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.

Malabar Shrimp Curry

Shrimps are one of my favorite kind of seafood and I would always try shrimps with new kind of gravies or new styles of marinade and fry them or grill them in different ways. Mr. Parveez always preferred eating an actual fish to eating shrimps. He finds Shrimps to be a little tasteless. So, when I started making Shrimp curries, he was still not a big fan. He would eat, but you know not really enjoy it as much as how I would like him to.

We watch a lot of travel shows and during one such show, the host happened to be travelling around restaurants in Kerala and one such restaurant was cooking Malabar shrimp curry. Now before anything let me tell you this. We were watching this program around an hour or so before dinner time. While the chef in the restaurant was showing how he prepares his special Shrimp curry, we were glued to the TV and wished we could see it live in person and have a bite of that scrumptious looking curry. Anyways, just as I mentioned that it was around an hour or so before dinner. Looking at that curry, I was determined that I have to try making it. Funny enough I remembered that my freezer has a pack of frozen shrimps. I always believe in miracles and this might have been one such lucky day. I got down to making it that very moment. The curry came out amazingly delicious and a family favorite too. Now the chef had only given in a rough idea on how to make the curry and few things that I have added to my curry recipe was not a part of the show that we watched. So, you might not find this different from an authentic Malabar Shrimp Curry, but you will definitely get the hint of Malabar flavors and savor each bite.

I deveined the shrimps but left the tail on. I feel it makes the shrimps look prettier in a curry, but you can always take the tail off if you prefer. After washing and pat drying, I marinated the shrimps in Ginger garlic paste, Red chili powder, Fennel seed powder, Tandoori powder, salt and lemon juice for 15-30 minutes. I also added a bunch of curry leaves. Further added some Rice flour, All purpose flour and corn starch powder and deep fried the shrimps. Frying makes the shrimps crunchy and the texture with the curry sauce is very flavorful.

To make the curry, add mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds along with dry round red chilies. Once they splutter, add curry leaves and further add chopped onions. Add ginger garlic paste followed by black pepper powder, Turmeric powder, Red chili powder, coriander powder, fennel seed powder, salt and cumin powder. Add the Dry red chili paste, tomato puree and green chilies along with fried shrimps and dry fenugreek leaves.

This shrimp curry is pretty easy and would make a special place in your menu. Its goes along great with garlic naan or plain naan and also Kerala Parantha.

Curd Rice

Curd Rice is a meal from Southern part of India. It’s full of probiotic goodness and cooling properties , just the kind of meal you need when you want something simple, easy to digest, fast track food and a nutritious meal. Curd Rice is a creamy and traditional preparation of soft pre-cooked rice and thick yogurt all combined together and crowned with a South Indian style tempering.

Curd Rice is a gluten-free, savory Indian dish prepared with yogurt and pre-cooked rice. For the flavor, it is often tempered with ghee, mustard seeds, urad daal, ginger, asafoetida, cumin seeds, curry leaves, green chilies and dry red chilies.

Curd Rice is great for digestion, since the good bacteria in the yoghurt/ curd may help the body digest food easier and smoother. For generations, in South India, this has been the cure for an upset stomach or gastric issues including constipation and bloating. This dish also happens to have a milder version made with thinner curd or even buttermilk and is excellent for fighting acid reflux. Curd rice balances out the internal temperature of your body and is an excellent coolant during the hot summer months. Since it is served cold, one can almost immediately feel the respite from blazing temperatures even externally, before the nutrients begin to break down in one’s system. This is relatively low in calories and can still be eaten by itself as a meal and is quite filling, you can include this in your low-calorie diet as a menu choice.

All you need for this simple preparation is boiled rice, I usually throw away the water, but you are free to add less water in boiling the Rice and let the Ric soak it all up. Just make sure you use small grained Rice, as its a better option when it comes to over cooked and mushed up Rice. Basmati Rice is better with Biryani and Pulao. The Rice needs to be at Room Temperature, so make sure you give it at least an hour on a wide dish so it cools down completely. You can also use leftover steamed rice for making the dish. If using leftover cooked rice, add a tiny amount of water and mash it to a soft consistency (like broken wheat consistency). Soft rice that is overcooked or slightly mushy is perfect for making creamy curd rice.

 Full-fat Yoghurt is great if you want super soft and creamy curd rice, but you can use low-fat Yoghurt as well. Although the traditional Curd Rice is cooked with slightly sour Yoghurt, but I prefer the regular one.

 The tempering for the Curd Rice is a typical South Indian style packed with cumin seeds, mustard seeds, urad dal/ chana dal, curry leaves, ginger, green chilies, whole dry red chilies, and a pinch of asafoetida (aids in digestion). You can mix grated carrot or pomegranate as well in your yogurt rice for that extra crunch and freshness.

It is always ideal to combine chilled yogurt and room temperature rice to make creamy and delicious yogurt rice. If hot rice is combined with curd, it affects the nutritional properties of yogurt, and the digestion problems are bound to happen. Also, the curd might turn sour after mixing the hot rice. Hence, it is best to enjoy yogurt rice cold or at least room temperature.

Masala Upma

This dish is a recipe from Mr. Parveez. As I have mentioned in my other write ups that Mr. Parveez is a fabulous cook and he just doesn’t cook food from the recipes passed on by his family, but some of the recipes have been his own invention. The best part is that none of the recipes are like those “Bachelor Recipes”, in fact they are some super great dishes which make to the table when the lady of the house, that is “me” needs to be treated royal and get my days off. I always enjoy and look forward to those days.

So, this particular recipe happens to be one of his best dishes ever. I have always loved it and look forward to days when he makes it. This Masala upma goes best with Sambhar. Though this dish is best for breakfast, but we love it for light dinner as well.

Chettinad Chicken Curry

A beautiful Chicken recipe that sure opens up all your taste buds in an amazingly flavorful way. This curry is spicy and only for the brave of hearts. Now the spice level can always be turned down by adding less chilies than recommended. You can always make modifications to suit your own palate, but the fact is that this is not the curry where you should really be doing this. It has to be made this way for experiencing the real taste of Chettinad.

This recipe is from the southern state of India, Tamilnadu. Chettinad chicken curry is quite fiery. I have tasted this curry as different restaurants, each different from the other. The curry always managed to win our heart. But I had never thought of making it at home until recently that we tried it as a restaurant in Bangalore, the night before we were traveling back home.

First bite of that curry and I just knew that this was the perfect Chettinad curry ever. the spice level just sent us rocking. I just knew that all the ones before this were so modified and I would highly recommend, please do not do that. This curry is amazing and is one of our family favorite too.

Chhole Tikki Chaat

I belong to Rajasthan, the land of flowing ghee, beautiful people and the most colorful state of India. Marwaris love chaats, specially the ones that are fried and warm and trust me, no one can make chaats and sweets better than Marwaris. That’s the reason we always see most sweet vendors and chatwalas as Marwaris.

I have been a big fan of chaats and this happens to be one of my favorites. It takes a little time to make it, but one bite into this awesomely delicious food and all the effort seems totally worth it. This chaat is also close to my heart because this was the first dish that portrayed my culinary skills and he felt proud that he is getting married to a promising cook.

Now, I learnt to make this chaat through a family friend, who would offer to cook food for us every Ramadan. Honestly, that was the first time I realized that such good street food can also be cooked at home as well. I was 11 then, and I would always be a little helper. With time, I learnt how to make it by myself and it always has pleased everyone who tried it.

The tikkis are made with boiled potatoes mixed with spices and rolled in mix of Maida and Corn Starch Powder, before pan frying. The corn starch makes the tikkis super crunchy and that is exactly how you want them to be. Specially once you add on hot chhole, the tikkis can get soggy very quickly. Corn starch helps it stay crunchier for longer.

The chhole have to be spicy and tangy, giving that perfect chaat taste to the tikki chhole. Adding Tamarind and dry pomegranate powder to chhole makes it taste just like the street foods in India. I usually soak my chickepeas, boil them and once cooled down, I pack them in separate ziploc bags and freeze them. I like to make loads of chaats that include chickpeas and this is one of my favorites. So, not having chickpeas, since they need to be soaked overnight, is the last thing I need to worry about if I feel like making chaat.

Assembling this chaat is what makes it taste more delicious. You can make the best Tikkis and chhole, but if you don’t assemble the chaat the right way, it wouldn’t give you flavors you are looking for. It has to be served warm on top of potato tikki and further garnished with chopped onions, coriander leaves, Tamarind date chutney, Green chutney and thin sev.

Beetroot Chhole Sabzi

We were watching a TV show that was showing places and foods. We love watching those TV shows and we also make a mental note to go to those awesome restaurants if we ever travel to those places. We have visited some of those places and also to those awesome food places. And, other times when we watch these shows, I love seeing things and try to make them at home.

This dish is inspired from some restaurant in Kerela, India. The blogger went to a random restaurant which served authentic vegetarian food and tried Beetroot with chickpeas. It is a different combination and I found it weird to be honest. I do make Beetroot curry and Chhole but separately, never thought of them to be together.

So, I could never get an idea of the recipe except that it was beetroot shredded and had chickpeas. I added spices keeping Kerela flavors in mind. I added onions, a little tamarind and coconut. The end result was great and looked almost same as the curry we saw on TV and with taste, anyone who has tasted Kerela food can feel the connection.

Its an easy curry to make as long as you have Boiled Chickpeas. I usually soak and boil chickpeas, divide them and put them in ziploc in the freezer. I just prefer using them than using canned chickpeas. Its just a personal preference and won’t make any difference to the curry flavor.

Carrot Masala Toast

This masala toast is a famous snack from Iyengar bakery, which I had never tried. Being from North India, there are these few things that you miss out on. Like the fresh made veggie toast. Ohhh!!! Don’t get me wrong, I love the north Indian malai bread and potato sandwich or paneer sandwich, but I still fell completely in love with this iyengar bakery masala toast.

This was first made by my husband, Mr. Parveez when he wanted to flaunt his cooking skills, show casing how breakfast can be made quick, delicious, light and above all, healthy.

This toast can have variety of veggies put but, the authentic iyengar bakery toast only has carrots, tomatoes, onions with a few spices and chilies. It’s a perfect breakfast for on the run, or a perfect snack for warming up those after school/evening cold winters with a warm drink.

Green Bean Curry

Green beans is a family favorite for  us. I normally made green beans with potatoes  until, I decided that a lovely vegetable like these beans deserves to be served by itself. I also make potatoes and green bean filling for my famous puff pastry. They always come out nicer than the plain potato ones. in fact, these were the puff pastries I made, when initially I started making puff pastries.

And then of course the curry with potato has always been the easy and go to curry. But Mr. Parveez isn’t a big fan of potatoes and he loves green beans. So I tried experimenting with this curry and it came out super fab. I have since then even tried to make it in a few different ways to get them in more flavors. This is one of the easiest and the fastest way to make them. It goes great as a side vegetable or main and tastes amazingly delicious with phulka or poori.