Chicken Pita Pockets

Cuisines in every culture and tradition or every country have wonderful recipes to offer. Trying different cuisines around the world just makes you experience how amazing the world of flavor is. In a way, it makes you experience another culture. This recipe has a very middle eastern and Greek flavor. The reason or the inspiration behind trying these amazing Pita pockets was to serve my kids with more veggies.

Honestly, I feel that in today’s time everyone finds it difficult to have their kids finish veggies on their plate or just simply consume the basic portion recommended. Cooking Vegetable curries is a great option but when you have kids like mine, the curries cannot save your day either. Times like these are when this dish is a savior in every good way. The chicken is cooked with very little oil

Eating your way around the world is a fun thing you can do from home. Trying foods from different countries is also a great way to experience another culture. You can start with this chicken in pita pockets. This recipe is filled with loads of flavor plus its healthy too. Lunch or dinner, it’s always filling and nutritious. Greek flavor and will really fill you up. In fact, these serve as a lunch or dinner but could be an entire meal.

A pita pocket is the best sandwich bread you can use. Pita bread can easily be cut open. I usually prefer cutting it in half creating a pocket. Chicken pita pockets are a perfect example of how delicious veggies and chicken be while being healthy. Don’t get scared looking at the recipe or feel looking at the pics that the end product seems too complicated. This dish is easy, not super easy, and not something I would suggest to a beginner, but it’s still not too time-consuming, and if you follow each step as directed, your finished product would be fabulous. this works.

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.

Honey Lemon Chicken Wings

Chicken Wings are an all-time favorite for everyone I know. I had never tried Chicken wings before I came to the USA. Our cuisine in India does not offer kebabs or appetizers using Chicken wings. Initially, Chicken wings were always something we ate outside. It’s not that I didn’t think of trying them but it’s just that Mr. Parveez and I as a couple liked Chicken wings but weren’t that huge of a fan. There was a halal restaurant that made Chicken wings with green masala and every once in a while we would go and enjoy the awesome wings. And, after a couple of years, the restaurant shut down.

Well, that didn’t really inspire me to start making my own Chicken wings. A few months later we discovered another wonderful Halal Gyro place that all make Hot saucy Chicken wings which were great, but with time the restaurant lost its taste of making good food. I believe the management changed and hired a new chef that couldn’t maintain the flavors. This is when I felt I should start making my own.

The first-ever Chicken wings I started making were the Buffalo Chicken wings. The kids loved it and it served as a great appetizer or a side dish for brunches and playdates. Once I spent few years making them and seeing fans increasing, I decided on experimenting with different flavors using wings. That’s when I made the green Chicken wings followed by the Special Haala’s hot saucy Chicken wings and finally these. The main reason behind trying these was that I wanted to come up with a recipe that has a little sweet and spicy taste. This recipe is great for people who find it hard to handle spices.

Why Wings?

Wings are cooked with skin and when pan-fried or deep-fried become crunchy. Any flavors, especially those that are saucy taste great with anything that is crisp.

Why use honey and not sugar?

Honey blends in better with spices than sugar. Sugar tends to crystallize or make the sauce more watery so, honey is the best option.

These wings are lightly sweet and lightly spicy which tantalize the taste buds in a way of playing hide and seek. Spicy and sweet together are a wonderful combination and if you combine that with Chicken wings, the crispy texture of the skin and the flavors mingled along with it are just beyond the word “delicious”. If you like Chicken wings, you should try this recipe.

Korean Chicken Bites

Asian food has so much variety. Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Thai, Malaysian, and Korean…. all different from each other yet so alike. We have tried all of them but just with seafood. I know it gets difficult to be a Muslim and practice the basics of eating only halal food. I have friends who seem to be comfortable with consuming non-halal Chicken and meat as well, but not us. I feel that when there are ways and options for us to follow these basics then we should.

Well, that doesn’t stop us from trying things we would love to. I believe that’s the best part about having strong taste buds and enjoy cooking. So, here I am with another mouthwatering recipe of a similar dish that I tried with scallops and loved them. I modified the recipe slightly. The scallops that I tried were not marinated or batter-fried, which to me was a little bland and all the flavor only came in through the sauce. The sauce was nice, not too spicy, just with a little kick. So, when I decided to make something similar using Chicken, I decided to add a little crunch and flavor. I, therefore, marinated the chicken, since Chicken has no flavor by itself and absorbs the flavors you add so adding little spice to Chicken is always mandatory. Even if you are adding chicken to noodles, always cook it with a little salt if nothing else.

This Chicken marination is with Buttermilk, chili flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper powder, white pepper powder, oregano, and salt. Leave it to marinate for at least an hour if not longer. Further roll the Chicken pieces in a mix of flour, salt, and corn starch powder and fry them. The sauce has crushed Garlic and Ginger, soya sauce, sesame oil, gochujang sauce [a sweet and spicy Korean sauce available easily in all Asian food markets], Honey, Brown sugar, vegetable oil, and Red chili flakes. I used scallions and sesame seeds for garnishing, but you can always add them to the sauce. I feel the scallions lose their crunch if mixed in the sauce.

Substitute for Buttermilk?

Take equal quantity of milk as of the Buttermilk required and add 1 tbsp of lemon juice to it. Mix well and add chicken to it.

The flavor of this Chicken is sweet and spicy which makes it an excellent choice for all taste buds of all ages unless someone cannot tolerate any spice at all. I find them a great choice for playdates and small get-together parties.

Cooking in advance

You can fry the chicken bites and keep them in the oven too. The oven needs to be preheated. Keep it on warm or at 200F. Anything above it would overcook the chicken making it chewy or burning it.

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.

Paradise Chicken Fry

With wide variety of Chicken Kebabs that we try every now and then, some cooked at home and some eaten at restaurants. This Kebab dish is from one of our favorite restaurants, which has quiet a few branches around New Jersey and a few neighboring states. This Kebab was always a family favorite and a dish we regularly ordered.

And then for some reason the restaurant nearest to our house shut down. Now, for people who live or have been to United states know that nothing is “close”, but when we think 5 miles, we mean its close. So, we basically didn’t have any of the restaurant branch anywhere close which definitely makes us sad, but there is always an option to try and make what we like. I feel this is sometimes a test just to prove ourselves our caliber.

So, I got down to trying out making these awesome bites of goodness. It did take a few trials but I think the perks of being in love with your food and being able to play with your spices makes you enjoy cooking food that satisfies your taste buds. The hard part is to just try and get the correct amount of spices to make a dish taste exactly like how we have eaten. The best part is that these experiments make get some wonderful dishes to your dining table which are always a delight and loved.

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!!!

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.