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Day 10 of Lockdown: Enjoy a restaurant-like experience cooking tasty yet easy meals at home

You must be craving an amazing meal at a beautiful restaurant but unfortunately, we are all stuck in our homes during this lockdown. But that doesn't mean you can't cook amazing meals at home and enjoy a restaurant-like experience. So here are some recipes for you to try at home that can be cooked using ingredients easily available in your kitchen.
Breakfast Meal - Veg sandwich
The veg sandwich is a healthy and nutritious breakfast dish made with simple veggies and bread.
Veg Sandwich recipe:

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
  1. 10 slices white or brown bread
  2. 2 potatoes, boiled and sliced into rounds
  3. 1 beetroot, boiled and thinly sliced
  4. 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  5. 1 onion
  6. 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  7. Butter softened, salted or unsalted
  8. chaat masala to taste
  9. black salt to taste
  10. roasted cumin powder, optional
  11. freshly ground black pepper, optional
  12. Tomato ketchup
- For coriander chutney

  1. 1 cup coriander leaves and ¼ cup mint leaves
  2. ½ tsp chaat masala powder
  3. 1 green chilli
  4. salt or black salt to taste
  5. 1 tsp water for grinding, optional
- Making chutney:

  1. In a blender, take 1 cup of coriander leaves, ½ tsp chaat masala powder and 1 or 2 green chillies.
  2. Add a pinch of salt to it. Grind it until you get a smooth texture. Only add water if you are not able to grind the ingredients
  3. Add salt if required and pour in a bowl. Keep it aside.
- Preparing vegetables:

  1. Boil the beetroot and potatoes till they become tender. Thinly slice it after it gets cool.
  2. Peel and thinly slice both the onion, cucumber and tomatoes.
- Making the vegetable sandwich

  1. Trim the edges of the slices of bread and butter them evenly.
  2. Apply the coriander chutney and place the vegetables in the bread slices one by one.
  3. Sprinkle with black salt and chaat masala on them. Cover the sandwich with the other slice and cut it into triangle or rectangle pieces.
  4. Serve it with tomato ketchup and coriander chutney.
Lunch Meal - Bhindi masala

Bhindi or okra is a favourite vegetable for many people. It is prepared with tempered masalas and tastes good with Rotis.
Bhindi masala recipe:

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
  1. 2 tbsp oil for frying the bhindi
  2. 250 grams bhindi (okra or ladyfinger)
  3. 1 tbsp oil (for masala)
  4. 1 onion - chopped
  5. 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  6. 2 tomatoes - chopped
  7. 1 tsp coriander powder
  8. ½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  9. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  10. ½ tsp fennel powder, (saunf powder)
  11. ½ tsp garam masala powder
  12. ½ tsp amchur powder
  13. salt to taste
  14. ½ tsp Kasuri methi, crushed- optional
  15. 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  1. Rinse the bhindi in water and dry them using a kitchen towel. 
  2. Chop them into one or two-inch pieces and remove their base and stalk.
  3. Chop the onions and tomatoes. Make the ginger-garlic paste in a mortar-pestle. Keep them aside.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the bhindi and saute it while stirring continuously until it is cooked properly.
  5. If the Bhindi becomes soft, it means that is cooked. Keep it aside.
- Make the bhindi masala
  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil to the same pan. Add the onions and fry till they turn golden in colour.
  2. Now, add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for a minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes and saute till they become soft. If this mixture is too dry and is sticking to the pan, then add a little water and keep cooking.
  4. Then, add the dry spice powders one by one. Mix it well and saute it.
  5. Add the sautéed bhindi, crushed Kasuri methi and salt. Mix it well and Cook for 2 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. Switch off the flame and add coriander leaves. Serve hot with chapatis or naan.
Dinner Meal - Veg biryani
Authentic veg biryani is slow-cooked on dum which gives it a unique flavour. Biryani is a beautiful medley of aromas, flavours and tastes achieved by blending the ingredients.
Veg Biryani recipe:

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
  - To cook rice

  1. 1.5 cups basmati rice
  2. 1 cup water for soaking rice
- To prepare the vegetables for biryani

  1. 1.5 cups medium cauliflower florets
  2. 2 potatoes
  3. 1 carrot
  4. 11 to 12 french beans
  5. 8 to 10 white button mushrooms, sliced or chopped, (optional)
  6. 1 green bell pepper
  7. ½ cup green peas, fresh or frozen
  8. 1 large onion
  9. 2 pieces of 2-inch ginger
  10. 10 to 12 medium garlic cloves
  11. 2 green chillies, slit or sliced
- To cook the biryani rice

  1. 3 green cardamoms
  2. 1 black cardamom
  3. 3 cloves
  4. 1-inch cinnamon
  5. 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
  6. 2 single mace strands
  7. 5 cups water
  8. ½ tsp salt or to taste
- To cook the biryani gravy

  1. 3 tbsp ghee or oil
  2. 1 tsp shah jeera (caraway seeds)
  3. 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
  4. 3 green cardamoms
  5. 1 black cardamon
  6. 1 pinch cinnamon
  7. 1 cup fresh whisked curd
  8. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  9. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  10. ½ cup water for pressure cooking
  11. 2 tbsp cashews
  12. 1 tbsp sultanas or raisins
  13. 2 tbsp almonds, raw or blanched, peeled and sliced
  14. salt to taste
To assemble and layer the biryani

  1. ⅓ cup chopped coriander leaves
  2. ⅓ cup mint leaves, chopped
  3. 4 to 5 tbsp milk
  4. 1/4 tsp saffron strands
  5. 2 tsp kewra water or rose water


 - Preparation

  1. Pick and rinse the rice in running water. Soak the rice in water for about 30 minutes. Then drain the rice and keep it aside.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare all the vegetables and other ingredients.

 - Cooking rice

  1. Take a large pan. Add 5 cups of water and boil it on a high flame.
  2. Now add all the spices including ½ tsp salt, 1 tej patta, 3 green cardamoms, 3 cloves, 1 black cardamom, 1-inch cinnamon.
  3. Add the rice and give it a gentle stir. Continue to cook the rice.
  4. Don't cook the rice 100%. It should be almost cooked at about 70%. Drain the rice and keep it aside.

 - Making biryani gravy

  1. Heat ghee in a pressure cooker and add the spices including 1 tsp shah jeera, 1 tej patta, 3 green cardamoms, 3 cloves, 1 black cardamom, 1-inch cinnamon. Sauté it till it crackles.
  2. Add onions and sauté on a low to medium flame. Meanwhile, take 1 cup of fresh curd in a bowl and whisk it till it becomes smooth.
  3. Add the ginger-garlic paste and sliced green chillies and Sauté it. Then, add the turmeric and red chilli powder. Stir well.
  4. Add the chopped vegetables and sauté for about two minutes. Add the curd, water and salt. Stir it well.
  5. Cover the lid and pressure cook for about 1 whistle on a medium flame. Make sure that you don’t overcook the vegetables.
  6. Now, warm about 4 to 5 tablespoons milk. Add ¼ tsp saffron strands to it and stir. Keep it aside for later use.
  7. Remove the lid after the pressure settles. Check if the vegetables are not cooked properly. Simmer the biryani gravy without the cover till the veggies get cooked. It should have a medium or a little thick consistency.
  8. Add the cashews, raisins and almonds (blanched or raw) to the vegetable gravy. Mix it well and keep it aside.

 - The layering of the biryani

  1. In a pan, layer the first half of the veg biryani gravy. Then make a layer of the rice.
  2. Sprinkle the chopped coriander, mint leaves and saffron milk. Layer the rest of the veg biryani gravy.
  3. Then, Layer the remaining rice. Sprinkle the leftover coriander, mint leaves, saffron milk on the top of it.
  4. Sprinkle 2 tsp of rosewater. Make 2 or 4 layers as per your preference. Make sure that the last layer should be of rice.

 - Cooking veg biryani

  1. Seal the pot with aluminium foil and cover with a lid. You can also seal the pot using a moist cotton cloth and lid.
  2. Take a tava/griddle and heat it on a lower flame. Put the sealed veg biryani pot on the tawa and cook for about 25-30 minutes.
  3. After it is done, let it stay for about 5 to 7 minutes and then serve it.
  4. Serve the delicious veg biryani with your favourite raita, onion salad, mango pickle and roasted papad.