Tried this recipe from last Saturday when friends Preeti Patil and Jay came over. This starter with its south indian flavors was a hit with them..
Very easy to cook and the key is in cooking the chicken till it is browned well. 

I have tried a lot of recipes from vahrevah and somehow they have always turned out now I am hooked on to the Sanjay Thumma's video stream on youtube

1. Marinate 1/2 kg chicken on the bone with 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste and salt to taste. Keep this aside for at least 2 hrs before cooking
2. Take 2 tsp oil in a pan and heat it. When hot, add 1 tsp cumin seeds and saute till it is brown. I also added 1/2 tsp shahi jeera seeds for additional taste. Add 1 finely chopped onion, a pinch of salt and saute. When the onion is pink, add 1 sprig of curry leaves and saute.
3. Now add the chicken and mix well. Cover and cook the chicken on a low flame till about 80% done. This should take around 20 mins
4. Remove the lid and saute to remove the water that must have accumulated. Add 2 tsp vinegar and 1 tsp freshly crushed pepper powder. Keep sauteing in the process browning the chicken. Finally add 1 tsp garam masala powder and mix well. Remove from heat when you think the chicken is well cooked
5. Garnish with coriander  and serve hot as a starter or a side dish.

I love Italian food and though I like Pasta more than Risotto, I decided to cook Risotto again after a long time. Having tried Risotto with pumkin and one other time with chicken and mushrooms, today I decided to cook it with Bell Peppers and Zucchini.
Risotto with Zucchini and Bell Peppers

1. In a large pan, take 1 tbsp of olive oil. When hot, add 1 cup zucchini cut into cubes. I used Golden Zucchini here but you can use the Green one too. Add 1/2 cup each of red and yellow peppers and saute on high heat for 2-3 mins. When gold, add 5-6 pods of finely chopped garlic  and saute for a minute stirring continuously. Remove from the pan and set aside
2. In the same pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 onion cut into fine longish thin pieces. Saute on low heat till pink/translucent. Dont burn/brown the onions. Add 1 and 1/2 cup arborio rice to this mixture and saute till the rice grains are transparent.
3. Add 1 cup of vegetable stock to the rice and stir continuously  Keep adding stock as and when needed and stir constantly. Keep doing this for about 20 mins on low flame, till the rice is cooked but yet crunchy to bite into.
4. Add the zucchini and bell peppers, add 1 tbsp butter and mix well. Sprinkle basil leaves (Since i did not have basil at home, I used tulsi leaves and the taste was very similar to basil) and grated cheese (you need to use Parmesan, but I used Gouda as  I did not get parmesan at the store). Stir gently and remove from heat
5. Drizzle olive oil and some more cheese and serve.

Hussain is my regular autowalla and we have interesting conversations on the way to office. This friday, we were discussing Hyderabadi Biryani when he told me that Biryani has an interesting and easy to cook cousin called Tahiri. He went on to describe the recipe for this easy one pot dish and I noted the recipe in my head. I had to cook it today least I forget the recipe.
So here is Hussain's Tahiri recipe

Tahari (Hyderabadi Meat and Tomato Rice)

1. Clean and Marinate 1/2 kg mutton (with bones) with 2 tbsp curd, 1 cup each of chopped mint leaves and coriander leaves, 3 finely chopped green chillies and salt and keep aside. It is good to leave this marination for at least 2 hours before you cook it.
2. Wash 2 cups of basmati rice and drain the water and keep aside.
3. In a pressure cooker, take 1 tsp ghee and 1 tsp oil and when hot add 2 finely chopped onions and saute till the onions are slightly brown.
4. Add 2 tsp of ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute. Add 2 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp garam masala powder and mix well. Add the marinated mutton pieces and saute well for 5-10 mins. Add 3-4 finely chopped tomatoes and mix well. Now saute all this for at least 15-20 mins mins till the mutton is almost done and the tomatoes are mushy. Since rice cooks well, ensure that your mutton is well cooked before you add the rice.
5. Add the basmati rice and mix well so that it is well coated. Add 5 cups of water (use the same measuring cup as used for rice). Add a handful of finely chopped mint and coriander leaves, 1 tsp garam masala powder and mix well.
6. Pressure cook for 4 whistles and then turn off the flame.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve the Tahiri with dahi raita.

Beetroot Sambar

Tasted this dish for the first time at Sahana and Vijay's place in Leeds. Loved it for its simple flavors. I like Beetroot for the unique color of the dishes and have cooked this dish many times after coming back from our UK holidays.
Here is Sahana's recipe for the dish Beetroot Sambar

1. Boil 1/2 cup of toor dal in pressure cooker. Along with Dal, you can also boil 2 beetroots by keeping them in separate vessels.
2. Grind 1/2 cup grated coconut with 2-3 tsp sambar powder with very little water to a fine paste. I used store bought sambar powder. I added 1 small piece of tamarind and some pieces of beetroot while making the paste.
3. Cut the boiled beetroot into pieces and keep aside.
4. Boil 1 glass of water in a vessel and while boiling add 2 green chillies and leave it for 5mins.
5. Add the beetroot pieces, boiled dal and of coconut and sambar powder and cook. Add 1 tsp of jaggery for some sweetness and a pinch of asafoetida and let this cook on a slow flame for at least 10 mins. You can adjust the water according to the consistency you desire.
6. For the tempering/tadka, take a small pan. Add 2 tsp coconut oil, add 1 tsp mustard seeds when the oil is hot. When the seeds start  to splutter, add 2 dry red chillies, 1 sprig of curry leaves and a pinch of urad dal. 

7. When the sambar is cooked, add the tempering/tadka and cover with the lid so that the flavor is absorbed.

Serve hot with rice.

Last week, I had lunch with some colleagues at Rayalseema Ruchulu - one of my favorite Andhra cuisine restaurant. We ordered Chicken curry the Seema style and the gravy was spicy and extremely tasty. Wanted to try the recipe and was searching online yesterday. Surprisingly found out that the restaurant themselves have put up a few recipes online. Cooked this dish and it did not even take me a total of 30 mins of cooking time, chopping included. Highly recommended for everyone who loves South Indian flavours.

Kodi Pulusu( Andhra Chicken Curry)

1. Marinate 1/2 kg chicken with 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, 1/2 tsp turmeric, salt and 1 tsp chilli powder for atleast an hour before cooking. I added 2 tsp curd to the marinade though this was not part of the recipe.

2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. When hot, add 1 sprig of curry leaves and fry them till they are crisp. Now add 2 medium onions finely chopped and fry them till they are brown in color.

3. Add marinated chicken pieces and fry until chicken looses its pink colour. Add 1 tsp garam masala powder, 1 tsp red chilli powder and fry the same. You can give the chilli powder a miss if you dont like your gravy too spicy.

4. Add 1 cup water and bring to boil. Cook the chicken pieces for another 15 mins on slow flame with lid covered or till its cooked.  Keep stirring all the while. Adjust the water according to the consistency you want.
5. Adjust the salt if needed. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve

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