Indulge In Tasty Dishes Made With California Raisins

Savour Syahirah Mokhtazar 10-May-2019

They may be small but never underestimate the power of raisins! Did you know that raisins actually help to aid digestion, boost iron levels and keep those bones strong? They truly are great for snacking as it’s a healthy alternative to sweets.

You can choose to eat raisins as it is, but it’s also great to include them in meals. Here are some ideas for you to cook savoury meals with California raisins made by a Malaysian celebrity chef, Chef Ili Sulaiman.


California Raisins Chicken Biryani


Chicken Marinate
1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces
1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1 tablespoon Chilli powder
1.5 tablespoon Salt to taste 

For Masala paste
4 x Medium red onion sliced thinly
6 x Garlic cloves sliced
1/2 cup California raisins soaked in hot water
3 inch Ginger sliced
2 Green chilli cut into chunks
6 dried Red chilli deseeded and soaked in hot water
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 handful Mint leaves
1 handful Fresh Coriander leaves and stalks
Water to help blend 

Biryani Sauce
2 tbls Ghee
1 tbls Oil
1 Cinnamon stick
4 Cardamom pods
4 Bay leaves
4 Cloves
4 tablespoon tomato puree
Grounded Masala paste
Salt to taste
3 – 4 cups water

Biryani Rice
Basmati Rice – 4 cups (soaked in water for 30 mins)
1 tbls salt
4 tbls beetroot juice and 1 tsp turmeric powder in hot oil

3 handfuls fresh Mint leaves
1 cup California raisins
1 cup cashew nuts
10 shallots sliced thinly salt to taste

Cooking Method: 

  1. In a mixing bowl add chicken, turmeric powder, chilli powder, and salt. Rub well to marinate and let it sit for 15 minutes.
    2. For masala paste: In a pan, add in some oil and fry the shallots until it is slightly brown for 5 minutes before adding the garlic, ginger, green chilies, coriander seeds and California raisins. Continue to cook for 2 – 3 minutes.
    3. In a blender, add in the fried shallots, garlic cloves, ginger, green chilli, California raisins, soaked dried red chilli, mint leaves, coriander leaves and coriander seeds. Add little bit of water and grind to a paste. Your masala paste is ready to keep aside.
    4. In a pot, add in the ghee and heat up the pan before adding the spices (cinnamon, cardamom pods, clove, bay leaves) before adding the masala paste.
    5. Then add tomato puree and sauté for a few minutes before adding the chicken pieces. Mix well before adding water, and let the chicken cook on a slow to medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Season with more salt if needed.
    6. Garnish for the rice: In a pan add in the ghee with some vegetable oil and fry the onion until brown before removing and frying the mint leaves until crispy. Do the same with the cashew nuts and the California raisins until they puff up and cashew nuts become brown. Remove to drain in a kitchen towel before tossing all of these items in a bowl with some salt to season.
    7. In a rice cooker, drain soaked rice with clean water and add in a table spoon of salt then set the rice to cook.
    8. Once the rice is cooked, just pour some of the beetroot juice and turmeric oil or the red and yellow food colouring on top of the rice.
    9. To serve: Place a scoop of the rice, followed by some of the chicken curry and a sprinkling of the crispy mint, onion, cashew nut and California raisins topping. Continue to layer with more rice, chicken and topping and repeat until finish and just top the top with fresh coriander.


Homemade California Raisins Masala Spice Sausage Rolls


500g Mince Chicken
1 cup California raisins roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh coriander
1.5 tablespoon salt
1 egg
2 pkts Store Bought Puff Pastry (square)
1 egg wash
Masala Paste
2 x red onion chopped
2 x garlic cloves pounded
1 x inch ginger pounded
1/4 cup fresh mint (chopped)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
4 tbls vegetable oil/ghee

Cooking Method: 

  1. Heat the oven at 170c and prepare a pan with baking paper.
    2. In a pan add in vegetable oil or Ghee then add in the sliced onion and cook until slightly brown before adding the garlic and ginger paste. Then add in the coriander powder, turmeric powder and chilli powder and cook on a slow heat for a few minutes before adding the fresh mint and season with a tablespoon of salt. Set a side to cool.
    3. In a large bowl, add in the minced chicken, California raisins, fresh chopped coriander salt and add the masala and mix and bind together with 1 egg.
    4. Shape the mixture into sausage like shapes before placing it on one side of a sheet of puff pastry. Roll pastry over the mixture to make a sausage roll and cut off any excess pastry.
    5. Cut the rolls into 3 to make small bite of about 1 inch wide and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and brush the sausage rolls with egg wash before placing it in the oven for 8 -10 minutes until brown.

Tip: Want to make this in advance? After cutting the sausage rolls, diagonally place the rolls on a tray and freeze for at least 2 hours until hard before removing off the tray and placing it in a zip lock bag. When you want to cook them, take them out and place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, don’t forget to egg wash them then cook for about 10 – 12 minutes from frozen.

Photos courtesy of Newspin Communications