Monthly Archives: March 2015

BIRYANCINIS- Biryani goes to Italy


I love watching Master Chef India. On that a couple of weeks ago someone had made arancinis with an Indian flavor. I remembered my experiment from two years ago a and thought I would blog it today. 

Here is my post from a couple of years ago.

Arancinis are fried rice balls that are stuffed with cheese, originated in Sicily. I ate Arancinis in a famous restaurant in New York. Since then I have been meaning to put Indian tadka on it.

 So here is my attempt of ‘BIRYANCINIS’




2 cups of rice

3.5 cups of water ( that is how much I use)

2 green cardamom 

2 brown cardamom 

2 inch stick of cinnamon 

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp black pepper corn

1/4 tsp cloves

Few thread of saffron soaked in 1 tbsp milk

Chopped mint and cilantro

1 egg

Method :

Soak rice in cold water for atleast 45 mins. 

Boil  water with all the whole garam masala like Cinnamon, clove, cardamom, bay leaf.  

Add soaked rice and cook until done. When it is almost ready add saffron. 

After it was cool add chopped cilantro n mint. Add the egg and mix. 


1/2 onion chopped

1 lb minced chicken 

Chopped mint 

1 green chili chopped fine

Powdered garam masala containing cardamom, shahee jeera,mace powder

1/3 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

1/2 bread crumbs seasoned with dry mint & paprika

Sauté chopped onions till caramelized.

 Add chopped green chili, garam masala powder.Add minced chicken and cook. Add a lot of chopped mint.

 When cooled, add the shredded pepper jack cheese( enough to bind) .

Make balls of the cooked rice with chicken mixture in the centre. 

Dip the balls in beaten egg white( we had only used yolk for the filling), roll in bread crumbs.  Deep fry in oil( next time will try it in appam pan).

Serve with cilantro raita as a dip.


Shrikhand and Sicily


Today is ‘Gudhi Padwa‘, it is the New Year for us. We believe that today is the day when Lord Brahma began the creation of the world. This day people start new ventures, buy new things even buy new homes. People from Iran also celebrate their new year, Nowruz today. I guess because it is based on Lunar Calendar and we also follow Lunar Calendar in India.

I always find it fascinating that my mother tongue Marathi has so many words from Persian language. It was also interesting to know that the community I belong to, traces some of its genes way back to Iran.  I love learning about such connection and then observing the similarities in foods, rituals etc.

My work took me to Sicily a couple of years ago and needless to say I loved it. I was in Catania which has a very rustic cute downtown. Cobblestone streets, open cafe, small pastry shops- it was amazing. This is where I tried the famous Sicilian Cannoli.

I loved that contrast of Crisp, flaky pastry filled with creamy, fluffy Ricotta cheese with a crunch of chopped pistachios.

Cannoli comes from Siciliy but originated probably from Iran. There is a Iranian Pastry which sounds very similar to Cannoli, ‘ Qanawat’, I thought it was very interesting.

Going back to my new year story, I decided to celebrate Gudhi Padwa and Navroj this year with a desert which is a fusion of  ‘Shrikhand & Qanawat’.

Presenting –

Cannoli filled with Shrikhand




64 oz yogurt ( I prefer whole milk yogurt for this recipe)

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/2 Tsp salt

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp Saffron


Hang the yogurt the night before you plan to make it.  You can keep it outside or in the fridge.

Take the saffron and warm it gently. Crush it and mix with 1 tbsp of milk.

Take the thickened yogurt and mix in sugar, salt, spices and mix well.

Your Shrikhand is ready.

Cannoli Shells

The cannoli shell recipe is based on Mario Batali’s recipe. It is very simple and easy.


2 cups  All purpose flour

1 1/2 tbsp cold unsalted butter

1 tbsp sugar

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup white wine

1 egg white optional


Cannoli Shells-

Cut butter in small pieces.

Mix flour & sugar. Take butter and cut into the flour till it resembles grains of sand.

Add egg yolk and mix a little.

Add the wine and mix it very lightly barely till the dough comes together.

Now take a plastic wrap and put the dough in the wrap and keep it in the fridge for an hour.

Making the cannolis

If you check any recipes for cannoli you will see that it needs Cannoli molds. Since I don’t have the molds, I decided to make my own.

My son who also loves cooking had an idea. He went to the hardware store and got a 1″ inch pipe and got it cut in 5″ pieces, and there we had our cannoli molds.

Heat oil in a pan. Make sure there is enough oil that the dough with the pipe is submerged.

Take the dough out is the fridge and knead very lightly. Roll it out very thin.

Use a bowl to cut a circle.

Take the cannoli mold and wrap the rolled out circle around it. Make sure there is some overlap and use water or egg white to seal that overlap in place.

Also, flare out the ends so it is easy to take out the mold after the pastry is cooled.

Fry in the oil till golden brown.   

Let it cool and then take the mold out gently.

You can make the cannoli shells ahead but fill them up when you are ready to serve.

Filling the shells 

Take a pastry bag or a plastic bag and fill with the Shrikhand. Use a big star tip and fill up the shells from either sides.

Take chopped pistachios and dip both ends of the cannoli.

Enjoy your Shrikhand Canoli & Happy New Year!


Ceviche – a healthy, flavorful way to eat fish


Tilapia Ceviche


Tilapia Ceviche

The weather is warmer and the family wants to eat fresh fruits, lighter meals. It is not easy to cook something which is fresh, healthy and tasty. And of course it has to be easy to make.
One such dish is Ceviche.

The first time I ate Ceviche in Cabo San Lucas. We were on our annual vacation. All of us are big foodies so invariably the first thing we do when we go to a new place is to find out good food joints. When we asked the person who cleaned our room what her favorite place to eat was, she told us about this small place near the beach. We got out of the resort, took a local bus and reached this small village. There was this cobble stone street that went all the way to the beach. The village center was a church and around that there were many vendors selling various things. We also had the best fish tacos there.
We found the small shop that lady had recommended, that is where I are Ceviche the first time.
Let me tell you, I am not a fish lover rather I eat only select kind of fish. So for someone like me the idea of eating raw( it does get cooked in the acid) was pretty tough to try. But am I glad I did. That fish was perfectly cooked and marinated in the lime juice and paired very beautifully with crunchy cucumbers, onion, creamy avocado and with a kick from Serrano pepper.
It was a perfect warm weather snack.

So here is my take on Ceviche.


2 tilapia fillet, chopped in small pieces
1 cup lime juice



1/4 onion finely chopped 2 Persian cucumbers chopped fine(you can also use equivalent English cucumber)
1 Serrano pepper chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tomato chopped ( don’t take the seeds)
Salt to taste         2015/03/img_2186.jpg    

It is important to chop the vegetables in a uniform fashion, it looks pretty and you get a sample of all in one bite. 


Mix the lime juice and tilapia pieces. Make sure you use a shallow container so that all pieces are covered in the lime juice. Sometimes I like to use orange juice in addition to the limes you use. Here I have used a blood orange that has given nice pink hue to the fish.
Let it sit for at least 45 minutes in the fridge. Then you take it out, the fish would look white, very opaque. This is the sign that the fish is cooked in the acid.


Drain the fish in the colander.

While the fish is in the fridge, chop all the vegetables and mix them in a bowl together. Add salt to taste.
Add the drained fish to the vegetable mixture and mix everything well but with the light hand. You don’t want the fish or the avocado to break and become mushy.

It has a very fresh crisp taste and goes really well with crostinis, pita chips, tortilla chips or even in lettuce cups. I serve it in empty avocado shells, it makes for a great presentation.


Lehsun-mirch ki chutney


If you observe food from any particular region,  you can start learning a lot about the people, the weather, the produce available etc. It is very evident in the various cuisines from across India.

One such cuisine is the cuisine of Rajasthan.

I am in love with everything about this place . This land is known for its sand dunes, colorful dresses, camels and palaces. It is the western state of India, the dessert state, water is very scarce here and fresh fruits and vegetables are not readily available all the time, so a lot of the dishes from this region use ingredients that are available easily. Things like lentils, grain flours, dried chilies, dried vegetables and milk products.


I have been to Rajasthan a few times and fell in love again with its people and food. I have learnt a few recipes on my visits and would be sharing them here.

Today’s recipe- Chili Garlic Chutney

I love spicy food. Today’s recipe is easy and can be made very easily, most of the ingredients should be available in your pantry. It is one of those dishes that can perk up any dull meal or add a bit of spice to it.2015/03/img_2445.jpg


10-15 Red Chilies

6-8 fresh garlic cloves

2 tbsp Kashmiri red chili powder

1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp Fenugreek Seeds

2 tbsp Oil

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp tamarind pulp( optional)


Some people also add onions, I feel that they make the chutney sweet so I don’t add it.
Soak dry red chilies in warm water for 1 hour.

In a blender grind the garlic & soaked chilies with little water.

Heat oil in pan, add mustard seeds. When they splatter, add the cumin seeds. Add fenugreek seeds and fry for 10 secs. Add the red chili powder. Add the chili garlic paste. cook till you see oil separating,mix salt & sugar and mix well. Add tamarind pulp to taste.

Chutney is ready, serve it with any Indian meal.


I mix it with greek yogurt and use it as a dip for fresh vegetables.

I also mix it with a little bit of butter and use it as a spread for sandwiches.




Kolhapuri chicken- A fiery treat


Kolhapuri chicken rassa- a fiery treat that you can not stop eating.


I like to eat it with Jowar Bhakri, raw onion and raw methi & white butter ( makhhan).
2 chicken breast- chopped
1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1/4 tsp lime juice
4 tbsp Kolhapuri masala
2 tbsp Bedgi chili powder.
1 medium onion chopped

Mix ginger garlic paste, salt and lime juice with chicken and keep aside for at least an hour.

Take oil in the pan. Saute finely chopped onions till they are brown.

Add the red chili powder. Add the marinated chicken and cook for 30 sec. Add the masala paste and saute more. Add salt to taste.
Add hot water to get the consistency you desire. Cover and cook for a few mins.
This actually works better with the mutton but since my husband prefers chicken, I make it more often