Friday, March 28, 2014

Lemon Rice

My son these days gives his orders and I have to make them ASAP coz he is quite an impatient customer. He loves rice items and for the last 2-3 days it has been ghee rice and mandhi rice. Yesterday night while checking out Eliza's, Lincy's Cook Art, my son caught sight of the lemon rice... and he wanted me to make it. He was like, "Take recipe! Go to kitchen!!" :D
He has always seen me checking out recipes for whatever I want to make and he thinks I can make anything... even fruits. Yesterday he was asking for oranges. Told me to check for recipe... :D

Lincy's Cook Art is one of the many lovely blogs I came across while checking for recipes. Her blog is such a pleasure for the eyes. The clicks are just perfect. This is the first recipe I've taken from her and I must say its a simple one too. I had all the ingredients with me. I didnt make any changes what-so-ever.... wasnt in any mood for trying out new stuff coz to be honest I have never had lemon rice before and I didnt know what it tastes like :D

So this is how mine turned out. And I got an A+ from both my son and husband(who unlike me has had it before :P).

There were times when I used to get too excited with my turmeric and almost always add a bit too much... but those days are long back. Now I add the littlest possible. I was a bit reluctant to add mustard seeds to this coz I dont like seeing mustard seeds in anything... only chutneys and thoran's. But as I wasnt sure if lemon rice usually had mustard seed it in or if it was just a malayali thing. I had a neighbour back in Bahrah, Saudi Arabia, who used to put mustard seed in spaghetti. The spaghetti was yum, but I felt odd seeing mustard seed in it. She was an extremely caring lady from Thrissure... :)

Anyway, here's the recipe I took from Eliza...


  • 2 cups basmati rice, washed and drained
  • 1 big onion chopped
  • 1 inch ginger chopped finely
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1tsp mustard seed
  • 1/4 turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp urud daal
  • 2 tsp moong daal (the original recipe from Eliza said chana daal, but I had only moong daals)
  • 6-7 roasted cashew nuts
  • 7-8 curry leaves
  • 3-4 tbsp oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • Juice of 2 lemon

Directions to make: 

  • Boil the basmati rice in water with salt and a tbsp oil. Drain when it is almost cooked. Dont let it fully cook or when they sit for a minute or 2 they'd become over-cooked (which is soo not what u would want for ur lemon rice)
  • Take a big pan, big enough to contain all the cooked rice, and heat oil in it. Add mustard seeds. Let it splutter. Add in the urud daal and moon daal. Roast for a minute or two until they turn a light shade of golden brown (Don't let it burn).
  • Add in the curry leaves and green chillies. Give that also a minute then add in the onions and ginger. Add salt and turmeric. Now cook this until the onions start turning slightly brown(That would take only a minute or 2). Add a few drops of water. Mix well. Switch off flame. Add rice. mix well. Check salt. Add lemon juice. Garnish with  roasted cashews. 
  • It's done!
It is a must to add lemon juice only after u have taken the pan off the stove. Coz the heat will turn the lemon juice bitter.. which would spoil the whole rice.

We had this with grilled chicken, yogurt and garlic achaar.

Now, I dont know if my opinion is coz I'm pregnant with my taste buds having a will of their own, but I didnt find it so 'wow'. Don't put much stock in my food opinions these days. I have always been a chocolate and sweets lover... used to crave them when I was pregnant with Ayaan. But in this pregnancy I dont want any. But I sure can eat as much dahi batata puri as possible :D.

Considering lemon rice: Yes, it was nice; but no, I wouldn't want to make it again unless my husband or son or anyone else wants it. It's biryani for me. Nothing can compare. I can have biryani for breakfast, lunch and dinner.. and even in the evening with tea :P I have had it that way when my mom used to make it back in Saudi :). I miss my mom's cooking. Especially her gravy chicken 65, which she makes in a yogurt gravy. Mouth-watering! Mine just never comes out as good as hers.

Anyway, for the rice lovers this would definitely be a must try recipe... :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Long Beans Stir fry

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well...
- Virginia Woolf

I've been in one of those moody preggy days for the past few days. Nothing much just missing my family back in Saudi. And then I've been worrying myself sick wondering how Ayaan would find school. I'm sure he would adjust to the schedule....but I just cant help being worried. Plus I went for this pregnancy sugar test yesterday and that totally put me off.
Anyway, back to normal as of now and have started craving dahi puri's!! I just loooooove the dahi puris we get in Bombay Chowpatty! :)

The recipe I'm posting today is just one of those veggies which go with our 'feel good' kerala food comprising of chor, meen curry, meen fry...that is my hubby's favourite meal...

This one I prepared the same way as I did for Kovakka ....

  • Payar/Long beans - 2 medium sized bunches
  • Small onions - 5
  • 1 dry red chilly
  • A handful of curry leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Coconut oil 2 tbsp

Directions to make:
  • I cut the beans into an approx of 1 inch length. Cooked it in the pressure cooker with a little water and salt for 2 whistles. Let it cool down placing it under cold running water.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds. When its done with the splutters add in the curry leave and red chilly. After a minute add in the chopped small onions. Cook until they start turning brown. Then add in the cooked beans. Check salt, mix well and ur done! :)

Yeah, its that easy-peasy. I had made mathi(sardine) mulakittathu and mathi fry to go with this :)
I love mathi. And these were quite fresh ones. It's been a long time since we've had mathi. Frying fish makes the whole house stink and mathi seem to give out the strongest of stenches...

But who cares... another happy feel good meal for hubby :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Masala Rice Balls

This was something I had made during Ramadan last year. Took pics just before Iftari and then totally forgot about posting it.I had came across this recipe on vahchef's fb page. These are crispy balls which taste just like cutlets but made with cooked rice.

I made a few changes from the way the vahchef made it. What he did was make a ball out of rice and then fill it with a mix of potato masala mix(what u wud make for veg cutlets). But my rice balls came out kinda sticky and so I just mixed everything up and made into balls...

And also, as my hubby likes to have a non-veg item with everything, I added small chicken pieces to the masala mix. It came out pretty good! Alhamdulillah. :)

 It's quite easy to make.
Here's what all you'll need:

  • Cooked Rice - 3 cups(Best to use basmati or ponni or those rice which u can mash easily)
  • Potatoes- 2 medium(Boiled and mashed)
  • Ginger garlic paste(or finely chopped) - 1 tbsp
  • Onion finely chopped - 1 big
  • Boneless chicken cut into small cubes - Half a cup
  • Red chilly powder - 2 tsp
  • Garam malasa - 1 tsp
  • Green chillies chopped finely - 2 or more depending on ur taste buds
  • Coriander leaves - a handful, chopped finely
  • Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Oil for frying
  • Eggs - 1 big or more if u need
  • Bread Crumbs - How much ever u need
  • Salt to taste

Directions to make:

  • Heat a tbsp oil in a pan add cumin seeds. Let it flutter for half a minute then add in the onions, green chillies. When the onion starts turning brown add in the ginger garlic paste. 
  • Add red chilli powder and garam masala. Saute for a few minutes then add in the small bone-less pieces of chicken. Add salt and let that cook for 3-4 minutes. It doesnt take long.
  • Now add in the potatoes. Mix well and check salt. (Squeeze in some lemon juice if u want). Cook for a few minutes to make into a nice thick masala mix. Switch off flame.Keep aside.
  • In another bowl take the cooked rice, add coriander leaves and a little salt. Mix well. 
  • Now make balls with the rice mixture.... and with the chicken-potato as the masala mix in the centre. (While making this it all got too sticky for me and I just mixed it all up. Iftari time was drawing near.)
  • Beat the egg into a bowl... and just how u would make a cutlet, dip the balls into the egg and coat with bread crumbs.
  • Deep fry in hot oil.
  • Enjoy!! :)

I added boneless cubes of chicken rather than cooked shredded chicken coz my family likes to bite into the cubes. Do whichever u find easy or convenient. 

Try this. Whatever my son loves, I call it a success! :)
It's one crispy awesome snack. Make whichever dip u like and enjoy with tea!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Kovakka Thoran/Upperi

A few days back my husband went and bought these small cucumbers from the grocery near our place. I had asked him to buy some new veggies for making upperi coz I was fed up of eating only beans, peas, beetroot, cauliflower and cabbage. And so my husband bought these:

(Got this pic from couldnt take a pic of my own with the ones I had coz I used them all up)

They looked like small cucumbers to me and I had no clue what to do with them. As I didnt even know their name I couldn't search for a recipe. I was going to ask my husband but kept forgetting and they have been sitting in the refrigerator for 3 days until last night I remembered and asked. He said it was 'kovakka' and was surprised I haven't had it before.  
While browsing thru google for a recipe I understood that this is made like any other thoran/upperi. Grated coconut, small onions and dry red chillies as the base grind mix.

So this is what I did...


  • Kovakka (Tindora / Ivy gourd). I had around 2 and half cups after I had chopped them.
  • 6-7 small onions
  • 4-5 tbsp grated coconut
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 6-7 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (You can use any oil u want. All keralites love food cooked in coconut oil)
  • salt to taste

Directions to make:

  • Chop the tindora into the shape or size u want. Small size would mean it'd cook faster.
  • Grind together grated coconut, small onions and dry red chilly. Semi-grind. Don't grind into a paste.
  • In a pan heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil, add mustard seed, let it splutter. Add curry leaves. Then add cumin seeds let it splutter too for half a minute. 
  • Now add in the coconut-small onion-red chilly mix. Cook that for a minute or two until coconut starts changing to light brown. Add in the chopped Ivy gourd. Mix well. Add salt and turmeric.
  • Cover and let this cook for 15-20 minutes on low flame. Add a little water so that it doesnt burn and stick to the pan. Dont add too much water and make into a paste. The thoran should be dry.
  • After 15 minutes check if its cooked according to ur way. (I have noticed with thoran's some people like it almost cooked not fully. And some really want it fully cooked. So let this cook to the level u want.) 

We had it with rice, manthal(sole fish) mulakittathu and manthal fry.
One deliciously Kerala meal... :)
Alhamdulillah! :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chicken Kabsa

It's so beautifully arranged on the plate - you know somone's fingers have been all over it.
- Julia Child

I have always preferred the Mandi rice to kabsa rice but a lot of people I've met seem to prefer the latter. Kabsa rice is known to be of Yemani origin, mostly served in Saudi Arabia and famous all over the Gulf. I got this recipe from Sun Cuisine. Another beautiful blog I came across while searching for recipes.

What all you'll need:
  • 1 whole chicken cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 cups Basmati rice washed and drained
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/2 an inch ginger, chopped finely
  • 1/2 a small chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp All spice (Now this was not there in the recipe. I simply added coz I wanted to check out what difference it would make to the rice.. and uh... I couldn't make out a difference :P)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2-3 pieces of cinnamon stick
  • 3 dried limes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cardamon 
  • 4 cloves
  • salt to taste
  • oil for cooking

How to make:
  • In a pressure cooker heat oil.  Add in the chopped onions, ginger and garlic. Cook for a minute or two. Add in the chicken, tomatoes, all the spices and salt. Add 3 cups water. Cover and pressure cook on medium flame for 10-15 minutes or until 2 whistles or until u feel ur chicken is almost cooked but not fully cooked. Switch off stove.
  • Cook the Basmati rice with salt... not half way but almost half way cooked. Drain and rinse the rice with cold water so that it does not get fully cooked with the heat. 
  • Open the pressure cooker once it has cooled down (or if u want to open immediately without waiting for it to cool: Place the pressure cooker under cold running water. It'll cool the lid and you'll be able to open safely. I always do this). Check the amount of sauce. As the rice is a little cooked and the chicken almost cooked, there should be only about 1 cup sauce in the pressure cooker. Adjust by adding water or removing sauce accordingly. Now add the rice and cook for 10-12 minutes. 
  • Switch off stove and place pressure cooker under cold running water and check rice and chicken. Make sure its not overcooked. 
  • Garnish with some roasted cashew nuts.
It took me a few tries with mandi rice and kabsa rice to get this pressure cooker process proper. The water rice consistency. And the chicken too. The rice and chicken has to be just rightly cooked. I used to get the top layer well cooked and the rice near the chicken pieces a bit over cooked. But once I got the handle of it, its sooo much faster to use pressure cooker for making kabsa or mandi rice.

My husband and son both enjoyed this! And that's all what I need.... :) Alhamdulillah!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ghee Rice - Neychor

My son loves ghee rice, biryani, fried rice, mandi rice, kabsa and all rice items other than the everyday sada rice. He woke up today morning asking me to make ghee rice. Making ghee rice is pretty simple and I made this for him right now. The name might be Ghee rice, but I use only sunflower oil. I dont like the ghee taste.


  • 2 cups basmati rice, washed and drained (The proportion of rice and water for ghee rice is 1:2. For each cup of rice u add 2 cups of water)
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves, 3 cardamons, 3 small pieces of cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp raisins(I didnt put it in what I made right now. Just made it as fast as possible for Ayaan. He was being a bit short-tempered with me :P
  • A handful cashew nuts (I didnt use this either)
  • 5-6 tbsp of sunflower oil (or ghee if that's what u want)
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt to taste

How to make:
  • Take a big saucepan add the oil and let it heat up. Add the cloves, cardamon and cinnamon and let it roast a minute then add the sliced onions.
  • Saute until they are about to turn brown. The onions should be cooked but should not turn brown. If they turn brown the whole ghee rice will get a brown colour.
  • Add the 4 cups of water. Add salt. 
  • When water starts to boil add the 2 cups rice. I usually boil water in my electric kettle and use 4 cups from it. It's quicker than waiting for the water to boil.
  • Check salt. Put flame on simmer. Cover the saucepan with lid and let the rice cook. It will take some 10-15 minutes. Do check. Don't let it overcook and become a paste.
  • Roast the cashew nuts and raisins in a tbsp of oil and garnish before serving. 

When I make  ghee rice for the whole family, I'll take pics of the garnished one with raisins and cashews. Right now its the demand of a 3 year old I'm trying to satisfy ASAP :D

Happy cooking!
Enjoy! :)