Daal-Dhokli with Fried Dumplings

Here is a variant of Daal-Dhokli that takes it beyond everyday food.

By the traditional method, the fried dumplings are filled with long bean stuffing. I have tried mashed pea stuffing and that works wonderfully too (I personally prefer it). So I am going to share both the recipes.

The dough used for the dumpling is the same as Dhokli dough. If you plan to add dumplings, then knead the dough a bit soft by adding just a bit more water and knead it a little longer.

Ingredients for the stuffing;

125 grams of long beans finely chopped OR 1 cup frozen green peas

1 tbsp oil

½ tsp green chilli paste (Cut green chillies in small pieces, add a few drops of lemon and grind into a fine paste.)

1 tsp of sugar

A dash of lime

Salt to taste

For mashed pea stuffing, grind green peas into a rough paste before you start

  1. Heat oil in a sauce pan
  2. Add chopped long beans / green pea paste to the oil.
  3. Add some salt. Mix. Cover with a lid and let it cook for sometime. Keep checking and stirring else the stuffing will burn.
  4. Add green chilli paste, sugar and some lemon juice. Stir. Cover with lid again and let it cook.
  5. Check the taste once the stuffing is cooked. Adjust lemon/ sugar/ salt to suit your taste.
  6. Let the stuffing cool.

Take even sized balls of the dough of about 3-4 cm diameter. Roll each one out in a circular shape on a platform with a rolling pin, use some wheat flour else the dough will stick to the platform.  Make sure the dough is thin and evenly flattened.

Pinch the outer line of the dough. Leave even gap between the pinches. Add a spoonful of stuffing on the flattened dough. Bring all the ends of the pinches together and seal. Take the tip off and gently flatten the top.

Heat some oil in a pan (enough to drawn the dumplings) and  deep fry the dumplings on a low flame till golden brown.

Make Daal- Dhokli first. You can add a few cashews and raisins while the daal is cooking.

Add these dumplings to the Daal at the end  after Dhokli is added and cooked.

Serve hot.


Baked macaroni with tomato and cream twist

Macaroni is a good idea any time of the day and if you can hold your hunger pangs for a few more minutes; bake it with a layer of cheese on the top. That makes it simply irresistibly yum…

Like you know, macaroni is a shape of pasta like Spaghetti, Fusill and Penne. The real difference is, Pasta dough contains egg. The dough macaroni is made out of, is eggless.

It’s a perfect one dish meal on a Sunday afternoon.

Experiment with the sauce (white, mushroom, pesto) .. add different combinations vegetables (bell peppers, baby corns, broccoli, onions).. and you will have a new dish each time you cook it.

Quantity – sufficient for 2 adults


3 cups of Macaroni

Some water for boiling

1 tbsp olive oil

A pinch of salt

  1. Boil macaroni like the way you boil pasta with a few drops of olive oil and a pinch of salt in it. It will take around 15-20 mins to cook.
  2. Drain all the water once the macaroni is cooked. Run cooked macaroni under cold water else it might stick together.


1tsp of Butter

1tbsp Olive oil

2-3 Shallots diced / 1 Onion sliced

1 cup Tomato Puree

Salt to taste

1/4th cup Fresh Cream

A pinch of Sugar

1 tsp Chilli flakes

A few Basil leaves chopped.

½ cup grated Mozzarella Cheese

  1. For the sauce. Heat some butter in the pan with olive oil to prevent the butter from burning.
  2. Add diced shallot / sliced onions and sauté a bit.
  3. Add tomato puree and salt to taste. Stir a pinch of sugar just to balance the tanginess of the tomato. Add chilli flakes and basil leaves
  4. Add macaroni to the sauce. Mix it well.
  5. Add the mix to the baking pot. Generously layer the top with Grated mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle a few more basil leaves and bake for 20 mins.
  6. Once the cheese melts and turns slightly brownish, take the macaroni out of oven.
  7. Feast on it with some bread if you like.

The soupy pasta of Gujarat | Daal-Dhokli

‘Daal-Dhokli’ captures the essence of Gujarati food with its sweet, hot and tangy taste. The dish is also known as ‘Chikholya’ in Maharashtra, cooked with tamarind instead of dried kokam for souring agent.

Daal-Dhokli is the Indian counterpart of the Italian Pasta. Pasta is made in two parts – it has a sauce of your choice and pasta shapes freshly made from semolina or all purpose flour. The composition is just the same for Daal-Dhokli but the set of ingredients are entirely different.

The sauce here is a sweet-tangy Daal (lentil). Wheat flour dough is knead, rolled and cut into squares the size of ravioli. These squares are called ‘Dhokli’. Unlike pasta which is boiled before adding to the sauce, the Dhoklis are cooked in the Daal itself.

Let’s begin then.

Dough for the Dhoklis

2 cups of wheat flour for dough

½ cup of extra flour for rolling out

2 tsp oil

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp red chilli powder

Salt to taste

Water as needed

  1. Sift the wheat flour in a large plate. Make a well in the centre. Add all the ingredients and began mixing and kneading the dough. Go on adding little water as you knead the dough. The dough should be medium firm i.e. the same as paratha / puri dough and little softer than pasta dough
  2. Once the dough is ready, wrap it with a cling film and let it rest for 30 minutes.


This is the basic sweet Daal that comes in Gujarati thali.


1cup Toor daal (split pigeon peas)

2 cups of water

1 long Green Chilli spilt vertically in the centre

1 tsp Red Chilli powder

2 dried kokam

1/3rd cup Jaggery

2-3 Curry leaves

2 tsp of finely cut Coriander leaves

½ inch of Ginger

  1. Add water to daal and pressure cook it for 10-15 mins till the daal is fully cooked.
  2. Mash the cooked daal finely and add it to a cooking vessel (don’t put it on the burner yet)
  3. Add 4 cups of water and all the remaining ingredients, mix well and bring it to boil. Let it simmer as you prepare for tadka.


The Tempering / Tadka

3 tsp of Ghee ( oil is fine too but ghee tastes better)

½ tsp of Coriander seeds

½ tsp of Cumin seeds

½ tsp of Fenugreek seeds

½ inch Cinnamon

2 Cloves

  1. Heat ghee on a low flame in tempering pan. Add other ingredients and wait till the coriander seeds crackle. Once the crackling sound reaches optimum, take it off the heat and add tadka to the boiling Daal.
  2. Let the Daal cook on a low flame. While Daal is cooking let’s roll the dough and make Dhoklis
  1. Remove the cling film and cut the dough in balls of equal portion- 3” diameter approximately
  2. Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface, put one ball on it and sprinkle some flour on the ball as well. Flatten it with a rolling pin. Keep sprinkling flour as needed else the dough will stick to the rolling pin or to the surface. Do not flip sides. Make the dough evenly thin.
  3. With a knife, draw vertical and horizontal lines of 5-6 cms width on the flattened dough to get Dhokli squares.
  4. Peel the squares off the surface and add them the boiling Daal. It will take around 2 minutes for Dhoklis to cook.
  5. Repeat the process for the rest of the dough balls.
  6. Once the Dhokli is cooked. Turn the heat off.

Sprinkle some coriander and Daal-Dhokli is ready to eat, you won’t need rice or bread to accompany it. This is my favourite meal when I am home alone  🙂

If you like Daal-Dhokli, try another variant – Daal-Dhokli with Fried dumplings

Who does Biryani belong to?

No one knows for sure. If you dissect the recipe to understand its roots, you will be misled.

The spicy richness of Biryani points its origin to Northern part of India. This part of India is known for its wheat consumption and a delicacy with Rice at its heart Rice cannot possibly belong to North India. Also, the place famous for its Biryanis is down south… Hyderabad.

I would like to believe Mogul invaders (or may be Persians as the word “Biryani” is derived from some Persian word) brought Biryani to India along with the other culinary treasures.

There are two methods of cooking Biryani. ‘Kaccha Biryani’ where meat and rice both in their row form is cooked together. The other one is ‘Pucca Biryani’ where meat and rice are cooked separately and then steamed together.

I cook Biryani by the ‘Pucca’ method.


500 grams of chicken with bones

300 grams of long grained Basmati rice

5 large onions (preferably Red onions)

4 tbsp of oil

2 tbsp of ghee (purified butter)

3 tsp garam masala (ingredients and method covered below)

3 tsp red chilli powder

Marinate (ingredients and method covered below)

1 tsp of saffron

½ cup split cashews

Asafoetida – a pinch

The entire recipe is broken into multiple steps. Always marinate chicken and soak rice first. You can shuffle the order for the rest as convenient.

Step A:  Marinate Chicken

½ tbsp green chilli paste

½ tbsp. ginger garlic paste

½ tsp of turmeric powder

Salt to taste

2 tbsp fresh thick curd

  1. Wash and clean chicken pieces and add them to a large bowl.
  2. Add marinate and mix well.
  3. Cover with a lid or cling film and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Step B:  Soak Rice

  1. Soak rice in water for 2 hours. It is ok if you end up adding lot of water to rice at this stage. We are going to drain the excess water before cooking.

Step C:  Onion Paste

  1. Cut onions into thick slices. Add 1 tbsp of oil in a small pan and shallow fry the onions till dark brown (little more than golden brown). Keep switching from medium to low flame as needed. Be careful not to burn the onions.
  2. Let the onions cool. Then grind to a fine paste.

Step D:  Garam Masala Powder.

2 tsp Cumin seeds

2 bay leaf

5-6 cloves

1 inch cinnamon stick

2 large cardamoms without seeds

  1. Lightly roast all the ingredients either together or individually on a low flame (without oil). Approximately for about a minute.
  2. Let it cool and then grind into a fine powder.

Step E:  Ready Garnish

  • Take a cup full of water and add few strands of Saffron to it. Saffron gives better colour if soaked in water. Leave it for an hour.
  • Finely slice one large onion. Deep fry and keep it ready for garnish.
  • Deep fry cashews till they turn brown and keep aside for garnish.

Step F:  Cook chicken.

  1. Heat oil (all 4 tbsp) in a cooking vessel. Once the oil heats up add 1 bay leaf and a pinch of asafoetida.
  2. Add marinated chicken to the oil. Mix well. Cover with a lid and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Open the lid; stir chicken a bit to avoid burning. Cover with the lid again and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add onion paster, garam masala, chilli powder and salt (if needed) and mix well.
  5. Cover with lid and let it cook for 4-5 mins. Keep checking at regular intervals.
  6. As chicken starts to cook, it initially releases water. Slowly chicken cooks in its own juices and the water dries out. Avoid adding water.
  7. Chicken will take approximately 20-30 minutes to cook.
  8. Make sure that the gravy is thick and oily. After the chicken is cooked fully, if you feel that the gravy is watery, remove the lid and let all the excess water burn.


Step G:  Cook rice

  1. Drain excess water from the soaked rice.
  2. Add Ghee to a cooking bowl. Ghee has a very low smoking (cooking) point (almost same as butter) make sure you have all your ingredients handy before you start heating ghee.
  3. Add 1 bay leaf. Add rice. Add water in the same quantity as rice.
  4. Cover with lid and let the rice cook. Rice will cook very fast as we have soaked it.
  5. We are going to half cook the rice. It will take around 3-4 minutes.
  6. Once the rice is half cooked. Let it cool. Don’t cover it else the grains will stick together.

The final step: Layering

  1. In a thick bottomed vessel or Handi, add a layer of half the quantity of rice and a sprinkle few spoons of saffron water on the top.
  2. The second layer will be of chicken. Add all the chicken on the top of rice layer.
  3. The final layer is of rice again. Layer the remaining rice on the top of the chicken. Sprinkle remaining saffron water with strands on the rice.
  4. Garnish the top layer with fried onions and cashews.
  5. Cover with a lid and let it cook on a very low flame for 10 minutes.

You can mix all the layers before serving. Serve with some sliced onions tempered with salt and pepper and a lemon wedge. Yummy !

Pasta with broccoli, onions and basil in white sauce

Today was a perfect lazy Sunday. I was somehow tired of the same old ‘roti-sabzi-daal-chawal’ routine. Felt like eating something quick, yummy and stomach-full. Options were limited. Pasta was the unanimous decision.

I mostly make pasta in white sauce with mushrooms. This time, because of unavailability of mushrooms in the fridge or availability of broccoli and my laziness to go out and get mushrooms, I came up with this variant of pasta.

I love broccoli but if you don’t share my liking for broccoli, you can skip it.

I was too hungry and too eager to share the recipe. Therefore, no photographs of this one.

The quantity will be sufficient for 2 if not accompanied with bread.


250 grams of pasta of your choice

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ tbsp butter

2 cloves of garlic- very finely chopped

1 medium sized onion- finely sliced

5-6 basil leaves

5-6 medium sized florets of broccoli.

1 green chilli – fine vertical chops. Remove seeds if you like mild flavour.

1 tbsp plain flour

½ tsp pepper

3 tbsp cream

1 cup milk

1 tsp basil seasoning

1 tsp red chilli flakes (Optional. We have added green chilli to the sauce)

Salt to taste


  1. Bring water to boil in a big vessel. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of salt to the boiling water. Add pasta to it. Keep stirring else the pasta might stick to the base. It will take 20-30 mins for the pasta to get cooked.
  2. Once the pasta is cooked, drain the hot water and rinse the pasta with cold water so that it doesn’t stick together.
  3. In a separate bowl, boil broccoli with a pinch of salt for 5-6 minutes. Alternatively, you can microwave it for 5 minutes. Drain hot water from the broccoli and shift it into a bowl filled with cold water to retain its green colour.
  4. Heat the butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil together in a sauce pan. The smoking point of butter is very low. Immediately add olive oil to it to prevent the butter from burning.
  5. Add garlic, green chilli and sliced onions to the oil. Sauté till onions become translucent.
  6. Add plain flour and sauté.
  7. Add milk, cream and mix well.
  8. Add broccoli (cut broccoli as you like – diced, finely chopped, with or without stems. I prefer diced without stems) and basil leaves.
  9. Add some salt, pepper immediately.
  10. Stir in pasta. Mix it well.
  11. In the end add basil seasoning (and red chilli flakes if you like it HOT).
  12. Serve it hot with bread of your choice.
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