Chickpea spiced rice

I am sure this recipe has a proper name, and could probably be attributed to many different cusines.

The best way I would describe it is an Indian inspired mild rice dish, South Indian due to the use of curry leaves 🙂

This is great eaten alone or as a more substantial side dish.

The beauty of it is that it is mildly spiced, so you get to taste the sweetness of the chickpeas and taste the few spices that are used.

And best of all it is easy to prepare!



For a big batch you will need (you can divide the recipe as needed):

1 cup uncooked chickpeas (use more or less depending on how much chickpeas you want in the rice)

3 cup basmati rice

1 sprig curry leaves

1- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds (make sure they are fresh)

2 pinches turmeric powder

black pepper to taste

you can also add some curry powder, chilli powder, corriander powder and garam masala but I do not, I like to keep this as simple as possible.

One x-large onion- sliced

To make:

Soak the chickpeas (ideally overnight) then  cook in boiling unsalted water until cooked but still firm.

Fry the onion slices in another pot in some oil or ghee/butter until golden.

Add the curry leaves and dry spices. Fry until fragrant for about a minute but do not burn.

Add salt and water, enough to cook the rice. Once boiling add the chickpeas and check the seasoning.

Add the rice to the water and cook as you would normally cook your basmati rice.

Enjoy on its own, or with your favourite curry!


Quick banana and date muffins

These muffins are quick and easy to make. A great way to use up over-ripe bananas.

Delicious and very moist!


Ingredients: (makes 12 muffins)

1.5 cups selfraising flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinammon

3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar

2-3 large ripe banana (the really black mushy ones no one wants to eat) – mashed

3/4 to 1 cup chopped pitted dates

1/2 cup sunflower or any other light tasting oil

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla sugar or your choice of vanilla flavouring.


To make:

Preheat your oven to 150 deg C. Line a 12 – hole muffin tin with paper cases.

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, including the dates

Mix all wet ingredients, including the banana, in another bowl or jug.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and fold in the wet ingredients until JUST COMBINED. This means the mixture will be a bit lumpy. That’s ok. This will make your muffins soft and moist.

Place the batter into the paper cases.Bake for approx 20 mins or until tops are golden and no longer soft. You can test either by inserting a skewer and removing it. If a few crumbs or non at all come on the skewer, then it is done. Take them out! If still moist and sticky, bake for a bit longer.



  • Remember not to over-mix your batter. You really need a light touch when making muffins.
  • Mix the batter by folding/scraping the batter from the  bottom of the bowl upwards. That way you ensure even mixing without over-mixing the batter.
  • If you find some flour in the batter when scooping into the paper cases , do not panic.  if in the centre or at the bottom, It will mix when baking. If the flour is at the top of the batter in the paper cases, gently smooth out with your finger or add a bit of the moist batter ontop to cover it.
  • Keep bananas in the fridge as soon as they become over-ripe. They will be handy for when you want to make these yummy treats!






Apple streusel wholemeal muffins

A few months back my husband rang me to ask a really important question; ‘ what’s the difference between a cupcake and a muffin?”


Simply put: a cupcake is a mini fluffy cake while a muffin is a mini hybrid of a cake and a bread. It is more rustic, less sweet and lower in fat. Something you can enjoy with your morning tea or coffee, and smear with some butter and jam if you so wish. Some muffin recipes are more cake-like while others more bread-like

This recipe is closer to the bread-like variety and would be perfect as a loaf, sliced up for a special breakfast.

Before moving on to the recipe, I just want to share a funny apple discovery I made. The apples I used  today were purchased about 3 months ago and have been living in my fridge ever since. Apart from the skin shrivelling a bit, they were perfect. So if you have old apples, keep them in the fridge and use them when you want to bake.

This recipe is adapted from:

The Recipe:

Makes 12

Prep Time:  10 mins

Bake time: 20-25 mins


For the muffin mix:

• 1 1/2 cups plain flour

• 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

• 2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp mixed spice (optional)
• 3 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 cup milk
• 1/2 cup caster sugar
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/3 cup full fat plain yogurt
• 1/4 cup sunflower oil
• 2 large eggs
•  1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
• 2  large apples, peeled and finely chopped.
For the streusel topping:
• 4 tablespoons plain flour
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 50gm unsalted or lightly salted butter

• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds etc

To make:

Preheat your oven to 200 deg C.
Line a 12 hole muffin tin.

In a small bowl rub struesel mixture together to for a fine crumby mixture. Dont worry if a bit lumpy.

Mix dry sifted ingredients (except sugar) in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients and sugar in another bowl.

Make a well in the centre of the large bowl, add the wet ingredients and the apples. Mix gently until just combined. This means the mixture will still be  a bit lumpy, That is perfectly fine.

You dont want to over-mix. I repeat: you dont want to over-mix.


Place mixture into baking tray, and top with some of thee struesel mix.


Bake for 5 mins, then reduce oven temp to 180 deg C and bake for another 15-20 mins.

Dont over bake.

Once done, remove from baking pan and allow to cool before eating.



Spiced Carrot Cupcakes

I’ve been making carrot cakes ever since I was a teen. It is wholesome, healthier than other cakes, easy to make and very tasty.

Today I used the batter to make 12 standard sized cupcakes. They go great with lemon cream cheese frosting, but I only make that on special occasions.

You will need:

3 eggs

1 cup self raising flour

1/2 cup plain flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup oil (can use 1/2 cup for lower fat)

1 cup brown sugar (can use 3/4 for less sweet cake)

2.5-3 cups grated carrots

1/2 cup of mixed dried fruits (or 1/4 each chopped walnuts and dried fruits)

1 teaspoon mixed spice

zest of one orange.

1.5 tablespoons vanilla sugar
To make:

Preheat your oven to 160-180 deg

Mix together eggs, oil, sugar, spice, vanilla, zest and fruit/nuts. Mix well. Add the flour/baking soda and mix until well combined. Do not over mix.

Place batter evenly into a lined 12 cupcake tray.

Bake for about 20 mins or until the cupcakes are cooked through. This is when a skewer placed in the centre comes out clean. Or it bounces back when you press on the top. Only check this after the cupcakes have risen fully and have become golden in colour.

Indian Style Chilli Chicken Fry

Ok so i have been away.. for a long time.

I’ve been incredibly busy.. too much to mention

But I’m back and sharing a recipe I just perfected after soo many attempts.

Funnily enough this is quite a simple recipe.. and that is why I never got it right the first few times I tried to replicate it. I have a tendency to ” overthink” everything and anything I do.. so i am working on that!!

Anyway, enjoy the recipe and dont forget to subscribe and comment!!

You will need:

1.1 kg chicken maryland pieces chopped (thats how much the butcher gave me today :p )

0.5- 0.75 tablespoon salt (to taste)

1- 1.5 Tablespoon KASHMIRI chilli powder (this is a variety that is vibrant red and less hot.. use the regular stuff and you will suffer!)

1 Tablespoon  each cumin powder, corriander powder and garam masala powder.

1-2 Tablespoons of oil.

one clove garlic- minced

same amount of ginger as garlic- minced

(you can use less of the spices above for milder flavour)


To make:

Mix everything together and allow to marinate for at least an hour. Cut some slits into the chicken to help the flavour penetrate.

Heat you oven to max setting and allow to heat up. Place chicken on lined baking trays, making sure not to overcrowd you tray.

Bake on very high heat until crispy on the outside and cooked through. If you find it starts to burn, lower the heat.

You can also deep fry (which is traditional, but I dont like to)


Garnish with fresh corrainder and onion slices.

Haleem- Spicy Meat, wheat and lentil porridge.

Haleem is a traditional Hyderbadi Indian dish. It is slow cooked with spices, meat and pulses to form am irristably smooth porridge. It is traditionally served during the Holy month of Ramadan.

I made this dish serveral times during the past few years, but had never tasted it made by a Hyderbadi (I am Egyptian/Aussie). So last weekend my husand and I tried it at our local Hyderbadi specialist (Labbaik on Murray rd Preston is THE BEST Biryani maker in northern subs of Melb) and I couldnt resist but make it again during the week.

It takes a few hours of slow slow cooking and requires patience with stirring so not to burn the bottom, but this dish is worth it, especially when you tuck into a warm bowl in this freezing Melbourne weather!

You will need:

1 kg chuck steak or lamb shanks, plus marrow bones for flavour

0.5 cup barley

0.5 cup burghul

1/3 cup each urad dal, red lentils, moong dhal,

1 cup oats

1 cup chana dhal

3 tablespoon ginger

2 tablespoon garlic

4.5 tablespoons madras powder- I recommend Pattu Brand (or you can use haleem powder)

3/4 cup oil (1 to 1.5 cups would give a smoother porridge)

0.5  tsp ground cloves

1 tsp garam optional

one large onion thinly sliced and fried in oil, plus another for garnish

one black cardomom

pinch of cinaamon

Black pepper

(you can use whatver combination of wheat you like, so more barley instead of oats etc)

To make:

Cook the pulses/burghul/oats etc in hot water until soft. Do so seperately so they do not burn.

Fry the onions in oil until golden brown, add meat, spices, ginger/garlic and stir until slightly coloured but do not  burn the spices.

Add water and cover meat and cook until the meaat is tender and breaks apart. Shred the meat and discard the bones.

Add the cooked pulses etc to the meat. Add sufficient water to cook and stir regularly until the porridge is smooth and the meat is stringy with no lumps.

Season well and serve with lemon, corriander/mint leaves, fried onions and julliened ginger.

Kushari: Egyptian Lentil Rice with spicy tomato sauce

Kushari is a traditional Egyptian dish. I guess you could say that it is the Prince of Egyptian Cuisine (with falafel and fool being the King and Queen)

This is a lovely recipe to add to your repetoir, highly requested and easy to make!


For the kushari rice

3/4 cup brown lentils : soaked for at least 30 mins

1.5 cups rice soaked (I used basmati, but traditionally short grain rice is used)

2 large brown onions: sliced

salt and black pepper for seasoning

1 tsp each corriander, cumin and garam masala powder (optional)

oil for frying the onions

For the tomato sauce (called da’ah):

1 large tomato pureed (0.5 cup) (alternatively use an extra tablespoon of tomato paste and add a pinch of sugar to cut the acidity)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 tablespoons white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (to taste)

2 large cloves of garlic: crushed

optional: pinch of cumin, corriander and garam masala powders

To make:

Fry the onions in some oil on medium heat for about 15 mins, stirring regularly, until the onions are soft and deep golden brown in colour. Reserve half the onions for garnish. Add soaked lentils with the onions and add some water to cook. Season well with salt and pepper. When the lentils are almost done, add spices, salt, water and soaked rice. Cover and cook until the rice is done.

For the sauce, fry off the crushed garlic in some oil. Add the pureed tomatoes and fry off until cooked. Add tomato paste, vinegar, chilli, salt and pepper and cook until all the tomato paste is cooked out. you may add water to achieve desired consistency.

To serve the kushari, place the rice topped with sauce and caramalised onions. You may also add some cooked macaroni pasta and chickpeas.

Kishk – Egyptian Savoury Custard

Kishk is a delicious savoury custard, one of my favourite Egyptian side dishes.

It is fairly easy to make.

You will need:

1 cup full fat yogurt

1/2 cup of plain flour

A few ladels of chicken or lamb broth ( I genrally use lamb broth from boiling lamb bones with onions, cardomom, salt and pepper)

salt to taste

One large onion- chopped or sliced and caramalised by frying in mixture of oil/butter on a medium heat until deep golden brown

To make:

Mix the yogurt and flour together until you have a  thick paste. You may need more or less flour depending on how watery your yogurt is.

I usually let this sit near the stove top while the stock is cooking. This is how my mum taught me. I guess it ferments slightly in the warm weather and gives a richer flavour.

The stock flavour has to be good as this is the flavour base of your kishk.

When ready to cook, place in a deep pot and ladel some hot stock into the yogurt  mixture. Mix well and cook on medium heat, adding more stock when necessary to form a thick custard. Remember it will thicken as it cools, but you dont want it too thin! Season well with salt.

Once cooked, ladel into ramekins and garnish with caramelised onions. Make more onions if necessary as everyone LOVES to eat it with kishk.

Serve at room temperature or cold.

Spicy Satay Sauce

This is a must-try recipe for a delicious, spicy, aromatic and nutty peanut sauce. Share this with friends at your next bbq and they will love you forever!

Tastes great with chicken or lamb skewers, or just dip in with a bit of bread and enjoy.

You will need:

1 cup roasted peanuts
1/3 medium brown onion
2 Tablespoons minced ginger
One large clove of garlic
3 Tablespoons Malaysian Curry powder (I used Baba brand)
10 dry red chillis- seeds removed and soaked in a little hot water(more or less to taste)
3 Tablespoons sugar
4 Tablespoons Fish sauce (I used squid brand)
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
Few tablespoons of lemon or lime juice, or tamarind juice to taste.

To make:

Blend the onions, garlic, ginger and chillis with a tiny bit of water until smooth. Fry off the paste in a couple of tablespoons of oil on a medium low heat until softened and all the rawness is cooked out. This may take 10-15 mins

Blend the peanuts and add to the mixture.

Add curry powder and cook on a slow heat after adding a bit of water. Stir regularly, and add more water when necessary. The sauce is almost done when the oil separates out of the sauce. This step is essential! Sometimes you need to leave it without stirring until oil starts floating up the top, scrape the bottom regularly and repeat the process until fully cooked and a lot of oil oozes out.

When almost done, add sugar, fish sauce, salt and lemon/lime juice or the tamarind juice and allow to cook through. Check seasoning and enjoy!

Stores well in an airtight container in the fridge.

Chicken Korma

This recipe is as delicous as it gets: aromatic, nutty, creamy and very mild for those who dont like the heat.

Restaurant style chicken korma at home!

You will need:

1.5 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 chicken thighs fillets – fat and sinew removed + cubed

one large onion- finely chopped

2 tablespoons of coconut milk powder (more or less to taste) – You can substitute with dairy cream.

4 heaped teaspoons sugar (more or less to taste)

2 teaspoons each freshly ground cumin and corriander powder

3/4 – 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1.5 – 2 teaspoon garam masala powder

1/2 a cup of finely ground cashew nuts or almonds

Approx 3 tablespoons Baba’s Korma Curry powder (if you do not have this, increase the amount of spices listed above in the same ratio, eg double until desired flavour is achieved)

Fried cashew nuts and sultanas to serve (approx 2 cashew nuts and 4 sultanas per serve)

To make:

Heat 3 tablespoons (or more) of oil in a pan and fry off onions until soft and lightly golden then add the ginger/garlic. Cook on medium heat while stirring for about a minute.

Add chicken pieces and stir fry until almost cooked. Add Curry powder and cook for a minute to toast the spices. Do not burn.

Add  spices, half the sugar, ground nuts and cook on a gentle medium heat until fragrant and thickened. Only add a touch of water if necessary because you want a thick sauce.

Season with salt and check if any more sugar is needed (it shouldnt be sickly sweet, just a delicate sweet flavour). Add more spices in the same ration or a sprinkle of garam masala at the end. You know it is ready when the sauce starts to dry up a bit on the bottom/edges and the oil begins to serparate from the gravy. This makes the sauce more intense in flavour, but make sure you stir regularly and do not let it burn.

Finish by adding desired amount of thin cream or coconut milk powder/or cream. Mix well

Serve hot with rice, rotti or puttu!

If made correctly it will surely become a home favourite!


Make sure your spices are fresh ( i freshly grind my cumin), or else you risk your curry being bitter.