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.

French Baguette

My boys love eating bread. Specially if the bread is served straight out of the oven. Baguette, the long delicious French Bread seems to be a family favorite. Every restaurant that served a good bread had us visiting them more often. Every time we bought French Baguette from our favorite baker, I would reheat it in the oven to make it taste fresh, which was great but not the same. And, that’s when I thought I should try making my own baguette at home. Honestly, looking at so many different recipes, I felt that Baguette wasn’t all that fancily difficult and I decided it was time I just make it.

Now, when I think of France, I think of high end fashionable people, Eifel Tower and also a girl riding a bicycle with a basket full of long loaves of French bagutte Those long loaves are called “baguettes.” (The term comes from the Latin word for “stick.”) They are iconic, and France’s reputation for incredibly crusty and delicious baguettes is known far and wide.

They say that nothing can come close the bread you can get in France. I’ve never been, so I can’t say for sure, but I think you’d stand the best possible chance if you make it yourself. I mean, how could anything be better than a freshly baked loaf of bread? That crackly crust, the tender, airy crumb inside, steamy and yeasty and just begging to be torn into.

This recipe has just 5 ingredients: water, Oil yeast, flour, and salt. But the results are magical. And it’s all because of the technique. Start by dissolving the yeast in warm water. While that is doing its magic, combine the flour and salt. Create a little well in the center, and add in the yeast. Stir it around, taking flour from the outside edge and bringing it into the well, a little at a time. Keep stirring, and adding Oil followed by water as needed, until a shaggy dough forms. You can also use a stand mixer. Now just cover it loosely, and let it rest. For this type of bread, there’s not a lot of kneading involved. It only needs a few quick folds, to become smooth. Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover it tightly. Allow it to proof (or rise) in a warm place until doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, and shape into long logs (about 15 inches long) with pointed ends. Cover with oiled plastic wrap, and allow to rise a second time. While the baguettes are rising, fill a baking pan with water and place it in the bottom of your oven. Preheat the oven and allow it to fill with steam from the water. This is the key to a crusty baguette. Once the loaves have finished their second rise, remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle them with a little flour. Then quickly slash them with a sharp knife. This is not just decorative, but it also allows the crust to crack and the bread to expand in a more controlled way.

Place them in the oven and let them bake until deeply golden brown. They should feel light and dry on the outside, and when you tap them they should give a hollow sound.

Slice it into 1/2-inch rounds and it’s perfect as a base for bruschetta or crostini. Or it can be used as a dipper for your favorite party dip. And we love it toasted with garlic butter, for garlic bread. So good with a pasta dinner!

Or just tear into it and eat it with a hot bowl of soup. So satisfying!

Halwa Poori

Halwa Poori is a traditional Bangalore dish, popularly made by Muslim families specially during weddings. During a wedding, a no. of food items go from the Bride’s side to the Groom’s side, which also includes Halwa Poori. There are also numerous occasions when they are made at home, but they kind of always need a special reason. I have no idea where the tradition came from, but it does have a little Mughlai influence and that’s why the traditions are carried on by Muslim families. The reason probably is also because it a tedious job making them, requires time and effort and usually made in a large batch too. When made, its always distributed among relatives, friends and neighbors. When I first saw Halwa Poori, it reminded me of Diwali Gujiya and honestly I have never been a fan of Gujiya. I always found them too coconuty and I also felt that it was always too dry and the dry coconut would start falling out if not careful. I also felt that if there was something that was nicer, softer and sweeter and Halwa Poori seemed to be a perfect answer to it. Halwa is made of Chana daal, coconut, Khoya, Milk and sugar cooked together in ghee/ Oil. The poori is made from All purpose flour. The halwa is filled in the poori and then sealed and fried. The traditional recipe is great and awesome if you are serving a large no. of people in a day or two. After that they kind of get a little mushy unless you keep them in a perfect airtight container. When I started making Halwa Poori, it always is great in taste. And then I decided to bring a little twist to this recipe and instead of the regular dough, I switched to Puff pastry dough. So there is also a recipe with Halwa Puff Pastry. And, for the Halwa, I can make and refrigerate it for up to 15-20 days. The Halwa can also be eaten minus the poori or puff pastry. I hope you enjoy making this as much I do..Its definitely a great recipe.

Pizza Dough

The secret to a perfect Pizza dough recipe? Easy to follow step by step photos that will give you the perfect Pizza dough. You will never have to look for another Pizza dough recipe ever. I have actually been waiting for so long to write down the recipe for this dough, since I know there are so many like me who would love to make pizza at home. One of the best things about making homemade Pizza is that you can always involve your kids and family and it can be so much fun.

The secret to making a perfect Pizza dough at home is the water temperature. You just have to make sure that your water temperature is perfect. I am not going to ask you to boil it, or microwave it , even the water that comes out of the fridge or tap, all work different ways. The temperature should be between 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit or between 43 to 46 degrees Celsius. The best thing would be to use a thermometer. If the water isn’t hot enough, it won’t wake up the yeast. If it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast. Only the correct temperature will bubble up the yeast perfectly. I have wasted loads of dough, thinking even if my yeast didn’t bubble up, my dough will work out fine, but it failed to rise resulting a wasted dough. Until I realized that the temperature has to be perfect. After a few trials you will be able to tell by touch. A candy thermometer should work just fine. Dump your water and restart if its not correct. You add around 2.5 tsp of yeast and little sugar. It doesn’t need stirring. Let it sit for around 5-7 minutes and it will be nice and frothy on top and this is when you know that the yeast will make the perfect dough.

When you are measuring you flour, make sure you scoop the flour in a measuring cup and level it. If you scoop it out right from the container, you might end up getting more flour than needed. If your dough isn’t coming together well, because may be accidentally added more flour than required, then add a tiny bit of warm water, just few teaspoons at a time until it comes together.

If you like the pizza dough recipe, leave me a 5 star and a comment. I would also love to know what your favorite toppings are. Enjoy!!!

Salmon Fajita

Salmon is an all time favorite for us. Any day, any way, Salmon on the plate not just looks appealing but also is very healthy and tastes absolutely delicious. Sunday lunch/brunch made with Salmon is a Parveez family special. Not just loved but also a favorite for our friends.

Its amazing how my friends who drop in on weekends request a good Salmon fajita and I very happily make it for them. Salmon is easy to make, marination doesn’t need to be for too long and if you use fresh fish, the flavors come out even more amazing.

I serve my fajita with and without tortillas. Many times people find tortillas to be a must with their fajita, but I kind of take it easy and a lot of times make my fajita without tortillas too. This time I made the tortillas at home, but store bought are almost as good and can be substituted with homemade, except the freshness and preservative free food cannot be substituted.

Rice and beans with grilled Salmon make an excellent accompaniment and so does grilled veggies and sour cream. Rice and beans can be eaten separately with the Salmon too, without adding them to the tortilla. I also like some cheese and raw onions, but that’s always a personal choice.

A little bit of guacamole adds a lot of flavor. Avocado adds a little softness and buttery flavor to the fajita and the crunch of Salmon and veggies with the buttery guacamole is very fancy together. I usually add green chilies and tomato to avocado to make my guacamole so its little bit on the spicier side, but you can always make it a little bland or less spicy.

Mango Cream

Like most Marwaris, I also grew up eating Fruit cream as a fast and go to dessert. As much as its an easy and impressive dessert to impress your guests and loved ones, its not everyone who can make it the authentic way. Now, every time I use the word authentic for “Fruit cream”, people usually give me a very confused look. But what they fail to understand is its not just mixing in fruits, sugar and cream.

A fruit cream is best when the cream is whipped with sugar making those stiff peaks and making it fluffy at the same time. Your fruits should always be fresh and the additional sugar should be based on the fruits you are using and how sweet they are. Small little things and make big changes to your dish.

But here, we aren’t making fruit cream, I am making Mango cream and that too with a little twist. My first time trying to make Mango cream was whipping the cream and mixing in a few mango pieces. I wouldn’t say it wasn’t nice but it was definitely not satisfying as a chef.  Instead of making the whole serving with just mango flavor, I divided into half vanilla and half Mango.

The recipe below might remind you of Mango Panacotta, though similar but its very different. Panacotta requires a little more effort and cooking time where as this is you to go recipe and can easily be made in a rush with almost no prep time.

Roti Boti

Roti Boti is a recipe that is very close to my heart. My mother, once when she went for a vacation to Mumbai, then Bombay tried something from an Iranian cafe. Now Iranian cafes in Mumbai have food to die for, specially the non vegetarians. Iranian kheema paav are one of my most favorite dishes.

So, getting back to my mom’s trip. She tried a chicken roll from the cafe and though she never got the recipe but, with what she tasted, she started making this dish and this was one dish I always loved having. With years, I always felt there were more things that could make the dish taste better and therefore, I made some modifications.

This dish is great for school / office lunches, an easy road trip lunch/dinner.