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.

Korean Chicken Bites

Asian food has so much variety. Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Thai, Malaysian, and Korean…. all different from each other yet so alike. We have tried all of them but just with seafood. I know it gets difficult to be a Muslim and practice the basics of eating only halal food. I have friends who seem to be comfortable with consuming non-halal Chicken and meat as well, but not us. I feel that when there are ways and options for us to follow these basics then we should.

Well, that doesn’t stop us from trying things we would love to. I believe that’s the best part about having strong taste buds and enjoy cooking. So, here I am with another mouthwatering recipe of a similar dish that I tried with scallops and loved them. I modified the recipe slightly. The scallops that I tried were not marinated or batter-fried, which to me was a little bland and all the flavor only came in through the sauce. The sauce was nice, not too spicy, just with a little kick. So, when I decided to make something similar using Chicken, I decided to add a little crunch and flavor. I, therefore, marinated the chicken, since Chicken has no flavor by itself and absorbs the flavors you add so adding little spice to Chicken is always mandatory. Even if you are adding chicken to noodles, always cook it with a little salt if nothing else.

This Chicken marination is with Buttermilk, chili flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper powder, white pepper powder, oregano, and salt. Leave it to marinate for at least an hour if not longer. Further roll the Chicken pieces in a mix of flour, salt, and corn starch powder and fry them. The sauce has crushed Garlic and Ginger, soya sauce, sesame oil, gochujang sauce [a sweet and spicy Korean sauce available easily in all Asian food markets], Honey, Brown sugar, vegetable oil, and Red chili flakes. I used scallions and sesame seeds for garnishing, but you can always add them to the sauce. I feel the scallions lose their crunch if mixed in the sauce.

Substitute for Buttermilk?

Take equal quantity of milk as of the Buttermilk required and add 1 tbsp of lemon juice to it. Mix well and add chicken to it.

The flavor of this Chicken is sweet and spicy which makes it an excellent choice for all taste buds of all ages unless someone cannot tolerate any spice at all. I find them a great choice for playdates and small get-together parties.

Cooking in advance

You can fry the chicken bites and keep them in the oven too. The oven needs to be preheated. Keep it on warm or at 200F. Anything above it would overcook the chicken making it chewy or burning it.

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.

Homemade Buns / Paav

I still remember when the trend of Paav Bhaaji came to my town. I was in Elementary school and I loved the flavors and so did everyone in the family. The funny thing was that all of a sudden Paav Bhaaji became a favorite dish for all. Now I have never been to the roadside stalls to eat Paav Bhaaji, though I somewhere always wanted to, but the small town I belonged wasn’t very apt with women standing on roadside eateries during those days. While writing this, I feel as if it was centuries ago, but honestly it was just a few decades ago and the amazing thing is that my small town has changed so much in the last few years that it’s exciting as well as scary. See, small cities have their own magic. People are friendlier, have more time in hand and almost everyone knows everyone. From that time where I would meet 50 people in a radius of one mile to now meeting almost the same number, but with the warmth missing.

Anyways, coming back to Paav Bhaaji. So, my father would always bring it home as a take away and we would all love it to the core. Slowly, my mom started getting Pav bhaaji masala and we would enjoy home made Paav bhaaji. So, my home made Paav bhaaji masala is my mother’s recipe.

I had tried my hands at Paav Bhaaji multiple times and always loved every bite of it. Though my mother used so many different veggies like cauliflower and carrots for her Paav Bhaaji, I only stick to Potato and Bell pepper, making it closer to the original flavors.

The Paav are also homemade. They are pretty easy as well. If you follow the recipe properly, you will be able to make these pillow soft amazing buns at home. You can serve the buns with anything, but as Paav with Bhaaji, they just seem to taste super amazing. To make them taste more delicious, split the buns, spread some butter and sprinkle some Paav Bhaaji masala on them and toast them on the Tava/ Pan.

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.  

Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread

Who doesn’t like Garlic bread? No one I ever met said they didn’t love a good Garlic bread. Growing up I always thought that Garlic bread and Pizza go hand in hand thanks to a food joint. I could just not take the fact of people not ordering garlic bread as an appetizer before eating Pizza. And, I am sure that famous “Pizza” joint and it equally good famous competitors must have seen so many like me.

As much as my family and I love getting the Garlic bread and Pizza, at times its just not possible to order restaurant food. I mean, there are Big names and Big companies, but at times the thought of you not knowing how fresh is the food that you are consuming or is it a mix of preservatives. With all that confusion and realizing that you are blessed that you can cook, we decided we make our own. Now, it isn’t that I feel people who order take outs are doing something wrong, but I do feel that eating that kind of food every day or every other day isn’t very healthy. And then when making it at home is pretty easy.

Typically, Garlic bread is made using a French baguette, or sometimes a sourdough like ciabatta which is partially sliced downwards, allowing the condiments to soak into the loaf while keeping it in one piece. The bread is then stuffed through the cuts with oil and minced garlic before baking. Alternatively, butter and garlic powder are used, or the bread is cut lengthwise into separate slices which are individually garnished.

I made mine a little differently. I made the dough using warm milk, yeast and egg with flour, sugar and salt and added butter. Once the dough had risen, I added minced garlic, butter and scallions. Sprinkle some cheesy and bake….Serve hot and enjoy the oozing flavors.

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.

Hyderabadi Chicken 65

Chicken Kebabs are an all time wanted and favorite for everyone. Chicken Kebabs go so well with Daal Chawal as a side dish and even by themselves. I love making Chicken Kebabs for my get together with friends as well. People always feel that you cannot experiment much with Chicken Kebabs at home, where as experimenting with different Kebab flavors at home is the best thing to do.

The basic thumb rule is follow the fragrance and the flavor. If there are spices that go well together and there are spices that don’t go too well. Spices like Black pepper is something that you need to add little at a time, since if its too much the dish tends to get bitter. If you need to enhance the flavor of Black pepper in your dish, its always better to add less of Black pepper and more of White Pepper to balance the pepper taste. Adding Tandoori masala gives a lot of kick to Red chili powder and makes kebabs more flavorful. You can always use citric acid in place of Vinegar or Lemon juice. Adding Flour with Rice flour and Corn starch Powder will add a lot of crunch to your kebabs if you are frying them.

With the Hyderabadi Chicken 65, I added Red chili powder and other spices with Ginger garlic paste and mixed it well. Further rolled the spiced Chicken pieces in Flour, Rice flour and cornstarch powder and fried them. Later cooked them in a sauce made with Onions, green chilies, various spices and Yogurt. I also add a little cornstarch powder to the gravy to make it a little thicker.

Chicken 65 is made in different ways in different places of India. Though the original recipe was made in Chennai, but different places modified their ways and made it suitable to their taste buds. Honestly, every pace has their unique flavor and we always tend to have our favorites but making them in different ways is always great to add more variety to your dinner table.

Chocolate chip scones

After trying my hands on the delicious, airy and scrumptious British scones, my kids had always been after making them. I have already made them numerous times, I felt it was time to experiment with something new. One of the main reason behind trying out the Chocolate chip scones was Mr. Parveez. When I made the plain scones, he mentioned that he loved the chocolate chip scones at a Book store cafe which he visited on some weekends before we got married and he loved them.

Therefore, I felt my second trials have to Chocolate chip scones. these scones are pretty rich, chocolaty , slightly sweet and just melt in the mouth. They are pretty easy, simple and fast to make, crunchy exterior and soft interior make them extremely satisfying. I make scones in a traditional scone way where I patted the dough around an inch thick and then cut them with the help of a biscuit cutter. But you can also roll the dough into a circle, around 8 inches and cut them in triangle shape, like a pizza. You can cut them into as many as you like, as long as the width is around an inch.

The butter you use should be cold because if it melts too soon, your dough wouldn’t be crumbly. If the dough gets super soft for any reason, because the butter you used was on room temperature or melted, then place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour, till the dough is good enough for you to handle. The heavy cream used in the recipe is an approximate measure. It honestly depends on the flour that you are using. If the dough doesn’t come together easily and if you feel its still dry, add a little more cream, little at a time. Similarly, if the dough is too sticky and gets hard to handle, you can always add a little more flour, one tablespoon at a time. Avoid overworking the dough, because scones do not need too much mixing. Less mixing makes softer scones. The dough should be soft, not sticky.

Scones are best when you serve them fresh out of the oven. If you have extra, its always better to freeze the dough and bale it when you are ready to eat. You can freeze them up to 2 months in an airtight container. When you want to use it, just thaw the dough and use it.