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Oct 15, 2014

Brinj - A Traditional Vegetable Biryani

To my knowledge, brinj is a traditional vegetable biryani, where coconut along with spices are ground and the rice and vegetables are cooked along with this coconut spice masala. A tasty and filling one pot meal that's just right for a quick sunday brunch. This biryani is usually served with raitha, preferably onion raitha. Its definitely a must try recipe. Here's my version of the recipe using pressure cooker. Make it a totally vegan dish by avoiding ghee.


Carrots - 4 medium - peel and cut to one inch length

Green beans - 1 handful - chop the ends and cut to one inch length

Green peas - half cup

Onions - 2 - cut length wise

Tomato - 2 medium - fleshy - quartered and roughly chopped

Mint - handful - roughly chopped

Bay leaf - 3 small

Basmathi rice - 2 cups - no need to soak in water

Water - 4 cups

Salt to taste

Ghee for flavour

Oil for seasoning - 2 tablespoon


Coconut - 3 tablespoons 

Cinnamon - half inch

Cloves - 4 

Garlic - 6 cloves

Ginger - 1 inch - peeled and roughly chopped

Saunf / Fennel seeds - 2 teaspoons

Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon

Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon

Star anise - 1 or 2

Red chillies 3 to 4 (medium hot)

Green chilli - 1 or 2 that's very hot, adjust as per taste

Grind all of the above ingredients under the head Grind: using half cup water.


In a wide pressure pan or pressure cooker, heat oil.

Add bay leaf and then onions.

Fry onions until its cooked.

Add roughly chopped tomatoes.

Now add the ground masala.

Add 2 teaspoons salt and stir well. 

Keep frying until good aroma comes and oil separates.

By this time the tomatoes will be well mashed and fully cooked. 

Wait for most of the moisture to be absorbed or you will end up with a soggy biryani.

Now add the vegetables (carrot, beans, pea) and roughly chopped mint.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt and stir well.

Wash 2 cups basmathi rice and drain water.

Add it to the vegetable mixture.

Stir for a minute and add 4 cups water.

Add one tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)

Mix the content and close it with the lid.

Cook in high heat for exactly 2 whistles and turn off.

Open the lid only when the pressure is completely released.

Take out the bay leaf and gently stir without breaking the rice.

Its optional to add ghee fried cashews and squared ghee roasted white bread pieces.

Serve hot with onion raitha.

The recipe looks lengthy but its actually easy.

Adding big chunks of potatoes along with other vegetables is optional. I usually don't add potatoes to biryani's and pulaos.

Happy cooking.


Oct 13, 2014

Paneer Butter Masala - Chettinad Style

Its the south Indian version of Paneer butter masala using the Chettinad spices - fennel, pepper and lots of garlic, ginger and curryleaves. Here is the recipe for this lip- smacking paneer masala with a chettinad twist.


Fresh Paneer - 200 gms or as required - Cut into 1 inch cubes
Deep frying the paneer till golden is optional.
(used Milky mist paneer - 1 packet - did not fry)

Unsalted Butter - in room temperature - 2 tablespoons

Cashew nuts - 2 tablespoons

Poppy seeds (Khas khas) - 1 tablespoon

Onion - 2 medium - roughly chopped

Tomato - 4 large - roughly chopped

Ginger - 2 inches - peeled and roughly choppe

Garlic - 8 to 10 cloves

Green chillis - 1 to 2 (as per heat and taste)

Curry leaves - 1 sprig

Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon

Sugar - 1 teaspoon

Salt as required

Chilli powder - 1 teaspoon

Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon (optional)

Coriander leaves - handful - for garnish

Ground Masala Paste:

Roast the following in little oil, adding them in the order given.

Coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon

Cumin seeds - half tablespoon

Black Peppercorns - 1 teaspoon

Cinnamon stick - 1 inch

Cloves - 2 to 3

Fennel (saunf) - 2 teaspoons

Green cardamom (Elachi) - seeds from 3 to 4 cardamoms

Dry red chillies - 2 to 3

Add fresh coconut - a little more than half cup and roast all the indredients together until the coconut is roasted.

Turn off heat and cool. Grind using little water and keep it aside.


Soak Cashewnuts and Poppy seeds (khas khas) in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain water and transfer it to the mixie jar and grind it using very little water. Let it sit in the Mixie jar.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a kadai. Add chopped onions, green chillies, chopped ginger, garlic cloves, curry leaves and fry till onion turns translucent. 

Add Chopped tomatoes, and fry till it is almost cooked.

Cool the content and transfer it to the ground cashew, poppy seed Mixie jar. Grind to a smooth paste and Keep it aside.

Heat a teaspoon of oil with a tablespoon butter.

Add the Ground Masala Paste.

Fry for a couple of minutes in medium heat, until a good aroma comes and the butter/oil separates.

Now add the ground cashew, poppy, onion tomato masala.

When the content boils, add required amount of sugar, salt, red chilli powder (optional) and turmeric powder. 

The content will thicken. Adjust the consistency using little water and allow the content to boil for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. 

Add a table spoon of butter and turn off heat. 

Add the paneer (as is or fried) and stir in gently. Squeezing lemon juice at this point is optional.

Garnish with coriander leaves.

Tastes awesome with chapathi or any roti or paratha variety. Truly spicy, tasty, lip smacking curry.

Note: This curry is really spicy. Adjust the green chilli, red chilli, red chillie powder, garlic and ginger as per taste.


Oct 2, 2014

Moong bean / Pachai payaru Sundal

Mung/Moong bean is called pachai payaru in tamil. This green gram is packed with nutrition. Its a perfect addition to a vegetarian healthy diet. Here's a sundal recipe with this bean. 


Green gram / Moong / Mung bean - 1 cup

Oil for tempering - 1 tablespoon

Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon

Green chillies - 1 or 2 depending upon the heat. It can be vertically slit or chopped.

Curry leaves - 2 sprigs

Ginger - 1 inch - peeled and minced

Asafoetida powder - 2 pinches

Salt as required

Desiccated coconut or Fresh grated coconut - half cup

Coriander leaves - roughly chopped

Lemon juice - 2 tablespoons


Soak Mung bean over night in water.

Next day, drain the water.

Heat 3 cups water with a tablespoon of salt. When the water comes to a boil, add the soaked beans.

Let the content boil for 5 to 6 minutes.

Turn off heat and drain the water using a colander and allow the mung bean to rest until all the water is drained.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a kadai, preferably non stick. Temper the mustard seeds. 

Add the green chillies, ginger and Curry leaves. stir for a minute.

Add the Mung beans and asafoetida powder. Sprinkle salt as it is already boiled in salted water.

Mix well and garnish with coconut - grated fresh or desiccated and coriander leaves. Turn off heat and stir lemon juice and the Sundal is ready to be served.


Oct 1, 2014

Green Peas / Pachai Pattani Sundal

This sundal is made out of the store bought dry green peas. Soaked it over night. Cooked and seasoned the peas to make this sundal. Here's the recipe.


Dry green peas - 1 cup

Oil for seasoning - 1 tablespoon

Mustard seeds - half teaspoon

Curry leaves - 2 sprigs

Asafoetida powder - 1 pinch

Fresh grated coconut - 2 tablespoon

Green chilli - 1 or 2 vertically slit - adjust as per taste

Salt as required

Water for soaking and cooking the peas


Soak dry green peas overnight in water.

Next day, drain the water.

Pressure cook the peas with just enough water adding 2 teaspoons salt.

Cook for about a whistle or two. 

After the pressure is released, add 1 cup water and fish out the outer skin of the peas that's floating on the surface. Drain water and keep it aside.

Heat oil in a kadai and temper the mustard seeds.

Add the green chillie, curry leaves and asafoetida powder.

Add the cooked peas and stir.

Sprinkle just enough salt and add the grated fresh coconut.

Give it a stir and turn off heat.

Green peas sundal / pachai pattani sundal is ready to be served.