This is a Mughal influenced dish kind of like a kichadi and there are several variations. This is my take and is more of a rice salad than a kichadi. It is really easy to put together and the perfect one pot dish. The meaning of qabooli means acceptable or palatable and this dish certainly lives up to that expectation. Another easy and tasty one pot dish!



250g Basmati rice

400g tinned brown lentils, drained and rinsed well

400g tinned Beluga lentils, drained and rinsed well

50g shallots, finely diced

1 medium sized red onion, finely diced



What makes this almost a biryani? I cooked this in the pressure cooker, thereby halving the time. Traditionally biryani is cooked in the oven (low and slow, so the flavours have time to be accentuated). I simplified the process and used whole spices and garam masala instead of making my own spice paste. It is also very unconventional to use chick peas!

Biryan-ish, fragrant rice and vegetables

To make the backbone of Indian spice pastes – ginger and garlic paste, just pound equal measure of ginger and garlic in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt.


75g red onion

200g waxy potatoes, cut into eighths

100g carrots, cut into small cubes

100g cut green beans (frozen is okay)

1 x 400g tin of chick peas, drained and rinsed well

45g ghee

1 quill cinnamon stick

5 cardamom pods

1 star anise

4 cloves

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon ginger, garlic paste

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

225g Basmati rice, rinsed well

100ml plain natural yoghurt, whisked smooth

2-3 red chillies, chopped

3 tablespoons coriander leaves and stalks, chopped finely

Salt to taste

10 strands saffron soaked in a tablespoon of warm water

150g onion, finely sliced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil


First prepare the caramelized onions. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium sized fry pan. Throw in the onions and a few good pinches salt. Slowly fry them on medium low heat for 20 minutes, turning them once in a while until they are brown, soft and slightly caramelized.

Heat ghee in the pressure pan. Add the whole spices – the cinnamon quill, bay leaves, star anise, cloves and cardamom. When the spices bloom and smell fragrant, add the sliced red onion. Fry for three minutes, add the ginger, garlic paste, chillies and coriander leaves, followed by garam masala and turmeric. Fry continuously for a minute and toss in the vegetables including the chick peas. Keep frying so the spices coat the vegetables well. Spoon the yoghurt and salt and mix well. Cook for a couple of minutes.

The vegetables first and then rice on top for Biryan-ish

Spoon the rice so the vegetables are completely covered. Top with caramelized onions and pour over the saffron strands. Gently pour 300mls of hot water along the walls of the pressure pan so as not to disturb the vegetable base. Cover with the lid and turn the heat to high. Cook on low heat for five minutes after you hear the first whistle. Allow the pressure cooker to cool completely.

Turn over the biryani onto a serving platter. Serve hot with plain yoghurt and pickled onions.

Serves 4.


In a formal Italian meal, risotto is served as a primo or first course and then the secondi or meat course follows. Obviously there is a lot of eating over the course of the evening /night happens. I like the risotto to stand on its own so I pack it with lots of flavour even though I say so myself! I may serve a small starter or a dessert when I make risotto.

This was a big hit with my family and I urge you to try it. The success of your risotto depends on your stock. I like to make my own stocks and if you are after any stock recipes, hit the search bar.

Pea and Prawn Risotto


300g Carnaroli or Arborio rice (risotto rice)

400g large or jumbo prawns, (16-20 numbers)

150ml dry white wine

1.125 litre fish stock preferably home made

40g butter, divided

20ml olive oil

1.5 cups thawed peas, divided

2 tablespoons parsley pesto

150g finely chopped onion

Continue reading “PEA & PRAWN RISOTTO”


Seafood Paella

Most non Spaniards consider paella as a national dish but Spaniards attribute this to Valencia. Moors in Muslim Spain started rice cultivation since 10th century. Rice has been made into casseroles using fish and spices since then and it really symbolizes the union of two cultures – Roman and Arabic.

To make a good paella, you need to use Bomba rice, saffron and really good full bodied stock. I feel your paella is only as good as your stock. If you don’t have a paella pan, use a stainless steel pan but do not use cast iron or non-stick pans. If you use a heavy bottomed pan, you will not get the very desirable soccarat. Soccarat is the rice that gets crunchy and forms a crust at the bottom of the pan.


200 grams monk fish fillets, cut into 5cm pieces

200 grams mussels, remove beards and scrub the shells

300 grams large prawns with their tails intact

250 grams bomba or calasparra rice

Continue reading “SEAFOOD PAELLA”


I served this with parsley, pepita (pumpkin kernels) pesto. I normally buy parmesan in the block and freshly grate as and when I need.

Leek and Butternut Risotto


600 grams butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 2 centimetre cubes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 leek, washed thoroughly, quartered lengthwise and sliced thinly

1 plus ½ cup Arborio rice

150ml dry white wine