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

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.

Pyaaz Ke Samose

I am from Rajasthan and I grew up eating Samosa. I always loved the potato samosa or Aaloo ke samose. Different samosa shops had completely different flavors, loved some, hated some but the outer crust was always enjoyed. In fact, for a very long time I only enjoyed the outer crust of the samosas and only loved the Kheema samosas made by my mom. I just never enjoyed any samosa filling when the filling did not have much spice or if it tasted bland. Later while trying different Samosas, I realized that the spicy ones were always what I loved.

After I got married, during one Ramadan in Bangalore, we tried the Ramadan special Onion Samosa or Pyaaz ke Samose and just loved them. The funny thing is that people feel that Ramadan for Muslims is only about Non vegetarian food which isn’t true. We have a mix of vegetarian and Non vegetarian foods during Ramadan and we enjoy it all. These samosas are only made during Ramadan, thought there are a few Muslim shops who make them besides Ramadan too, but trust me the flavor that the month of Ramadan has in special foods is not something we get during other times.

Now since we don’t get these samosas here, I decided to make them at home and a few trials and errors and they came out just the way we like them. If you like onions samosa and like to make them at home, Please do try these out. Hope you enjoy them just like we do.

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!!!

Bharwaan Bhindi

Some recipes are simple, yet I never get amazed when people still ask me ways to cook them. Its just that simplest things sometimes look complicated. Starting with the story for this dish, its funny, hilarious and true. I don’t like Bhindi.

Out of all the vegetables that could ever be grown, Bhindi has been my least favorite. Actually, its on my “Hit list”. I always felt the seeds looked like raw teeth. Yeah please do not ask me the concept of Raw teeth. I am sure its an outcome of my over intelligent brain. So, seeds looked like teeth, then it was too green and I never liked that shade of green. I mean come one, I need to come up with a better excuse, but that is the expression of a 5 year old. And the last one was, that I felt it was too gluey and chewy. Altogether, I convinced my mother enough for her to understand that consuming this vegetable would either kill me after the first bite, or definitely give me food poisoning.

The funnier part is that when I started venturing out in the kitchen, and cooked varieties, Bhindi was one of the best veggies I cooked and it was loved immensely and I was asked to cook it more often. I would always happily oblige despite the fact that I would never dare to taste what I made and was loved so much. Think of it as a coincidence or perfect soulmates, Mr. Parveez doesn’t like Bhindi either, so I never felt the need to cook it. Until recently, we just decided on eating more greens and we both thought that Bhindi/Okra was worth another try. And, we did end up trying a few different recipes and I am sharing the ones that we enjoyed the most.

So this recipe, of course requires Okra, along with that we need Onions, green chilies, cumin seeds, Dry red chilies and a few dry spices. I usually wash and pat dry my Okra. After mixing in the dry spices, I slit the Okra and add the spice mix to them. After adding oil to the pan, add cumin seeds, onions and green chilies and further add the Okra with the spice mix. You can also use baby onions and slit and add masala to them too. This curry is dry and goes really well with Phulka/Roti or as a side curry with Daal – Chawal.

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.


Kaachra aur Gawarfali sabzi

I have no idea how some vegetables in India got their names, considering that the meaning of their names in Hindi is weird, forget the meaning in any other language. Like Kaachra is close to “Kachra” which means trash and the term Gawar in Gawarfali stands for uneducated and so, we do have loads of people referring to these beans as uneducated beans. Its pretty hilarious, but these veggies still seem to be a summer time favorite in my state, Rajasthan.

My Mom made an awesome gawarfali sabzi/ curry and it was one of my all time favorites. Eating it with a hot phulka and yogurt was amazing. Now, living far away from home, craving home food is normal and I am glad that we get so many vegetables that we are used to eating back home. I started cooking gawarfali by itself soon after we got married and Mr. Parveez loved it, because most of the time my Mom would cook it this way. I believe it had to do with the availability of Kaachra or may be it had something to do with my father probably not enjoying it much. I am not too sure of the reason, but I started cooking gawarfali by itself since I never found Kaachra in USA. Finally I discovered it in a Chinese vegetable market and was super delighted.

Mr. Parveez is not a big fan of the cucumber family so, Kaachra wasn’t his cup of tea and of course I will have to continue making the veggie without it but for the time I did make it, I had to click pictures and share the wonderful dish with all the flavors of my hometown. This is great as Keto/ low calorie/ low carb diet option as well. Enjoy!!

Hyderabadi Lukhmi

Hyderabad is also popular for its Biryani and Khubani ka Meetha. Along with that, there are loads of other popular Muslim dishes that are very popular in Hyderabad but probably not that popular outside Hyderabad. One of those dishes is Lukhmi. It is a typical rectangle/square samosa kind, which has a filling of mince meat or Chicken. Its regarded as savory or starter of the cuisine of Hyderabad. It is a local variation of samosa.

I though have never visited Hyderabad, but I do want to visit it one day. 2 simple reason to it, one of course is Hyderabadi cuisine and second is the Falaknuma Palace that simply became more popular after my favorite Bollywood actor’s sister got married there…LOLzzz. I know sounds crazy, but speaking my heart out is what I do on my blog and it is what it is. So, going through popular Hyderabadi cuisine is when I came across Lukhmi and that’s when I decided to make it. My boys who are big fans of Samosas, I was kind of unsure if they’d enjoy Lukhmi. Honestly, since none of us had ever tried it before, I wasn’t even sure how it will turn out to be. But, to my amazement, not only did they love it, they went a step further by asking me to make this more than samosas, which honestly is a shock to me because my kids can kill for my chicken samosas…Okay!! May be not kill, but definitely injure someone enough if anyone dares to even look at their samosa, forget eating…LOLzzz.

Hyderabadi cuisine has a variety of scrumptious snacks, and Lukhmi, the flaky savory stuffed with spicy minced meat/chicken is definitely one of them. A popular starter at Hyderabadi marriages, this dish also works well for a quick pair for teatime with family or friends. The name lukhmi originates from the word luqma, which means a small bite in Urdu. Unlike the samosa, lukhmi is usually a flat square/Rectangle shaped flour parcel with a flaky and crisp upper crust and stuffed with beef, chicken or mutton-based filling. You have the snack in other shapes like triangles in some cafes and a vegetarian version mostly  with potato filling is also available.

It is usually served with chopped onions and green chilies or chutney. To prepare lukhmi, all purpose flour/ Maida is kneaded with milk, butter and a little water. The mince or vegetarian filling is cooked separately, with turmeric, onions, ginger, garlic and spices. After resting, the dough is rolled out into a huge rectangular roti. More butter is added in between rolling the Roti and refrigerating it for 20 minutes or a little more. This process is repeated 3-4 times in order to create more flakes or layers to the Lukhmi. After the final process, the Roti is cut to multiple squares. Finally, these multiple small squares each housing a filling pocket forming a Lukhmi.

The edges are closed by pressing them often with a fork, and the stuffed parcel is deep fried in oil. As the color of the patty changes to golden while frying, the lukhmi is ready for consumption. The snack had lost some of its popularity over several decades, as many places in the old city stopped serving it. However, it has made a comeback of sorts in the last few years with an increased interest in lost Hyderabadi recipes.

I really enjoyed making these beautiful and scrumptious pockets of goodness and these are now a family favorite for me. I hope you like them too. If you need help with variations, please feel free to ask. Enjoy!!!