Lemon Rice with Cashew

Lemon Rice with Cashew


One of my favorite rice dishes! You can serve as a side dish.

2 cups Basmati rice

4 cups water

1 t salt

2 T olive oil

2 t urad dal

1 t whole black mustard seeds

4 red chillies

1 t turmeric

3 t lemon juice

4 T shredded fresh coconut*

1/3 cup roasted cashews

Bring water, rice and salt to a boil in a wide bottom pan.  Cook uncovered until the water is level with the rice- about 15 minutes.  Cover and turn heat down until water is absorbed and rice done- about 5 minutes more.  Take lid off and fluff the rice with a fork.  Set aside.

In a sauté pan big enough to hold the rice, heat the olive oil with the urad dal, mustard seeds and chillies over medium heat.  When the urad dal is golden and the mustard seeds begin to pop, add turmeric and cooked rice.  Coat the rice until it turns a lovely even yellow.  Add the shredded coconut and lemon juice and mix to combine and heat through.  Garnish with roasted cashews.  Serve.



Filed under Cooking, Recipes - Breads & Rice, Spices

Shrimp Malabar Thiyyal

Shrimp Malabar Thiyyal

1 # medium prawns, peeled

¼ t turmeric

½ t Kashmiri chilli

½ t salt

2 T olive oil

½ cup onion, minced

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 t ginger, crushed

10 curry leaves

2 t Shrimp Malabar Spice Blend

¼ c cup water

Marinate the shrimp in turmeric, Kashmiri chilli and salt for 15-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté onions in olive oil until golden-brown, about 10 minutes.  Add the crushed ginger and curry leaves and sauté for 2 minutes more.  Add chopped tomatoes and cook 5-10 minutes.  Add the Malabar spices and reserved shrimp.  Coat the shrimp with tomato-spice mixture and add water.  Cook until shrimp cooked through and the tomato-spice mixture clings to the shrimp.  Taste for season and serve with rice.


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Zucchini-Carrot Muffins

From Chef Katherine – When Seena and I started selling the Neeliyam Spices at the St. Helena Farmer’s Market, we always had a taste of something savory to entice our customers to buy our spices and cook at home.   But, even some of the die-hard Indian food lovers were at times reluctant to sample Channa Masala or Lamb Kebab with their coffee at 7:30 a.m. on a foggy market morning.  So Seena and I decided that we should come up with a bite of something that you wouldn’t mind eating while the taste buds were still waking up.  The answer:  Zucchini-Carrot Muffins with Seena’s Garam Masala.

These tasty little muffins  go very well with your morning coffee or tea, or even with the curried butternut squash soup you might be making later in the day!  The recipe works well with a variety of fruit and vegetable substitutions (such as apple-banana or sweet potato)  and try coconut oil instead of canola oil sometime for a tasty and healthful  treat.  Get ‘em before the kids eat them all!  Enjoy.

1 c all purpose flour

¼ t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1 t Seena’s garam masala

2 T oat bran

2 T ground flaxseed

¼ c canola oil

¼ c honey

1 egg

½ c plain yogurt

1 t vanilla

1 c grated zucchini

½ c finely grated carrot

1/3 c golden raisins

Line muffin tins with paper liners or lightly oil or butter.  Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and garam masala in a large bowl and stir in the oat bran and flaxseed.

In a smaller bowl beat the oil, honey, egg, yogurt and vanilla together until well blended. Stir the liquids into the dry ingredients until just blended.  Do not over mix.

Fold in the zucchini, carrots and raisins.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin filling about 2/3 full.  Bake in (pre-heated) 325 oven for 25-30 minutes.

If you would like to order spices, email info@neeliyam.com or visit http://www.neeliyam.com/store.html

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Mung Beans with Coconut

Chef Katherine says, “On one of my first trips to Vik’s Indian Market in Berkeley with my friend Seena I was impressed with the variety of dry beans available.  There were lentils of every color- red, yellow, black and white… chickpeas and split peas and more.  I have slowly been testing out the ones that were new to me.  One of my favorites is the mung bean.  While I have known about the health benefits of mung beans for a long time, I have to admit I had never cooked with them.  Now, I cannot get enough of them.

Like most legumes, the mung bean is a good source of protein and fiber.  It is also rich in vitamins and minerals and is more easily digested than most other beans.   Research shows the mung bean to be a nutritional powerhouse offering health benefits for the immune system, the metabolism, the heart and more.   An added bonus:  mung beans have a quick cooking time and require no soaking.   It also helps to have a great recipe.  Seena taught me this one- Mung Beans with Coconut.  Now, you can try them too.  Enjoy!”


Mung Beans with Coconut


1 ½ cups dried mung beans, rinsed

5 cups water

Bring water and mung beans to a boil. Turn heat down and cook at a simmer until the beans are cooked but still holding their shape- 25 to 30 minutes.  They should have a slight, starchy texture.  To the cooked beans add:

1 t Kashmiri chilli

½ t turmeric

1 ½ t salt

6 curry leaves

1 can coconut milk.

Continue to cook on medium-low heat until the beans are soft- another 10-15 minutes.  Set aside.

In a small sauté pan, on medium-high heat combine:

2 T coconut oil or olive oil

1 t whole black mustard seeds

¼ cup finely chopped onion

3 dry red chillies

Cook until the onions turn golden brown- about 5 minutes.

Then add:

10 curry leaves.

Combine onion mixture with the mung beans in coconut.  Stir and serve.

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Tadka Mung Dal (Lentils)

Tadka Mung Dal

Tadka mung dal is a lentil dish that is very easy to make. The word tadka means seasoning fried in oil. Don’t let the word “fried” get to you – Lentils (dal) are packed with protein, making this recipe healthy and delicious.

Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

2 cups Tadka Mung Dal, rinsed
4 cups water

2 T olive oil
2 t black mustard seeds
2 t cumin seeds
2 whole dry red chilies
¼ t Asafetida
2 t turmeric powder
2 t salt
2 cup water
2 red Thai chilies, minced
2 T chopped cilantro

Combine Mung dal with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Skim any foam that comes to the surface. Cook on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes or until the Mung dal is soft.

In a sauté pan heat the oil with the black mustard seeds and cumin seeds.  When you start to hear the mustard seeds popping, stir in the red chilies, the asafetida, turmeric and lastly the cooked dal.  Add 2 cups of water and salt and bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat once fully combined and heated through.  Add the cilantro and chilies to garnish and serve.

TIP: If you do not have Thai chilies, you may use minced Serrano chilies. If you want less spice, you can use minced red bell pepper instead of the chilies.


Filed under Cooking, Recipes - Vegetables & Lentils, Spices

3C Rice

Rice is a staple in Indian cuisine. It is done in various ways; from super simple steamed to very elegant with dried fruits, nuts, caramelized onions and ghee. 3C rice is an easy to make rice dish. With the simple addition of a few spices, this rice dish goes from simple to elegant without a lot of work.

3C Rice

Cooking Time: 15 minutes plus 20 minutes to soak rice

Serves: 6-8


2 T ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil

2 cups basmati rice

4 cups water

1 inch cinnamon stick

3 cloves

3 cardamom pods

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. salt

Place rice in a bowl and cover with water for 20 minutes before cooking.  Drain.

Heat ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan.  Add the whole spices and fry for a few seconds.  Add the drained rice and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Pour in the 4 cups water and add the salt. Bring to a boil and let the rice cook uncovered until the water is even with the level of the rice.  At this point, cover and cook on a low heat for about 5 more minutes or until the rice is done and all the water has been absorbed. Separate the grains of rice with a fork and serve

Tip: Rice can be made an hour before the meal.

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Eating Healthfully

Rebecca Bell, enjoying the flavors

Everyone is very conscious about eating healthfully these days. Why not?  Bill Clinton recently turned vegan. The unfortunate notion is that a vegan or vegetarian diet is boring.  Whether you are on a low sodium diet, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian or even non-vegetarian diet, we all want interesting food. Many of us have our favorite recipes but even chefs have to explore new flavors and recipes to keep things interesting. You can get innovative with your meals. Spice it up!

Rebecca Bell, a friend of ours, recently turned vegan. As a result of following this diet she has lost weight and is feeling healthy and energetic. A couple weeks ago she bought our spice blends to cook with and was immediately hooked. She began to sprinkle the spices in her dishes and loved the flavors. She got inspired to know how else she could use the spices that she had purchased. She called us and we arranged an evening to cook together. The focus was to create new and easy vegan recipes using Neeliyam spice blends. We came up with three new dishes that are easy to prepare and delicious. Just ask Rebecca….

First, we showed her how to make Channa masala (garbanzo beans). This is one of our favorite recipes, already in our recipe archive. Second, we made New Rajma – so named because Rajma is a traditional North Indian recipe which we have simplified for our purposes. We made our Rajma (Red Kidney Beans) with tomatoes and seasoned it with our Kebab spice blend with excellent results. Third, we made Masoor Dal. There are so many ways to prepare red lentils. In this version we made for Rebecca, we chose to season with onions, garlic, turmeric and garam masala.  Again with incredible results!

Something we did not realize until that evening is that Rebecca cooks with little or no salt. So we did not add salt to the Channa Masala or any of the bean dishes. Rebecca was amazed at how flavorful the food was. It tasted great and it led to a discussion about various health conditions that require low or no salt.  This is a sure way to add flavor to your food in a healthful way. In fact there is a whole other discussion about how some of the spices are beneficial for your health.

Our last dish of the evening was the Vegetable Vindaloo with Tofu. Here again we have used a traditional spice blend in a non-traditional way. Served alongside brown basmati rice, this is a perfect meal. One note about this dish; we all agreed that it benefited with a small amount of salt.

A Healthy Meal

The evening was a success! Rebecca now has new ways to use her spice blends. Not only is she enjoying the food, but she is also thrilled about preparing these easy recipes herself.

To order spices, email info@neeliyam.com

Here are the new recipes:

Channa Masala

Rajma(Red Kidney Beans) – A Break from Traditional Style

Masoor dal with Garam Masala (Red lentils)

Vegetable Vindaloo with Tofu

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