29 August, 2007

Qabuli with Plum Tomato-Cucumber Raita

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Qabuli with Plum Tomato-Cucumber Raita

Monsoon, just the word is enough to bring back a flood of fresh and drenched memories of magical monsoon rain; the sound, sights and smell of home. Monsoon rains bring down the mercury level and the heavens opens its door to the heated earth giving it new lease of life. The blissful sound of rain lashing the roof tops, the dance of trees swaying to the rhythm of rain leaving the leaves in dripping tears, the heavenly smell of earth leaves every soul sighing in ecstasy.

This is the season which every farmer in India waits for. Monsoon is a life line for many farmers in southern asian countries. Rice being the staple food in many households, its no wonder that India is the world’s second largest producer and exporter of rice. The rainy season blesses Mother Nature with an abundance of water. In most parts of India, rice is grown in flooded plains and fields called Paddy. Paddy fields grins at the passers-by swaying to the cool breeze of monsoon with the backdrop of hills covered with lush green trees and the hustle-bustle of men and women. Paddy rice farmers usually sow the seeds first in the little seedbeds and then later transfer them into flooded fields which were already ploughed. These few centimetres of water in paddy fields prevent weed growth and ensure there’s enough water for plants to grow. Back in my native, men in mundus and women in sarees working in paddy fields wear a cap called Muttale which covers their head and protects from torrential rainfalls and scorching heat. The women sing regional folk songs when planting the rice in fields praying the Rain God ‘Indra’. The scene of snow white cranes flying in V-shaped format against black monsoon clouds over swaying lush green paddy field is something which always took my breath away.

Andhra Pradesh, a southern Indian state, is known as Rice Bowl of India is famous for its hot and spicy cuisine which includes original Andhra cuisine and the famous Hyderabadi cuisine. While the traditional Andhra pickles makes me dance to their tunes, the mouth watering rich and perfumed Hyderabadi Biriyani undoubtedly rules my senses. Biriyani, one of the India’s most popular foods, is flavoured fragrant Basmati rice which is layered with meat or vegetables marinated in yogurt and spices and was usually cooked for Nizaams and Nawabs . Check here and here to read more about Biriyani Stories.

When Sharmi of Neivedyam announced JFI-Rice for this month’s Jhiva, little did she know about my love affair with Rice. Rice is a staple food in our home and many a days we eat rice for breakfast (Dosas and Idlies), lunch and dinner. After considering and rejecting almost all the Rice recipes I ended up cooking Qabuli/Qabooli/Qubuli which is originally from Afghanistan. When rich Kings and Emperors lavished on Biriyanis which uses the most expensive ingredients like Basmati Rice, Saffron and Dry fruits, common man created their own version of Biriyani using Chana Dal (Spilt and Whole Bengal Grams). The sweet and nutty Chana dal cooked with aromatic spices and yogurt is layered in between flavoured Basmati Rice, fresh mint and coriander and sweet fried onions in ghee. The finishing touch of saffron gives it wonderful colour and tickles one’s taste bud. I referred this, this, this and this for the recipe of Qabuli and made changes to suit our palette.

Prep Time: 15-25 mins (excluding soaking time)
Cooking Time: 45-60 mins
Serves: 3-4

2 cups Basmati Rice
¾ cup Split Chana Dal
2 large Onions, thinly sliced
½ cup Mint Leaves, finely chopped
½ cup Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
2-3 Green Chillies, finely chopped (Adjust according to taste)
1 Maratha Moggu/Star Anise
2 Green Cardamoms
1 inch Cinnamon
2 Cloves
¼ tsp Saffron/Kesar
3-4 tbsp Milk
½ cup Coconut Milk
Few Cashews
3-4 tbsp Ghee
Salt to taste

For Yogurt Base:
¾ cup Yogurt
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Shah Jeera
1 tsp Shah Biriyani Powder
1 tsp Chilli Powder
Powder using Pestle and Mortar:
2 Green Cardamoms
½ inch Cinnamon
3 Cloves
Small Piece of Nutmeg
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Wash and soak Dal and Rice separately in water for about 20-30 minutes.
Heat about 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and fry thinly sliced onions in medium flame till they turn brown and keep it aside. Usually takes around 20-25 minutes.
Cook split chana dal with a pinch of turmeric and drop of oil in microwave for about 15 minutes. The dal should be cooked thoroughly but it should retain its shape.
Heat a tbsp of ghee in a heavy bottomed vessel and add marata moggu, cinnamon, green cardamom and cloves and sauté for about 20-30 seconds till nice aroma is released.
Drain water from rice and add it to sautéed whole spices and sauté over a medium flame for one minute till all the water is evaporated and grains are separated.
To this add ½ cup of coconut milk and about 3 cups of water and salt to taste. Cover the pan and cook this rice in medium flame till all the water is absorbed and rice is almost cooked. Generally takes around 20-30 minutes.
Heat little ghee in a pan and add ground spices. Sauté in a medium flame for about 15-20 seconds and add ginger-garlic paste.
Sauté it for another 20-30 seconds till the raw smell of ginger and garlic is reduced. Now add beaten yogurt, biriyani powder, chilli powder and little salt. Keep stirring this gravy till it thickens and reduces to 2/3 rd size.
Add cooked dal to yogurt gravy and mix well. Cook uncovered for 1-2 minutes.
Soak saffron in warm milk for about 15 minutes.
Preheat oven at 375 F. Now take large oven proof dish. First layer it with half of cooked rice and then add all the cooked dal mixture. On top of it add half of finely chopped mint+coriander+green chilli mix and half of fried onions. Again place other half of cooked rice and layer the rice with chopped greens and fried onions.
Pour the saffron milk and cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Place this dish in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Once it’s done, gently mix the rice and garnish with fried Cashews before serving hot with any curry or Raita of your choice.

Use Black Channa in place of split Chana Dal. Remember to soak black channa in water for minimum 1 hour.

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Qabuli with Plum Tomato-Cucumber Raita

Plum Tomato-Cucumber Raita
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: -
Serves: 2-3

6-8 Plum Tomatoes, quartered
1 cup Cucumber, quartered and sliced thinly
½ small Red Onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp Coriander Leaves, chopped finely
1 tsp Mint Leaves, very finely chopped
Pinch of Salt
Mix all the ingredients and keep it in fridge till required.
Serve chilled with any Rice of your choice.

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Plum Tomato-Cucumber Raita

Time for more bragging. Its pouring awards in blogsphere and Spice Corner’s hall of fame is giving tight competition to my ever expanding waistline;) While lovely girls Richa and Pravs have sent me The Power of Schmooze Award, pretty Raaga, SeeC and Sukanya think I am a Rocking Girl Blogger. And if that was not enough for my never ending bragging Sandeepa and Kribha feels I am Thoughtful and Inspirational Blogger too. Girls, I am really flattered with all these awards and love you are showering upon me. More than these awards I am thankful to all you people out there who were with me during tough times. Your kind comments, messages and mails helped me a lot in past cople of weeks. Thank you friends…

For those who answer blog comments, emails, and make their visitors feel at home on their blogs. For the people who take others feelings into consideration before speaking out and who are kind and courteous. Also for all of those bloggers who spend so much of their time helping others bloggers design, improve, and fix their sites. This award is for those generous bloggers who think of others.

For those bloggers who inspire others through their words and actions. With a positive attitude, and an uplifting spirit these bloggers make the blogosphere a better place, and encourage others to do the same. This award is for bloggers who rise up to set an example but continue to reach out and support others.


  1. Wow.. This is an awsome entry.. Love it.. Had dinner sometime back but was still tuned to the pics for quite a while! :D Bookmarked for weekend..
    Btw, whats maratha moggu?

  2. Nice read there, Sup! I'd heard of Qabuli but did not know what it was. Looks very delicious and the recipe sounds divine!
    Congrats on your awards! Loved the "competing with my waistline" bit! :)
    How are you holding up? I meant to write to you sooner but never got around to it. Had a day off today and am finally able to catch up.
    Take care, sweetheart! Hugs!

  3. i just wrote somewhere that i came home totally drenched in rain, and ther it was soup and here it is delicious heart warming biriyani....i am drooling over it...can smell the aroma of spices right here on my bed from the laptop screen.....i know its a little melodramatic, cant help

  4. Sia, Anita made the exact combo too with Eggplant Boorani and Qabuli!:D
    Sometimes it's amazing how we all think alike.I made and posted Seedai and MT posted the same thing today too!
    Both look wonderful.Fried onions make it so tasty,isn't it?
    Glad you are blogging again.Don't work too hard at work ,take care.I think this is the last comment today until next week.Hugs and xx.
    Have a great weekend,see you next week. Hope RCI K dishes are ready to go!;D

  5. I thought it was Kabuli as in the kabuli chana. Totally amused by this new Qabuli thing! Wonderful pics. Raita looks better than ever.
    Good going there Sia with loads of awards. You truly deserve them all..a true Champion! Congrats.

  6. sia, the qabuli and the raita looks so good together. i think i may make it this weekend...

  7. Great entry for RCI, Sia.
    Beautiful pics, as usual.
    Hope you are feeling better and are coping well.

  8. Sia,
    Hope all is well with you, oh my biryani looks so delicious.Infact I am going to try this coming long weekend.
    Sia you truly are very inspirational, always felt very warm and at home in your blog.Well deserved girl
    You rock !!!

  9. nice combination. Spicy Qabuli with cool raita. All I can say it yummmmmmmmm.

    BTW I love your blog

  10. Thats looks so yummy, surely will have to try this soon. Wonderful write-up and loved all those mouthwatering pictures...

  11. Hi Sia, This looks yummy. Tempting picture. Definately try it some time. What is Maratha Moggu.

  12. Great baked Qabuli, Sia! Its raining Qabuli :). Loved the step by step description, for me that enhances the virtual taste :).

    Hey, and you really rock Sia. Its really great to have a great buddy and a marvellous story teller around, not to mention the comfort foods and the "did you know that" columns.....I cherish your blog a lot, for it feels like home here.....

  13. Sups i think office is keeping you busy. I am missing the soup recipes :) from soup queen :)
    Qabuli is new to me. Looks YuMM.Loved the recipe and off course the pictures are grrr8.
    I like the idea of using plum tomato in raita looks cute :)

  14. This photo reminds me of yr Kichdi raita pic that you entered to this month's DMBLGiT.

  15. congrats for the awards and the qabuli and cucumber raita r looking delicious and tempting me.

  16. Hey Sia..

    hey Congragulation on all ur awards... u truely deserve it.. keep nblogging and winnig awards ok..

    This dish is truly amazing.. lovely recipe.. i hvnt tried biryani.. or infact i hvnt heard the name Qabuli..everythng luks mouth watering.. enage ase avutha iddu.. anu plate and spoonnotige ready..he..he..

  17. rock on, sia. you are the best.

  18. Sia the rice is tempting to try. Nice presentation as usual. Viji

  19. Love your recipes and photos!

  20. Loved the combination and photos. Have a nice weekend Sia.

  21. I've never had Qabuli before but yours looks truly exotic and i love the caramelized onions on top. Your raithas are just too creamy... :)

  22. Thats a sumptuous meal:)
    I wish someone could send it for my today's lunch :P


  23. Thats so exotic Sups....and the pics are delightful

  24. Hi Sia....This is really awesome... Mouthwatering recipe....Lovely pictures...... Congrats on all ur awards....

  25. Hi Sia,
    Nice como of rice and raita.
    Awesome pics!Why do u call it Qabuli?Got to try this this weekend.Will let u know next week how it came out.
    Yes everything is fine at this end,I was out for a vacation last 2 weeks so havent checked other blogs or updated my blog.Hope from next week I shd keep in touch with all the fellow food bloggers.Thanku for your concern.
    And thanks for posting such a lovely recipe.You rock!
    Have a nice week end!

  26. Lovely Looking Rice and raitha...Like bride and bridegroom!!:),,Perfect combo,Sia!!

    Lovely to see a dish with Brahmi too!!
    I kerala we call it Kudakan and in Tamil it is Vallarai!!Have never incorporated to dishes..Like ur version..

    Congraaaaaats on your very well deserved awards girl!!

    Will post banana halwa soon!:)

  27. Sia, I am looking out for Kannada dishes..Do Potato bonda, bhajji,and masala dosa fall under Kannada authentics?..I saw aloo bonda in your recipe menu!!I make this regularly!!..Pls help..!!

  28. This is such a creative entry. I am always amazed, when reading your new posts. It is the pictures, your way of writing, your knowledge of food and the amazing peacefulness that always gets me afterwards. I like that.

  29. never heard abt qabuli before... I have never cooked rice and dal together in the form of biriyani and so this is a new dish for me and a must try one too.thanks for the recipe ..
    Nice post and u write so well dear..

  30. Hi Sia... Quaboli is beautiful.. Congrats for all those awards.... Hope ur feeling better after all that loss in ur recent past...i do believe in souls and yes, departed souls will always be there to guide us... only we need to look deeper....

  31. Sia - you made my mouth water. That Qabuli looks glorious. I must try it sometime soon.

  32. Loved your combo !!! I m drooling over the pics....( more droooooool).

  33. never heard of this delicious qabuli. it looks so good and has some great ingredients. thanks for the great one. Congrats on the well deserved award

  34. hey, qabuli looks delicious!
    i had tried it, turned pretty dry & no one likes a dry biryani :( any expert tips to keep it moist? i don't remember adding coco milk, maybe that is it??

  35. Hey Sups,
    What a huge post! :-)
    Congrats on all the wonderful awards! U deserve them all.
    The story on the rice and the fields etc. was lovely. Made me nostalgic for home!
    And the Qabuli looks sooooooooooo yumm! I am so hungry now. Trying to stick to a diet and all this blog hopping is not doing me any good! Thank god u're nowhere closeby, if not i would be in your house to devor that qabuli!

  36. Such amazing pictures...its making my mouth water...have to try this recipe soon :)

  37. Hey! I'm coming to live at your house because you like rice and cook it often :)

    I've missed your posts, espcially those beautifully lit, clean, crisp photographs.

  38. I love this poor man's version of Biryani, looks specially tasty.
    Paired with the raita sure to taste great.

  39. lovely combination and beautiful photos . I can almost smell the rice ...great work!! take care..

  40. lovely... as always :-) bookmarking this.

  41. Hi Supriya,
    This version of rice is new to me. I will try this soon and let you know.
    Yummy looking rice dish and great entry for JFI rice. Take care.

  42. @arts,
    LOL...it happens to me as well.
    maratha moggu is star anise. but i am having little doubt as i saw this here as marathi moggu.

    thanks vani. i first saw qabuli @jugalbandi and since then its been raining qabuli in blogshere:) loved this dish. try it with black channa n let me know:)
    i am doing good. aug is not my month for sure. i lost my atte(dad's sis) also on last weekend. first time i am experiencing death and 3 deaths in a family is something i really didn't expect.
    thanks for the hugs darling. u tc n enjoy ur break:)

    its raining in ur place??? we too having few showers here. autumn is slowly crawling here.
    wow soup...i love soups. which one did u have? well, i can exchange a plate of biriyani for a bowl of soup;)

  43. @ashakka,
    what??? it surely raining qabuli then:) i did see MT's sedai post. i dont remember having them.
    i am all confused with what to cook for RCI. there r too many choices and i am surely having tough time to chose one:)
    good luck for ur lasik ashakka. hope everything goes well. will pray for u:) hugs to u.

    thank u sweetie. u can also use kabuli channa in place of spilt channa dal. its from afghanisthan and was introduced by mughal emperors in india.
    hope u did pick ur award from here.

    a warm welcome to spice corner rajitha. what a lovely name u have.
    do let me know how u like it:)

  44. @tbc,
    i am glad u liked it dear and thank u for ur concern. i am feeling lots better.

    so u guys have long weekend coming up? do let me know when u give it a try:)
    girl, stop it. u r making me blush:) its you bloggers who make the blogging so much fun:) thank u.

    thats very sweet of u to say that girl:) thank u.

  45. @padma,
    thank u lady:) do give it a try and let me know hw u like it. i have added few links of other blogs and websites which have the recipe for qabuli.

    thank u my dear:) please check the reply i have written to arts. i have given a link there which shows the info and pic of maratha moggu. hope that helps.

    u bet... it surely raining qabuli in blogsphere:)
    someone is surely becoming a poet here;) u r a sweetheart and u surely know how to make a girl happy;)

  46. @archu,
    just wait for another month. we r moving towards autumn here and it gonna rain soups in my blog;) then dont kick urself for asking me to post soups;) LOL...

    is it? :)

    thank u my dear:)

  47. @sushma,
    thank u my dear:)
    if u have not cooked biriyani, then its a high time u did;) i have the recipe for veg biriyani in my archives. do give it a try.
    where is ur plate? come here before everyone finishes it off;)

    i am ready with my rock 'n roll outfit;)

    i hope u do cook this sometime and enjoy it as much as we did:)

  48. @poonam,
    thank u poonam:)

    thank u dear and u too have a gr8 weekend:)

    this was the first time i had qabuli and its surely not gona be the lst time:) i am glad u liked it dear. do give it a try someday.

  49. @mishy,
    deal...if u send me kanji and payar or ur onam sadya;)

    glad u liked it. it did look and taste exotic with all those fried onions, spices and saffron...

    thank u dear:) i am really glad to know u all liked it.

  50. @madhoo,
    thank u dear. i am not sure as why it is called qabuli. i tried to research more abt this recipe on web but it was not very fruitful. my wild guess is because it uses kabuli channa or split channa in place of met n vegetables.
    i am glad to know that u will be trying it on weekend. will wait to know hw u like it:)
    u were away on vac then. hope u had gr8 time. do share the pics of ur holiday with us:) have a gr8 weekend girl:)

    thank sweetie:)
    we call brahmi as ondelaga or timare in kannada. my mom said there r different ways to cook this. will get more recipes n post when i get fresh leaves again:)
    and yeah, will look forward to ur banana halwa recipe:) we have a very famous backery in my native where we get the best banana halawa.
    check the recipes under karnataka recipes in my side bar. potato bonda(mangalore dish), golibaje are the simplest snacks from my native mangalore. if u need more info just drop a comment and i will surely do what i can:)

    i am flattered:) in india most of the things in our day to day life revolves around food. people belive in eating good food and sharing it with others. i remember what my granny used to say, the more u share the more u will have. my knowledge abt food is just a drop of water in an ocean. i am eager to learn abt different culture, countries and share whatever i learnt from them.

  51. @prema,
    thank u dear:) my hubby makes excellent kala channa biriyani. i will share that recipe someday. i first came across qabuli @jugalbandi.

    thank u my dear. its really good to see u resume blogging:)
    i am feeling much better and moving on with time. thank u for ur concern.

    aha... then i did succeed in tempting u girls to try it sometime:)~grins wickedly~ glad u liked it.

  52. The blissful sound of rain lashing the roof tops, the dance of trees swaying to the rhythm of rain leaving the leaves in dripping tears, the heavenly smell of earth leaves every soul sighing in ecstasy. U said it Girl!!! I was lost in that world for a while after I read those words!!! Qabuli looks soooo good, will try this!!
    CONGRATULATIONS on ur awards, u deserve them!!! ~Hugs to u Dear!! Take care!!~

  53. @pooja,
    thank u and welcome to spice corner:) just came bk after drooling @ ur BBB;)

    glad u liked it girl. have mailed u the pic and details. dont get too busy sweetie and enjoy ur long weekend:)

    expert tip hah? he he he... let me see...
    using coconut milk surely helps as it has got its own oil content.
    use ghee little deliberately. common u wont be cooking this daily;)
    and ofcourse serve biriyani with some gravy based subjis or liberal dose of raita.
    after u eat this be prepared to run on treadmill for atleast 20 minutes;) now dont bang ur head to the wall;)

  54. @latha,
    u read full post and complain abt my long post :P thats not fair;)
    he he he...dieting while blogging abt food is surely not gonna help;) even after blog hopping i make it a point to run on my treadmill;) LOL...

    good to know that my pics tempts u enough to try it tee;)~grins~

    cyth darling, we cook rice daily @our home:) so u can pack ur bags n come n stay here with us permanently;) and u r allowed to stay here on one condition. u will make all those dals and tamarind balls for me... see i am still not able to forget them:)

  55. @ISG,
    LOL...what abt the one fit for kings then? thanks girl:)

    @spice of love,
    thank u and a warm welcome to my corner:)

    thank u as always;)

  56. @mt,
    thanks dear...and i cant wait to try ur seedai:)

    glad to know i was able to take u on a virtual trip to india:) can i charge for that?;)
    thank u sweetheart...have a gr8 weekend n hugs to u too:)

  57. This is the first time I heard of Qabuli.. looks nice and very tempting too..

  58. Yum, yum, yum! Send me some please!

  59. I love it. Congrats for your awards.
    Sorry to hear about your ajji & Doddappa. May their souls rest n peace. My heart felt condolences to you.

  60. Delicious Sia.
    Congrats on all the awards :)
    You deserve it.

  61. delicious entry sia! i wanted to try this sometime when i saw Bee's entry :) not this month getting very busy. btw marate moggu is not star anise not sure of the one in the picture nextime when i get will try posting the picture.hope you had a nice weekend :)

  62. Congrats for those awards! I too love to use the anise for many recipes! gives a distinct taste and flovour!

    Raita looks delicious!!

  63. @timepass,
    glad u liked it:)

    i have sent a big plate of qabuli by mail. hope u got ur parcel;)

    thank u dear:)

  64. @seeC,
    thank u my dear:)

    i too am confused abt marathi moggu n star anise. my amma used to call star anise as marathi moggu but it seems they r different.
    hope u r feeling better now.

    thank u lady:) yes, i agree with u abt the disticnt flavour we get using anise.

  65. wow loved your pics... i was totally drowned in the qabuli....

    yes yes u r definitely rocking...

  66. Oh, no! our atte too??!! You poor thing! I'm so sorry Sup! You must be feeling so bad right now. It would've been nice if you were in India and had your family ralling together. Makes it a little easier to handle grief. I hope you will feel better soon. Time, they say, is the best healer. Hang in there, hon!

  67. Qabuli looks colorfull supriya with the raita!!

  68. Congrats on the awards!!u are really an inspirational blogger!

  69. Hey Sia, just checking to see how you were doing? haven't heard from you in a while.Hang in there

    Take care

  70. Sia.. That spread was simply superb.. Brought back memories of those days when mom used to steam the balls and we used to press the sevai. Yummo. The Rasayana is something new to me.. will give it a try definitely. I have been busy the past month with lots of stuff.. back to the blogging now.. atleast temporarily. Thanks for the awesome recipes.

  71. Hi
    I am new to ur blog but loved the post, pictures and more importantly ur enthusiasm and passion. The Qabuli looks irresistible:-)
    Well done.
    X Matin

  72. @rachna, swapna, kitchen sceintist, Matin,
    thank u friends for ur compliments.

    @vani, sreelu
    thank u girls for being there for me. i really appreciate ur kind gesture.

    good to know u will be resuming blogging:)

  73. hi sia,
    I'm gonna this Qabuli for T&T.Looks perfectly done.

  74. Hmmm I keep book marking ur recipes!!! such a variety and each of them look delicious... and what can I say about the pictures - beautiful, gob-smacking good they are!!! Now am going to have a tough time picking a recipe for the tried & tested event!!!

  75. I never heard of qabuli before.But i saw it on monsoon spice for the first time and wanted to try it.Finally,i made qabuli tonight and it tasted really delicious.I am going to make it over and over again.


Namaste! I am Sia and welcome to Monsoon Spice, my virtual home. Thank you for all your comments, inputs and feedback. I really appreciate the valuable time you spent browsing through my recipe repertoire.

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