Chicken Kaju Pepper

Chicken curries always demand variety. Well, all dishes are better when they are tried with new flavors, but especially with chicken, our taste buds need variety since we like having it and serving it so often. I often find people asking me to come up with new flavors and I love my experiments. I always feel though that experiments should only be done up to a point where things can be fixed if something goes wrong.

This dish was an experiment that of course was 100% successful and that’s why you see me posting this recipe and sharing it but, using pepper, especially black pepper is always a little dodgy since if you add even a little more than required, it ends up making the dish bitter. To be safe with that, I used white pepper to get the best of flavor for this dish.

Why Cashews?

Well, Cashews are best at adding that creamier and nutty flavor to a dish. While a lot of people want and do use other options like coconut or cream, or even almonds. Cashews add a little sweetness and that goes well with pepper.

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.

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.

Hyderabadi Chana Daal Qabooli

Hyderabad is popular for its lip smacking food. The city of Nizams is just not popular for its gems and jewels and gorgeous buildings, but more for the food. The Hyderabadi Biryani to start with has almost 12 varieties if not more. When it comes Hyderabad and we think of food, I always tend to think of all wonderful non vegetarian dishes, Biryanis, Korma, Haleem…but we all forget that Hyderabad has a wonderful variety of Vegetarian food as well.

This delicious vegetarian Biryani has come down from the Mughals, and is made with rice and split gram lentils. In Hyderabad, its considered a fancy dish and is a great vegetarian option in place of Biryani.

Qabooli is biryani made with spicy chana dal (split pea lentil) and layered with basmati rice. This Chana daal qabooli is very different in flavor and aroma, which combines the pungency of spices, the tanginess of Yoghurt and richness of saffron. It turned out quite tasty and lip smacking. This is a filling and delicious dish that is great to make when you have company. This vegetarian version of Biryani can be made on festival day or even include it in a party menu as well. Enjoy!!!

Shikari Chicken Rice

This is an invention by only hearing about the dish…Yeah I know I can go nuts when it comes down to trying to make a new dish. This happens to be one that I really planned out well and craved to make it.

Like I always say, every dish has a story. This one has one too. While speaking to a close friend about different Biryanis that we get at famous and not so famous eateries in India, I was told that a popular restaurant served something that was close to Biryani, but not Biryani. That really got my interest. Giving me further details, that its mildly flavored bed of Rice served under these awesomely juicy grilled chicken. I mean who wouldn’t want to act on this description and try and make it. It’s actually not just the details of the dish, but the way it was described and the fact that it topped the list of Chicken and Rice. I had not even seen the dish, yet I was head over heels in love with the dish and felt challenged to make it.

When you are aware of a dish, you tend to study it by searching about different chefs who have made it or by trying the dish out at different restaurants or even making the dish a couple of times to achieve the desired flavor or result. But when its a dish, you have never heard of until now, tried, seen or tasted, and you crave to cook it, you are definitely a crazy chef…LOLzzz. I think I fit the bill.

So, I am not aware of the Chicken served is with bones or without, but going according to my Biryani basics, I picked Chicken with Bones and marinated the chicken with spices and Yogurt for around 2-3 hours. Though my chicken came out delicious, I still recommend that a chicken is more flavorful if marinated overnight or for at least 6-8 hours, though in today’s time and age, things happen unplanned and we have a little time before we decide what we need to cook. For all those times, marinate, cover, and place the chicken in the refrigerator. Refrigeration helps blend the flavors faster and better. Once I was ready to cook them, I took them out of the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 400F or 180C. I placed them on the grill with a tray underneath to catch the dripping. The cooking time was around 25-30 minutes, with an extra 5 minutes of high heat grill, since I wanted them to look well done. If you want, you can cook them in the oven and do the latter process in a pan, or on naked fire. Any which way will give you great outcomes.

I made a gravy as well to spike up the layers of Rice. The gravy was made very similar to Biryani Yakhni shorba. For initial whole spices, I added fennel seeds along with cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom, and cumin seeds. I further fried the onions, taking half of it out for garnishing and using them while layering the Rice. That was followed by Ginger garlic paste and spice powders. Further adding tomatoes and Yogurt, combined with green chilies, mint leaves, and coriander leaves. I also added the marination left behind after the chicken is taken out, so it gets a little flavor from the chicken as well since we aren’t cooking the chicken in the gravy.

This is a lovely recipe for a weekend Brunch or to display your cooking skills to those uninvited guests, when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. It’s a pretty quick fix to traditional Biryani and modern-day Chicken over Rice. One of my self invented and the best recipes ever…Enjoy!!!

Ambur Biryani

Aambur, is a town in the district of Vellore in Northern Tamil Nadu. Its a signature Biryani is made originally from zeera sambha rice.

As the story goes, Ambur/Vaniyambadi biryani is a type of biryani cooked in neighboring towns of Ambur & Vaniyambadi in the Vellore district in the north-eastern part of Tamil Nadu, which has a high Muslim population. It was introduced by the Nawabs of Arcot who once ruled the place. There are also some stories that believe that Mughal soldiers once while they were down in the southern region of India, craved Biryani and ended up with this recipe as they had to make up their favorite dish with locally available spices and rice, hence the use of Zeera sambha.

The Ambur biryani is accompanied with ‘dalcha’, khatte baingan curry or raitha. It has a distinctive aroma and is considered light on the stomach. The usage of spice is moderate and curd is used as a gravy base. It also has a higher ratio of meat to rice.

Now continuing with my story, as most of you who follow me know that I love tryong new recipes of Biryani. So this one day, while watching an Indian TV channel, my hubby, Mr. Parveez  came across a restaurant serving Ambur Biryani and it happened to be a Friday morning, [every Friday without a miss, I cook biryani for dinner] and he facetimes me from his office while I am out for grocery shopping, “Baccha , can you look up for Ambur Biryani and make that today?”

While I am always happy to try something new, I also get upset if I have to rearrange my shopping list. To my surprise, when I found the recipe, it didn’t use any fancy ingredients and I basically had them all at home. Making the Biryani was so easy, that I looked through the recipe twice after being done to make sure I wasn’t missing on anything. Its definitely pleases the crowd and easy to make too. So, if you are a Biryani fan like me, this is a must try.

Methi Murgh Biryani

For the huge variety of Biryanis that I have cooked, I sometimes feel I should make a separate section for “Hyderabadi Biryanis”. The city is as popular for Biryanis as much as its for Falakhnuma Palace. Talking about Falakhnuma palace, though I am from the state of Forts and Palaces, Falakhnuma happens to be one palace that I would want to visit only because my favorite actor, Salman Khan had his sister married there and that’s when I was in love with the interiors.

Hyderabad does excite me for food, not just Biryanis but Haleem and samosas too. I love watching food shows and one such had details of a famous joint who cook their Haleem all day in nuemerous different large size pots only to last 2 hours. Its that popular and I am sure super delicious. Hyderabad has at least 20 kinds of different Biryanis but I think its more for the Hyderabadis to understand and for the rest of the world, its just Hyderabadi Biryani. I love to cook the different recipes of Hyderbadi Biryani. They are all so distinct from one another that tasting them is any Biryani lover’s dream come true.

Each Biryani is so distinct and as much as I read more, the ingredients that makes each Biryani stand out are so simple and yet make the Biryani so exclusively delicious.

This Biryani is very delicious and the flavor of Fenugreek adds a very different taste to the Yakhni. This Biryani actually is one of my older son’s favorite Biryanis, who loves kebabs and honestly isn’t a big fan of Biryani. This is a great recipe for people who enjoy their Biryani spicy or masaledaar. It tastes best with Dalcha and Onion Raita. Since, the Biryani is high in spices, you would want to serve it with something that mellows down the spice level.