Sara Dhanani

Archive for the ‘Favorite Recipes’ Category

Chicken Pulao

In Favorite Recipes, Meat & Poultry, Week night meals on March 28, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Pulao is the perfect weeknight meal, with fluffy rice laced with herbs, spices and your choice of protien. It’s also the perfect meal when you are under the weather and both my girls enjoy it with relish, requesting more Alu (potato). The rice is cooked in the chicken broth and since I always use bone in chicken, it is a wonderful meal for the kids.



Two pounds bone in, skinless chicken

Two cups of basmati rice 

Two potatoes peeled and quartered

One teaspoon whole coriander seeds

One teaspoon cumin seeds

2-4  green cardamom pods

One black cardamom pod

A cinnamon stick

A few whole peppercorns

2-4 whole dried red chilies

2-3 whole green chillies

One tablespoon ginger garlic paste

Half a onion chopped finely 

A little oil 


Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add ginger garlic paste, onion and sauté till onions are translucent. Add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, red and green chillies, cardamom, peppercorns and cinnamon and sauté till its aromatic. Add chicken and potatoes and cook for a few minutes till lightly fried. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt and then the rice. Bring to a boil again, and then cover the saucepan with the lid. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes till the broth has been absorbed and potatoes are cooked. 

Spoon it up into a bowl, and pjs and the couch is a must!

Bhindi ki Sabzi

In Favorite Recipes, Vegetarian, Week night meals on December 20, 2014 at 11:34 pm

I can cook meat easily, but vegetables in the traditional way is a different kind of a beast for me. And then I saw fresh, plump Okra at the grocery store and how does anyone resist that lovely long vegetable. Well I bought them on a whim and sat staring at them for a few days and then asked my trusty friend Z, who is a master cook, recipe creator and the one person who I would share this blog with (one day she will write a post or few!) for a recipe and Z does not fail to deliver! Here is her recipe. Hugs to you Zaidi!



Okra – 2 cups, ends trimmed and cut in 1.5 inch pieces

One Onion chopped finely

1/2 cup of crushed tomato

Two – three chillies

1/2 teaspoon cayanne pepper

1/4 teaspoon haldi (turmeric)

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

One teaspoon ground cumin powder

a few tablespoons of oil

salt to taste – a few pinches


Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the cut okra, fry till not sticky and slightly browned. Take out and place aside. Now saute the onions till translucent and add the masala, fry till fragrant. Add the tomato and simmer at a medium heat for a a few minutes till well combined. Cut the chillies into strips, Add the salt, okra  and chillies and turn heat to low, cover the pan with the lid and simmer covered for 15 minutes till the oil separates. Serve with hot chapatis.

Peanut butter Icebox cake

In Cakes, Dessert, Favorite Recipes on August 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm

It’s the end of summer in Phoenix, which means temps are well just cooling off.  This dessert is perfect for those days when turning on the oven is not an option. While I almost never bake with boxed mixes, this dessert is an exception. I used a box pudding mix for the very first time and am I the only one who thinks that instant pudding is creepy.. I mean stir and stir and stir and you have chocolate pudding. None the less the recipe called for it, and while the chocolate pudding has nothing over a from scratch stovetop chocolate pudding (recipe comin up!), it is great for this icebox cake.








For the Crust:
1 (14.3-ounce) package Oreo Cookies
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

For the Peanut Butter Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 (8-ounce) tub Cool Whip
6 snack size peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

For the Pudding Layer:
1 (5.9-ounce) box instant chocolate pudding
2 cups milk

For the Topping:
1 (8-ounce) tub Cool Whip
6 snack size peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped


Crust: Place the cookies in a food processor blender and process until they are broken down into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times to ensure that all of the crumbs are evenly moistened. Turn the crumbs out into a 9×13-inch pan and press into an even layer. Refrigerate while the peanut butter layer is prepared.

Peanut Butter Layer: Using an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Fold in the Cool Whip. Spread in an even layer over the crust and sprinkle with the chopped peanut butter cups. Refrigerate while the pudding layer is prepared.

Pudding Layer: In a large bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes to allow it to set. Use an offset spatula to spread the pudding in an even layer over the cream cheese mixture.

Spread the remaining 8-ounce tub of Cool Whip on top and sprinkle with the rest of the chopped peanut butter cups. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Red chili chutney

In Appetizers, Favorite Recipes, Vegetarian on August 10, 2014 at 3:49 pm

It’s 115 outside, and fiery in the kitchen as well. I’d recommend a glass of lemonade nearby as this chutney is additive.




Using your food processor, blend up a handful of dried red chillies, 4-5 cloves of garlic, and 1/2 a cup of chopped tomato. Once blended, pour into a saucepan and add a little salt and a tablespoon of oil and cook for 5-10 minutes till its kinda jammy.

Nadia’s Dhokra

In Appetizers, Favorite Recipes, Vegetarian on August 10, 2014 at 3:45 pm

I have always failed at making dhokra and most kinds of sabzi. Armed with this recipe, I decided to give dhokra another shot and this time they were a keeper! Thanks to my lovely friend 🙂







One and a 1/2 cup Sooji

One cup yogurt

One cup water

A green chili finely chopped

A little coriander finely chopped

1/2 tsp turmeric

One tsp olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

salt to taste

eno fruit salt – 2 sachet’s



Put water to heat in your steamer and cover till it comes to a boil. Mix all the ingredients except for the Eno, which you will add right before you are ready to steam the dhokra. Oil your dhokra dish, add eno to the dhokra mix and pourin your prepared pan and place in the steamer. It should be done in about 15-20 minutes. Garnish with some chili flakes and coriander leaves. Serve with red chutney.