Kolhapuri Chicken Dry

Recipes from Kolhapur are spicy and are only meant for those who are daring with chilies. I always love super spicy food and though like most Kolhapuri dishes, this is spicy too I tried to keep the recipe perfect with spices rather than making it super hot and hard to handle.

Use byadagi chilies and lavangi mirchi to give the kolhapuri chicken bright color and also to spice it up. It’s always good to prepare the masala fresh. Especially for making any chicken dish like this, a semi-dry one, I would always advise that the whole spices should be dry roasted and then grind to a powder. The aroma released by freshly ground spices is amazing and adds a very earthy flavor and fragrance to the dish.

Now I made my spice powder fresh but if you are always making things on the run, you can always make the spice powder in advance and store it in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for up to a week. Just make sure you add coconut powder only when you are ready to use it. Coconut tends to go bad quickly in comparison to the rest of the spices.

The marination [process of the Chicken and then cooking it with Onions, chilies, and curry leaves along with the spice powder makes the dish super delicious. I roasted the spices using Olive oil but used Ghee for cooking the dish as the recipe calls for using ghee, but if you want to witch it using another oil of your choice then it shouldn’t make much of a difference in the flavor of the dish. Ghee does add a very different appetizing and earthy aroma to the food, but switching it with oil will not change the flavor. Though you can serve this dish anytime, it goes best as a side dish with Daal Chawal.

Chicken Kulthi Curry [Kutt ka Salan]

Some dishes sound absolutely weird, but when you taste them, they are so amazingly delicious. This is dish is one such dish too. So, initially, when I heard from my husband that some lentils are cooked with Chicken and the curry tastes amazing, I would just think that he likes the taste because he grew up eating certain foods and therefore likes them but cooking Chicken with lentils is such a waste of Chicken.

Now, let me get to the root of the “Dish story”. The lentils used in this are horse gram and though I make everything from scratch and trust me, it isn’t very difficult to do, but back home in Bangalore, they get it from horse stables. Yeah, you read that right. The horse gram is soaked and boiled and the extra water in which it’s boiled is what they get home while the horse gram is served to the horses. That liquid with little horse gram is used to cook chicken and makes this delicious dish.

I had never tried this dish in Bangalore, and honestly, I never looked forward to trying it either since it never sounded so tempting. But one fine day, we find the horse gram daal in our local grocery store. Mr. Parveez sure got excited, but this meant we had to start from scratch and we had no idea how to get the daal at that cooking stage. That’s when one of my sister in law’s suggested that I should soak the daal overnight and then boil it with turmeric powder, cumin powder, salt, and Red chili powder until soft. Though she asked me to use the water with 25% of the daal and discard the rest. I decided on keeping the daal and grinding it to the paste.

Maa’s Tikka Boti

As the name suggests, this recipe comes from my Mother.

Maa’s Tikka Boti is called Tikka Boti at my mom’s place. This recipe is very close to my heart and one of my most favorite. My mother, once when she went for a vacation to Mumbai, then Bombay tried something from an Iranian cafe. Now Iranian cafes in Mumbai have food to die for, especially the non-vegetarians. Iranian kheema paav is one of my most favorite dishes as well.

So, getting back to my mom’s trip. She tried a chicken roll from the cafe and though she couldn’t have asked for the recipe, but with what she tasted, she calculated roughly and started making this dish and this was one dish I always loved having. For the years, I always felt there should be more occasions when this should be made. I feel there was so much effort that went into making this dish that my mom always found it tough to make it on a random day and probably somewhere felt more acknowledged when there were more people around to appreciate the effort. Therefore, this was strictly only made on get-togethers. I feel that was just a way of thinking and also a shortage of resources. Like, when I was a kid back in India, the kitchens weren’t airconditioned plus the region I belonged to was hot, and cooking in those extreme temperatures was more than tough.

Now things are so much more convenient and easier for those who want to cook at home. So, here I am with a recipe most loved by me and everyone who has tasted it, from my mother’s kitchen. The recipe is pretty simple and if you find it hard to make Rotis at home, you can always get store-bought rotis and spread some whisked egg over it and fry from both sides.

Is this dish different from Kathi Roll?

Not really. It’s different since I have not seen eggs being spread on Kath rolls and the parantha that they make is also a little different. I like both, they are made differently and have their own special flavor.

I just happen to love this more since this dish brings me beautiful memories and the flavors are just reminders of pure mother love.

This dish is great for school/office lunches, an easy road trip lunch/dinner.

Andhra Shrimp Dry

Shrimps are always easily loved by everyone. My first time trying shrimp wasn’t really good. I honestly hated them to the extent of puking out my first bite. I was 8 years old and we visited some family friends in Mumbai [Bombay then]. The family invited us for dinner and one of the dishes they cooked was Shrimp curry. I still remember that the flavor of the curry was mild and I didn’t like it one bit and promised never to have it again.

My second time was after I was in my early twenties and I visited Mumbai again with my parents and my father took me to this small restaurant somewhere in Juhu. My father ordered a dish called Tandoori shrimp and Oh my God!!! I cannot thank my Late father enough to make me try that. It just washed away all the memories of my first time and I was in love with shrimps. Before all this let me tell you that my hometown Jodhpur barely has any fresh seafood and Shrimp is out of the picture altogether, even to date. So, I never tried anything in my hometown ever.

Once married, I came to the USA and being Muslims, we only consumed halal food or sea food. With seafood, Shrimps were my favorite and after some time, I started trying different recipes with Shrimps at home. Initially, it was Pasta using Shrimps or sandwiches or rolls and wraps and soon, I got down to curries and kebabs.

This recipe is using Andhra style of cooking which makes it spicy, crispy and delicious. I used loads of curry leaves, mustard seeds, Red chilies and various other spices. This dish is easy to make and goes great as side dish with simple food like Daal Chawal.

Andhra Chicken Dry

My younger son happens to love food and travel shows on TV. He would watch all the shows that showcase Indian restaurants and famous Indian dishes. The good thing that I find in him watching these shows is when he always remembers famous dishes from different regions of India and of course, being an Indian parent living far away from my country, the pride of raising a kid who loves his roots and flavors is just beautiful.

So one of the shows that he was watching showed this old eatery that makes amazing Andhra Chicken and they showed the way they do the preparation and cook it. The good thing about shows like this is that they display a pretty detailed description of the dishes they make. Of course, there is always that secret ingredient and they would never give you a detail of how much of each ingredient to be added to the dish, but honestly trying out a dish with basic knowledge and then figuring out the measurements for each ingredient based on your taste and flavor is actually the real joy of cooking.

Cooking even a simple dish gives me immense pleasure and when it’s something like this where we are partly aware of the flavors since we have tasted the dish in restaurants but not too sure if the ingredients are being mixed in the right quantity. These experiments just make me happy, since they test my sense of flavor.

Chicken Ghee Roast

With a wide variety of Kebabs that we like and cook, Mutton Ghee Roast is somehow very special and close to my heart. Trying out the Chicken version of it came out absolutely delicious too. If you ever need to fix something quick, this recipe is for you.

The spice mix stays good and fresh for 2 months in an airtight container. Usually, when I make Ghee roast, I always end up making extra spice mix which works out great especially when I need to make it impromptu. The best thing about Ghee Roast is that whether you make it with mutton or chicken, the flavors blend up really well and make the dish taste great. Though you can always serve Ghee roast as a side dish or an appetizer. To me, it goes best on the side with Daal Chawal. If you don’t dry it up completely, you can also serve it with Phulka.

Chicken Pita Pockets

Cuisines in every culture and tradition or every country have wonderful recipes to offer. Trying different cuisines around the world just makes you experience how amazing the world of flavor is. In a way, it makes you experience another culture. This recipe has a very middle eastern and Greek flavor. The reason or the inspiration behind trying these amazing Pita pockets was to serve my kids with more veggies.

Honestly, I feel that in today’s time everyone finds it difficult to have their kids finish veggies on their plate or just simply consume the basic portion recommended. Cooking Vegetable curries is a great option but when you have kids like mine, the curries cannot save your day either. Times like these are when this dish is a savior in every good way. The chicken is cooked with very little oil

Eating your way around the world is a fun thing you can do from home. Trying foods from different countries is also a great way to experience another culture. You can start with this chicken in pita pockets. This recipe is filled with loads of flavor plus its healthy too. Lunch or dinner, it’s always filling and nutritious. Greek flavor and will really fill you up. In fact, these serve as a lunch or dinner but could be an entire meal.

A pita pocket is the best sandwich bread you can use. Pita bread can easily be cut open. I usually prefer cutting it in half creating a pocket. Chicken pita pockets are a perfect example of how delicious veggies and chicken be while being healthy. Don’t get scared looking at the recipe or feel looking at the pics that the end product seems too complicated. This dish is easy, not super easy, and not something I would suggest to a beginner, but it’s still not too time-consuming, and if you follow each step as directed, your finished product would be fabulous. this works.

Chicken Nihari

Nihari is hot, spicy, and very earthy. usually made with Mutton and even Beef, but tastes equally amazing with Chicken too. Nihari is one amazing and luxury dish served for breakfast. I still remember traveling to Delhi since I was a kid and I would always look forward to having Nihari. My father always preferred Chicken Nihari since we don’t consume Beef, he found it hard to believe small restaurants selling Beef Nihari as Mutton Nihari. Back in those days, almost 25-30 years ago, it was hard since the restaurants in “Purani Dilli” or the “Jama Masjid” area, restaurants weren’t as hip as what they are now and definitely not too comfortable for people to go with families. My father would always send in a servant who would travel with us to get some Mughlai Breakfast. Paaya, Kheema, Bheja and Nihari.

Nihari is always topped with some Barista, julienne ginger, green chilies, coriander leaves, and Lemon. When I was a teenager, my mom started making Nihari at home. She would make it with Mutton as well as Chicken. Even though I had the dish so many times, I never had the urge to try making it myself. Initially, my mom depended on the masala powder that used to be sold in Delhi. But as she kept cooking, she figured out how to make it by herself. The packet had the list of ingredients and my mother with a few experiments, got the knack of how much of each ingredient should be to make the perfect Nihari masala.

I had this dish so many times and honestly, it’s one of my most favorite ones too but I never felt the urge to attempt it. And then after trying different recipes for Chicken curries, I thought of giving Chicken Nihari a try. I asked my mother for the proportion of the spices and the recipe and gave it a try.

My mother always cooked the Nihari using Ghee, but during a trip to Jama Masjid, New Delhi with Mr. Parveez and I went to a restaurant and while talking to the chefs and people working there we found out that the traditional Delhi Nihari was cooked using Mustard Oil. I know that sounds weird but it’s true. Though I made my Nihari using Mustard Oil, I couldn’t just use all Mustard Oil since it’s pretty strong and I prefer mixing it with little Olive Oil. I also used Ghee for tempering.

Nihari is basically a traditional Muslim dish that was introduced by the Mughal kitchen. Nihari has a slightly different version in every region it’s made because with time every region develops and blends its flavors with the original recipe. Nihari comes from the Persian word “Nahar” which means “ early morning”. Nihari is basically a morning dish and is eaten for breakfast. I believe the way the spices blend in and the way it’s cooked, eating it for any other meal would be too heavy. Nihari always comes out more flavorful if it’s slow-cooked. Back in the day, the chefs would cook it overnight. Of course, that ain’t possible but, I still feel that cooking it on low flame slowly, makes it more flavorful. Using a heavy bottom pan is always better too.

The spice mix makes Nihari earthy and aromatic. It’s spicy but not too hot that would make you cry. The barista and thin slices of Ginger with chopped onions and green chilies are what make it more delicious. Therefore, don’t skip it if you want to get complete satisfaction. fried onion and julienned ginger at the end can be skipped but I would recommend you to definitely use it. The mild sweetness of the Barista balances the spice. Nihari has a lot of history and though the dish is simple, it does require a lot of time and a little effort, but in the end, it’s all worth the effort.

Boondi ke Laddu

Boondi Laddu is an Indian sweet. Pretty commonly made and easily available in all sweet stores, well almost. They are different from Motichoor Laddu since the boondi isn’t tiny. Motichoor Laddu has a different preparation method as well. Getting back to Boondi ke Laddu. I have a special connection with them, which I feel every kid brought up in India has. Every Independence Day and Republic day, schools in India have it mandatory for children to come to school and attend the flag hoisting ceremony along with programs that teach us the importance of freedom and also pass the information of how our freedom fighters worked together and fought to gift us a free country.

Boondi ke Laddu was a staple sweet distributed to all the kids at the end of the ceremony. Not just that, every Ramadan when the 27th Shab-e-qadar was celebrated and around that time the reading of the Quran in the local mosque, Boondi ke Laddu were distributed by my father. There were so many occasions and this sweet seemed to be the perfect thing for distribution and I have never met anyone who didn’t like them.

I never saw anyone ever make them at home but since we are all now in the USA and the Indian sweet stores here do not make these Laddus, so I had to get down and make them at home. I searched a few blogs and also some food websites, but the pictures they had and the explanation they had were more of Motichoor Laddu. See the fact is that at times you don’t want anything fancy but you just want to relive your childhood or you want to just get a taste of your country.

I tried making the Boondi Laddu a long time ago but the boondis came out long and they could not be bonded. Then during one of my visits to India, my Rakhi brother took me to a store that makes specialized ladles used for making boondis. I then tried making the Laddus again after coming to USA. Though I don’t think anything you make here can ever bring back the same happiness as being in your motherland and enjoying it since you would still miss the people you would enjoy those foods with. But as they say, you cannot fight your destiny, but you can always enjoy things that are around you and do everything that’s under your control.

These Laddus will definitely remind you of your childhood days. Though they require a little extra effort and it gets a little messy too, but it’s all worth the effort.

Garlic Lemon Butter Tilapia with Shrimp

Seafood has amazing recipes. I usually don’t enjoy baked fish, as I feel baking tends to make the fish dry but this recipe for baked fish is just outstanding. This recipe doesn’t require any mayonnaise, or cheese, or any kind of flour or bread crumbs. All you need is butter, lemon, garlic, a few spices, and salt. This Fish by itself is also Keto friendly. I paired the fish with baby potatoes, asparagus, and mushrooms. I also cooked the Fish and shrimp with bell pepper and jalapenos. But the choice of vegetables is always a personal choice. You can always substitute the vegetables you like. This dish is super simple, low carb, gluten-free, and amazingly delicious.

What kind of Tilapia is good?

If you have a store that sells fresh and clan fish, there can be nothing better. That kind of seafood is the best in quality. But mostly, the fish that I buy, especially Tilapia is frozen which is good too. There is always a possibility that any fish you buy has been frozen at some point in order to keep it fresh for transport.

Frozen fish sometimes are better than the Fish that appear fresh but you don’t see them live. Frozen fish is said to be freezer right after the catch, therefore feel absolutely sure to use the fish that is frozen since it is just as good to use as a live fish, and in most cases better than fish from the counter.

Tilapia is generally best and healthy if it’s wild-caught which is the case with most seafood. Farm-raised fish is also considered very healthy. Tilapia is a great source of protein. Though if you are buying farm-raised fish, make sure you check the reputation of the farm and the kind of feed they use for their fish.

I used Shrimp for some extra flavor which I feel goes fabulously with Tilapia. Baked or grilled veggies are a great source of fiber and fill you up too. This dish is great for kids too. The dish is filling, healthy, and low in carbs. Enjoy!!!