Monthly Archives: April 2013

Guest Post: 4 Ingredients’ Lemon Chicken (A kid friendly recipe)

guest post -thingsforboys

I am excited to be sharing the 4 Ingredients’ Lemon Chicken recipe on ThingsForBoys as part of Abby’s  “Cooking The Books” series. The series is about testing out recipes from our previously untouched cookbooks. Oh oh…I have too many unused cookbooks and it wasn’t easy to select just one recipe. ;)

The lemon chicken turned out to be amazing and it only required 4 ingredients that most people already have in their kitchens! Slightly crispy and tangy exterior… coupled with your choice of green salad, well, you have a winner on your dinner table! To find out more, please check out ThingsForBoys for the full recipe and say hello to the lovely Abby for me. :)


Chicken Biryani (Using a Rice Cooker)

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Biryani is not an ordinary one-pot rice dish. It’s rich in spices coupled with beautiful fresh herbs, toasted nuts and raisins, thus making this a meal fit for the kings, literally. It is believed that this was created in the kitchens of Mughal Emperors. Nowadays, this popular Indian sub continental dish is a party favourite.

I have seen how it was done in the kitchen by my housemate’s mother some years ago. It was somewhat laborious. She boiled the rice in a large pot until al dente (still got some bite to it) and in a separate pot, she made the gravy (with chicken) and then layer the rice and gravy in a pot (like lasagna). The rice and gravy mixture was then put back on to the stove, covered with a lid and simmer on very low heat until the gravy was well  infused into the rice.  This is without a doubt a big production. But at the same time, it’s totally worth all the effort to create this flavoursome rice dish!  ;)

The part that I dread about the whole process was boiling the rice and then drained it. I’m not big on draining things i.e. the possible hot water splatter, the heaviness which strained my weak wrists etc. Tsk tsk, I’m such a drama queen! With my teeny tiny melodrama aside, I’ve worked on a solution which was cooking the rice using my trusty rice cooker. When it comes to using a rice cooker, it is all about getting the rice to water ratio right.

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{This is the brand I used which was recommended to me by my friend’s mum. I’ve managed to buy it online here.)

Chicken Biryani

(recipe is based on the Shan Bombay Biryani Spice Mix with some modification)

What you’ll need for 6 – 8 servings:-

The rice:-

  • 4 cups of uncooked basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • 5 cups of water (to cook the rice)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt (to cook the rice)
  • Equipment: rice cooker

The gravy:-

  • 1.5 tbsps cooking oil (I used canola oil)
  • 300g (11 ounces) medium brown onions (about 4 medium sized onions) , peeled & thinly sliced
  • 1 kg (35 ounces) chicken breasts and/or thigh fillets, diced to 2cm (an inch) cubes
  • 4 fresh tomatoes (about 300g/11 ounces), roughly diced
  • 32.5g (1 ounce)  Biryani Spice Mix (see Note 2)
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste (25g/ 0.88 ounce) – I used the storebought version from Coles
  • 3 tbsps ginger paste/ 2 inched pieced/25g - I used the storebought version from Coles
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1 cup water


  • A handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
  • A handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • A handful of raisins (I substituted with dried cranberries) – optional
  • 5 to 6 tbsps almond flakes, toasted – optional

Note – Be prepared for an additional 2 hours to allow the gravy to infuse the rice in the rice cooker.

Note 2 – I used half packet the spice mix even though the recipe on the packet recommended a full packet which turned out to be extremely hot. I’ve tried with half a packet which turned out to be hot as well but bearable. So if you have a low tolerance, I’d recommend a tablespoon to two tablespoons top.

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Start by rinsing the rice with water until the water becomes clear. Then in the rice cooker add 5 cups of water, turmeric powder and a teaspoon of salt. Turn on the rice cooker and allow the rice to cook. In the meantime, start prepping the ingredients i.e. slicing the onions, dicing the tomatoes and chicken. In a large pan, saute sliced onions until golden brown which will take about 4 to 5 minutes over medium-high flame. Depending on how long it’ll take you to prep the ingredients, around this time my rice was cooked. I used a big fork (the ones you’d use to serve salad) to fluff the rice to make sure it is fluffy. Set aside the rice while you continue cooking the gravy. Then add diced tomatoes and toss with the onions. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until the tomatoes are somewhat dissolved and become saucy. Add ginger, garlic paste, yoghurt, biryani spice mix  and chicken. Fry the mixture for 10 minutes or the chicken about 80% cooked. Add 1 cup of water and allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes or until the oil is separated from the gravy. Taste the curry if additional salt is required. The spice mix which I used contained salt and therefore I didn’t need any more salt.

While waiting for the gravy to cook, it will be a good time to chop the coriander and mint which some of it will be used in the layering process (see below). Save enough for the final garnishing over the rice as well as some for the yoghurt which will make an ideal accompaniment to balance the spiciness of the rice.

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Once the gravy and rice is done, it’s time to layer them.

Transfer half of the rice into a large bowl (salad or mixing bowl). Then ladle half of the gravy onto the rice in the rice cooker and scatter some chopped herbs. Then transfer the rice from the bowl back to the rice cooker and pour the remaining gravy onto the rice. Scatter the chopped herbs again. Put the lid on and turn on the cook setting and allow the gravy to infused the rice for 1 to 2 hours (until the gravy is well absorbed into the rice). Side note: My rice cooker has only two settings (i) cook; and (ii) warm. So I started from the cook setting which will take about 20 minutes until it jumps to the warm setting. So I basically left the kitchen and tend to it after 2 hours.

To serve: Use the large fork to fluff the rice and transfer to a large serving plate. Scatter chopped herbs, almond flakes and raisins (if using) and serve with herb yoghurt.

For the herb yoghurt, I added the chopped mint and coriander, a small amount of finely chopped fresh onion and some lemon juice. Diced cucumber would make a fine addition to the yoghurt if you have some on hand.


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Delicious Green Smoothie {3 Fruits & 1 Veg}

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Like many, I try to achieve the recommended servings of vegetables in my daily diet. Either with a bowl of salad as a side, add grated vegetables in my sauce or throw in some frozen vegetables while cooking rice in a rice cooker. With all being said, it wouldn’t hurt to find other means to add more fruits and vegetables in my diet.

Say hello to smoothies!

While I do indulge in really yummy tasting smoothies that I buy from the stores, nothing beats the ones you make at home. Namely, you have better control in the ingredients you add in the smoothie, less sugar, more fruits and vegetables, less dairy. Not to mention the excitement and satisfaction of creating your own concoctions with the various combinations of seasonal fruits and/or vegetables and to find out they worked!

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There’s something about smoothies which make fruits and vegetables really palatable. Remember the post on green juice with coconut water not so long ago? Today, I’m sharing a green smoothie recipe which I’m really pleased of.  As my beloved is still warming up to the idea of a vegetable green juice, I thought this green smoothie with spinach, camourflaged with honeydew melon, pear and banana would make a delicious transition from a fruit based smoothie to a vegetable one. Hopefully one day, he will love graduate to full vegetable green juice. After all, it’s all about creating positive and enjoyable experience in order to encourage someone to like something right? ;)

Delicious Green Smoothie

What you’ll need to make two cups:-

  • 1/4 of honeydew melon, skin removed & diced
  • 1 whole pear, cored & diced
  • 1/2 banana, peeled & sliced
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup milk (low fat or soy)
  • 2 tsp low fat yoghurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

Equipments: Stick blender & a tumbler or just a normal blender

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Add all the ingredients (except for yoghurt and chia seeds) into a tumbler. Use a stick blender to blend until smooth and creamy. Then, transfer the smoothie to 2 glasses. Dollop 1 tsp of yoghurt on each one. Lastly, sprinkle chia seeds, about 1/2 tsp on each glass. Serve immediately.

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