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 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.

Honey Lemon Chicken Wings

Chicken Wings are an all-time favorite for everyone I know. I had never tried Chicken wings before I came to the USA. Our cuisine in India does not offer kebabs or appetizers using Chicken wings. Initially, Chicken wings were always something we ate outside. It’s not that I didn’t think of trying them but it’s just that Mr. Parveez and I as a couple liked Chicken wings but weren’t that huge of a fan. There was a halal restaurant that made Chicken wings with green masala and every once in a while we would go and enjoy the awesome wings. And, after a couple of years, the restaurant shut down.

Well, that didn’t really inspire me to start making my own Chicken wings. A few months later we discovered another wonderful Halal Gyro place that all make Hot saucy Chicken wings which were great, but with time the restaurant lost its taste of making good food. I believe the management changed and hired a new chef that couldn’t maintain the flavors. This is when I felt I should start making my own.

The first-ever Chicken wings I started making were the Buffalo Chicken wings. The kids loved it and it served as a great appetizer or a side dish for brunches and playdates. Once I spent few years making them and seeing fans increasing, I decided on experimenting with different flavors using wings. That’s when I made the green Chicken wings followed by the Special Haala’s hot saucy Chicken wings and finally these. The main reason behind trying these was that I wanted to come up with a recipe that has a little sweet and spicy taste. This recipe is great for people who find it hard to handle spices.

Why Wings?

Wings are cooked with skin and when pan-fried or deep-fried become crunchy. Any flavors, especially those that are saucy taste great with anything that is crisp.

Why use honey and not sugar?

Honey blends in better with spices than sugar. Sugar tends to crystallize or make the sauce more watery so, honey is the best option.

These wings are lightly sweet and lightly spicy which tantalize the taste buds in a way of playing hide and seek. Spicy and sweet together are a wonderful combination and if you combine that with Chicken wings, the crispy texture of the skin and the flavors mingled along with it are just beyond the word “delicious”. If you like Chicken wings, you should try this recipe.

Laal Maas

Laal Maas is a dish from my home town, Jodhpur. The dish mainly originated from the Rajput Royal families who’d proudly cook the animals they have hunted or cook for their families at leisure hours and this used to be their specialty.

Laal Maas is still very popular and from the royal homes has reached various Jodhpur restaurants who make this dish in amazing ways, adding their own flavors while keeping the recipe close to the original one. This is my version of what I gathered from the flavors I had tasted at different places. A lot of times, people from other regions feel that Laal Maas is a local cuisine cooked in every household that enjoys nonvegetarian food, like the Muslim community. Sadly, that ain’t true. The fact is that this dish is barely made in any Muslim home and is solely a recipe from the Royal Cuisine of Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

I usually boil the meat chunks before I start cooking the curry. I feel that reduces the cooking time for mutton and also helps the spices soak in more easily, making the mutton juicier and spicier.

This curry is made using Ghee, oodles of ghee. Rajasthani love using Ghee for all their lavishly cooked food and we take a lot of pride in that, but I mixed up little oil with Ghee because these days it’s tough to cook and digest pure ghee, but if you are daring enough you can always choose to cook using only ghee and similarly if you are a health freak like Mr. Parveez, you can cook using only oil and just add a teaspoon of Ghee for the fragrance.

This recipe is pretty easy and can be easily made by beginners and the flavors are super delicious.