Rice items

Soya Chunks Pulav with Coconut Milk

Creating nutritious and tasty lunches for kids can be a real challenge. When I was growing up, we didn’t focus much on high-protein diets, and our meals were often carb-heavy. However, as my son got more into sports, I realized the need for a change in our eating habits. I’m still learning, but I’ve taken small steps towards healthier cooking.

Last year, I discovered soya chunks, and my kids loved them. That encouraged me to get creative, and that’s how the Soya Chunks Pulav with Coconut Milk came to be.

My usual pulavs and biryanis needed something new, so I decided to add coconut milk. The result was a creamy and delicious Soya Chunks Pulav that my kids can’t get enough of.

What’s great about this recipe is that you can achieve fantastic flavors with just a few spices. Even with simple ingredients, this pulav satisfies both taste buds and nutritional needs.

Switching to a healthier menu doesn’t happen overnight. It’s all about taking small steps. Trying new ingredients, playing with flavors, and seeing the positive reactions from my kids keep me motivated. This Soya Chunks Pulav represents my commitment to providing nourishing meals that kids love.


  • 2 cups soya chunks, soaked in hot water
  • Little ghee
  • 1″ cinnamon
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 and 1/2 cups washed basmati rice
  • 1 can thick coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves (for garnish)


  1. Prepare Soya Chunks:
    • Soak 2 cups of soya chunks in hot water.
  2. Tempering:
    • Heat a little ghee in a pan.
    • Add 1″ cinnamon and 2 cardamoms.
  3. Saute Aromatics:
    • Add 1 cup of chopped onions and 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger-garlic paste.
    • Fry for a few minutes until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add Vegetables and Soya Chunks:
    • Add 1 cup of chopped carrots and 1 cup of green peas, followed by the soaked soya chunks.
  5. Spice it Up:
    • Add 1 teaspoon of cumin powder, a pinch of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder, 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala, and salt to taste.
    • Mix everything well.
  6. Incorporate Rice:
    • Add 1 and 1/2 cups of washed basmati rice.
    • Fry everything for a few minutes.
  7. Moisture and Cooking:
    • Pour in one can of thick coconut milk and another half cup of water.
    • Cook until done. If using an Instant Pot, manual 3 minutes is sufficient.
  8. Fluff and Garnish:
    • When done, fluff the pulao with a fork.
    • Garnish with 1/4 cup of chopped coriander leaves.
  9. Serve Hot:
    • Your Soya Chunks and Vegetable Pulao is ready to be served hot. Enjoy this flavorful and nutritious dish!

Note: Adjust spice levels and salt according to your preference. This recipe is suitable for both stove-top and Instant Pot cooking methods.

Serves :3-4
Preparation time : 30mins

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Curry Leaves Rice

Few days ago, I had posted a recipe for Curry leaves chutney powder. It is such a tasty and healthy powder that can go well as a side dish with rice, idlis or dosas. I made a big batch of it when my friend shared some fresh curry leaves. For a get together over the weekend, I thought I could make this curry leaves rice. It comes together quickly and is full of flavor. If you have the powder ready, you could make this with left over rice in under 10 mins.

2 cups cooked rice
2 tbl spn of curry leaves chutney powder
1 tea spn mustard seeds
1 tea spn urad dal
1 tbl spn peanuts

Take cooked rice and lightly fluff it with fork to remove any lumps.
Heat oil and peanuts and fry for sometime.
Add mustard seeds, when they start popping, add urad dal.
Let it become brownish.
Now add curry leaves chutney powder and let it fry till a nice aroma comes out.
Add all rice, mix very well.
Adjust salt.
Serve hot.

If using freshly cooked rice, make sure it is at room temperature.
Coconut oil works best but any other oil or ghee can also be used.

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Omlet Pulao

Years ago, I discovered an Omlet pulao recipe and have since experimented with various modifications. Now, I’ve perfected a version that my family loves, which I’d like to share for future use. I usually make this on busy weekdays for a delicious dinner. Serve with a raita and a simple salad for a complete meal.

Omelette Pulao Recipe:


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 can thick coconut milk
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tea spn garam masala
  • 1 tea spn fresh garlic-ginger paste
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • Oil
  • Coriander leaves for garnishing

    For Omlet:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tea spn chilli powder
  • 2 tbl spn onion
  • Oil
  • Coriander leaves
  • Salt


  1. Heat oil in a pan and add cardamom and cloves.
  2. Add onion and ginger-garlic paste and fry for few minutes.
  3. Add chopped tomato; cook until it turns mushy.
  4. Stir in chili powder and garam masala; fry briefly.
  5. Add washed basmati rice to the pan(if needed, add more water); stir-fry for few minutes.
  6. Pour in coconut milk, season with salt, and cook till rice is done.
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  8. Prepare an omelette using eggs, coriander leaves, chili powder, and chopped onion; cut into small squares once cooked.
  9. Mix omelette pieces into cooked rice gently before serving.

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Mixed Greens Khichdi

Mixed Greens Khichdi

I usually get a huge pack of mixed greens from Costco that gets used enthusiastically for few days. Since it goes bad quickly, I try to make few different recipes – this also makes sure we consume all of those greens in two-three weeks’ time. This Mixed Greens Khichdi is one of those dishes. It tastes great, it is a one-pot dish that comes together quickly, it is healthy, so it checks all the right boxes.

I prefer making this dish in InstantPot because I can start the dish and walk away. But this can be easily prepared in a normal pressure cooker – I prepared it pressure cooker before I bought InstantPot.

You can make this Khichdi with just spinach or with a combination of few different greens. I have tried both and it comes out great with any combination. I have used masoor dal here, but this can also be prepared using moong dal.

Also check out sweet khichdi, pongal and other pongal recipes.

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Spinach Chickpeas Biryani

Spinach Chickpeas Biryani
Spinach Chickpeas Biryani

We are huge biryani fans. I usually try to make different kinds for variety and keeping it exciting. This Spinach Chickpeas Biryani is something I make often. It is full of nutrition and tastes delicious. I usually make this on weekdays, which means this has to be a quick dish or atleast something that does not need hands-on time. This works perfectly, with all the shortcuts I manage to take.


Spinach, coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, green chillies
Grind to a smooth paste with just little water
Pressure cook chickpeas
Cook basmati rice with black cardamom, cloves, cinnamom, salt
Fry onions
Add tomato (I used green tomatoes, use any kind)
Add the paste
Fry till the oil separates
Add chickpeas, carrots
Add the rice on top, then saffron milk
Cook on very low heat for 30mis

2 cups basmati rice
1 cup chickpeas
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup coriander leaves
4 green chillies
2 cloves garlic
1″ ginger
Few strands saffron + 2 tbl spn milk
2 tea spns biryani masala
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup onions
1/2 cup tomatoes
3 cloves
2″ cinnamon
2 black cardamoms (or green cardamom)

Wash rice and add 3 cups water (little less than needed to completely cook rice), salt, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom.
Grind together spinach, coriander leaves, green chillies, ginger, garlic and little water.
Heat oil and fry onions.
Add tomatoes (I used green tomatoes, use any kind), salt.
Now add the biryani masala, fry for few minutes.
Add the paste, fry till the raw smell goes away.
Now add the cooked chickpeas, carrots, cook it down to a thick gravy.
Cover the gravy with cooked rice.
Add the saffron to warm milk and mix it to get the bright color. Spoon the milk on top of rice.
Cook on low for 30mins.
Switch off heat and leave it undisturbed for another 15mins.
Serve hot with raita.

Serves :4-5
Preparation time: 90mins

Notes :
You can layer it in multiple layers of rice and chickpeas gravy. I just layer the rice on top of gravy to save time.
Add a layer of fried onions on top for extra crunch.
Any biryani masala is ok, here is a homemade version.
Instead of cooking on stovetop, it can be finished in oven. I just prefer stovetop cooking.

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Chicken Biryani With Coconut Milk

Chicken Biryani with Coconut Milk

During Christmas holidays we visited our cousins in Boston. My cousin’s place, we had delicious and comfort vegetarian food, something I was craving a lot. At V’s cousin’s place, we had all non vegetarian meals. I was in a foodie’s heaven, amazing food at both places and we had a very relaxing time.

Make a big batch of it, as it is just out of this world and it disappears in no time.

Chicken Biryani with Coconut Milk

This dish was prepared for us by V’s cousin’s wife Poornima Vaini. She made all-chicken dinner and lunch for us. Since I am a big Biryani lover, I really enjoyed this Biryani with coconut milk in it. She shared her recipe with me. I might have missed one or more steps, but this came out really well when I came back and made this. It is extremely easy one to make (I don’t know why it is called Biryani, because rice is not cooked separately here. Everything is mixed and cooked at once, but I will still stick to the name).

1/2 kg (17oz approx) chicken
1/2 cup potato(optional)
2 cups basmati rice
2 cups(1 can) light coconut milk
3/4 cup onion slices
1/2 cup tomato
4-5 strands coriander leaves
1 tea spn biryani powder
1-2 tea spns chilli powder
A pinch turmeric
A tbl spn yogurt/curds
1 tea spn ginger paste1 tea spn garlic paste
Whole Spices :
4-5 cloves
2″ cinnamon
4 green cardamom
2 bay leaves

Add ginger paste, garlic paste, turmeric, chilli powder, yogurt, biryani masala and salt to chicken pieces. Mix well and keep aside for about 30mins.
Heat ghee/oil (I add both ghee and oil) and add all whole spices. Now add onion, salt and fry till they are brownish.
Add tomatoes and fry for few mins.
Add chicken along with all marinade and fry for 3-4 minutes.  Add potatoes(optional).
Add rice and fry for few more minutes.
Now pour in the coconut milk and about 1 and 1/2 cups water, salt, mix well. Cover the lid and cook on a medium heat till done. Garnish with coriander leaves. Switch off heat and leave it as it is for about 15-20mins. Serve hot.
Serve with cold raita.

Serves : 4-5
Preparation time : 45mins

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Carrot Pulav

Carrot pulav
Carrot Pulav

Ishaan started going to Kindergarten few weeks ago. I was a bit stressed about him going to new school right after coming back from India. On the first day of school, I went to have lunch with him, totally prepared to bring him back home if he was too tired. He assured me he was fine and I can pick him up after school. I came home relieved, thinking he is grown so much that he can handle it.

I send him lunch every day. I stress about does he have enough time to eat? can he open his lunch box? did I forget to pack his spoon etc. I asked him to get help from some grown-up in opening the box. Now he says he asked first couple of days but now he can do it all by himself (he takes food in a thermos and it is hard to open it sometimes!). He is a slow eater and if there are friends around, talking and then running out to play takes higher priority!. Now that he has settled down a bit, I ask him what lunch he wants in his box, so that he is excited about eating.

Last week he asked for pulav. At home he loves pulav/biryanis with yogurt or raita. But eating yogurt with it at school would be too much to ask. So I decided to make it with less spices but packed with nutrition and flavor. This carrot pulav was a perfect fit. I packed it with a big dollop of ghee for him. Even my 1 and half year old loved it.

Heat oil/ghee and fry spices, then onion, ginger-garlic paste, green chilli paste.
carrot pulav1 carrot pulav2

Add garam masala, fry. Then add rice, carrots.

carrot pulav3 carrot pulav4
Pour water, cover and cook.
carrot pulav5

Carrot Rice

A simple and delicious pulav loaded with carrots, makes a perfect lunch/dinner for kids and adults alike.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 2 -3


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 tea spn freshly ground ginger-garlic paste
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2 " cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 cardamoms
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tea spn garam masala
  • Ghee/Oil
  • Salt


  • Wash basmati rice, drain and keep aside.
  • Heat oil/ghee and add cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, cardamom.
  • When they are fried a bit, add onions, ginger-garlic paste, green chilli paste.
  • Fry till the onions are translucent.
  • Add garam masala and fry for few minutes.
  • Add basmati rice, carrots, salt and fry for 2-3mins.
  • Now pour 2 cups of water, cover and cook till done.
  • Serve hot with dollop of ghee or raita(optional).


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Eggplant Rice (Vangi Bhath) with Garam Masala

vangi bhath with garam masala

Few years back, I saw this recipe in some book. What attracted me to this was, it uses garam masala which is usually available in every Indian home, unlike the special vangi bhath masala which is used in many other recipes. Over the years, I have changed it to suit our taste buds. Last time when we came to US, I prepared this frequently to send in my son-in-law’s lunchbox. It soon became his favorite dish. This time again I prepared this many times for him. On Shilpa’s request, I thought of posting this here. I make it like a pulav by cooking the rice in the masala. I prepare this in rice cooker, so it does not need too much attention.

1 cup basmati rice
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup tomato
1 tea spn garlic paste
2 cups chopped eggplant
1 tea spn garam masala
1 tea spn chilli powder
A pinch turmeric

vangi bhath with garam masala1 vangi bhath with garam masala2
Cut the eggplant in small pieces and put them in water.vangi bhath with garam masala3 vangi bhath with garam masala5vangi bhath with garam masala4 vangi bhath with garam masala6
Heat oil/ghee and add garlic, onion. Fry for few minutes.
Add tomatoes, eggplant, let them cook for few minutes. Then add chilli powder, garam masala, salt, turmeric, mix well.
vangi bhath with garam masala7 vangi bhath with garam masala8
Now add the rice and fry for few minutes. Pour two cups water, cover and let it cook till done.
Serve hot.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 40mins

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Vegetable Pulav with Babycorn

veg pulav with babycorn
Who doesn’t like corn? Although we find very good corn around the year here, I miss fresh babycorn. I haven’t seen it yet here in Kansas (not a fan of canned one). So when I found it in Bangalore during my last India trip, I had to try it. I made couple of dishes with it and loved to eat every last bit of babycorn.

Here is a simple pulav I made with babycorn. I used one of my favorite spices – Dagad phool. Please note, it is not same as star anise. This looks like dried flowers or lichens that are often seen on trees. It has a very strong smell.  Aayi uses this in her chicken curry, so for me, this spice has typical chicken curry smell :) .

2 cups basmati rice
1 cup chopped babycorn
1 cup vegetables like carrot, cauliflower, capsicum(bellpepper)
1 tea spn chopped ginger
1 tea spn chopped garlic
3 green chillies
1 tea spn coriander seeds
1 tea spn dagad phool
1 tea spn cumin seeds
1 tbl spn fresh/frozen coconut
2-3 cloves
2″ cinnamon
1/2 cup onion

veg pulav with babycorn1 veg pulav with babycorn2 veg pulav with babycorn3

Heat a little oil and fry coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, 1/4 cup onion, dagad phool, ginger, garlic, chopped green chillies and fry for few minutes. Grind  this with coconut to a paste.

veg pulav with babycorn4 veg pulav with babycorn5
Heat ghee and fry remaining onion. Now add the paste and fry till a nice aroma comes out.
Add all the vegetables and saute for few minutes.

veg pulav with babycorn7 veg pulav with babycorn8
Now add rice and fry it well.
Pour in 4 cups of water, salt. Cover the lid and let it cook on a medium-low heat till done.
Serve hot.

Serves : 4-5
Preparation time : 40 mins

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Quinoa – Vegetable Pongal

quinoa vegetable pongal
has become one of our go-to comfort foods these days. I end up making a simple pongal with rice and moong dal or a simple pej(Congee with red rice) on many days when I do not want to cook elaborate meals. Some days when I want to make it more healthy, I add some vegetables to it, then it becomes a one pot complete meal (although my family prefers plain pongal, they don’t complain). Few days back, I added some quinoa to it, which turned out pretty good. I served this quinoa – vegetable pongal with our favorite huli gojju.

Read more about quinoa  (and I do not know if it has any Indian names or if it is available in India). I hear so much about this protein packed, slightly bitter quinoa on TV, magazines etc. I have tried so many different dishes from it, but we have a long way to go before we can say we love it. So I usually try to hide it in some dish – it is a bit hard to hide because the quinoa smell comes out no matter where you add it. I feel it is a very acquired taste. My family is slowly warming up to it, when I add it in smaller quantities in other dishes.

I used matta rice/peje tandul here because it gives some body to pongal – I had first read about it at Mahanandi and loved the idea. It does not disappear like the normal white rice.

Here is a wonderful article about Quinoa and its health benefits.

1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup red boiled rice /matta rice/peje tandul
1/2 cup moong dal
1 cup vegetables – corn, peas, carrots
1/2 tea spn black pepper
3-4 green chillies
A pinch tamarind
1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
A pinch asafoetida(hing)
4-5 curry leaves
A pinch turmeric

quinoa vegetable pongal1
Wash quinoa in cold water couple of times. Wash rice and moong dal. Keep aside.
quinoa vegetable pongal3 quinoa vegetable pongal2
Heat ghee and add cumin seeds, green chillies, pepper, curry leaves. Fry for min and then add asafoetida.
Add the vegetables and fry for a minute.
quinoa vegetable pongal4 quinoa vegetable pongal5
Then add quinoa, moong dal, rice, salt, turmeric fry for another minute. Now add 4-5 cups of water (start with 4 and if you want it more watery consistency, add one more). Cook till rice and vegetables are done. I normally cook it in rice cooker.
quinoa vegetable pongal6
Serve hot with your favorite sidedish.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 45 mins

PS: If you do not find quinoa, leave it out and follow the remaining recipe.

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