Chicken Kulthi Curry [Kutt ka Salan]

Some dishes sound absolutely weird, but when you taste them, they are so amazingly delicious. This is dish is one such dish too. So, initially, when I heard from my husband that some lentils are cooked with Chicken and the curry tastes amazing, I would just think that he likes the taste because he grew up eating certain foods and therefore likes them but cooking Chicken with lentils is such a waste of Chicken.

Now, let me get to the root of the “Dish story”. The lentils used in this are horse gram and though I make everything from scratch and trust me, it isn’t very difficult to do, but back home in Bangalore, they get it from horse stables. Yeah, you read that right. The horse gram is soaked and boiled and the extra water in which it’s boiled is what they get home while the horse gram is served to the horses. That liquid with little horse gram is used to cook chicken and makes this delicious dish.

I had never tried this dish in Bangalore, and honestly, I never looked forward to trying it either since it never sounded so tempting. But one fine day, we find the horse gram daal in our local grocery store. Mr. Parveez sure got excited, but this meant we had to start from scratch and we had no idea how to get the daal at that cooking stage. That’s when one of my sister in law’s suggested that I should soak the daal overnight and then boil it with turmeric powder, cumin powder, salt, and Red chili powder until soft. Though she asked me to use the water with 25% of the daal and discard the rest. I decided on keeping the daal and grinding it to the paste.

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.

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.

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!!!

Lahori Murgh Chhole Curry

Lahori Murgh chhole curry is an authentic and traditional pakistani dish. Since it originated from Lahore, its kind of a significant part of Pakistan’s Punjabi cuisine. Its amazing that I always connected Lahore with Murgh chhole curry, yet I have a few wonderful and close friends from Lahore, who I have known for a few years now have never made Murgh chhole. I think they find it a part of their everyday cuisine and do not realize how fancy it could be for people like me. This is basically a breakfast dish, and goes great with Tandoori roti or Kulche, just like Nahari. But unlike Nahari, you can serve this dish with Rice and Phulkas too. 

So, you might wonder what inspired me to cook Murgh chhole curry. it was actually an Indian chef that inspires so many like me. I happened to watch one of his shows where he mentioned that during his college days in Boston, he travelled to NYC and visited a small restaurant owned by Pakistani Guy. The chef mentioned that he was in love with the dish after the first bite and asked the owner for the recipe, which he gladly wrote down roughly on a napkin in Urdu and the chef still holds on to that napkin with the recipe. I just loved the story and since I believe that the flavor of every dish has a story, so does this. Well, it doesn’t always have to be my experience, but its definitely something that I will always remember each time I cook or eat or read about Murgh chhole curry and so will you.

Though, this recipe is not from my favorite chef and its created by the inspiration I got by watching some shows that display different cultures and cuisines and also show how certain dishes that are popular in certain regions are made. I followed most things that were shown, but since they never discuss the ingredients and their quantity in detail, we do have to manage few things on our own and honestly, the fun of playing with spices and flavors gives me immense fun.

I made the curry using Ghee, but you can always use any Oil of your choice if you desire. Initially I tempered the Ghee with small dry Red chillies, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom and Bay leaf. I added finely chopped onions and curry leaves and cooked till they turn pinkish brown and added Ginger garlic paste. Further, I added Red chili powder, Turmeric Powder, Black pepper powder, Coriander powder and little salt, foolowed by chicken and boiled chhole [chickpeas]. Add a few chopped tomatoes, green chilies and yogurt. Garnish with some jalapenos and thinly sliced Ginger.

This makes a fabulous dish and if you haven’t tried it yet, Please do so now. This goes great with Roti, Parantha, Tandoori Roti or Boiled Rice. Enjoy!!!

Shikari Chicken Rice

This is an invention by only hearing about the dish…Yeah I know I can go nuts when it comes down to trying to make a new dish. This happens to be one that I really planned out well and craved to make it.

Like I always say, every dish has a story. This one has one too. While speaking to a close friend about different Biryanis that we get at famous and not so famous eateries in India, I was told that a popular restaurant served something that was close to Biryani, but not Biryani. That really got my interest. Giving me further details, that its mildly flavored bed of Rice served under these awesomely juicy grilled chicken. I mean who wouldn’t want to act on this description and try and make it. It’s actually not just the details of the dish, but the way it was described and the fact that it topped the list of Chicken and Rice. I had not even seen the dish, yet I was head over heels in love with the dish and felt challenged to make it.

When you are aware of a dish, you tend to study it by searching about different chefs who have made it or by trying the dish out at different restaurants or even making the dish a couple of times to achieve the desired flavor or result. But when its a dish, you have never heard of until now, tried, seen or tasted, and you crave to cook it, you are definitely a crazy chef…LOLzzz. I think I fit the bill.

So, I am not aware of the Chicken served is with bones or without, but going according to my Biryani basics, I picked Chicken with Bones and marinated the chicken with spices and Yogurt for around 2-3 hours. Though my chicken came out delicious, I still recommend that a chicken is more flavorful if marinated overnight or for at least 6-8 hours, though in today’s time and age, things happen unplanned and we have a little time before we decide what we need to cook. For all those times, marinate, cover, and place the chicken in the refrigerator. Refrigeration helps blend the flavors faster and better. Once I was ready to cook them, I took them out of the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 400F or 180C. I placed them on the grill with a tray underneath to catch the dripping. The cooking time was around 25-30 minutes, with an extra 5 minutes of high heat grill, since I wanted them to look well done. If you want, you can cook them in the oven and do the latter process in a pan, or on naked fire. Any which way will give you great outcomes.

I made a gravy as well to spike up the layers of Rice. The gravy was made very similar to Biryani Yakhni shorba. For initial whole spices, I added fennel seeds along with cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom, and cumin seeds. I further fried the onions, taking half of it out for garnishing and using them while layering the Rice. That was followed by Ginger garlic paste and spice powders. Further adding tomatoes and Yogurt, combined with green chilies, mint leaves, and coriander leaves. I also added the marination left behind after the chicken is taken out, so it gets a little flavor from the chicken as well since we aren’t cooking the chicken in the gravy.

This is a lovely recipe for a weekend Brunch or to display your cooking skills to those uninvited guests, when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. It’s a pretty quick fix to traditional Biryani and modern-day Chicken over Rice. One of my self invented and the best recipes ever…Enjoy!!!

Chicken Hari Bhari Udaan

Doesn’t the name sound super funny? Or weird? Well, I will tell you the story behind the name. To start with, this recipe is completely made up by me. Now you might think, that isn’t a big deal for someone who presents herself as a chef. Yeah, probably not. But the things used to make this dish were the Chicken wings which otherwise are only used for recipes made with hot sauce or masala. So when I thought of coming up with a name. Chicken wings added the ‘udaan’ which means flight, Chicken of course is Chicken, and since I used Green masala, it’s “Hari Bhari”…I am sure you will love the recipe as much as the name.

This dish is super spicy. While making it I could feel the rush to taste it and when I did, it was one of the most amazing flavors I have ever created. Just make sure that if aren’t the bravest of heart then you need to keep a glass of water next to you.

This dish is made from the heart, there was no basic recipe, nothing that I have tasted before, nothing similar seen or heard of either…. just something I wanted to cook at that moment. If you enjoy spiced-up food and enjoy something that makes your mouth sizzle for a few hours after you have consumed it, this is a must-try.

I had Chicken wings and boneless chicken and I felt like combining both with loads of spice. Do you ever have a spice craving? I do, Big time, and even though I know it would hit me hard later, but I want my taste buds to party and feel satisfied as well… As much as I love different spices, spice mix with coriander leaves, mint leaves, and green chilies have always been my favorite. In this dish, I also added Black pepper powder with some whole spices and most importantly, the green chili sauce and Anardana powder.

Fennel seeds to me are a little underestimated and I believe they add a lot of fragrance to your spicy food, just like cardamom powder to your sweet dishes, and even though adding it to your dish in the initial minutes makes your house smell like a fancy Indian Restaurant, not a lot of people use it.

I used Chicken wings and little boneless chicken, but you are free to use any chicken with or without bones. Just that if using Chicken with bones, it adds more flavor since the sauces extract juices off the bones. Any which way you make it, this dish is will surely make your mouth water. You don’t have to stick to Chicken, you can also try the sauce with Fish, preferably something that is not very strong in taste, something like Haddock or Cod Fish or Whitening fish would be a better option. For the vegetarian option, you can always use Soya chaanp or Paneer, or Tofu. The sauce mix is great and is a fabulous mix for any protein preference you like.

Bangalore Dalcha

Muslim families all over India and Pakistan serve Biryani. It is basically our go to dish when it comes to big occasions. Now we do have people who aren’t great cooks or who cannot make Biryani, but trust me we rank No. 1 when it comes to judging people over food and more if the Biryani is not cooked or if its not cooked properly. Yupp, we judge and please don’t go over the beautiful smile appreciating the Pulao because in our mind, we know it could have been better….LOLzzz.

I apologize for getting a little funny before but its honestly the truth. Now, getting to the biryani part. We always serve Biryani with some accompaniment. In North India, its usually with different kinds of Raita, with a variety from plain boondi, onion, cucumber or mint. Southern part of India on the other hand serves Mirch ka salan, khatte baingan, Raita and Dalcha. Each dish is equally delicious and makes your Biryani taste even nicer.

This is my second Dalcha recipe that I am sharing. The one before was the recipe from my in laws and this one is inspired by the catering service from where we order food on family functions in Bangalore. This was a time when we ordered Dalcha instead of khatte baingan and Raita. This Dalcha was very different from what we regularly make. It was called “Shaadi ka Dalcha”. Funny but true

The daal wasn’t just Chana Daal but, a combination of Toovar daal and Chana daal. The daals should be soaked for an hour or two and boiled till soft. The bottle gourd should be boiled as well. When you start cooking the Dalcha, along with the regular spices, we also add fennel seeds. The fennel seeds adds a lot of fragrance to the dalcha. Adding chopped onions, tomatoes and spices make it perfect. This Dalcha does not have pureed coconut, but garnishing with dry coconut powder does add a lot of flavor.

Though Biryani in Muslim Families is a non vegetarian dish, but its always accompanied with vegetarian dishes like these ones and you might find it hard to believe but, dishes like Dalcha taste great with plain rice as well. So, if you happen to be a vegetarian, I wouldn’t suggest you to make Dalcha with Vegetable Biryani, but it would go great with Paneer Biryani or even plain Rice.

Trying different Biryanis is always great. I have shared loads of different Biryani recipes on my website, and I feel trying different side dishes with the Biryanis also makes you add a lot of variety to your cuisine. Enjoy!!!