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!


Creamy Mushroom and Chicken Risotto

I’ve been busy.. really busy

My son has always been a terrible sleeper and it started to take it’s toll on me. Anyone else know of 8 month olds who only sleep for 45 mins and declare war on anyone trying to put them down for a nap?

Last week a friend recommended I read a baby sleep help book: The no cry sleep solution (by Elizabeth Paintley). So I made a trip to the local library but couldnt resist gravitating towards the cookbook section after picking up the book.. In the very limited time I have every few days, I sit and study.. so stay tuned for some awesome recipes, tips and techniques!

Now for a recipe. Mushrooms are great in the cooler weather, and this recipe is easy to whip in no time

You will need;

1.5- 2 cups arborio rice

1 chicken breast or thigh: diced or sliced

4 button mushrooms: sliced or chopped

one medium onion: finely diced

one stalk of celery: finely diced

3 cloves of garlic: minced

one tablespoon dry oregano (or any other herb of your choice)

salt and pepper to taste

Chicken stock (i make my own while prepping the food: I use scrap bits of chicken, celery, onion and carrots. By the time I am done prepping the food the stock is hot and ready to use) – You can use water instead.

Parmesan cheese to serve

To make:

Saute onion and celery on medium heat in some olive oil until it is soft and picks up some golden colour

Add chicken and cook through. (if using chicken breast and you want it moist, remove after this step)

Add rice and stir in well for a minute.

Add stock, one ladel-full at a time, stirring until absorbed.Scrape any dry bits off the bottom and mix through. Maintain a medium heat.

Repeat until rice is cooked through and creamy. Halfway add the mushrooms, garlic and seasonings.

Enjoy with ha generous shaving of sharp parmesan cheese.



You can make this without chicken

You can add some cream- but I like mine without.

The risotto flavour is based on how well you cook the onion/celery/chicken at the start. so take your time!

Pumpkin and Herb Risotto

I have been making this regularly at least once every fortnight. Really easy and full of flavour.

You will need:

1 large stalk celery – finely diced

one small carrot- finely diced

approx 2 cups Jap pumpkin – cubed into 2cm pieces

one medium onion – finely sliced

1-2 cloves garlic – minced

1-2 tablespoons oregnao (fresh or dry)

white and black pepper to taste

2 cups arborio rice

approx 2 L boiling water or chicken stock

parmesan cheese to serve

olive oil

To make:

Saute onions, carrots and celery on medium high heat in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Stir constantly until some pieces start to caramelise. This step is very  important because it forms the flavour base of the risotto.

Add rice and stir  for a few minutes until translucent. Add pumpkin and stir well. Add water about one cup at a time, stir well and cook on a gentle simmer until almost fully absorbed. Add more water and repeat until rice is cooked through, but not mushy.

Season well with garlic, salt, pepper and oregano while cooking.

Serve hot with shaved or grated parmesan.

I had mine with some avocado and grilled chicken.



Chicken ‘Satay’ with Veg Jasmin Rice.

It has been stinking hot here in Melba for the past few days.. Nearing 40 deg C.

I’ve noticed my cooking has changed to suit the weather.. no curries or slow cooked food, especially with an electric stove-top  that retains its heat for a longggg while.

I made this dish last weekend. The reason why I didnt call this satay chicken is because I couldn’t find any bamboo skewers and really couldn’t be bothered for just good looks 🙂

Anyway. Super easy dish to make, perfect for this kind of weather; marinate the chicken and cook for a few mins when it’s time to eat.


For the chicken:

2 medium chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips (you can bash a bit to tenderise, but I don’t)

3/4 tsp turmeric powder

pinch of chilli powder (to taste_

one minced clove of garlic

2 tablespoons brown sugar (can use honey or normal sugar)

2 tablespoons soy sauce (I use Maggin seasoning sauce)

salt to taste

sesame oil for cooking (can use any other mild tasting oil)

Kecap manis and lemon to serve

To cook:

Mix all ingredients together and allow to marinate for at least an hour (the longer the better)

When ready to cook, heat a little bit of oil in a skillet or non-stick  pan and add chicken pieces. Do NOT overcrowd the pan or turn too much. You want to turn only when the bottom side is cooked and picked up some colour. This way  you get a beautiful flavour without using a bbq.

Turn and cook the other side.

Serve with a drizzle of kecap manis and squeeze of lemon juice.

For the veg rice:

Chicken stock (i use the water I poach chicken in)

1 spring onion- sliced

2 cups jasmin rice

1/4 cup each diced carrots, peas and corn

1 small clove of garlic – minced

salt and black pepper to taste

To make:

Bring veg to boil in the stock with garlic and spring onions. Season well. Add pre-soaked and washed rice and cook according to packet instructions.

‘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.

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

Arab Stuffed Lamb Style Rice

This is a recipe for the rice used in stuffing whole lambs. It is mildly spiced but full of flavour. You dont need to buy a whole sheep to enjoy this rice, you can enjoy it anytime. This recipe is perfect for guests especially in Ramadan.   You will need: 250 gms lean lamb mince 1 large onion -diced 1 large clove garlic – minced 1/2 cup toasted half almonds 2 cups basmati rice 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon (more or less to taste) 1 teaspoon allspice (more or less to taste) 1/2 cup frozen peas 2 tablespoons madras curry powder (optional) salt and pepper to taste To make: Saute onions in some oil for a few minutes. Add mince and fry off on medium heat until it picks up some brown colour. Do not burn. Add garlic and spices. Stir for a minute. Add water, almonds, seasoning and peas. Add rice and cook as usual. Serve with cucumber,mint and yogurt salad. Enjoy!

Spicy Chicken Rice

This is an easy spiced chicken rice recipe that takes no time to prepare..

You will need:

1 large onion – sliced

2 cloves of garlic – minced

2 tablespoons minced ginger

2 chicken thigh fillets- cubed

1.5 cups good quality basmati rice

1-2 tablespoons Shaan Mutton Biryani Spice Powder

1/2 a large tomato (pureed)

To make:

Saute onions in a few tablespoons of oil until softened and very lightly golden. Add ginger and garlic and fry off with the spice powder until fragrant for approx one minute. Add chicken and fry off until cooked on the outside. Add the tomato puree and fry off until lighly caramelised but not burnt. Season well.

Add rice and waeter and cook as per usual. (this depends on your brand of rice)

Serve with yogurt raita or salad and enjoy this very tasty dish!


Ruz Bilaban- Rice Pudding

If you have only ever tasted rice pudding from your supermarket fridge, it is time to try it homemade. The difference is amazing!

This is one of those desserts that you need during winter.. keeps you warm.. and is really easy to make.

For about 4 servings you will need:

1 litre of milk (use 750 mls first)

One cup of white rice

1/2 cup of white sugar (more or less to taste)

Vanilla flavouring (I used about 3 tablespoons vanilla sugar)

To make:

Bring milk (750 mls) to the boil and add the rice. Stir in well.

Lower the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 10-15 mins, stirring constantly so it doesnt stick, burn or overflow.

If you find you need more milk add the remaining amount. Lower the heat. Keep stirring and cooking until the rice is well cooked and the consitency of the pudding is like thick cream.

Add sugar and vanilla at the end, stirring well to ensure it is well dissolved.

Divide into serving bowls or ramekins while still hot and allow to set at room temperature or in the fridge.

You can garnish with dissicated coconut, chopped nuts or sultanas.


Do not wash you rice before using, as you need the starch to thicken the pudding.

You may need  more than 1 L of milk depending on the kind of rice you are using. Just add 1/3 cup at a time if you feel it needs more until it is fully cooked.

Biryani Demystified

Biryani is one of those dishes that when you first taste you never believe you could make it yourself. I have found many recipes online, but here I will try to break it down for you.

The first step is you need to make a good ”curry” which is the base flavour for the biryani. You need to have a fairly thick gravy. (Here I made 500 gms of lamb pieces with one large potato in a curry)

For the curry you will need:

500 gms lamb pieces (on the bone, fat removed)

One large potato-chopped

One large onion-sliced

2 cloves of garlic-minced

One tablespoon of minced ginger

Half a medium tomato- chopped

1/2 cup of yogurt- mixed until smooth

handful of corriander – chopped

Juice of one medium lemon

Biryani powder mix or your favourite curry powder (about 2-3 tablespoons, but be careful to check the chill content)

optional whole spices: 5 cloves, 3 cardomoms, 2 bayleaves, cinnamon stick

about 1/3-1/2 cup of oil

To make:

Fry off the onions until golden, add garlic, ginger and tomatoes. Fry off until fragrant and then add the meat. Fry well and add a couple of tablespoons of spice mix. You need to ensure everything is fragrant and well cooked (the onions etc but not the meat) when frying. This intensives the flavour. Make sure not to burn the mix though.

Add water, and allow the meat to cook slowly until soft.  Reduce the gravy mix to thick soup consistency (you dont want too much liquid). Add the potatos and yogurt and lemon juice. Season well.

Once done, add corriander and set aside.

Now cook  2-3 cups of soaked basmati rice in plenty of boiling salted water until 90% cooked. Strain and layer half of the rice in a baking dish. Add the meat/potato curry mix in the middle and then add the remaining rice on top. Make sure not to put too much gravy in the middle as you dont want it to be wet.

For a variation in colour, add some food colouring dissolved in water to the top layer of rice shown below.. but dont go crazy with it! .. a little bit goes a long way.

Cover with aluminium foil and bake in a hot oven for about 20-30 mins, until rice is completely cooked.

Allow to cool and fluff the rice to mix together. Garnish with corriander, roasted sultanas/almonds or cashews.

Serve with yogurt dip and fresh salad.


  • Biryani is usually cooked on a stove top, but I find baking in the oven much more convenient. It can be very tricky cooking the rice this way in pot as the bottom layer can easily burn.
  • For professional results, use the best quality basmati rice you can afford. If you look at the pics you will see the grains arent as long as the ones served at restaurants because I used a medium grade basmati rice. The best basmati rice is longer and is slightly thicker.. but it comes at a cost! so use it when you want to impress 🙂
  • I often find microwaving the end product intensifies the flavour and gives a more professional result.