Chettinad Style Vegetable Biryani

After a 3 month blogging hiatus, i am back and ready to share recipes with you again. I can’t promise there won’t be quiet weeks but i can promise that i won’t disappear for months on end again:)vegetable biryani

Chettinad cuisine is famous for its use of variety of spices and its popular for its fragrant biryanis and curries. I’ve been making Arundati’s mushroom biryani for ages now and its always a huge hit among friends and family. I followed the same recipe for this vegetable biryani and boy! I can’t tell you enough about how much we loved it. Star Anise is an integral spice in Chettinad cuisine, make sure to use this spice for added flavor. This recipe involves marinating the vegetables, i usually let it marinate overnight and have noticed that this definitely adds depth and flavor to the rice. This recipe can give any restaurant biryani a run for its money. Its flavorful and fabulous, minus the oil slick you find in most restaurant briyani.


Ingredients for the rice

2 cups Basmati rice, washed and soaked in 2 cups of water for at least 30 minutes

3 cups  onion, finely sliced

2 cloves

2 bay leaves

2 star anise

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 one inch piece cinnamon

3 tablespoons oil

Ingredients for the marinade

3 cups vegetables ( a mix of carrots, beans, potato), sliced lengthwise

2/3 cup plain yogurt

1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste

1 teaspoon red chili powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped


1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and fry the chopped onions until golden brown, set aside

2. Mix all the ingredients listed under marinade along with one cup of fried onions from step 1 and keep it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

3. In a deep, heavy bottomed pan, add oil and when oil is hot, add all the whole spices and cook for a minute.

4. Add the marinated vegetables along with any remaining marinade and cook for 10 minutes until the moisture evaporates and oil starts to separate.

5. Drain and add the rice to the pan and saute gently for 5 minutes.

6. Add 4 cups of water to the rice mixture and bring it to a boil.

7. Add more salt, if needed and garam masala and mix well.

8. Cover with a lid and cook on medium flame for 15 minutes.

9. Simmer for 10 minutes until rice is cooked.

10. When ready to serve, gently fluff with a fork and sprinkle remaining fried onions on top.


Vegan Sweet Corn Pilaf

Sweet corn is always a hit among adults and kids. Apart from corn on the cob, there are several ways to spice up this humble corn. Try the corn sundal or this pilaf and you will start appreciating corn with a whole new level of respect. This pilaf is not heavy on spices, but is very flavorful and versatile. It makes for a great picnic or lunchbox recipe and will make a tasty and delicious dinner paired with paneer masala. Add colorful peppers, green peas and carrot and make it a wholesome meal. I love the crunch and subtle sweetness of corn and mixed with spices and fragrant basmati rice, it makes a great one pot meal.

corn pulao


1 cup basmati rice, washed and soaked in water for at least 30 minutes.

1/2 cup fresh or frozen organic corn

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

1 Thai green chili, chopped

5-6 cashewnuts

1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns

1 one-inch piece ginger, minced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 small stick cinnamon

2 cloves

2 green cardamom

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped mint

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro


1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large pot and when its hot, add cloves and cinnamon, cook for a minute.

2. Add onions and sauté till they begin to brown.

3. Add minced ginger, garlic, green chili, peppercorns and cashews. Cook for couple of minutes.

4. Remove from heat and it let it cool. Grind to a smooth paste with little water when completely cooled.

5. Heat remaining oil in the pot and add bay leaf and cardamom. Cook for a minute.

6. Add ground paste, corn, cilantro and mint. Cook for 3 minutes over medium heat.

7. Add drained rice and sauté for couple of minute, without breaking the grains.

8. Add 2 cups of water and salt, bring it to a boil.

9. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and let it simmer for 20 minutes or until the all the water is absorbed and rice is cooked.

10.Gently fluff with a fork and serve hot.

Vegan Burnt Garlic Fried Rice

Indo- Chinese, a fusion cuisine is immensely popular in India and some dishes and recipes are unique to India and are almost unheard of in China. This burnt garlic fried rice is one such dish. Its quite hard to find a good Indo-Chinese restaurant outside of India. Inchins Bamboo Garden located in Redmond comes close to what we get back in India and this burnt garlic fried rice is one of my favorites from their menu. I’m not sure why this is called burnt fried rice, because there’s nothing burnt or smoky about this rice. Fried garlic is the star in this recipe and if you are a garlic fan, this is the ultimate treat for you. This recipe is very close to what you get at Inchins in terms of flavor and taste. At Inchins, they use basmati rice and chili paste, while I have used jasmine rice and whole chilies. We paired our rice with semi-homemade Manchurian. This rice combined with ginger-scallion noodles makes a great vegan Indo-Chinese meal.

burnt garlic fried rice


2 cups cooked rice (preferably one day old)

8 cloves garlic, sliced

1 bunch green onions, green and while parts finely chopped

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, finely chopped

4 dried red chilies

1 tablespoon oil

freshly ground black pepper



1. Heat oil in a pan and when oil is hot, add 4 cloves of sliced garlic and fry them till they turn golden brown. Remove from oil and set aside.

2. In the same pan, add dried red chilies and cook for a minute.

3. Add remaining sliced garlic and onions, sauté for a minute.

4. Add cooked rice and mix well.

5. Add soy sauce, black pepper and salt and cook till the rice is thoroughly heated.

6. Garnish with fried garlic and cilantro and serve hot.


Vegan Ginger Garlic Fried Rice

Fried rice is left over white rice’s best friend. Sometimes i make extra white rice intentionally so i can make fried rice the next day. That’s how much we like fried rice in this house. Throw in some veggies, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil, you are sure to put any good Asian restaurant to shame. The inspiration for this recipe came from a ginger fried rice recipe in the New York Times, i made some changes and i love its simplicity. Ginger and garlic play a vital role in this recipe, and if you are a garlic lover, you are in for a real treat. Pair it with Thai tofu stir fry for a wholesome meal.

vegan ginger garlic fried rice


2 cups cooked day-old white rice (preferably jasmine rice, but any rice would work)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 bunch green onions/ spring onions, white and green parts finely chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons minced ginger

1 teaspoon light soy sauce



1. Heat oil in a wok and when oil is hot, add garlic and ginger. Fry till they turn golden brown. Remove from oil using a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Add green onions and soy sauce, saute for couple of minutes on high heat.

3. Add rice and cook until heated through. Season with salt.

4. Sprinkle crispy ginger and garlic over rice before serving.


Omurice is a Japanese dish consisting of a thin omelet filled with fried rice and topped with ketchup. Its a classic Japanese take on a western dish and is popular both at Japanese homes and western diners in Japan. While the idea of ketchup in rice didn’t seem very appealing to me, it actually tasted pretty good when eaten as a whole package.


It just takes 20 minutes to prepare this, so a good option for busy weeknight dinners or for those days when you want to clean up your vegetable tray in the refrigerator. One day old rice works best for this recipe. If you have fresh rice that you want to use, then refrigerate the rice for at least an hour before using.



1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 onion, chopped

1/4 green bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced

1/2 lb tomato, chopped

1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup fresh or frozen green peas

2 cups day old white or brown rice

4 eggs

2 teaspoons milk





1. Heat oil in a pan. When oil is hot, add onions and garlic, saute till they turn soft.

2. Add mushrooms and green peppers, cook for a minute.

3. Add tomatoes, ketchup and bay leaf. Cook till tomatoes turn soft and mushy.

4. Remove the bay leaf and add rice, green peas. Mix well until the rice is thoroughly heated.

5. Season with salt and pepper. Remove rice from pan and set aside.

6. Beat 2 eggs with a teaspoon of milk, salt and pepper.

7. Add 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan. When oil is hot, add the eggs and swirl the pan so the egg mixture spreads out into a thin layer.

8. Allow egg to almost cook through and slide the omelette on to a plate.

9. Fill the center with rice and fold the omelette, making sure all the edges are tucked in.

10. Drizzle top with ketchup and serve hot.

11. Repeat steps 6-10 with other 2 eggs.

Lentil Rice With Egg Roast- A Guest Post From Shobana At Madras Masala Catering

Shobana is a talented cook, mom of 2 adorable kids under 5, mommy blogger and more importantly a good friend who i greatly admire for starting her own catering business. I can personally vouch for her creations in the kitchen and Yumjay, is a die-hard fan of Shobana’s chicken biryani, an aromatic Indian rice dish made with spices and meat or vegetables. As the name suggests, Madras Masala catering provides authentic south Indian dishes both meat and plant based ranging from curries to idlies to desserts. Shobana delivers catering orders to clients in Bothell, Redmond, Bellevue, Renton, Seattle, Issaquah and Sammamish for a small additional fee. With the holiday seasoning coming up, if you want to host an Indian party at home or work without fuss in the Seattle area, leave the menu planning and catering to Madras Masala . Join Shobana and her followers on Madras Masala facebook page for daily and weekly updates on menu, specials and more. Today Shobana is sharing her recipe for a simple south Indian comfort food, lentil rice with egg roast.

arisi parupu sadam

Arisi paruppu sadam loosely translates to rice and dal/lentil cooked together with mild spices. This dish was first introduced to me in 1998 when I attended my undergrad at a college in Coimbatore and I fell in love with its simplicity right away – both in terms of the ingredients and the taste. Don’t get me wrong.  I love my spices but there are days when you just want to give your palette a break! This dish is that. You can keep it plain or add some vegetables and make it a one pot meal. A few ingredients put together in a short time, and you have a satisfying dinner on a week night.

Ingredients for rice

1cup Sona masoori rice/ white rice

½ cup split pigeon peas/ toor dal

1 tablespoon oil/ghee

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

4-5 curry leaves

1 Green chili

1 teaspoon Ginger garlic paste (or substitute with half teaspoon each of minced ginger and garlic)

1/3cup onions, finely chopped

¼ cup Tomato, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, or to taste

1/8 teaspoon Turmeric powder


Ingredients for egg roast

2 boiled eggs, shelled and cut in two

¼ c onion

1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/4 teaspoon Cayenne powder

1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder

2 teaspoons oil

fresh cilantro, finely chopped


Method for rice

1. Wash and soak the rice and lentils together for at least 30 minutes.

2. If using a pressure cooker (recommended), place on the stove and when hot, add a tablespoon of oil or ghee.

3. Temper with mustard and cumin seeds. When they splutter add a few curry leaves and the sliced green chili.

4. Add the ginger garlic paste or mince and sauté for a couple of minutes.

5. Then add the onions and tomatoes and cook with a pinch of salt to cook faster.

6. When the onions and tomato have cooked down to a mushy pulp add the turmeric and cayenne powders. Mix well.

7. Drain the water from the rice and dal mixture and add it to the pressure cooker. Roast the rice mixture for about 3 minutes to mix it well with the onion tomato base.

8. Add about 2-2.5 cups of water/broth/stock of choice to this. Mix well again and adjust salt and spice.

9. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and cook for 3 whistles. If you would like a softer consistency on the rice add an additional half cup of cooking liquid and cook for an additional whistle.

10. When pressure goes down open the lid and mix well. Top it off with a fistful of chopped cilantro and top with a teaspoon of ghee (optional).

11. If you would like to any vegetables like carrots, green beans, peas etc, add it after Step 6.

Method for egg roast

1. In a pan heat up 2 teaspoons of cooking oil and add the onions.

2. Saute and add the spices and continue to cook taking care not to burn the spices.

3. Place the eggs, cut side down on the onions and reduce the heat.

4. Place a lid on the pan and let it roast for a couple of minutes checking to make sure the onions are not burning.

5. When the egg has browned and crisped as needed, remove from pan and serve with the rice.

The Oxbow Box Project- Vegan Broccoli Rice Pilaf

My next few posts are going to be recipes from the Oxbow box  because that’s what i cooked with all of last week and i still have a beautiful squash and some greens left. It is quite a good deal for local, organic veggies and its almost like a MasterChef challenge to come up with something exciting using the produce. There were a couple of fresh broccoli crowns calling my name from the box, so i toyed with the idea of a soup, salad and even a sandwich but the Indianness in me decided to make pilaf with them. I have used brown basmati rice  which imparts a nutty flavor to this dish. If you want a healthier version, you can use quinoa or any ancient grain like sorghum or farro, i am sure the results would be just as amazing. This flavorful rice makes a great weeknight dinner because it comes together in less than 30 minutes. Pair it with a simple raw salad and raita for a wholesome meal.

broccoli rice


2 medium sized broccoli crowns, cut into florets

1 cup brown basmati rice

1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas

1 medium onion, chopped lengthwise

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

4 Thai green chilies or 2 Serrano peppers

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 one inch piece ginger, minced

2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

2 tablespoons mint, finely chopped

1 cup light coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 tablespoon oil

3 cloves

1 one inch piece cinnamon

2 cardamoms

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds



1. Wash and soak rice in water for 15 minutes.

2. While the rice is soaking, heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. When oil is hot, add cumin seeds, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Let it cook for a minute.

3. Add onions, cilantro and mint. Saute for couple of minutes till onions turn soft.

4. Add garlic and ginger, cook for couple of minutes.

5. Add tomatoes and green chilies, cook till the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.

6. Add broccoli florets, peas, turmeric powder and saute for 2 minutes.

7. Add drained rice and gently saute the rice with the vegetables for couple of minutes.

8. Add coconut milk and a cup of water, salt and mix well.

9. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Let it simmer for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

10. Gently fluff with a fork and serve hot.