Chicken Ramen Noodles

This Japanese dish was made almost without any prep work. My boys watch some Japanese show which had the character in love with Ramen Noodles and the boys had been on about how delicious the dish looks. now, I have never tried Ramen Noodles only for a simple reason that we never find any Halal Japanese restaurants. And, honestly they never appealed me to try out the seafood version.

But is there any way I could have my boys think the same way. Oh! No, never. They are just out and about and want to try everything under the sky that’s religiously permissible. There are barely any restaurants that serve Halal Asian food around us and my boys are at an age where they really like trying different varieties and since, their mom can cook well and enjoys cooking different cuisines, they just trick me into trying everything they want.

So, I started looking into different recipes over the internet and with 3 hours for research. Yes, 3 hours is all I got because they just started behaving worse than me when I was pregnant with them. The more confusing part was that I didn’t even have basic ingredients. Most recipes I saw have Buk choy, Lemon grass, Broccoli but all I had was Spinach, carrots, Mushrooms, cabbage and zucchini. I could have added Onions, but I think onions have a pretty distinctively sharp taste and adding them to something that soupy. Also onions tend to get a bit too soft and the mushiness in the soup, so avoiding onions is better.

Though I am not a pro at cooking Japanese food, but I am becoming a big fan and try to make them as close to the actual food flavors as I can. A few changes here and there to make it more adaptive to our taste. This is one of the amazing ways of serving your kids more vegetables. Hope you like and enjoy it just the way we 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.

Carrot Masala Toast

This masala toast is a famous snack from Iyengar bakery, which I had never tried. Being from North India, there are these few things that you miss out on. Like the fresh made veggie toast. Ohhh!!! Don’t get me wrong, I love the north Indian malai bread and potato sandwich or paneer sandwich, but I still fell completely in love with this iyengar bakery masala toast.

This was first made by my husband, Mr. Parveez when he wanted to flaunt his cooking skills, show casing how breakfast can be made quick, delicious, light and above all, healthy.

This toast can have variety of veggies put but, the authentic iyengar bakery toast only has carrots, tomatoes, onions with a few spices and chilies. It’s a perfect breakfast for on the run, or a perfect snack for warming up those after school/evening cold winters with a warm drink.

Gajar ka Halwa with Vanilla Ice cream

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.

We always loved the idea of warm Brownies and vanilla ice cream. In fact, my kids are big fans of warm brownies/ cake with Ice cream. Its a desert that they would give away their lunch for. Anyways,  Mr. Parveez happens to be almost  the same when it comes to warm Brownies with Ice cream. With time he wanted try warm halwa with cold ice cream. I wouldn’t have tried making this had it come from someone else, but since it was my biggest food fan, I had to try it.

Warm Halwa and cold ice cream is a super awesome combination. Its something you will only understand after you try it. In this recipe I am sharing the recipe for Gajar ka Halwa and how I combined it with Vanilla ice cream. You can always check the Vanilla Ice cream recipe in the Dessert/ Sweet section.

Beetroot Cutlet

As Indians, we love snacks and our snacking has no time. India has shops where you can find food, cooked fresh that comes under the category of snack, even though the one time calorie can exceed your breakfast, lunch and dinner combined, but, its still a snack.

Every tea time/ coffee time needs to have a snack at the side. Every time we have guests, making a fresh snack is considered honoring the guests. Though times have changed and most people serve store bought snacks, some people in India still prefer ordering fresh made snacks from the local stores when they expect guests, if they aren’t able to prepare them at home.

And, then still existing are people like me who prefer making their snacks at home, as much as possible and serving their guests and family with fresh made stuff. I am not bragging, honestly, I enjoy doing it and also have the time. There is nothing more amazing to flavors that are freshly cooked.

Our life these days, is so fast paced that its tough for us to take care of our health and we all know the culprit is lack of exercise and intake of processed food. In spite of all, we find it better to rely on medicines and cut down on all flavors of life, than changing our lifestyle. Its healthier if you find a little time in your busy schedule and follow the simple recipes I share.

The recipes are not just super delicious but also simple to follow and very clean to eat.

Vegetable Biryani

We love Biryani. Till date, I have cooked over 45 varieties of Biryani, with different flavors and different styles of cooking. Its amazing how beautifully the flavors blend in together and give out fabulous taste.

Biryani was introduced by Mughals in India. But with time, the addition of spices, chilies, local produce were added to enhance and make numerous varieties of Biryanis. And, I believe that with time, the vegetarians in India adapted the dish and decided to make the vegetarian option. Nevertheless, meat/ chicken/ vegetables, Biryani is always delicious.

Usually, Biryanis always goes hand in hand with chicken/ meat and is a non vegetarians delight. But, little do we realize that vegetarian Biryani would be equally delicious. While making vegetable Biryani, its always advised to use a variety of vegetables, of your choice. The good thing is that veggies are incorporated so easily that even with people who dislike them, enjoy it in this form.

Chicken Sizzler

Chicken sizzler is just such a super amazingly happy dish. I feel your hunger just grows by a 200% , seeing that sauce sizzle on that hot iron plate and the sizzling sound is so very pleasing.

Sizzler is best with boneless chicken or fish served with boiled rice and your choice of vegetables. I love the sizzlers in India, the spicy, smoky flavors at our favorite joint is just like a dream come true for people like us, who are so far away and that we don’t get halal sizzlers in USA, or at least not around us. So, for people like us, we invent our own.

So, there is a very sweet story to share as well. Mr. Parveez saw me longing for sizzler and bought me these wonderful iron sizzler pans and they were lying in my pantry closet waiting to be inaugurated. So, finally one day, while kids were at school and Mr. Parveez was working from home and I decided to test my gift. Usually, I always prefer making new things in my own time and keeping it a surprise and once I was done making it, the look on Mr. Parveez’s face is hard to express in words. I do have a picture of him but, he would not allow me to post it here …LOLzzz. It will always be treasured in my personal collection.