Sara Dhanani

Archive for the ‘Week night meals’ Category

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.

The best Chicken Karhai

In Curries, Favorite Recipes, Meat & Poultry, Week night meals on April 24, 2015 at 7:45 pm

I love making chicken Karhai! It’s fast and delicious making it a perfect week night meal. I usually serve it with naan. This is the second Karhai post on the blog and is by far the best Karhai I have made and is inspired by my sister in laws, sisters recipe! Thanks Noreen and Saira!!


1-1.5 pounds of bone in chicken

1 tablespoon of ginger julienned 

5-6 whole dried red chillies

1 tsp coriander seeds 

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

1/2 tsp garam masala powder

1 carton of crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon kasuri methi

A small bunch of chopped freshcoriander 

1/4 cup of a high heat oil 


Heat oil in a large non stick pan. Add 1 tablespoon of julienned ginger in the hot oil, add chicken and cook on a high flame. Coarsely crush cumin and coriander seeds and add the the chicken. Also add the red chillies. Fry for a few minutes till the water from the chicken evaporates. Add the crushed tomatoes and continue frying on high heat the oil separates from the tomato. Add garam masala, kasuri methi and mix it together. You could add a teaspoon of red chili powder but I haven’t felt the need for it. Add fresh chopped coriander and serve with hot naan.. And per my husband a cold cold beer. 

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.

Panda Bear chicken

In Favorite Recipes, Meat & Poultry, Week night meals on June 25, 2014 at 7:41 pm

To please my four year old’s orange chicken obsession (from Panda Express nonetheless), I came up with a easy spinoff recipe. It is pre preschooler approved!


Chicken thighs
Panko bread crumbs
Oil to fry

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon of orange zest
2 table spoons orange juice
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon oil
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped

Cut the chicken into 2-3 inch pieces. Coat with Panko and fry in oil till golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and keep aside.

Orange sauce: heat oil and sauté the garlic lightly. Add the chicken. Mix the rest of the sauce ingredients and pour over the chicken. Cook for a few minutes till the sauce coats the chicken.

Almost guilt free!