Creamy Caramel Custard Pudding


A spin on the classic caramel custard pudding with cream cheese added to give it a velvety texture and an enhanced flavor


Yields: 8 servings, Total Prep Time: 4 hrs, Cooking Time: 35 mins


WHAT YOU NEED:

6 egg yolks

3 egg whites

1 cup condensed milk

1 cup evaporated milk *

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup softened cream cheese

1/2 tbsp vanilla essence 

1/4 tsp salt


WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:

1. Melt 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a pan over a medium flame. Make sure sugar has dissolved in the water before heating it. Caramelize sugar till it turns amber in color. Take it off heat immediately and pour caramel into a 8" x 2" round cake pan.  (Click here to see how to make caramel)

2. Beat egg yolks, condensed milk, evaporated milk, milk, vanilla essence and salt in a huge bowl.

3. Blend cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar. Slowly add in the egg whites.

4. Pour in the egg yolk and milk mix and keep blending for about a minute or two. Transfer this mix into the cake pan over the hardened caramel. 

5. Preheat oven to 375 F/ 190 C. Fill a bigger pan up to half an inch in hot water and carefully place the cake pan over it. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

6. Let it cool down at room temperature for about an hour. Place in refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. For best results chill it overnight. 

7. Finally place a plate over the cake pan and quickly invert it to transfer custard pudding on the plate. Tap gently over the cake pan to ease out the pudding. Get all the caramel out of the pan and drizzle it over the pudding. Slice and serve. 


TIPS:

  • In case you don't get an evaporated milk can, prepare it at home by boiling down 2 1/4 cups of whole milk to about a cup. This is a slow simmering process that requires you to keep stirring and scraping off the cream that forms at the surface occasionally. Once done, strain and allow it to cool down to room temperature before using. *

  • You can use cupcake tins instead of a cake pan.

  • Don't use hot/warm milk in the mix since it will scramble the eggs and spoil the texture of the pudding.






Carrot & Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


Carrot and pumpkin spice flavored moist cupcakes topped with a rich cream cheese frosting


Yields: 12 cupcakes, Prep Time: 30 mins, Total Time: 40 mins


WHAT YOU NEED For The cupcakes: 

4 medium carrots, peeled and grated

1 cup pumpkin purée

1 cup all purpose flour

2 cups light brown sugar 

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup canola oil

4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1 tsp baking powder 

1/2 tsp baking soda 

1/2 tsp salt 

1 tsp ground cinnamon 

1/2 tsp ground allspice 

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla essence

WHAT YOU NEED FOR The CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

2 cups cream cheese, softened

10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cup confectioners/powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla essesnce


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl; flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice.

2. Add beaten eggs, melted butter, pumpkin purée, canola oil, vanilla essence, and mix well.

3. Using an electric beater on a medium speed, beat until you get a smooth batter.

4. Fold in the grated carrots and give it a good mix.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C. In two 6 x 2 cupcake tins add cupcake liners that have been lightly greased with butter on the sides.

6. Using a spoon, add the batter carefully making sure that you fill it up just up to the brim.

7. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

8. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes once it's out of the oven. 

9. For the cream cheese frosting, first mix in the cream cheese and butter. Using an electric beater on a medium speed beat well for about a minute. Stop and add the sugar and vanilla essence and mix well. Again, beat it for about 2 minutes or until well combined and smooth.

10. Add the frosting in an icing bag with a wide cross nozzle. Squeeze the end of the bag and in a circular motion moving inwards to form a small peak. 

11. Since I made these for Halloween 2015, I added some chocolate chips on the frosting to make it seem like eyes and mouth, giving it the appearance of a ghost. 


TIPS:

  • You can also bake a cake instead of cupcakes with the same quantity of ingredients.

  • Canola oil can be substituted with vegetable oil as well. You can also eliminate butter in the batter and add some more oil instead.

  • Add some chopped walnuts in the cake batter for that extra flavor.




Hummus


A smooth and creamy mixture of mashed chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.


Yields: 1 big bowl, Prep Time: 8-10 hours, Cooking Time: 15-20 mins


WHAT YOU NEED:

2 cups chickpeas/garbanzo beans

1/4 cup sesame seeds

3-4 tbsp canola oil

1 lemon, juiced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped 

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp paprika 

2 tsp salt


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. Soak chickpeas overnight or for up to 8 hours at least.

2. In a large saucepan heat 4 cups of water over a medium flame. Add the chickpeas and 1 teaspoon salt, and boil it for around 1 1/2 hours or until it softens. Drain but don't throw away the water. Save it in a bowl and set it aside. 

3. To prepare tahini, roast the sesame seeds over a pan on a medium-low flame for about 2 minutes or till it turns golden brown. Add the sesame seeds in a grinder. Grind the roasted seeds to form a smooth powder. Add the canola oil and grind it till it forms a smooth paste.

4. Add the boiled chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin powder, paprika, 1 tsp salt, and 1 cup of chickpea water in a food processor/mixer and grind to form a smooth paste. Add more water if required. 

5. Transfer to a bowl. Add a dash of olive oil and paprika and serve with pita bread/chips.


TIPS:

  • Chickpeas that haven't been soaked overnight would need to be cooked for about 4 hours. A quicker way would be to pressure cook them. 

  • You can use regular vegetable oil in place of canola oil for the tahini.

  • Hummus is best served with pita bread or pita chips, but do try them with some veggies like baby carrots, broccoli, celery, red/green bell peppers, etc. 




Linguine with herb grilled chicken in tomato basil sauce


Rosemary and thyme infused grilled chicken in a bowl of linguine covered in tomato basil sauce


Yields: 4-5 servings, Prep Time: 15 mins, Total Time: 25 mins


WHAT YOU NEED: 

500 gms linguine

2 chicken breasts

3 ripe tomatoes, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

7 cloves of garlic, 5 chopped & 2 crushed

1/4 cup basil, chopped

1/2 cup parmesan, shredded

2 tsp rosemary

1 tsp thyme

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper 


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. Pour 2 tablespoon olive oil over chicken. Rub thyme, rosemary, and salt over it. Set aside to marinate for at least 15-20 minutes.

2. Bring water to boil in a large pot over a high flame. Add crushed garlic to it. 

3. Add linguine. Make sure it is completely immersed in water. Then add 2 teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt in the pot. 

4. Reduce the heat to a medium flame, and let it cook for around 8-10 minutes. Strain and set aside. Make sure to throw away the garlic.

5. Heat some olive oil in a saucepan over a medium flame. Sautée onions, chopped garlic, and tomatoes. Add a cup of water to it. Cover with lid and let it cook for 15 minutes or till the mixture softens. 

6. Add this in a mixer and purée it. Add the puréed mixture back in the saucepan and heat it over a low flame. 

7. Add basil, parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Stir and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Transfer sauce to a bowl/jar and set aside.

8. Grill chicken over a pan on a medium flame for around 15-20 minutes. Keep turning sides in intervals. Once done, take it off the pan and roughly chop it.

9. Finally, put it all together in a bowl. First add linguine and a dash of olive oil, then add chicken, and top it off with some sauce. Mix it well. Sprinkle some shredded parmesan over it. Dig in!


TIPS:

  • You can use spaghetti/pasta instead of linguine too. 

  • Use fresh and ripe tomatoes for the sauce.

  • Add some butter in the sauce, and throw in some roasted garlic in the linguine to enhance the flavor.





Goan Green Beef Curry


Soft, tender chunks of beef in a tangy and spicy cilantro based gravy


Yields: 6-8 servings, Prep Time: 20 mins, Total Time: 90 mins


WHAT YOU NEED: 

1.5 lb/600-700 gms stewing beef, cut in 1 inch cubes

3 medium red onions, peeled and chopped

1 small tomato, chopped

7 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1.5 inch ginger, chopped

3 long green Indian chilies, chopped

1 small ball tamarind 

1 bunch cilantro, chopped along with the stems

12-14 peppercorns

10 cloves

1/2 cinnamon stick

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp white vinegar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2-3 tsp salt

 


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon vinegar to the beef chunks. Rub it and set aside to marinate for 15-20 minutes at least.

2. Soak tamarind in 6 tablespoons of warm water for 15 minutes. Once the tamarind softens, squeeze it to get the extract.

3. Add 4 tablespoons of oil in a pressure cooker and fry onions over a medium flame. When the onions turn translucent, add beef, and pressure cook it for 4-5 whistles. Take the contents off the cooker and keep it aside.

4. Add ginger, garlic, chilies, tomato, tamarind extract, peppercorns, cloves, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, and cilantro in a mixer and grind it till you get a smooth paste

5. Heat remaining oil in a cooking pot over a medium-low flame. Add beef and onions.

6. Add the paste. Pour some water into the container that you ground the paste in, and add that in the pot. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar and mix well. Add more water if the gravy is too thick for your liking. Also, check and add some more salt and pepper if necessary.

7. Reduce the heat to a low flame. Cover the lid and let it slow cook for about 45-50 minutes or until the beef turns tender.

8. Serve hot with rotis/parathas or steamed rice/pulao. 


TIPS:

  • In case you don't have a pressure cooker, cook the beef and onions in the pot and increase the cooking time by 15-20 minutes (total cooking time will be around 80 minutes)

  • You can substitute chicken for beef. The cooking time in this case will be reduced to 20-30 minutes since chicken cooks faster than beef.

  • You can also add potatoes and carrots to enhance the taste. In this case, add them in the pot after you've put the beef and onions. Also, don't marinate the beef with vinegar, instead add all the vinegar in the pot before you slow cook the mixture. 


Gooey Chocolate Cake in a Mug


Chocolate cake in a mug baked in the microwave


Total Time: 5 mins


WHAT YOU NEED:

2 tbsp all purpose flour

3 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

4 tbsp milk

1 egg, beaten

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 scoop vanilla ice cream 


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a mug. Beat in egg, butter, milk, and vanilla essence.

2. Put mug in a microwave and heat for 1 min 50 secs. 

3. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

 


TIPS:

  • You can replace butter with olive oil. 

  • You can emit the egg too, but in place add some baking powder. 


Mango Lassi & Chai bars


Mango yogurt and chai flavored ice-cream bars


Yields: 5 of each, Total time: 15 mins


WHAT YOU NEED FOR MANGO LASSI BARS:

2 ripe mango

1 cup greek yogurt

3-4 tbsp sugar/honey

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

WHAT YOU NEED FOR CHAI BARS:

6-8 inches of ginger, sliced

3-4 tsp black tea

2 green cardamom

1 cup water

1 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp sugar


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO FOR MANGO LASSI BARS:

1. Chop the mango flesh. Purée it, add sugar/honey and mix well.

2. Add water to greek yogurt and beat it. Add more water if required, but make sure that it's not too thick or too runny.

4. Blend yogurt, mango purée, and heavy cream

5. Pour this mixture into moulds (I've added some chopped mango pieces as well).

6. Set it in the freezer for about 3-4 hours before serving.

WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO FOR CHAI BARS:

1. Boil water over a high flame. Crush ginger pieces and cardamom lightly and add it in water.

2. When it starts boiling, add black tea and let it brew for about 2 minutes (brew longer if you want the tea to be stronger). 

3. Lower the heat to a medium flame. Pour milk and stir. Brew for another 3-4 minutes. Bring the mixture to a full boil and stir. When it turns a darker shade of brown than it was previously, take it off heat and strain it.

4. Add cream and sugar and mix well (add more sugar if need be).

5. Pour into moulds and let it chill in the freezer overnight. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goan Prawn Curry


Prawns cooked in a goan styled spicy and succulent coconut curry


Yields: 6 servings, Prep Time: 20 mins, Cooking Time: 15-20 mins


WHAT YOU NEED: 

1 lb/0.5 kg medium sized shrimps/prawns, cleaned and deveined

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 small tomato, chopped

1 1/2 cup coconut milk

A small ball of tamarind (about the size of your palm)

7 kashmiri chillies (dry red chillies)

2 green chillies (optional)

5 garlic flakes, roughly chopped

2 tbsp grated coconut

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp coriander seeds

1 1/2 tbsp salt

Vegetable oil

Water


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over prawns, mix well, and set aside for about 15 minutes. 

2. Grind red chillies, garlic, turmeric, grated coconut, cumin and coriander seeds. Add about 1/4 cup water in intervals while it's grinding. Add more water if required so as to get a fine paste.

3. Soak the tamarind ball in some warm water and set it aside.

4. In a wok, add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat onions over medium heat. When the onions begin to turn translucent, add tomatoes and let it cook for a few minutes or till the mixture softens.

5. Add the masala paste and mix well. Bring down the heat to a medium low flame, and let it cook for about 5 minutes 

6. Squeeze tamarind to get extract. Add tamarind extract in wok and mix well. 

7. Pour coconut milk and mix well. Add about half cup water if the curry is too thick for your liking. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes. You can slit green chillies and add it in at this point if you want the curry to be slightly spicier. 

8. Finally add the prawns and 1 tablespoon of salt, mix well and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes or till the prawns turn pink. 

9. Serve hot with steamed basmati rice.


TIPS:

  • Use freshly squeezed coconut milk for best results.

  • If you have time, soak red chillies in warm water for 15 minutes or so prior to grinding.

  • It is imperative to get a fine paste of the masala or else you'll end up biting into the whole spices in the curry. To get a finer paste, you can use cumin and coriander powder instead of the seeds. Adding more water and grinding the ingredients in batches works too. 

  • You can replace tamarind extract with vinegar too.

  • Prawns/shrimps cook very quickly. Add prawns in the curry only at the end and make sure you don't cook it longer than 5 minutes. 









Apple Crumble Pie


A warm old fashioned apple crumble, topped with salted caramel sauce and served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.


Yields: 6-8 pieces, Prep Time: 15 mins, Cooking Time: 55 mins


WHAT YOU NEED:

5 granny smith apples, peeled and roughly chopped

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 egg

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp all spice

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 pie crusts

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3 tbsp cold salted butter


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 175 C. 

2. Melt unsalted butter. Let it cool down. Add egg (make sure the butter isn't warm or else the egg will scramble), sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, vanilla extract, salt and whisk well to form a smooth batter.

3. Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and about 2 tablespoons brown sugar over the chopped apples. Mix well and keep it aside.

4. Mix together flour, oats and salted butter to form a crumble. 

5. Place a crust over a pie pan. Using a small knife, get rid of extra crust by cutting around the edges. Add apple mix over the crust. Pour batter over it. Add the second pie crust (cut out extra crust) over this and top it up with the crumble.

6. Bake it in the oven for 55 minutes.

7. Let it cool before serving. Pour some salted caramel sauce (click here to learn to make my sea salt caramel sauce) over it and serve it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Dig in!


TIP:

In order to make your own pie crust, mix together 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, and 16 tablespoons of unsalted butter till you get a course/crumbly mixture. Add 4-6 tablespoons of ice cold water and mix well to form a dough. Divide the dough into two parts and flatten it out into a disk using the palms of your hands. Cover in saran wrap and refrigerate dough for a day or at least an hour. When you're ready to make the pie, roll out dough on a flat surface sprinkled with flour. Carefully place it over the pie pan. 




BBQ Chicken & Avocado Summer Salad


Grilled barbecue chicken cubes and chunky avocado slices tossed in a bed of green leaves and veggies, topped with parsley vinaigrette dressing.


Yields: 8 servings, Prep Time: 10 mins, Cooking Time: 20 mins,

Inactive Time: 20 mins to 1hr


WHAT YOU NEED:

4 thin sliced chicken breasts

3 avocados, sliced

1/2 red onion, cut in circular slices

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half

3 small radishes, sliced

2 packets spring mix salad leaves (red and green romaines, red and green oak leaf, lollo rosa, tango, baby spinach, red and green chard, mizuna, arugula, frisee, radicchio)

3 carrots, cut in thin slices

1/2 cup smoked bbq sauce

A handful of parsley leaves

2 lime, juiced

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. Cut the chicken breasts in small cubes. Place it in a bowl. Add bbq sauce, salt and pepper. Mix it all well. Let it marinate for an hour. If you're in a hurry, try to marinate it for at least 15-20mins before cooking.

2. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and cook chicken over a medium flame for 10-15mins or until they become tender. 

3. Mix salad leaves, tomatoes, onions, radishes, carrots, avocados. Toss in the bbq chicken cubes.

4. For the dressing you can either grind parsley, olive oil, lime and lemon juice, some salt and pepper in a grinder, or you can just fine chop parsley and mix it with oil, lime and lemon juice, salt and pepper.

5. Pour dressing over salad and give it a good mix. Serve fresh.


TIP:

  • Use fresh ingredients to get a refreshing bowl of salad.

  • You can add green leaves of your choice too.







Scallion Pork Meatballs


Crunchy Asian-style pork and scallion meatballs


Yields: 4 servings, Prep Time: 10 mins, Inactive Time: 30 mins,

Cooking Time: 10-15 mins


WHAT YOU NEED:

1lb/0.5kg pork mince 

1 bunch scallion (half a cup), finely chopped

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 Thai/Indian green chili pepper, finely chopped

1 large egg, cracked and beaten

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

1 cup bread crumbs

6 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp salt

1 tsp white pepper powder

1/2 cup sesame/vegetable oil


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. Fold together all ingredients except bread crumbs and oil. Add half cup bread crumbs and mix well. Cover and marinate for at least 30mins.

2. Make medium sized balls of the mince using your palms. Spread remaining bread crumbs on a plate and roll the meatballs over it, coating it evenly on all sides.

3. In a pan add oil and fry these meatballs over medium heat for 10mins, turning sides every 3-4mins. When it turns crispy golden brown take it off and place on paper towels.

4. Serve hot with soy sauce topped with a few chopped scallions.

Mutton Dum Biryani


A fragrant and spicy mixture of rice and goat meat slow cooked in a vessel sealed with dough.


Yields: 10-12 servings, Prep Time: 1 hr, Inactive Time (marination): 2 hrs,

Cooking Time: 40-45 mins.


Cooking biryani is no easy task, especially dum biryani which calls for the meat and rice being prepared separately and then combining it together to bake in it's own steam. It is time consuming and involves some complex steps that can surely leave you intimidated. To make things easier I'm going to divide the process into 4 parts - Preparing home-made biryani masala and marinating the meat, prepping the rice, caramelizing the onions, and finally putting everything together to make the biryani.


WHAT YOU NEED FOR THE BIRYANI MASALA: 

4 bay leaves

2 cinnamon sticks

2 tsp black peppercorns

2 tsp cloves

3 mace (javitri)

2 tsp green cardamoms

4 black cardamoms

1 nutmeg

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp saffron strands

WHAT YOU NEED FOR MARINATING THE MUTTON:

3lbs/1.2 kg Mutton or Lamb

5 green Indian/Thai chilies, chopped

2 tbsp ginger garlic paste

1 cup yogurt

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped

2 tbsp home made biryani masala 

1 tbsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp red chili powder

1 tbsp salt

WHAT YOU NEED FOR PREPARING RICE:

2 1/2 cups basmati rice

2 tsp salt

5-6 cups of water

WHAT YOU NEED FOR CARAMELIZING ONIONS:

4 yellow onions, sliced 

1 cup vegetable oil

A pinch of salt

WHAT YOU NEED FOR THE DOUGH SEAL:

1 cup whole flour

1/2 cup water

WHAT YOU NEED FOR GARNISHING:

1 tsp saffron strands

6 tbsp milk

Some caramelized onions

1/2 cup cilantro,

1/2 cup mint leaves


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

Part I

1. Grind the biryani masala spices into a fine powder. Keep aside.

2. Marinate the mutton. Add salt, ginger garlic paste, chilies, biryani masala, turmeric, red chili powder, yogurt, half a cup of cilantro and mint leaves, and mix well. Let it marinate for minimum 2 hrs (for best results marinate overnight).

PART II

3. To prepare the rice, firstly rinse it at least 5-6 times, then soak it in a cup of water for 15-20mins (water should rise a couple of inches above the rice). Once the rice absorbs the water on the surface it is ready to be cooked. 

4. Fill a pot with water, add salt and bring it to a boil on a high flame. When the water starts boiling intensely, add the rice, and lower the heat to a medium flame. 

5. Cook the rice for approximately 15 minutes or until it  begins to float on the surface. 

6. Make sure that the rice is al dente, which means that it should be undercooked.

7. Strain the excess water and set it aside. 

PART III

8. To caramelize the onions, add a cup of oil in wok and heat it on a high flame. Once the oil starts bubbling add the onions and fry it till it turns golden brown.

9. Place the caramelized onions on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

PART IV

10. Lastly, soak saffron strands in milk and set aside for at least 15mins.

12. Finally, it's time to cook the biryani. Heat ghee/unsalted butter in a large vessel, over a medium flame. Turn the heat down to a low flame.  First, add the marinated mutton (make sure it's at room temperature before cooking) and mix it with the ghee, then add a layer of caramelized onions over it, then add the rice.  Top it off with the saffron soaked milk

13. Cover with a lid and seal it with the dough. Add a pan filled with water over this, and let the biryani cook on a low flame for at least 45-60 minutes. For best results slow cook the meat for an hour and a half.

14. When the biryani is ready, take the pan off the vessel and break off the dough. Open the lid and garnish with the remaining caramelized onions, and coriander and mint leaves

15. Mix well and serve with raita (yogurt mixed with tomato, onions, cucumber, cilantro and a pinch of salt).


TIPS:

  • Make sure to get fresh mutton, specifically mutton which is still on the bone (shoulder meat).

  • Rinse the mutton 8-10 times and dry it. Before marinating, you can also use a tenderizer like raw papaya paste on the meat.

  • To add some extra flavor to the rice,  add about 4 black peppercorns, 4 cloves, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp cumin seeds, and ghee to the rice when it's being cooked.

  • Slow cooking the meat ensures that it remains tender. If you have the time, slow cook the meat for an hour and a half for best results.

  • You can also garnish the biryani with some nuts and dry fruits like chopped almonds and cashew nuts, raisins, etc to enhance the overall flavor of the biryani. 


 

 

 

 

 

Guacamole


Creamy mashed avocado mixed with onions, tomatoes, garlic, chili, lime juice and seasonings. Best served as a dip.


Yields: 6-8 servings, Total Time: 25 mins


WHAT YOU NEED:

4 ripe avocados

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 jalapeño pepper, deseeded and chopped 

1 lime, juiced

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp black pepper powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper or chili pepper powder

A handful of cilantro leaves, chopped


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. Cut the avocados into half, vertically, and pull them apart from each other. 

2. Take out the seed, and scoop out the pulp of the fruit with a spoon.

3. Roughly chop the avocado pulp and transfer them into a bowl. Add half the lime juice and mash. 

4. Then add the chopped onions, tomato, jalapeño, garlic, cilantro, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, lemon juice and mash again. Finally add remaining lime juice and mix well.

5. Serve with tortilla chips.


TIPS:

  • Before mixing all ingredients, taste the avocados to make sure it's not spoilt ( I once accidentally added a spoilt one which needless to say spoilt the entire guacamole).
  • Ideally use a mortar and pestle to mash all the ingredients, but if you don't have one you can use a bowl and a potato masher or the convex end of a spoon to get the job done.

Grandma's French Toast


Fried bread slices soaked in an eggy milk mixture with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.


Yields: 6 servings, Total Time: 15 mins


WHAT YOU NEED:

6 slices of *stale bread, white or brown

2 eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 tbsp salted butter

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 tsp nutmeg powder

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

2  tbsp sugar

Honey

Whipped cream

Any kind of fruit (optional)

 

*bread which is at least 7-8 days old


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, and sugar for about a minute, or till it turns frothy.

2. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla essence, and whisk well. Add 1/2 tbsp of butter, stir slightly, and set it aside. 

3. In a pan, heat the remaining butter over a medium - low flame. Dip the bread slices in the egg and milk batter, and start frying it in the pan over a medium flame. Let it fry for about 3 minutes each, turning it occasionally to make sure that it’s getting cooked on both sides.
 
4. When the bread gets a nice golden brown glaze on both the sides, take it off the pan and let it cool for a minute. 

5. Top it up with some honey and whipped cream, and add some fruits on the side. Dig in!

Very Berry Yogurt Parfait


Berries and granola mixed in fruit preserves and greek yogurt


Yields: 1 serving, Total Time: 10-15 mins


WHAT YOU NEED:

1 cup cold greek yogurt

1/3 cup fruit preserves (I use St Dalfour’s Four Fruit Preserve)

4 strawberries, chopped

8 blueberries

5 rasberries, chopped

1/4 cup granola (I use Nature’s Path Vanilla Almond Granola)

2 tsp granulated sugar

1 tbsp honey

1/2 cup water


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. In a glass, add fruit preserves and about 4 table-spoons of water, and beat well. The preserves should be slightly runny after mixing a little water in it. This will form the base layer.

2. Next, add all the berries. In another cup, add yogurt, sugar, 1/4 cup of water, and whisk well. The consistency of the yogurt should still be thick, but very slightly runny.  If you prefer it being more runny, add more water to it.

3. Now add the yogurt mix on top of the preserves and berry layer. Drizzle some honey, and sprinkle granola on top of it.
 
4. Finally, top it off with any berry of your choice, and serve chilled.

 

Mac & Cheese with Bacon


Elbow macaroni covered in cheese sauce and fried bacon


Yields: 4 servings, Total Time: 35-40 mins


WHAT YOU NEED:

2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked

2 cups warm milk

1 cup sharp cheddar, grated

1/2 cup parmesan, grated

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp all purpose flour

4 strips of bacon

1 small onion, sliced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 cup bread crumbs


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F / 200 C. Grease a baking pan, and add the macaroni in it. Set aside. 

2. Fry bacon in a pan till it turns crispy. Once done, take out the bacon and chop it roughly. Don’t throw away the bacon fat in the pan yet. Instead, fry the onion slices in the fat till it turns golden brown. Set aside the onion for later, and add a few pieces of bacon over the macaroni.

3. In a saucepan, melt the butter over a medium - low flame. As soon as it melts, add flour, and stir continuously for about a minute.
 
4. Pour in warm milk, whisking continuously for about a minute or two. Add the cheddar, parmesan, salt and pepper and give it a good stir. Let it simmer for 5 mins, over a medium flame, till it becomes thick.

5. Remove from heat, and pour the mixture over the macaroni. Top it off with the remaining bacon, and crispy onion slices. Finally, sprinkle some bread crumbs over it.

6. Heat it in the oven for 20 minutes. Let it cool down for 5 - 10 minutes before serving.

Potato Chops


Crunchy potato patties stuffed with a spicy mince filling


Yields: 6 servings, Total Time: 25-30 mins


WHAT YOU NEED FOR THE MINCE FILLING:

1 bowl of ground beef

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 small green Indian chili

2 tsp garlic ginger paste

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp salt

Vegetable oil

Cilantro 

WHAT YOU NEED FOR THE POTATO PATTIES:

4 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled, and mashed

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup bread crumbs


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO for the mince filling:

1. In a deep pan, heat some vegetable oil over a medium flame. Add the onions, and fry till slightly translucent.

2. Chop the chili and fry it with the onions. Add the ginger garlic paste, pepper, cumin, coriander, saltturmeric and chili powder. Mix well.

3. Add the beef, and mix well till the spices get well absorbed in it. Lower the heat to a medium - low flame. Cover and cook for 15 mins, or till the beef turns brown. 

4. Add some chopped cilantro and mix well. Set aside, and let it cool for a while.

WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO FOR THE POTATO PATTIES:

1. Make a ball of the mashed potatoes, and create a well in the middle by using your fingers to dig in. Add the mince filling in this well, and close the well. Flatten the ball between your palms to form a patty.

2. Dip the patty first in the beaten eggs, and then the bread crumbs

3. In a pan, heat some vegetable oil over a medium flame, and fry the patties for 15 - 20 minutes, changing sides occasionally till it turns crispy brown.

4. Serve hot with tomato sauce.

 

 

Chicken in Creamy Mushroom Sauce


Herb coated grilled chicken breasts covered in a creamy mushroom sauce.


Yields: 2 servings, Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins


WHAT YOU NEED:

2 chicken breasts, thin cut

1 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp rosemary

1 tbsp oregano

1 tbsp basil

4 white mushrooms, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp bbq sauce

Salt, Pepper

Olive oil

Grated Parmesan


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. Make thin vertical slits on the chicken breasts, and sprinkle the herb mix (thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil) all over it. Add a drizzle of olive oil, and massage the chicken breasts well, making sure that it absorbs all the herbs. Add a dash of salt and massage again. Cover, and set aside for 30 - 40 minutes.

2. In a pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium flame. Add the herb marinated chicken breasts, and let it cook for 20 minutes, turning sides occasionally to make sure that it is getting cooked on either side.

3. Check if the chicken is cooked by poking the meatiest portions of the chicken breast with a knife. If it’s cooked well, the knife will go through easily without any resistance.
 
4. Once cooked, take out the chicken breasts and keep it aside. Heat the same pan on a low flame. Add the heavy cream, garlic, and let it simmer for 2 minutes. 

5. Add the mushrooms, bbq sauce, a dash of pepper, and stir well. Simmer on a very low flame for 5 minutes, or till
it turns a little thick. 

6. Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts and sprinkle some grated parmesan over it. Serve with steamed rice/sliced baguette bread/boiled baby carrots.

Meatloaf


A baked loaf of ground beef mixed with bacon, ham and condiments.


Yields: 5-6 servings, Total Time: 45-50 mins


WHAT YOU NEED:

1 bowl of ground beef

1 small red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup ketchup

4 strips of bacon, fried

3 slices of ham

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. In a large bowl,  mix beef, onions, garlic, eggs, milkketchup, bread crumbs, rolled oats, salt and pepper. Make sure to mix and mash all the ingredients well together. 

2. Chop the bacon and ham, and add it to the mixture. Mix well.

3. Mould this mixture into a loaf by pressing on both the sides and the top.  It should be soft and mushy to the point that it doesn’t fall apart when slightly lifted.
 
4. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 170 C. Grease a large baking pan with butter or oil, and place the meat loaf in it.

5. Bake it in the oven for  30 - 40 minutes. Check if the meat is cooked by inserting a knife in the middle of the loaf. If cooked well, the knife should come out clean.

6. Take it out of the oven, and brush the top of the loaf with some ketchup. Place it back in the oven, and let it bake for another 15 - 20 minutes.

7. Finally, slice it up and serve with mashed potatoes, or Texas toast.

Mashed Potatoes


Creamy mashed potatoes garnished with chives


Yields: 4-6 servings, Total Time: 15-20 mins


WHAT YOU NEED:

4 medium potatoes, boiled and peeled

1 cup heavy cream

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup cheddar, grated

2 tbsp butter

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

3 - 4 sprigs of chive, chopped (optional)


WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:

1. Grate the boiled potatoes and keep aside.

2. In a saucepan, pour 1/2 cup heavy cream, and heat it over a medium - low flame. Add the grated potatoes and stir continuously. Slowly add the rest of the heavy cream.

3. Now add garlic, and mix well. Let it cook for a minute or two, while stirring occasionally. Add cheddar cheese, butter, and stir. 

4. Add salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to a low flame, and cook for about 5 minutes. 

5. Garnish with chopped chives, or add a small slab of butter before serving.