Chicken Ghee Roast

With a wide variety of Kebabs that we like and cook, Mutton Ghee Roast is somehow very special and close to my heart. Trying out the Chicken version of it came out absolutely delicious too. If you ever need to fix something quick, this recipe is for you.

The spice mix stays good and fresh for 2 months in an airtight container. Usually, when I make Ghee roast, I always end up making extra spice mix which works out great especially when I need to make it impromptu. The best thing about Ghee Roast is that whether you make it with mutton or chicken, the flavors blend up really well and make the dish taste great. Though you can always serve Ghee roast as a side dish or an appetizer. To me, it goes best on the side with Daal Chawal. If you don’t dry it up completely, you can also serve it with Phulka.

Chicken Nihari

Nihari is hot, spicy, and very earthy. usually made with Mutton and even Beef, but tastes equally amazing with Chicken too. Nihari is one amazing and luxury dish served for breakfast. I still remember traveling to Delhi since I was a kid and I would always look forward to having Nihari. My father always preferred Chicken Nihari since we don’t consume Beef, he found it hard to believe small restaurants selling Beef Nihari as Mutton Nihari. Back in those days, almost 25-30 years ago, it was hard since the restaurants in “Purani Dilli” or the “Jama Masjid” area, restaurants weren’t as hip as what they are now and definitely not too comfortable for people to go with families. My father would always send in a servant who would travel with us to get some Mughlai Breakfast. Paaya, Kheema, Bheja and Nihari.

Nihari is always topped with some Barista, julienne ginger, green chilies, coriander leaves, and Lemon. When I was a teenager, my mom started making Nihari at home. She would make it with Mutton as well as Chicken. Even though I had the dish so many times, I never had the urge to try making it myself. Initially, my mom depended on the masala powder that used to be sold in Delhi. But as she kept cooking, she figured out how to make it by herself. The packet had the list of ingredients and my mother with a few experiments, got the knack of how much of each ingredient should be to make the perfect Nihari masala.

I had this dish so many times and honestly, it’s one of my most favorite ones too but I never felt the urge to attempt it. And then after trying different recipes for Chicken curries, I thought of giving Chicken Nihari a try. I asked my mother for the proportion of the spices and the recipe and gave it a try.

My mother always cooked the Nihari using Ghee, but during a trip to Jama Masjid, New Delhi with Mr. Parveez and I went to a restaurant and while talking to the chefs and people working there we found out that the traditional Delhi Nihari was cooked using Mustard Oil. I know that sounds weird but it’s true. Though I made my Nihari using Mustard Oil, I couldn’t just use all Mustard Oil since it’s pretty strong and I prefer mixing it with little Olive Oil. I also used Ghee for tempering.

Nihari is basically a traditional Muslim dish that was introduced by the Mughal kitchen. Nihari has a slightly different version in every region it’s made because with time every region develops and blends its flavors with the original recipe. Nihari comes from the Persian word “Nahar” which means “ early morning”. Nihari is basically a morning dish and is eaten for breakfast. I believe the way the spices blend in and the way it’s cooked, eating it for any other meal would be too heavy. Nihari always comes out more flavorful if it’s slow-cooked. Back in the day, the chefs would cook it overnight. Of course, that ain’t possible but, I still feel that cooking it on low flame slowly, makes it more flavorful. Using a heavy bottom pan is always better too.

The spice mix makes Nihari earthy and aromatic. It’s spicy but not too hot that would make you cry. The barista and thin slices of Ginger with chopped onions and green chilies are what make it more delicious. Therefore, don’t skip it if you want to get complete satisfaction. fried onion and julienned ginger at the end can be skipped but I would recommend you to definitely use it. The mild sweetness of the Barista balances the spice. Nihari has a lot of history and though the dish is simple, it does require a lot of time and a little effort, but in the end, it’s all worth the effort.

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

Mutton Ghee Roast

With the wide variety of Kebabs that we make, we love kebabs made from meat the most. I love the way meat Kebabs are always so juicy and tender and absorb all the flavors so naturally. The texture of meat and the spices blend in so well together. I am sure if you look into details of cooking that when it comes to Kebabs, meat Kebabs definitely make to the top of the list. I have heard a lot of people liking Beef too, but since I have never cooked or consumed beef, I don’t really have an idea. But I do think that since Beef has a lot of fat, cooking with its own fat must be adding more flavor to it.

Coming back to Ghee Roast. I came across some cuisine where they mentioned the dish and showed how the meat is boiled till it’s cooked. after roasting the whole masalas, they are ground to a powder, and then the meat is cooked in ghee with spice powder, onions, curry leaves, and green chilies. This dish is pretty easy to make and makes it to my top ten list of easy and flavorful kebabs.

The best thing about these kebabs is that they can be partly premade a few days in advance as well. You can boil the mutton a few days in advance and refrigerate or freeze it, depending on how many days you want to use it. Similarly, you can always dry roast the whole masala and grind them and store them in a dry and airtight container. These kebabs are juicy, moist, flavorful, and go really well as a side dish or by itself. If you are a fan of meat kebabs, you will love the scrumptious chunks of flavorful meat. Enjoy!!!

Kolhapuri Chicken Biryani

Biryani is an absolute classic that needs no introduction. India offers so much on its culinary platter but the one dish Non vegetarian Indians unanimously love indulging in is the mouth-watering biryani. With local and hyperlocal variations having evolved into distinctive styles of biryanis, one is spoilt for options when it comes to experiencing this melting pot of flavors. The delicious complex blend of spices are the reason behind the love this dish gets from people of all generations.So if you are a die-hard fan of this delicious dish, take things up a notch and tease your taste buds a little more with the story of what makes biryani so extraordinary.

Though it may appear to be a dish indigenous to  India, in reality the dish originated quite far away. Biryani is derived from the Persian word Birian, which means ‘fried before cooking’ and  Birinj, the Persian word for rice. While there are multiple theories about how biryani made its way to India, it is generally accepted that its a gift to the Indian cuisine from the Mughals. Along with extraordinary skills of architecture and artillery, they also came along with the beautiful flavors of orange blossom, screw pine water and Rose water mixed with saffron and the skill of using the beautiful spices India offered with other spices from the middle east and create so many non vegetarian dishes that would make Indian/Pakistani cuisines thank them till the end of the world.

One legend has it that the Turk-Mongol conqueror, Temur, brought the precursor to the biryani with him when he arrived at the frontiers of India in 1398. Believed to be the war campaign diet of Temur’s army, an earthen pot full of rice, spices and whatever meats were available would be buried in a hot pit, before being eventually dug up and served to the warriors.

The Nizams of Hyderabad and Nawabs of Lucknow were most famous for their appreciation of the subtle nuances of biryani. Their chefs are renowned the world over for their signature dishes. These rulers popularized their versions of the biryani, which by the way, just in Hyderabad is around 20-25 varieties along with mouth watering accompaniments like mirchi ka salan, Dahi ki chutney/ Raita, khatte baingan, Dalcha and baghare baingan. All different regions in India offer different accompaniments with the Biryani that they serve.

The perfect biryani calls for meticulously measured ingredients and a practiced technique. Other than the technique, spices also play a critical role in dishing out a good biryani – some recipes call for a very limited use of spices while others use more than 15 different spices. Meat or chicken is often the main ingredient, though in some coastal varieties, fish, prawns, and crabs are also used. Use of rose water, screw pine water / kewra water in biryani is also common, a practice prevalent since the medieval era. The pot, sealed around the edges with dough, or covered with a cloth with the lid or something heavy is placed on the lid that doesn’t allow the steam to escape and for the meat to tenderize in its own juices while flavoring the rice.

This recipe of Biryani as the name indicates is from the princely state in Southern Maharashtra, Kolhapur, also popular for its footwear. Though the original recipe also has Raisins, but I have not added them as I do not enjoy sweet with spicy in my Biryani. You can always add it if you prefer. This recipe is super spicy, since most Maharashtrian foods are spicy so this one is a little more for the daring ones. But for sure a recipe that’s a must try for any Biryani lover.


Tava Kaleji Buns

One of the most important holidays that we have, as Muslims is Eid-ul-adha’a. The concept of sacrificing in the name of Allah, for Allah is divine, holy and extremely purifying. The meat is divided into 3 parts, one for the less privileged, friends and relatives and the last part for us. Sharing what you have with people makes us more humble and makes us care more for the community.

The day also brings in huge varieties of dishes. We, as Muslims are always on a lookout for new meat dishes and the more we go exploring, the more better and more creative we need to be. It always has to get better from the past year. With all that in mind, we are now in time and age where the kids aren’t satisfied with just kebabs and curries. The fusions have become so popular that not trying them at home makes you feel left out. Also, the fact that our generation is more adventurous in trying new ways of consuming foods and new cooking styles are always welcome.

This is basic Kaleji recipe that is served with buns. At my mother’s place, everyone was always excited about consuming Kaleji/ Liver. It was made with overload of Onions, green chilies and spices. Its dry, with little juice or separated Oil that its cooked with. On the other hand, Mr. Parveez’s family prefers consuming Kaleji in the form of a curry. This recipe though cooks Kaleji with curry masala and its cooked in a way till it gets dry. After that the cooked Kaleji is placed between the lightly toasted buns with cheese.

This dish is great for kids play date and tea parties too and are an excellent choice for brunch as well.

Tikka Masala Powder

To make the most authentic Chicken Tikka Masala I always tried a store bought ready made masala but then I decided that I should try and make it at home, since I started feeling that I smelt something weird in the mix. No, I don’t judge people who use it, it’s completely cool but then once I decided that making the masala at home, I felt it was so easy so, I decided to share it with everyone.

Gathering spices from your pantry would be easy to make this super delicious masala that can be kept in a cool dry place for up to 2 months. So within minutes, I gathered up all the spices for making this masala that could be used whenever you feel like making any Tikka with or without gravy. Tikka Masala Spice Mix is a fine motley of aromatic and strong spices that end up granting the quintessential flavor to any delicacy for which it is used!

The masala is prepared using the fine mix of Coriander seeds, Cumin seeds, Cloves, Cinnamon stick, Green cardamom, dry Kashmiri red chilli & whole black pepper. After dry roasting the whole spices, add Turmeric Powder, Red chili Powder and Tandoori Powder. Mixing everything together Tikka Masala Powder creates a royal treat of flavors for your palate without a doubt.

Chettinad Chicken Curry

A beautiful Chicken recipe that sure opens up all your taste buds in an amazingly flavorful way. This curry is spicy and only for the brave of hearts. Now the spice level can always be turned down by adding less chilies than recommended. You can always make modifications to suit your own palate, but the fact is that this is not the curry where you should really be doing this. It has to be made this way for experiencing the real taste of Chettinad.

This recipe is from the southern state of India, Tamilnadu. Chettinad chicken curry is quite fiery. I have tasted this curry as different restaurants, each different from the other. The curry always managed to win our heart. But I had never thought of making it at home until recently that we tried it as a restaurant in Bangalore, the night before we were traveling back home.

First bite of that curry and I just knew that this was the perfect Chettinad curry ever. the spice level just sent us rocking. I just knew that all the ones before this were so modified and I would highly recommend, please do not do that. This curry is amazing and is one of our family favorite too.

Coorg Masala Powder

Every region has their own spices and generally their food has very prominent flavor of those spices, either individual or a mixture of the spices.

Coorg is a beautiful hill station in Karnataka. We visited Coorg in 2015 and the place just doesn’t have amazing scenic views, it also has one of the most beautiful Monastery that we have ever visited. Coorg serves wonderful coffee as well. Coorg has many coffee plantations and it offers coffee powder that is spiced up with cinnamon powder and cloves powder.

This Masala is a mixture of different spices and is used in Coorg Biryani and a few curries too. The masala is pretty easy to make and can easily be stored in an airtight container at a cool and dry place.

 

Achaar Masala

I love Achaar masala. I have never tried making achaar/pickles at home though. While in India, it was more of my Naani, my grandmother and my mother who would make achaars at home and after getting married, the recipes of Achaar are hard to follow in the snow land of New Jersey.

While trying out new recipes, I came across chicken curry, kebabs and even Biryani made from Achaar Masala and now I have a jar of this masala in my Spice cabinet. Its easy to make and makes your dishes wonderful.