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.

Paradise Chicken Fry

With wide variety of Chicken Kebabs that we try every now and then, some cooked at home and some eaten at restaurants. This Kebab dish is from one of our favorite restaurants, which has quiet a few branches around New Jersey and a few neighboring states. This Kebab was always a family favorite and a dish we regularly ordered.

And then for some reason the restaurant nearest to our house shut down. Now, for people who live or have been to United states know that nothing is “close”, but when we think 5 miles, we mean its close. So, we basically didn’t have any of the restaurant branch anywhere close which definitely makes us sad, but there is always an option to try and make what we like. I feel this is sometimes a test just to prove ourselves our caliber.

So, I got down to trying out making these awesome bites of goodness. It did take a few trials but I think the perks of being in love with your food and being able to play with your spices makes you enjoy cooking food that satisfies your taste buds. The hard part is to just try and get the correct amount of spices to make a dish taste exactly like how we have eaten. The best part is that these experiments make get some wonderful dishes to your dining table which are always a delight and loved.

Tava Tangdi Chicken Kebab

My experiments for Kebabs always have to be innovative, different and always have to be super delicious in taste. My boys love different styles of Kebabs and always look forward to trying different varieties and I believe that’s what pushes me to try different styles.

After making so many different styles of Chicken Kebabs, it does get hard for you to come up with something different with the same set of masalas. I mean its the same spices, yet playing around with them, adding them at different times at different cooking stages makes a huge difference in the flavor of a dish.

These kebabs barely need any marinating time which makes it better for people who are trying to serve something easy and fancy and decide at the last minute or for all those times when we have uninvited relatives/guests who come unannounced, but expect a wonderful menu. For all those times, these kebabs come in very handy.

These kebabs can be made without an oven and the ingredients are also not too fancy. Though I have used Chicken Legs and names them Tangdi Kebab, but you can always use other Chicken pieces or even boneless Chicken and follow the recipe. In case you use this recipe for boneless chicken, try using Boneless thigh/Leg meat and not the Breast. The Chicken Breast meat might be too thick and chewy for this recipe and since the Chicken isn’t marinated for too long and the choice of spices isn’t too fancy either, it might be hard for the juices to get inside the Chicken Breast meat.

This recipe is great for Beginners and Bachelors and pretty easy to impress a crowd by new chefs. Try it today and leave me a feedback as well. Enjoy!!!

Bangalore Muslim Kheema

Kheema curry can be made in so many different styles. Growing up in Rajasthan, I had either tried the Kheema made at home by my Mom, which was a must for picnics and Road trips. My mom would made Kheema with Aaloo and Kheema with matar. There were never Kheema made with multiple vegetables together. I heard my mother also mention that my grandmother enjoyed adding cauliflower to Kheema, which I don’t remember trying it and honestly could’t get myself to making it since Mr. Parveez isn’t a cauliflower fan.

And then came Kheema curry that we would eat in Puraani Dilli, Jama Masjid area for breakfast when we went to Delhi and one of my other favorite was Mumbai Kheema Paav. I will be posting that recipe soon along with the recipe of the Paav. Both of those were my absolute favorite and I would look forward to them. Hot Tandoori Roti in Delhi as an early morning breakfast with Kheema, Nahari or Paaye makes anyoone’s morning special. Mumbai Kheema Paav on the other hand has Tomato base and mostly made of Chicken.

But this recipe is completely different from all of them. This recipe comes from Mr. Parveez’s family and its a recipe that most Bangalore Muslims make for Kheema. The recipe comes from Mr. Parveez’s Mom to us and we proudly call it “Ammi wala Kheema”. So, basically its chopped onions cooked with some whole spices in oil/ghee, with Ginger garlic paste, Goat Kheema, spices and tomato. Along with all these, there are a ton of veggies that make their way to this Kheema, potatoes, Beans, Fenugreek leaves and Dill leaves. This Kheema recipe is great for Breakfast, but tastes great even for Lunch and Dinner.

Kolkata Chicken Roll

We love Chicken rolls. Those of you who read my blog and follow my recipes would know that I love different styles of Chicken wraps, be it a Chicken Roll or Burrito or Tacos. I think the love for Chicken rolls came from my Mom. During one of her trips to Mumbai, she had tried some Mutton Tikka boti rolls at a Parsi eatery and tried reinventing them at home which is actually loved by the whole family.

So, when I came across a wonderful pictures of Kolkata Chicken Roll, I had to give it a try. The flavor of Kolkata roll is not just different, it actually bombards your taste buds with a joy ride of different things. From what I have read, its pretty renowned and a popular street food in Kolkata. Though I have never been to Kolkata, there is something about the food and culture that connects me to it and I find it amazingly attractive. Recipes like this are so easy and fuss free that while it connects you to your roots, which is just so important for people like me who live so far off from their home country, but also makes it easy for your kids to eat. Its healthy, nutritious and perfect for on the go too.

I grew up eating and loving my mother Tikka Boti Roll, which she initially only made with meat but then also started making with Chicken and I loved both. I have always been a fan of being able to make something that was good for road trips. See, some trips allow you to stop by at hotels on the way, but not all and for those trips or those after game hunger pangs while you might be stuck in heavy traffic, these are the recipes that just don’t come handy but also are flavorfully satisfying.

I marinated the Boneless Chicken with Salt, Ginger garlic paste, Lemon Juice and Yogurt. Spices I used were Fenugreek leaves, Tandoori powder, Red chili powder, cumin powder and fennel powder. Chicken can be marinated and left in the refrigerator overnight but if you are short on time, it can also be marinated for 30-45 minutes.

This recipe might not be exactly same as what you might have experienced in Kolkata, if you have been lucky enough to try the street food there, but after the numerous trials and efforts made by me and going through uncountable recipes of different kinds, I managed to stick to this one for the Kolkata Chicken rolls. I am not too sure how the Chicken rolls are different from the Kolkata egg rolls, but my mom would always spread some egg was on the Roti and fry it for the Tikka Boti so I did the same thing for my recipe and I feel the taste is deliciously enhanced. This recipe is inspired by numerous flavors that I have tried all my life and I feel with the numerous trials that I have made, I am able to give this dish a flavor different from my regular Chicken rolls. Hope you try it, like it and enjoy it as much as my family and I do.  

Murgh Darbari Tangdi Kebab

As the name suggests, this recipe is from the era of Mughals and I believe must have been a favorite of Mughal Emperor, Shehenshah Akbar. Going through history, its amazing to read of how different ingredients were introduced at different times. Like spices or khada Masala, like cinnamon, bay leaves or cardamoms and cloves were never a part of the Indian cuisine and were brought in by the Mughals when they migrated to India. I believe there has been no other clan unlike the Mughals who not only brought in so much with them but also adapted the cultures of India and settled with the people and built families.

Where the spices were brought in by the Mughals, India already had food enhancing flavors like Turmeric, red chilies, coriander etc. Mixed together, the food that came out was super amazing like this kebab or a lot of Biryanis that I share on this website.

The super amazing cuisines that we taste at so many restaurants today have been fusion dishes of the old era which apparently weren’t recorded under the term “fusion”. The acceptance of a culture, embracing the traditions, values and flavors and giving the best of what we have does not only result in super new flavors but also becomes a part of our cuisines for the coming generations . For me reading history about a dish is as fascinating as trying to cook a dish.

This recipe of chicken kebabs comes from the era of Mughals. I know, most all kebabs do. Kebabs are a gift to the food world by the Middle East. The variety, the flavors and the fact that they are grilled in different ways can leave your taste buds joyful and crave for more.

I believe for a fact that when the Mongolians and the Persians rulers came to India, it wasn’t an invasion. I know during that era it does look like an invasion because all the wars were for power and land and the greed to appear mightier and stronger than other rulers always seemed to drive warriors crazy where they seemed to be baffled by the prosperity of the neighboring kingdoms and invasion seemed to be the only way to satisfy your hunger for more.  But, leaving all that aside, the Mughals brought in a lot of architectural science, spices and methods of cooking. They came to settle and make India more diverse and that’s what I fail to see in Indian news today.

I am proud to be an Indian, a country where friendship and mutual respect comes much before religion. Where Eid is celebrated with as much love as Diwali. Where Hindus are always at your house on Eid to taste awesome Biryani and your mom makes sure she cooks vegetarian food separately for your 2 vegetarian friends. Where stories of Jodha Akbar is less of Akbar, the Emperor who invaded India and more of the love between a Mughal Emperor and a Rajput Queen. India a country, that proves its a place accepting all religions and stands tall with its cultural heritage. With all that, food plays a very important role. The spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and saffron changed the complete look of flavors and when mixed with Indian chilies, the result was food from Paradise.

This recipe goes back to the era of Akbar and Jodha. The story suggests that Emperor Akbar had a great taste in food and his Kitchens had the most exclusive dishes made, vegetarian and Non vegetarian. Queen Jodha also seemed to have a great interest in cooking the best dishes and made sure that the chefs prepare dishes according to his taste. This recipe comes in as one of his favorites.

Now, with the history books I read, I do get an idea of the ingredients but they aren’t a 100% of what were used in the original recipe. Therefore, these recipes are mine but they should be close to what the original food must have tasted. Each recipe that I share can have common ingredients, but they are completely different for each other. The only way you can find out is by trying. Hope you enjoy these Kebabs as much as I did.

Pyaaz Ke Samose

I am from Rajasthan and I grew up eating Samosa. I always loved the potato samosa or Aaloo ke samose. Different samosa shops had completely different flavors, loved some, hated some but the outer crust was always enjoyed. In fact, for a very long time I only enjoyed the outer crust of the samosas and only loved the Kheema samosas made by my mom. I just never enjoyed any samosa filling when the filling did not have much spice or if it tasted bland. Later while trying different Samosas, I realized that the spicy ones were always what I loved.

After I got married, during one Ramadan in Bangalore, we tried the Ramadan special Onion Samosa or Pyaaz ke Samose and just loved them. The funny thing is that people feel that Ramadan for Muslims is only about Non vegetarian food which isn’t true. We have a mix of vegetarian and Non vegetarian foods during Ramadan and we enjoy it all. These samosas are only made during Ramadan, thought there are a few Muslim shops who make them besides Ramadan too, but trust me the flavor that the month of Ramadan has in special foods is not something we get during other times.

Now since we don’t get these samosas here, I decided to make them at home and a few trials and errors and they came out just the way we like them. If you like onions samosa and like to make them at home, Please do try these out. Hope you enjoy them just like we do.

Badusha

Some sweets are connected to beautiful festivals. They always remind us of occasions and celebrations. I always connect Badusha or Balushahi with Diwali. I had friends who would serve homemade and sometimes store bought Badushas and they would be loved by everyone. I know this post should have actually been a Diwali special but sweets don’t need an occasion, they just need a sweet craving and zest and time to make a sweet dish.

Diwali is over but still posting this delicious balushahi recipe as I can’t resist my cravings and eternal love for Indian desserts or mithai. Since we don’t get Badusha in USA as it ain’t that popular here, mainly I feel its because the people have not tried it. So, I decided on making my own, multiple unsuccessful trials but I just had to make it perfect and I am glad I did. The temptation was too strong to let it go.

My mom is a big fan of this sweet dish. In fact I have heard stories that this was one of the sweet dishes made on my parent’s wedding. There is an old sweet market in my home city Jodhpur called “Pongal pada” and the street has variety of Badushas in different colors and textures and are called Maakhan Bada [meaning sweets made using butter]. Though Badusha is soaked in sugar syrup, the Maakhan Bada is covered with thick coated sugar, something close to fondant but slightly hard.

Once I cracked the recipe of the Badusha, there was no looking back. Its easy, flaky and your desire to eat just one, Did I say eat just? No one eats just one Badusha. Never!!! Its Balushahi in North India and called Badusha in South India. So, no matter what you call it, do try the recipe and make your own. These come out awesome, flaky and light. Once you try them, you will never bother getting them from the market sweet store anymore. Hope you like and enjoy them as much as I did.

Gajar Ka Halwa

Gajar ka Halwa is our winter favorite. The lovely sweetness of carrots mixed with sugar and milk and a hint of cardamom with desi ghee leaves you taste buds asking for more. Every family has their own version of Gajar ka Halwa and it’s the most common dessert in winters and can be found in most homes, specially during winters. With fresh carrots available in the market and the need to finish every meal with a dessert, this Gajar ka halwa definitely scores high.

I make mine with grated red carrots, milk, Khoya and sugar. It’s a winter delicacy and is made using the juicy red carrots. I also make it another way, which is my Mother’s recipe. Growing up I always felt that my mom makes the best ever carrot halwa. She would in fact even freeze the Halwa so we could enjoy it longer. My mom would cook her Halwa for hours on low heat and I as a kid, I would look forward to the Halwa. This sweet dish is mainly associated with North India. It is a rich, the texture is slightly grainy, with sweetness that makes the warm winter dessert taste delicious. I haven’t heard of any Indian who doesn’t love a good carrot halwa.

Garnished with slivers of dry fruits, it goes well with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on the side. I have a recipe of Gajar Ka halwa with Vanilla Ice cream on this blog too. That Halwa is made using condensed milk. So, it can be made any which way, eaten warm, with/without Vanilla Ice cream.

Most households in North Indian have their own recipe to make Gajar ka Halwa and with minor changes here and there, the taste changes drastically. This recipe of Carrot Halwa is my own and is one of the quickest and best I have had.

I grate the carrots and cook them in Ghee till they start releasing water. Once the water is dried, I add milk and cook the carrots till they are completely soft and the milk thickens while cooking the carrots and is only 1/4 left. I then add Khoya followed by sugar and cardamom powder. Cook till everything blends well and there is no liquid left in the Halwa. I only add Almonds, Pistachios and sometimes, cashews to my Halwa. But some people like adding Raisins which is completely optional and a personal choice.

I make Gajar ka Halwa pretty often and it finishes pretty quickly as well. You can easily double or triple the quantity of the ingredients and make a bigger batch if you want to. Along with the ingredients, the cooking time will also increase.  I try and pick carrots as red as possible and in case if I don’t get my hands on carrots that are red, I sometimes use a pinch of orange food color. It’s completely optional though.