Maa’s Tikka Boti

As the name suggests, this recipe comes from my Mother.

Maa’s Tikka Boti is called Tikka Boti at my mom’s place. This recipe is very close to my heart and one of my most favorite. My mother, once when she went for a vacation to Mumbai, then Bombay tried something from an Iranian cafe. Now Iranian cafes in Mumbai have food to die for, especially the non-vegetarians. Iranian kheema paav is one of my most favorite dishes as well.

So, getting back to my mom’s trip. She tried a chicken roll from the cafe and though she couldn’t have asked for the recipe, but with what she tasted, she calculated roughly and started making this dish and this was one dish I always loved having. For the years, I always felt there should be more occasions when this should be made. I feel there was so much effort that went into making this dish that my mom always found it tough to make it on a random day and probably somewhere felt more acknowledged when there were more people around to appreciate the effort. Therefore, this was strictly only made on get-togethers. I feel that was just a way of thinking and also a shortage of resources. Like, when I was a kid back in India, the kitchens weren’t airconditioned plus the region I belonged to was hot, and cooking in those extreme temperatures was more than tough.

Now things are so much more convenient and easier for those who want to cook at home. So, here I am with a recipe most loved by me and everyone who has tasted it, from my mother’s kitchen. The recipe is pretty simple and if you find it hard to make Rotis at home, you can always get store-bought rotis and spread some whisked egg over it and fry from both sides.

Is this dish different from Kathi Roll?

Not really. It’s different since I have not seen eggs being spread on Kath rolls and the parantha that they make is also a little different. I like both, they are made differently and have their own special flavor.

I just happen to love this more since this dish brings me beautiful memories and the flavors are just reminders of pure mother love.

This dish is great for school/office lunches, an easy road trip lunch/dinner.

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.

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

Chicken Veggies oven special

With all the different kinds of foods that we consume, at times you just feel that your tummy needs a break. You feel you need more veggies, less oil, fewer carbs, in all just a healthy meal. But, the problem that people like me face is that we also need something that tastes scrumptious and good along with all the health benefits.

Specially, if you have children as demanding as mine, you basically fight a battle. When the demand is to make veggies look more appealing and to make their protein go leaner without them noticing. That’s when dishes like this are invented.

This Chicken is marinated with spices making it flavorful. The spices can always be switched or played around with. I added Tandoori powder and Red chili powder to make the flavors a little more spicy, but you can always reduce the quantity or omit the spices altogether. I find this a great recipe for easy lunch and dinner.

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.

Kolkata Chicken Roll

We love Chicken rolls. Those of you who read my blog and follow my recipes would know that I love different styles of Chicken wraps, be it a Chicken Roll or Burrito or Tacos. I think the love for Chicken rolls came from my Mom. During one of her trips to Mumbai, she had tried some Mutton Tikka boti rolls at a Parsi eatery and tried reinventing them at home which is actually loved by the whole family.

So, when I came across a wonderful pictures of Kolkata Chicken Roll, I had to give it a try. The flavor of Kolkata roll is not just different, it actually bombards your taste buds with a joy ride of different things. From what I have read, its pretty renowned and a popular street food in Kolkata. Though I have never been to Kolkata, there is something about the food and culture that connects me to it and I find it amazingly attractive. Recipes like this are so easy and fuss free that while it connects you to your roots, which is just so important for people like me who live so far off from their home country, but also makes it easy for your kids to eat. Its healthy, nutritious and perfect for on the go too.

I grew up eating and loving my mother Tikka Boti Roll, which she initially only made with meat but then also started making with Chicken and I loved both. I have always been a fan of being able to make something that was good for road trips. See, some trips allow you to stop by at hotels on the way, but not all and for those trips or those after game hunger pangs while you might be stuck in heavy traffic, these are the recipes that just don’t come handy but also are flavorfully satisfying.

I marinated the Boneless Chicken with Salt, Ginger garlic paste, Lemon Juice and Yogurt. Spices I used were Fenugreek leaves, Tandoori powder, Red chili powder, cumin powder and fennel powder. Chicken can be marinated and left in the refrigerator overnight but if you are short on time, it can also be marinated for 30-45 minutes.

This recipe might not be exactly same as what you might have experienced in Kolkata, if you have been lucky enough to try the street food there, but after the numerous trials and efforts made by me and going through uncountable recipes of different kinds, I managed to stick to this one for the Kolkata Chicken rolls. I am not too sure how the Chicken rolls are different from the Kolkata egg rolls, but my mom would always spread some egg was on the Roti and fry it for the Tikka Boti so I did the same thing for my recipe and I feel the taste is deliciously enhanced. This recipe is inspired by numerous flavors that I have tried all my life and I feel with the numerous trials that I have made, I am able to give this dish a flavor different from my regular Chicken rolls. Hope you try it, like it and enjoy it as much as my family and I do.  

Lobster Curry

My love for Lobster curry began in 2012 on our first visit to Kerala. We stayed in a houseboat in Alleppey. The backwaters with the perfect weather in Kerala. We were their around the Christmas time and I feel that that’s the best weather to visit Kerala. During our visit and stay at the houseboat, the host made amazing Kerala cuisine including loads of varieties of seafood. That’s where I tried Lobster curry for the first time.

I had tried Lobsters before at loads of seafood restaurants but they were all mildly cooked and had no spice except garlic and salt. The Lobster curry was beyond my expectations and outstandingly delicious. The houseboat had 3 guys responsible for cleaning, cooking and maintenance. Being there was one of the best vacations we ever had. The weather, the backwaters, the walks in the greenery and the hospitality all made our stay memorable.

Now after tasting the awesome Lobster curry, I had to request for the recipe and our host gladly gave it away. Thought the recipe given was rough but it was enough for me to understand and make this super delicious recipe.

The original recipe is made using coconut oil. I made mine in Olive oil since I don’t use coconut oil. I don’t think it makes much difference to the recipe, except making it less coconuty. Since I add coconut milk as well, it adds a perfect flavor to compliment the rest of the ingredients, but you can always cook in coconut oil if you prefer. There are few changes as well that I made to the recipe and therefore I cannot really call it a dish from Kerala.

I clean the Lobsters at home if I have to order them for home delivery, which of course is a preferred source these days, but usually if you happen to go to the Fish market and pick your own Lobsters, you can always have them cut the claws and cut it from the middle. I partially boil my lobsters with Turmeric powder and salt so they don’t smell musky. Then to cook the curry, I add Black seeds and curry to the oil followed by onions. Once the onions turn transparent, add Ginger Garlic paste along with spices and fennel powder. I think fennel powder adds a lot of freshness to a dish, specially when its seafood. Add coconut milk or coconut puree along with Tomato Puree and once everything blends and comes together, add the Lobsters and let it cook for another 10-12 minutes and your curry will be ready.

The Lobster curry seems difficult and hard to make but honestly, it takes less time than a chicken curry and looks super fancy on the dining table. This recipe can be used for cooking Crabs as well. You can always substitute Lobster with crab. Hope you enjoy cooking this dish and love it as much as my family and I do.

Chicken Reshmi Seekh Kebab

Reshmi is an Indian word used for “silk”. Reshmi Kebab are silk textured, soft, juicy and delicious kebabs made with minced meat or chicken from the Mughal Kitchen. As the name depicts, Reshmi Kebab is juicy succulence of meat added to the skewers. The meat has to have a perfect texture thanks to the marinade in which it is soaked.

The problem with seekh kebab that usually happens is that it goes dry if the marinade isn’t good enough. A good marinade for seekh kebab cannot be too saucy or it will be hard to hold the seekh shape and it cannot be too dry or the seekh would not taste so good. As much as you have to be careful about the ingredients that go into the dish and a lot of times, I see people messing it up with the seekh breaking mid way while being cooked, the process is simple. A few tricks and you are good to go.

In this recipe, I added a paste of fried onions. Onions by itself release water when added to a dish so the best way to add onions to a dish when you want the flavor and fear the dish getting excess moisture is by frying the onions. The process of frying onions dries up the moisture. The fried onions also tend to get a little sweeter so, make sure you adjust the spices accordingly. When you grind the coriander leaves with mint leaves and chilies, make sure that you don’t add too much water. In fact, add water a drop at a time and avoid if not needed. The green paste doesn’t really have to be a paste, it can be roughly chopped paste.

If you follow the recipe properly, you will be able to achieve a perfect seekh kebabs and trust me, these ones are to die for. They are perfect, juicy and absolutely delicious. Enjoy!!!

Chicken Kheema Boti

Some dishes are just so good when you try them once that you have to try recreate that magic. I was in my hometown Jodhpur and I was eating out at a local not so famous restaurant with my mom and boys. We placed an order for appetizers while we decide the main dish. The appetizers came in and we weren’t too happy but it was too late for us to walk out and eat somewhere else. We ordered a chicken curry with some basic naan, expecting that something that simple would be hard to go wrong.

To our surprise, the chicken curry was much better than we expected. The chicken curry we ordered was supposed to be with minced chicken. But instead of mincing the whole chicken, the curry had 75% of the chicken minced and the other 25% was cut to small pieces. The flavor of the curry was not that good but I kind of loved the idea of how the chicken was cut.

Months later, something just reminded me that I need to try the chicken curry that way. Of course I had to work on the curry paste and spices and that’s when I invented Chicken Kheema Boti. The chicken is minced and cut to small pieces as well. The curry has tomatoes and Yogurt that makes the sauce nice and creamy. The spices like fennel powder and White pepper powder add a lot flavor to the curry. I added a green paste to the curry, which is made with coriander leaves and green chilies.

This curry can be made pretty quickly and tastes great along with Sheermal, Parantha or Naan. It can be served for breakfast, brunch or dinner. Enjoy!!!