Chicken Kaju Pepper

Chicken curries always demand variety. Well, all dishes are better when they are tried with new flavors, but especially with chicken, our taste buds need variety since we like having it and serving it so often. I often find people asking me to come up with new flavors and I love my experiments. I always feel though that experiments should only be done up to a point where things can be fixed if something goes wrong.

This dish was an experiment that of course was 100% successful and that’s why you see me posting this recipe and sharing it but, using pepper, especially black pepper is always a little dodgy since if you add even a little more than required, it ends up making the dish bitter. To be safe with that, I used white pepper to get the best of flavor for this dish.

Why Cashews?

Well, Cashews are best at adding that creamier and nutty flavor to a dish. While a lot of people want and do use other options like coconut or cream, or even almonds. Cashews add a little sweetness and that goes well with pepper.

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.

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.

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!!!

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

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.  

Murgh Malai Tikka

These are most juiciest and softest kebabs I have ever made. Yet they are amazingly flavorful. My story for Murgh Malai Tikka is connected to my older son. My older son, who is a handsome teenager now used to have GERD as a kid. For those of us who have kids suffering from refluxes and unable to keep their food down, we know the pain. For those who have kids who are picky eaters, we know the struggle. Unfortunately, for my son, he was both a picky eater and suffered from a reflux and that continued for the first 2 years of his life. But, as they say there is always a ray of good hope and things started to get better once he turned 2.

Now once he started eating real food, his choices went more towards dishes that were spicy but considerable mild at the same time. That was when during one of our outings he tried Malai Tikka and he was so much in love that we placed another order of the dish, which of course he didn’t touch because we forgot that he was two and as much as we loved to feed our super fussy toddler, his tummy could only take so much. But, this was the time when I decided that I should start making my own Malai tikka kebabs at home.

And of course, like everything else dishes also require experiments and some times way too many. So, with this one my initial experiments weren’t that bad but they weren’t successful. The first try, I made them with Chicken breast. Although with some kebabs Chicken breast comes out dry, but honestly with this recipe make one of the most moist kebabs ever. Chicken breast is a great choice for curries and for dishes that require you to mince the chicken, but this is something tried and tested, while making Murgh Malai tikka, you can pick any Boneless Chicken Thigh and leg meat or Chicken Breast. Your kebabs will be juicy, moist and a taste to die for! The second mistake was to only rub in yogurt which didn’t make them too different from the other ones that I was already making.

Secondly the addition of different spices also was a little adventurous but finally a few experiments later I discovered that the key to a perfect Malai Tikka wasn’t just Yogurt and cream but also cheese. A little bit of shredded cheese might sound weird and you might feel that cheese is the last flavor you want to taste in you desire when you bite into your Malai Tikka, but trust me, no one ever knows. I guess its a pretty well guarded secret…LOLzzz. Well, now you know. The cheese needs to be shredded and you can only add Mozarella which isn’t too strong in taste. Adding anything like Cheddar will definitely ruin the taste.

I make these tikkas by marinating them in Yogurt, Cream, Ginger garlic paste, Shredded cheese, Black pepper, White pepper, Cumin powder, Red chili powder, Salt, Turmeric Powder, Tandoori Powder and cashew paste. Besides that I also add some fresh chopped Coriander leaves and Green chilies. I believe there is nothing that can enhance the flavor of spices more than fresh herbs. Though I make these kebabs in the oven, but they have been grilled to perfection on our outdoor grill as well by Mr. Parveez and they come out perfectly juicy and delicious. You can always cook them on the pan too. Kebabs are something that cross out all the restrictions and can be made anytime anywhere. I fail to understand recipes that only require an oven. That should never be the case. So, oven, no oven, grill, no grill…as long as you have these kebabs marinated the right way and have fire, these kebabs can be cooked in no time.

I generally do not serve them with the stick unless I make them for a kid’s party. If you are using the wooden skewers, always soak them in water for 20 minutes before adding your kebabs to it. Soaking in water doesn’t let them burn in the pan or oven while cooking.

These kebabs are very appealing and inviting and an instant hit. They melt in the mouth, while the spices give you a light kick, the cream base cools your taste buds down making these irresistible little chunks soft and juicy and delicious enough for you to lose the count of how many you relished.

Chhilli Daal Chicken Curry

Chicken as a curry is made in so many varieties that sometimes it amazes me how people from different regions in just one state make so many different dishes, with every dish varying in flavor from the other. The basis of making these curries are basically the availability of ingredients in that region.

I am from the northern west part of India, Rajasthan. Its a desert part so every time we make a Chicken curry, its mostly Yogurt based, which I think is because back in the days there weren’t many ways of getting any fresh vegetables, like Tomatoes and since water was always scarce, growing your own was difficult as well. Since there weren’t any fresh veggies, we barely have any Chicken dishes that are cooked with vegetables.

On the other hand, Mr. Parveez is from the southern part of India and there is loads of greenery and fresh vegetables are always available, so most of the dishes are tomato based and also use a lot of other green vegetables and thus we get loads of chicken curry which aren’t just protein rich but also have loads of fiber. Honestly, I feel my in laws eat very healthy. There is always a green veggie curry for morning breakfast and the lunch and dinner also comprises of green leafy vegetables cooked as a curry or mixed in with other veggies or Daal or cooked with Chicken or Meat.

This Chhilli Daal happens to be one such curry. These green beans are also known as Surti Papdi Lilva or Valor Lilva. We get the frozen pack here and they aren’t much big in size either. Addition to that, I also have to clean and peel it when I bring them home which is a tedious job. I guess I feel it more because in India, they are bigger in size, more flavorful and on top of everything they are peeled by the vegetable vendors which makes it so convenient.

This Chicken curry is just so delicious and nutritious, one of my Mother in law’s favorite as well and honestly, mine too. This is my mother in law’s recipe, only that I made some changes to it which she loves as well, I just made it more greener and nutritious. The curry has Fried onions that are further cooked with Ginger garlic paste and spices. Once the Chicken is added, wait till its half cooked, add in the daal/beans and further add the Tomato-coconut puree and cook further for a few minutes. Usually at this point the original recipe for this curry is concluded. But the changes I made to the recipe are that I added methi leaves/ fenugreek leaves and Dill leaves. With Methi, I add fresh if I have it and if not then I use Kasoori Methi. In both cases, the flavor of the dish is not compromised. Serve it with Plain boiled Rice or Roti or Parantha. We love it all ways and I am sure you will too. This is something different and completely worth trying. Enjoy!!!

Chicken Tikka Masala Curry

One dish that Indians hold steady fast too, specially when we are far from home is Chicken Tikka Masala. Be it Paneer Tikka masala or Chicken Tikka Masala, it never fails to satisfy our taste buds. And, I think that’s why they are a part of every party buffet.

This recipe is very close to the restaurant style Chciken Tikka masala that you’d find at restaurants and you can always substitute the chicken with paneer and follow the rest of the recipe as is to get the perfect restaurant dish.

This recipe is one of the Best Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe that you can cook with ease. The flavor is smoky and making this dish at home also gives you the benefit of eating clean and fresh. At present my reasons to try this dish is because its the quarantine period and as much as I enjoy cooking, I leave some dishes to the restaurant to enjoy some favorites outside the house. But since we hit the Covid-19 Quarantine period, I had to start cooking at home and with the high spiked taste buds of my kids, I got down to making an at home Chicken Tikka Masala curry.

Ingredients to make Chicken Tikka Masala Curry Recipe, we would require Yogurt, I prefer the thick greek yogurt but you can always use the regular yogurt and hang it for 30 minutes to an hour. The thick yogurt helps adding a lot of creaminess to the curry. Boneless Chicken thighs work best for the recipe. A lot of times I have been asked why I prefer Boneless thighs over Boneless chicken breast and my answer is simple, that chicken breast tends to get dry quickly and specially with gravy dishes, Chicken breast fails to absorb the juices from the gravy.

The chicken needs to be marinated in ginger garlic paste, lemon juice, salt, vegetable oil and tikka masala spice mix to marinate the chicken. You’d require onions, whole spices, tomatoes [chopped and pure’ed] , chilies, ginger garlic paste and the regular spices as red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder and tikka masala powder, along with honey, kasuri methi and cream.

Butter Chicken

Never met anyone who doesn’t like Butter Chicken. Simple, flavorful and so divine. But most of time people never try and make it at home and Butter Chicken becomes an eat out special. Many times I have read where people tried the recipe following a famous chef, but the dish still does not come out as good as the ones at restaurant.

The recipe below and simple to make and the closest you can get to the authentic Butter Chicken flavor.