One of the most delicious dishes in Indian cuisine is biryani. It originated in Persia and was brought to India when the Mughals invaded India in the sixteenth century.  It is popular because it is a complete, delicious meal in one dish that includes rice, meat and vegetables.

Everyone loves the sophisticated flavors of the spices, the mouthwatering aroma and the delicate texture of the rice and main ingredients which can be lamb, chicken, seafood or vegetable. In India, each state and each household makes it slightly differently by varying the meat, vegetables and spices. With so many ways to make it, I can never get tired of it.

Seafood Biryani

Delicious layered Seafood Biryani prepared in an authentic Indian recipe features marinated shrimp, scallops and calamari baked in layers of basmati rice.

My Seafood Biryani recipe is a traditional layered biryani in which alternating layers of rice and seafood are placed in the pot before it is baked. Since this takes a little more time, some recipes skip this step, like I did in my Chicken Biryani recipe. My husband believes that layered biryani tastes better. I think it is better because the appearance is more pleasing, therefore it must taste better.

In my recipe for Seafood Biryani, I use a combination of bay scallops, shrimp and squid. Any combination of seafood will be delicious. A firm fish like swordfish or halibut, mussels, clams, lobster or any of your favorites will be tasty. The seafood is marinated in a blend of Indian spices for a short period of time so the flavors can be absorbed. It is then cooked in a specially seasoned oil.

After the basmati rice is boiled, the biryani is assembled. Alternating layers of rice and seafood are placed in an oven-safe pot. Between each layer, a few grains of rice that have been dipped in food coloring and a bit of saffron milk are drizzled on top.

When the layers are completed, spiced caramelized onions and whole cashews are placed on top. Baking the Seafood Biryani for 15 minutes allows the flavors to blend. When the biryani comes out of the oven, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. Place a generous scoop of biryani on each plate, making sure to include each layer. This dish is best served with Onion Raita.

The seafood is tender and full of flavor. Each rice grain is different in color, from white to orange or red. The caramelized onions add a little sweetness, the saffron infuses a complex taste of mystery and the cashews bring a bit of sophistication to this delicious recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

 

Additional recipes from Kachi’s Kitchen for biryani:

Sweet Corn Biryani (2015) incorporates fresh Iowa grown sweet corn sent to me by friends. Perfect for summer dining.

Dum Pukht Chicken Biryani (2012) traditional and most delicious biryani cooked to perfection inside a sealed pot. Perfect for a dinner party.

Langoustine Biryani (2012) is a simplified biryani recipe that uses a packaged spice mix imported from Kerala.

Chicken Biryani (2010) traditional recipe for biryani.

With summer temperatures hovering at 100 degrees, I am preparing simple meals that can be prepared quickly without heating up the kitchen. I have modified the standard Vegetable Rice recipe to incorporate popular summer vegetables. I include zucchini and carrots that can be found in abundance in many back yards or at farmers’ markets in my Summer Spiced Rice.

Summer Spiced Rice

Summer Spiced Rice is an easy to make, delicious and healthy vegetarian recipe that uses fresh summer vegetables and Indian spices to flavor the rice.

This versatile recipe for Summer Spiced Rice can be served as the main course for lunch or as a side with dinner. I like it with grilled salmon and grilled chicken since their flavors are light.

Summer Spiced Rice can be prepared in about 20 minutes. While the basmati rice cooks with whole Indian spices, the vegetables are cooked and spiced in another pan. I grate the zucchini and carrot, and slice the onion thinly to reduce the time needed to cook them. I add a cup of cooked chickpeas to the pot provide protein and create a balanced meal. While the vegetables cook, cumin, coriander and garam masala are added for a light Indian flavor. One thinly sliced green chile adds a tiny amount of heat to the finished dish.

Summer Spiced Rice with Salmon

Summer Spiced Rice with Salmon

Just before I serve Summer Spiced Rice, I top it with a thinly sliced green onion for contrasting flavor and texture. The zucchini and carrot provide a light crunch against the smooth rice and chickpeas. This dish is it not heavily spiced so it pairs well with any menu.

To finish my series on Indian inspired burgers, I am incorporating the flavors of the Malabar Coast, the plain along the coast of Kerala on the Arabian Sea. This is the land of my husband’s ancestors so the flavors of the food here have been imbedded into his DNA.

To make Malabar Burgers, I created a Malabar Masala that I use to flavor the burgers. It is based on a spice mixture from Kerala. An authentic Malabar Masala is comprised of whole spices that are roasted to bring out their flavor then ground before it is used. I simplified it to use pre-ground spices and added caramelized red onion, dried red chiles and finely chopped coconut to enhance the flavors. It seems everything in Kerala has coconut and chiles in it, so why not add them to burgers.

Malabar Burger

With the flavors of the Malabar Coast these tasty burgers are flavored with Malabar Masala spices then topped with tangy Cabbage Slaw. They are served on flaky Malabar layered parathas.

Once the Malabar Masala is ready I simply combine it with the ground beef and form the patties. Letting the patties rest before cooking allows the flavor of the Masala to permeate the meat.

To add contrast in flavor, color and texture, I top the burgers with a tangy Cabbage Slaw. It gets a slight punch from the minced green chile. It is dressed with a simple yogurt, mayonnaise and vinegar sauce.

The Malabar Burgers are served on traditional Malabar parathas. They are made with white flour and layered, like those from South India on which I serve the Madras Burgers. Malabar parathas’ layers are formed by rolling out the dough as thinly as possible, forming layers by pleating it like a fan and then coiling the pleated rectangle into a circle. It is then rolled to flatten it. They are cooked on a tava like other Indian breads. The resulting paratha is light and flaky, almost like an Indian croissant. They have an absolutely heavenly flavor and are quite addictive!

The burgers are placed on the cooked Malabar parathas and topped with a generous amount of Cabbage Slaw. These burgers are very easy to make and everyone one will love the flavors of Kerala in a tasty summer dish.

Check out these other burger recipes as well:

Bombay Burgers

Goa Balchao Sliders

Madras Burgers

For the third installment of my month of Indian themed burgers, I move to Madras, now called Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nadu. This is the city in which my husband grew up so this series would not be complete without a Madras Burger recipe.

Madras Burger

The essence of South Indian spices are incorporated into these delicious Madras Burgers. They are topped with homemade onion spread and served on layered parathas.

These easy to make burgers are filled with a spicy mixture of green chiles, ginger, garlic and onion that have been fried in Indian spiced oil. When the vegetables are tender, I mix them into the fresh ground beef and shape the patties. This mixture gives the meat flavor without being overbearing in heat.

The topping for the Madras Burger is based on my husband’s grandmother’s recipe for Hot Onion Chutney. I have modified it for this recipe so it is a creamy spread and has just a moderate amount heat without being pungent. As the onions are caramelized, they become sweet. This contrasts with the red chiles that are fried with them. When the onions are done, I place them in the blender and process them until they are a smooth paste.

To serve the Madras Burgers, I toast South Indian paratha which is a layered unleavened flatbread. They can be made at home or purchased at Indian grocery stores.

Paratha are made with whole wheat flour that is rolled out into a large sheet. As the dough is folded into layers, a tiny amount of oil or ghee is spread between each one. When formed, they are toasted until golden brown on a hot tava or griddle. They are delicious with tender and flaky layers. Of course, they are higher in calories than chapatis. In North India, they are called paratha.

Once the paratha are ready, I cut them in half to fit the burgers. With one patty on top, add a generous spoonful of the Hot Onion Spread and top with some romaine, a tomato slice and the other paratha half.

These Madras Burgers with the Hot Onion Spread are delicious and easy to make. A perfect addition to your next summer barbeque!

Next week, I will travel to southwest India for Malabar Burgers to complete my series of summer burgers.

Continuing my series of Indian themed burgers, I chose to move south from Bombay to Goa. It is one of the most beautiful states in India. With the lush green trees, beautiful sandy beaches and charming historic buildings, it is a place I long to return to again.

Goa Balchao Sliders

The essence of Goan cuisine (sweet, sour and spice) defines these tasty Balchao Sliders. They are topped with sweet grilled onions and tangy mango chutney.

I have designed my Balchao Sliders to incorporate the three key components of Goan cuisine in mind: sweet, sour and spice. Balchao is a special Goan blend of hot red chiles, sweet caramelized onions, sautéed tomatoes and flavorful spices. It usually has a bit of vinegar or another sour ingredient when made as a sauce. Since I use my Balchao mixture as the filling for my burgers, I did not want that flavor to conflict with the burgers. I left the sour and sweet tastes for the toppings.

Once the Balchao mixture is cooked, it is ground until smooth and added to the beef. I form small bite-sized burgers, or sliders, for fun; they can also be made full-size.

The sliders are topped with spiced grilled onions which add a bit of sweetness when they are caramelized. They are lightly spiced with cumin, chile powder and salt.

The key ingredient is my sweet and sour Mango Chutney. I add vinegar to the recipe to increase the flavor profile of this Goan recipe. I use Mango Chutney as the topping for the sliders. It served as a condiment along with Indian meals that contain meat. I like to use it as a spread on sandwiches or simply served on a cracker with cheese.

To serve the Balchao Sliders, place each patty on a small sourdough slider bun, top with a spoonful of grilled onions and a dollop of Mango Chutney. Each ingredient of these sliders contributes a piece of the secret to Goan cuisine.

These Balchao Sliders are delicious and will be a hit at your next barbecue!

Next week, I will travel to southeast India for Madras Burgers.

July is the perfect month for families to grill burgers on the grill and have picnics. In honor of Independence Day, I am focusing my recipes on burgers that I fuse with the flavors of my favorite (based on my limited travels) cities and states in India. Among the cities or states that I will feature this month are Bombay, Madras, Goa and Kerala (Malabar Coast).

Bombay Burger

Incorporating the flavors of Bombay, these tasty burgers are flavored with exotic spices and peppers then topped with cool mint sauce and cheese.

The first burger recipe, the Bombay Burger, is based on flavors that are found in north Indian cuisine. The meat is seasoned with a spice mix of garam masala, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, clove and amchur powder. These are the usual spices that are used in kababs. Amchur powder, made from dried green (unripe) mangoes, is a spice unique to India that brings a slightly sour taste to food. Like most Indian recipes, onion, ginger, garlic and chiles are fried in a bit of oil and added to the spices mix. To temper the heat in this recipe, I use a whole Anaheim pepper for its flavor and texture.

After my burger ingredients are ready, I mix them into the ground sirloin and form the patties. These are grilled until beautifully charred and cooked through.

The Bombay Burgers are served on toasted north Indian naans with slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion. To complete the burgers, I serve them with a Mint Sauce which is based on my recipe for Mint Chutney. The flavor of the mint and tang of the yogurt complement the flavors in the meat perfectly!

These hearty Bombay Burgers are so full of flavor and will be a hit at your July 4th cookout.

Next week, my burger series moves south to Goa.

When I was working on my recipe for Stuffed Potato Skins, I wanted to create a dip or sauce that would bring some zip to the potatoes. After I served this recipe, my husband said it was the best mint chutney that he has ever tasted. Based on his accolades I decided that I had to share it with you, hence I created this post just for my mint chutney recipe.

Creamy Mint Chutney

Creamy Mint Chutney

I started with my mother-in-law’s traditional recipe, changed up the ingredients and blended it with thick and creamy Greek yogurt.

Try this easy to make vegetarian Creamy Mint Chutney recipe to pair with a snack, like my Stuffed Potato Skins, or as a condiment for any meal. It is delicious and everyone will love it!

I read recently that potato skins were coming back as a popular item on restaurant menus. I remember eating them so many times back in the 1980s when I was younger and didn’t have to stress so much anything that went into my mouth. My husband loved them so we would order them as an appetizer when we went out to eat. When I told my husband about my idea for a new potato skins recipe, he was ecstatic.

With the creation of my Stuffed Potato Skins recipe, I am finally at the front end of a gastronomic trend!

This Stuffed Potato Skins with Creamy Mint Chutney recipe combines the spices and vegetables found in Indian food and incorporates them into an American favorite appetizer recipe. It is a fusion of American potato skins and Indian samosas without the added fat and calories from deep frying. After the potatoes are baked, the insides are scooped out and the shells are set aside to be stuffed when the filling is ready.

To make the filling, a bit of oil is seasoned with cumin seeds and a special blend of ground Indian spices that is similar to those used in making samosas. It includes garam masala, coriander, cumin, chile powder and amchur. The potato is added to the pot along with chopped onion, garlic, carrot and peas for color and variety of texture. Everything is cooked together with a bit of water to form the filling. Mashing the potato with a spoon makes it smoother but leaving it chunky is fine too. I let everything cook together for just a few minutes to let the flavors blend.

I stuff this mixture back into the potato skins, top them with paprika and kosher salt then broil them until hot and tasty.

To serve, I top the Stuffed Potato Skins with thinly sliced green onions and a side of Creamy Mint Chutney.

These Stuffed Potato Skins are best served with Creamy Mint Chutney as a dipping sauce which can be made ahead. Try this easy to make vegetarian recipe for a snack or a party. It is delicious and everyone will ask for more!

My husband absolutely loved these Potato Skins! He snatched one just as I finished taking the photos and took them for lunch. Now he wants me to make more of them.

Everyone loves to eat burritos! Every restaurant seems to have one on its menu. Originating in Mexico as a tortilla filled with beans and wrapped for a meal on the go, they are now a staple food in Texas and have become an international hit. My son eats them at his favorite Tex-Mex restaurant at least once every week. He fills his burrito with seasoned steak, brown rice, black beans and hot sauce. I like chicken with a lot of veggies in mine. Many people add cheese, lettuce and guacamole as well.

Spicy Chori Burritos

Fusing Tex-Mex recipes with Indian ingredients and spices produce great food. Spicy Chori Burritos are delicious and fun to make!

When planning this recipe, I wanted to bring the ingredients and spices of India to a Tex-Mex favorite. I wanted this to be a vegetarian recipe as are so many of the best Indian recipes. I decided to use the same small red beans, called adzuki or chori, that are featured in my lentil recipe called Chokapu Payar (red beans in Malayalam) that I included in my first cookbook, Kachi’s Kitchen. These beans are about a quarter of the size of their larger cousins that are found on most salad bars but have a firmer texture than the larger ones. Their small size makes them perfect for burritos. They are my favorite beans for cooking and eating.

Chori beans are usually soaked overnight to shorten the cooking time. After they boil for about an hour, they are added to a fried onion, garlic, chile and tomato mixture that has been seasoned with a special blend of Indian spices.

To make the Spicy Chori Burritos, I fill fresh flour tortillas with a generous helping of the spiced chori beans, cumin spiced brown basmati rice and two types of homemade salsa. I garnish the burritos with cheese, lettuce and a dollop of yogurt before they are folded and wrapped to look like the “little burro” for which they are named.

I have made these burritos often for my son and husband who loved them. My next adventure in burritos will be a chicken version to appease my daughter. That one will be a lot of fun!

The filling for the Spicy Chori Burritos can be made in advance and reheated just before assembling the burritos. The beans can be purchased at any Indian grocery store.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Chicken can be served in so many ways. Whole, cubed, baked, fried, covered in sauce, spiced. On and on the list of chicken recipes goes. To take a slightly different approach to chicken, I decided to stuff them. Using the large chicken breasts that I usually don’t buy because they are way too big for me to eat at one sitting, I flattened them and filled them with a rice and vegetable stuffing that has been seasoned in the Indian style.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Stuffed with a blend of basmati rice, lentils, cashews and spices, and topped with Lemon-Chile Butter Sauce, these Stuffed Chicken Breasts are delicious.

I start making Stuffed Chicken Breasts by opening up the breasts with a long horizontal cut then flattening them with a kitchen mallet. This step, called butterflying in the industry, is a lot of fun and a stress reliever.

The stuffing is a healthy blend of basmati rice, brown lentils and cashews, all of which are common Indian cuisine ingredients. They are added to a base of seasoned oil in which shallots, garlic and green chile are fried. A bit of chopped spinach is added at the last step to provide color and enhance texture. In my opinion, this stuffing could be served alone.

I place a generous amount of the stuffing inside the flattened chicken then roll them up like burritos. To keep them together during the cooking process, I tie them up with a string. They are browned in a skillet then baked until done.

To bring the dish together, I prepare a Lemon-Chile Butter Sauce that I drizzle over the Stuffed Chicken Breasts just before serving them. It is lightly seasoned with red chile powder for flavor, not for heat.

The Stuffed Chicken Breasts can be served whole or they can be sliced into medallions. Slices, in my mind, make a more elegant presentation as well as allow for better portion control. Serve them as you prefer with the Lemon-Chile Butter melting down the sides. This is a delicious recipe!