Recipe: Navratan Pulao

A couple of weeks back, this recipe popped up in my Facebook feed. It is a recipe from the Sanjeev Kapoor’s WonderChef brand. I only had one view and when I was wondering what to cook this weekend, I decided to make this and used what I thought was the recipe.

Navratan traditionally means nine gems and so I decided to make this with nine ingredients, including dry fruits and excluding rice and spices.

Navratan Pulao


  • 2 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked for 30 minutes
  • 1 large onion, sliced finely
  • 1 carrot, julienned into slightly thick strips
  • 1 sweet potato, julienned into the same size and shape as the carrot
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 10-12 cashew nuts
  • 10-12 almonds
  • 1 handful raisins
  • 2 green chillies, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 4-5 green cardamom pods
  • 2-inch cinnamon
  • Salt to taste


  • Drain the rice and keep aside
  • In a pan, heat the ghee and when warm, fry the cashew nuts, almonds and raisins, one by one, remove, drain and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, with the remaining ghee, add the cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and cardamom and stir for a couple of seconds.
  • Now add the chopped chillies and ginger and give it a stir.
  • Add the vegetables and stir well.
  • Now add the washed rice, the fried dry fruits and salt and stir well.
  • If you are cooking this in a rice cooker, pour the rice into the rice cooker, add 3.5 cups of water and check for salt and let it cook.
  • If you are cooking on the stove top, add 2 cups of water and let it cook. Check occasionally and add more water if needed.
  • You can serve this with any gravy based vegetable or even just with a salad and a raita.


Recipes: Peanut Tomato Chutney

I am a huge fan of chutneys, believing that these really add something to your meal. I also believe that chutneys are very versatile, going well with full Indian meals as an accompaniment and you can also slather them on a slice of bread for a quick snack or even use them for lunch box ideas for your children or even yourself!

I usually have some chutney or the other in the fridge and I was looking for ideas to extend my chutney repertoire when I chanced upon the Andhra style Peanut and Tomato chutney. The recipe intrigued me and so I decided to tweak it a bit to make it my own (as I am usually wont to do). It was a surprise hit and a definite keeper. I made it slightly spicier than usual, so do keep that in mind when you make it yourself.

This is also a no-onion, no-garlic recipe, so it’s good for days when you don’t add these ingredients to your food!

Tomato Peanut Chutney


  • 6-7 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raw peanuts
  • 7-8 fresh red chillies (can substitute with dried red chillies also)
  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp gingelly oil
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida powder
  • Salt to taste


  • Chop the tomatoes, ginger and red chillies and keep aside
  • If using dried chillies, soak them in warm water for 10 minutes, drain and keep aside.
  • Heat gingelly oil in a pan and when warm, add the mustard seeds
  • When the seeds pop, add the fenugreek seeds and the sesame seeds and let them pop.
  • When the seeds pop, add the peanuts and stir till the peanuts start popping and the skin starts to split.
  • Then add the chopped tomatoes, chillies and ginger and season with salt and asafoetida and let them cook until the tomatoes become mushy.
  • Switch off the gas and let it cool completely.
  • Blend into a smooth chutney using as little water as possible.
  • This goes very well with idlis, dosa, adai, rotis and even bread.

Recipes: Thalagam Kozambu

Earlier this week was the festival of Thiruvathirai which is mostly celebrated in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. I decided, for the first time, to make this dish which is only made for this festival.

This dish is a traditional dish of the brahmins who come from the Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu (of which I am also a part of from my parents) and is something I’ve always grown up with, but never actually made.

It is traditionally eaten with a sweet rice dish called kali, but I decided to pair with Ven Pongal. I also didn’t have all the vegetables traditionally used for this dish, so I improvised!

Talaga Kozambu


  • 1 small lime-sized ball of tamarind, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes and the juice squeezed out
  • 1 carrot, chopped into big pieces
  • 1 radish, chopped into big pieces
  • 2 large potatoes, chopped into big pieces
  • 2 raw bananas, chopped into large pieces
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste

To be ground into a paste

  • 6 dried red chillies
  • 2 tsp toor dal
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp oil

To temper

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek/methi seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida powder


  • Heat oil in a pan and put in the red chillies, toor dal and sesame seeds and stir.
  • When the dal turns light brown, add the grated coconut and continuously stir until the coconut is crisp and brown. Ensure the coconut does not burn.
  • Let it cool completely and blend this into a fine paste with water.
  • Wash the vegetables and put them in the same pan. Add just enough water to cover and then the turmeric powder and some salt. Cover and cook until the vegetables are half cooked.
  • When the vegetables are half cooked, pour in the tamarind juice and cover and cook for approximately 5 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.
  • Next, add the blended masala and stir well. Check and add salt if needed. Remove from the flame around five minutes after it comes to a rolling boil.
  • In a smaller pan, heat the ghee and put in the mustard seeds, fenugreek/methi seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida. When the curry leaves become crisp, remove from the flame and pour over the Kozambu.
  • Enjoy with any rice of your choice through the traditional accompaniment is kali


The traditional vegetables used are raw banana, ash gourd, yellow/orange pumpkin, yam, brinjal/aubergine, broad beans, sweet potato, potatoes, radish, etc.

Recipes: Sweet Corn Soup

I’m actually surprised at myself that even though I’ve been cooking for so long, I’ve never made sweet corn soup. The other day, as I was planning our Sunday menu, my dad asked for this soup. I then realised I’ve yet to make this so looked around some sites and came up with my version of sweet corn soup. This recipe has minimal ingredients and I omitted corn paste which is traditionally used to thicken the soup, instead used nuts to thicken the soup. The verdict was very encouraging, everyone loved the soup and went for seconds and thirds and there was none left in the pot at the end of the meal!

Sweet Corn Soup


  • 2 cups, frozen sweet corn, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and drained
  • 1 handful each of almonds and cashew nuts, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes.
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tsp pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste


  • Remove the skin of the almonds and keep the nuts aside.
  • Blend 1 cup sweet corn into a smooth paste with 1 cup milk, the soaked almonds and cashew nuts and some water.
  • Finely chop the spring onions and keep the white and green parts separate.
  • Heat a pan and put in the butter and oil.
  • When the butter melts, add the white part of the spring onions and fry till it becomes translucent. Then add salt and pepper and fry for a couple of seconds.
  • Next add in the remaining whole corn kernels and stir for a minute or two.
  • Now pour the blended corn and nut paste into the pan and stir well till it starts bubbling.
  • Add equal quantities of water and milk to thin it and season accordingly.
  • Serve hot garnished with the green portion of the spring onion.

Recipes: No Onion, No Garlic Mixed Vegetable Rice

This is my take on a super easy my mum makes for my dad. My mum makes this very often at home and so I decided to tweak it a bit. I made it as a no onion, no garlic recipe, but feel free to add both to your version.

No Onion, No Garlic Mixed Vegetable Rice


  • 1 cup cooked basmati rice
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 potato, chopped
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger, julienned
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp carom seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mango powder
  • 1.5 tsp biryani/pulao masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil


  • Wash all the vegetables and keep aside
  • Cool the cooked rice and fluff it in a plate and keep aside
  • Heat a large pan and add the oil
  • When the oil heats up, put in the cumin seeds and let them pop. Then add the carom seeds and let that pop too.
  • Now add the ginger and let it fry for a few seconds before adding in the bell pepper.
  • Then add the turmeric, chilli, coriander and cumin powder and stir for a second
  • Now add all the vegetables (except for the spinach) and sauté well.
  • Cover and cook until the vegetables are almost done.
  • At this point, add the spinach, salt, mango powder, biryani/pulao masala and cook till the spinach wilts and the spices are well incorporated
  • Now add the cooled and fluffed rice and mix well, so the rice and vegetables are mixed thoroughly
  • Check for seasoning and serve with a raita of your choice


  • You can serve the recipe at the point before adding the rice as a sabzi which goes very well with Indian breads
  • If you want to add onions and/or garlic, add them at the point when you put the ginger in the oil