam masala. I have tried 2:1 and 1:1 ratio and i liked when i tried with  1: 1 proportion so i am sharing the 1: 1 ratio. And they have added a pinch of yellow food colour i have replaced the yellow food colour with turmeric powder. It is prepared in jeeraga samba rice and it varies from other biryanis with the richness of garam masalas. The added cashews and raisins gives texture and mild sweet bites inbetween.

Nagercoil Mutton Biryani

Jeeraga samba raw rice/ Basmathi rice- 2 and 1/2 cups (1/2 kg)
Mutton/ Chicken- 1/2 Kg
Oil- 1/4 cup
Ghee- 2+1 tablespoons
Cinnamon bark- 3, Cloves- 5, Cardamom-5, Bay leaf- 2, Star anise-2, Kalpasi (stone flower)- 3, Nutmeg- big pinch, Mace- 1
Onion, chopped lengthwise-3
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tablespoon
Green chillies, slit-6
Tomatoes, chopped- 2 big
Turmeric powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli powder- 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder- 1 teaspoon
Fennel powder/ Sombu podi- 1 teaspoon
Coriander leaves, chopped- handful
Mint leaves, chopped- half handful
Curd/yogurt, beaten- 1/2 cup
Cashew nuts- 8
Salt- to taste
Nanjil Biryani


  • Wash and soak the rice for half and hour. I used Jeeraga samba.
  • Heat oil and 2 tablespoons of ghee together and add the whole garam masalas cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaf, star anise, kalpasi, nutmeg and mace and roast till the aroma arises.
  • Add the chopped onion and roast in that flavoured oil till the edges stats to golden colour.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and roast till the raw aroma leaves for about thirty seconds.
  • Add the slit green chillies and roast for thirty seconds and the tomatoes.
  • Cook tomatoes till it becomes soft add the mutton/ chicken with some salt and cook till the colour changes to pink to white.
  • Now add all the masala powders turmeric powder, chilli powder, coariander powder and fennel powder and mix well and roast with the meat.
  • Add the coriander and mint leaves and  mix well. Add the beaten yogurt and mix well.
  • Add a cup of water and salt. Mix well with a ladle and and pressure cook the gravy for 4 whistles for mutton (or) 1 whistle for chicken.
  • Allow the pressure to go off by itself.
  • Open the lid and add the soaked rice.
  • Then add a tablespoon of ghee and cashews and raisins. I have added as such you could roast in that ghee and add with the ghee.
  • Add enough salt and 2 and 1/2 cups of water (Include approximately the water and yogurt added to cook the gravy) (To pressure cook 1 cup of jeeraga samba rice requires 1 and 1/2 cups of water )
  • Mix twice with a ladle and close with a lid and pressure cook for 2 whistles and transfer the pressure cooker to a very low flame burner and  cook in sim for 2 minutes for any water to evaporate.
  • Switch off the flame and allow the pressure to release by itself.
  • Transfer the biryani to a broad vessel to stop the cooking process and slightly mix with a ladle.

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