Monthly Archives: April 2009

Mo takes Roshan’s Istanburyani for a taste drive.

Warning: Not a 140 second recipe. Very uncomplicated though.

Roshan shared his recipe for a Biryani Mashup with me a while back, and I refused to post it because I don’t trust the PhD’s.

I tried it yesterday, and it turned out surprisingly good. More importantly, it was surprisingly easy. Bold, italics, underlined. Why did I always assume it was complicated?

The only screw-up is that this really can’t be made in small quantities. Must be made for a whole bunch of starving gatecrashers who should have  skipped breakfast and lunch to have dinner. And you may still have leftovers. Not quite the thing for a romantic dinner for two.

Anyway, without further ado, over to Roshan..


Istanbuli” or Stamboli as Rose* insists is a Persian flavored rice dish. I figure the etymology of it due to perhaps Turkish influences. But perhaps Rose is right and Stamboli is just a Persian word for this dish.
Biryani is a flavoured rice dish popular in the Indian subcontinent.

Common elements of both:
Flavorful cooking of meat in a thick sauce as a precursor.
“Dumming” of half-cooked rice along with the meaty-sauce.

Distinguishing elements.

Istanbuli uses onions and garlic with spices in tomato sauce for the gravy. Biryani gets it gravy from onion-garlic too but the gravy materializes out of cooking yoghurt.
Lentils and Garbanzo beans (chickpeas/chhole) are added to Istanbuli along with the meat.

In any case.. here’s the recipe for Istanburyani as I call it.

0. Make sure you have some softened lentils/garbanzo beans (I used black beans soaked overnight and a can of garbanzo beans)**

1. Marinate some meat of your in masala and yoghurt with spices. I used lamb***, in mango chilli powder, turmeric, salt, and garam masala. I recommend at least one hour.

2. Start off sauteing well chopped onions with green chillies and dried spices like cardamom, cinnamon, etc on slow heat.

3. Add in chopped tomatoes when onions are glassy and look super-tender.

4. Add marinated meat and pour in the tomato sauce.

5. Slow cook. Really, low flame. Some 40 mins or so. Check every 20 mins, stir, adjust etc.

6. The meat has released all its fat? And the gravy looks good ?

7. Add in the lentils, beans. whatever u planned. Drop in some more yoghurt, maybe some coconut cream (I also added coconut flakes for the sake of south India) and some chopped coriander.

8. Another 20 mins, slow cook.

9. Half cook basmati rice. means cook it as u normally do but for lesser time and with lesser water.

10. Get huge vessel or baking tray. Layer up the curry/meat sauce thingy.. and the rice in alternate  layers.  Bake in oven or slow cook on SUPER LOW flame. if on flame. put some oil in vessel first and use the first layer as rice.   Then you get what the persians call “TahDiq” .. the crusty crispy rice at the bottom.

11. Dum it****. Mix. Serve with raita or some cooling salad.

Spices/ proportions / etc..  use creativity and brains with prior cooking experience.

Mo’s footnotes:

* Name Changed to protect privacy. Hhhehhe.

** I skipped this.  No beans for me.

***I used chicken and  added mint leaves (Pudina). Kickass, I tell you.

****Put a tightfitting lid on top, and let it steam. Go for a walk, check your email, tweet..

Having said all of that, this recipe is a total oppositesexmagnet. Thanks Roshan, if it wasn’t this near-namesake problem, I would be writing louu-letters on pink paper with red ink, dotting my i’s with hearts, and burping  sweet-nothings in morse code.

Okay, the last part was a bit disgusting, but marriage proposals, and other suggestions, to be mailed to – will forward to the concerned party.


Sunshine Girl’s upside to the sunny side-up.

[Guest post by first commenter sunshin3girl.]

Doesn’t involve sunny side ups, it’s an easy peasy egg salad. More like, easiest peasiest why-don’t-we-have-fun-with-boiled-eggs-more-often recipe.

Tangy Egg Salad

This quick and easy salad is a hit, every time. What’s more, it fills you up too.


1. Eggs (At least four to make a plate full.)
2. Olive Oil
3. Spices: Red Chilly Powder, Salt, Oregano, Black Pepper is optional (Adding both red chilly and black pepper gives HOT results.)


1. Hard-boil the eggs*.
2. Once done, let them come to normal temperature and then carefully shell and cut into half vertically. More careful you are with this step, the better the appearance of the salad.
3. Scoop out the yolk from all eggs. In a bowl, add one teaspoon olive oil, the yolks, and the spices to taste. Mix well until it forms a thick paste.
4. Now fill each of the egg-halves with the paste. The paste goes where the yolk came out of, of course.
5. Put in the refrigerator to cool. You could make some garnish out of carrots/radish, coriander, mint, or butter lettuce while you wait.

Dig in!

PS: If you are really like decking up your food (like me), you could add a tiny drop of chilly sauce/ketchup on each egg-half.

Mo’s  gyaan.

* How to boil an egg: I was told that the recipes are too complicated, so here’s the youtube video for help.

Quick couscous salad

Few basic ingredients.

Couscous (not to be confused with the Indian khus khus = poppy seeds, the kinds that can get you in trouble at airports, unless you are Mo. ) – 1 cup

Onions – 1 small

Garlic – couple of cloves

Capsicum &/ Carrots &/ Tomatoes

Chilli, finely chopped – swaad ke anusaar

Coriander/herb of choice (parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme if you want.)

Note: In case of non-availability of couscous, this recipe works well with broken wheat/daliya as well.

Boil couscous/daliya as per instructions on pack, with some salt. The grains should be separate and fluffy.

Chop veggies into bite-sized pieces.

Toss the veggies, chilli and boiled couscous together. Add some more salt and pepper to taste. Eat.

(If you hate raw onions and garlic or have  date later in the day, please saute them in a little bit of oil first.)


Make the couscous separate, and serve grilled/sauteed veggies on the side.

If too dry, you can eat it with some dahi on the side, or mix it in.

Black olives, chopped, fit right into this dish. Heck, they belong here.

Two magic words: Aloo bhujia. Mix in 2 teaspoons and eat. Sigh. And ask person living with you to bury the rest of the bhujia packet somewhere out of reach.

Mo’s Ode to Asparagus

Image Source: Epicurean

via Epicurean

How do I thank thee
Oh my dear asparagi
snap it and *bam*,
I throw it into the pan
and I come back in three

There is no vegetable which is easier to cook than the asparagus. When the Roman emperor Augustus wanted something done quickly he commanded it to be done “citius quam asparagi coquintur” (quicker than you can cook asparagus). (You may think I have cooked it up, but I serve the source: Epicurean)

So, yes. I find the asparagus the most no-nonsense thing to cook. And strangely, with the very little effort that goes in, everyone still seems to like it. It’s one of those side dishes that makes it look like you have cooked a lot.

Chopping the asparagus:
1. Snap them at the woody stems
2. Chop them roughly, if you want, no need to be very precise.
3. Thinner softer stalks don’t need to be peeled, but if they are thick, you might want to peel them a little. (I don’t)

Now to do the cooking. In a pan, throw in some oil. Olive oil works better. Then decide one of the…

…three stir fry recipes:

1. Soy sauce: Put in a little bit of it (and skip the salt, please). Stir fry. Add fresh red chillies for kicks. Done!
2. Garlic+ Fresh red chillies +salt to taste: Stir fry. Done!
3. Salt and Pepper. Try to look for Lemon pepper – that works wonders!

I prefer to steam my asparagus a little before I stir fry, so that it doesn’t spend too much time in the pan, and it’s healthier. But if you think it will soften them too much, then don’t. If it is a thicker stem, you should.

Cynic’s Chicken-sausage & Cheese Closed Canapes*/**


Chicken sausages (Number variable – how greedy are you?)
Cheese cubes or spread
Chili ( No, actually there is no Cinnamon or chili  but it was alliterating so beayutifully I couldn’t help myself. One could always try it for a kick)
1tbsp Butter
1 Onion ( large fellow)
4-5 garlic cloves
Crust less white slice bread
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
Preparation – Stuffing
Saute the onions and garlic in the butter
Add the sliced sausages
Add the salt and pepper
Add the cut coriander
Add the cheese
Mix the whole thing up
Wait till the cheese melts and the saliva starts dripping
Take off gas
Preparation – Canapes*
Take slice of bread – dampen it with water ( I said damp – not dripping like Mandakini under the waterfall)
Ladle a bit of the cheesy stuffing onto it
Wrap the bread around it and make it circular, cylindrical or whichever shape you like. Personally I like modak shaped – that way the stuffing doesn’t sneak out.
Chuck it into the oil ( Please note, that in spite of my warnings, if you HAVE made the bread into Mandakini (you perverts), please stay away from the gas because the oil WILL splutter and splash all over)
Wait till it is golden brown
Done dana done
* I know it cannot  be called canapes because its closed. Which is the reason I am calling it CLOSED canapes. HA!
** Damn it. Alliteration is addictive

Mo takes the prawn curry for a spin

Main  ingredients:

Tamarind (soak in water/use extract)

Wait, only if you can get past peeling and de veining them, move forward. Else, skip the recipe. Or, you could use frozen ones.

Other ingredients (Mix and match):

Coriander Powder
Chilli Powder



1. Microwave prawns with water till they look cooked.
2. Put the first four of the “other ingredients” into the pan with the oil.  Stir. Wait.
3. Add the prawns. Stir, wait.
4. Now add the tamarind extract and a little water. Let it boil and dry up.

Test, taste.

5. Too sour? Add a bit of sugar/jaggery.

6. For a real spin,  add a bit of shredded ginger, and chopped red chillies.

Stir. Garnish. Serve.

PShub’s peasy peasy palak pudina pesto pasta**

Puree one small bunch spinach with pudina if on hand. Saute chopped onions, garlic with the puree and add to cooked pasta of choice. Salt, pepper to taste. Add toasted walnuts or nuts of choice. Eat. And cheesily sing ‘taste bhi! health bhi!’.

PS: Green chillies for extra kick.

**Shub loves alliteration (and green pasta.)