Monday, May 21, 2012

easy peasy briyani





Giveaway Reminder : If you read this post or this one, you'll know about the upcoming giveaway I have planned to celebrate the completion of  my second cookbook, Mum's Not Cooking and to say "thank you" to you, my readers for following, subscribing, reading and commenting. I am giving away 3 copies, one each to 3 lucky readers from anywhere in the world, not just Singapore. 

If you've been a silent reader so far, please introduce yourself during the giveaway - there's no better time to say hello as you stand to win a great prize. Winning  it will be easy, and I know you will loooove this adorable little book! It will hit local bookstores in June 2012, but I am telling you now, because you are special (because you're MY readers!) and I don't want you to miss out, so stay tuned and keep checking back here for details. Today I will tell you more about the book, feature a review and a recipe from it. So read on....


I can't stop talking about my new book because it really is a great little cookbook. Notice I keep saying "little". Well, it's a compact, racy little number, like a tiny red teddy or a little red Corvette, I digress, but you get the picture, I think.

It's called Mum's Not Cooking - Favourite Singapore Recipes for the Near Clueless or Plain Lazy. A lot of  thought has gone into it, eg, it's journal sized and light so you can take it with you to the supermarket and use the ingredients list as your shopping list instead of writing out a separate shopping list. Less time and energy expanded, less paper used, less tree chopping,  less resource depletion. How many publishers think of that?

What you have here is a 128 paged beauty, rosy, luscious and eye catching as a red, ripe juicy tomato, or a traffic light, so you never lose sight of it, even in the hurly-burly of a cluttered apartment or messy dorm room. Seriously, is my publisher brilliant or is my publisher brilliant?



It's packed to the gills with tips, tricks, kitchen know how, quick and handy conversions for all kinds of measurements and more than a hundred scrumptious and ridiculously easy recipes to satisfy every culinary craving known to true blue Singaporeans from Alaska to Singapore to Zimbabwe. This cracker of a book will show you how to equip your kitchen, stock your fridge and pantry, get the best value and quality for your money at the market or supermarket, plan all kinds of menus and even prepare special foods and beverages to nurse yourself back to health when you fall ill. Okay, my publisher is brilliant, but hey, here, the credit's all mine ;)

wait! where's the rice?! 


ala peanut butter sandwiches!! wave the magic spoon and....


ta-dah!! easy PEAsy briyani! thank you! thank you! and thank you!





Whether you're a clueless novice cook who needs to learn how to cook our gorgeous local dishes, a transplanted Singaporean without the comfort of mum's familiar and beloved cooking, a newly wed who wants to impress your partner with your kitchen 'prowess', or just mad about Singaporean food, wherever in the world you may be, this is the book for you. If you can navigate a dinner plate with ease but are hopelessly challenged when facing the stove, this book is calling your name!. It's informative, cook friendly even if you think you're all thumbs in the kitchen, goes far beyond the scope of a recipe manual and is written in a lighthearted, humorous and always encouraging tone - mine!



I could talk all day about how much I love this book, or how I wrote it, bearing my experiences as a younger and much less savvy cook in mind, or how I made sure even my teenaged son could cook easily from it, and put a really tasty meal on the table just using the book as a guide, no maternal intervention whatsoever. But then, of course I would have nothing but good things to say about my own book right?

photo from Think Tank Tingkat
So, you know what?  I'll spare you the long spiel *wink* and let Trish of Think Tank Tingkat, a London based Singaporean blogger, tell you more about the experience of cooking from my cookbook.

But before you  hop over there, let me show you the results of Think Tank Tingkat's delicious effort on my Hot and Sour Szechuan Soup recipe from Mum's Not Cooking. Not bad at all eh, for a newbie cook? Just looking at it makes me want to have an early lunch!



Because a good food blog post is one that makes you smile and your tummy growl, with yummy recipes and  pretty pictures, I have also prepared for you today, a  recipe from Mum's Not Cooking - Easy Peasy Briyani. It's my pared down but still droolworthy and delicious version that a kitchen novice can put together with a handful of ingredients in almost no time. You probably know most recipes for biryani look like a dissertation or an annual report and take the better part of a morning or afternoon to prepare.



Of course such a recipe will produce magnificent results in the hands of a kitchen expert or professional chef. But I promise you, today's recipe, while very easy and novice friendly will make you look like you've been cooking all your life. It's more an Indian spiced basmati pilaf with chicken and vegetables, than a classic biryani, but the flavour profile and method of cooking are similar enough to that of biryani , so go ahead, take a little licence. When you proudly serve this, lay it on the table with a theatrical flourish and tell your lucky guests that it's your "BRIYANI" and that it's delicious, because it is!



Make an easy and refreshing accompaniment  by coarsely chopping up tomatoes, cucumbers and a little  red onion then mixing everything up with a little salt, lime juice and chopped coriander.  Serve in a bowl alongside the biryani and a tall pitcher of  lime drink with pandan, then sit back and lap up the applause and compliments.



I hope you enjoyed this little show N tell for Mum's Not Cooking. In Singapore, biryani is eaten with achar on the side, and I've also recommended it in my cookbook (see end of recipe below) so for my next post, I'll show you how to make an easy version of the usually intricate and involved achar or pickle. See you then!


Easy Peasy Briyani (Spicy Chicken & Green Pea Basmati Pilaf)


Prep 15 minutes       Cook 25 minutes         Serves 2 – 3



1 large onion, peel, halve and slice thinly
2 Tbsp ready ground ginger paste (I made my own)
1 Tbsp ready ground garlic paste (I made my own)
2 chicken breast halves, cut into large cubes
1 rounded Tbsp medium hot curry powder
150 g (2 level cups) basmati rice, washed and drained in a colander or large sieve
600 ml (3 cups) low fat canned chicken stock or broth
1 ½ tsp salt 
90 g (1 cup) thawed and drained frozen baby green peas (I used mixed veg - no peas in the supermarket freezer!!!)



Heat 5 tablespoons vegetable oil in a heavy pot until hot but not smoking.

Fry the onion, ginger paste and garlic paste over medium heat until golden and fragrant.

Add chicken and sprinkle over curry powder.

Stir around, until the cubes brown.

Add rice and stir until coated with oil.

Pour in stock, add salt and stir to dissolve salt.

Bring to the boil, watch until liquid is almost gone and holes begin to appear on top of rice.

Reduce heat to minimum, cover pot securely so steam doesn’t escape and cook for 10 minutes.

Open pot, add peas, cover immediately and turn off heat but do not open for 15 minutes.

Open pot, gently fluff rice with fork and serve with Easy Cucumber and Pineapple Acar

27 comments:

  1. Great recipe! This must be a brilliant book :-). I love the simplicity. And I am wondering why I never cooked rice in stock, I always use plain water. Using stock would add so much flavor. Certainly something to try.

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    1. Hi Elana, I can't say it enough - I love this gorgeous little red book! Yes! Definitely, cook rice in stock. It's a small change that makes a huge difference!

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  2. One pot meals are just the best. I cook dishes like this one most weekdays...shhh! Weeknights are so busy, everyone is just trying to fill their tummies and move on to their next activity. I don't know how life got so crazy.

    Congrats on the book my friend! This cookbook would be wonderful not just for a student but also for the us busy moms out there. Can't wait to see it :)

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    1. Biren, I couldn't agree more and I also did not notice when and how life got so crazy! The dining table and even home is sometimes little more than a pitstop! A meal like this that takes one pot and little more than 30 minutes is a godsend that means you get to spend a little more precious time with your family instead of spending it with your stove!

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  3. I love this book...because it makes even difficult recipes like biryani, so less time-consuming and approachable. hope I be the lucky one! This biryani looks fabulous...I am already feeling hungry at midnight by just looking at the pictures! Would love to go through the entire book (if you please!)...

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    1. Hi Purabi :) Thanks for visiting and leaving such kind words. I look forward very much to your participation in the giveaway (just round the corner!) and wish you the very best of luck! For a detailed sampling (an entire chapter!) of the book just follow this link

      http://www.epigrambooks.sg/wp-content/uploads/Mum_D.pdf

      or click on the link above my book cover icon at the top of the right side bar on this page. Enjoy!

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    2. Thank you so much, Denise!!

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  4. Hi Denise, thanks for leaving a note on my blog and introducing yours, as well as your cookbook giveaway - so exciting! :) I'm looking at your recipes right now, and they all look so delicious. I love all these foods that I grew up with, and I can't wait to try making them!! Hope I'll be your lucky cookbook pick, just like everyone else!!

    http://www.emylogues.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Emy, my pleasure and thank you! I think we have some of the most mouthwatering food in the world - aren't we lucky?! I'm looking forward to seeing you here for the giveaway and I wish you the very best of luck!

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    2. Hey Denise! I hope you don't mind, but I added you to my foodie blogroll! :)

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    3. Emy - no I don't mind at all! In fact I'm flattered and I do appreciate it. Thank you :)

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  5. You know, Denise, I was smiling when I saw the title of your new cookbook, Mum's not cooking... erm...just like me, I thought. Me = mum just can't find time to cook on weekdays. Being a fulltime working mum to 3 boys (incl hubby that is), I get all sapped when I see my kitchen :-( How depressing can that be? I'm so glad that the schools where my boys go to serve warm 3-course meal at lunches. The same goes for my hubby's cafeteria at work. Yep...gone with the additional $$$ but, mum needs a break... LOL! I'm drooling at your bowl of briyani. Sedap nampaknya, Denise!

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    1. Hi Nasifriet :) Haha, yes sometimes mum's not cooking not because she's far away but also because she's human and gets too damned tired, just like everyone else ;) How lucky that all your boys, big and small *ahem* get a nice hot lunch away from home. You know, this really is yummy, though I say so myself, in fact so easy and yummy, I'm tempted to cook this for every other meal *yikes*

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  6. Yes, I am always turned off by the long list of ingredients needed to make briyani! this version sounds pretty easy enough and less intimidating! Looks delicious too! Bookmarked for when I get my rice:D Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Jeannie, yes, I feel the same way! Long and winding recipes just make me feel tired! No need to cook it to feel worn out lol Hope you try this out and also participate in the giveaway!

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  7. Denise, I'm here! I like the book cover and I always go for easy recipes when come to cooking. Wish me luck!! :D

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  8. lol - good luck Ann but comeback again on Friday for the actual giveaway!

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  10. Love your photos and your recipes!!!! Great talent!

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  11. Congrats again, Denise! The book is a beauty, just like our little red dot! Hahaha! I'm sure the recipes are even more beautiful under your hands. Great work!

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  12. Congratulations on the completion of your second book, it sounds like such fun :) And this rice dish looks ans sounds delightful!

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  13. Hi Denise, I made this for dinner yesterday night and everyone oh so loved it!!! Thankyou! Now I will buy your little book today when I visit the store!!!

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    1. Hi Sangeeta, thank you so much for taking the time to leave your comment and feedback. You just made my evening :) I hope you continue to enjoy stirring up meals from Mum's Not Cooking!

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  14. Hi Denise, i am exactly the type of person your book is for, i am plain clueless / lazy in the kitchen. I stumbled on your blog today and found this easy peasy briyani recipe ... And for the first time in a loooong time, felt inspired to try it as it looked like i could handle it. And i am glad to report the results are wonderful, and i am so enjoying my own-cooked meal right now! Will look out for your not-so-new book, hope it's still in stock! Thank you very much.

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