Mirchi ka Salan

Mirch ka Salan

The spicy, tangy and nutty gravy of mirchi ka salan makes it the perfect accompaniment to biriyani. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the famous Hyderabadi biriyani. It goes well with vegetable biriyani, chicken biriyani, egg biriyani and any other biriyani you make. I even enjoy it with plain rice, puris and naan. I hope you will enjoy my version of mirchi ka salan.

Mirch ka Salan

Prep time: 8 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6

10 large (mild) green chillies
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 tablespoon unsalted roasted peanuts
1 cup roughly chopped onion
2 tablespoons roughly chopped ginger
2 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic
¼ cup sesame oil/vegetable oil
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon nigella seeds
3 fenugreek seeds, (optional)
1 sprig curry leaves
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
3 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
2½ cups water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 teaspoons tamarind extract

Wash, dry, and slit green chillies lengthwise without cutting the chillies into two. You can remove the seeds or leave them in depending on the amount of heat you prefer. In a large, non-stick frying pan add one tablespoon of oil. Shallow fry the chillies until the skin of the chillies blister. Set aside.

In a small non-stick frying pan, over medium heat, roast desiccated coconut until light brown. Remove and set aside. Next, roast white sesame seeds until lightly toasted. Put it along with the coconut. Cool completely. Add the roasted peanuts to the toasted coconut and sesame and grind all three to a smooth paste with three tablespoons of water. Set aside.

Next, grind the onion, ginger and garlic with two tablespoons of water. Set aside.

Place a heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add three tablespoons of oil and when it shimmers, add the mustard, cumin, nigella, and fenugreek seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the curry leaves and the ground onion, ginger, and garlic paste. Cook until it turns light brown and the raw smell of garlic disappears. Then add the ground desiccated coconut, sesame, and peanut along with the turmeric, coriander, cumin and chilli powder. Cook for two minutes. Add water, salt, brown sugar, tamarind extract, and bring to a boil. As soon as the gravy begins to boil, turn the heat to low. Add the green chillies and simmer for eight minutes or until the gravy thickens. Serve hot with biriyani, puris or naan.

Vote for my Almond Brittle Recipe


The holidays are just around the corner, and during this time, many of my friends ask for my Almond Brittle recipe. I’m reposting the recipe below, and I’ve also entered it in the Fisher Nuts “My Fresh Twist” recipe contest. Click here to vote for my recipe! You can vote for my recipe five times a day until November 5. Hint: Just hit the vote button 5 times in a row! Many of you have tried and tasted my Almond Brittle so I am sure I’ll get your vote. Thanks for your support.

This recipe was originally posted on December 18, 2012.

Almond Brittle
½ stick butter (4 tablespoons), room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add butter (make sure it is at room temperature), sugar and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until the butter, sugar and salt are well incorporated, and then add almonds and sesame seeds. Turn heat up to medium-high.

This is the point where you have to pay close attention, and keep stirring constantly. When the almonds and sugar begin to brown, and turn to a light caramel color, and you see the melted butter separate from the rest of the mixture, turn off the heat. Very carefully, pour the mixture onto the foil lined baking sheet. Spread to a thin, even layer with the back of the wooden spoon. Let the almond brittle cool completely before you snap them into pieces.

Store in an airtight container. Or, put them in little bags or boxes, as shown in the picture, and share them with your friends. They make delectable little gifts for Christmas.

Video tips for perfecting your almond brittle

Honey and Spice Roasted Almonds

Honey & Spice Roasted Almonds4

WARNING – These Honey and Spice Roasted Almonds are highly addictive!

I’ve tried different spice mixes and I think I finally found the winning combination for these honey and spice roasted almonds. The fusion of sweet, salty, spicy, smoky flavors and, of course, the crunch makes these nuts the perfect snack. At least that is my opinion. Let me know what you think, once you’ve tried them yourself.

Honey and Spice Roasted Almonds
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 10

3 cups whole raw almonds with skins on
2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar, (raw sugar)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chilli powder, (depending on heat and your preference)
½ teaspoon smoked paprika, (optional)
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons peanut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread almonds onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for eight minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another eight minutes.

While almonds are toasting, combine sugar, salt, chilli, paprika, cumin, and coriander powder in a small bowl and set aside.

In a wide-bottomed saucepan bring honey, water, and oil to a boil, over medium-high heat. You will see small bubbles appear on the surface. Immediately stir in toasted almonds and cook until the nuts are all coated and the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle the sugar, salt, and spice mix over the almonds. Toss well to coat all the almonds.

Spread nuts back onto the foil lined baking sheet in a single layer. Cool completely and break the almonds apart. The honey and spice roasted almonds can be stored in an air-tight container for a month. But, I bet they won’t last that long!

Stir-Fried Chinese Broccoli and Carrots

Stir-Fried Chinese Broccoli and Carrots

I saw bunches of fresh Chinese broccoli or Kai-lan, as they called it in my local Chinese grocery store. I was curious, so bought two bunches and looked it up in Wikipedia. It comes from the same family as regular broccoli, but it has a much stronger taste.

How do you pick fresh Chinese broccoli? You select a bunch that has dark green leaves and you look at the end of the stalk. The middle of the stalk should be one color, a creamy translucent color. Old Chinese broccoli stems will be dried up, with a hard, white opaque center. So, don’t pick those.

This quick and easy stir-fry took less than 15 minutes to make. If you’ve tried cooking a new vegetable that you found in your grocery store, tell us about it in the comments section.

Stir-Fried Chinese Broccoli and Carrots
Adapted from Spicetrekkers
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 6 minutes
Serves: 4

15 stalks Chinese broccoli, washed and dried
2 carrots, peeled
2 tablespoons peanut oil
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
4 garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup sliced red onion
1 tablespoon minced ginger
½ teaspoon chilli flakes, (depending on heat and your preference)

Cut the Chinese broccoli into leaves and stalks. Trim and discard the very bottom of the stalks. Slice the stalks thinly at a sharp angle. Keep them in a bowl. Slice the carrots thinly at a sharp angle and put them in the bowl along with the stalks. Cut the leaves into bite size pieces and keep in a separate bowl.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat the sides of the wok. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the whole garlic cloves and stir-fry for five seconds. Add the onion and ginger and stir-fry for another five seconds. Then add the carrots and the sliced stalk. Stir-fry for two minutes. Add salt and the broccoli leaves. Continue stir-frying until the leaves are just wilted. Make sure that the vegetables are tender but somewhat crunchy. This dish goes well with rotis or parathas.

Egg Curry – Kerala Mutta Curry

Egg Curry4

Egg curry or mutta curry, as we call this dish in Malayalam, is a faithful standby when unexpected guests arrive at lunch time or when the vegetable bin is empty in the refrigerator. Every Indian family has their own style of making egg curry. The egg curry recipe that I am sharing with you today, is from Kerala. Coconut milk, curry leaves, vinegar, and garam masala gives this dish its creamy, spicy, and aromatic fragrance and flavor. The versatile egg curry can be eaten with rice, chapatis, appams or string hoppers. It’s a good dish to have in your recipe collection.


Egg Curry – Kerala Mutta Curry
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6

6 hard boiled eggs
4 whole dry red chillies, (depending on heat and your preference)
3 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon whole black pepper
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 one-inch piece cinnamon
2 green cardamom, seeds only
2 cloves
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
3 tablespoons coconut oil
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1 cup finely diced shallots
2 green chillies, slit in half (optional)
1 teaspoon finely diced ginger
1 teaspoon finely diced garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 (13.66 fl oz) can coconut milk, unsweetened
1 cup water
3 medium potatoes, quartered
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A few curry leaves to garnish

In a small non-stick frying pan, over low heat, roast the dry chillies, coriander seeds, whole black pepper, fennel, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. When it starts smelling fragrant, add the cumin seeds and roast for 10 seconds. Remove from the heat and cool the spices completely. Powder in a coffer grinder and set aside.

Place a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil and when it shimmers, add the mustard seeds. When they splutter add the curry leaves, green chillies, onion, ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Cook until the onion turns translucent. Add the powdered spices and stir. Mix one cup of coconut milk with one cup of water and add it to the pan. Add the potatoes, vinegar, and salt. Cook for 15 minutes over medium-low heat. When the potatoes are done, add the boiled eggs and the remaining coconut milk. Let the curry simmer for five more minutes. Remove from the heat, add freshly ground black pepper, and garnish with curry leaves.

Announcing the Winner of the First Giveaway!

winnerWe have a winner! Congratulations, Molly Rema! You are the winner of the first giveaway on MargaretsHome.com. You have won a Multifunctional Digital Kitchen Scale. It should be arriving shortly.

Thank you all for participating and subscribing to MargaretsHome.com. Look out for my next giveway!



Minced Chicken Puffs

Minced Chicken and Egg Puffs

Two lovely young ladies have asked me to share a recipe for puffs, so this blog post is especially for them. Chicken puffs, eggs puffs, and vegetable puffs bring back memories of bakery shops in India. The lovely aroma that came from these shops, as you passed by, was magnetic.

Egg puffs were a popular item in a bakery in Manipal and my children and I would pick some up every Friday afternoon. It was in Manipal where I learned how to make puff pastry from scratch. My teacher was a young lady from Malaysia. Making puff pastry is a tedious process and since puff pastry sheets are available in the frozen section of our grocery stores in the U.S., I’ve used them to save time. This recipe will give you the basics on how to make puffs but use your imagination to make the filling your own. Enjoy.

Minced Chicken Puffs
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Serves: 6

1 pkg. (17.3-ounces) Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoon finely chopped green chillies, (depending on heat and your preference)
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
¼ cup finely chopped tomato
3 teaspoons Shakti meat masala powder, (or any other meat masala powder)
1 pound minced chicken
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Thaw the pastry sheets at room temperature for 40 minutes or use the directions on the package. Heat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease or line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.

Heat oil in a small non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and when they sputter add cumin seeds, onion, and salt. Cook onions until they turn translucent. Then add the ginger, garlic, green chillies, and cilantro. Cook for three minutes or until the raw smell of the garlic disappears. Add tomato and the meat masala powder. Let the tomato cook until the oil separates. Turn the heat to low and add minced chicken. Break up the chicken with your wooden spoon, so there are no lumps. Then turn the heat to medium. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Stir to dry out any water that may remain. Remove from heat and cool completely.

To assemble the puffs:
Unfold one pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.
Cut the pastry sheet into three strips along the fold marks. Gently roll each strip to make it slightly wider.
Cut each strip in half crosswise, making six pastry rectangles.
Place the pastry rectangles onto the baking sheet.
Put one heaped teaspoon of the chicken filling onto each pastry rectangle.
Brush the edges of the pastry rectangles with a little egg mixture or water.
Fold the pastries in half over the filling to form small rectangles.
Brush the filled puffs with the egg mixture.
Put the tray in the freezer.
Repeat this process with the second puff pastry sheet.
Bake the puffs for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown. Let the puffs cool on the baking sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes. Serve with ketchup or cilantro and mint chutney.

Please note:
There are two pastry sheets in one package. If you do not want to use the second pastry sheet, you can wrap it in parchment paper, put it in a ziplock bag, and freeze it. Or, you can fill the puffs and freeze them individually wrapped in parchment paper. Bake them at 400°F for 30-35 minutes straight from the freezer. No thawing required.