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.

Boondi ke Laddu

Boondi Laddu is an Indian sweet. Pretty commonly made and easily available in all sweet stores, well almost. They are different from Motichoor Laddu since the boondi isn’t tiny. Motichoor Laddu has a different preparation method as well. Getting back to Boondi ke Laddu. I have a special connection with them, which I feel every kid brought up in India has. Every Independence Day and Republic day, schools in India have it mandatory for children to come to school and attend the flag hoisting ceremony along with programs that teach us the importance of freedom and also pass the information of how our freedom fighters worked together and fought to gift us a free country.

Boondi ke Laddu was a staple sweet distributed to all the kids at the end of the ceremony. Not just that, every Ramadan when the 27th Shab-e-qadar was celebrated and around that time the reading of the Quran in the local mosque, Boondi ke Laddu were distributed by my father. There were so many occasions and this sweet seemed to be the perfect thing for distribution and I have never met anyone who didn’t like them.

I never saw anyone ever make them at home but since we are all now in the USA and the Indian sweet stores here do not make these Laddus, so I had to get down and make them at home. I searched a few blogs and also some food websites, but the pictures they had and the explanation they had were more of Motichoor Laddu. See the fact is that at times you don’t want anything fancy but you just want to relive your childhood or you want to just get a taste of your country.

I tried making the Boondi Laddu a long time ago but the boondis came out long and they could not be bonded. Then during one of my visits to India, my Rakhi brother took me to a store that makes specialized ladles used for making boondis. I then tried making the Laddus again after coming to USA. Though I don’t think anything you make here can ever bring back the same happiness as being in your motherland and enjoying it since you would still miss the people you would enjoy those foods with. But as they say, you cannot fight your destiny, but you can always enjoy things that are around you and do everything that’s under your control.

These Laddus will definitely remind you of your childhood days. Though they require a little extra effort and it gets a little messy too, but 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.

Tava Tangdi Chicken Kebab

My experiments for Kebabs always have to be innovative, different and always have to be super delicious in taste. My boys love different styles of Kebabs and always look forward to trying different varieties and I believe that’s what pushes me to try different styles.

After making so many different styles of Chicken Kebabs, it does get hard for you to come up with something different with the same set of masalas. I mean its the same spices, yet playing around with them, adding them at different times at different cooking stages makes a huge difference in the flavor of a dish.

These kebabs barely need any marinating time which makes it better for people who are trying to serve something easy and fancy and decide at the last minute or for all those times when we have uninvited relatives/guests who come unannounced, but expect a wonderful menu. For all those times, these kebabs come in very handy.

These kebabs can be made without an oven and the ingredients are also not too fancy. Though I have used Chicken Legs and names them Tangdi Kebab, but you can always use other Chicken pieces or even boneless Chicken and follow the recipe. In case you use this recipe for boneless chicken, try using Boneless thigh/Leg meat and not the Breast. The Chicken Breast meat might be too thick and chewy for this recipe and since the Chicken isn’t marinated for too long and the choice of spices isn’t too fancy either, it might be hard for the juices to get inside the Chicken Breast meat.

This recipe is great for Beginners and Bachelors and pretty easy to impress a crowd by new chefs. Try it today and leave me a feedback as well. Enjoy!!!

Murgh Darbari Tangdi Kebab

As the name suggests, this recipe is from the era of Mughals and I believe must have been a favorite of Mughal Emperor, Shehenshah Akbar. Going through history, its amazing to read of how different ingredients were introduced at different times. Like spices or khada Masala, like cinnamon, bay leaves or cardamoms and cloves were never a part of the Indian cuisine and were brought in by the Mughals when they migrated to India. I believe there has been no other clan unlike the Mughals who not only brought in so much with them but also adapted the cultures of India and settled with the people and built families.

Where the spices were brought in by the Mughals, India already had food enhancing flavors like Turmeric, red chilies, coriander etc. Mixed together, the food that came out was super amazing like this kebab or a lot of Biryanis that I share on this website.

The super amazing cuisines that we taste at so many restaurants today have been fusion dishes of the old era which apparently weren’t recorded under the term “fusion”. The acceptance of a culture, embracing the traditions, values and flavors and giving the best of what we have does not only result in super new flavors but also becomes a part of our cuisines for the coming generations . For me reading history about a dish is as fascinating as trying to cook a dish.

This recipe of chicken kebabs comes from the era of Mughals. I know, most all kebabs do. Kebabs are a gift to the food world by the Middle East. The variety, the flavors and the fact that they are grilled in different ways can leave your taste buds joyful and crave for more.

I believe for a fact that when the Mongolians and the Persians rulers came to India, it wasn’t an invasion. I know during that era it does look like an invasion because all the wars were for power and land and the greed to appear mightier and stronger than other rulers always seemed to drive warriors crazy where they seemed to be baffled by the prosperity of the neighboring kingdoms and invasion seemed to be the only way to satisfy your hunger for more.  But, leaving all that aside, the Mughals brought in a lot of architectural science, spices and methods of cooking. They came to settle and make India more diverse and that’s what I fail to see in Indian news today.

I am proud to be an Indian, a country where friendship and mutual respect comes much before religion. Where Eid is celebrated with as much love as Diwali. Where Hindus are always at your house on Eid to taste awesome Biryani and your mom makes sure she cooks vegetarian food separately for your 2 vegetarian friends. Where stories of Jodha Akbar is less of Akbar, the Emperor who invaded India and more of the love between a Mughal Emperor and a Rajput Queen. India a country, that proves its a place accepting all religions and stands tall with its cultural heritage. With all that, food plays a very important role. The spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and saffron changed the complete look of flavors and when mixed with Indian chilies, the result was food from Paradise.

This recipe goes back to the era of Akbar and Jodha. The story suggests that Emperor Akbar had a great taste in food and his Kitchens had the most exclusive dishes made, vegetarian and Non vegetarian. Queen Jodha also seemed to have a great interest in cooking the best dishes and made sure that the chefs prepare dishes according to his taste. This recipe comes in as one of his favorites.

Now, with the history books I read, I do get an idea of the ingredients but they aren’t a 100% of what were used in the original recipe. Therefore, these recipes are mine but they should be close to what the original food must have tasted. Each recipe that I share can have common ingredients, but they are completely different for each other. The only way you can find out is by trying. Hope you enjoy these Kebabs as much as I did.

Gajar Ka Halwa

Gajar ka Halwa is our winter favorite. The lovely sweetness of carrots mixed with sugar and milk and a hint of cardamom with desi ghee leaves you taste buds asking for more. Every family has their own version of Gajar ka Halwa and it’s the most common dessert in winters and can be found in most homes, specially during winters. With fresh carrots available in the market and the need to finish every meal with a dessert, this Gajar ka halwa definitely scores high.

I make mine with grated red carrots, milk, Khoya and sugar. It’s a winter delicacy and is made using the juicy red carrots. I also make it another way, which is my Mother’s recipe. Growing up I always felt that my mom makes the best ever carrot halwa. She would in fact even freeze the Halwa so we could enjoy it longer. My mom would cook her Halwa for hours on low heat and I as a kid, I would look forward to the Halwa. This sweet dish is mainly associated with North India. It is a rich, the texture is slightly grainy, with sweetness that makes the warm winter dessert taste delicious. I haven’t heard of any Indian who doesn’t love a good carrot halwa.

Garnished with slivers of dry fruits, it goes well with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on the side. I have a recipe of Gajar Ka halwa with Vanilla Ice cream on this blog too. That Halwa is made using condensed milk. So, it can be made any which way, eaten warm, with/without Vanilla Ice cream.

Most households in North Indian have their own recipe to make Gajar ka Halwa and with minor changes here and there, the taste changes drastically. This recipe of Carrot Halwa is my own and is one of the quickest and best I have had.

I grate the carrots and cook them in Ghee till they start releasing water. Once the water is dried, I add milk and cook the carrots till they are completely soft and the milk thickens while cooking the carrots and is only 1/4 left. I then add Khoya followed by sugar and cardamom powder. Cook till everything blends well and there is no liquid left in the Halwa. I only add Almonds, Pistachios and sometimes, cashews to my Halwa. But some people like adding Raisins which is completely optional and a personal choice.

I make Gajar ka Halwa pretty often and it finishes pretty quickly as well. You can easily double or triple the quantity of the ingredients and make a bigger batch if you want to. Along with the ingredients, the cooking time will also increase.  I try and pick carrots as red as possible and in case if I don’t get my hands on carrots that are red, I sometimes use a pinch of orange food color. It’s completely optional though.

Rava Coconut Laddu

Laddus are everyone’s favorite sweet. We all love them, from Besan to Motichoor to Coconut. Different kinds different occasions and just little edible balls of delicious taste that spread joy and happiness. I always loved Motichoor laddus, kind of my all the time go to and get happy sweets.

After I started on my venture of self discovery of being a home based chef, I started making different kinds of laddus. This is when Mr. Parveez asked me to make these Laddus with rava and coconut. These Laddus were something he ate during his childhood and still craved for. Now before I go ahead with the recipe and more details, let me also tell you that this was my third trial and the one that was closest to his childhood flavor.

Rava was roasted in ghee and then I added Besan to help the laddus bind better. I further roasted the grated coconut as well. I also roasted the cashews and Raisins in ghee. Mixed everything together and added sugar to it. Added the remaining ghee and shaped them. These Laddus can be kept in airtight container for up to 10 days.

Murgh Hyderabadi Biryani

Hyderabad has numerous varieties specially when it comes to Biryanis. I have tried making a wide range of different styles of Hyderabadi Biryanis. Each one has its own distinct flavor and ingredients. I always love how beautifully the heritage of Nizams is displayed in Hyderabadi food.

The dishes are not just rich in ingredients but also the recipes show how rich the food culture has been with the Nizams. We always hear stories of how generous the Nizams were when it came to entertaining and welcoming their guests. How lavish their Dastarkhaan or tables were. The curries, Haleem, so many varieties of sweet dishes that are served with oodles of dry fruits and cooked in clarified Butter are an evidence how much effort the Nizams made their Khansamas/chefs put into food.

The Nizams had a very influential. The history showcases the rich taste not just in Gems and Jewelry, but also in food. Use of Milk solids, Ghee, Dry fruits of different kinds is pretty common in most dishes. This dish has a paste of poppy seeds, cashews and coconut. Though the spice level isn’t too high, but the Biryani uses a paste of green chilies and you can always increase the green chilies if you wish to make it more spicy. Using Kewra with food color makes the Biryani smell rich and inviting as well. Besides that the Biryani is pretty easy to make. This dish is great for Beginners too. Enjoy!!!

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!!!