Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas wishes: Making Santa with kids

Christmas is just around the corner and everywhere it's cold and beautiful. There are beautiful Christmas lights on the roads and Christmas starts in every window and the lovely red and white Christmas decorations in the whole market, and even in grocery shops. Basically it's Christmas and festivities in the air.. So how would the kids left behind? Apart from eating gingerbread cookies and amazing Christmas cakes, here's a lovely and easy Christmas Santa kids can make which can be hanged on your Christmas tree. Sounds lovely, isn't it? This is so easy I did it with 4-5 year old kids and it was lovely and beautiful for kids to have their own Santa!

Things you require:

White paper
Pencil to draw
Red color paper
Fevistick or liquid sticking gum

  1. Begin by the kid tracing out his/her hand on the bottom of the paper with the pencil on the white paper. 
  2. Rotate the paper and draw a line from the thumb across the hand as shown in the picture. 
  3. Draw the eyes and the mouth. 
  4. Cut little bits of the red paper and begin sticking them over the top portion as shown in the picture. This will become Santa's hat. Kids can stick small or big bits as they want. 
  5. Now, as shown in the picture, begin applying the sticking gum over the fingers and take out small cotton balls to stick on the fingers to make Santa's white beard. Apply a little gum over the thumb tip as well and stick a little cotton (at the tip of Santa's hat). 
  6. The kids can cut small squares (or any other shapes) and stick on the bottom of the Santa as presents from Santa. 
  7. Done! Kids can add their own creativity and add sparkles, stars or decorations over the presents or on the sides. 
  8. Punch holes on the top and hang on your Christmas tree with the help of a thread. 

Here are the awesome gingerbread cookies we made with the kids.

Gingerbread cookies recipe: 

Ingredients: All purpose flour, unsalted butter, ground spices: ginger, cinnamon, green cardamom and cloves, molasses, dark brown sugar, baking powder, salt and warm water. Mix everything and make a firm dough. Cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour. Take out and make small balls in palms and roll with a rolling pin about 2-3 mm thick. Cut in desired shapes using cookie cutters. Line a baking paper in a baking tray and bake the cookies for 6 minutes at 200 C. The cookies will become slightly dark brown. Remove and store in air tight containers. Enjoy!

Wishing everyone a great Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2016.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Biryani Masala

It's been a long while I have been experimenting with various types of biryanis: both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Most of the times I just add garam masala for the taste and earlier I used to add the store bought garam masala but was never satisfied with the taste of either. Recently I asked my Nani if she knows to prepare biryani masala at home. I was not sure because I have never known her making biryani of any kind but she did have a recipe for the masala! Lucky me, right? I instantly penned down her recipe for the masala and recently made this flavorful spice powder. My house was filled with the aromatic essence of spices and the final spice powder is dark brown in color, and smells so awesome I can't describe in words; you just have to prepare it to experience the heavenly aroma.

When I had this spice powder, immediately the next day I prepared a Hyderabadi Fish Biryani using this biryani powder, and trust me, it tasted so wonderfully awesome with a taste I have never had before. I'm never going back to adding simply garam masala or using store bought ones for my biryani recipes.


Cumin seeds: 2 tsp.
Caraway seeds (Shahi jeera): 2 tsp.
Coriander seeds: 2 tsp.
Black peppercorns: 1 tsp.
Black cardamom: 1
Green cardamom: 2 (with cover)
Nutmeg powder: 2 heaped pinches
Mace: 1
Dried red chilli: 3
Dry fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi): 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp.
Cloves: 4
Dagad phool: 2 (if available; I did not have it so did not add it)
Cinnamon stick: 1 inch

  1. Dry roast the following one by one on a medium-low flame: cumin seeds, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, dried red chili, cinnamon and cloves. 
  2. Let cool and mix all the ingredients (dry roasted and others) and grind to a fine powder. I used my coffee jar for grinding. 
  3. Sieve through a muslin cloth and store in a dry and air-tight container. It stays good for very long time. No need to refrigerate. 

I know for sure after you have made this biryani spice powder, you will totally be craving to prepare a biryani asap.. so here are the 13 biryani recipes I have blogged till date. There are many more I have tried but have not been able to write the recipes, will keep on updating this post as I share more biryani recipes. 



Zafrani Chicken biryani

How to use the biryani masala: Just add one heaped teaspoon every cup of rice in any biryani recipe. Just add a little more powder if you like more strong flavor. Add half a teaspoon of this powder to any rice preparation and feel the difference! 

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Please leave a comment and/or feedback in the comments section. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Tabota par Eda - Eggs on tomato

Eggs are a forever favorite in our home and that's why I constantly try to find out new ways to cook eggs to make boredom at bay. That is why, after I had made a special post about How to make the perfect hard boiled eggs which helped many, I posted an array of Egg recipes; specially egg curries.  
Punjabi style quick bhurji was always an instant option in our home. But when I tried this recipe for the first time about an year ago, I have literally stopped preparing our basic bhurji as this recipe gave me a different style and gave a total wonderful transformation to the fried eggs. 

This is a Parsi recipe which is a little spicy balanced with a dash of sugar and the use of Parsi Dhansak Masala
I found this wonderful recipe on a website and this is the original recipe link:
I have not covered and cooked  like in the recipe but did it a little my way and I've lost count how many times I've tried this recipe now. I had even prepared this for my non-Indian guest and she simply loved it ! 

Here's the simple recipe:


Eggs: 4
Cooking oil: 3 tsp.
Onion (finely chopped): 1
Green chilli (finely chopped): 1
Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
Ginger-garlic paste: 3 tsp. (I use grated ginger and garlic)
Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp.
Red chilli powder: 1/2 tsp.
Cumin powder: 1/4 tsp.
Coriander powder: 1/4 tsp. 
Salt to taste
Tomato (chopped): 1 big
Coriander leaves: a handful
Sugar: 2 tsp.

  1. Heat oil and add the cinnamon stick and immediately add the green chili. Let fry for a bit and add the onions. Let them fry until they are slightly brown. 
  2. Add the ginger-garlic paste and mix well. Let cook until the raw smell goes away. 
  3. Add the dry spices at this point: red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and Dhansak masala. 
  4. Mix well and add the chopped tomato. Sprinkle salt and mix well. Let cook until the tomatoes are almost soft and mushy. 
  5. Add the chopped coriander leaves and the sugar. Mix everything well and let cook for another 2 minutes. 
  6. Break the eggs and add the this masala. Mix well and let cook. Turn off the flame and serve hot with chappati and raita for a complete easy and quick meal. 

And here are the pictures from the lunch I prepared for my non-Indian guest in April this year where I had prepared this with Butter Chicken, plain rice, salad, mint-coriander chutney and chappati: 


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