Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread

Who doesn’t like Garlic bread? No one I ever met said they didn’t love a good Garlic bread. Growing up I always thought that Garlic bread and Pizza go hand in hand thanks to a food joint. I could just not take the fact of people not ordering garlic bread as an appetizer before eating Pizza. And, I am sure that famous “Pizza” joint and it equally good famous competitors must have seen so many like me.

As much as my family and I love getting the Garlic bread and Pizza, at times its just not possible to order restaurant food. I mean, there are Big names and Big companies, but at times the thought of you not knowing how fresh is the food that you are consuming or is it a mix of preservatives. With all that confusion and realizing that you are blessed that you can cook, we decided we make our own. Now, it isn’t that I feel people who order take outs are doing something wrong, but I do feel that eating that kind of food every day or every other day isn’t very healthy. And then when making it at home is pretty easy.

Typically, Garlic bread is made using a French baguette, or sometimes a sourdough like ciabatta which is partially sliced downwards, allowing the condiments to soak into the loaf while keeping it in one piece. The bread is then stuffed through the cuts with oil and minced garlic before baking. Alternatively, butter and garlic powder are used, or the bread is cut lengthwise into separate slices which are individually garnished.

I made mine a little differently. I made the dough using warm milk, yeast and egg with flour, sugar and salt and added butter. Once the dough had risen, I added minced garlic, butter and scallions. Sprinkle some cheesy and bake….Serve hot and enjoy the oozing flavors.

Hyderabadi Chicken 65

Chicken Kebabs are an all time wanted and favorite for everyone. Chicken Kebabs go so well with Daal Chawal as a side dish and even by themselves. I love making Chicken Kebabs for my get together with friends as well. People always feel that you cannot experiment much with Chicken Kebabs at home, where as experimenting with different Kebab flavors at home is the best thing to do.

The basic thumb rule is follow the fragrance and the flavor. If there are spices that go well together and there are spices that don’t go too well. Spices like Black pepper is something that you need to add little at a time, since if its too much the dish tends to get bitter. If you need to enhance the flavor of Black pepper in your dish, its always better to add less of Black pepper and more of White Pepper to balance the pepper taste. Adding Tandoori masala gives a lot of kick to Red chili powder and makes kebabs more flavorful. You can always use citric acid in place of Vinegar or Lemon juice. Adding Flour with Rice flour and Corn starch Powder will add a lot of crunch to your kebabs if you are frying them.

With the Hyderabadi Chicken 65, I added Red chili powder and other spices with Ginger garlic paste and mixed it well. Further rolled the spiced Chicken pieces in Flour, Rice flour and cornstarch powder and fried them. Later cooked them in a sauce made with Onions, green chilies, various spices and Yogurt. I also add a little cornstarch powder to the gravy to make it a little thicker.

Chicken 65 is made in different ways in different places of India. Though the original recipe was made in Chennai, but different places modified their ways and made it suitable to their taste buds. Honestly, every pace has their unique flavor and we always tend to have our favorites but making them in different ways is always great to add more variety to your dinner table.

Chocolate chip scones

After trying my hands on the delicious, airy and scrumptious British scones, my kids had always been after making them. I have already made them numerous times, I felt it was time to experiment with something new. One of the main reason behind trying out the Chocolate chip scones was Mr. Parveez. When I made the plain scones, he mentioned that he loved the chocolate chip scones at a Book store cafe which he visited on some weekends before we got married and he loved them.

Therefore, I felt my second trials have to Chocolate chip scones. these scones are pretty rich, chocolaty , slightly sweet and just melt in the mouth. They are pretty easy, simple and fast to make, crunchy exterior and soft interior make them extremely satisfying. I make scones in a traditional scone way where I patted the dough around an inch thick and then cut them with the help of a biscuit cutter. But you can also roll the dough into a circle, around 8 inches and cut them in triangle shape, like a pizza. You can cut them into as many as you like, as long as the width is around an inch.

The butter you use should be cold because if it melts too soon, your dough wouldn’t be crumbly. If the dough gets super soft for any reason, because the butter you used was on room temperature or melted, then place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour, till the dough is good enough for you to handle. The heavy cream used in the recipe is an approximate measure. It honestly depends on the flour that you are using. If the dough doesn’t come together easily and if you feel its still dry, add a little more cream, little at a time. Similarly, if the dough is too sticky and gets hard to handle, you can always add a little more flour, one tablespoon at a time. Avoid overworking the dough, because scones do not need too much mixing. Less mixing makes softer scones. The dough should be soft, not sticky.

Scones are best when you serve them fresh out of the oven. If you have extra, its always better to freeze the dough and bale it when you are ready to eat. You can freeze them up to 2 months in an airtight container. When you want to use it, just thaw the dough and use it.

Hot Chicken Sandwich

We all love sandwiches, specially hot/warm sandwiches if well made just make your taste buds dance and enjoy every bite. There are so many varieties that I make and my boys still never seem to have enough. I sometimes feel that they look at me and see a food invention machine because I work according to their wants and cravings and sometimes, invent something by mixing up 2-3 of their favorite flavors which makes up a new dish and is loved by all.

This Sandwich seems to be one of those. My boys are big fans of hot and saucy Chicken wings. Once when our nearest Halal grocery store was out of Chicken wings and my boys were craving them, I made Boneless chicken and mixed them up with Hot and spicy chicken wing sauce and they loved it. It was like an added variety which was created in a fluke. Not just the chicken wings and the boneless hot chicken stripes became popular in my house, even their friends started making requests to make them for play dates and I did.

After few weeks, and making multiple different sandwiches, I came up with the idea of hot chicken sandwich. Not sure how my critics [my husband and kids] would react, I made it without a discussion of what they would think of the combination. Trust me, this will just blow your mind and the people you make it for will not stop praising for serving them with something so wonderfully delicious.

The recipe is pretty simple to what it turns out to be. I am pretty sure if you ask someone to guess the recipe after the first bite, they will assume it to be something difficult, but honestly it’s pretty simple and easy to make and if you just follow the recipe steps as elaborated you will not just be able to serve a great sandwich, but also your chicken will have a super crunchy and crispy exterior and the inside will be juicy and flavorful.

So, basically to start with I cut the boneless chicken to thin long strips. I then marinate the chicken in egg, milk, lemon juice and spices for around an hour. You can definitely do it longer if you wish. Usually 30 minutes is fine too. Make sure the chicken is completely soaked in. After that the chicken has to be rolled in a mixture of flour, spice and crushed cornflakes. We then deep fry the chicken pieces. The sauce is made using hot sauce and butter. I also used extra red hot chili powder, which you can always omit if you do not prefer your hot chicken less spicy. Add the chicken pieces to the sauce and then add them to the long Italian bread along with sliced onions, garlic mayo sauce and shredded cheese. Let them bake in the oven at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Serve hot/warm. Enjoy!!!

Haala’s Zingers

My boys prefer home lunches and also love varieties for their lunch. When I use the word variety, I mean that they would not want a dish to be repeated in 2-3 weeks and believe it or not, its a lot of pressure to make something that tastes great and that they would love it as well.

These chicken burgers are a very close copy to a famous food chain. These are easy to make and can be easily made by beginners as well. The chicken does not have to marinated for too long and even the process of marination is with pretty simple ingredients. This is great dish if you have boneless chicken available and haven’t thought of anything in mind, and need to get things ready in a rush.

My boys love these zingers and believe these are one of my best creations. Since its not possible for us consume Chicken outside in USA, trying to come up with our own is the only option. But, since India has a halal option for almost all food joints, we have tried the burger and my kids actually told me that this tasted way better [I know, I am raising them well to please their mother]. But, I like the fact, that its fresh, homemade and you know what you are putting in your child’s plate. You might be able to air fry the burger. Though I have an air fryer, I always feel that it makes food extremely chewy. And then again, when you are cooking at home, ingredients are more fresh, no preservatives are added so, cooking things the way they should be cooked makes kids happy too. I am against messing up food giving it the label of being healthy. You don’t want your kids to go off basic food. You just teach them to make healthier choices and eat well.

I usually make this and serve it with a different spicy sauce . The recipe for the spicy sauce is in the sauce section. A blend of mayo, ketchup, hot sauce and mustard sauce goes perfectly with this spicy zinger chicken burger to give that kick to this sandwich.

Chicken Hero Sandwich

This sandwich is a popular Italian-American fast food. Its not one of those signature Italian dishes like a bowl of pasta, but more of the Americanized Italian dish, which is basically a combination of fried chicken with spiced up marinara sauce, cheesed up between a Hot dog bun or sliced baguette. Adding a few sliced onions is always great, but its a personal preference.

Now, we cannot eat chicken outside and every time I went for a Hero Sandwich, it was always with shrimp and I was always curious of how amazing the chicken one would taste. So, when I thought I hacked the taste and could make my own, I decided to try them with chicken.

Marinating the chicken with eggs and milk, make it stay moist and adds a little tangy flavor because of the lemon. That ways when you coat the chicken and fry it, the chicken inside isn’t bland, tasteless and dry.

The chicken after frying can be mixed in with the marinara to make it juicy and increase the flavor. Chicken once cooked this way can also be served with pasta, but since I am a big fan of sandwich and its always easier for my kids to eat a sandwich, I usually prefer it this way.

Making of Marinara sauce at home is pretty simple too. Being from India, I tend to make my marinara sauce a little spicier, but you can always turn it down if you are following my recipe for making marinara sauce at home. Secondly, a store bought marinara sauce is equally good, all you need to do is add a little onion powder and garlic powder to it, and if daring enough, a few chili flakes.

This recipe is great for kids lunch boxes and makes a great weekend lunch/brunch too. Hope you enjoy the recipe as much as I do.

Afghaan Noni

When I was new in USA, Middle Eastern food was one of the first cuisines I was comfortable eating outside, besides Pizza, of course…Lolzzz. The restaurant that we went to those days shut down for renovation after a few years and eventually the owner decided to sell off his restaurant, which is sad when one really enjoys the food at a restaurant.

The food the restaurant had typical Afghani food. Chicken, Meat or fish served with Rice. The Rice pilaf would be White Rice with cashews and Raisins, which I wasn’t really a big fan off and spent the first 5 minutes taking raisins and cashews off my rice. I am one of those weirdos who don’t like sweet flavors with my main dish, specially something as sweet as Raisin. But, something more than this great Afghani Rice Pilaf with Chicken, what I actually loved and enjoyed most was the Afghaan Noni.

Afghaan Noni is an Afghaani Bread, made with Refined Flour or Whole wheat flour, which is then formed into a dough after mixing egg yolk and yeast. You will have to let the dough rise in a warm space until it doubles. The Afghaan Noni requires some egg white to be brushed on top for glaze and you also have to sprinkle some Nigella seeds on top, though its optional.

The dough needs to be left to rise for at least 1 hour, more if you are living in a colder region or baking during the winters. The dough can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months and in the Refrigerator for 3 days.

I usually serve it with another Afghaani vegetarian dish “Bourani banigan”, which is eggplants cooked with tomato gravy and Garlic and served with sweet Yogurt. It makes an excellent appetizer or even a light lunch. These actually even taste great with a cup of tea. Bread so simple that this recipe is great for beginners as well.

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata is a popular Italian dish, that is sliced, dredged in flour, then sauteed in a sauce containing lemon juice, butter, and capers. We always wanted to try the dish because it looked so delicious with the clear butter sauce and capers, but since Italian restaurants here do not make it halal, we could never try it.

The sauce is basically made using the leftover oil/butter used to cooking the chicken. You can always be a little more creative and add some lemon juice and red chili flakes with/or chicken stock can be added . You can always add chopped onions, shallots and chopped garlic too. 

Serve with chopped parsley and slices of lemon. After reduction, butter/oil is stirred and can be drizzled over the chicken, along with the capers. Its an excellent dish for a small lunch where you have to rush. Since the dish doesn’t need any marination, it comes from pan to plate in minutes and is different variety compared to the regular Italian dishes, which require time and tomatoes.

This dish is great for beginners and the way you plate it with capers with the exterior crunch and soft chicken inside makes it easy to impress your guests.

Nutella Danish

Our favorite Bakery/ Breakfast Restaurant in Manhattan serves these amazing baked goodies. From Muffins to croissants, cakes to cupcakes, pies to sandwiches and of course Danish. Pineapple, cranberry and Nutella.

Now, if you are a chocolate lover, you will love the hazelnut chocolate spread Nutella. I am not running an advt for Nutella. In spite of all the words I hear about the high sugar, I still do not like using any other chocolate spread besides Nutella, when I need to. One thing I did do is get my little one off it. My little one could just never have enough of Nutella Sandwiches and with time, I felt using Nutella once in a while was fine, but feeding it daily to kids wasn’t a very good idea.

These Danish were shaped like a heart, following the demands of my boys. These Danish are crunchy from the outside and sweet chocolaty from the inside. This yummy crunchies are easy to make and super easy to please. They are a super good addition to surprise breakfast or play dates and even for guests, who fail to inform before ringing the door bell. The Nutella can easily be substituted for a fruit based spread. If you need more details, Please feel free to ask.

New York Style Crumb Cake

We are big fans of cakes, along with a million other things. Basically, we are foodies and love everything that’s edible for us and delicious. New York style crumb cake tops the list. The bad part is that now that we moved from being 10 minutes away from NYC to being an hour away from NYC. That makes us kind of deprived of eating our favorite cake as much as we would like to.

Therefore, the lady, that is me decided to give it a try. It came out fabulous and very close to what we like. Easy and not too time consuming either. The best part that I like about crumb cake is that it requires no icing, so you save all that extra time and tastes great.

It’s best for evening snack & tea parties . It also tastes fabulous on those special Sunday breakfasts or holiday breakfasts, when you feel like cooking the one dish and serve it with hot milk and coffee. I find this cake a better alternative to creme cupcakes and Donuts, at least for mornings, that need to be sweet and less guilty, if not guilt free.