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.

Aate ka Halwa

This sweet dish takes me back to my childhood days. Though this sweet dish is the most easiest and simple sweet dish you could ever make, but you know how somethings are simple yet delicious.

A delicious 4 ingredients Indian Dessert, Aate Ka Halwa is very easy to make and is quite scrumptious. Loaded with ghee and dry fruits, Atta Halwa or Wheat Halwa is definitely indulgent. This is easy to make at home with some simple tricks. It is usually served for breakfast or before bedtime to keep the body warm. You can also serve it as dessert after meals.

Although you can use any whole wheat flour available to make this halwa, making it using coarsely ground flour will give you the best result. If you have access to freshly milled flour, then the results will be best. This halwa should be made in ghee or clarified butter for the best result. If ghee is not available, then you can use unsalted butter, but not oil. If you are conscious and prefer your halwas in Oil, then I would say that you are depriving yourself with real taste of Halwa. Secondly, I see a lot of people use White sugar and Brown sugar, but the actual Aate ka halwa is made with Gudd/Jaggery.

My mother has often made this Halwa during weekends, specially in winters for breakfast. I loved the fact that it would be ready on demand and everyone at home enjoyed and loved it. Its always made our weekend more special and sweet. As much as I did try, I do not think I can make it as delicious as how my mother made it, but its still pretty close.

You can easily store the halwa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. When you want to consume, just take it out and heat for a few minutes before serving. You can also freeze it in freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. My steps are simple and I keep it as basic as I can so it’s easy to follow and the taste connect us to the authentic flavor too. Enjoy!!!

Masala Poori Chaat

Masala Poori or Masalpoori is a popular chaat in Southern states of India, mainly Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. This chaat can be made spicy and sweet, and of course the best way, which is sweet and spicy.

I think all chaats need to have “Tikhi-Meethi”, which is sweet and spicy in hindi. A chaat has to have medley of flavors that just make you happy. Chaats should make you remember and enjoy good times. See, people usually don’t realize but more than any sweet dish, chaats spread more happiness. Sweet dish is a part of every family and usually made or brought in from sweet shop every time for an occasion, big or small, sometimes not so important and sometimes made even without an occasion. But, Chaat, people mostly don’t make it at home and when they step out to enjoy their favorite chaat, its more like an event.

If you happen to be a chaat lover like us, and enjoy making them at home, this is a recipe for you. This chaat is different from all other chaats, the difference is North and South, literally. This one is more cooked, blended, mixed in and a little more effort from our regular chaats, but the end result is all worth it.

This chaat is mostly made with peas and sometimes with Chickpeas/Kabuli Chana. I have made both ways and I feel the Kabuli Chana is much better so preferred in my house, but you can always substitute and follow the same steps. Peas do not need to be soaked so you can always make this chaat in around an hour if using peas. Make sure you follow the steps of mashing and blending, the flavor would not be the same if you omit those steps. The chaat is served warm and would fill you like a meal, so I recommend it more for tea parties or chaat evenings than an appetizer. It is also a great option for Ramadan Iftaar, if you have an hour gap between Iftaar and dinner. Also, I prefer making my papdi at home, and I make it with Whole wheat flour. Nevertheless, using store bought Papdi gives exactly the same fabulous result. If you want to make yours at home, feel free to follow my recipe. You can also substitute whole wheat with All purpose flour as well.

My better half, Mr. Parveez introduced me to this chaat. It was his college days when he would be out with his friends, after college and at times bunking classes enjoying mouthful of flavors and mostly it was Masala Poori. All in all, loads of wonderful memories. Now, I can definitely bring back his wonderful carefree days, but every now and then I help him remember them with a smile by offering his favorite chaat.

Chiroti Khajas

I have mentioned in my other food stories of how my better half, Mr. Parveez has loads of stories of his different food flavors that he has experienced since childhood.

One of his childhood favorites were Khajas. Khajas are also known as Chirotis down south. Now, let me get this straight, I had never tried khajas before, so when Mr. Parveez told me the story about Khajas, the explanation was, “Its has layers, its fried and its sweet”. According to him the details good enough but imagine getting these details for something you haven’t seen or tasted.

But, when Mr. Parveez demands something, I have to try and do everything to make it for him. Cooking for him, specially what he demands give me immense happiness. I get a kick out of it….LOLzzz.

So, basically I was still clueless as to what he expected and just went ahead with what I understood and the result was a disaster. They were too soft, chewy and absorbed too much oil and were nothing close to what Mr. Parveez desired. But, I can’t give up so easily, therefore there was a second try and this time I made sure I do proper research before a try.

Mr. Parveez always called them “Khajas”. While doing my research, I found that they are widely known as “Chiroti”. Reading various regions making it, I not only understood how to make them, but also got an idea of so many variations in them.

This recipe that I am sharing is fool proof and very easy. Loved by kids and adults. Do try it.

Palak ka Parantha

We love Palak/ Spinach and if you follow my recipes, you would know that I always try to find new ways of making spinach. Sometimes, with meat, chicken and so many types of different daals or making palak in different kinds of dry curries as well.

After all those I felt making Palak ka parantha for breakfast would be a great idea. We love methi parantha and the recipe was simple and great, so I decided to use the same recipe for Palak parantha.

The good thing with palak parantha is that the kids enjoy eating it too with yogurt and it makes a great and healthy breakfast. Its a great option for lunch too and you can conveniently eat it on diets as well.