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!


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.

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.

Homemade Laksa

Yesterday I  decided to make some Laksa at home.. I went on a quest for fresh Asian ingredients to make the perfect Laksa.

Laksa making is actually quite simple if you follow a few steps. The key is using the right ingredients, turning them into a paste and cooking it properlt to ensure maximum flavour.

Cooking your paste too quickly on a too hot of a flame will result in a burnt and bitter flavour. Not cooking the paste for long enough would give off a raw taste for the onions, spices etc which can be unpleasant.

You will need (makes 2 generous portions)

1 small chicken breast – sliced into thin pieces

about 8 prawn cutlets

handful of hokein noodles

handful of sliced green beans

4 tofu puffs (halved)

4 asian shallots or one small red onion

2 large cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons chopped ginger

1 red chilli (optional)

1 stalk lemong grass –  dry exterior removed and soft inside chopped

2 teaspoons prawn paste

2 heaped tablespoons coconut cream (Ayyam brand is excellent)

0.5 to 1 teaspoon Malaysian curry powder (I use Baba meat curry powder)

1 teaspoon sugar (optional to taste)

lemon wedges to serve

To make:

Blend onion/shallots/ginger/garlic/lemongrass/chilli to a fine paste.

Toast the prawn paste in a hot pan then add a few tablespoons of oil. Add paste and lower heat to medium. Stirfry the paste until fragrant and until the oil splits from the paste. If you find it is cooking too quickly add some water and allow to reduce. Add curry powder and stir for a minute.

Once paste is ready add one cup of water and allow to simmer for about 15 mins. Taste ans season well. The mix is ready when no rawness can be tasted.  Add coconut cream and mix well. Add more water to form a soup (about 1.5 cups). Add chicken and beans. Allow to cook, then add prawns and chopped tofu puffs. Finally add the hokein noodles when prawns are almost cooked.

Serve with a wedge of lemon. You can also garnish with spring onions, beanshoots and hardboiled egg.

I find it tastes better the next day.


‘Bombe’ Biriyani

No i didnt mean Bombay..

This is a clever way of using left over curry and plain rice. You dont even need to use the stove.

Place about 3/4 cup of plain cooked rice in a deep bowl. Press along the edges so it  forms a ‘cup’ inside the bowl.

Places some curry inside this cup, sprinkle some chopped corriander and then cover with some more rice. Even out the surface.

Microwave for about 3-4 minutes depending on the temperature of the curry and rice.

Flip over onto a plate and serve with mint yogurt on the side.

Dig in and enjoy!

A variation is to sprinkle a very tiny of red food colouring before adding the curry, this will give a more authentic look.

Chicken Yogurt Curry

I am sure this dish has a proper name.. but i dont know it 🙂

You will need:

2 thigh fillets – cubed into desired size and fat/skin removed

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2-3 tablespoons Laziza Sindi Biryani paste, or your favourite curry powder

1 green chlli -optional

2 tablespoons minced ginger

1 large onion- thinly sliced

fresh or dry mint – 1/2 tablespoon – optional

To make:

Fry onion in some oil  on medium heat until lightly golden, add chilli, ginger and spice paste until fragrant. Add chicken and lower heat.

Smooth out the yogurt with a few tablespoons of water and add to the chicken. Allow to cook on low heat until chicken is cooked.

Add more water if necessary to achieve desired thickness.

Enjoy with steamed rice or indian bread.

Simply Delicious!




Sambar- South Indian Lentil and Vegetable Side Dish

I was quite reluctant to make this dish as it sounded like just another lentil dish. Once I started cooking the flavour base, howver, I realised why this is such a popular South Indian dish!

You will need:

1 cup cooked lentils (I used left over red lentils, but traditionally toor dal is used)

2  tablespoons dessicated coconut

2 tablespoons madras sambar powder

1 red chilli

tamarind juice to taste (approx 2 tablespoons diluted soaked tamarind juice)

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

6 curry leaves

1/8 teaspoon asefodeita

1/2 medium carrot – chopped into large pieces after halving vertically

1 cup vegetable drumsticks – cut into long (6 cm) pieces

1 small onion

1 medium tomato – finely chopped or pureed

1 red chilli – optional

To make:

Cook curry leaves and mustard seeds in some oil until they splutter. Add spices and stir for a minute or until fragrant. Add coconut and stir off the heat. Once well combined, add tomatoes and cook on the heat again until frragrant and soft.

Add cooked lentils, onion, asefodetia and vegetables (plus sufficient water)  and allow to cook on medium heat.

Season well with salt and tamarind to taste.

Tomato, Coconut and Tamarind Chutney

This chutney was an accidental invention, but tastes amazing. It can be enjoyed with any kind of indian bread or in toast with other fillings.

You will need:

1/3 cup dessicated coconut

1 medium ripe tomato – finely chopped

1 tablespoon madras sambar curry powder (or powder of your choice)

5 curry leaves

chilli powder or fresh chilli to taste

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon mung dal (optional)

1 tablespoon tarmarind pulp- soaked and diluted. (more or less to taste, use little by little)

approx 1/2 tablespoon sugar (optional)

To make:

On a medium heat, add curry leaves and mustard seeds to a tabespoon of oil and allow them to splutter. Remove from heat and add the curry powder. Stir until fragrant. Add coconut and mung dal. Stir on the heat for a minute. Do not allow it to colour. Add tomatos and cook well. Add tarmarind, salt, sugar and chilli to taste.

Cook on medium heat adding more water if necessary until fully cooked and thickened.

Mexican Inspired Rice

Capsicums these days are cheap and of great quality. I’ve been enjoying many dishes these days with them as the main flavour.

To me capsicums, tomatos and corn just scream out MEXICAN!

You will need:

2 cups rice – soaked

2 large ripe tomatoes (i only used one because i needed the other for my salad) – finely chopped or pureed.

2 small green and red capsicums – chopped

2 chicken thigh fillets- fat and skin removed – cubed

3 cloves of garlic – minced

one large onion – finely diced

1.5 tablespoons corriander powder

0.5 tablespoon cumin powder

3 teaspoons sweet paprika

chillis or chilli powder (optional)

2 tablespoons dry oregano

1 cup peas and corn

To make:

Saute onions, capsicum, garlic and chicken in some oil until fragrant. Add spices and stir until fragrant.

Add tomatoes and cook until softened. Add enough water to cook rice, add vegetables and season well. Add rice and cook.

Serve with tangy avocado/toaato salsa. Enjoy!


You can add more tomatoes or tomato paste for more intense colour and flavour

Kofta Curry

This  is a low fat version of kofta curry that is still full in flavour. Substituting fatty mince with lean topside and ground rice ,  makes this dish much lower in fat than regular kofta curry without compromising on the koftas being soft and tasty.

You will need:

1/2 kg topside beef finely ground to a paste

3/4 – 1 cup of rice (soaked)

1 large onion – pureed

1 large onion – finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

chopped corriander

5 large cloves of garlic

curry powder of your choice – 3 tablespoons

one large ripe tomato – pureed

2 tablespoons minced ginger

3/4 cup yogurt – whisked to become smooth

salt and pepper to taste.

To make:

Grind soaked rice in a small foodprocessor or using a mortar and pestle until small couscous sized grains form.

Add mince, onion puree, 3 grated cloves of garlic, chopped corriander, salt and pepper and mix well.

Make into pingpong sized balls and either deep fry or shallow fry in a pan until brown on the outside.

In a saucepan, fry off chopped onions until lightly golden. Add ginger, two minced cloves of garlic and spice powder. Fry until fragrant. Then add chopped tomatoes and cook on medium heat until softened.

Add about 1.5 cups of water and bring to the boil. Season well, mix in the yogurt then add the meatballs.

Allow to simmer on medium heat, shaking the contents  frequently to avoid sticking to the bottom. Add more water if necessary.

When cooked, serve garnished with chopped corriander and with plain rice or indian bread.