Prawn pulav

Prawn biryani

Sunday morning, I was deveining prawns in my kitchen. It seemed to take forever. I wondered how many hours in life a person would spend deveining prawns. They must have statistics for that surely, like they have for how many hours in life we spend at traffic signals, how many pads a woman goes through in a lifetime, how many hours people spend on whatsapp debates… Somebody somewhere must have thought of quantifying the time spent on deveining prawns. I made a mental note to google it later when my hands were not yucky. The deveined pile was still small. I felt I was going too slow. I needed to set myself a goal. I decided I’d have to finish deveining the prawns before I picked up Yuvan from his class. I was quite pleased that I finished in half an hour. I was late to his class by 10 minutes though. I reckoned he would have enjoyed the extra time to run around with his buddy. His bud had left and he wasn’t pleased. It also meant I was late to pick up Hasini too. I braced myself for her grumbling. She didn’t notice me. She painted away and let me wait 10 minutes before she packed up. What do you know? It happens all the time when I want to fix a bug or send a particularly verbose mail before I go to the restroom. When I finally finish, the restroom is busy. The reason people spend all that time deveining prawns is because it adds an unbeatable flavour to any dish. I made prawn biryani. Let me tell you this. This Prawn biryani is just about perfect – just spicy enough from the green chillies, fragrant from the whole spices and kissed by the delicate coconut milk goodness. Everyone who ate it loved it. That includes Yuvan, Hasini and my dad. That’s one hard bunch to please. I served it with raita, boiled eggs and tawa fried fish fillets. Let me know if you make this prawn biryani. Print Recipe Prawn biryani Perfectly flavoured Prawn biryani made in a pressure cooker! Course main Cuisine Indian Prep Time 40 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Servings 5-6 people Ingredients 1/2 kilo Prawn/Shrimp, shelled and deveined400 gm Basmati rice, soaked in water for 20 minutes2 Onions, sliced thin2 Tomatoes, chopped10 Green chillies, sliced lengthwise2 inch ginger8-10 cloves garlic1 tsp Fennel...
Pineapple kesari

Pineapple Kesari

Happy new year! I hope you didn’t party too hard to not be alive. I’d hate to die like that. It’s such a silly way to go. Since I am not the partying kind and since I could not get myself excited about it all and since I am crowd-phobic and most importantly since I am very very lazy, I stayed at home like I do every year and watched TV. I waited for “Sagalakala Vallavan” at 12 but none of the channels played it. I walked to the balcony and looked out. Bells were ringing and people were crowded around the little pillayar koil in the corner. Bikes were whizzing past. I saw fireworks in the distance. It was way too cold outside. I went to bed. That was my new year eve. To start off the year on a sweet note, here is pineapple kesari. I promise I didn’t eat more than 3 spoons. You have to trust me. I made it for others. I am still on the healthy eating challenge. As always, ever hopeful that I am, I make resolutions and plans for the new year. I hope this will be the year I begin to wake up early and be writing by the window in the early morning light, before everyone else wakes up. I hope this is the year I will reach my target weight. Here are some broad plans I have for the new year. Learn a new skill every month. There’s plenty of interesting stuff I’ve always wanted to learn and I believe pursuing something for a set period helps keep you creative and passionate about everything. Top of my mind are – learning to whistle, roller-skating, swimming & making sushi. Minimalism with stuff. This is something I’ve been practicing to some extent. I intend to continue. Clothes, books, toys, cosmetics – anything I don’t anticipate using in the next few months will need to go. Reading & writing every day. Visiting more temples. Experimenting more. I want to say yes to things that I am not really prepared for, that I am not good at. The key to making a ghee oozing, soft, ‘manal-manal’ consistency of kesari is keeping in mind the important ratios. 1:1:2:3 – Rava:Ghee:Sugar:Water. You’re adding as much ghee as rava. Don’t die yet. That’s the only way to get that melt in the mouth ghee-laden taste in...
Red rice puttu

Red rice puttu|Sweet puttu

What you wear when you drop orpick up your kids from classes speaks of how much you care for public opinion and how unbelievably lazy you can be. The majority of people hover around the respectable average. But there are the ones who wear possibly the oldest usedT-shirt & mukkal (three-fourth) pant. Me. The ones who wear mix-and-mismatched churidhar sets. Me. There are a few like-minded lazy bums likeme out there. Our tribe put comfort over public opinion and laziness over propriety. I urge you to try it sometime to feel really and truly liberated.You’ll get inured to stares and judging looks. You’ll think less of others when you want to take the less trodden path. With that great piece of life advice, I am going the share the recipe of red rice puttu. I hope you’re eating healthy. Red rice sweet puttu is my favourite puttu among puttus. I have a thing for sweet breakfasts. Jagan doesn’t have that thing. So that must mean we’re the right match. I look for signs everywhere. He enjoys the puttu too but just not for breakfast. I can have this anytime of the day. The best part is it can be served at room temperature. You can prep a big batch of the red rice puttu flour up to “breaking up to the soft puttu texture” part and then refrigerate it in an airtight container. You can pull it out anytime, let stand for a bit to get to room temperature and just mix in sugar, coconut and ghee. I know that this recipe has quite a bit of sugar but remember this is for the entire recipe. In one portion, it is going to just a little bit more than what you putin your daily coffee or tea. Skip your coffee or tea the day you’re making this puttu if you’re very particular about sugar intake. This puttu is worth it. Print Recipe Red rice sweet puttu This sweet red rice puttu breakfast will sweeten your mornings! Fluffy, soft puttu studded with coconut and sugar and laced with ghee, yum! Cuisine Indian Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Servings 4 people Ingredients 250 gm Red rice puttu flour 1/2 tsp Salt Warm water as necessary 1/2 Coconut, grated 6 tbsp Ghee 3/4 cup Sugar Cuisine Indian Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Servings 4 people Ingredients 250...
Veg godhumai sevai

Veg wheat sevai

Here is a movie script synopsis. The Dosai maavu companies, ‘ready-to-eat’ and breakfast mix companies are unable to get a stronghold into the South-Indian household. They expect their packs to fly off the shelves but that’s not happening. They’re unable to crack the code. They sense they’re up against a powerful competitor. They do some research and realize that they’re up against the ‘Upma’. They can’t compete with a 5-minute dish that requires nothing more than salt, water and a handful of pantry staples. They set out to undermine the image of Upma. They hatch a conspiracy against Upma. They fund meme and troll campaigns to make fun of upma, to put it down. They successfully create a bad rap for Upma. Then they introduce an Upma-mix to rub it in. The hero’s favourite dish is Upma. He has to somehow save the Upma from extinction. How he saves the upma and the world from the evil forces makes the rest of the story. Why not? The Americans can set two sets of robot cum cars against each other for a metal dabba (Transformer). I never did understand the Upma-mix though. What was that? They packed the rava and salt into a pack?   I am a great fan of all kinds of Upma, both eating and making. Upma encompasses all kinds of rava & vermicelli. The one I am sharing today is made with wheat sevai – Godhumai sevai (fine wheat vermicelli). I made a simple veggie godhumai sevai with it. The godhumai sevai is store bought. It’s super easy to prepare. Sevai is usually much finer than vermicelli and should not be cooked in boiling water. Sevai has to be soaked for a short while and then tossed with the desired spices and veggies. Alternately you can make a sweet version of this sevai by steaming it and then mixing in grated coconut, ghee and sugar. Enjoy!   Print Recipe Veg wheat sevai Lightening quick, delicious veggie wheat sevai for any time of the day! Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 12 minutes Servings 3 people Ingredients 200 gm Godhumai sevai 1 Onion, finely chopped 2 green chillies, slit 1 cup finely chopped vegetables (carrots & green beans) 10 Cashews, broken 1/2 tsp mustard seeds Salt to taste 2 cups Water (to soak the sevai) 2 tbsp Oil 1 tsp Ghee Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 12...
Methi biryani

Methi Biryani

Every restaurant, juice shop, or roadside frankie stall I go to, there’s already a couple of Swiggy and Zomato guys ahead of me. I see them at every traffic light. On the road, there’s always one of them behind me who is trying to overtake me from the wrong side. When I step out on the balcony I see one of them zip past my house. What are the odds? But the one I am waiting for always goes to my neighbour’s house instead. I then provide all my id proof details to persuade him that I am the rightful owner of that biryani. We’re not cooking as a people, I conclude. What’s happening?! I find that disturbing. This is one of those small, innocuous little changes that just happen and seem perfectly reasonable but are actually harbingers of a much bigger shift. It can’t seem right that we’re cooking less and less at home. We may well forget how to cook. There’s nothing more tragic. Cooking is a life skill. Jagan believes checking the car’s coolant, changing a punctured tyre and cleaning the AC filter are important life skills too. We agree to disagree. Cooking is zen. Cooking is power. Cooking is freedom.   I know I can make biryani if I was tempted by all the Bhai biryani but I had no muslim friends to give me Biryani. I know I can make Thai green curry if I really wanted it. I need not eat Pongal if everyone else in the family loves it but I hate it. I can make myself a sandwich instead. Note that this is not applicable if you’re in a joint family. You’re screwed. I am eating healthier. I am eating fresher. I am also avoiding all that plastic packaging that comes with home-delivered food. Cooking is work. It has taught me patience and compassion. I am more understanding now when my mother’s vadai is not as fluffy one day, when the hotel’s tiffen sambar is less stunning today than last time, when my own biryani is ear-shattering hot this time. There’s nothing more fulfilling, more soul-satisfying than a sitting down to a favourite home-cooked meal. Yes, it’s a little work but so worth it. I know what you’re thinking in your minds. “Then why do you order on Swiggy and Zomato?” I try my best not to. Sometimes I need to. And...
Double beans biryani

Double beans biryani

Here’s a rambling update of things here in Chennai. It’s the season when the morning is hot and usual but a sudden burst of afternoon rain springs a cheery surprise on us. The dusty leaves on the trees get a nice washing and look greener. The tar roads look glossy. Kids return from school, their shoes wet and muddy. Suddenly autos go into hiding. Ola rides get pricier. There’s no time for tea and bajji. Mid-terms are around the corner. Dosai it is. Yuvan’s been missing his tamil text book for more than 2 months now. We didn’t miss it. I calculate to the end of the school year. I wonder if I can continue without it for the remaining time. I decide to decide later. People assembled before the TV last Friday awaiting big news, live TV drama and maybe a holiday or two. Nothing happened. They continued to check over the weekend hoping to ride over the Monday with that single piece of news. It wasn’t to be. They got back to work and looked up the next public holiday. That was Aug 15th, Wednesday two weeks away. Dejected, people strayed to facebook and whatsapp and wasted more time. The Neelam mangoes have arrived on store shelves ushering in the last of the mango season. I hoard like a mad woman and my kattai pai (dowel bag) breaks at the checkout counter and my mangoes tumble out. I take it as a sign that I’ve crossed my limit. I continue to come up with shortcut recipes out of sheer laziness and waking up late. One such recipe is this double beans biryani recipe. This is a no-chop biryani. You won’t be doing any chopping whatsoever. Raita doesn’t count of course. The onions, garlic and ginger are being ground into a punchy fragrant masala. There are no veggies or meat either to chop since this is a double beans biryani. This is truly a lazy person’s biryani. My style. But hey, this biryani can give any veggie biryani a run for its money. This biryani is deliciously fragrant and unbelievably yummy. The double beans are a great substitute for meat or potatoes. I am really happy to share with you one more Somberi recipe. I hope it helps you maintain your somber lifestyle. Serve with raita and chips for a complete meal. Enjoy! Print Recipe Double beans biryani This...