Kung Pao Chicken / Chinese style Chicken

                   Wishing you all a very Happy New Year! Happy to begin this new year with one of my favourite dishes. Goes best with fried rice.....yum! Simple and easy to cook......and im sure most of us already have the ingredients in our pantry! Any left overs?? dont fret! packed lunch the next day :)

This recipe serves 2
for the marination:
1 cup boneless chicken, cut into small bite size pieces
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
1/4 cup capsicum, cubed (I used yellow and green)
1/4 tsp ginger garlic paste

for the sauce:
1 tsp garlic, diced
a pinch of ginger, diced
1 small onion, cubed
6-7 cashewnuts
2 dry red chillies, cut into two (you can remove a bit of seeds if it will be too spicy)
1 thai red chilli (optional)
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
1/2 cup pineapple, cubed (optional)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
1 tbsp chilli sauce
3 tbsps spring onion leaves, chopped (reserve a bit for garnish)
3/4 tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tsp water

  • Mix all the ingredients under 'marination' and keep aside for minimum half an hour

  •  In a wok, heat 2 tbsps oil. saute the garlic.
  • Add the onions and red chillies and saute for a minute. Add the cashewnuts
  • Add the chicken mixture and stir for a few minutes until the chicken starts to cook.

  • Add the pepper powder, oyster , chilli and soya sauce. stir
  • Add half a cup of water and cook on low flame
  • After the chicken is cooked add the cornflour mixture and stir. It will start to thicken slightly Add the pineapple and spring onions and stir till you get the desired consistency

  • serve hot garnished with spring onions

Chicken Dum Biryani

                        When I was in school, and it was time for Eid ( Muslim festival) the only thing my friends used to ask me was.....Biryani!! Muslim Biryani is sooooo famous! This recipe was given to me by 2 dear family friends....They are such talented cooks and I admire them greatly!thanks aunty Rizwana n Aunty Parveen:)
                        Iv made this recipe more than a dozen times...and it just keeps getting perfect. I remember the first few times when the rice was sooo overcooked that you did'nt need teeth to chew. Or the times when the masala was too much and the rice was too little......vice versa! So only practice makes perfect children! :) We all learn from our own mistakes. Dont we??

                       I recently made Biryani with 1 kilo of rice.....Thats when I clicked these pics! But this recipe is just for 2 cups of rice.... thats the quantity I used to make when I first started cooking!:)

2 cups basmathi rice (or slightly more. maybe 1/4 cup more)
4 cardamoms, 5 cloves, 1inch piece cinnamon
8 pieces chicken or half a chicken
4 big onions,sliced finely
1 big tomato, chopped
5-6 green chillies, cut lengthwise
3 to 4 tbsps ginger-garlic paste
1.5 tsps chilli powder
1/4 cup plain yoghurt
3/4 cup mint leaves
3/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
half a lime (as per taste)

  • Marinate the chicken in the yoghurt and quarter of the mint leaves/ coriander leaves and keep for atleast half hour. 

  • In a big wok or pan heat some oil. 
  • Throw in the cardamoms,  cloves and cinnamon.
  • Add the onions and saute. Add the green chillies. Stir till the onions become slightly brown.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and stir for few seconds

  • Add the tomatoes and stir for a minute.
  • Add the chicken and stir till it gets coated by the onion and tomato mixture.

  • After about 2 minutes add the salt, chilli powder
  • stir and let the chicken cook. Add little mint leaves/ coriander leaves

  • Dont add water. As the chicken cooks it will leave water.
  • Check for salt and close and cook on low flame stirring occasionally
  • When the chicken is almost done, on another stove cook the rice in water. Dont let it cook fully. Switch off the flame when the water starts bubbling for the first time switch off the flame. 
  • Now the chicken must be cooked. Squeeze some lime and taste. Mix well.
  • Drain the rice and save the water.
  • Now in another big pan, arrange the layers of chicken and rice and adding mint leaves/ coriander leaves in between.

  • Now on the stove, keep a dosa tawa. Next comes the pan with the rice and chicken. Put a kitchen towel on top. Close with a lid. Tightly pull the towel on top and put another pan (containing the water from cooking the rice) above it. The blue box in the pic below is filled with coins (just for the weight ....hehehe)

  • keep the flame on low and let it cook for about 8-10 mins or untoil the rice is cooked through.
  • Alternatively, if you find the above method too tedious you can use a rice cooker. Layer the rice and chicken in the rice cooker and press the button....voila! hehehe..........I use both methods!... 

  • if you want to make it spicier dont add more chilli powder. It changes the taste. Add more green chillies instead.
  • dont stir the rice too much or else it will break. Thats why we layer it...so not much stirring is required.
  • The finish in the 'dum' process(1st method) is slightly better. But when im making it for home and feel lazy I just use the rice cooker :)

Fruit Cake and my 100th blog Post!!

                        Woooo Hoooooooo...........100 posts! A perfect way to end a wonderful year :) Thanks to all my google and facebook readers.....for the constant 'likes', ' beautiful comments' and encouragement! :) Looking forward for a beautiful 2013 with double the number of recipes and triple the fun! .....Wishing you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year! .......see you all next year...........:)........HUGZZZZZZ!

                         Now to todays post....Iv fallen in love with this recipe for butter cake. Its just perfect and moist. Just the way we love it. Iv made an orange cake with chocolate chips using this recipe for butter cake. Loved it. Now Iv tried it using tutti fruity and almonds, and simply loving it...again!

                         I forgot to take a picture of the whole cake! :O .....(yeah! I guess I was in a hurry to taste it!)  I used a square cake tin. ..and it was just perfect.

                         You can even use the same recipe with your favourite combinations.(instead of the tutti fruiti and almonds)

2 1/2 cups cake flour
5 eggs
1 stick butter (113 gms), room temperature
1.5 cups sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tsps vanilla essence
1 tbsp milk powder
1/4 cups chopped almonds
1/2 cup tutti fruity

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter sugar, till light and creamy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  • Add the vanilla essence and milk powder.
  • In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, tutti fruity and almonds.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to combine. do not over mix. 
  • Preheat the oven to 180 deg celcius .
  • grease a cake tin and line teh base with butter paper. I used a square cake tin
  • Bake for about 20- 30 mins or until a tooth pick comes out clean 

Ven Pongal


1 cup rice
4 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup moong dal/ paasi paruppu
1 tbsp ginger, chopped
1 stem curry leaves (I dint have any)
2 tsps cumin seeds
3 tsps peppercorns
1/2 tsp asafoetida / hing
a pinch of turmeric powder
8 cashewnuts
3 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp oil

  • In a pressure cooker, heat the oil and add  saute the ginger. Add the water.
  • Add the rice, dal and salt. close the pressure cooker and let it cook for about 4-5 whistles.
  • After it cools check to see if the rice has cooked well and there is no water.
  • In a wok, heat the ghee and add the curry leaves, peppercorns.
  • Add the cashewnuts, cumin seeds, turmeric and asafoetida. 
  • Add the rice to this and mix well on low flame till it combines and is of the desired consistency.

Fruit and Nut Cookies/ Christmas Fruit cookies


                                   I had lots of plans to bake varieties of goodies for Christmas this year! but somehow just did'nt get the time to do anything! Christmas holidays means school holidays which means less free time for me and more daughter time! Im not complaining.....:O

                                   I finally came across this recipe on priyas page. But it looks like we're not the only ones baking these cookies!! hahaha,............Im seeing these cookies on so many blogs now! Im not surprised! these cookies are so easy to make.......! I just added cardamom for extra flavour and they tasted great!

                                   Im not telling you how many cookies I ended up eating by the time I finished clicking these pictures!........

1 cup all purpose flour
6 tbsps unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup tutti fruity
1 tbsp milk
6 cardamom seeds, powdered (optional)
6-7 pistachios, chopped
a pinch of salt

* tutti fruity can be substituted with any dried fruit variety.

  • Mix the flour, tutti fruit, cardamom powder and salt and keep aside.
  • combine the butter and the sugar using a hand whisk .
  • Add the flour mixture and mix well.
  • Add the pistachios.

  • Add the milk and mix to form a soft sticky dough.  (I just used my hands)
  • Place a butter paper beneath the dough and roll in the shape of a log.(dust with flour if needed)
  • wrap it with the butter paper and freeze it for about 40 mins.

  • After it has become hard slice the dough with a sharp knife into slightly thick rounds.

  • preheat the oven at 160 deg celcius for 10 mins.
  • place the cookies on a butter paper , leaving space between each cookie.
  • bake at 160 deg celcius for 10 mins or until they are slightly browned at the edges.
  • cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

sending this to priyas event