Thursday, November 3, 2011


So guys...finally I am BACK!!!! Its indeed been a very loooong time since we met.....well, I have  so many excuses to share for all those months that have gone by....hehehe....well, I also have a recipe to share J Not that haven’t been cooking but various other reasons why I haven’t been appearing here.

To start with I am working on a new page for travelogue,  so watch out for that....which will be my first excuse to why I abandoned my darling cardamom hills and ventured out to many other wonderlands with my new Canon rebel T3i J (yup! You heard it right...I too got my SLR finally!!). Destinations were....well, starters were Alappuzha & Kumarakom -Kerala, Delhi & Agra...all this in India. Next for the main course we tried Langkawi in Malaysia and finally for dessert we had Istanbul & Bursa in Turkey!!! So that’s what I was last upto. Before this I was on a long vacation with my in-laws, just chilling out J and before that I was on a long vacation with my parents....And so I just took a long lavish break which we all should sometimes from routine...Right folks?? I thought I was getting a bit possessed by blog and blogging....this gave me the break and also the time to learn my way through Mr. REBEL(Please be aware that from here on I will address my darling Canon rebel T3i as Mr.Rebel)

Alright guys, like I said the travelogue page will come up soon with pictures and more on “MJ, the sailor’s adventures” J But here I share with you few of my favourite shots from various destinations.

1.       The Mausoleum of love-Taj Mahal - Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
2.       Sunset from our room’s balcony- Berjaya Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia

3.       An endless city- Istanbul, Turkey

4.       Spice bazaar/ Egyptian bazaar - Istanbul, Turkey

5.       Riding the cable car uphill - Bursa, Turkey

Alright, now that you have travelled the world with me....lets come back to our cozy little cardamom hills and talk fooooood......I’ll tell you more about the food and places on another day because we have a long recipe ahead J and you don’t wana miss that, do you??

Tandoori chicken and basil rice......well actually, this was supposed to be an attempt to create a tricolor rice dish and I was successful to some extent. I had my first layer of white which was flavoured with butter and paneer (cottage cheese) cubes, second was my bright orange tandoori chicken and third was the green basil flavoured rice. But if you see in the pictures, I took these shots at night and under artificial light, so the colours are not as visible as they should have been. Another factor is the plating....if I had done individual bowls of rice with layers and put them in the oven, I could have done a better job with the plating. Further notes on possible goof ups, please consult the tips n tricks sections J

How did the tandoori chicken and basil layered rice evolve......

Reason: I wanted to find a new one dish meal with rice and chicken.

Idea: I happen to remember the flavours of this chicken tikka rice I ate once at some restaurant.

Creativity: Tricolored rice was always something I wanted to try but I did not want to end up layering 3 colours after making them separately just to make it look pretty. So I decided to pot them up and put it on dum for 20mins so the layers would blend and feel each other but retain their colours.

Result: Nice spicy rice with a different flavour and lightly coloured pretty layers.

That’s the story.  Few things I wana share before getting into the recipe.....I have used paneer for the white layer, you can use halloumi cheese instead if you don’t like or can’t find paneer. In the green layer, I added some chopped could put some boiled greens peas harm in additions.

Alright guys, so here we go.....

Ingredients: (serves- 3 to 4)

For Tandoori Chicken marinade:
Chicken - 1 whole (1.5kg) cleansed, de-skin and cut into large pieces
Fresh ginger garlic paste- 3 tbsp
Kashmiri chilli powder/ cayenne pepper- 1 tbsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tbsp
Hung curd/ Greek yogurt- 2 tbsp
Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

For Gravy:
Ghee/ butter - 3 tbsp
Onion - 5 medium grind into thick puree
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Tomato - 2 large chopped finely
Kashmiri chilli powder/ cayenne pepper- 2 to 3 tbsp (adjust to taste but not less than 2)
Coriander power - ½ tbsp
Turmeric powder- ¼ tbsp
Cinnamon stick - 2 pieces
Clove- 5
Black cardamom - 1
Garam masala - 1 teaspoon
Yogurt - 1 ½ cups beaten to smooth texture
Salt to taste

For rice
Basmati rice- 3 cups soaked in water for 1 hour.
Water - 6 cups
Paneer (cottage cheese) - ½ cup cut into small cubes
Milk- 2 tbsp
Vegetable oil - 2 tbsp
Fresh Basil leaves-1 bunch
Cilantro -half bunch chopped finely
Salt to taste


1.       Marinate chicken with tandoori marinade and refrigerate overnight.
2.       Cook rice 6 cups of water with salt to taste till fully done and water is almost evaporated. Open the lid and keep aside to cool.
3.       Grill the tandoori chicken for 10 mins on either side till a slight crust is formed.
4.       Heat ghee in a non-stick vessel.
5.       Add whole spices and sauté for a min.
6.       Add ginger garlic paste and cook till raw smell disappears.
7.       Add onion paste and a pinch of salt. Keep lid on and let it cook for 5mins on a low flame.
8.       Meanwhile, heat a saucepan on a low flame and sauté the chilli, coriander and turmeric powder till the raw smell of chilli disappears. Be very careful not to burn the masala. Do it on a very low heat. Takes about 3 to 4 mins.
9.       Sauté the onion till it is slightly golden. Be very careful not to burn the onion since this would make the gravy bitter.
10.   Add tomato and mix. Cook till the tomato is mushy.
11.   Add the masala powders from step 8.Cook for 5-6 mins. If there is not moisture in the gravy, add few spoons of water.
12.   Add the tandoori chicken pieces and coat with gravy. Add garam masala.
13.   Last, add the yogurt and mix well till uniform colour.
14.   Once rice is cooled, divide into 3 equal parts.
15.   Boil paneer cubes for 10mins with salt. Drain and add to one part of rice.
16.   Blanch basil in boiling water for 25 seconds and show under running cold water. Don’t let the colour change.
17.   Grind basil, 2 tablespoon vegetable oil and 2 tablespoon water.
18.   Add this and cilantro to 2nd part of rice and mix till even light green colour is obtained.
19.   In an oven proof deep vessel with a tight lid, layer the rice. White with paneer at the bottom. ½ of the plain rice next, the tandoori chicken and some of the gravy after that. Again plain rice and last on top layer the basil flavoured rice. Sprinkle the milk on top.
20.   Lid tightly and bake in a preheated oven at 210-220⁰C for 15mins.
21.   And serve hot with left over gravy.

Tips n Tricks:

·    When you divide the rice before flavouring, take the top most layer for paneer, keep the second layer plain and the bottom layer for basil.
·    Pleeeease don’t burn the onion paste while making your gravy!!
·         What if you don’t have an oven or grill to make tandoori chicken??? No worries, heat a pan, smear a layer of butter and pan-sear the chicken pieces till almost cooked. Then heat it with the gravy before adding the yogurt.
·    If you have guests and want to show off your tricolour, you have 2 choices, layer and bake in a transparent bowl. Or you could stir fry each potion separately and layer them in your serving dish. When you do this, dont stir fry the plain rice with the gravy. Just heat the gravy gently and mix in the rice.
·    Pickles and raitas are great accompaniments J



  1. I've have always been wanted to visit Turkey. It's so nice to see beautiful pics of it :) Your rice looks so comforting :)

  2. This is comfort food for me! Absolutely scrumptious!

  3. Welcome back to the world of blogging! So excited to see your post, and even more excited to hear about Mr. Rebel and see the fabulous photos you've taken with him!

    Welcome back, here's to more recipes like that tandoori chicken which make me go dizzy with hunger!!

  4. Looks so flavorful and amazing! I love such food.


    am so equally excited about this darl Mr REBEL for you...look at those shots...i bit my tongue for that kite shot and the balcony one and our Kerala one too! kudos! very good. to the lay person you already look like you know to handle your gear!

    and that yum tandoori recipe. my next half kg chicken goes into the freezer with that marinade on!!

  6. Welcome back :) , looks like you had a great long vacation , so must be really energized . The dish looks super delish !! And your pics are just great , I love the bazaar in Turkey the most . Eid mybarak to you in advance :) .

  7. Wow this looks so delicious and your presentation is gorgeous! :)

  8. Welcome back, MJ! You've been gone...forever!!!
    Eight months is a LONG time, my dear!
    I just happen to see your comment on Lizzy's blog, and I said to myself...Whoa!!! that's gotta be MJ, and to my surprise it is! Time for you to stay, girl, and don't venture too far. We all missed you!
    Love the photos from your new adventures, especially that busy food market in Turkey, and of course all the others.

    Your Tandoori chicken dish is divine, and so inviting!
    Now, I want to make sure I'm back on track, and to make sure I'm still following you, cause my blog has crashed a few times where I lost my entire following list at one time!
    More posts, and stories, please!

  9. Gorgeous pics. Sounds like a wonderful holiday. Love the basil rice.

  10. I think we ALL could use a break now and then! So glad yours was full of so much fun and adventure! Can't wait to see your travel photos~

  11. Thanks guys for all the warm welcome you all :) and i wont be gone for so long again....hehehe...i guess I have a loooong way to catch up :)

  12. Well, welcome back to blogging - complete with new camera. I'd love a new camera but need to save up some precious pennies first! :) Sounds like you've been on lots of adventures. Glad you enjoyed Turkey! ;)

  13. Good to see you back again with these beautiful shots, looking forward to your new page and the recipe looks absolutely delicious.

  14. welcome back ..
    lovely presentation with great flavors..Yummmm..;)
    Tasty Appetite

  15. Looks like such a beautiful trip and such gorgeous photos...congrats on your camera and welcome back :)
    Beautiful dish as well, just love the marinade :)

  16. Never tried basil and rice before but i adore basil and growing lots of it...lucky you for all this globetrotting :)

  17. Wow! What a lovely surprise. You're BACK! So happy to see you again and even more glad to hear you took a great break. All your destinations looked fabulous. LOVE that eagle shot in Langkawi - talented lady! As for the rice dish with the tandoori chicken? Sensational. Beautiful plating, too. Have fun with Mr. Rebel (I should perhaps call my husband that one ;-))

  18. Great picture- looks absolutely mouthwatering!

  19. Your photos are amazing!!! You are very talented. Welcome back to blogging.

  20. Good recipe, would like to try it out definitely.

  21. Wow........Mouth and eyes are opened...

  22. certainly.... should try it...

  23. Heaven in a few simple bites

  24. Hey

    Get back in here, will you??? :P

  25. Tempting as well as mouthwatering…

  26. Pretty…

  27. Delicious...

  28. Nice blog....

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  30. Quick question that's totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?

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  32. What happened? Why you're not getting back?

    This is my FB page (Holiday Rental/Goa). Please look up the link in there; pl like it for us; and pl give your first impressions.

  33. very informative blog...

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  38. Off course, what a fantastic website and educative posts, I definitely will bookmark your website.Best Regards!


Thank you for taking time out to encourage me! Every comment is heartfully read and loved! Please stop by again and again and again.....!!!

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