Now that fall has arrived, I have started roasting vegetables in the oven. Summers are so hot in Texas that I try not to use my oven during hot months as it makes my house even hotter. I love the ease of preparing them to be roasted as well as the flavor and texture they have when they are right out of the oven.

My daughter and I love roasted cauliflower so we try to make it as our vegetable for dinner. We season it with a few of our favorite spices and voila, it is ready in about a half hour. Unfortunately, we usually give in to temptation and eat three quarters of it before my husband comes home from work!

Roasted Cauliflower Chickpea Masala

This recipe combines roasted cauliflower and spiced chickpeas into one delicious and savory vegetarian dish that can be served as an entrée or a side.

Based on my love of roasted cauliflower and spiced chickpeas, I created the recipe for Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala to combine them into one rich and savory vegetarian dish.

To make this recipe, the cauliflower florets are gently seasoned with cumin, turmeric, garlic and chile powder that have been mixed with olive oil. They are roasted in the oven just until tender.

Meanwhile, a sauce, or masala, is prepared on the stovetop with onion, garlic, ginger and tomato that is seasoned with a mix of cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala and chile powder. The chickpeas are simmered in the masala to allow them to absorb the flavor.

In the last step, the chickpeas and cauliflower are mixed together then cooked for a few more minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Roasted Cauliflower Chickpea Masala

Roasted Cauliflower Chickpea Masala makes a simple and healthy lunch when served with chapati.

This recipe is easy to make and is perfect as a main course or as a side dish. It reheats well so it can be taken to work for lunch. Enjoy!

Now that everyone is back in school and fall projects are underway, the need for quick and easy recipe is at a peak. I designed my Indian-Style Grilled Chicken recipe to be just that.

Indian-Style Grilled Chicken

Indian-Style Grilled Chicken marinated in a special mix of Indian spices then grilled to perfection in this easy to make Indian recipe.

I love to serve chicken during the week because it is easy to cook without much fuss. Using boneless chicken breasts make it even easier because they cook evenly without those end pieces overcooking while the center is still raw. To make it even easier, wrap the chicken between two pieces of wax paper or plastic and pound it with a meat mallet, if you have one, or with your fist (as I do) to make the overall pieces have a consistent thickness.

I start making this recipe by combining garam masala, cumin, red chile powder, turmeric and other spices with minced garlic, ginger and yogurt. After mixing it together well, transfer it to a zip top bag. Add the chicken pieces and coat them evenly with the marinade by squeezing the bag. Refrigerate.

I let the chicken marinate for 3 to 4 hours before grilling it. I tend to cook the chicken indoors on my grill pan to save time running back and forth to the outdoor grill. The chicken can be placed in the marinade in the morning then cooked in the evening to facilitate dinner prep.

The cooked Indian-Style Grilled Chicken can be served whole or sliced. Since the chicken breasts in my local grocery are so large and serve two people comfortably, I slice them before serving.

Any leftover Indian-Style Grilled Chicken is delicious for lunch the next day on top of a salad or as a sandwich. Enjoy!

Biryani is a special recipe that was brought to India by the Moguls many centuries ago. Over time, it has spread across the country and been modified to incorporate the unique flavors of each region. Even though there are many versions of biryani, the characteristic that carries across all of them is the rich flavor that develops from the spices, rice and other ingredients when cooked together.

Vegetarian Biryani

Vegetarian Biryani is based on the traditional Indian recipe. Delicately spiced green beans, carrots, edamame and carrots are layered within seasoned biryani rice.

Making Vegetarian Biryani involves three steps: cooking the rice, spicing up the vegetables and bringing everything together.

The rice is boiled with whole spices just until tender. This allows the flavors to be absorbed fully into the grains.

The vegetables in biryani must be small and subtle. I use the traditional onion, green beans and carrots and make it unique by adding fresh sweet corn and edamame for their colors and textures. These vegetables are cooked in a masala made of turmeric, coriander, red chile powder and garam masala, ginger and garlic along with some tomato paste for additional flavor.

As in most biryani recipes, the spiced vegetables are alternately layered with rice and then steamed together in a closed pot to allow the flavors to develop.

Everyone loves a great Vegetarian Biryani recipe. There is something magical about scooping out the first serving of steaming, fragrant rice and vegetables. Fortunately, this is an easy to make recipe that also happens to be healthy.

Malabar Egg Curry is a staple recipe in south India. The spice blend is common to Kerala; hence it is named for the Malabar coast. Egg Curry is usually served for breakfast but it is delicious served at dinner as well. Serve with chapatis, appams, noolputtu, puttu or steamed rice.

Malabar Egg Curry

Malabar Egg Curry is a traditional recipe from Kerala with boiled eggs served in a delicately seasoned coconut curry.

To make Egg Curry, the first step is to hard boil the eggs. The second step is to make the curry. Shallots fried in spiced oil until they turn golden brown are ground to a paste which becomes the base for the curry. Chopped (or sliced) onions are fried in more spices. To this, tomato paste is added along with coconut milk, water and the spiced shallot paste to finish the curry. After the curry simmers and becomes thick it is done.

Transfer the egg curry to a serving bowl and place the halved eggs on top to serve. The simple boiled eggs are a perfect accompaniment to the rich curry. Use your favorite bread or rice to eat up every tasty bite!

There are many variations on this recipe. But all of them include onions, tomato, coconut, eggs and spices. When my husband makes it, he slices the onions rather than chopping them. I think he was a bit distressed that I didn’t prepare it the way he likes it. Another variation is the use of tomato paste versus two chopped plum tomatoes.

Some recipes omit the grated coconut since coconut milk is included. Other recipes omit the coconut milk to get a darker curry and only use grated coconut. I like to be able to bite into a tiny bit of coconut while other people prefer a smoother texture in their curry.

The traditional recipe uses whole boiled eggs. I think it is easier to eat them if they are already cut in half.

The spices used include cumin anise, turmeric and chiles. I use dried red chiles. More can be added for a hotter curry or the seeds can be removed to make it milder. My husband uses both dried red chiles and one or two green chiles to achieve his preferred heat level. My recipe has moderate heat so you can taste and enjoy the flavors in the curry.

This is obviously a very flexible recipe. There are so many variations on this recipe that any changes you make based on your preferences, the resulting dish will be a hit.

As I started to plan my Christmas dinner menu I wanted to incorporate cranberries in a different recipe than the one I usually use to make cranberry relish or cranberry chutney. I thought adding Cranberry Raita would provide color and contrast to the menu by including dairy on the menu.

Cranberry Raita

Cranberry Raita

Most cranberry raita recipes use chopped up dried cranberries which are sweetened and chewy. A few others use frozen berries. The recipe I created is a combination of my cranberry chutney recipe and a basic raita recipe.

Starting with fresh cranberries, I boil them with a bit of water until they pop and become thick like jam. After they cool, I mix them with fresh yogurt, add a small amount of spice and it is ready to serve.

As an alternative, the Cranberry Raita can be sweetened with an extra tablespoon of sugar. I like to eat is this way as a snack during the holiday season.

I hope this recipe is a tasty addition to one of your holiday menus!

While I was planning my Mung Beans and Red Potatoes recipe last week, I knew I needed to share my recipe for Mung Dal. This simple, vegetarian recipe is very easy to make. My husband calls it comfort food because dal was served every day while he was growing up in India.

Dal is a thick savory dish that is made from, you guessed it, dal which is any bean or lentil that has had its skin removed and is split in half. The word is attached to the specific name of the bean or lentil it describes. The advantage of dal recipes is that the cooking time is reduced. For example, whole mung beans boil in approximately 30 minutes while mung dal boils in about 20 minutes. Since the skins are removed the color of the resulting dish matches the color of the bean inside.

Mung Dal

Mung Dal

My Mung Dal recipe is very easy to make. After the dal is boiled, it is added to a masala paste that is made from cooked onion, tomatoes, garlic and ginger and a special blend of spices. Once the tomatoes break down and lose their shape, the dal is added and flavors blend together. Mung dal does not lose its shape like other varieties of beans do. So, make this dish a bit creamier, I smash some of the dal with the side of a knife before mixing it into the masala paste.

Mung Dal can be served with plain rice and chapati in the true South Indian vegetarian tradition or it can be served as a side dish with other favorite recipes.

I have decided to share my Mung Beans and Red Potatoes recipe to continue my series on cholesterol lowering recipes. Mung beans are excellent choice for creating nutritionally healthy dishes as they are:

  • high in fiber, protein and vitamins
  • low in fat and calories
  • quick to cook
  • taste delicious
  • very inexpensive

I could provide more details on these tasty gems but I will direct you to another page for more information on this superfood to save time.

Mung beans bring a mild flavor to any recipe; they taste a bit like potatoes. Unlike some lentils, they retain their shape with a delicate bite when cooked and do not turn mushy. Mushy lentils are fine in dal recipes but when they are used in a recipe where they need to retain their shape, mung beans are a great pick. In addition, mung beans do not need to be soaked overnight or cooked for an extensive amount of time. After they begin to boil, a mere half hour is all that is required to bring them to tasty tenderness.

These beans compliment other ingredients in recipes. They can be added to potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, onions, etc. and produce a beautiful colorful dish. They can be used in hot dishes as well as cold ones.

Mung beans can be used in several different ways. They can be used whole as I have done in my Mung Beans and Red Potatoes recipe. They can also have their skins removed and the inner bean split. This is called mung dal. I will share this delicious recipe next week. The third use is sprouting them. Check out this tasty Spicy Sprout Salad recipe.

Mung Beans and Red Potatoes

Mung Beans and Red Potatoes

In my Mung Beans and Red Potatoes recipe, I start by boiling the beans and red potatoes. Next I create the masala that brings the dish together. Like many Indian recipes, I fry the onions, garlic and ginger in a tasty spice blend. As the onions become tender, they absorb the flavors of the spices so they can envelop the cooked beans and potatoes. With three simple steps, the dish is ready to serve. One thing you will like about this recipe is that it only requires one pan. No need to use several pans and wash extra pots when this is finished!

Mung Beans and Red Potatoes can be served as a main dish in a vegetarian meal along with other vegetables, rice and chapatis. It can be a side dish for lunch or dinner. My husband likes to roll a generous scoop of Mung Beans and Red Potatoes and roll it in a chapati to take to work for lunch. This can be served hot or cold.

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.

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.