Sweet Potato and lentil soup – Soupe de lentilles et patates douces

Sweet Potato and lentil soup – Soupe de lentilles et patates douces

(en français, c’est plus bas) When a thick fog has been covering the area where you live for almost a week accompanied by negative temperatures, is there anything better than a bowl of warm soup to comfort you when you … Continue reading

Vegetarian Biryani with spicy paneer

(la traduction en français arrive sous peu…)
My quest for the perfect biryani recipe has started a few years ago. After tasting the best biryani ever in a restaurant in Dubai, I wanted to be able to eat in my own home the delicate and delicious taste of the spices, and the perfect texture of the rice… I tried many recipes, even bought some ready made spices-mix (a total heresy for me!) but it seems I never managed to get it right… Eventually, I gave up, I even gave up eating biryani in restaurants here in Geneva, as they usually turned out even worse than my attempts…
However, when my dear Heavenly Housewife challenged us to prepare a biryani, I decided it was time to try once more… And I did well!
The result was beyond my expectations! Of course, it is far from the perfection of the biryani I ate in Dubai, but seriously, it is pretty close to it…
The list of ingredients is quite long, and the preparation might seem lenghty, but fear not, it can be done in… let’s say about 2 hours (not counting the cooking time in the oven) and the preparation can be spread on two days (pls see my note at the bottom of the post)
By the way, what is a biryani?

The name “biryani” come from the Persian word beryān/biryan which means “fried” or “roasted“. There are many kinds of biryanis and it is a festive dish both in Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisines. The origin of biryani in India comes from the Moghol dynasty (originally from Persia) who brought many delicate and eleborated dishes to the already rich Indian cuisine.  Biryani is made from a mixture of spices, basmati rice, meat or vegetables and yogurt.  Unlike pulao in which all ingredients are cooked together, the main components of biryani are cooked separately, then layered and finally slowly cooked in the oven.

And before sharing the recipe, I can only advise you to visit these talented bloggers for more biryani-love:

Vegetarian Biryani with spicy paneer

Recipe adapted from IndiaCurry (here)
ingredients for 4-5 servings:
  • Spiced water
8dl water
2 cm fresh ginger, chopped
6 black cardamom pods, crushed
10 black peppercorn
4 cm cinnamon stick, broken in half
4 whole cloves
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 Bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Spiced milk

2 dl milk
2 cardamom pods, crushed
a pinch of Saffron strands
1 teaspoon rose water

  • Rice

150g (1cup) Basmati rice
2 cups spiced water
a few saffron strands
1/2 teaspon salt

  • Vegetable Layer

1 tablespoon Ghee (or neutral oil, such as sunflower)
1 medium onions,chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
½ cup green peas
salt to taste
¼ cup yogurt
½ cup spiced water

  • Paneer Layer

200g paneer, cubed
1 tablespoon Ghee (or neutral oil, such as sunflower)
1 medium onion,chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1cm ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder

  • Garnish layer

1 tablespoon ghee (or neutral oil, such as sunflower)
2 medium onions, chopped
3 tablespoons slivered almonds
3 tablespoons cashews
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped fresh peppermint leaves

  • Chapatti dough to seal the pot

2 cups wholemeal flour
Water to knead the dough (about 1/3 cup)


1. Prepare the spiced water: put the water and the spices indicated under “spiced water” in a pot and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes on low heat. Drain and keep aside.

2. Prepare the spiced milk: put the milk, cardamom pods and saffron in a pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Let it cool, remove the cardamom pods and add the rosewater.

3.Prepare the paneer:Heat the ghee in a pan, add the onion. Fry for 2-3 minutes, add the spices. Fry for 2-3 more minutes. Add the paneer. Stir well to coat it with the spice and fry for a few minutes. Keep aside.

4. Prepare the vegetable: Put the ghee in a pan, add the onion. Fry for 2-3 minutes, add the spices. Fry for 2-3 more minutes. Add the vegetable, season with salt and pepper and stir well. Reduce heat to medium, add 1/2 cup of spiced water and the yogurt. Simmer until the vegetable are nearly cooked (about 10-15 minutes).

5. Prepare the garnish layer: Heat the ghee in a pan, add the onions and fry them until golden brown. Add the cashew and almonds. Fry for 2 more minutes. Keep aside and add the chopped herbs.

6. Prepare the rice: Rinse the rice until the water is clear. Put in a pot and add 2 cups of spiced water and 1/2 a teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil Reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let is stand for 10 more minutes.If there is water that has not been absorbed, drain it.

7. Prepare the chapatti dough: slowly add a little water to the flour until combined. Knead for 2 minutes. Keep aside.
8. Layering the biryani: Preheat the oven to 210°C. Spread one layer of rice in a pot. Sprinkle about 2-3 teaspoons of spiced water and 2-3 teaspoons of spiced milk on the rice.
Add the vegetables, spreading them evenly. Cover with one thin layer of rice, sprinkling about 2-3 teaspoons of spiced water and 2-3 teaspoons of spiced milk on the rice.
Add the paneer, spreading it evenly. Add a thin layer of rice, sprinkling about 2-3 teaspoons of spiced water and 2-3 teaspoons of spiced milk on the rice.

Add the garnish ingredients and finally, top it with a final layer of rice. Sprinkle with about 2-3 teaspoons of spiced water and 2-3 teaspoons of spiced milk on the rice

Take 1/3 of the dough and roll it in a 1 cm diameter log. Place it around the edge of the pot. Roll the rest of the dough in a circle, a bit bigger than the diameter of your pot. Cover the pot with it, pressing the edges on the log, so that it is well sealed.

Put in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.Then, reduce heat to 180°C and cook for 20 more minutes.

When serving, cut off the bread lid and stir the biryani with a spoon to combine all the flavours.


1. If you are short of time, you can prepare steps 1 to 5 the day before and keep all the items in the refrigerator.

2. It is not necessary to seal with a chapatti. You can seal the pot with a tight lid or with foil, tightly wrapped around the pot.

3. You can add cauliflower and/or other veggies. Similarly, paneer can be omitted or replaced by boiled eggs.

Carrot, Cashew & Coconut Soup – Soupe aux carrottes & aux noix de cajou et coco

(la recette en français est plus bas)

Summer seems to be over… It is pretty cold here: our house has a sensor that automatically switches on the heater when the temperature drops below 15°C. Believe it or not, heater was on this morning… Phew… I can nearly hear Santa’s bells getting polished!

Well, the good news is… Soups are back on our menu!! I never really give up eating soup, even in summer, but these past days were more about salads and quiches…

My first thought was something colourful and bright… It had to be carrots!! I love carrots, not only because my adored Granny is always telling that with all the vitamins and good nutriments improving my eyesight and toning my thighs :-), but also, because of their orange colour and sweet taste. I recently came across many yummy carrot soup recipes: with ginger, lentils, cumin, orange or with all the four together, but I decided to let the kitchen magics happen and just prepare my own mixture of spices and other ingredients…

Ingredients for about 3 big bowls or 5 small ones:

450g carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks

150g potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes

2 shallots, peeled and finely cut

1 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon cinammon

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder (optional, for the lovely bright colour!!)

2 tablespoons cashew nuts, coarsely chopped

1 dl coconut milk

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander


Heat the oil in a pan.

Fry the shallots for about 5 minutes on medium heat. They should start to become golden.

Mix all the spice in a bowl with one tablespoon of water. Add the mixture to the pan and fry for 2 minutes on medium heat.

Add the chopped carrots and potatoes and stir well. Fry for 2-3 minutes. Add 750 ml of water and season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil and then simmer on medium heat for about 25 minutes (or until carrots are tender).

Add the cashew nuts (keeping a few aside, for the decoration), 3/4 tablespoon of coriander (rest is also kept aside for decoration) and the coconut milk.

Purée the mixture in a blender until the required consistency. You might add some more coconut milk or water if you like your soup very liquid.  Check the seasoning.

Pour into serving bowls and decorate with some cashew nuts, fresh coriander and a few drops of coconut milk, sprinkle with Cayenne chili or paprika powder.

Note: if you do not have all the indicated spices, you can replace them by a tablespoon of Madras curry powder.

I am sending this soup to Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes, for the event: “No Croutons Required: Carrots”.

..If you liked this soup, please vote for me on: http://www.tinnedtomatoes.com/

Update as of 1st September: OMG! You liked this soup! I am thrilled, proud and very happy to announce that the Carrot, Cashew & Coconut Soup has won the No Croutons Required for August 2010!  Please have a look at the great Carrot Soups round-up for August here

On dirait que l’été est fini … Il fait même assez froid ici: notre maison a une sonde qui enclenche automatiquement  les radiateurs quand la température descend en dessous de 15 ° C. Croyez-le ou non, ce matin, il y avait du chauffage chez nous … pffff … Je peux presque entendre les cloches du Père Noël en train d’être astiquées.

Il y a quand même du bon dans cette situation … Les soupes sont de retour dans nos menus! Je ne renonce jamais vraiment à manger de la soupe, même en été, mais ces derniers jours ont été plutôt salades et quiches …

Ma première idée de soupe a été de trouver quelque chose de coloré et lumineux … Des carottes! J’adore les carottes, non seulement parce que ma grand-mère adorée dit toujours qu’avec toutes les vitamines et les nutriments des carottes, on conserve une bonne vue et on aura des jolies cuisses 🙂  mais aussi, parce que j’adore leur couleur orange et leur goût sucré. Je suis récemment tombée sur de nombreuses recettes délicieuses de soupe de carottes: au gingembre, lentilles, cumin, orange ou avec ces quatre ensemble, mais j’ai décidé de laisser agir la magie de la cuisine et de préparer mon propre mélange d’épices et autres ingrédients …

Ingrédients pour environ 3 grands bols ou 5 petits:

450g de carottes, pelées et coupées en rondelles

150g de pommes de terre , pelées et coupées en  cubes

2 échalotes, pelées et coupées finement

1 cuillère à soupe d’huile

1 cuillère à café de cumin en poudre

1 cuillère à café de coriandre en poudre

1 / 2 cuillère à café de cannelle

1 / 4 cuillère à café de curcuma en poudre (facultatif, pour la belle couleur!)

2 cuillères à soupe de noix de cajou, grossièrement hachées

1 dl de lait de coco

sel et poivre

1 cuillère à soupe de coriandre fraîche hachée


Chauffer l’huile dans une poêle.

Faire revenir les échalotes pendant environ 5 minutes à feu moyen. Elles doivent commencer à devenir dorées.

Mélanger tous les épices dans un bol avec une cuillère à soupe d’eau. Ajouter ce mélange dans la poêle et faire revenir pendant 2 minutes à feu moyen.

Ajouter les carottes et pommes de terre et bien mélanger. Faire revenir pendant 2-3 minutes. Ajouter 750 ml d’eau et assaisonner avec du sel et  poivre.

Porter à ébullition puis laisser mijoter à feu moyen pendant environ 25 minutes (ou jusqu’à ce que les carottes soient tendres).

Ajouter les noix de cajou (en garder quelques unes de côté, pour la décoration), 3 / 4 c. à soupe de coriandre (le reste est également mis de côté pour la décoration) et le lait de coco.

Mixer le mélange dans un mixeur jusqu’à obtenir la consistance désirée. Vous pouvez ajouter un peu de lait de noix de coco ou plus d’eau si vous voulez une soupe très liquide. Rectifier l’assaisonnement.

Verser dans des bols et décorer avec quelques noix de cajou, de la coriandre fraîche et quelques gouttes de lait de coco, saupoudrer de piment de cayenne ou paprika.

Note: si vous n’avez pas les épices indiquées, vous pouvez les remplacer par une cuillère à soupe de curry madras.

J’envoie cette soupe à Kouky, du magnifique blog Cuisine à 4 mains, à l’occasion du jeu “les soupes du Ramadhan“.


Si vous avez aimé cette soupe, SVP, votez pour moi (colonne de droite, la 7e soupe de la liste) sur :