Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Three Layered Veg Biriyani

I thought of this recipe the other day when I was sitting and wondering what to do with the spinach sitting in my refrigerator. Since I had made palak paneer just the previous week, I knew no one would be interested in it, I next thought of Sai Bhaji but it is not so easy to get fenugreek and dill leaves in the summer, so that too was out of question. That is when I remembered my friend Maneesha had once mentioned a palak paneer biryani her mother made. Palak paneer biriyani as such was not so interesting as people at home would just think it is palak paneer cooked with rice, that is when I thought of making this three layered biriyani. I made it again today making some variations to my earlier recipe based on family feedback.

3 ½ to 4 cups of rice (basmati or any other good quality rice),
2 bay leaves,
2 green cardamoms,
5-6 black peppercorns,
Salt to taste,
1 medium onion,
1 tsp lemon juice,
3 tbsps oil

Spinach and Mushroom Layer

2 heaped cups spinach,
1 small tomato,
1 small piece of bottle gourd,
4 cloves of garlic,
2 green chillies,
¼ of a capsicum,
1 small sliced onion,
½ tsp cumin powder,
½ tsp pepper powder,
¼ tsp garam masala powder,
5 button mushrooms,
Salt to taste,
1 tbsp of oil

Green Pea Layer

1 cup green peas,
Salt to taste,
1 tsp crushed black pepper,
½ tbsp oil

Paneer Layer

200 gms diced paneer,
1 tsp cumin seeds,
1 medium sized onion,
1 tsp ginger paste,
1 tsp garlic paste,
1 tsp cumin seed powder,
½ tsp turmeric powder,
1 tsp red chilli powder,
Salt to taste,
2 tbsp oil,
1 tsp lemon juice,
1 tsp kasoori methi


Wash and soak the rice for about 20 minutes. Heat about 1 ½ litre of water and add the bay leaves, green cardamom and the black pepper. Once it comes to a boil add the salt and the drained rice. Once it is half done add the lemon juice and let it cook till it is 3/4th done. Keep aside. You can spread this rice on a big plate and drizzle some oil on it.

Slice the onion, heat the remaining oil and add the sliced onions. Fry this till golden brown and drain this out. This fried onion will be used to garnish and this is called ‘biriyan’ and this is what gives ‘biriyani’ its name. The leftover oil will be used while assembling the biriyani.

To make the spinach and mushroom layer

Wash the spinach well and cook it with the tomato, bottle gourd, garlic, green chillies and capsicum. Let this cool and then puree it. Slice the onion and the mushrooms. Heat the oil and add the sliced onion and fry till it turns pink in colour. Next add the cumin powder, pepper powder, garam masala powder and the sliced mushrooms. Saute for about 3-4 minutes. Next add the pureed greens and salt. Cook for another 2 minutes and keep aside.

To make the green peas layer

Cook the green peas with some salt till done. Heat oil and add the cooked green peas, salt and crushed black pepper. Saute for 1-2 minutes and keep aside.

To make the paneer layer

Dice the paneer. Fry the paneer cubes with a little oil in a non stick pan. Dip the fried paneer pieces in hot water for about 20 minutes and then squeeze out excess water. Slice the onion. Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds, once they pop add the sliced onion and fry till it turns pink in colour. Next add the ginger-garlic paste, cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and fry till the oil separates. Next add the paneer cubes and salt and sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Lastly add the crushed kasoori methi. Keep aside.

To assemble the biriyani

Take a heavy bottomed pan and spread a layer of rice all along the bottom. Spread the spinach-mushroom mixture over this. Follow this with a layer of rice. Now drizzle some of the oil used to fry the onions. Next follow this with a layer of the peas, followed by a rice layer. Another drizzle with the onion-oil and then the layer of paneer and the final layer of rice. Drizzle some more oil. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook it for about 20 mins. Serve this hot garnished with the fried onions and with a side accompaniment of a raita.

Kori Rotti

I first had kori rotti at a family friends place years ago. Since then we have been having this combination quite often. It is a big hit with my niece and nephew. They have already told me that when they come next they want the kadak walla rotti 😊

There is an interesting episode I remember about this dish. In one of my work places the canteen was run by Shettys and we would generally have dinner there if we were staying late at work. This dish was served one day at dinner and I exclaimed that we make it at home too. My friend was surprised to know that it is an actual known dish, she had felt it was just something the canteen guys had made up 😊. Truly we do not know of the culinary gems from so many parts of the country. I just love exploring new dishes from various states and local ingredients too.

To explain the dish it is crisp rice papad kind of rotti which is served with chicken in a coconut-based gravy. I don’t think anyone makes the rotti at home, it is easily available in most Mangalore stores. To view a Youtube video on how it is made, click here.

We would generally serve this with the traditional chicken recipe of my native place, but then recently when some friends of mine came to Bangalore from Kolkatta we took them out to a Mangalorean restaurant for dinner; there we ordered this as it is quite a signature dish from Mangalore and I saw they served it with a slightly different kind of chicken gravy. So the other day when I made it again, I looked up the recipe on the net and made this version.


¾ kg chicken pieces with bone,
2 sliced medium sized onion,
2 cups thin coconut milk (extracted at home or store bought),
1 cup thick coconut milk (extracted at home or store bought),
½ tsp of garam masala powder,
Salt to taste,
5 spicy red chillies,
10-12 bydagi red chillies,
2 tbsps of coriander seeds,
8-10 black peppercorns,
1 tsp of cumin seeds,
A large pinch of fenugreek seeds,
¼ tsp of turmeric,
10 garlic cloves,
 1 tsp of thick tamarind paste,
1 cup of grated coconut,
2 tbsp of coconut oil or ghee

To Serve

1 packet of store bought rotti


Heat a heavy bottomed pan and dry roast the red chillies (both types), coriander seeds, pepper corns cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds all one by one till aromatic and keep aside. Ensure none of this gets burnt or the curry will have a unpleasant bitter taste.

Once cool, powder this in a mixer.

Heat about ½ tbsp. oil or ghee in the same pan and add one of the sliced onions and the garlic cloves. Fry till the onions turn pink then add the coconut, turmeric powder. Saute till it is aromatic. Roasted coconut gives out a very heavenly smell. Let this cool. Add the powdered mixture to this along with the tamarind paste and grind it to a very fine paste using some water.

Mix the ground paste with the thin coconut milk in your cooking vessel. Bring it to a boil, then add the washed and drained chicken and salt to taste. Cover the pan and cook till the chicken is tender and done. Now add the garam masala powder and the thick coconut milk and let it get all heated through. Switch off the heat now.

In another pan heat the remaining ghee or oil and add the remaining sliced onion and fry till it is golden brown. Pour this entire thing over the chicken curry. Let it sit covered for about 10 minutes before serving.

To serve break the rotti into smaller pieces if they are too big in size. Heap them on a serving plate and pour the curry on top. Let is rest for a minute then have it using your fingers. This is one dish that cannot be had with a fork and spoon.

The rotti should be slightly soggy with the gravy and some of it should be crisp, that is the ideal way to have it. Ensure the gravy is hot or it will not be soaked by the rotti. My husband has this curry with ghee rice as he is not a fan of this rotti…each to his own 😊

Thursday, 14 December 2017


I am going to dedicate this post to my friend Gita, who really appreciated this dish when I took it as part of my lunch box.

Surnali is a dish from the Konkan belt, it is generally made quite sweet and had with ghee or home-made butter. I made it just a tad sweet as I planned to have it with a savoury side dish during lunch time.

It is pretty much simple to make and quite a delight when it gets so gloriously soft and porous on the tawa. Let me now get into how I made it.


2 cups idli rice (this is something I get easily in Bangalore but if you do not have access to this, use any kind of raw rice),
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds,
2 cups grated coconut,
1 cup of sour curd
½ cup thick poha or beaten rice,
½ cup powdered jaggery,
1 small piece of fresh turmeric or ¼ tsp powdered turmeric,
Salt to taste,
¼ tsp baking soda,
Ghee as required


Wash the rice and fenugreek seeds and soak it together for about 4-5 hours.

Wash and soak the thick poha for about 5 minutes.

Grind the soaked ingredients together with grated coconut, fresh turmeric (if using) and curd to a fine paste. I did this in two batches. Then add the jaggery, salt and turmeric powder (if using).
The consistency of the batter should be thick but pourable. If you feel the batter is too thick you can add a little buttermilk to get the right consistency.

Let this ferment for about 8 hours. I generally leave it overnight.

After the fermentation beat it until fluffy and add the baking soda and mix again.

I have not had much success with this dish and my iron dosa tawa, perhaps because of the jaggery, so I generally make it on my non-stick pan.

Heat the non-stick tawa till hot, smear a little ghee and pour a ladle full of batter. Do not spread it around like a normal dosa, you can spread it a bit to get a thick round. Drop a few drops of ghee over it and cook covered. You will see many holes appear on the surface after about one and a half minute. It is generally not flipped over. If you want to you can gently flip it over and cook for just a few seconds.

This version can be served with just some chutney or even just like that.

If you want to make the sweet traditional version use about 1.5 cups of jaggery instead of just half cup jaggery.