Dajaj Moti Biryani

Do not get surprised by the name. Dajaj Moti Biryani is nothing but Chicken Kofta Biryani.
Sounds Interesting right. Yes, we all love Biryani and when its pure chicken and no bones, it makes it even more enticing. The process is lengthy but we can go to any extent to enjoy a plate of perfectly cooked biryani.

If you happen to work in India, you would know how many fridays are dedicated to Biryani Dekchis. So next time, when you think of pot luck or Biryani Party, perhaps you can pick this to have a blast with your friends.

For the Kofta or Chicken Moti:
350 gm minced chicken
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 dry red chili
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ cup mint leaves chopped
½ cup coriander leaves chopped
Salt to taste
1 tsp garam masala
Freshly Ground Pepper (according to taste)
1 small onion chopped very finely
1 tsp cornflour/besan

For the Marination :

1 small onion chopped
2 tomatoes chopped
1 green chili chopped
1 cup mint and coriander leaves chopped
1 tsp dry kasuri methi
1 tbsp Biryani Masala
Thick Extract of 1 coconut
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 cup water
2 tbsp curd
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil

For the Rice :

2.5 cups rice
3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 mace
3 green cardamom
1 black cardamom
3-4 pepper corn
1 tbsp ghee

4-5 Deep Friend Onion
Some Saffron Strands soaked in ½ cup warm milk.

Method to cook :

Dry roast red chili , cumin seeds and coriander seeds and grind to a powder.
Mix along with other ingredients for the kofta . Make lemon size balls and keep aside.

Heat oil in a deep bottom pan.
Add onion and cook till brown.
Add ginger garlic paste. Add chopped tomatoes and cook till pulpable.
Add green chilies, min and coriander leaves.
Add dry kasuri methi.
Add biryani masala.
At this stage, add the beaten curd,coconut extract and water.
Add little salt . Don’t add too much as koftas have salt too.
Bring it to boil. Add the kofta balls at this time and allow the balls to cook in gravy for 10 minutes .
The gas should be at low flame.

For cooking the rice, add ghee to another pan.
Add the dry khada garam masala.
Add soaked rice at this time and cook till rice is well coated with ghee.
Add 2.5 cups of water and Cover the pan.
Cook till water dried out. Open the lid and mix the rice gently.
Rice will be half done.

Take 1/3rd of the fried onion and sprinkle over the kofta gravy.
Add the cooked rice over it. Sprinkle rest of the Fried onion evenly.
Gently spread the kesar milk .
Cover the pot with a flat lid. Put some heavy weight over it. I generally put some container filled with water.
Take a Pan and place it over gas. Put the pot over it and cook it on lowest flame available for 20-25 minutes.
Kofta Biryani is ready to be served with some Cool Cucumber Raita

Sheer Khurma or Sheer Khorma or शीर-खुरमा ( Eid Special Recipe)

A Late post on Eid

On the day of Eid, pray for all Mankind.

If you love someone, pray for them, pray for their growth, pray for their peace, pray for their success and pray for their happiness.

No Eid is marked complete if Sheer Khorma or Sheer Khurma and Biryani is not made and served to family, neighbours and friends.

Its the day after the Ramadan when officially the Fasting comes to an end.

You see the Eid Ka Chaand (Moon) in the evening and pray and wish good for Mankind.

Celebration starts with Prayers, Eid Hug, Food, New Clothes, Eidi ( Gifts to younger ones) , Get together and Happiness .

Food preparation begins a day or two before because the ingredients that go into Sheer khurma needs to be kept ready so that the cooking time is considerably reduced.

To prepare the dry fruits mixture :
1 cup almonds blanched in boiling water for 5 minutes, remove skin once almonds cool down.Finally chop them or slice them to thin stripes.
1 cup pistachio . Blanch, remove skin and chop as above.
1 cup chironji or charoli. Blanch and remove skin.
1 cup cashew chopped
1 cup raisins

Take 1 tsp ghee in a pan and fry the almonds till a nice aroma comes out. Take them out and spread in a plate.
Repeat the steps with the remaining dry fruits.
Finally, mix them all together and keep aside.

This can be stored in refrigerator and used as an when required. Usually, the dry fruit mixture is prepared two three days before and used instantly on the main day.

To prepare the sewaiyan :
Crush about 2 cups of vermicelli (the thin variety)
Fry in 2 tbsp of ghee for 8-9 minutes on low flame

Ingredients for making Sheer Khurma for 5-6 people :
4 cups Milk
1 cup water
8 to 9 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Cardamom powder or 3 cardamom crushed
3 strands of Kesar
3/4th cup of dry fruit made above
3/4th cup of sewaiyan or vermicelli prepared above

Milk, Kesar(Saffron) & Cardamom

Method to cook :

Take a deep wok. Heat milk and water together (that makes 5 cups). Bring it to a boil. Lower the flame and allow the mixture to come back to 4th cup.
Add kesar and cardamom powder.
Add the dry fruits and boil for another two minutes.
Add sugar and boil for a minute till sugar dissolves properly.
Add sewaiyan. Boil for 2 minutes. Flame should be slow throughout the time.
Switch off the flame and allow it to cool down a bit.
SheerKhurma should be served hot.

Zunka Bhakri Thecha Ani Shengdana Chuney- Popular Maharahstra Staple Diet

Living in the historical city of Maharashtra, Marathi food is bound to rub on me in the right way. Marathi Cuisine is not only simple and modest, its extremely healthy too just like the people who dwell here.

Like people have roti or phulka or paratha or naan as a common bread, the bread here is made with a variety of pulses. They contain high nutrional value and are also recommended if you are following a healthy diet. Sometimes Bhakri is made with rice flour , while on many occasions, its made with Jowar flour of Bajra flour.

The most staple diet here is however the most humble Zunka Bhakri Thecha Ani Shengdana Chuney.

Many prefer Pitla over Zunka as its texture is semi liquid and you don't dry up if you don't have taak or buttermilk accompanied in your meal.

Zunka (Dry Form) or Pitla (Liquid Form) Recipe:

2 cups chickpea flour
1 big onion chopped
few green chili chopped
few curry leaves
turmeric powder
red chili powder
salt to taste
couple of tea spoon of oil
1 tsp mutard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
few coriander leaves chopped

Heat oil in a non stick wok on high.
Once oil is hot, add mustard seeds. It will start crackling.
Lower the gas flame and add cumin seeds, followed by chopped onions, curry leaves and green chilies.
Cook till onion turns brown.
At this point, add chickpea flour or besan.
Roast till you get a nice aroma.Add turmeric powder and red chili powder
Add water, whisk with an egg whisker, salt to taste
Whisk briskly till there is a uniformity in the consistency.
If you want to make Pitla, the water content will be more.
Zunka is almost semi dry.
Sprinkle coriander leaves before serving

Thecha Recipe ( Crushed Chili Chutney)

What all you see in the picture is what all you need. Coriander leaves, green chili , Coconut and garlic. Proportions depends on you. Add little salt and coarsely grind everything together. Your chutney is ready in minutes. To be honest, this is the best part of the meal which I absolutely love.

Shengdana Chutney Recipe (Crushed Peanut Garlic Chutney)

Some peanuts, dry red chili and whole garlic.
Roast with few drops of oil and grind to a coarse paste with little salt and grated coconut if available.
If mde extra, have it with rice. It goes very well with rice and lentils.

Bhakri Recipe (Bread)

Take Jowar flour, add normal flour if available. Knead a smooth dough with salt, little oil and water.
Roll using a rolling pin and cook on both sides in a hot tawa.

Finally our rustic and a complete meal is ready. Its worth every effort put to make this Maharashtrian Thali.

If you want to look for more Maharashtrian Recipe, you can find them here :

Sabudana Thalipeth
Maharashtra Masala Baingan (Bharli Vangi)
Patwadi Rassa Bhaji
Mahashtrian One Pot Rice (Masala Bhaat)
Maharashtrian Style Stuffed Bhindi
Maharashtrian Style Bitter gourd Fry

The Tallest Minar in India - A UNESCO World Heritage Site Known As Qutb Minar

All of a sudden Delhi has become the most loved and visited travel destination in India. Well a lot has to do with the films, serials and travel magazines which have been capturing and covering the beautiful city .

And why would not be. After all, it is the Capital of our country. It is also the historical city of our country. Delhi looks very green, very clean and very planned or rather organised.

There are few problems definitely. But why look at the negative side.

Being an ardent fan of Historical Places, I found Delhi an archeological wonder. I am happy that many of the monuments are being restored and sad that some have been devastated before something could be done about it.

Never the less, Qutb Minar which was originally constructed by  Qutb-Ud-Din-Aibak who was the first Muslim ruler to mark his presence in the North Of India , and stands tall right in the center of the city surrounded by lush green garden. The place is always crowded by tourists both local and foreign.

Mostly constructed in sandstone, the rest of information about the UNESCO World Heritage site can be found here :

When I visit any historical place or monument, I like to take the picture of monument as it is without any human presence. But is that really possible ? No,Its absolutely impossible.

Taking one for Qutb Minar was almost impossible as people pass through every 5 seconds and that disturbed my focus, I found it really hard to take a nice shot which I would be satisfied with. At the same time, its difficult to capture the entire Minar in one frame.

The intricate work on the zharokha (window) and the light passing through it is breathtaking. Every window has a differnt pattern and we cannot find any goemetrical error.

The Intricate work is reflected through the versus of Quran written and carved beautifully on the extrerior of the Minar.

Here is a picture of the Mosque

And now a picture of the perfect round top of the Tomb. Wonder how could craftsmen with minimal facilities build a perfect tomb when craftsmen in the current times can't even build a perfect two bedroom hall kitchen.

Some more pictures. Love that little door on the top.

Oh finally I did a good shot of the entire Minar in one frame without anybody's presence. Love it.

Tomato Rice

Rice being the most staple food is also considered the most comfort food. Everybody has a favorite  of its own and every region has a different specialty of its own. While in the extreme East, people eat black rice, people in the South of India have the thickest rice which is extremely high in fibre.

Some people indulge in Luxury Pulaos and Biryani while some people find bliss in simple steam rice with some home made ghee or clarified butter. 

You can flavor the rice with one souring agent and it becomes a meal in itself. While lemon rice and curd rice are the most loved rice, I also like and make Tomato Rice often as tomato has become my most favorite vegetable. The sourness can lift the face and taste of any simple recipe.

What You Need:

1 cup rice
1 cup soy nuggets
1/2 cup green peas
Ghee 2tbsp
1 tsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste
2 cloves
2 cinamon stick
1 bay leaf
few whole black pepper corn
Highlight of the dish- 4 tomatoes pureed

Steps To Make:

Boil water in a saucepan. Soak soy nuggets for 2 minutes.
Strain and let it cool down. Squeeze to remove extra water.
Cook rice in a pot of pan till rice is semi cooked. Strain excess water.
Heat ghee in a pan. Add whole dry spices and cumin seeds.
Add soy nuggets and green peas. Cook till soy nuggets are nicely coated with ghee.
Add Tomatoes and cook on high to cook the tomatoes thoroughly.
Remember you need to be careful at this time and don't leave the gas stove. Else you will not know when tomatoes will burn.
Next add half cooked rice . Add salt to taste. 
Cover and cook till done.

Oats Pongal - 7 reasons why you must have it

Oats claims to provide the 7 below benefits :

At first, its 100% wholegrain
It gives us the energy that keeps us going for long without feeling tired or hungry
It contains beta glucan fibre that helps reduce cholestrol
It also reduces the risk of high BP
Its a rich source of dietary fibre
It helps us to reduce and maintain weight
Finally, its a good source of protein.

Since, it provides so many benefits, we must try to include it in our daily diet. However, we being Indians, we need our daily dose of spices and salt. We cannot eat everything sweet and cold.

Pongal is another great way to prepare and consume oats. Replace the rice with oats and a healthy meal is ready.

However, try to consume it immediately. I prepared some in the morning. The one which I had immediate definitely tastes yummier than what I packed in tiffin for lunch.

What You Need:

3/4th cup oats
1/4th cup moong dal
1 cup milk + 2 cup water
salt to taste (about 1 tsp)

2 tbsp ghee
handful of cashew nuts
10-12 curry leaves
8-9 whole black pepper corn
1 tbsp cumin seeds

Steps To Make:

Dry roast moong dal and oats till dal turns light brown in color.
Wash and pressure cook with milk , water and salt for 4 whistles on high flame.

Heat ghee in a pan. Add cashew nuts and fry till it turns golden brown.
Remove and keep aside.
Add whole black pepper corn, cumin seeds and curry leaves.
Add cooked dal + rice mix to the pan.
Add cashew nuts and mix.
Serve hot.

Food for Hair (External and Internal) - An IndianTradition for healthy hair

Indians not only use a variety of oil for cooking, its most probably a traditional thing to use oil to massage head and scalp. If hair is not oiled, the hair wash is not considered complete.

Most of them use hot coconut oil in India and give a nice massage to the head , scalp and roots and probably keep it overnight to let hair and scalp get the maximum benefit.

While some people give a nice massage with cold oil and then wrap the head and hair with a nice hot towel which is dipped in hot water ad squeezed. The steam in the towel helps the pores to open and absorb oil. Hence, what keeping your hair oiled overnight can do , you could probably do it in two hours i.e. 15 minutes of massage followed by 15 minutes of rest and finishing it with hot towel treatment.

Well I do believe that skin and hair has mostly to do with genes and good food instead of using expensive products. On the other hand, I also believe that, if you are not blessed with a good hair or good skin , you can probably try to fix your diet and take that extra care which might not fix the problems completely but can help in damage control to some extent for sure.

If you stay in a warm place, use the first method to oil over night while if you belong to a humid place, use the second method of oiling hair.

Since, Indians are blessed with Ayurveda and Natural Ingredients can be found easily, why not use them instead of relying on store bought products. I can say so because I do have a problem of severe hair fall. Doctors say, there are 6 major things of hair fall : Lack of Iron, Thyroid, Hemoglobin count, Dieting and Stress. Well, being a workaholic, I know its the stress of office which I being home that's the reason of my hair fall , I do try to use different relaxing techniques.

On the other hand, I have also tried to change my oil and using a mild shampoo by making it at home rather than using the store bought ones because that aggravated my hair fall instead.

I have been making my hair oil at home and using since a year and it definitely helps me. I know the ingredients that gone into it and above all there is no artificial perfume. Many people have sensitive skin which means they have a sensitive scalp too. Hence, perfumed oil might not suite them.

What All do I add in my hair oil and how it benefits you:

1. Coconut Oil : Most easily found oil and is cheap too. Do use the coconut oil for cooking rather than the ones you get in store in the name of coconut hair oil. There is a different between the two. It is a rich anti-oxidant and can be used to remove makeup too. Use it sometimes for cooking if not everyday.s

2, Almond Hair Oil: Rich in Vitamin E and can be consumed raw too. Also, use it in raw form.

3. Olive Oil : Its a very light oil. Hence, it is best suited for oily hair. You can also use olive oil only if you have a very oily hair and scalp. There is so much gaga over Olive Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil that I do not reiterate its benefits again.

4. Mustard Oil ; This is our Grand Mother's favourite oil.Its very effective in stimulating blood circulation and also keeps body warm and moisturized during winter

5. Some Methi Seeds : Use in generous quantity. It helps to remove dandruff and is quiet effective,

6. Curry Leaves : Again in generous amount. It stimulates hair growth. It should be consumed in raw form if possible or added to food.

7.Garlic : The most important and effective ingredient to keep fungus away. It stimulates hair growth and stops hair flow. It should also be added to food as much as possible. If you can eat it raw, there is nothing that can beat it. I tried .However, I had to spit it out as its very pungent and had to drink water and rub sugar to get away from the burning sensation.

Mix everything in equal amounts. Boil for some time till the froth is removed from top.
Do not burn the garlic completely. Allow it to cool. Store in jar and use it. You can strain the oil before massaging into oil.

I will again repeat my words, treating anything internally is more effective then external treatement. Treatment should be long term rather than short term.

Kadali Bhaja | Kache Kela Tawa Fry | Plantain Pan Fry

Oriya Cuisine excels in low fat side dishes. Few minimal spices , salt and mustard oil when mixed with variety of vegetables and pan fried can give you some amazing dishes to go in your thali. Some even add couple of tea spoon of rice flour to give that nice crunch to otherwise vegetables turned soft when pan fried. The crunch is almost similar to one vegetables are deep fried.

Raw banana that is available in Eastern side of India is also different from what is generally available, They are thick and long making it apt for adding to curry and prepare different savory dishes.

What You Need:

Raw Plantain peeled and Cut into long slices
pinch of turmeric powder
salt to taste
red chili powder
rice flour (1 tsp for every 1 plantain used)
Mustard Oil to pan fry

Steps To Prepare:

Heat a grill pan and add mustard oil.
Heat pan on high flame  till oi reaches smoking point.
You need to reduce the flame to the lowest point.
Now wet your hands and mix rice flour, salt, turmeric and ricr flour.
Water helps to mix rice and plantain evenly
Place the spice coated plantain evenly on the grill pan.
Cook them both sides till done and crispy golden,
Serve them rice and dal.