Chak Hao Amubi| Manipuri Black Rice Pudding (Kheer)

The recipe I am going to share with you today comes from Manipur, an Indian region I have always been fascinated by. Apart from its beautiful valleys and lush forests, sprawling grasslands and caves, the state has a rich cultural heritage too. Manipur is also home to black rice, Chak Hao in the local language, an interesting ingredient I have just begun experimenting with. I chose to use it to prepare Chak Hao Amubi, or a Manipuri Black Rice Pudding (Kheer), and was absolutely thrilled with the way it turned out.

The cuisine of Manipur is very simple, the dishes making use of minimal ingredients. The cuisine is largely non-vegetarian, with quite a few vegetarian dishes on offer too. A variety of local vegetables and greens are used in Manipuri cooking, mostly grown organically. The food is spiced up with local chillies, flavoured with any of the several aromatic herbs that grow in abundance here. The traditional Chak Hao Amubi is reflective of the state’s culinary philosophies too – it is made with minimal ingredients, allowing the nutty flavour of the black rice to shine through. I have made the kheer with a few little variations of my own, though, to suit my family’s taste buds.

Like I was saying earlier, the Black Rice Pudding turned out absolutely brilliant. The black rice, with its unique flavour profile, worked beautifully with the milk and sugar in the pudding. A much healthier alternative to the regular white rice, it lent the pudding a pretty, pretty purple hue too. In terms of both looks and taste, this Black Rice Kheer was a huge hit with everyone at home!

Here’s how I made the Chak Hao Amubi or Black Rice Pudding.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  1. 1/4 cup black rice
  2. 1 litre full-fat milk (+ a little extra if needed)
  3. 1/2 cup sugar or as per taste
  4. 2-3 pinches cardamom powder (optional)
  5. About 1 tablespoon ghee (optional)
  6. 5-6 cashewnuts (optional)
  7. 5-6 almonds (optional)
  8. Dried rose petals as needed for garnishing (optional)


1. Wash the black rice once in running water. Drain out the excess water. Add in just enough fresh water to cover it, and let it soak for 8-10 hours or overnight.

2. Once the black rice is done soaking, drain out the excess water from it. Keep ready.

3. Take 1 litre of full-fat milk in a heavy-bottomed pan, and place on high heat. Let the milk come to a boil.

4. Lower the flame to low-medium. Add the soaked and drained black rice to the milk in the pan. Mix well.

5. Cook on low-medium heat till the rice is cooked through, 25-30 minutes. You will need to stir intermittently, to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan, and scrape down the cream that forms on the sides of the pan.

6. Now, add sugar to the pan. Mix well. Simmer the Black Rice Pudding for a couple of minutes more. Switch off gas.

7. Mix in the cardamom powder to the pudding, after the flame has been switched off.

8. Chop the cashewnuts and almonds into slivers. Heat the ghee in another pan. Reduce flame and add the cashewnut and almond slivers. Allow them to brown slightly, ensuring that they do not burn. Switch off the gas, and add the ghee, cashewnuts and almonds to the Black Rice Pudding. Mix well.

9. Serve the Black Rice Kheer hot, at room temperature or chilled, garnished with dried rose petals.


1. Black rice is quite tough, and typically needs a soaking time of 8-10 hours. However, there are some versions that need to soak for just 2-3 hours or so. Ensure that you read the package instructions carefully, to check on the exact cooking proceedure for the black rice you are using. The one I got, from our recent travel to Thailand, needed to soak overnight.

2. Use good-quality full-fat milk, for best results. Here, I have used Nandini Full-Cream milk.

3. Adjust the quantity of sugar you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.

4. To check doneness of the rice, try tasting a couple of the grains – they will still be a bit hard on the outside, but will be soft and cooked on the inside. Like I said earlier, it takes around 25-30 minutes for the black rice to cook in the milk.

5. If you feel the kheer is getting too thick but the rice is not yet cooked, you can add in some more boiled milk. In this case, you will need to re-adjust the quantity of sugar you need.

6. The original Chak Hao Amubi or Black Rice Kheer in Manipur is a very simple affair, made with just milk, black rice and sugar (often, with jaggery or honey as the sweetener). Occasionally, a couple of pinches of cardamom powder are used to liven it up. Using the cardamom is purely optional – I would suggest using it, though, for it adds a lovely touch to the kheer.

7. I have used ghee-roasted cashewnuts and almonds in the Chak Hao Amubi, as well as dried rose petals, to make it more inviting. Using these ingredients is purely optional.

8. I have used only 1/4 cup of rice here, as I wanted the kheer to be runny. You can adjust the quantity of black rice and milk (and sugar, of course), depending upon how thick you want the kheer to be.

9. Check out this old post of mine for another lovely recipe using black rice, and some interesting facts about this very healthy ingredient.


This recipe is for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge that I am part of. Every month, the participants of the group cook dishes from a particular part of India, using two secret ingredients assigned to them. This month, all of us over are cooking dishes from the Indian state of Manipur.

I was paired with Bhawana of Code2Cook for this month, who assigned to me the two secret ingredients of black rice and sugar. I decided to make Manipur’s Chak Hao Amubi using these two ingredients. Check out the amazing Vegan Sana Thongba or Vegan Manipuri Paneer Curry that Bhawana made using the two ingredients I gave her – cumin and milk!

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #261. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ and Julianna @ Foodie on Board.


Pori Upma| Puffed Rice Upma

Puffed rice, also called Pori or Murmura, is quite a healthy snack in itself. A cup of puffed rice contains very few calories, but has the potential to fill you up. Considering this, puffed rice is great for inclusion in a diet program, even though it doesn’t provide one with a significant amount of vitamins or other nutrients. Today, I present to you the recipe for Pori Upma, a healthy and delicious snack made using puffed rice.

Pori Upma or Puffed Rice Upma is good for a quick breakfast, or for those in-between-meals hunger pangs. There are several different ways to prepare this upma – different families make it with variations of their own. The recipe I present here is the way we typically prepare it in our family.

Here you go!

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. 3 heaped cups raw puffed rice (pori or murmura)
  2. 1 medium-sized onion
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 1 sprig of curry leaves
  5. 3-4 green chillies
  6. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  7. 1 tablespoon raw peanuts
  8. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  9. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  10. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  11. Salt to taste
  12. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  13. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
  14. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
  15. 1 tablespoon fresh grated coconut


1. Firstly, we will prep the vegetables we need to make the Pori Upma. Peel the onion and chop it finely. Remove the stems from the green chillies and slit them length-wise. Peel the ginger and chop it very finely. Keep the prepped veggies aside.

2. Dry roast the raw peanuts in a pan, on medium flame, till they get crisp. Ensure that they do not burn. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool down completely.

3. Heat oil in the same pan. Add in the mustard, and allow it to sputter. Now, add in the curry leaves, cumin seeds, the dry-roasted peanuts, and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

3. Add the chopped onion and ginger to the pan, along with the slit green chillies. Saute on medium flame till the onion begins to turn brownish.

4. Meanwhile, place the puffed rice in a colander and run some cold water thoroughly over it, for just a couple of seconds. Make sure all the puffed rice gets wet. Drain out the excess water, and add the soaked puffed rice to the pan as soon as the onion gets brown.

5. Keeping the flame on medium high, add salt and turmeric powder to the pan. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for about a minute. Switch off gas.

6. Mix in finely chopped coriander, fresh grated coconut and lemon juice to the Pori Upma. Serve hot.


1. There is no need to roast the puffed rice before using it in making this upma. You can use it raw.

2. Dry roasting the peanuts before using them in the upma keeps them crisp and tasty. You may skip the dry roasting part if you want to.

3. Be careful while adding the salt, as the Puffed Rice Upma does not withstand salt too well.

4. Make sure you don’t let the soaked puffed rice sit around for too long. Add it to the pan as soon as the onions brown, which is what will give you the perfect, non-mushy, delicious Pori Upma.

5. Normally, I don’t add red chilli powder to the Pori Upma, using only green chillies to spice it up. You can add a dash of red chilli powder if you want to, or up the number of green chillies you use.

6. I have used peanuts and fresh grated coconut to liven up this dish. Both of these ingredients are believed to be high in fat content, but I have used them in very little quantities. I believe in eating everything in moderation, fats included. If you want to, you can skip these two ingredients.

7. Finely chopped cucumber, pomegranate arils, chopped tomatoes, grated carrot and a dash of sugar are some other things you can add to this Pori Upma, to make it more delicious.

8. Do not overcook this Puffed Rice Upma, for best results. Also, it tastes best when served hot.

9. If you want the Pori Upma crunchy, you can add in the puffed rice as is, without washing it. I like it both ways.


Foodie Monday Blog Hop
This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is #LowCalorieFood, suggested by Sujata Roy of Batter Up With Sujata.

I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #260. The co-hosts this week are Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Diann @ Of Goats and Greens.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Cheeselings Bhel| Cheeselings Chaat

We, as a family, don’t buy biscuits all that often. Occasionally, though, when we feel like indulging, we pick up a packet of biscuits while grocery shopping, to nibble through a couple at a time. Parle Monaco Cheeselings are one of our favourites – those tiny puffed-up biscuits with a cheesy flavour to them. While we are at it, Cheeselings Chaat or Cheeselings Bhel is one of our favourite things to make with these little biscuits.

Using Cheeselings in bhel gives it a unique twist, and makes it taste absolutely fabulous. Do try out this crispy, crunchy, delicious Cheeselings Bhel, and I’m sure you will fall in love with it, too.

Let us now check out the recipe for Cheeselings Chaat aka Cheeselings Bhel.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 3 big fistfuls of Parle Monaco Cheeselings
  2. 2 big fistfuls of roasted puffed rice or murmura
  3. 1 big handful of fine sev aka omapudi
  4. 2 tablespoons roasted or masala peanuts
  5. 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  6. 1 small carrot, peeled and finely grated
  7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  8. 2 pinches of roasted cumin (jeera) powder
  9. 2 pinches of black salt
  10. 2-3 tablespoons of spicy green chutney or as needed
  11. 3-4 tablespoons of sweet and sour tamarind chutney or as needed


1. Take all the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

2. Mix well.

3. Serve immediately.


  1. You may use any other ingredients of your choice in the bhel too, such as pomegranate arils, boiled and cubed potatoes, papdi, finely chopped cucumber and the likes. I have kept Monaco Cheeselings as the star ingredient here, and have limited the number of other ingredients so that their flavour comes through beautifully.
  2. Click here to find the recipe I use to make the spicy green chutney.
  3. Click here to find the recipe I use to make the sweet and sour tamarind chutney.
  4. I have used puffed rice that has been roasted lightly, with a little salt and turmeric powder. You may use plain puffed rice instead, too.
  5. To make roasted cumin powder, dry roast some cumin in a pan till it emits a lovely fragrance. Ensure that the cumin does not burn. When it cools down fully, grind to a fine powder in a mixer, and store in a clean, dry, air-tight jar. Use this roasted cumin powder as required.
  6. Adjust the quantities of all the above ingredients as per personal taste preferences.
  7. I have used store-bought fine sev here (Garden Nylon Sev). You can make your own at home, too. Using fine sev gives the best results here, as opposed to thicker varieties.
  8. I always make bhel as per rough measurements, by the fistfuls. I don’t have exact cup measurements for certain ingredients here, but I think you will get the gist – use Cheeselings in the highest quantity, followed by roasted murmura, followed by sev.



This post is for the Healthy Wellthy Cuisines group that I am part of. The members of this group cook for a particular theme every fortnight. This fortnight, all of us are cooking different types of dishes using biscuits.

Check out the interesting recipes using biscuits that the other group members have come up with:

No-Bake Swiss Roll by Jayashree| Oreo Energy Bites by Sasmita| Pizza Crackers by Swaty| Chocolate Nutella Tart by Vanitha| Chocolate Biscuit Cake by Poonam| No-Oven Biscuit Cake by Geetanjali| Marie Biscuit Cake by Rosy| Carrot Paneer Mousse by Veena| Biscuit Bhelpuri by Shalu| Easy Fruit Trifle by Mayuri

I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #260. The co-hosts this week are Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Diann @ Of Goats and Greens.

7 Tips For Building An Engaged E-Mail List

In the increasingly digital world of today’s times, the importance of e-mail marketing in building a brand cannot be emphasised enough, irrespective of whether your business is small-, medium- or large-sized. However, e-mail marketing can help your business only when used in the right way. Sending out the right message, in the right format, at the right time is critical, just as it is to reach out to the right audience. This is where the importance of having an engaged e-mail list comes in.

Firing e-mails to anyone and everyone will just not work – at least not in the long run! If you want to drive success for your business organisation through an e-mail campaign, you must figure out who your ‘engaged audience’ is, i.e. the subscribers who really want to receive e-mails from you, who are really interested in hearing from you. There is no shortcut around this. You must work towards building an engaged e-mail list, and work on sustaining one. In time, this will definitely prove to be one of the most invaluable assets your business can possess.

The following infographic by Campaign Monitor, a leading provider of e-mail marketing services based in the USA, offers you 7 important tips on how to go about building and maintaining a list of engaged e-mail subscribers. Remember – there are no shortcuts, hacks or tricks in there!



I present to you this infographic, in collaboration with Campaign Monitor, in the hope that these tips will be of value to you.

Strawberry & Grape Salad

Strawberries are in season right now. They are all over Bangalore at the moment, packed in big and little boxes. More often than not, you get the small strawberries here, which tend to be slightly sour and not all that juicy. Once in a while, though, you come across big, fat strawberries from Mahabaleshwar, which are supremely juicy and sweet, with no sourness to them. And when you come across the latter, you grab them by the cartload (OK, I am exaggerating! You buy them by the boxfuls!). This Strawberry & Grape Salad was an attempt at using up some of those lovely fruits – after all, just how many of them can you eat by themselves? – before they faded away into oblivion.

Now, this Strawberry & Grape Salad isn’t the healthiest of salads ever, I’ll tell you that. It has store-bought preserved red paprika and cheese in there, albeit in very little quantities. This surely is a delicious salad, though, I’ll tell you that too, the ingredients blending together to create layers of flavours and textures. I used the ingredients I had on hand at the moment, to make this salad, but you have the option of substituting them with healthier alternatives.

Let’s now see how I made the Strawberry & Grape Salad, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 1-2):

  1. 4-5 big strawberries
  2. A handful of grapes
  3. 1 cube of cheese
  4. 5-6 almonds
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Slices of red paprika in vinegar, as needed + 1 teaspoon of the vinegar
  7. A drizzle of honey
  8. A few fresh leaves of basil


  1. Remove the tops from the strawberries, and chop them into bite-sized pieces. Place them in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the grapes to the mixing bowl.
  3. Chop the cube of cheese into bite-sized pieces, and add to the mixing bowl.
  4. Sliver the almonds and add them to the mixing bowl too.
  5. Add in salt to taste, the red paprika slices, honey and vinegar from the red paprika as needed.
  6. Roughly tear the basil leaves and add to the bowl.
  7. Mix everything together well. Serve immediately.


  1. Use big, ripe, sweet and juicy strawberries, for best results.
  2. Use only seedless grapes to make this salad. I have used purple grapes here, but you can use any variety that you prefer.
  3. I have used a cube of Amul processed cheese to add flavour to the salad. You can substitute this with any other type of organic/hand-made/zero-chemical cheese to make the salad healthier.
  4. To add a hint of spiciness to the salad, I have used store-bought red paprika, preserved in vinegar. You can use very finely chopped green chillies, in place of the paprika, too.
  5. Lemon juice can be used in place of the vinegar I have used in this salad.
  6. You can add in any other fruits of your choice to the salad too.

Did you like the recipe for this Strawberry & Grape Salad? Do tell me, in your comments!


I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #260. The co-hosts this week are Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Diann @ Of Goats and Greens.