Sara Dhanani

Archive for the ‘Favorite Recipes’ Category

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

In Cookies, Dessert, Favorite Recipes on April 10, 2020 at 10:13 pm

The perfect chocolate chip cookie is chewy in the middle,  crispy at the ends and disappears by the next morning when you have a bunch of little ladies in the house.



  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips 



Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place parchment paper on your baking pan. Cream the butter for a minute or so on medium speed in your stand mixer. Add in both the sugars and cream till light and fluffy (medium-high speed). Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Next add the flour, salt and baking soda and mix gently (I use the stand mixer for the whole recipe). Add 2 cups of chocolate chips and mix one last time. Place the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop up 1.5 inches of dough, make a ball and flatten gently in your palms. Place the cookies 3 inches apart on your baking pan and bake till edges are brown and centers still pale. Gently transfer to a cooling rack.

Goes perfectly with a glass of milk!

Chicken Stew

In Favorite Recipes, Meat & Poultry, Whole 30/Paleo on January 8, 2017 at 1:53 pm

It’s the new year and time to build better eating habits. I am planning to switch to eating paleo most of time ( I’m a desi girl at heart and giving up all carbs is gonna be unnatural). I don’t think carbs are the devil, but over time I have realized that certain carbs don’t agree with me, so eventually would like to add back chickenpeas and bajra. 

For now though, I am going to do a whole 30 challenge. I love to recreate old recipes, making them healthier. Knowing that you are actually feeding your body, rather than the feeling of hunger. That’s powerful, to nourish all of you. 

Back to whole 30. I love certain aspects of this plan, the emphasis on cooking, using healthy ingrediants, getting rid of sugar and processed foods, and breaking the cycle of your weaknesses.

This sweet potato and chicken stew is insanely good. It’s hearty and the kind of food that warms up your soul. And it’s made in your insta pot. Yes!


1 chicken breast cut up in bite sized pieces

1/2 of a sweet potato cut up in bite sized cubes

16 ounces of tomato purée/ strained tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth 

2-3 cloves of garlic chopped up

1/4 of an onion chopped up tiny 

1 – 2 jalapeño peppers chopped up

1 tsp dried oregano 

1/2 tsp of chili powder 

1 tsp ground cumin

1 bay leaf

A punch of garam masala ( trust me)

Salt to taste 

A sprinkle of pepper

A handful of spinach 

1/2 a bellpepper cut up in thin strips.  

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil ( not extra virgin)


Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and sauté garlic and onion till its translucent. I do this on the sauté mode of the insta pot. Add chicken and cook till its opaque. Add your spices and sauté till fragrant. Add the bay leaf, tomatoes, sweet potato and chicken broth. Switch over to slow cook mode on the instapot and let this deliciousness cook for 2 hours. Now add the bell peppers and spinach and cook for another 2 hours. It smells divine! The warmth of the garam masala and cumin is so comforting in the winter. 

Eggplant Bharta

In Appetizers, Favorite Recipes, Vegetarian, Week night meals on April 12, 2016 at 9:43 pm

My not so new instant pot has been working hard for me lately. I love the convenience of having a slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer all in one handy electric pot. It adapts especially well to desi cooking. I steamed the eggplant in the instant pot and finished the curry on the stovetop, though you could easily make it in the instant pot. 

One eggplant 

Half an onion finely diced

Half a cup of strained tomatoes

A heaping teaspoon of ginger garlic paste

A little turmeric powder (1/2 tsp)

A punch of cayenne powder

A teaspoon of cumin powder 

Half a teaspoon of coriander powder

Fresh coriander leaves to garnish (which I didn’t have)


Cut the eggplant into quarters and steam in the instant pot (I added a cup of water and used the steamer insert). While the eggplant is steaming, heat a little oil in a saucepan, add finely diced onions and sauté till translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for a few minutes being careful not to burn the ingredients. Add salt along with turmeric, coriander and cumin powders and cayenne if you are using it. Once fragrant, add the tomato purée and stir, let it cook on a low medium heat till you see the oil separate. Once the eggplant is done, Mush the eggplant lightly with a fork and add to the saucepan. Combine the eggplant well with the masala and cover the saucepan with a lid. Let it simmer in its juices for 10-12 minutes on low heat. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Winter warm me up soup

In Favorite Recipes on January 7, 2016 at 11:05 am

It’s definitely soulful food kinda weather here in the PNW. While some shrimp and grits, chicken pot pie or a steaming bowl of kitchri would be amazing, I am making healthier choices. This recipe was made mostly because I had leftover chicken, lots of kale and some carrots. Cannellini beans have a delicious creamy texture and that’s definitely makes this soup feel in the words of my 2 year old – “comfy cozy”.
Cannellini, kale and chicken soup 


One chicken breast cooked and coarsely shredded

One can of Cannellini beans (drained)

One bunch of kale chopped up

A little celery

Two carrots sliced up

1/4 chopped up onion

Two cloves of garlic

2 teaspoons of oil 

2 cups of chicken stock

A few sprigs of thyme



Heat oil in the insta pot (manual) or on the stove top. Sauté onion, celery and garlic. Add the carrots and cook. Next add the thyme, chicken, beans and the chicken stock, salt and slow cook for 2 hours or on the stove top on low medium for 30 minutes. Once it’s cooked through and the house smells delicious, add the kale and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes. I don’t like the kale to get too soggy. 

Chicken Noodle Soup

In Favorite Recipes on January 4, 2016 at 10:32 am


the weather is dreary to say the least. The children are sick and home for winter holidays. We decided to nourish ourselves with simple chicken noodle soup. It was finished way faster than we made it. 


One Bone in chicken breast

Two cloves of garlic 

A few slices of onion 

1/4 onion chopped finely

A few carrots cut up

One celery rib chopped finely

A sprig of thyme

1/2 packet of egg noodles

Cups of water

Slow cook in your instapot the chicken with onion and one clove of garlic, if you don’t want to slow cook, you can boil the chicken. I slow cooked in the instapot for 2 hours and the chicken was done. Take the chicken out, and strain the broth, keeping the broth and discarding the onion and garlic. 

In a teaspoon of oil, add the chopped onions, other clove of garlic and celery. Sauté, and then add the carrots. Add the chicken stock, 1 or 1.5 cups of water, a few pinches of salt and bring it to a simmer. Take the chicken off the bone and cube it, add to the soup. Also add the thyme. 

 If the carrots are cooked, take off heat, add the egg noodles and cover. It takes about 5-8 mins for the egg noodles to cook off the heat, but we like our noodles softer so I cook with the heat on for a few minutes as well.