Indian Rice Casserole


Thanks for visiting my blog.  My name is Amanda.  I’m married to a great guy, love to cook, travel and read, and I’m a nanny to three boys.  Growing up I hated being called Mandy, but mainly because it eliminates a chance from my brother to tease me, I’ve come to terms with it.

My husband is Indian, and my mother-in-law lives approximately 7000 miles away.  Does your husband ever compare your cooking to his mom’s?  It’s cliche, but also completely annoying!  I found out really quickly that a bottle of Sriracha had to sit next to the salt shaker on the table, since even the dishes he likes end up covered in both hot sauce and salt.

Naren, my hubby, has mastered a few dishes, but we got pretty tired of dal (lentils) and upma (think couscous) really quickly.  And despite my best efforts, most of my German-inspired Midwestern home cooking fell short of his expectations.  Every time I make something casserole-like, he complains.

Naren’s favorite dish is chicken biriyani, which is a layered rice dish.  It’s delicious, but usually reserved for special occasions because it’s rather labor-intensive.  I tried making it the “right” way a few times, mostly resulting in epic failures.  Annoyed by the casserole moratorium, I started referring to all my rice casseroles as different kinds of biriyani… Arroz con pollo = Mexican biriyani!  Then I made my version of biriyani and called it Indian rice casserole.  We were halfway through dinner when Naren looked up and said, “This is biriyani,” and went back to eating.  On a related note, tonight I made tuna noodle casserole, and it was so good he said, “This doesn’t taste like casserole.”

Thanks to some generous Indian friends, willing to share what they know (Special thanks to Neha, Ruchi, and Amee for their patient tutorials) and a LOT of internet research and trial & error, I’ve expanded my repertoire.  I’m certainly not an expert, but even though my roti (flat bread) aren’t ever round, I now occasionally get them to turn out soft instead of crispy, mainly because I’ve learned there are some things it pays to buy!

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to share some of this knowledge, and realized there aren’t a lot of good websites out there for curry virgins.  Indian food tends to scare those of us from the Midwest, and I think that’s tragic.  Also, I’m totally useless at writing down my recipes unless it’s to share them, and now I have a place to do that!

Tomorrow we’re making basic dal.  Hopefully I’ll figure out how to add some pictures.  Then again, that means I need to clean my kitchen…


7 responses »

  1. I love that you’re doing this!! 🙂 I’ve had to learn how to cook, period. And make German food. But we have plenty of hot sauce and Sriracha in our house, too. 🙂

  2. YAY! Amanda has a blog! I know little about cooking, but I have learned some things about wordpress blogging, much of it the hard way. The LittleLamborghini blog is a wordpress as well. Have fun! You will probably want to install the comment spam filters soon, unless you want lots of comments peddling generic viagra and whatnot. Call me if you’re still having issues with getting pics up, I’d be happy to help.

  3. Hi AP-T! Love the blog, if you need any WordPress help, give me a call. I’ve learned a lot of stuff the hard way. 😉

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