Sara Dhanani

Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

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.

Caprese salad

In Appetizers, Favorite Recipes, Vegetarian on June 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Is this even a recipe? No not really, but it’s a whole lot of delicious during our hot hot summer.

You will need fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes( never refrigerated!), basil from your garden, extra virgin olive oil and reduced balsamic vinegar to drizzle along with sea salt ( or if handy ever pink Himalayan salt) and fresh pepper. Slice, chop and drizzle to serve this easy salad.


A traditional Pakistani breakfast

In Breakfast/Brunch, Favorite Recipes, Vegetarian on May 27, 2012 at 5:35 pm


The warm summer sun is ablaze in Phoenix! Over the long weekend, rather than barbequeing we were craving halwa puri. From Boat Basin, thin puri’s packaged in oil soaked newspaper, haldi yellow alu and fiery cholay with a thin layer of oil, that would make my mama shudder every time. And the gorgeous orange halwa, super sweet with tangy achaar.. makes me salivate first and then remember the heart burn!

So with bitter sweet memories I looked up a recipe from a pakistani cooking show (which was painfully entertaining!), and we had halwa puri for brunch. Delicious!! Without the heavy, artery clogging feeling after. Surprisingly the recipes are very hands off, basically dumping all the spices with the beans or potatoes and cooking till the curry forms. I peeked in on them periodically and gave a stir, adding water is needed, so feel free to adapt to your liking. The key is not to fry the spices separately but rather allow everything to cook together. I fried tortillas instead of making puri’s from scratch. It works in a pinch, but fresh puri’s would have been incredible!

One Third cup sooji (Semolina flour)

Half a cup ghee

One cup sugar

Two cups water

One teaspoon orange food coloring ( I had yellow at home)

5 cardamom pods (opened up)


Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan. Fry the suji in the ghee for 4-5 minutes till it looks lacey. It has a beautiful nutty aroma. Add the cardamom. Remove from heat. In another pan heat water and sugar till the sugar dissolves (chashni). Add the food coloring. Now stir in the cooked sooji and continue cooked on a medium low heat till its thick (if you stir a spoon it should leave tracks). It will thicken more as it cools.



Two cups Garbanzo beans soaked overnight in water

1 medium sided onion grated

1 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon soonf

1 teaspoon cayanne pepper (powdered)

1 tablespoon red chilli flakes

1/4 teaspoon haldi

1/2 teaspoon corriander powder

salt to taste

1/3 cup oil


Boil in 5 cups of water, the soaked garbanzo beans till mostly soft. Drain most of the water saving approximately 2 cups of water. Add the grated onion to the garbanzo beans and water and boil further till soft. Add all the spices and the oil and continue cooking for 30 minutes till a thick curry is formed. Garnish with chopped corriander.

Alu Ki Tarkari:
Five – Six medium sized Russet Potatoes, peeled

One teaspoon Crushed red pepper

One Fourth teaspoon Haldi

One teaspoon kalonji

One teaspoon cumin powder

Two tablespoons oil

One – 1.5 cup water

One teaspoon achaar (optional)


Chop the peeled potato’s into 2 -3 inch cubes. Add water with all the spices and oil (except the achaar) and cook on medium high heat till a thick curry forms. You may want to mash a few tablespoons of the potato while they’re cooking to facilitate the curry. Mix in achaar in the end.( I preferred the taste without the achaar)


Mirchon ka Salan

In Favorite Recipes, Vegetarian, Week night meals on July 22, 2011 at 2:15 am

I first had this curry at one of my dearest friends home 12 years ago. I loved it!

This recipe does require quite a bit of prep time, but its worth the effort! The husband won’t touch it, to him this is “girly food”, kinda in the same category as Quiche :).  This hasn’t been a problem since mirchon ka salan has become one of my favorite foods!

I got this recipe from I tweaked it a bit keeping in mind things I had on hand:


Green chillies – approximately 12-14

For masala

Sesame Seeds – 1/2 cup

Cashews or peanuts– 1/2 cup

Dry desiccated Coconut – 3/4 cup

Whole garam masala – 1 tablespoon

For gravy:

Coconut oil – 1/4 cup

Onions – 3, chopped

Ginger & Garlic paste– 2 tsp

Salt – 1 tbsp

Turmeric/haldi – 1/2 tsp

Cumin – 1 tsp

Cilantro – 3 tbsp, finely chopped

Tamarind paste – 2 tbsp


1. Slit the green chillies and take out the seeds (maybe a good idea to use gloves).  Keep aside.
2. Cover a cookie sheet with foil. Place the desiccated coconut, sesame seeds, nuts, garam masala in a thin layer on a cookie sheet. It wont take long for the coconut, nuts and seed to brown, so please keep checking every minute or before. Once there is an aroma from them, remove from the broiler and let cool. Grind them all in a food processor to a smooth paste and keep aside.


Heat a large sauce pan at medium high heat, add 1/8 cup of coconut oil. Once the oil is warm, add the chopped onions. Let the onions sweat and keep stirring them until they are just starting to brown up in color. Once the onions are soft and lightly browned in color,  remove from heat and keep aside. Once the dry roasted onions are cool, puree them in a grinder until smooth. Keep aside.
4. Pour remaining oil in the saucepan and once hot add the green chillies. Cover with lid. Stir fry them till blisters form on the skins.

5. Fry the onion and ginger garlic paste in the leftover oil from the chillies. Add the desiccated coconut, sesame seed and nut paste and stir fry it for 2-5 minutes or until you see that the mixture comes together and starts leaving oil. Now add 1 teaspoon of the cumin powder and the turmeric powder. Mix well and keep stir frying it for a further 2 minutes on medium low heat. Now add the chopped cilantro and mix well.

6. Next, pour in 3 cups warm water and the tamarind paste. Mix well. Finally add the fried green chillies . Cover with a lid and let cook on simmer for 15 minutes while stirring frequently, until all the oil has separated.

It does have a lot of steps, but is a lovely dish. You can use the same curry with eggplant or fish and chicken.