Vegetable pulav is a rice dish that is prepared with a variety of fresh vegetables that are cooked in Indian-spiced oil. It is often served as a side dish or as a main item with a side of raita. It is one of my favorite recipes. My vegetable pulav recipe has a higher ratio of delicious vegetables to rice than others to cut calories.

For a change of pace, I decided to incorporate barley into a pulav recipe because of its firm texture. Barley is healthy grain. It contains large amounts of fiber, protein and other important nutrients. I try to limit the amount of rice that I eat because it is lower in fiber and higher in carbohydrates.

Barley Pulav

Barley Pulav a fusion of a popular Indian recipe and spices with healthy barley. They come together to make a delicious and versatile side dish.

To make Barley Pulav I simply boil the barley until it is tender. While it is cooking, I prepare the seasonings and vegetables. The first step, as always, is to season the oil by adding cardamom, cinnamon, dried red chilies, cumin, clove and bay leaf. Then I add my vegetables: carrots, green beans, onion, garlic and ginger. You can change the ingredients based on your preference and modify the ratios as well. Peas, small red potatoes and squash would make great additions. I let the vegetables cook at a low temperature until they are tender.

Finally, I add the barley to the vegetables. I let everything cook together for a few more minutes to allow the flavors to blend and absorb into the barley.

Barley Pulav is so easy to make that I can be served any night of the week. In fact, it is a terrific dish to take to a potluck as this dish can be served at room temperature and still be tasty. Your family and friends will love this dish.

Everyone needs a delicious recipe for roast chicken that they can pull out and make when family or friends come over for a meal. There are several variations of recipes that all produce tasty chicken with crispy skin that are full of flavor and beautiful on the table. The primary differences are oven temperature, cooking time and seasonings.

Roast Spiced Chicken

Roast Spiced Chicken is a delicious Indian recipe for a whole chicken that is subtly seasoned with exotic spices and roasted to perfection.

I like this recipe for roast chicken because the meat has a rich savory flavor that stands up to any side dish. The spices that make up the masala that is used to coat the entire outside of the chicken, and the lemon, garlic, onion and fenugreek leaves that are placed on the inside, flavor the meat perfectly.

The steps to prepare this roast chicken are essentially the same as one would find in any recipe. The masala which is made with garam masala, coriander, cumin, red chile powder, fenugreek leaves and turmeric make this recipe special. It is mixed with a bit of oil before it is spread over the skin of the chicken. If you have time you can let the spices infuse the skin before roasting but this is not required. As usually happens in my kitchen, I run short of time so I roast the bird as soon as it is ready.

After I fill the chest cavity, I skip the process of trussing the bird. Instead I simply loop a piece of string around one leg, loop it around both legs then add one more loop around the second leg. I tie the string in a bow to make it easier to remove later.

As the chicken roasts, the kitchen is filled with an enticing aroma. After an hour in the oven, the outside of the bird turns a rich crispy brown color due to the spices.

Roast Spiced Chicken

Roast Spiced Chicken presents heavenly aromas right out of the oven.

Once the chicken is removed from the oven and has cooled for a sufficient amount of time, it can be sliced and placed on a platter or cut into quarters based on your preference. This recipe is so easy to make but it will be a welcome addition to any meal. Serve with any starch and vegetables on the side. I like to serve it with my Barley Pulav recipe which I will feature next week.

Risotto Cakes are a variation on the original recipe for risotto which originated in Italy as a creamy rice dish that is cooked in broth and mozzarella cheese. It is made with a starchy short grain rice, usually Arborio, that makes it sticky when cooked. Traditionally risotto was served as a main dish but can be served on the side of a main entrée. Many different ingredients can be added to it. I like adding mushrooms and onions to keep it simple while other recipes include meat, fish, lentils and even wine.

Bahala Bath is a South Indian recipe in which rice is cooked with milk which turns into a thick substantial dish that is usually served during the Pongal festival. It can be compared to risotto with the subtle spices and creamy texture.

Spiced Risotto Cakes

Spiced Risotto Cakes are a fusion of Indian spices and creamy risotto.

These Spiced Risotto Cakes make a beautiful presentation and are delicious to eat. The recipe starts by preparing the seasonings that can be added as the risotto cooks. I use traditional Indian ingredients, including: cumin, shallots, garlic, ginger, green chile and saffron. The secret ingredient in all Indian rice recipes is the use of saffron which adds a rich, fresh scent and bold yellow color.

While the seasonings cook, I prepare the rice by boiling it with chicken stock. When tender, I mix it with the seasonings, cheese, lemon zest and chives. I transfer the mixture into oiled ramekins and bake them in the oven until they turn golden brown on top.

The Risotto Cakes can be served in the ramekins or removed and placed on individual plates. As an alternative, a large ramekin can be used and all of the risotto will be cooked as a large cake. To serve the large risotto cake, simply cut into pie-shaped wedges.

Risotto Cakes are so easy to make but are a tasty alternative to rice or potatoes. Enjoy!

Okra is very popular in Indian cuisine. In fact, it is my husband’s favorite vegetable. I considered that odd because I had never eaten okra before I met him. After I tasted okra in his mother’s Sambar recipe and a few other dishes, I was hooked. If okra is cooked properly, it is delicious!

In the region surrounding the Mediterranean, okra is often cooked with tomatoes and spices. This inspired me to create a recipe for Coriander Spiced Okra that combined Indian spices with the Mediterranean style of cooking.

I use whole okra in this recipe so I don’t have to spend time slicing them into small pieces. I simply trim off the heads. Having made this dish a few times, I find it tastes best when using farm fresh, tender okra that are available in the summer rather than the larger ones that tend to be tough.

Coriander Spiced Okra

Coriander Spiced Okra uses whole okra that are cooked in a coriander scented tomato sauce with onion for a quick and easy recipe inspired by Mediterranean cuisine.

The okras are cooked in a simple sauce that is based on sautéed onions and diced tomatoes, using canned tomatoes to save time. The sauce is seasoned with the flavor of crushed coriander seeds which bring a lemony essence to the recipe. When the okras are done, I augment the flavor with lemon zest and juice.

Coriander Spiced Okra is a perfect accompaniment to any meal; it is great with meat or chicken as well as a vegetarian meal. It is ready in less than 20 minutes and very easy to make. Enjoy!

While preparing dinner the other day, I wanted to include a simple rice dish that was light and was not bursting with intense flavor. Instead of making plain rice, either boiled or sautéed in butter, I just wanted to add the refreshing flavor and vibrant color of fresh herbs.

I simply boiled the rice with a few dry spices. When it was tender I mixed in the herbs. I selected some of my favorites: dill, parsley, cilantro and chives. Sliced fresh green onions provide flavor as well. To garnish Rice with Fresh Herbs, I topped it with a few gold toasted cashews to complement the white and green.

Rice with Fresh Herbs

Rice with Fresh Herbs is an easy recipe with the fresh flavor of parsley, cilantro, chive, green onion and spices to create a simple side dish to accompany any meal.

Add Rice with Fresh Herbs to your repertoire for a quick side dish. It pairs well with any entrée and all side dishes.

I wanted to incorporate the favorite nut of India in a different way that I usually use them. I roast them, spice them and use them to thicken curries. This time I wanted to see what would happen if I ground them to a paste.

Cashews are grown on on trees on farms in India. We can thank the Portuguese explorers who brought them to India back in the 1500s for their tasty donation to the lands they visited.

They are actually the seeds that grow at the bottom of the red or yellow cashew apple. Yes, it does even look like a bright red or yellow apple with a cashew glued to the bottom. I saw some at a spice farm I visited a few years ago and thought they looked rather odd. Cashews are very healthy in that they have less fat than other nuts. They have a healthy amount of monounsaturated fats which is good for one’s heart. They are also loaded with antioxidants and other minerals. Just what the doctor ordered.

Sweet Cashew Cream and Fresh Berries

After soaking them for a short time, I ground a cup of raw cashews in a blender until a smooth paste formed. The resulting flavor was similar to a very thick almond milk and it looked like whipped cream. I immediately knew what I wanted to do with it.

I added a few of my favorite Indian spices, cinnamon and cardamom, along with some sugar. I stirred it all together and I had a vegan version of flavored whipped cream. It is a perfect topping to fresh berries. I use strawberries in my recipe but any fresh berries will be delicious.

You may have noticed over the years that I don’t make very many desserts. I try to ignore them since being in the same room with them increases my waistline. This recipe is so healthy and easy to make that no one will turn down an offer of this dish.

Now that I’ve shared a very simple recipe for Sweet Cashew Cream and Fresh Berries that is really tasty and good for you, I hope you enjoy it!

From the time that my children were young I would collect the seeds from their pumpkins and roast them in the oven for a tasty snack. A few years ago, after I started this blog, I modified my recipe to include some Indian spices to add more flavor. This is one of the easiest recipes to make. When they were younger, my kids loved to measure out the spices and mix them together.

After cleaning the pumpkin fibers off of the seeds, I let them dry out overnight.  The next day, I make a simple mixture of garlic powder, paprika, red chile powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the seeds then toss them with the spices. They roast in the oven for about 15 minutes or until they are toasty.

My kids love Masala Pumpkin Seeds as a snack. They also make a great accompaniment for your favorite evening beverage!

Including this sauce in my repertoire of Indian fusion cuisine was natural due to the commonality of ingredients. Healthy tomato, onion and garlic sauces are common in both Italian and Indian cuisines so the incorporation of a few Indian spices and techniques turn this sauce into a delightfully robust dish.

Arrabbiata sauce got its name from the word arrabbiato which means angry in Italian due to the large amount of red hot chile powder that is used to make it. I felt compelled to add a few dried red Indian chiles to the pot to stir up the heat beyond that of the chile powder.

Spicy Arrabbiata Tomato Sauce and Penne

This Arrabbiata Sauce with Penne recipe blends the spices and red chiles of India with the spicy tomato sauce of Italy. Serve with penne for a delicious meal.

To make this dish, I start by roasting fenugreek, cumin and fennel seeds on a hot pan then roasting them to a fine powder after they cool.

The base of the sauce is made by frying the onion, garlic and chiles in hot oil to give them a head start at cooking. After the onion begins to soften, I add chopped tomatoes and the ground spices and let everything simmer together until the tomatoes fall apart and form the sauce.

While the sauce simmers, I prepare the pasta. I prefer to use rigate since is has ridges on the outside of the tubes to catch the sauce.

Some popular recipes for arrabbiata sauce grind it through a food mill to make it smooth. I do not do that in this recipe. Since the onions are slivered and the garlic sliced, processing it defeats the purpose of these steps. I also like the chunky texture so I can see the onions and garlic along with tomato bits.

When everything is ready, simply add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix it all together. I serve it in individual plates and top with a bit of chopped fresh Italian parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

My daughter loves Chicken Tikka. Every time we go to an Indian restaurant it is the only dish she orders because she wants to eat healthy, lean food and isn’t a fan of runny curries. Since I make Chicken Tikka Kababs fairly often at home I decided that I needed an easier (and faster) way to make it. This led me to create my own Chicken Tikka Spice Mix so I could shorten the time to create the marinade. I create a double batch of this spice mix, store it in a jar and then scoop out a few spoonfuls when I need to marinate my chicken.

Since the recipe uses ground spices and nothing has to be roasted or fried in a skillet, preparation is quite simple. Only a set of measuring spoons and several fresh spices are required. Here is my recipe:

Chicken Tikka Spice Mix

1 Tbs ground coriander

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp red chile powder

1 Tbs garam masala

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves, woody stems removed and leaves crushed between your fingers

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp amchoor powder

1/4 tsp ground ajwain

1/4 tsp turmeric

 

Mix all of the ingredients together. Store in an airtight container and use as needed.

Chicken Tikka Spice Mix

Having homemade Chicken Tikka Spice Mix on hand makes dinner preparation easy.

Once you have a batch of Chicken Tikka Spice Mix ready to use, making this easy recipe for Chicken Tikka Kebabs is easy. First I prepare the marinade with yogurt, garlic, ginger and my Spice Mix then add the chicken. This can be done before I leave for the day. To make this process even easier, frozen minced garlic and ginger that are available in my grocery’s freezer section can be used. When I get home after the chicken has marinated all day, I simply thread the chicken onto skewers and grill them. While the chicken cooks, I prepare my Lemon-Cilantro Aioli, a delicious dip to go along with the chicken. Dinner can be on the table in no time at all. Simply serve with a green vegetable and, perhaps, a simple rice dish, if you have the time.

Try this recipe. Your family will thank you for a healthy and easy dinner. Preparing the Chicken Tikka Spice Mix in advance saves time and guess work. Try sprinkling a bit on roasted vegetables. It is delicious!

 

Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka Kebabs made with my Chicken Tikka Spice Mix

Try out my Chicken Tikka Kebabs recipe tonight!

 

Turmeric is a rhizome, a stem that grows underground, that looks like a mini version of ginger. It is available in two colors: yellow and white. The outside skin of both varieties looks and feels very similar to that of ginger, its cousin, but the inside color is bright orange or off-white (like ginger). Yellow turmeric smells just like commercially available powdered turmeric, musky and earthy, while white turmeric is citrusy and sweet. There is more to this story than just pretty color and flavor.

 

Fresh yellow and white turmeric

Fresh yellow and white turmeric

Uses of Turmeric

Everyone knows that turmeric adds a tangy and earthy flavor to food thus turmeric is an important ingredient in Indian cooking. Turmeric is usually added to spice mixtures because it has properties that bond with the healthy and tasty attributes of the other spices to give a delicious flavor to food. It is always added to lentils when they are boiled. I asked my mother-in-law why it is so but she had no definitive answer other than this is the way it is done. Supposedly it adds flavor to the beans. I’m not totally convinced since the cooking liquid is discarded when the beans are done. Perhaps it helps in the cooking process to tenderize the beans. I add a pinch of turmeric when cooking egg whites for breakfast so that they have some color. I suspect that the source of this unwritten rule lies in the history of Ayurvedic medicine.

Medical Uses of Turmeric

Turmeric is also good for you for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Many people now believe that a bit of turmeric a day can prevent or reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis as well as improve memory. Based on some of the reading I have done, it sounds like turmeric is a miracle cure that can reduce heart attacks, cancer, ulcers and several other ailments as well. I have even seen turmeric pills for sale on the Internet – of course, without any governmental regulation or approval.

Based on the volume of articles on the benefits of turmeric, I plan to continue to use it in my every day cooking. If indeed the studies are valid, I might be one step ahead in warding of one or more of the diseases that this magic spice may cure.

 

Fresh yellow and white turmeric with fresh ginger

Fresh yellow and white turmeric with fresh ginger

Making Turmeric Powder

Turmeric is peeled and boiled, then dried and powdered before being used as a dye and in cooking. I wanted to try out making my own turmeric powder. So after peeling off the skin, which was very easy to do, I put the pieces in a pan of water and boiled them for 25 minutes. By the time all of the yellow turmeric was peeled, my hands and nails were stained yellow. I even had small yellow spots on my face where juice had splattered. The water in which I boiled the yellow turmeric turned deep red, just like a glass of strong tea. Once I removed the turmeric from the pan, I cut it into small pieces and spread it out on a baking sheet.

I set my oven on the lowest temperature setting possible and let it bake for 3 to 4 hours, turning the pieces over every half hour so it would dry out. The length of time required to dry it is a function of the size of the pieces you cut. When the turmeric is hard, shriveled and dry, I removed it from the oven and let it cool for a half hour before putting it in my spice grinder and powdering it.

One word of caution, since this is fresh turmeric powder, the color is very potent. As I peeled the turmeric, the yellow juice turned my cutting board yellow. Fortunately it is glass and I could easily wash it. The powder permanently stained the plastic list of my grinder. The red cooking liquid even stained the plastic cup into which I had poured it so I could get a clear view of the color. Please take care when making your own powder.

 

freshly roasted and powdered turmeric

Freshly roasted and powdered turmeric brings color and flavor to your cooking.

My fresh turmeric is full of flavor and color, almost as though it has been concentrated through the preparation process. You can use less of it than you normally would since it has not been sitting on a shelf in a plastic bag for an unknown period of time!

 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for many delicious recipes that use turmeric!