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.

Lobster Curry

My love for Lobster curry began in 2012 on our first visit to Kerala. We stayed in a houseboat in Alleppey. The backwaters with the perfect weather in Kerala. We were their around the Christmas time and I feel that that’s the best weather to visit Kerala. During our visit and stay at the houseboat, the host made amazing Kerala cuisine including loads of varieties of seafood. That’s where I tried Lobster curry for the first time.

I had tried Lobsters before at loads of seafood restaurants but they were all mildly cooked and had no spice except garlic and salt. The Lobster curry was beyond my expectations and outstandingly delicious. The houseboat had 3 guys responsible for cleaning, cooking and maintenance. Being there was one of the best vacations we ever had. The weather, the backwaters, the walks in the greenery and the hospitality all made our stay memorable.

Now after tasting the awesome Lobster curry, I had to request for the recipe and our host gladly gave it away. Thought the recipe given was rough but it was enough for me to understand and make this super delicious recipe.

The original recipe is made using coconut oil. I made mine in Olive oil since I don’t use coconut oil. I don’t think it makes much difference to the recipe, except making it less coconuty. Since I add coconut milk as well, it adds a perfect flavor to compliment the rest of the ingredients, but you can always cook in coconut oil if you prefer. There are few changes as well that I made to the recipe and therefore I cannot really call it a dish from Kerala.

I clean the Lobsters at home if I have to order them for home delivery, which of course is a preferred source these days, but usually if you happen to go to the Fish market and pick your own Lobsters, you can always have them cut the claws and cut it from the middle. I partially boil my lobsters with Turmeric powder and salt so they don’t smell musky. Then to cook the curry, I add Black seeds and curry to the oil followed by onions. Once the onions turn transparent, add Ginger Garlic paste along with spices and fennel powder. I think fennel powder adds a lot of freshness to a dish, specially when its seafood. Add coconut milk or coconut puree along with Tomato Puree and once everything blends and comes together, add the Lobsters and let it cook for another 10-12 minutes and your curry will be ready.

The Lobster curry seems difficult and hard to make but honestly, it takes less time than a chicken curry and looks super fancy on the dining table. This recipe can be used for cooking Crabs as well. You can always substitute Lobster with crab. Hope you enjoy cooking this dish and love it as much as my family and I do.

Khatte Baingan

Biryani is a dish loved by everyone. With countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh where Biryanis are so popular and makes it to the menu of all special occasions. Biryani has a huge variety of accompaniments, like Baghare Baingan, Dalcha, Raita, Chutney, Mirch ka Salan and Khatte Baingan.

Deciding on an accompaniment with Biryani also requires a few skills. As much as people think that all Biryanis are more or less the same and a basic raita fulfills the purpose of serving on the side with Biryani, its not really true. If your Biryani is not too spicy, you should make Mirch ka Salan or Baghare Baingan. If its super spicy, making Khatte Baingan or Dalcha mellows it down a little. Raita goes along with any Biryani that’s spicy or simple.

The recipe is simple and made with very little oil. A lot of people fry their eggplants to cook them, but I choose to boil them. Boiling them ensures that they are completely cooked and eggplants have a tendency to absorb too much oil so, this way it doesn’t get too oily. Once eggplants are boiled, add oil to a pan, add Black seeds and curry leaves. Further add a little ginger garlic paste with Turmeric Powder and red chili powder. Add tomato puree, ketchup and green chilies. The ketchup adds color along with a sweet and sour taste making the eggplants taste great.

These Khatte baingan are very easy to make and are loved by everyone, even people who usually aren’t a big fan of eggplants. This goes well with Biryanis that aren’t super spicy. Simple Biryanis like Mughlai Biryani or Thalassery biryani go really well with Khatte Baingan.

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.

Bourani Baingan

This is a middle eastern recipe, to be specific, an “Afghani” recipe. There used to be an Afghani restaurant near our old house. Mr. Parveez and I loved the food they served. Beinf authentic Afghani, there rice pilaf would always be served garnished with shredded carrots, cashews and raisins and of course grilled Chicken / meat. But what we loved the most was the Bourani Baingan [pronounced as Bow-rani Bain-jan].

It was served as an appetizer with Afghaan bread called Noni. Bourani Baingan is dish made with eggplants cooked with tomatoes and garlic and served with whipped yogurt on top. I was so madly in love with that dish that loads of time I would give up my rice pilaf and chicken just to have that. And, just like that one fine day, the restaurant shut down for renovation and eventually opened up as a pizzeria. I believe the owner thought that pizza sells more than the Afghani food and preferred changing the business.

And, like they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Meanwhile, we found another Afghani restaurant and loved their food too but, we were deprived of our favorite Bourani Baingan. This is when I decided to follow my taste pallets and come up with the recipe. As I always say, trials and errors till I got it right. This recipe is a perfect dish for a weekend brunch or a perfect appetizer for a small in house party. It goes perfectly with Afghan Noni which you can find in the bread section. Unlike the popular belief of connecting Middle east food with only Non vegetarian food, both these dishes are vegetarian.