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.

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.

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!!!

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.

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.

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!!

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.

Dhaniya Pepper Chicken

With necessity being the mother of invention, I believe Kitchen is where the most inventions take place, some like Edison where we work hard to achieve the desired results and others like Newton where the apple just falls giving ideas to work on.

This dish is more like studying gravity…LOLzzz. It wasn’t something I was planning on making but it just happened and the result was so good with so little effort that its worth sharing. At times, when you start working in the kitchen and you all of a sudden remember 30 minutes before dinner time that one of your children would not enjoy and eat the Biryani you made, regardless of how much effort you have put in because he ain’t a Rice fan and though he might still eat to appreciate the effort you have put in but it will be equivalent to see him eat raw green grass …Yes!!! that’s my older child for you. He loves my food, but not a big fan of Biryani and no matter how hard I try, he only likes two kinds out of the 40 Biryanis I make and to make sure he is happy camper at dinner table, I am always trying to make these fancy and not so fancy curries for him when the whole family hogs on to Biryani.

Invention of this curry was on one of those days when I realized 30 minutes before dinner time that I don’t have his curry ready and that’s when this happened. The curry is pretty delicious for the time and effort I had put in and isn’t that the best thing we like about any dish. I used Dry Red chili with cumin in the oil for an initial flavor, followed by Garlic, followed by chopped onions, green chilies and loads of coriander leaves. You can always go easy on green chilies or omit the Dry red chilies altogether if you aren’t a big fan of food that’s too hot and spicy at the same time. It’s just that being Indian, we have to have that extra kick in our curries and somewhere I feel its kind of important.

Along with the spiked up Red chilies and green chilies, I also added Black pepper powder and White pepper powder with tomatoes and Yogurt. We all know how strong Black Pepper is. Any dish that contains Black pepper always displays its unique and prominent taste, except if there are other spices like Mace or Star Anise that over power it. Along with that, what also accentuates the flavor is Coriander leaves. It’s a wonderful recipe that can come very handy when you want to impress family or friends in little time, without going crazy over too much grinding and chopping or prep work. Serve with Roti or Parantha. Enjoy!!!

Hara Murgh Masala Chicken Curry

I love making Chicken curries. they are just every non vegetarian family’s favorite. Most families have a family favorite that is always on the menu for special occasions and popular between friends and distant family. But every once in while, we all need to add a twist to regular curries and come up with something different.

I have tried many different hara masala curries in restaurants and in fact my Mother-in-law makes amazing Hara Masala Gosht, which is something Mr. Parveez cooks for specl occasion like mother’s day and my birthday. Believe it or not, I never got curious to ask him for the recipe and I just let it be one his specials.

So, this recipe was just a quick one that I tried one fine day, when I was all confused and wanted to make a chicken curry, which was quick, didn’t require much effort and was at the same time delicious. This curry is great for beginners too.