The bold and the breyani….Coming up on Mela!

Parda Veg Breyani baked in AMC Gourmet Cookware by Yudhika Sujanani

Parda Veg Breyani baked in AMC Gourmet Cookware by Yudhika Sujanani

The breyani police will be out in full force on Diwali.  The breyani police could be anyone…difficult kids to your dragon in-laws or especially a battle-axe mother in law…for some homes there will be a vegetarian breyani but I am sure that by now you know that I will be enjoying a non vegetarian feast!  My mother in law doesn’t visit or eat curry!  I am not sure if this is a good thing….perhaps it is just one of ‘those things’!


I do enjoy a spicy vegetarian breyani served almost ‘drowning’ in delicious yellow dhal!  A bit of grated carrot with finely sliced red onions and maybe 2 pickled chillies would make it a memorable meal.  Oh, and soji as dessert – what could be more traditional or delicious!  For the soji recipe, click here… https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/10/30/soji-i-remember-i-remember/


If you are looking for a festive lamb breyani, try out this recipe from my show, Feast of Eid on Saffron/Home Channel last year, https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/07/26/ready-set-spice-feast-of-eid/ and if you’re feeling a little nervous, take a look at the video clip before getting started here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXuhIfzGiR0…leave a comment….It would be great to hear from you!

Yudhika on the Mela set preparing the parda veg breyani

Yudhika on the Mela set preparing the parda veg breyani


Back to the veggie breyani….this week on Mela, I will be featuring a Parda Veg Breyani…this breyani is also called ‘Dum Breyani’ which means its cooked in a pot sealed with dough so that all the flavours are ‘trapped’.  I always post Mela recipes on Sunday, but since SABC 2 are running a week behind schedule, I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to share this amazing recipe with you right now!


It makes a change from the stove top breyani….for this recipe….get your AMC pot and mojo on!  Haul out an AMC gourmet roaster….it goes from hob to oven to table…really, who needs extra washing up on Diwali!  If you are hankering after an AMC gourmet pan, click here to enter the competition on my blog, https://yudhikayumyum.com/competition/amc-giveaway/.  AMC cookware are also giving away one of their awesome pans on Mela’s twitter page so do take a look!


Potatoes make a breyani so get down to your local veg store and ask for ‘Up to Date’ potatoes….no kidding ….it’s really called Up to Date!  These potatoes are often the most expensive and are almost a floury variety that soak up the delicious flavours.  Soft mushy potatoes are a must!  Waxy potatoes won’t do for this recipe or any breyani recipe!



The Feast...a bold and breyani special by Yudhika

The Feast…a bold and breyani special by Yudhika

Vegetable Breyani


Serves 4



4 medium potatoes, sliced into rounds and par cooked

3 carrots, sliced

250g green beans

250ml frozen peas

1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained

45ml sunflower oil

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

5ml cumin seeds

1 onion, finely chopped

7,5ml salt

15ml crushed ginger and garlic

15ml red chilli powder

10ml ground coriander

5ml ground cumin

5ml garam masala

2ml turmeric

60ml fresh cream

4 level cups par cooked basmati rice

250ml cooked brown lentils

30ml butter

Egg yellow food colouring , to tint rice

125ml crispy fried brown onion

250ml boiling water

Coriander and curry leaves, to garnish


For the dough:

200g cake flour

50g butter

5ml sugar

75ml cold water


Here’s how:

Heat the sunflower oil in a AMC gourmet pot (with metal handles), add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Fry until the spices turn a shade darker, then add the cumin seeds. Once the seeds begin to splutter, stir the chopped onion into the oil and add salt.

Saute until the onion is light golden brown then add the ginger and garlic.

Add the red chilli powder and stir for a few seconds. Add the veggies, the remaining spices, and fresh cream. Stir well to coat the veggies in the creamy spice marinade.

Layer half the brown lentils over the veggies, top with the par cooked rice, then scatter the remaining lentils on top of the rice. Slice the butter into little blocks and place them on top of the rice.

Sprinkle the brown onion slices over the rice and the drizzle in the food colouring.

Pour the water over the rice and set aside.


Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles crumbs. Add the sugar and water. Use a mixer with a dough hook attachment and work the dough until smooth – I used the KitchenAid Mixer for this!

Roll the dough into a round large enough to cover the pot. Dab the edges of the round with water. Place the round over the pot and press the moistened edges firmly over the sides.

Brush the dough with milk. Place the breyani in a preheated oven at 180°C and bake for 45 -60 minutes. The pastry should be golden brown and should sound hollow when tapped.

Use a bread knife and cut through the dough to let out the steam – the steam can leave you with a nasty burn so take care when you are removing the dough.

Gently toss the breyani and garnish with fresh coriander and curry leaves.



Tickled Pink…Rose and Pistachio Halwa

Rose and Pistachio Halwa by Yudhika Sujanani

Rose and Pistachio Halwa by Yudhika Sujanani

I almost forget about this recipe that I prepared for the Spar Diwali booklet in 2012!  I was going through some of my ‘old’ recipes and I prepared a batch of this Halwa….in the old days, it was a bright red in colour…I have opted for the more subtle flavour of rose and delicately tinted pink!


Sometimes a Diwali parcel would arrive with green halwa and I would stare at it in horror….it was just not appetizing to look at but really delicious!  All good sweetmeats and mithais take time to make….so please set aside about an hour and thirty minutes for this one!  As with some sweetmeats, this recipe is great for toning the arms!  So no gym necessary.


You can play around with the flavours…I sometimes use saffron as and cardamom instead of the rose flavour!  Brightly tinted almonds can be used instead of pistachios if you prefer!



Happy stirring ….here is the recipe!


Rose and Pistachio Halwa


400ml cornflour

1000ml Spar white sugar

1750ml cold water

20ml lemon juice

5 cardamom pods, finely crushed

250g Spar butter

20ml rose extract

Few drops red food colouring

125ml chopped roasted pistachios

Grease a 30cm x 30cm square pan with butter or non stick spray.

Line the bottom and sides of the pan with plastic wrap.

Grease the surface of the plastic wrap with butter or non stick spray.

Place the cornflour, sugar and cold water into a 30cm AMC pot.

Whisk the mixture until the cornflour is dissolved.

Pour the lemon juice into the pot and add the crushed cardamom.

Cook the mixture on a low to medium heat – make sure the mixture does not stick and burn.

Continue whisking the mixture until it starts to thicken and resembles a clear gel.

Add the butter and continue whisking the mixture for an hour.

When the mixture leaves the sides of the pan, add the rose extract.

Whisk until the halwa mixture almost lifts from the pot.

Pour the mixture into the greased pan and leave to cool.

Sprinkle the chopped pistachios over the halwa.

Refrigerate the halwa once it has reached room temperature.

Remove the halwa from the pan by lifting the plastic wrap.

Place the halwa on a large cutting board and slice into diamonds or triangles.

Yudhika’s tips:

Halwa does take time to prepare – it can be kept in the refrigerator for a month.

Roasted almonds can be used instead of pistachios.

Diwali Teaser – Dry Prawn Masala

Dry Prawn Masala

Dry Prawn Masala by Yudhika Sujanani

Whether my guests fast or not on Diwali, a sure fire, dead easy prawn dish always makes an appearance on my Diwali menu. I was really annoyed last year when some hindus assumed that everyone observed a vegetarian fast on Diwali…more about that here, https://yudhikayumyum.com/2014/06/18/a-bone-to-pick-fish-and-prawn-breyani/

This prawn masala is delicious, quick and easy to make – the sauce is thick and slightly creamy and the most important thing to remember is to not overcook the prawns…I would suggest cooking them for a minute, then turn off the heat and leave aside…there is enough heat in the pan to continue cooking them to perfection!

 Diwali is a celebration…it’s a festival…it’s a family Mela…and I do find that our moms and grannies work too hard on the day to spoil us with a feast.  I have a different approach…suggest recipes that are not complicated and won’t keep you in the kitchen all day…even though I love the kitchen, I would also love to spend time with my guests.

The Post Diwali Supplement that I have been working on for the past few weeks will be published on Wednesday, 15th October…..I couldn’t keep all the recipes to myself till then so I am sharing this one with you….and hopefully keeping you keen for the bumper Post supplement.

Stay tuned to the blog….I will be posting a few more teaser recipes….I have been cooking up a storm, photographing the recipes and also feasting my little heart out!

Diwali baking classes will be held at Holi Cow on the 12 and 18th October….the classes start at 11am and finish at 2pm.  I will be demonstrating these old time favourites: Burfee, Chana Magaj, Jalebi, Ladoo, Gulab Jamun and North Indian Samosas. Cost R400 per person.  Email me if you are  keen on joining the class at hetals@iafrica.com

And if baking is your passion…you won’t want to miss this opportunity to enter the competition on my blog to win a KitchenAid stand mixer! Click here and leave a comment to enter: https://yudhikayumyum.com/competition/kitchenaid-giveaway-2014/

Dry Prawn Masala

Serves 4

1kg prawns, shelled and deveined

45ml sunflower oil, to saute prawns

40ml sunflower oil

5ml mustard seeds

5ml cumin seeds

1 onion, finely chopped

5ml coarse salt

10ml crushed garlic

10ml Curry Me Home red chilli powder

400g chopped tomatoes, fresh or tinned

5ml Curry Me Home ground cumin

5ml Curry Me Home ground coriander

Pinch of turmeric

50ml fresh cream or coconut milk, optional

Handful of chopped coriander

Here’s how

Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC pan, then add the mustard seeds.

When they begin to splutter, add the cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds.

Stir the onion into the oil, then add salt and saute until light golden brown.

Add the garlic and fry until fragrant.

Add the red chilli powder for 5 seconds, then stir in the tomatoes.

Stir the cumin, coriander and turneric into the sauce and simmer until the sauce thickens.

Heat a skillet on high, then add the sunflower oil.

Add the prawns to the pan.

Once the prawns start to change colour, add the thick sauce and stir fry for a minute.

Add the fresh cream or coconut milk and cook for 30 seconds.

Sprinkle the chopped coriander over the prawns and toss to coat.

Serve immediately with fresh bread, roti or puri

Leaving on a jetplane…..spicy brinjals, jalebi and other stories

A not so regal Yudhika Sujanani....

A not so regal Yudhika Sujanani….

I am about to head off for the big airport as my kids call it…Rob, my other half, has left to Chang Rai, in the north of Thailand last week, and I am flying off to meet him….it’s been pretty much a touch and go sort of thing….its been busy, really busy….and just when you think it’s reached a peak….there is another mountain to conquer! Thank heavens for Holi Cow….it has become my other home, office and yes, paradise!

The ‘another mountain’ is the Post Newspaper Diwali supplement that will be published on Wednesday, 15 October….just in time for Diwali. I absolutely love being in the kitchen and creating new recipes. I have been cooking up a storm with the Holi Cow team running after me…I even roped my Nan into being my new assistant, getting new recipes done, photographed and ready for the Post boss lady, Yogas Nair. There really is a new sheriff in town!

So although Rob has asked me to bring cycling gear, hiking boots and a cozzie…I am taking summery frocks, lip gloss, sunscreen and shades…I will not be playing Lara Croft’s part in Tomb raider! Hmmm…come to think of it, I have no issues though if Rob wants to play Brad Pitt!

Holi Cow has hosting busy cooking classes, catering and lunch time parties not to mention the endless cakes we seem to bake on order! There have also been tv days with the Mela team and an old school Bollywood style photo shoot with Vanessa Lewis who asked me to look regal…regal only worked when there weren’t any jalebi in sight…all I could think of was eating them!

It’s also been a busy month spent cooking up vegetarian dishes as the Hindu fasting month, Purtassi, is being observed. From the tried and tested recipes like simple bean curry and then the zhooshed ones like paneer koftas in coconut sauce….the requests are overwhelming! It’s also time to get “Diwali Ready’ and perhaps you should enter the KichenAid competition by posting your feedback with #KitchenAid #Mela on this link: https://yudhikayumyum.com/competition/kitchenaid-giveaway-2014/

Before I leave off to my short trip to mountains in Thailand….I leave you with a veggie recipe, perfect for the fasting month. Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the Post newspaper for more veggie recipes that we will be featuring this month!

Spicy Brinjals

Spicy Brinjals

Spicy Brinjals

2 large brinjals, sliced
Fine salt, to sweat brinjals
Sunflower oil, to grill brinjals

45ml sunflower oil
5ml mustard seeds
5ml fennel seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
5ml coarse salt
15ml desiccated coconut
10ml crushed ginger and garlic
10ml red chilli powder
600g tomatoes, skinned and chopped
5ml ground cumin
10ml ground coriander
2ml turmeric
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Here’s how

Place the sliced brinjals in a colander and sprinkle with fine salt.
Leave to sweat for 30 minutes.
Wipe the brinjals with absorbent paper towel and gently squeeze out excess moisture.
Brush the brinjal slices with sunflower oil and grill in a hot pan.

For the sauce:
Heat the sunflower oil on medium in an AMC 30cm pot, and add the mustard seeds.
Add the fennel and when the seeds begin to splutter, stir in the onions.
Sprinkle the coarse salt over the onions and saute until light golden.
Add the desiccated coconut and stir for a few seconds until fragrant and starting to change colour.
Stir in the ginger and garlic, next add the red chilli powder.
Add the chopped tomatoes, and then sprinkle over the remaining powdered spices.
Simmer until the tomatoes soften into a thick sauce and the oil separates from the sauce.
Place the brinjal slices into the sauce and garnish with fresh coriander.

A bone to pick….Fish and Prawn Breyani


I made this up for Diwali last year when I wrote the recipe column for ‘The Star’ newspaper. There was Paneer Makhani, Burfee, Chana Magaj, Fish and Prawn Breyani plus delicious ‘Diwali Inspired’ Burfee Macaroons. Yes, my fans were thrilled but then there were the odd few who took offense to non vegetarian recipes being prepared on Diwali. I spoke to my friend, mentor, and long time colleague not to mention food editor, Jenny Kay and her response was rather matter of fact…’You cant make everyone happy!’

It sort of got me going…and there is nothing that annoys me more than people who nominate themselves to speak on behalf of a whole community. Who nominated these people who proudly speak on behalf of others…where is the research to back up their arrogance? For the record, my family have never observed a vegetarian fast on Diwali. Each family has its own traditions and my family (although a broken one) chose to feast. In most ‘Andhra’ homes or Telugu speaking ones, this was not uncommon! Some people fasted, others didn’t and what was really special was that whether you were a vegetarian or not, we all got to light our fireworks together!

So, who do we blame for Indian weddings and occasions adding more traditional stuff to our everyday lives….BOLLYWOOD. Why do some South Africans think that Bollywood depicts Hinduism or even ‘Indianism’ (if there is such a word) – So we sit through an extended version of anything Indian while the breyani gets cold! Where is the fun in that and how ‘Indian’ is cold breyani???

There is also this misconception that being a vegetarian means that you are higher up in the greater scheme of things than if you are a non vegetarian. Says who, I ask??? It’s just a matter of opinion and for me personally, being helpful and not harmful to others tanks everything else! I have met vegetarian villains and non vegetarian ones too. It is simply how life is!

The idea behind writing a column for a newspaper is to cater for everyone, not just people who are observing a fast or those who aren’t. I received a message from Lobashnee Govender this morning who requested this recipe and it reminded me of this delicious breyani! It also reminds me of one of my favorite people from Isipingo that loves masala fish as much as I do! This recipe combines my love for rice, masala fried fish and prawns!!!

I always do seafood on Diwali and that isn’t going to change anytime in future. There is also a range of vegetarian specialities on offer in my home….like the traditional ‘Diwali’ curry with 7 vegetables…to bless our home with abundance. It’s a feast…it’s a celebration, it’s a tradition but it’s also up to you to decide how to celebrate it!

Fish and Prawn Breyani

1kg linefish steaks
15ml red chilli powder
Salt to season
1kg prawn tails
Sunflower oil to fry fish and prawns
4 potatoes, sliced into rounds and fried
65ml sunflower oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
7ml coarse salt
20ml crushed garlic
30ml red chilli powder
400g chopped tomatoes
10ml ground cumin
10ml ground coriander
2ml turmeric
125ml fresh cream
250ml cooked lentils
900ml cooked basmati rice, cooled
100g butter, melted
250ml boiling water

Rub the red chilli and salt over the fish steaks and leave to marinate in the refrigerator.
Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC pot, add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
When the spices are fragrant, add the cumin seeds.
Once the seeds splutter, add the onion and salt.
Saute until the onion is light golden brown.
Stir in the crushed garlic, stir for a few seconds, then add the red chilli powder.
Add the chopped tomatoes followed by ground cumin, coriander and turmeric.
Simmer until the tomatoes soften.
Add the fresh cream, layer the potatoes and halt the lentils over the tomatoes.
Next add the cold basmati rice and the remaining lentils.
Drizzle the melted butter over the rice.
Steam on low until the rice heats through.
Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC chefs pan and fry the fish until golden brown.
Place the fish steaks over the rice and cover.
Lastly heat 30ml sunflower oil and saute the prawn tails for a minute just before serving.
Season the prawns with salt and scatter them over the rice.
Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and leave to infuse for a minute.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve immediately.

Paneer Makhani

Yudhika's Paneer Makhani...

Yudhika’s Paneer Makhani…

I am almost certain that by now, you have realized that Diwali is not a ‘Diet Friendly’ time of year. And this recipe is no different to any of the other Diwali favourites…a double whammy dish with cream and butter.

For a more sensible option try the ‘Seyal Paneer’ recipe: https://yudhikayumyum.com/sugar-n-spice-on-saffron-tv/saffron-tv-seyal-paneer/

I also use paneer as a pie filling in this Paneer Pasties recipe: https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/10/24/paneer-and-mushroom-pasties/

This Paneer Makhani recipe will get you a gold star for Diwali!

Paneer Makhani


600g paneer, sliced
60ml cashew nuts
125ml boiling water
60ml sunflower oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
7,5ml coarse salt
15ml crushed ginger and garlic
2 green chillies, chopped
20ml red chilli powder
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
15ml ground coriander
10ml ground cumin
5ml garam masala
Pinch ground cardamom
2ml turmeric
60g cold butter, diced
30ml fresh cream
Coriander to garnish
Gold leaf to decorate

Here’s how:


Slice the paneer into pieces.

Soak the cashew nuts in boiling water for 10 minutes and liquidize until smooth.
Pound the ginger, garlic and green chilli together.
Fry the cinnamon stick, bay leaf and cumin seeds in oil until fragrant.
Add onions and salt, saute until light golden brown.
Add crushed ginger, garlic and green chilli, then add the red chilli powder.
Stir the chopped tomatoes into the spices.
Sprinkle in the ground coriander, cumin, garam masala, ground cardamom and turmeric.
Simmer until the tomatoes soften completely.
Use a potato masher to break down any lumps.
Add the cashew paste and 250ml boiling water.
Simmer until the sauce thickens.
Whisk the cold butter into the sauce, then pour in the fresh cream.
Gently place the paneer into the cooked sauce and heat through.
Garnish with fresh coriander and edible gold leaf.

How to make Paneer….

Yudhika Paneer recipe...

Yudhika Paneer recipe…

Paneer is an Indian Cottage cheese…it resembles feta but does not contain salt. For vegetarians, this is the equivalent of a ‘lamb curry with mushy potatoes’ (my favourite). I use paneer in pastries, breyanis and even in starters!

Please please please, do not use low fat milk – so far, Full Cream Clover milk works best for this recipe. I do experiment a fair bit and this blog is not sponsored by Clover! Use a good pot, (I use AMC cookware) so that the milk does not scorch and burn on the bottom which will ruin the paneer.

I am just about to post the Paneer Makhani recipe…I anticipate that there will be recipe requests for the Paneer…



4 litres CLOVER Full Cream Milk
180 -200ml white vinegar

Boil milk in a large 30cm AMC cookware unit and stir continuously to prevent the milk from sticking.
Once the milk comes up to the boil, remove from the heat.
Pour the white vinegar around the pot and gently move the milk – do not stir.
If the mixture still looks milky, add a little more vinegar.
Leave aside for 30 minutes.
The curd should float to the top and form a thick layer.
Place the curd in a strainer and use the back of a spoon to press out the excess whey.
Tip the curd into a muslin cloth and mould it into a ‘cake’.
Place the paneer on a chopping board and place a large pot filled with water on top.
This will help the excess moisture drain away.
Leave to drain for 2 hours.
Place the paneer in a zip seal bag and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Yudhika’s tips:
Always use full cream milk when making paneer.
Leave the paneer on the draining board while it is being pressed – the whey can cause a mess.
If the paneer is too soft, leave it unwrapped in the refrigerator to firm up.

Idiot proof Burfee…

Idiot's Burfee.....

Idiot’s Burfee…..

It’s not that you are an idiot..but Mani Govindsami just asked for a bloke’s version that even an idiot could do!

Here is a simple recipe for Burfee…

Almond Burfee


Whole almonds
Red food colouring, to tint almonds
Gold dust, to tint almonds

500g Spar milk powder
175ml tinned dessert cream
375ml Spar castor sugar
250ml cold water
2,5ml ground cardamom
25ml butter
100ml finely ground almonds

Tint the almonds with red food colouring and roast in a hot oven until dry.
Leave aside to cool and then sprinkle the gold dust over.
Gently rub the gold dust over the almonds.
Grease a 20 x 25cm pyrex dish or baking tray with butter.
Line the tray with plastic wrap ensuring the sides are also lined.
Grease the plastic wrap with butter.
In a mixing bowl, rub the dessert cream into the milk powder until it resembles bread crumbs.
Leave this aside for an hour to dry out.
Place the milk powder mixture into a Kenwood food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or until the crumbs are fine.
Combine the sugar and water in an 24cm AMC pot and boil until a thick sticky syrup forms.
Add the cardamom and butter to the syrup.
Mix the ground almonds into the milk powder and pour the syrup in.
Stir well to combine and working quickly press the mixture down into the prepared dish or baking tray.
Once the mixture cools, garnish with the tinted almonds.
Refrigerate the burfee until firm and slice into blocks or diamonds.

Oh dear…forgot to post the chutney recipe!

Just dunk....

Just dunk….

The aloo paratha was only half the story….here is the mint chutney recipe and boy, is it good!

I serve this with most starters, chicken tikka, chilli bites, onion bhaji and also lamb chops. It keeps for a few days in the refrigerator so give it a bash. You can even slap it onto a toasted cheese sandwich to liven it up.

Serve this with these aloo parathas…for the recipe, click here:

Mint and Cashew Pesto/Chutney

1 onion, roughly chopped
30ml cold water
200ml fresh mint leaves
200ml fresh coriander
2 green chillies, chopped
1 clove garlic
5ml cumin seeds
40ml fresh lemon juice
Salt, to season
2,5ml sugar
45ml cashew nuts, chopped
30ml olive oil

Place the onion and cold water into a Kenwood blender.
Process until the onion is smooth.
Add the mint leaves, coriander, green chillies and garlic.
Process for a few seconds and them push the mixture down with a spatula.
Add a little more cold water if necessary.
Once the mixture resembles a rough pesto, add the cumin seeds, lemon juice, salt and sugar.
Add the chopped cashews and process until it resembles a thick paste.
Lastly drizzle in the olive oil and blend for a few seconds.
Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Yudhika’s TIps:
A little lemon juice works magic in this pesto – if the pesto darkens, add a little lemon juice to bring back the fresh green colour!