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.

Cod Fish with Roasted Veggies

We love all kinds of Sea Food. Curries, Fried, Grilled, any which way we love them. This dish makes a great option if you are on a diet, or looking for low carb options or following keto recipes. This is a quick recipe for lunch and a super nutritious one too.

I used Frozen cod but if you have fresh Cod available, that would be great. My boys love fish and grilled veggies or just cold salads on the side of a pan fried fish. These kind of dishes are easy, scrumptious, fits the budget, healthy and delicious. This is a perfect recipe when you are running short on time.

I use basic spices like Red chili flakes, Garlic powder, Onion powder, White pepper powder and Tandoori masala. I also added some dry parsley for flavor. You can always mix and match and use the spices you like. I personally don’t like much of cinnamon or Red chili powder on cod fish. I also feel that Black pepper makes it a little bitter so I prefer white pepper powder. Add a little Lemon juice and the marination is just perfect.

I grill or saute the bell peppers and Asparagus in the same pan as the fish once i am done cooking the fish. I feel it adds a lot of flavor from the fish and the spices to the vegetables. This is a great dish if you want to involve your budding teenagers and teach them easy and quick dishes.

Roti Anda Boti

We love the combinations of Chicken and Roti, basically a Chicken Roll. My Mom used to make these amazingly delicious Tikka Boti which were inspired by something similar she had a Persian restaurant in Mumbai. Chicken Roll is always an easy go to recipe when you are finding it hard to decide what to cook. It’s a delicious recipe that is loved by kids and is always fuss free.

A regular Chicken roll is always great but, if you get to make some experiments with it, a little twist and change then your palettes love it more. Its basically the same Chicken roll but just made a little differently. This Chicken roll is less of a wrap

I added onions to a pan and Sautee till they were brown in color, further adding ginger garlic paste along with tomatoes and green chilies. I further added red chili flakes, tandoori powder, cumin powder and salt. Once the tomatoes are soft, add the chicken and mix well and cook till the Chicken is well cooked. The eggs are just plain whisked with salt and pepper and make them like thin crepes.

The difference comes in the Roti or the bread. Usually the Roti is cooked and then we add the cooked chicken to it. In this Chicken roll, I divided the dough to little portions, rolled it and then added the cooked chicken and added some dry cheese along with it. Wrap the dough and seal it from all sides and then pan fry it. As much as we feel that the taste might not be too different, it actually is and at the same time it is nothing close to the taste of samosa either. Its just completely different and outrageously delicious…The only way you find it is by trying it.

Moradabadi Chicken Biryani

Though synonymous with Indian cuisine and a part of specialty, the biryani is regarded as an import from West Asia, more specifically, Persia. The word biryani is thought to originate from the Persian word “birian” which means ‘fried before cooking’ or “birinj” meaning ‘rice’. The rice is washed and soaked and is cooked in ghee with whole spices and then cooked in boiling water. This imparts a mild nutty flavor to the rice and also helps rice retain their shape after being boiled.

The recipe of a good biryani has been simple, rice and meat that is cooked in spices and other ingredients set in layers. Traditionally, long grain white rice is preferred option with biryani. In south India, local varieties like kaima or jeeraka shala  provide their own distinct flavor and texture to the dish. The meats vary from goat, sheep, poultry, beef, eggs to seafood as well. Fragrance heightens its appeal, you can add Kewra water, saffron or Rose water . The cooking technique can be Kacchi Biryani, where the meat is layered with raw rice or Pakki Biryani, where cooked rice and meat are layered together.

Legend has it that Timur the Lame, the Turkic conqueror and founder of the Timurid Empire, was responsible for the entry of biryani to India. His armies would consume a hearty diet of pots of rice, spices and meats that were slow cooked in hot buried pits which were dug out at meal time. While biryani may very well have been part of a war diet, there was always a certain romance associated with it.

Stories also claim that Mumtaz Mahal, the inspiration behind India’s most celebrated monument and symbol of love, the Taj Mahal, had something to do with it. It is believed that Mumtaz Mahal once visited the Mughal army’s barracks in Moradabad and was dismayed by the dire conditions and poor nutrition endured by the soldiers. She ordered the cook to prepare a wholesome meal that blended meat and rice. And thus, they say, the biryani was born. As the history speaks, Moradabad, was founded in 1625 and named after Murad Baksh, son of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Therefore, we can kind of believe that this recipe is close to the original recipe of Queen Mumtaz Mahal. The Moradabadi is typically low on spices and high on flavor.

Whether it was the Nawabs of Oudh (Awadh) in Lucknow or the Nizams of Hyderabad, the biryani blossomed into regional variations wherever it went. This Biryani comes with its own unique flavor. Enjoy!!!

Lahori Murgh Chhole Curry

Lahori Murgh chhole curry is an authentic and traditional pakistani dish. Since it originated from Lahore, its kind of a significant part of Pakistan’s Punjabi cuisine. Its amazing that I always connected Lahore with Murgh chhole curry, yet I have a few wonderful and close friends from Lahore, who I have known for a few years now have never made Murgh chhole. I think they find it a part of their everyday cuisine and do not realize how fancy it could be for people like me. This is basically a breakfast dish, and goes great with Tandoori roti or Kulche, just like Nahari. But unlike Nahari, you can serve this dish with Rice and Phulkas too. 

So, you might wonder what inspired me to cook Murgh chhole curry. it was actually an Indian chef that inspires so many like me. I happened to watch one of his shows where he mentioned that during his college days in Boston, he travelled to NYC and visited a small restaurant owned by Pakistani Guy. The chef mentioned that he was in love with the dish after the first bite and asked the owner for the recipe, which he gladly wrote down roughly on a napkin in Urdu and the chef still holds on to that napkin with the recipe. I just loved the story and since I believe that the flavor of every dish has a story, so does this. Well, it doesn’t always have to be my experience, but its definitely something that I will always remember each time I cook or eat or read about Murgh chhole curry and so will you.

Though, this recipe is not from my favorite chef and its created by the inspiration I got by watching some shows that display different cultures and cuisines and also show how certain dishes that are popular in certain regions are made. I followed most things that were shown, but since they never discuss the ingredients and their quantity in detail, we do have to manage few things on our own and honestly, the fun of playing with spices and flavors gives me immense fun.

I made the curry using Ghee, but you can always use any Oil of your choice if you desire. Initially I tempered the Ghee with small dry Red chillies, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom and Bay leaf. I added finely chopped onions and curry leaves and cooked till they turn pinkish brown and added Ginger garlic paste. Further, I added Red chili powder, Turmeric Powder, Black pepper powder, Coriander powder and little salt, foolowed by chicken and boiled chhole [chickpeas]. Add a few chopped tomatoes, green chilies and yogurt. Garnish with some jalapenos and thinly sliced Ginger.

This makes a fabulous dish and if you haven’t tried it yet, Please do so now. This goes great with Roti, Parantha, Tandoori Roti or Boiled Rice. Enjoy!!!

Hyderabadi Chana Daal Qabooli

Hyderabad is popular for its lip smacking food. The city of Nizams is just not popular for its gems and jewels and gorgeous buildings, but more for the food. The Hyderabadi Biryani to start with has almost 12 varieties if not more. When it comes Hyderabad and we think of food, I always tend to think of all wonderful non vegetarian dishes, Biryanis, Korma, Haleem…but we all forget that Hyderabad has a wonderful variety of Vegetarian food as well.

This delicious vegetarian Biryani has come down from the Mughals, and is made with rice and split gram lentils. In Hyderabad, its considered a fancy dish and is a great vegetarian option in place of Biryani.

Qabooli is biryani made with spicy chana dal (split pea lentil) and layered with basmati rice. This Chana daal qabooli is very different in flavor and aroma, which combines the pungency of spices, the tanginess of Yoghurt and richness of saffron. It turned out quite tasty and lip smacking. This is a filling and delicious dish that is great to make when you have company. This vegetarian version of Biryani can be made on festival day or even include it in a party menu as well. Enjoy!!!

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.

Dhaniya Pepper Chicken

With necessity being the mother of invention, I believe Kitchen is where the most inventions take place, some like Edison where we work hard to achieve the desired results and others like Newton where the apple just falls giving ideas to work on.

This dish is more like studying gravity…LOLzzz. It wasn’t something I was planning on making but it just happened and the result was so good with so little effort that its worth sharing. At times, when you start working in the kitchen and you all of a sudden remember 30 minutes before dinner time that one of your children would not enjoy and eat the Biryani you made, regardless of how much effort you have put in because he ain’t a Rice fan and though he might still eat to appreciate the effort you have put in but it will be equivalent to see him eat raw green grass …Yes!!! that’s my older child for you. He loves my food, but not a big fan of Biryani and no matter how hard I try, he only likes two kinds out of the 40 Biryanis I make and to make sure he is happy camper at dinner table, I am always trying to make these fancy and not so fancy curries for him when the whole family hogs on to Biryani.

Invention of this curry was on one of those days when I realized 30 minutes before dinner time that I don’t have his curry ready and that’s when this happened. The curry is pretty delicious for the time and effort I had put in and isn’t that the best thing we like about any dish. I used Dry Red chili with cumin in the oil for an initial flavor, followed by Garlic, followed by chopped onions, green chilies and loads of coriander leaves. You can always go easy on green chilies or omit the Dry red chilies altogether if you aren’t a big fan of food that’s too hot and spicy at the same time. It’s just that being Indian, we have to have that extra kick in our curries and somewhere I feel its kind of important.

Along with the spiked up Red chilies and green chilies, I also added Black pepper powder and White pepper powder with tomatoes and Yogurt. We all know how strong Black Pepper is. Any dish that contains Black pepper always displays its unique and prominent taste, except if there are other spices like Mace or Star Anise that over power it. Along with that, what also accentuates the flavor is Coriander leaves. It’s a wonderful recipe that can come very handy when you want to impress family or friends in little time, without going crazy over too much grinding and chopping or prep work. Serve with Roti or Parantha. 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.

Kaju Chicken Curry

Cashews are my favorite dry fruits. I can eat them raw, fried, baked, salty, sweet. You name it and I can eat it. So, with my love for cashews, I also enjoy their flavor in my curries. Addition of cashews makes the curry milder, thicker and a little sweeter. Its a good substitute to cream as well. I am not a big fan of using cream in my dishes, I mean I do but as little as possible and mostly its for decoration purposes.

So cashews do mostly make the gravy mild and the sauce turns a little more thicker, but the fact is that you can not put in more than 10-12 cashews pieces, soak them and grind them and add them to the gravy. Be it any curry, adding cashews does add a lot of life and adding a little more makes the flavor of cashews more prominent.

This recipe is one of those where I added more than usual cashews and the curry base has a very strong taste of cashews. Other ingredients have also been pureed to add a balance. In usual recipes that I come up with I also suggest substitutes and for this one, if you aren’t a big fan of Cashew or happen to have any allergies, You can follow the recipe the same way with Almonds. The only stipulation is that you need to soak the almonds and take the skin off. The recipe is easy and has been my kids favorite for quiet some time.