Chicken Ghee Roast

With a wide variety of Kebabs that we like and cook, Mutton Ghee Roast is somehow very special and close to my heart. Trying out the Chicken version of it came out absolutely delicious too. If you ever need to fix something quick, this recipe is for you.

The spice mix stays good and fresh for 2 months in an airtight container. Usually, when I make Ghee roast, I always end up making extra spice mix which works out great especially when I need to make it impromptu. The best thing about Ghee Roast is that whether you make it with mutton or chicken, the flavors blend up really well and make the dish taste great. Though you can always serve Ghee roast as a side dish or an appetizer. To me, it goes best on the side with Daal Chawal. If you don’t dry it up completely, you can also serve it with Phulka.

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.

Tikka Masala Powder

To make the most authentic Chicken Tikka Masala I always tried a store bought ready made masala but then I decided that I should try and make it at home, since I started feeling that I smelt something weird in the mix. No, I don’t judge people who use it, it’s completely cool but then once I decided that making the masala at home, I felt it was so easy so, I decided to share it with everyone.

Gathering spices from your pantry would be easy to make this super delicious masala that can be kept in a cool dry place for up to 2 months. So within minutes, I gathered up all the spices for making this masala that could be used whenever you feel like making any Tikka with or without gravy. Tikka Masala Spice Mix is a fine motley of aromatic and strong spices that end up granting the quintessential flavor to any delicacy for which it is used!

The masala is prepared using the fine mix of Coriander seeds, Cumin seeds, Cloves, Cinnamon stick, Green cardamom, dry Kashmiri red chilli & whole black pepper. After dry roasting the whole spices, add Turmeric Powder, Red chili Powder and Tandoori Powder. Mixing everything together Tikka Masala Powder creates a royal treat of flavors for your palate without a doubt.

Rice Pongal

In a world of amazing flavors and lip smacking delicious food, at time we all crave something that’s yummy, simple and easy to make. Sometimes, and trust me, with someone like me most times I am always looking around for get set go recipes.

So, the story is. Yeah, of course there is a story. Every dish simple, plain, easy, tough, but if they are made by me there are always incidents or stories that connect them to me. No idea why but there are always scenes that pass through my eyes like a movie making me remember when I first saw, or tasted this dish or why am I inclined towards making it and after that each time I make that dish along with the reactions I get is what gets stored in my mind…Weird ??? Totally…LOLzzz

So, for this simple and scrumptious dish, the story is that my Mother in law is a big fan of Pongal. After Mr. Parveez and I got married and every time I traveled to India, we would have family vacations and most of them would be not to far, for instance since we are based in Bangalore, we would always take a trip to Ooty. Now my MIL isn’t a big fan of outside food. In fact she is very precise with her orders and with time I discovered that she mainly always orders dishes that are simple, because her logic is that restaurants always keep fancy dishes stocked up, so if you like eating fresh food, always order something nutritious that barely needs time to cook. Pongal was something she could every single day without a fuss.

Now with Pongal, its definitely a dish that barely needs any prep time. Its simple on the tummy and since it is runny, it can be served to small children as well, just minus the fancy additions we made to our Pongal.

Lucknowi Mutton Biryani

Lucknow food is food of the Nawabs and I love the Kebabs, curries and of course, the Biryani. Lucknowi Biryani uses a lot whole masalas and requires the chicken to be marinated in whole spices, powdered spices and Yogurt.

I have been to Lucknow once, with my parents in 2002. Though we didn’t stay for too long, but few days were enough for me to love the flavors and food from Lucknow. I wasn’t a complete cook back then and as much as I loved the food, I wasn’t so keen about doing a research to find out or look for recipes and try them out. Its much later, few years ago when I decided to get on the band wagon of cooking varieties of Biryani and started my journey of getting minute details about everything, is when I discovered the details about the Lucknowi Nawabi Cuisine.

This particular recipe happens to be one of the most old and original recipes from the Khansamas of the Nawabs. There were a few books in Urdu that described the times of Nawabi culture and traditions and how posh the era of Nawabs were and how beautifully and exclusively served food and how delectable the food used to be. The article gave an idea of how the Khansamas marinated the meat/ chicken and the ingredients they used and following the notes, I came up with the recipe as close to the original.

I have also tried making Lucknowi seekh and Galouti kebab and if you check the Kebab section, you will find the recipes for them. This Biryani doesn’t use tomatoes, but uses a lot of coriander leaves, mint leaves and green chilies.

This Biryani is one of my family’s favorite.  This was my first dish from Lucknow and from there on, its been pretty regular in our house. This is a wonderful recipe. Like I say for most recipes, Please read the complete recipe properly before you try this out. Its a sure hit.

Kanpur Ki Murgh Biryani

Lucknow food is inspired by Nawabs and only for the ones who have tasted the food know what a great taste the Nawabs had. Its the “Tehzeeb” or the culture and traditions of Lucknow that has us all enjoy the delicious cuisines even more. Kanpur has a lot of influence from the Lucknowi cuisine as well, specially for the Non vegetarian food.

The Nawabs of Lucknow were also ruling and settled in areas of Kanpur and therefore, after them the Khansamas also moved and settled in Kanpur. The good thing about moving to a new place is that you get to be more innovative with your recipe and the new ingredients helps you be more creative.

I believe food can be made with a lot of work, love, passion but, what makes the mark is the presentation of the dish, the words that describes the dish and most of all the person who cooks and serves. Nawabs have always been a people of nazakat and nawazish, and it flows in their cuisine.

This Biryani recipe is pretty simple and is great for beginners. The recipe is made in ghee which can be easily substituted with any oil you like. The recipe is rich, like most Nawabi cuisine.

Hyderabadi Korme ki Biryani

Hyderabad is popular for its food, especially for the Biryani. But did you know that Hyderabad itself offers at least 100 varieties of Biryanis. And trust me, each Biryani is completely different in taste from the other. The cooking style, the spices and different times of adding the spice changes the complete taste and to understand that better, you have to be a Biryani lover like me.

This recipe is among one of my favorites, honestly I think they all are and it gets really hard to choose between them. My younger one loves the idea of having potatoes in his Biryani. I have no idea which side he gets it from because me or Mr. Parveez are strictly “meat lovers only” when it comes to our Biryanis and as much as my younger son loves Potatoes, he wouldn’t ever eat vegetable Biryani to save his life. Yupp!!! Its quiet funny . So, this Biryani is one of his favorites.

Korma is essentially , a yogurt based curry to which musk melon seeds, poppy seeds and cashew nuts have been added. It is to this curry that rice is added making the flavor amazing.

Its always worth trying a new flavor. Just make sure you read all the instructions and follow the steps strictly to enjoy the same taste as we did. You can always contact me if you miss out something or need help.

Hyderabadi Murgh Khuskhus Biryani

Hyderabad is the fist place that comes to our mind when we think of Biryani in India. But, did you ever know that Hyderabad itself makes numerous kinds of Biryanis and every Biryani differs from the other one.

Though I have never been to Hyderabad, I love the Biryanis that I try at different places. Hyderabadis love using coconut, poppy seeds and nuts in their Biryanis  and while reading more about the authentic Biryani recipes, I found that khuskhus or poppy seeds make an important ingredient to one of the Biryanis. I felt the idea was different and the Biryani would come out slightly creamy since poppy seeds give creamy texture to a dish when added. Also, the fragrance of saffron and star anise is a beautiful touch to the dish.

I have always loved saffron. The fragrance, the flavor, the texture and the ability to bring out so much color to a dish is simply amazing. Unless you have used saffron, you’d never know how magical a few strands of this super expensive spice is.

Growing up, my mom always had abundance of this super expensive spice. My maternal grandmother would always send loads as gifts or bring them each time she would visit or when we visited her in UK. I have never seen my mom run out of saffron. So, my love for it has been before I entered the world of cooking. One of the most annoying things I did, once I started cooking was using saffron for making tea. My  mother never liked it much but then the tea would be so amazingly delicious that she would forget to tell me off after a sip. It was much later when I realized how expensive saffron is and that it should be used sparingly. But even that didn’t make much of a  difference to me using saffron. It sounds ridiculous, but I had my hubby buy 500 gms of saffron from Spice souk in Dubai…LOLzzz

So, finally I got things ready and decided to make the fabulous khuskhus Biryani. It was an instant hit. This Biryani is also great for people who do not like their Biryani too spicy. Though I have tried to make this Biryani in a simple manner so its easy for everyone to follow, but at times it gets a little complicated and therefore I wouldn’t recommend this to be your first Biryani. But, do eventually try it.

Coorg Masala Powder

Every region has their own spices and generally their food has very prominent flavor of those spices, either individual or a mixture of the spices.

Coorg is a beautiful hill station in Karnataka. We visited Coorg in 2015 and the place just doesn’t have amazing scenic views, it also has one of the most beautiful Monastery that we have ever visited. Coorg serves wonderful coffee as well. Coorg has many coffee plantations and it offers coffee powder that is spiced up with cinnamon powder and cloves powder.

This Masala is a mixture of different spices and is used in Coorg Biryani and a few curries too. The masala is pretty easy to make and can easily be stored in an airtight container at a cool and dry place.


Chicken Tikka Masala Biryani

Biryani is a gift from the Mughals to India, but certain recipes are so purely Indian that when you try making them, you know that they are just inspired by Biryani as a cooking method and not really the recipe. Sometimes, when you cook these recipes by combining them, the final result comes out so fabulous that you question for not trying your hand on it before.

Chicken Tikka is and official tikka starter that I believe is the first kebab anyone tries when they try Chicken kebabs. And, Chicken Tikka Masala is a favorite chicken curry for all ages. My boys love Chicken tikka masala any day, any time.

So, One fine day I decided to take a step further and make Biryani with flavors of Chicken Tikka Masala. The curry is made with boneless chicken, but I chose to make Biryani with regular chicken with bones. So, if you choose to go boneless with this one, its fine too.

Though, I was a little nervous at first but the Biryani came out amazing. The taste is something every one who loves Chicken Tikka Masala would love and since we normally consume the curry with Naan, this being with Rice makes it taste super amazing.