Category Archives: Recipes

Biryani with Soy and Green Peas

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Ingredients for Garam Masalah

(Mix the following Garam Masalah spices in a bowl)
Cumin – 1 tsp
Cinnamon – 1 piece about an inch
Cardamom – 5
Cloves – 6
Peppercorns – 6
Bay leaf – 2
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Note…. When you mix the dry spices together, do a few extra batches and put them in ziploc bags for future cooking adventures. Saves time.

These spices are the basic whole (not ground) ingredients for “Garam Masalah.” Whole spices taste more delicate and the aroma is infinitely more pleasing. You can get all the above whole spices in a single bag from a local Indian store in the spices section. Just ask for a bag of whole mixed spices.

Other Ingredients

Onion – 1 medium, thinly sliced
Corn or Canola oil – 1/2 cup
Ginger and garlic paste – 1 heaped tsp (I buy the mixed paste at the Indian store)
Tomato – 1 medium, chopped into small pieces
Peas – 1 1/2 cups (I use frozen)
Soy meat – one cup (I use the Laxmi brand) soaked in two cups of warm water for 20 mins
Tomato paste – 2 or 3 tbsp
Cilantro – 1 cup chopped
Rice – 2 cups (I like the very long-grain Basmati from the Indian or Pakistani store)
Cayanne pepper powder –  to taste (I use 1/4 tsp)
Salt – to taste

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Fry the onions in the oil on medium heat until golden brown.
Add ginger and garlic paste and fry for two minutes stirring to prevent sticking.
Add the whole garam masalah mixture, the chopped tomato, and tomato paste.

Drain the soy chunks and add them to the mix. Add the peas. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes making sure the mixture stays moist (you can add a little water at a time so it doesn’t dry out too much).

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In a separate pan, cook the rice until almost tender. I use 1 1/2 times water to the rice (with salt). Drain any left over water and then layer the soy mixture on top. Cover and cook over low heat until rice is tender. Add chopped cilantro over the top and continue to cook over very low heat for about five minutes.

When you ladle it out into a serving dish, do not mix the rice and soy mixture too much. Just fold  with a spatula. You can always add more fresh cilantro at this point.

I served this to friends in Chicago (yes I’m crazy to be in Chicago when it’s so cold here) and they loved it. I also made eggplant and daal to go with it. Recipes follow soon.

Enjoy in good health!

Chai with Anise and Cardamom

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This is a Chai recipe not just for rainy days but for any time you want a little break from whatever you’re doing. I love chai and I make this twice a day. Once for breakfast and then again mid-afternoon. I’m a chai addict. For me there is no day without it.

Serves two and more… depending on the cup/mug you use.


  1. Three cups of water
  2. One tablespoon loose leaf black tea
  3. One tablespoon anise seed
  4. One half tablespoon cardamom seed
  5. One cup of evaporated milk
  6. Sugar or sweetener as desired


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Add one tablespoon of loose leaf tea to 3 cups of water and bring to a boil (I buy my loose leaf black tea from a local Indian store).

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Add a tablespoon of anise seed

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and a tablespoon of green cardamom (I get my spices from the local Indian store)

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Boil for a minute (at this point I add half tsp ginger powder sometimes If I want a more wintery mix in my chai)

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Add a cup of evaporated milk (I use whole but fat free is ok too) and bring to a boil. Watch this closely because I have had many accidents at this point with boiling tea all over my stove. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove from the stove and pour into a teapot.

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I have a teapot with a built-in strainer so I pour it directly into it. Works great for me but before I had this teapot I would  pour it through a strainer into a regular teapot or a jug. Pour into cups and sweeten with sugar or sweetener. I use Splenda. Hubby uses Stevia.

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Enjoy! The tea will keep for the day and you can warm it up as needed. You can refrigerate it for four or five days and it tastes just as good. Just remember to strain it and not leave the tea leaves in the mix.

Chickpea and Pomegranate with Tilapia

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When I can’t get to the beach, I love to cook. I like to eat everything raw and the rest of my family prefers cooked. This recipe works well for all of us. It combines cooked and raw vegetables. There are many ways to vary it. Use your imagination. I’m using some of the ingredients I love and always have in my kitchen.

Serves four


  1. Two cans of chick peas (drained, rinsed)
  2. Four frozen fish filets (Tilapia is what I happen to have today)
  3. One medium yellow onion
  4. Handful of parsley leaves
  5. One bunch of celery
  6. Seven or eight baby carrots
  7. Seeds of one pomegranate
  8. One lemon (you can add apple vinegar as well)
  9. One tsp each dried rosemary and thyme and salt to taste


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Chop the onion and add half the onion with a tablespoon of cooking oil in a sauce pan and cook for five minutes (I use canola for cooking and olive oil for raw)

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Chop the celery and carrots. Add half the celery and all the carrots to the onions in the saucepan.

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Add a tsp each of dried thyme and dried rosemary.

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Add a cup of water or enough to just barely cover the chickpeas. Cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for an hour. At this time, get the frozen tilapia out and leave on the counter to thaw.

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While the chickpeas are cooking, wash the raw vegetables and herbs.

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Chop the parsley and mix with the remaining chopped onion.

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Add the pomegranate seeds, onion, parsley, remaining celery, and the juice of one lemon. I sometimes add apple vinegar also. Add salt to taste. I use an iodized sea salt.

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Use a slotted spoon to lift the chickpeas into the raw mix.

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I sometimes bake the tilapia (still frozen) at 360 F for 25 mins or I fry thawed for about five minutes on medium to high heat or until soft and flaky. Serve while fish is hot and the vegetable mix is cool.