Tag Archives: curry

Easy Chicken Biryani with Cucumber, Carrot and Mint Raita

I absolutely love Indian biryani.  It’s such a beautiful and comforting dish that is reminiscent of the rice hot-dishes  (or casseroles…for all you non-Minnesotans out there) that I grew up eating as a kid–only a million times better! (sorry, Mom!).

Biryani is simply basmati rice cooked with spices and meats (and/or vegetables).   There are many different styles and types of biryani, each as unique as the people who make (and eat!) them.

A traditional biryani can take hours and hours to make properly.  Maybe someday I’ll have that kind of time to devote towards the absolute perfection of the dish; but until that time comes, I’ve got to take some short-cuts.

And because of the short-cuts I took…my biryani is technically a pulao (it is also close to what most Indian restaurants pass off as biryani in America).

What’s the difference?  In a true biryani, each part of the dish is cooked–and spiced–separately.  Then after each component has been cooked, they are all layered together; forming a dish with mind-blowing, contrasting flavors.  It is simply amazing.

A pulao, on the other hand, is quite easier and faster to cook.  All the ingredients are cooked together and the flavors of the dish come together as one.  You miss out on the different layers of flavor, but the dish is still quite tasty–and way less time consuming!

Chicken Biryani garnished with saffron rice, cucumbers and mint

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(Accidently) Spicy Vegetarian Cauliflower Curry…and a Trip to the Farmer’s Market

This past weekend was pretty dreary.  It was cold, rainy and quite boring…actually.  Piyush and I had intended on going somewhere fun for our anniversary; but because of the weather, we changed our plans and decided to stay home.   Our actual anniversary is Wednesday–May 9.  Three years have just flown by!

05.09.2009 …Grand Marais, MN on Lake Superior. It was so cold!

So instead…Piyush did a lot of golfing.  I did a lot of reading.  We both watched Hindi movies, and got absolutely no yard-work done.  It turned out to be a perfect weekend! Continue reading

Pav Bhaji: Indian Vegetarian “Chili” with Spiced Buns

Across the United States, everyone has their favorite version of Chili–a thick stew made with peppers, beans, meat, tomatoes, and spices.

I grew up eating my Mom’s version of chili (which I have to say may be the best…).  Her’s included tomato sauce, pork and beans, lots of beef and absolutely no chunky vegetables.  Man, it’s tasty!  But once I met Piyush, the chili had to change!

Because Piyush is Indian and was raised Hindu, beef is not something he eats.  Mom tweaked her recipe a little and substituted the beef with ground turkey or venison.  Once Piyush took a bite–even he was in awe!  He said it reminded him of Pav Bhaji–a wildly popular Indian street food found all over Mumbai (he grew up in Mumbai).

Since Piyush and I have been married, I have changed my mom’s chili even more.  I’ve added chopped veggies and about 5 different kind of beans. And every single time Piyush takes his first bite, he always says the same 2 things.

“This isn’t as good as your moms.”


“This reminds me of Pav Bhaji.  You should make me Pav Bhaji.”

So…finally–after 3 years of marriage–I have made him Pav Bhaji.

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And he was happy. Continue reading

Lamb Curry with Apricots and Almonds

I love lamb.  Although we don’t eat it often, it probably is my favorite meat–if it’s cooked right.

Lamb is one of those meats that can be a little tricky to cook.  Sure, you can toss it in a pressure cooker and cook it that way…but I just don’t think the taste is the same.  If you really want to cook lamb…and have it taste amazing…you have to cook it slow.

When I make a lamb curry I always cook it for at least 2 hours–stirring ever half hour.  It’s time consuming…yes; but because I only make lamb for special occasions, I want it to have the best flavor possible.

This was the first time I experimented adding vinegar, nuts and dried fruits to my lamb curry.  I usually make a Rogan Josh (which I have to say is the absolute best curry I make.   I’ve kept the recipe secret…so far.  But, I’m sure it’ll show up on here someday!), so this curry was a little out of my comfort zone.

I got the inspiration for this curry from the book I’m reading: “The Feast of Roses” by Indu Sundaresan.  It’s the love story of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and Nur Jahan (Mehrunnisa).  I find the story fascinating…and reading about all the rich, Mughal dishes makes my mouth water!

I wanted to use some of the ingredients I was reading about; and turn them into a fabulous curry.

Lamb Curry with Apricots and Almonds

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Bengali Shrimp Malai Curry

This post and recipe have been updated on my new blog, Spiced up Mom. Please click the photo below to be taken to the new recipe!

shrimp malai curry recipe

I have a confession to make.  I am a judgmental, picky–sometimes even bratty–eater.  I always have been.  If something looks funny, I might still try it; but I make no promises (ehhmm…pickles!).

Growing up, I had a list of foods I would absolutely refuse to eat.  The list included (but was not limited to): onions, shrimp (and other sea creatures), pickles, most vegetables and tomatoes (unless they were sauced, smashed, diced or in the form of ketchup.  I loved ketchup).

As I get older, I notice my taste-buds have evolved quite dramatically and most things on my list have been crossed off.  But, it wasn’t until I developed a love for Indian food (and a certain Indian…) that I began to appreciate onions, tomatoes, veggies…and shrimp.

Ok…If I’m being completely honest, I can’t say that I really enjoy shrimp (tolerate…yes.  enjoy…not so much.); but drowning the little, pink sea-creatures in a sauce of creamy curry sure makes it a whole lot easier.

Piyush, on the other hand, can’t get enough of the funky looking crustaceans and loves when I surprise him with a steaming bowl of shrimp curry.

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Vegetarian (Vegan) Navratan Korma –A Sweet and Mild Indian Curry

The korma-style curry is my ultimate favorite.  It’s sweet, mildly spicy, creamy…and just tastes so exotic.  One taste, and I was hooked!

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I’ve tried many different recipes–all of which weren’t quite right–and have 34 versions saved in my bookmarks… in a folder titled “I will Conquer Korma.”  True story.

This curry has driven me insane trying to replicate the texture and flavor I order at my local Indian restaurant. Continue reading

Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza!

One night while Piyush and I were touring around India, we decided not to go out for dinner. We were so tired, we turned on the tv and ordered room service. Because we were staying at a pretty expensive hotel…the food was also expensive.

Piyush couldn’t stand the idea that we were going to pay 3 times the amount for a meal that would cost us only a few rupees a couple blocks away. I understood what he was saying, but I didn’t want to leave the hotel again–and be forced to cross the road.

You see, crossing roads in India is scary!  There aren’t any cross-walks, and traffic doesn’t stop.  Piyush could easily handle it, but it made me crazy!  So crazy, in fact,  that I possibly had a mini tantrum, acted like I was 7 years old, and convinced Piyush to order room-service.  Possibly.

Watch this video, you’ll see.  It gives me a panic attack just seeing it!

To make up for my childish behavior, I told Piyush we could order the cheapest thing on the menu.  Imagine my excitement when that turned out to be pizza!

I mean, I love pizza.  I love curry.  What could be better than eating them both at the same time (haha I’m such a glutton!)?

Piyush didn’t want pizza and didn’t think it would taste any good, but I couldn’t resist: Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza.  It sounded amazing!  …And it was!  After eating a few slices, even Piyush said it was genius!

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find anything remotely close to that delicious pizza here in the United States.  Sure, you can order a chicken curry pizza once in awhile—but I haven’t tasted one I liked.

Since I made chicken tikka masala a few days ago, I decided to use the left-overs and attempt to replicate the pizza I had in India.  …and let me tell you, it was a success!

Just seeing pictures of it make my mouth water!  This pizza was incredible!!!  I wish there was some contest or something I could enter it into, cuz I’m tellin’ you…It would win!

This pizza could also be made vegetarian—simply do not include the chicken.  A paneer tikka masala pizza would be equally amazing!

Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza on Coriander-Garlic Whole Wheat Crust

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