My lunchbox

16 Bean Vegetable Soup

16 bean soup

It was around 3 years ago, I found a packet of 16 bean soup mix while doing some grocery shopping. The inspiration came from this post. It was very interesting to see so many types of beans in one packet. Since then, I have bought this very regularly. I have tried different combinations of veggies, sauces, spices in this soup. I make it for our lunch. This makes a very hearty and filling lunch.

I have been down with very bad cold for more than 2 weeks now. So yesterday I made this. I thought I would note down recipe as this must be my favorite version so far. If you cannot find this soup mix, just mix all kinds of beans and dals – like red kidney beans(rajma), chickpeas, white navy beans, brown lentils, black eyed peas (alsande), dried peas(vatana), chana dal, etc, – you have at home.

Ingredients:
1 cup 16 bean soup mix
2 cups vegetables – carrot, green peas, corn, celery, green beans, yellow pepper
1/2 cup sauce (recipe below)
1/2 tea spn dried basil
1/2 cup elbow pasta
1/4 cup barley
1/4 tea spn chilli flakes
1/2 tea spn chilli powder
1/2 tea spn pepper powder
1 tea spn chopped garlic
Oil
Salt

Sauce:
Cook 2 tomatoes and 1 carrot, chopped in big pieces, in water. Grind to a smooth paste.
Heat oil and add 1/4 cup onion. Now add the ground paste, a little sugar(optional), salt, dried basil. Cook till the sauce becomes thick.
Store in airtight container.
(This sauce can also be used with spaghetti or any other pasta).

Method:
Soak the beans in water overnight. They increase considerably in volume.
Heat a little oil and fry the vegetables for 3-4mins. Now add the beans, barley, chilli flakes, basil, salt, pepper. Add the sauce. Add about 2 cups water. Cook till the beans are soft – I use either pressure cooker or rice cooker to cook this. You could also use a slow cooker if you have one.
Separately, cook the pasta with salt. Add the pasta to the soup and cook it again for another 1-2mins.
Serve hot.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 30mins

Pictorial :

16 bean soup1

16 bean soup2

16 bean soup3

16 bean soup4

16 bean soup5

16 bean soup

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Radish Rice


It feels like I haven’t posted anything here in ages. Ever since I started working again, things got hectic. This Monday parents returned back to India. So I don’t even find a single moment to relax, forget about spending time on blogging. Anyway, I do not want to give up so easily, I will post when I get few moments.

I tried this radish rice few months ago. I was in a mood to experiment with radishes. The rice came out really flavorful. I used tender radishes which do not have a strong smell. It goes well as a lunch box item.

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cups rice
1 cup sliced onion
1 tea spn tamarind extract
1 and 1/2 cups radish
7-8 curry leaves
1 tea spn mustard
1 tea spn urad dal
A generous pinch of asafoetida
2 tea spns red chilli powder
Ghee
Oil
Salt

Spice powder – Dry roast and powder
2 tea spns chana dal
2 tea spns urad dal
2 tea spns coriander seeds
1 tbl spn desiccated coconut(or dry coconut chopped finely)

Method:
Cook rice so that each grain is separate. Cool to room temperature.
Heat oil and add mustard seeds, urad dal. When mustard starts popping, add curry leaves, asafoetida and onions. Fry till onions turn brownish.
Now add radish pieces, salt, spice powder, chilli powder, tamarind, mix well. Pour in 1/2 cup water, cover and cook till radish pieces are soft (add more water if required).
Now add rice and mix well.
Serve on its own or with yogurt and pickle on the side.

Serves : 4
Preparation time : 30mins

Pictorial:

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Easy Chicken Pulav

Thanks to all who asked about my little boy, and also who sent us good wishes. We are overwhelmed by all the love shown by you. Thank you. He is doing good. We are getting adjusted to the busy schedule with baby. Having my parents here has been a great help. They have been managing everything in the house. I will be joining office back in another one month, so I thought of cooking something once in a while. I wanted to cook something very simple so that I don’t have to stand long hours in front of the stove. So that is how I came up with this pulav.

It is one of the simplest one pot chicken dishes. The pulav comes up absolutely delicious. Not much chopping and you can cook this using just with the standard things from the pantry.

Ingredients:
1 lb(0.45kgs approx) chicken
1 and 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 tbl spn ginger paste
1 tbl spn garlic paste
8-9 curry leaves
1 tea spn coriander-cumin powder
2 tea spns chilli powder
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped tomato
2 tbl spn chopped coriander leaves
A pinch turmeric
Oil & Ghee
Salt

Method:
Heat oil and ghee, add onion, ginger paste, garlic paste, curry leaves and fry for couple of minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, coriander-cumin powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, mix well and let it cook for few minutes.
Add chicken, mix well and then add rice. Mix again. Add about 2 and 1/2 cups of water, cover and cook till done.
Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with a raita or on it’s own.

Serves : 4-5
Preparation time : 30mins

PS: I normally use chicken breasts for all my chicken dishes. They cook very fast. So if you are using any chicken that takes long time to cook, cook it for few minutes before adding rice to it.

Pictorial:

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Sambar Rice


This is inspired by the sambar rice that is served in some of the restaurants in South India. But this is my no means the recipe used by restaurants. I wanted to actually make a sambar and rice, but then thought of making a one pot dish. Instead of toor dal which is normally used for sambars, I used masoor dal. Unlike the version available in restaurants, which is kind of semi-solid, I made it more like a pulav. I also used my favorite green, spinach, to make it fiber rich. Served it with a dollop of ghee. It was a hearty meal. Add more water to make it semi-solid.

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cups basmati rice
1/2 cup masoor dal
3 tea spns sambar powder
1 tea spn red chilli powder
A pinch asafoetida
A pinch turmeric
1 tea spn mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves
1/2 tea spn tamarind extract
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup tomato
1 cup spinach (optional)
2 cups vegetables – cauliflower, yellow bellpepper(capsicum), carrot, potato
Oil
Salt

Method:
Wash together rice and dal. Keep aside.
Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add curry leaves, asafoetida.
Add onion and fry for a few minutes. Add all the vegetables, spinach(optional) and tomato. Fry for a min.
Add rice and dal, turmeric, salt, red chilli powder, sambar powder, tamarind, salt. Mix everything.
Pour in 5 cups of water and let it cook on medium heat. If required, add more water. When most of heat is absorbed, reduce the heat to low and let it cook for about 10mins.
Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot topped with a dollop of ghee.

Serves : 4-5
Preparation time : 45mins

Pictorial:

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Sprouted Moong Pulav

Some of you must be thinking, why am I posting so many rice preparations. My answer is – “that’s what I am cooking these days”. One time cooking for both lunch and dinner is working very well for me. Though both of us can eat out and survive, we don’t prefer to do it frequently. V is very happy that he can eat different kind of pulav/biryani so often. I use as many as lentils, vegetables, egg in these dishes so that we don’t miss out on any nutrition.

This pulav can be called as a fusion between a biryani and khichdi. Perfectly cooked sprouted moong gives a very nice flavor to this dish. I could have added some other vegetables to it, but I wanted to keep it simple. We both enjoyed it very much.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup moong
1 and 1/2 cups basmati rice
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup tomato
2-3 sprigs coriander leaves
1 tea spn biryani masala
1 tea spn ginger paste
1 tea spn garlic paste
1 tea spn cumin seeds
2 cardamoms
2 bay leaves
A pinch turmeric
1 tea spn red chilli powder
2 cloves
1″ cinnamon
Salt

Method:
Sprout the moong.
Heat oil and add cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom. Add onion, ginger, garlic and fry till onions turn translucent. Add tomatoes, salt and cook till tomatoes turn mushy.
Add rice and fry for few minutes, add turmeric, biryani masala, chilli powder and fry again.
Now add the sprouted moong, 3 cups water, coriander leaves, mix gently, cover and cook till done.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 45mins

Pictorial:

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Dried Green Peas Pulav

Dried green peas are one of my favorite dried beans, they taste quite different than the fresh/frozen green peas. I like to sneak them in wherever possible. This time when I had a bunch of soaked peas, I thought of mixing them with rice to make a one pot dish. I added eggs to it as we love eggs, but this is fully optional. Fennel seeds give a very strong and nice flavor to this dish.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dried green peas (soak overnight and pressure cook)
1 and 1/2 cups basmati rice
5 eggs (boiled, peeled and cut into pieces) (Optional)
Ghee
2 Bay leaves
2 cardamom
Salt

Paste –
4 cloves
1″ cinnamon
1/2 tea spn fennel seeds (badishepi/saunf)
1/2 tea spn coriander seeds
1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
4-5 red chillies
1 tea spn garlic
1 tea spn ginger
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup tomato
Oil
Salt

Method:
Heat oil and add cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, onion, ginger, garlic and fry for few minutes. Add tomato, little salt and let it cook till tomato becomes slightly mushy. Add chillies and mix again. Grind it to a paste (I left it a little coarse, make a smooth paste if desired).
Heat ghee and add cardamom and bay leaf. Add washed rice and fry for few minutes. Add paste, mix.
Add salt, cooked peas and eggs (if using). Pour in about 3 cups water (be careful while adding water, if cooked peas have a lot of water, modify the water added at this step).
Cook till done. Serve hot on its own or with raita.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 50mins

Pictorial:

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Spinach Pulav (Palak Pulav)

This recipe is inspired by other Spinach-Coriander Pulav recipe. I made this yesterday morning to take in our lunch box. It came out really well. We both are not big fans of spinach taste, but I like to use it frequently because it is very healthy. This pulav masks the taste of it, which we loved.

I used red and yellow bellpeppers(capsicums) in this instead of green ones because of their mild taste. You can use any of your usual pulav vegetables.

Ingredients:
2 cups basmati rice
2 cups vegetables (red & yellow bellpeppers, potatoes, carrot, cauliflower, green beans, green peas)
1 tea spn cumin seeds
2 cardamoms
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
2″ cinnamon
Ghee
1/2 cup onion
Salt

Paste (grind to a smooth paste)-
2 cups spinach(palak)
1/4 cup coriander leaves
2 tea spns ginger
1 tea spn garlic
1 tea spn coriander-cumin powder
6 green chillies

Method:
Heat ghee and add cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves. When cumin starts popping, add onion and all other vegetables and fry for about 2 minutes.
Now add paste, rice, salt and fry again for 2-3minutes. Add 3 and 1/2 cups of water and let it cook on medium heat(Transfer the pan on a tava to give extra thickness). When all water is absorbed, reduce the heat to low and let it cook for another 10mins, in this time, the rice finishes cooking in the steam.
Serve hot with raita.

Serves : 4
Preparation time : 60mins

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Chicken Biryani With Onion-Herb Marinade

Anyone who is regular to this blog, knows my love for biryanis or any kind of flavored rice. It is also known fact that, I like to make something new instead of following same recipe again and again. When we were in India, we had so many favorite restaurants and whenever we felt like, we would go out and eat. But here, the Indian food choices are not very good. So cooking these favorite dishes is the only way out.

This time when I bought chicken, I wanted to change my recipe slightly. This is pretty much a combination of all other biryanis on this blog. The final result was amazing. I want to cook this for my dad, brother and SIL when I meet them next time, I am sure they would love it.

I made a huge batch of it and had it for two days. I served it with a cold raita. Yumm.

Rice preparation:
2 cups basmati rice
4 cardamom
3 cloves
2″ cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1/4 tea spn turmeric
Ghee & Oil
Salt
3 cups water

Method:
Wash rice, drain and spread on a kitchen towel for about 15mins.
Heat ghee and oil, add cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon. Add rice, turmeric powder and fry for 2-3mins till a nice aroma comes out. Add salt water and cook till all water is absorbed. (Remember, here we are adding less water than normally required to cook the rice completely, this is done to undercook the rice).

For chicken marination:
1/2 kg (17oz approx) chicken
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup tomato
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1/4 cup mint leaves
3 tea spns green chillies
3 tbl spn thick yogurt
2 tea spns ginger
2 tea spns garlic
1 tea spn biryani masala(home made or store bought)
1 and 1/2 tea spns chilli powder
Oil
Salt

Method:
Heat oil and add onion. When they turn brownish, add tomato and fry till they are mushy. Grind these with coriander leaves, mint leaves, ginger, garlic, biryani masala, chilli powder, salt to a smooth paste. Add this paste and yogurt to chicken pieces. Leave the chicken to marinate for about 30mins.

Remaining ingredients:
1/2 cup thin slices of onion
1/4 cup finely chopped tomato
1/4 cup water
2 tbl spn yogurt
Ghee and oil
2 tbl spn cashews
Salt(only if required)

Assembly:
Heat a little ghee and oil and add onion. Fry for 2-3 mins till they are translucent.
Add the chicken along with marinade. Fry for a minute. Add water.
Cover with rice. Top with tomatoes. Spread yogurt.
In another pan, heat ghee and fry cashews till they are brownish. Spread these on top of rice. Cover with a tight lid. Keep something heavy on the lid to press it down(I keep the pan on a tava while cooking to give extra thickness). Cook on a medium low flame until done.
Keep it undisturbed for another 15mins.
Serve hot.

Serves : 5
Preparation time : 90mins

Pictorial –

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Vegetable Pulav

This is another one pot dish recipes that I have been preparing a lot these days. I feel these rice dishes packed with nutrition because of all different vegetables, they are very tasty and can even be served during parties/get-togethers.

The spices and coconut give a very nice, unique flavor to this pulav. I use small tender eggplants(brinjals) in this which gives a good taste(I normally don’t use eggplants in vegetable pulavs). I usually make a big batch of this in the evening so that we can have it for dinner and also take in our lunch boxes.

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cup basmati rice
2 cups vegetables (green peas, capsicum, carrot, potato, eggplant)
1/2 cup onion
2 cardamom
1 bay leaf
Ghee/Oil
Salt

Spice paste (Heat a little oil, add cloves, cinnamon, poppy seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, onion, ginger, garlic. Fry for few minutes. Grind to a smooth paste along with other ingredients):
1 tbl spn fresh/frozen coconut
1/4 cup onion
3 green chillies
3 cloves
1″ cinnamon
A pinch turmeric
1 tea spn poppy seeds(khus khus)
1 tea spn garlic
1 tea spn ginger
1 tea spn coriander seeds
1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
3-4 strands coriander leaves

Method:
Heat oil(and little ghee for extra taste) and add cardamom, bay leaf.
Add onion, vegetables and fry for few minutes. Now add rice, paste, salt. Fry for 2-3mins.
Add 3 cups of water. Cook on medium heat till done.
Serve hot on its own or along with raita.

Serves : 4
Preparation time : 45mins

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Beetroot & Egg Rice

If I ask V any time what he wants in his lunchbox, his immediate reply is Egg Biryani. For me, it is very difficult to stick to one recipe. So I try to make it a little different each time. That makes lunches more exciting. I made this couple of days ago and it was very delicious. The recipe is based on a Egg rice that I had tasted many years ago.

I have got some kind of beetroot craze these days. I add it to many dishes and I love the sweetish taste that it gives. If you are not a beetroot lover, leave it out completely.

Ingredients:
1 cup finely chopped beetroot
1 and 1/2 cups basmati rice
2 cardamom
1/4 cup chopped onion
Oil/Ghee
5-6 curry leaves
1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
5 eggs
Salt

Paste : (Fry everything in little oil and make a paste. Do not add too much water).
2 cloves
1″ cinnamon
5 red chillies
1/2 tea spn shah jeera
1/2 tea spn poppay seeds(khus khus)
1 tea spn coriander seeds
1/2 cumin seeds
1/4 cup onion
1/4 tomato
2 tbl spn coconut
1 tea spn garlic
1 tea spn ginger

Method:
Cook rice with whole cardamoms, so that each grain is separate(I use little less than 3 cups water and cook the rice in cooker). Keep aside.
Hard boil the eggs.
Heat a little oil and fry all the spices listed under paste. Then add ginger, garlic, onion. Fry till onion turns brownish. Add coconut, tomatoes and fry for few minutes. Grind to a thick paste.
Heat ghee/oil in a big thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds, curry leaves. Add onions and fry till they turn brownish. Add beetroot pieces, a little water, cover the lid and let it cook.
Now add the paste, salt and fry for new minutes.
Peel the eggs and cut into small pieces (you can also cut them in halves, I use only egg whites and cut them in bite size pieces). Mix well. Now add rice and mix well.
Serves hot.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 40mins

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