Sara Dhanani

Archive for the ‘Week night meals’ Category

Sindhi Pulao

In Favorite Recipes, Meat & Poultry, Week night meals on September 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm

The aroma of cumin, coriander and cinnamon tickles my nose as I write this post. This pulao transports me to my chachi’s house. She makes the best pulao ever. She learn’t it from my dadi and I learn’t it from her. This is the pulao made in our family and this recipe has been requested by my sister. The bold flavors of rice laced with whole cumin, peppercorns and coriander seeds and leaves are delightful, even more so, however, are the memories this aroma evokes.

This recipe was hard for me, so if your pulao doesn’t turn out quite right, please let me know. I cook by andaza and while I tried to keep track of the teaspoons/tablespoons and cup measures, it may still need some tweaking.


750 grams chicken – I prefer chicken thighs and breast with bone, cut into 5 – 8 inch peices

Two Potatoes – peeled and cubed into four pieces each

1/2 an onion – chopped finely

Two bunches fresh corriander

Three cloves peeled garlic

One inch of peeled ginger

Three small green chillies

Two tablespoons whole garam masala

One teaspoon ground cumin

Three cups long grain basmati rice

salt to taste

1/8 cup oil/ghee


Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Saute the chopped onion till its translucent. Add the garam masala and fry till fragrant. Add the ground cumin, potato and fry for another minute. Now add the chicken and incorporate together. Place the lid on the pan and turn the heat to low, and stir intermittently so that the masala doesn’t burn.

In the food processor pulse the corriander, ginger and garlic together till it forms a smooth paste. You may need 1/4 of a cup of water to help with that. Pour this in the saucepan with the masala, meat and potato’s. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Once it has come to a boil, add three cups of basmati rice and salt. Distribute the rice evenly by stirring once. Place the lid back on the saucepan and cook on a medium low heat for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked.

Serve with kachumber and or achar.


Watermelon Frosty

In Dessert, Week night meals on August 27, 2011 at 5:01 am

Last week, I bought a huge water melon. It looked so plump and juicy and its been over 100F every single day! We got tired of eating the giant watermelon and I found a few different ways of using this delicious fruit. One of them is a watermelon frosty! Some recipe’s had booze in them, but this one is non alcoholic. A splash of tequila would be great though!

Watermelon Frosty


2 cups frozen watermelon cubes (without seeds or seeds removed)

1/2 frozen banana

2-3 tablespoons honey

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process until the mixture is smooth. Add honey if more sweetness desired.

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.



Palak Paneer

In Curries, Favorite Recipes, Vegetarian, Week night meals on July 18, 2011 at 1:47 am

Palak Paneer. I have never made Palak Paneer until today. Inspired by my toddlers “I’ll eat anything green”, I decided to give this vegetarian curry a try. Palak Paneer is as green as it gets. My puppy girl loved the saag! I adapted this recipe from Indian Simmer by Prerna. I love her simple indian cooking and this recipe was easy to follow.

Here’s my adapted version of her recipe.


Frozen spinach – approximately 4 cups

1/4 cup frozen methi

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

8 oz packet of paneer cut into cubes

1/2 cup red chopped onion

1 /2 cup crushed tomato

1 tablespoon ginger & garlic paste

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 – 2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon garam masala

2 tbsp coconut oil




Cut Paneer into cubes. Boil water with 1 teaspoon salt. Once it has come to a boil, turn off heat and place the cut paneer in the hot water.


Simmer spinach in a saucepan with cilantro and methi. Once it is soft, turn off heat. Let it cool and then blend it. You may need to add water to make a thick paste.
Saute onion, ginger & garlic paste with cumin and garam masala in the coconut oil.
Cook till it is fragrant and translucent and then add the crushed tomato. Add this to the blended spinach and give it another whirl.

Return the contents of the blender to your sauce pan and heat till the curry simmers. Now add the heavy cream and drained paneer to the spinach. Cover it with a lid for 5 mins. If you think the gravy is too thick, add a bit of water.

Serve with hot chapati or rice.

Shrimp Masala

In Curries, Week night meals on October 24, 2010 at 11:30 pm


* 1 lb shrimp, peeled and De-veined

* 1 red onion, finely chopped

* 1 tsp. garlic paste

* 1 tsp. ginger paste

* 16 oz can of pureed tomato

* 1/8 tsp. turmeric powder

* 2 tsp. cumin powder

* 1/2 tsp garam masala powder

* 1 tsp. chilli powder

* 1 tsp. coriander powder

* 1 tsp black pepper

* 1 tsp. salt or to taste

* 1 tsp. lemon juice

* Cilantro/coriander leaves

* 4 tbsp. oil


1. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan or a heavy bottomed pan. Fry the onions till they are translucent, then add ginger and garlic, cumin and coriander powders and fry the masala and onions for five minutes on medium heat. Add the pureed tomato and fry for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add chilli powders, black pepper and salt together with half a cup of lukewarm water and cook on medium low heat for twenty five minutes. Keep the pan covered with a lid. Now add shrimp to the pan with the masala and continue cooking till the oil separates at the edges.
3. Stir occasionally to let the shrimp blend well with the spices. Season with lemon juice, garnish with cilantro/coriander before serving.
4. Serve with rice or chappati/naan bread.