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.

Lobster Curry

My love for Lobster curry began in 2012 on our first visit to Kerala. We stayed in a houseboat in Alleppey. The backwaters with the perfect weather in Kerala. We were their around the Christmas time and I feel that that’s the best weather to visit Kerala. During our visit and stay at the houseboat, the host made amazing Kerala cuisine including loads of varieties of seafood. That’s where I tried Lobster curry for the first time.

I had tried Lobsters before at loads of seafood restaurants but they were all mildly cooked and had no spice except garlic and salt. The Lobster curry was beyond my expectations and outstandingly delicious. The houseboat had 3 guys responsible for cleaning, cooking and maintenance. Being there was one of the best vacations we ever had. The weather, the backwaters, the walks in the greenery and the hospitality all made our stay memorable.

Now after tasting the awesome Lobster curry, I had to request for the recipe and our host gladly gave it away. Thought the recipe given was rough but it was enough for me to understand and make this super delicious recipe.

The original recipe is made using coconut oil. I made mine in Olive oil since I don’t use coconut oil. I don’t think it makes much difference to the recipe, except making it less coconuty. Since I add coconut milk as well, it adds a perfect flavor to compliment the rest of the ingredients, but you can always cook in coconut oil if you prefer. There are few changes as well that I made to the recipe and therefore I cannot really call it a dish from Kerala.

I clean the Lobsters at home if I have to order them for home delivery, which of course is a preferred source these days, but usually if you happen to go to the Fish market and pick your own Lobsters, you can always have them cut the claws and cut it from the middle. I partially boil my lobsters with Turmeric powder and salt so they don’t smell musky. Then to cook the curry, I add Black seeds and curry to the oil followed by onions. Once the onions turn transparent, add Ginger Garlic paste along with spices and fennel powder. I think fennel powder adds a lot of freshness to a dish, specially when its seafood. Add coconut milk or coconut puree along with Tomato Puree and once everything blends and comes together, add the Lobsters and let it cook for another 10-12 minutes and your curry will be ready.

The Lobster curry seems difficult and hard to make but honestly, it takes less time than a chicken curry and looks super fancy on the dining table. This recipe can be used for cooking Crabs as well. You can always substitute Lobster with crab. Hope you enjoy cooking this dish and love it as much as my family and I do.

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.

Dumm Aaloo

Potatoes, whether they are made in anyway or style, boiled, mashed, baked, fried or roasted, are one of the most loved and easily consumed vegetable around the world. Potatoes are believed to have been domesticated around 7,000 -10,000 years ago near modern day Peru, South America. Today, nearly a third of the world’s production is harvested in India.

So how did the Potato reach India? The Portuguese introduced potatoes to india in the early 17th century and cultivated it around the western coast. The name Batata is actually Portuguese. By the end of 18th century, it was being grown around the northern hilly areas of India. This amazing vegetable was born in India and dishes made of potatoes spread to each and every corner of the country.

One such dish is the Dum Aaloo. This dish has numerous variations in our country. It is prepared differently in different states and regions, depending on the taste, spices available, cooking styles of the regions. This is one of the most fancy ways of cooking Potato curry.

Its usually made with baby potatoes, but I just preferred cutting my big potatoes to pieces. You can always use whatever you prefer using. My logic was to get more sauce on my potatoes and making them a little more flavorful and spicy. But you can always pick baby potatoes if you prefer the sweetness of potatoes with a little spice. This curry goes well with parantha and Roti or as a side dish. Enjoy!!!

Bengali Fish Curry

I do not have an idea about what connects me to Bengal, but I am one big fan of their cuisine. It all started from the Kolkata Chicken Roll, went on to Biryanis, from their to their mind blowing Bengali sweets and now to the awesome fish curries that they make.

Honestly, I am a no fish curry person. I have no idea why, but I could just never bring myself down to liking fish curries. God bless my Late Father, he was a big fan and always looked forward to the fish curries my mom made. Jodhpur, the city I belong to does not get fresh fishes very often. The chicken market also sold fish when the season would be on and my father happened to be one of their regular customers. My father would always get enough to be made into curry and to be fried as well. I would never try the fish curry and would love the fried fish and that’s how it continued.

When I got married, Mr. Parveez loved the fish fried on the side with Daal-Chawal, but he also loves his Fish curry, so he would make his favorite fish curry just few times a year. I tried my level best to like it but its just something that puts me off. Then, one fine day comes in the phase of me finding my new love in Bengali cuisine and you know how Bengali food and fish go hand in hand. So, I came across this wonderful recipe of Bengali fish curry. now, honestly my search was for an authentic “Machhar Jhol” recipe and my search is still on. But this fish curry is the closest I could get to an authentic Machhar jhol.

This fish curry is also made in Bengali style and the taste is amazingly delicious. The flavor is mild and different from the regular fish curries. The recipe is pretty simple and easy to make, and the the recipe does not require any fancy ingredients either. I made this curry using Tilapia fillet, but you can use Halibut, Sea Bass or any other fish of your choice. The fish should be slightly mild for this recipe, so whichever fish you pick, it should not be extremely fishy in taste. 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.

Makki Palak Sabzi

After my successful experiments with chhole palak and Palak daal, I started working on more recipes and ways to feed greens to my little monsters. After all, no one can have too much of greens and none of us moms ever get tired of feeding healthy to our kids, in fact we never get tired of feeding/ over feeding our children. But, between all those over fed meals are times when we realize that they need to eat healthier and better and we work more towards nourishing their body.

My boys are pretty picky and not great fans of veggies. Basically, if they see no chicken/meat on the dining table, they feel their mom has enjoyed a free day or wasn’t really in a mood to cook…LOLzzz . I learnt one art pretty quick as a mother and that was that if you want your kids to eat veggies, you should not keep a substitute on the table and definitely, any kind of bribe doesn’t give a very good example. Like, I never promise them ice cream after dinner. What I do is, make a promise to cook anything they want for school lunch the next day. Our dinners mostly has these veggies, one reason being that dinners should be light and secondly, that’s the only meal we eat together as family. So, feeding vegetables that time cuts down my stress as Mr. Parveez handles the situation better.

Now, for kids who find it hard to gulp down veggies, its even more important to make dishes that look and taste great. Hence, the experiments and varieties. Your health is your most prize possession and so is the health of your family. Studies suggest that 80% of your health is from the food that you consume so, let that food be freshly cooked without preservatives from the “freezer aisle” of your grocery store or your favorite restaurant. These recipes are simple, quick and nutritious and so delicious that they will be a favorite in your family as much as they are in mine.

Chhole Palak

My kids, like all other kids completely dislike spinach. Any form of spinach curry or spinach daal made with different recipes would not make them happy. I am sure a lot of people share this story. My kids liked chhole/ chickpeas and that’s when I tried to come up with a recipe that has spinach, and does not give you that strong spinach taste.

This recipe is healthy, super delicious and is a wholesome nutrition. Its even good if you are on a diet.

Chanwle Ki Sabzi

Indians and their love for lentils and beans is known worldwide. Most homes in India cook some kind of lentil or beans everyday. The dishes in North India and South India, basically my in laws and my mom’s family cook are very similar, except for the modes of cooking.

Being from Rajasthan, we cook more of mung, chana, chanwle, chhole where as, my in laws cooked more of whole mung, toovar and horse gram. Now don’t get me wrong, its not that my mother in law never cooked yellow mung, but it wasn’t cooked like Toovar, which is cooked in 4 different varieties in the house. Where as, my mom only used Toovar daal for khichdi or for making sambhar. All great beans and lentils and so many varieties and I consider myself really fortunate that I have the honor to learn all these great dishes. Its not just a delight to cook them all and enjoy a huge variety, but its a great pleasure to be able to share them all with the world.

Getting back to Chanwle or Black eyed beans. This dish is my own creation and I have a beautiful story attached to it. Mr. Parveez had not tried Chanwle, except at restaurants. So, once we happened to be eating some north Indian thaali and chanwle made their way to one of the foods served. They were cooked lightly in mild spice and had an amazing taste. I, then mentioned to my better half that I have grown eating these beans and since he likes I would love to cook them at home. My next trip to the grocery store had chanwle in the list. I knew I had to soak and boil them, and I thought I would ask my mom for the recipe, not realizing that the time I started cooking dinner in USA, my mom was sleeping in India. The soaked and boiled chanwle looked at me with high hopes of being cooked for dinner and that’s when I made up my own recipe, which was loved by my husband and kids.

I will share my mom’s recipe too on this site. Meanwhile, this recipe is simple, amazing and super delicious and healthy.