Chicken Kulthi Curry [Kutt ka Salan]

Some dishes sound absolutely weird, but when you taste them, they are so amazingly delicious. This is dish is one such dish too. So, initially, when I heard from my husband that some lentils are cooked with Chicken and the curry tastes amazing, I would just think that he likes the taste because he grew up eating certain foods and therefore likes them but cooking Chicken with lentils is such a waste of Chicken.

Now, let me get to the root of the “Dish story”. The lentils used in this are horse gram and though I make everything from scratch and trust me, it isn’t very difficult to do, but back home in Bangalore, they get it from horse stables. Yeah, you read that right. The horse gram is soaked and boiled and the extra water in which it’s boiled is what they get home while the horse gram is served to the horses. That liquid with little horse gram is used to cook chicken and makes this delicious dish.

I had never tried this dish in Bangalore, and honestly, I never looked forward to trying it either since it never sounded so tempting. But one fine day, we find the horse gram daal in our local grocery store. Mr. Parveez sure got excited, but this meant we had to start from scratch and we had no idea how to get the daal at that cooking stage. That’s when one of my sister in law’s suggested that I should soak the daal overnight and then boil it with turmeric powder, cumin powder, salt, and Red chili powder until soft. Though she asked me to use the water with 25% of the daal and discard the rest. I decided on keeping the daal and grinding it to the paste.

Andhra Shrimp Dry

Shrimps are always easily loved by everyone. My first time trying shrimp wasn’t really good. I honestly hated them to the extent of puking out my first bite. I was 8 years old and we visited some family friends in Mumbai [Bombay then]. The family invited us for dinner and one of the dishes they cooked was Shrimp curry. I still remember that the flavor of the curry was mild and I didn’t like it one bit and promised never to have it again.

My second time was after I was in my early twenties and I visited Mumbai again with my parents and my father took me to this small restaurant somewhere in Juhu. My father ordered a dish called Tandoori shrimp and Oh my God!!! I cannot thank my Late father enough to make me try that. It just washed away all the memories of my first time and I was in love with shrimps. Before all this let me tell you that my hometown Jodhpur barely has any fresh seafood and Shrimp is out of the picture altogether, even to date. So, I never tried anything in my hometown ever.

Once married, I came to the USA and being Muslims, we only consumed halal food or sea food. With seafood, Shrimps were my favorite and after some time, I started trying different recipes with Shrimps at home. Initially, it was Pasta using Shrimps or sandwiches or rolls and wraps and soon, I got down to curries and kebabs.

This recipe is using Andhra style of cooking which makes it spicy, crispy and delicious. I used loads of curry leaves, mustard seeds, Red chilies and various other spices. This dish is easy to make and goes great as side dish with simple food like Daal Chawal.

Laal Maas

Laal Maas is a dish from my home town, Jodhpur. The dish mainly originated from the Rajput Royal families who’d proudly cook the animals they have hunted or cook for their families at leisure hours and this used to be their specialty.

Laal Maas is still very popular and from the royal homes has reached various Jodhpur restaurants who make this dish in amazing ways, adding their own flavors while keeping the recipe close to the original one. This is my version of what I gathered from the flavors I had tasted at different places. A lot of times, people from other regions feel that Laal Maas is a local cuisine cooked in every household that enjoys nonvegetarian food, like the Muslim community. Sadly, that ain’t true. The fact is that this dish is barely made in any Muslim home and is solely a recipe from the Royal Cuisine of Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

I usually boil the meat chunks before I start cooking the curry. I feel that reduces the cooking time for mutton and also helps the spices soak in more easily, making the mutton juicier and spicier.

This curry is made using Ghee, oodles of ghee. Rajasthani love using Ghee for all their lavishly cooked food and we take a lot of pride in that, but I mixed up little oil with Ghee because these days it’s tough to cook and digest pure ghee, but if you are daring enough you can always choose to cook using only ghee and similarly if you are a health freak like Mr. Parveez, you can cook using only oil and just add a teaspoon of Ghee for the fragrance.

This recipe is pretty easy and can be easily made by beginners and the flavors are super delicious.

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!!!

Paav Bhaaji

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.

Click and make your own Paav at home

Homemade Buns / Paav – Haala’s Dastarkhaan

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.

Malabar Shrimp Curry

Shrimps are one of my favorite kind of seafood and I would always try shrimps with new kind of gravies or new styles of marinade and fry them or grill them in different ways. Mr. Parveez always preferred eating an actual fish to eating shrimps. He finds Shrimps to be a little tasteless. So, when I started making Shrimp curries, he was still not a big fan. He would eat, but you know not really enjoy it as much as how I would like him to.

We watch a lot of travel shows and during one such show, the host happened to be travelling around restaurants in Kerala and one such restaurant was cooking Malabar shrimp curry. Now before anything let me tell you this. We were watching this program around an hour or so before dinner time. While the chef in the restaurant was showing how he prepares his special Shrimp curry, we were glued to the TV and wished we could see it live in person and have a bite of that scrumptious looking curry. Anyways, just as I mentioned that it was around an hour or so before dinner. Looking at that curry, I was determined that I have to try making it. Funny enough I remembered that my freezer has a pack of frozen shrimps. I always believe in miracles and this might have been one such lucky day. I got down to making it that very moment. The curry came out amazingly delicious and a family favorite too. Now the chef had only given in a rough idea on how to make the curry and few things that I have added to my curry recipe was not a part of the show that we watched. So, you might not find this different from an authentic Malabar Shrimp Curry, but you will definitely get the hint of Malabar flavors and savor each bite.

I deveined the shrimps but left the tail on. I feel it makes the shrimps look prettier in a curry, but you can always take the tail off if you prefer. After washing and pat drying, I marinated the shrimps in Ginger garlic paste, Red chili powder, Fennel seed powder, Tandoori powder, salt and lemon juice for 15-30 minutes. I also added a bunch of curry leaves. Further added some Rice flour, All purpose flour and corn starch powder and deep fried the shrimps. Frying makes the shrimps crunchy and the texture with the curry sauce is very flavorful.

To make the curry, add mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds along with dry round red chilies. Once they splutter, add curry leaves and further add chopped onions. Add ginger garlic paste followed by black pepper powder, Turmeric powder, Red chili powder, coriander powder, fennel seed powder, salt and cumin powder. Add the Dry red chili paste, tomato puree and green chilies along with fried shrimps and dry fenugreek leaves.

This shrimp curry is pretty easy and would make a special place in your menu. Its goes along great with garlic naan or plain naan and also Kerala Parantha.

Pindi Chhole

This hearty, healthy and delicious dish is from Punjab, India. I initially thought that the name comes from the word Pind used for village in Punjabi. But, actually the name of the dish is from the place it was originated from. It is named Pindi Chana after the town Rawalpindi, which used to be a part of Punjab before India-Pakistan partition and later became a part of Pakistan. Pindi chhole is a recipe from Rawalpindi and now is proudly cooked everywhere and popularly known as Pindi Chhole.

This recipe is easy to cook, it makes for a wholesome meal when served with poori or Kulcha or Naan and an onion salad. Pindi Chana can be made with dried chickpeas, which needs to be soaked overnight and boiled until soft. The recipe also requires the use of chana daal along with chickpeas. I usually soak a large amount of chickpeas and boil them as well. I usually then divide them into smaller packs and keep them in the freezer for future use.

I never realized till I was much older that there were so many different ways of making chhole. I felt every family had there own version of making chhole, like with my Punjabi friends, their moms made chhole that didn’t have a lot of gravy and usually were a little dark in color and didn’t have too many tomatoes either. Where as, my mom always had her own version of making chhole with yogurt. The chhole recipe I follow is from a family friend and I make my chhole using tamarind, tomatoes and fennel seeds. And, then one day I came across Pindi chhole made by a close family friend and loved the flavors. This is when I found out that in most Punjabi families, people tend to boil chhole with whole spices and tea leaves which tends to darken the color of the chhole. Punjabi food anyways uses a lot of whole spice in their dishes and there always seems to be a very strong taste of cloves and cinnamon in their cuisine.

All in all this is one awesome chhole recipe. It goes really well with poori or parantha or kulcha. I serve them for breakfast usually with sooji ka halwa on the side, but that can always be when you have friends over or if its a special occasion, but these chhole with poori can definitely make it to your weekend brunch table. Enjoy!!!

Goat Paaya

Goat Paaya or Goat Trotters is a widely loved dish in the Muslim community. It’s made in several different ways around the world, but no matter how its made, I have always seen people enjoying it with every bite. Mostly served for breakfast, Paaya is usually served with Bheja and Naan/ Roomali Roti. Paaya will be in the favorite list in any hardcore non vegetarian.

It is a dish that can be made any time of the year but during festival of Eid ul Adha, It is a must for Breakfast on the second day. It takes pretty long to cook, so in times of today when everything is made in a rush, use of pressure cooker is a must. Long before the pressure cooker, Paaya was a dish made with slow cooking and was made over coal fire and usually took around 12-15 hours to cook. A lot of people like my Late Father used to love consuming it as soup. It makes a pretty healthy and flavorful Shorba / curry.

I believe the fashion of cooking Goat Trotters must be from the Muslim rulers who travelled from other countries. A lot of dishes from the Middle east have resemblance to dishes cooked in India/Pakistan/Bangladesh. Not just Non vegetarian but even sweet dishes like Jalebi and Gulab Jamun or for any sweet dish that uses Orange blossom/ Kewra water/ Rose water are also a gift from the Middle east to us, along with Biryani. The fact is that they always traveled with a huge army and therefore made sure that every part of the animal slaughtered should be used. Goat trotters are pretty high in Cholesterol, so they aren’t a great breakfast choice for anyone in today’s date and time since our lifestyle is very sedentary, but back in days for people who did so much of physical labor and most distance were traveled on foot, this dish was not just delicious, but also nutritious and filling.

Like I always say, every dish has a story, so let me share my memories with “Paaya”. As a kid I always saw my Mom make Paaya for breakfast and the whole family, except me relish it. For some reason I am not a big fan of liking the flavor of Bone Marrow in my food. Nevertheless, to make my father happy I would slide a few bites down my throat, until one day he realized that it was tough for me and he let me slide. Paaya is specially cooked for breakfast at all Muslim restaurants that are popular for authentic Muslim food. Most of these restaurants are located in highly populated Muslim areas, like Jama Masjid in Delhi, Frazer town in Bengaluru and Mohammed Ali Road in Mumbai. I am sure there are these areas in almost all cities, I am mentioning these because these are places I have been to and relished all the awesome delicacies. My breakfast has always been bheja fry and Nahari though the family had their love for Paaya. My faher would always order what we liked and those times were a lot of fun. After marriage, I learnt that Mr. Parveez likes Paaya too and since we do not have similar arrangements of eating and enjoying authentic Muslim breakfast therefore, I started making it at home.

Paaya isn’t a difficult dish to make. It’s a heavy stew created from trotters/ feet of goat or lamb. The bones of the Goat leg are rich in gelatin marrow and are barely covered with meat once cleaned, they are just rich in bone marrow which secretes once cooked. Most people/families have their own variation of cooking Paaya, and knowing that India is so culturally varied, every other place has their own cooking style and recipes based on the local ingredients and flavors they are used to. In North India, paaya is served as a breakfast with Tandoori Roti / Roomali Roti. Is believed to be nourishing and is served to patients when sick and is kind of mandatory for new mothers, specially during the early days when her body is going through the recovery process. I usually use a pressure cooker to cook them, but you are more than welcome to cook it in a traditional way. Though time consuming, but its extremely flavorful. I do try the slow cooking method as well when I have more time in hand. Either way, its delicious, so don’t think that you are missing out on flavors if using the pressure cooker.

If you are thinking of making an authentic Muslim breakfast or cooking a non vegetarian breakfast that’s a little different, Paaya is what you need. Serve it with brain fry/ Bheja Fry and people will be praising your breakfast spread for years and looking forward to more. The recipe is in complete detail and if you follow the steps correctly, you will make a perfect dish. Again, spices make a dish flavorful, but cooking with love is what makes it delicious. Enjoy!!!

Chhilli Daal Chicken Curry

Chicken as a curry is made in so many varieties that sometimes it amazes me how people from different regions in just one state make so many different dishes, with every dish varying in flavor from the other. The basis of making these curries are basically the availability of ingredients in that region.

I am from the northern west part of India, Rajasthan. Its a desert part so every time we make a Chicken curry, its mostly Yogurt based, which I think is because back in the days there weren’t many ways of getting any fresh vegetables, like Tomatoes and since water was always scarce, growing your own was difficult as well. Since there weren’t any fresh veggies, we barely have any Chicken dishes that are cooked with vegetables.

On the other hand, Mr. Parveez is from the southern part of India and there is loads of greenery and fresh vegetables are always available, so most of the dishes are tomato based and also use a lot of other green vegetables and thus we get loads of chicken curry which aren’t just protein rich but also have loads of fiber. Honestly, I feel my in laws eat very healthy. There is always a green veggie curry for morning breakfast and the lunch and dinner also comprises of green leafy vegetables cooked as a curry or mixed in with other veggies or Daal or cooked with Chicken or Meat.

This Chhilli Daal happens to be one such curry. These green beans are also known as Surti Papdi Lilva or Valor Lilva. We get the frozen pack here and they aren’t much big in size either. Addition to that, I also have to clean and peel it when I bring them home which is a tedious job. I guess I feel it more because in India, they are bigger in size, more flavorful and on top of everything they are peeled by the vegetable vendors which makes it so convenient.

This Chicken curry is just so delicious and nutritious, one of my Mother in law’s favorite as well and honestly, mine too. This is my mother in law’s recipe, only that I made some changes to it which she loves as well, I just made it more greener and nutritious. The curry has Fried onions that are further cooked with Ginger garlic paste and spices. Once the Chicken is added, wait till its half cooked, add in the daal/beans and further add the Tomato-coconut puree and cook further for a few minutes. Usually at this point the original recipe for this curry is concluded. But the changes I made to the recipe are that I added methi leaves/ fenugreek leaves and Dill leaves. With Methi, I add fresh if I have it and if not then I use Kasoori Methi. In both cases, the flavor of the dish is not compromised. Serve it with Plain boiled Rice or Roti or Parantha. We love it all ways and I am sure you will too. This is something different and completely worth trying. Enjoy!!!