Search Chitra's Food Book

June 30, 2014


Paneer biryani was in my try list for long time.Usually i make biryani in Sunday.So i tried it for the first time yesterday and we loved it a lot.For this recipe,I quickly googled and found this easy recipe.I made slight changes as per my family’s taste and tried it.It came out very well.As it has no grinding and less chopping works,u can try this biryani in weekends to finish ur cooking quickly and enjoy spending time with ur family members.Also u can try even during weekdays in busy morning hours for your lunch box as it is very easy to prepare.I don’t think marination is a must here.But anyways i followed the original recipe as this is my first attempt.The taste,texture everything was good but Sendhil told me to put paneer pieces smaller in size when i make it next time because he told this rice tastes even better when had with paneer pieces in each mouth.So i have given the method  accordingly.Ingredients list may seem lengthy but the procedure is very simple and quick.Try this exotic paneer biryani recipe, everyone would love this Smile.Lets see how to make this yummy paneer biryani..

Easy Paneer Biryani Recipe

Easy Paneer Biryani Recipe Delicious paneer biryani in an easy way - No grinding and less chopping !
Cuisine: Indian
Category: Lunch
Serves: Serves 3
Prep time: 30 Minutes
Cook time: 20 Minutes
Total time: 50 Minutes

To marinate
  • Paneer cubes – 1/2 cup (cut into small bite sized cubes)
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Black pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Biryani masala powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Curd - 1/3 cup
  • Kasoori methi - 1/4 tsp(optional)
  • Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
  • Mint leaves - 10 nos
To Soak in water
  • Basmati rice - 1 cup
  • Water - 2 cups
To saute
  • Cooking oil + ghee - 2 tbsp
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch
  • Cloves – 2 nos
  • Cardamom – 1no
  • Star anise – 1 no
  • Bay leaf – 1 no
  • Fennel seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Green peas – a handful
To saute till golden brown
  • Cooking oil + ghee – 1.5 tbsp
  • Big onion - 1 no
  • Salt - as needed
  • Mint leaves & coriander leaves – few


  • First cut the paneer into small bite sized cubes smaller than the ones in picture.Take it in a wide bowl and add all the ingredients given under “to marinate”.Let it marinate for 20 minutes.
  • In the mean time,wash and soak the basmati rice in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes.Chop onions into slices.
  • Heat oil+ghee in a kadai and saute the onion till golden brown and set aside.
Paneer biryani step1
  • In the same kadai,heat oil & ghee and saute cinnamom,cloves,cardamom,star anise and bayleaf.Saute for a second.Add fennel seeds,saute till it sizzles and add the peas.Saute for a minute.
Paneer biryani step2
  • Now add the marination mixture along with paneer pieces.Mix well and cook in low flame till the peas is 3/4th cooked and oil floats on top.Add little water if necessary while boiling.Add the salt required for biryani.
Paneer biryani step3
  • Now add the soaked rice along with water and check for salt.Add more if needed.Transfer everything to a pressure cooker.
Paneer biryani step4
  • Add some finely chopped mint & coriander leaves in water.
  • Close the lid and pressure cook in low flame for one whistle( It takes 10-12 minutes)
  • After the pressure is released,open the cooker and fluff the rice with a fork,Add the fried golden brown onion slices.Mix well .
Paneer biryani step5
Serve with onion raita !


  • If u want to make this biryani very quickly,then skip marination and add all the ingredients given under “to marinate” one by one after u saute the whole spices & peas.But keep the paneer pieces immersed in hot water till use to stay soft.
  • U can make the entire process in pressure cooker base or even in electric rice cooker.But i used kadai & transferred to cooker.
  • Always use ghee+oil for more flavour.Fry onions till golden brown and do not over fry them.Add it at the end before serving.It gives a nice taste.
  • Adjust the quantity of spices as per ur taste 

This was our simple Sunday lunch.Paneer biryani,Onion raita,Curd rice & rose milk Smile

Continue Reading...

June 27, 2014


jackfruit payasam
Two weeks back we had a trip to Kumbakonam & we went to Sendhil’s periappa’s house in Manakkarai .They gave us a big jackfruit from their backyard.We brought that to Bangalore & we waited for a week to become fully ripe.Last weekend,myself and Sendhil cut & cleaned this jackfruit for the first time in our life.We watched some youtube videos on “How to cut jackfruit” & we spent nearly two hours to take out all the pieces. It was a good time pass for us Smile with tongue out.As there were nearly 150 pieces,i distributed most of them to all my apartment residents and reserved few for us.After so many years,i enjoyed eating my favourite jackfruit Smile.But still i had so many pieces leftover in my pantry.When i was thinking how to make use of it effectively,this Kerala style chakka pradhaman striked my mind.As i wanted to include this payasam in my next onam sadya menu,i thought to give this a try.For the recipe, i asked my malayali ex-neighbour Mrs.Prema who is the only source for all the kerala recipes i posted in my blog Smile.She always suggests me the easiest method of making.This time too,she told me an easy way to prepare this payasam.As i had store bought coconut milk powder in hand,i made this payasam in just 10-15 minutes.In this method,u don’t have to pressure cook jackfruit pieces and u can add thick coconut milk or plain milk at the end instead of taking 2,3 coconut extract and if u have readymade coconut milk powder at home,making this payasam would be even more easy.Taste & texture comes out awesome Thumbs up. Though this is not the authentic method of making chakka payasam,its sure a quick fix to make an easy dessert in minutes Smile.

Indian express article

Last but not the least,I have a happy news to share with u all.Today, my blog got featured in Indian express-Indulge!.This is the first time an article being published for my blog & I am so happy for it.At this instance, i thank all my fellow blogger friends and readers for your  continuous encouragement and support Smile. And the above picture is the screenshot of the article Smile. So this post is a kind of celebration post for me Party smile.

Chakka pradhaman

Chakka pradhaman Yummy,delicious jackfruit payasam / Chakka pradhaman - Kerala style
Cuisine: Indian
Category: Dessert
Serves: Serves 4
Prep time: 5 Minutes
Cook time: 20 Minutes
Total time: 25 Minutes


  • Ripe jackfruit pieces - 12 nos
  • Grated Jaggery - 1/2 cup
  • Grated coconut - 1 cup or readymade coconut milk powder – 4-5 tbsp or Milk – 1 cup
  • Water – 1/2-1 cup
  • Cashews - few
  • Roasted coconut pieces - 2 tbsp
  • Ghee – 1-2 tbsp
  • Salt – a pinch

  • Wash the jackfruit pieces,remove the seeds & brown colored skin.Then grind the it to a paste.Add some water while grinding but don’t worry even if its coarsely ground.It tastes good to have those pieces while drinking the payasam.(No need to pressure cook before grinding,refer “notes” for more details)
Chakka pradhaman step1
  • Take the grated jaggery in a wide bowl and add 1/4 cup of water to cover it.Melt it to make the syrup.Strain it and take the syrup in a bowl.
Chakka pradhaman step2
  • To this, add the ground jackfruit pulp.Add 1/2 cup of water.Mix well and allow it to boil well till raw smell of jackfruit and jaggery emanates completely.Add a tsp of ghee at this stage.It takes 5-10 minutes.Keep the flame medium.Check for water and add more if necessary.Take care else it will burn.
  • In the mean time,take 3 tbsp of coconut milk powder and mix in 1 cup of water to make thick first milk and prepare second coconut milk by adding 1.5 tbsp of coconut milk powder in 1 cup of water.Set aside. If u are using fresh coconut,grind 1 cup of coconut adding 1 cup warm water,strain and take thick milk.Again add 1 cup of water and take the second milk.
Chakka pradhaman step3
  • Add second milk to the payasam and allow it to to boil well for few minutes.
  • Lastly add the first coconut milk and give one boil.Do not boil for long.Check for sweetness and add more sugar or jaggery syrup if needed.
Chakka pradhaman step4
  • Heat ghee in a pan and roast the cashews and chopped coconut pieces till golden brown.Add it to the payasam and mix well.
Chakka pradhaman step5
PS : If u want to make this payasam quickly,add one cup of thick coconut milk at the end instead of adding first n second milk OR skip coconut milk & add boiled n cooled milk at room temperature. But don’t forget to add at the end after switching off the flame.
Enjoy !


  • There is no need to pressure cook the jackfruit pieces before grinding if they are fully ripe and soft.Just grind it to a smooth paste or little coarse.If the jackfruit is hard,then u have to pressure cook it before u grind.
  • Never add milk or coconut milk in the beginning.If u want u can add third coconut milk which should be very thin or else the mixture will separate and give a curdled look.
  • U can replace coconut milk by plain boiled n cooled milk too. But add it after u switch off the flame.
  • Adjust the quantity of jaggery as per the sweetness of jackfruit.
  • If u find sweet is lesser at the end,add sugar and compensate it.

Tasty n easy chakka payasam is ready to serve !
Chakka pradhaman kerala

Continue Reading...

June 26, 2014


As i mentioned in my Chaler payesh post,here comes the second Bengali recipe for this week,begun bhaja which i made for lunch thali.Begun bhaja means (shallow) fried eggplants(aubergine).Bengalis serve this as an accompaniment for rice,rotis or just as a snack.They make varieties of bhaja with potato, bitter gourd etc & there should be at least one bhaja in their  authentic lunch menu for sure.Usually bengali bhaja is made in a very simple way by slicing and marinating bigger sized brinjal with turmeric powder,salt and a pinch of sugar & shallow fried in oil.But being a south indian girl,i wanted it to be little spicier.So i just tweaked the actual recipe according to my taste bud Smile with tongue out.When i googled,I saw many variations for this bhaja recipe like adding garam masala,dusting the begun in poppy seeds,rice flour,wheat flour or maida before frying to avoid oil consumption and to get a beautiful brown layer on top.But i did not want to deviate much from the original bengali style and so i followed this simple one.I referred many websites and Sanjeev kapoor’s video for this recipe.
As i am a big fan of brinjal,i loved this bhaja very much and i started making this bhaja for our South Indian sambar & Rasam rice too Winking smile.Its so easy to make and u can prepare it within 10-15 minutes including marination time.I strongly recommend all the brinjal lovers to try this recipe at least once.U will love the simplicity of this recipe and of course the taste . But one thing,u should drain the brinjal in a tissue paper well before u eat else u may have to consume a week’s calorie in one meal Winking smile.Ok , Lets proceed how to make this easy bengali style begun bhaja recipe ..
Bengali style begun bhaja recipe

Begun bhaja recipe

Begun bhaja recipe Bengali style begun bhaja recipe – Pan fried aubergine slices
Cuisine: Indian
Category: Sidedish
Serves: Serves 3
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 5 Minutes
Total time: 15 Minutes


  • Medium sized Begun/Aubergine/brinjal - 1 no (the one we use for baingan bharta)
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder - 1 tsp (optional)
  • Salt - as needed
  • Water - as reqd
  • Sugar - a pinch
  • Cooking oil - 3-4 tbsp

  • Wash and slice the big brinjal into one inch slice.Keep it immersed in salt water till use( It helps to remove the bitterness in brinjal if any)
  • Mix turmeric powder,salt,red chilli powder and sugar and set aside.Remove brinjal pieces from water and sprinkle this powder.Make sure the powder coats the brinjal well.Let it marinate for 5 minutes.
begun bhaja step1
  • Heat oil in a pan for shallow frying.Fry the brinjal pieces in batches for 5 minutes in medium flame. Flip it once in the middle.Fry till brinjal is cooked well and soft without losing its shape. It turns golden brown.Drain the brinjal in a tissue paper and remove the oil.
begun bhaja step2
Serve with dal ad rice OR with sambar ,rasam.

Enjoy !


  • U can make it more flavourful by adding garam masala pwd .
  • Skip red chilli powder if u want to try the authentic bengali version.
  • If u are conscious about oil absorption, dust brinjal slices in rice flour or wheat flour before frying.
  • The thinner u slice the brinjal,it gets cooked quickly but do not slice less than 1 inch else brinjal will become crispy.
  • Use big variety brinjal which has less seeds and more flesh for best results.I used small purple ones here.I think u can it find out from the picture.
  • Soaking brinjals in salt water is optional but it helps to remove the bitterness in brinjal if any.
  • Adjust salt while adding turmeric and red chilli powder.Do not add more.
  • Check the flame and keep turning the brinjals till it gets a nice brown color and it should be cooked till soft.Do not over cook it.
  • Add oil whenever necessary while frying between batches because brinjal absorbs more oil.

Begun bhaja recipe

Enjoy begun bhaja with roti,dal rice or sambar sadam or rasam! Tastes great with anything & everything Smile
Bengali style begun bhaja

Do check out my other related posts for this recipe

Continue Reading...

June 25, 2014


Kuska biryani recipe

I am a big fan of Tamilnadu hotel style kuska biryani. Before marriage we used to have this rice from a nearby restaurant at least twice in a month during weekends.My appa calls this as”pattai sadam”. Madurai is popular for Kuska rice. In hotels, they usually serve kuska with onion raita and salna or ennai kathirikai. I love that combo.
Kuska,this term might be new to some you.I will tell you what it is. Kuskha is nothing but the plain rice cooked n flavoured with masalas without adding vegetables or meat. You can call it as plain vegetarian biryani. Usually muslim people do this for all their marriages and festivals.In urdu,”Kushk”means plain.It is very famous in Hyderabad and Tamilnadu.Thanks to Spiceindiaonline from where I got these details.In Tamil nadu, you get kuska mostly in small hotels or mess. In some big hotels,they serve chicken or mutton biryani as kuska just by removing the pieces.So my dad always buys it from vegetarian hotels.Its my long time dream to recreate kuska at home.I have tried several recipes but they were not satisfactory.Recently I was chatting with my reader Kirthiga devi in facebook.More than a reader, I should say she is like my sister. She calls me fondly as akka. When we were talking, I just asked her about kuska biryani and she immediately shared her recipe with detailed steps.She suggested me pressure cooker as well as Dum method. I chose pressure cooker method as I felt it easy. She also said that this is the recipe of muslim style kuska. Then, what else I need to try this??. I tried it for my lunch today. It was awesome. I got the same taste as I expected. Thank u so much kirthiga. Many people use coconut milk for kuska. But I used milk. Friends,whenever you are run short of vegetables, do try this kuska rice. Bachelor’s & working women can make this easy rice for their lunch box during busy mornings .Its a no grinding & less chopping rice variety .Just one onion, half tomato & biryani spices is enough to prepare this delectable dish for two people. U can use either jeera rice or basmati rice as per your liking.Lets see how to make Tamil nadu style kuska biryani.

Kuska recipe

Kuska biryani recipe

Kuska biryani recipe How to make hotel kuska biryani recipe at home easily.
Cuisine: Indian
Category: Lunch
Serves: Serves 2
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 15 Minutes
Total time: 25 Minutes

1 cup - 250ml

  • Jeera rice or basmati rice - 1 cup
  • Water+coconut milk or water+milk - 2 cups
To add in the rice
  • Cinnamom - 1 small piece
  • Cardamom - 1 no
  • Cloves - 1 no
  • Bayleaf - 1no
  • Mint leaves – 10 nos 
  • Ghee – few drops
To saute
  • Cooking oil - 2 tbsp
  • Cinnamom - 1 small piece
  • Cloves - 1 no
  • Bayleaf - 1 no
  • Kalpasi/black stone flower – 1/2 tsp( click here to see the picture in stepwise pics)
  • Cardamom - 1 no
  • G&G paste – 1 tsp
  • Big onion - 1 no
  • Tomato - 1/2 no
  • Green chillies - 2 nos
  • Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp (adjust)
  • Dhania powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Curd – 1 tbsp
  • Mint leaves – 15nos (chopped)
  • Coriander leaves -  2 stalks (chopped)

  • Wash the rice and take it in a bowl.To this rice,add the spices mentioned under”to add in rice”.Add equal quantity of water+milk or water+coconut milk and soak the rice for 10-15 minutes. ie Rice and water+milk ratio should be 1:2.( u can soak only in water too if u don’t want to add milk or coconut milk)
  • In the mean time,finely chop onions,tomatoes,mint leaves and coriander leaves.
  • Then in a pressure cooker base,heat oil and add all the spices,saute for a second.
Kuska recipe step1
  • Then add onions,g&g paste and saute till raw smell leaves it.
  • Add tomato pieces and saute till mushy.Now add red chilli powder,dhania powder and saute for sometime.Kuska recipe step2
  • Add mint,coriander leaves.Mix well.Now add the curd,soaked rice with water and spices.
Kuska recipe step3
  • Add the required salt.Check for taste and pressure cook in low flame for one whistle or 10 minutes.Open the lid after the steam is released.Mix with a fork once.Check whether rice is done else add 1/4 cup of water and allow it to cook for 1 whistle in high flame or keep it for 3-4 minutes in high flame.
Kuska recipe step4
Serve with onion raita and Enjoy !


  • Rice takes longer time to cook in milk + water combo.So add more water and less milk if u want it to be quickly done.
  • U can add 1/4 tsp of fennel seeds while sauting spices.Its optional though.
  • Kuska I had tasted from hotels looks reddish orange in color. I think they add orange food color. But I used only red chilli powder to bring this color.So add food color if u wish.
  • For variations, you can add coconut milk instead of plain milk OR use water alone.
  • Remember the ratio of rice n water should be 1:2 even if  you soak for 30 minutes.
  • If you use jeera rice,soak only for 15 minutes else rice will turn clumpsy after cooking. If you soak for more time, add 1.5 cups of water instead of 2 cups.


Easy n tasty Kuska biryani is ready ! Smile

Continue Reading...

June 23, 2014


Karnataka chitranna recipe

This is my first post on Karnataka recipes.As u all know,Chitrannam/Chitranna is a very popular breakfast/lunch recipe in Karnataka houses.Here people make this for all occasions and poojas.Not just in houses,this would be the breakfast recipe u can find in most of the small roadside hotels apart from thatte idli.I have tasted this chitranna with avalakki(poha) and Mandakki(puffed rice) in Davangere benne dosa stall.Chitranna is nothing but our South indian variety rice with slight variations.They call it as Nimbe hannu chitranna for lemon rice.It can be made very quickly and its a tasty lunch box recipe too.Most of the kids in school bring this rice for their Lunch box.I am really happy to share this most popular Chitranna recipe (recipe with my name Winking smile) as my first Karnataka recipes post .The recipe i have shared here tastes close to the ones that is served in restaurants here.I have also shared a coconut chutney recipe in the “Notes” section which is the side dish served in road side hotels for Chitranna.In small hotels,i have seen people having this chitranna with coriander leaves chutney and Besan Bonda for breakfast.So i too served in the same way.It was awesome.Sendhil loved it a lotThumbs up.

Nimbehannu chitranna recipe
Before going to this recipe,i would like to mention about my Kannadiga friends, without them this post wouldn’t have come up.
I have been in Bangalore for 8 years but i have not even blogged a single Karnataka recipe.I feel so bad for this Sad smile.The reason behind this is i have not tasted typical Karnataka food in hotels or in friend’s places and i did not get a good source to teach me all their recipes too.We had tried several times to visit MTR & Vidyarthi bhavan which are very famous restaurants here.But by seeing the crowd,we step out each time.Last year i got some 6 good kannadiga friends.We met & became friends in Raksha’s school.As all of them are mom’s of Raksha’s class mates,we used to discuss about school,studies,food,movies etc and we have a group named “School moms” in Watsapp too Winking smile.They all cook authentic Karnataka recipes like ragi mudde,Bisibelebath,Thatte idli etc very well .They know about my food blog & suggest me some good recipes to try.I am really lucky and proud to get those friends.Earlier i used to speak butler kannada and now my language has much improved just because of them Smile.Not just language,I explored Bangalore only becoz of my friends.We used to go to famous hotels,malls,Chaat shops etc during vacations and weekends.Now i thoroughly enjoy my life in Bangalore because of these ladies Open-mouthed smile.I wanted to write about them for long time but I feel this post would be apt to mention about these wonderful people.Here is the picture of my friends.
My friends
From left- Nagalakshmi,Priya,Padmini,Archana ,Megha(with baby) and Thara(right side corner) in the second pictureWinking smile .
I have told much about Megha in my peanut chutney & aloo paratha posts who is very close to my heart.This Chitranna recipe is also from Megha .Thanks a lot dearieSmile.
I will mention about my other friends in my upcoming Karnataka recipes post Smile. With all these great resources,i had started venturing karnataka recipes & i have planned to post them once in a week.Wish me good luck  friendsSmile.Ok,without much blah blahss,let me proceed how to make this yummy,easy chitranna recipe..

Chitranna recipe

Chitranna recipe How to make Karnataka style nimbehannu chitranna /Lemon rice recipe
Cuisine: Indian
Category: Lunch
Serves: Serves 3
Prep time: 5 Minutes
Cook time: 15 Minutes
Total time: 20 Minutes

1 cup - 200ml

  • Raw rice- 1/2 cup(Sona masoori)
  • Big onion - 1 no(small sized, skip onions if making for pooja)
  • Garlic cloves – 3 nos(finely chopped)
  • Green chillies - 4 nos
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
  • Grated coconut- 2 tbsp(optional)
  • Salt- as needed
  • Water - 2.5 cups
To temper
  • Cooking oil - 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal - 1 tsp
  • Chana dal - 2 tsp
  • Roasted peanuts - 2 tbsp
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Coriander leaves - to garnish

  • Wash and pressure cook the rice adding required water and a drop of oil in low flame for one whistle.Open the lid and spread the rice in a plate..Allow it to cool.Rice should be separate.
  • Finley chop onions,chillies,curry leaves and coriander leaves.Set aside .
  • In a kadai,heat oil and temper all the ingredients given above.
Chitranna step1
  • Now add onions,garlic,chillies and saute till transparent.Add grated coconut (if using) & mix well. Add turmeric powder,salt,mix well and switch off the flame
Chitranna step2
  • Add this to the cooked rice and mix well.Add the required lemon juice and check for taste.Add more salt or lime juice if necessary.
Chitranna step3
  • Finally garnish with lots of coriander leaves and enjoy serving hot.


  • U can try this recipe with leftover rice too.
  • U can make this as a no onion,no garlic version by omitting these two ingredients.In that case u must add grated coconut and serve.U can prepare this way for occasions and festivals.
  • For chutney: Grind 1/2 cup of grated coconut,3 tbsp of fried gram dal,3-4 green chillies,Salt,little turmeric powder,a pinch of tamarind,3 garlic cloves adding water.Adjust consistency as per ur need.Usually it is served in watery consistency in hotels.

Enjoy this chitranna with green chutney and bonda Smile
Chitranna recipe

Continue Reading...