Friday, 31 January 2014

Chili Chicken with steamed rice

Chinese is the second best menu option at our dinner table. My family loves it and I am a happy mom as I can incorporate vegetables in it and best of all, it is just so quick to cook. My preferred choice of carbs with it is just plain steamed rice but can be served with fried rice or noodles.
Just a few ingredients and 20 minutes and you have a delicious, healthy home cooked meal.


Chicken Breast                          2
Corn starch                                1 tbsp + 2 tbsp
Salt                                            to taste
Garlic paste                               1 tsp
Green chili                                 4-8
Green Onion                              3-4
Onion                                        1
Oyster Sauce                             3 tbsp
Soya sauce                                1 tbsp
Black pepper                             1/2 tsp
Oil                                             1/4 cup


Slice chicken breast into thin slices.
Add 1 tbsp of corn starch and 1/4 tsp of salt and keep aside.
Slice green onions in 1 inch pcs.
Slice onion in half cm thick slices.
Chop green chilies. Adjust the quantity according to your taste.
Heat oil in a pan on high and add the chicken pieces. Do not overcrowd the pan. It you have a smaller pan,, fry the chicken in batches.
Take the chicken out and keep aside.
In the same pan, add a bit more oil, if required. Add garlic paste and fry for a minute.
Put the chicken back in the pan and coat with garlic.
Add onion and mix well.
Put the oyster sauce, soya sauce, black pepper and green chilies.
Add half a cup of water and bring it to a boil.
Dissolve 2 tbsp of corn starch in 1/4 cup of water and add to the chicken in portions as you may not need all.
Let it come to a boil and taste for salt. Adjust if required.
Put the green onions and cook for another minute.
Serve immediately with steamed rice.


Salt content varies in soya sauce as well as oyster sauce so adjust at the end of the recipe.
Do not over crowd the pan with chicken or you will end u with soapy boiled chicken. It needs to be fried in a single layer at a time.
Amount of green chilies can be increased or decreased according to your taste.
Its easy to cut thin slices when chicken is half frozen.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Beef Pockets

I love to make small packages of food considering I have 2 little munchkins who need a new lunch every day. What could be a better option than rolling some protein in some form of dough as undoubtedly its my favourite way to do it. Its easy, its quick and best of all its kid friendly. Another lunch box idea which is a hit with my babies.
I have used beef mince here but feel free to use chicken or mutton. 


Puff Pastry                                      2 sheets 12*12 inches
Egg                                                 1 beaten
Mince                                             2 lbs Lean
Onions                                            3 chopped
Garlic                                              6 cloves
Ginger                                             1 inch pc
Green chili                                       3
Oil                                                   3-4 tbsp
Salt                                                  1.5 tsp or to taste
Black pepper corn                           1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds                                    1 tsp
Coriander powder                           1 tsp
Red chili flakes                                 1 tsp
Turmeric powder                              1/2 tsp


In a mortar and pestle, crush ginger, garlic, black pepper corns and three green chilies.
Heat oil in a pan and add half of the chopped onions, fry for a few mins till soft but don't brown them.
Add ginger/garlic, turmeric, cumin seeds, coriander powder and salt. Fry till spices are fragrant about a min or two.
Add mince and break it into pieces with spoon quickly before it changes color.
Fry mince in onion and spice mix till no moisture is left and no pink bits can be seen.
Add remaining onions, take off the heat and cover. Let steam for 10 minutes.
Let the mince cool completely before filling.


Roll the puff pastry to 12x12 inches and cut in four squares.
Put 2 tbsp of filing in the middle of the square. brush the sides with egg.
Join the opposite corners to form a pyramid shape pinching all the seams well.
At this stage you can freeze these pockets and use whenever required as they go directly from freezer to oven.
Preheat the oven at 375 for 10 minutes. Put the pastries on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake till nice golden brown and crisp.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Date Halwa/ Date Pops

This recipe comes with a lot memories as my father used to make it for us during winter days with a particular type of date. Since we don't get those particular dates here so i used some Tunisian dates to make it. You can use any soft dates which you have on hand. Just three ingredients and what a transformation it gives to simple dates. I used desiccated coconut to roll them but the choices are unlimited as you can used any chopped nuts like almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnut, pecans, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts etc.


Dates                             3 cups seeds removed and chopped
Butter                            1/2 cup
Green cardamom            3 powdered


Melt the butter in a pan and add dates. 
Cook on low heat until dates are mushy and seemed to dry a bit around 8-10 mins. Mixture will start forming a ball and leaving the sides of the pan.
Add cardamom powder and mix well. Take off the heat and let it cool a bit till you can handle it with your hands.
Put 2 tbsp spoons of oil in a bowl to moisten your hands as the dates will be sticky. 

Take a teaspoon and form a date shape or a ball by rolling around in your palm. Roll it in coconut and chill for an hour before serving.
Sprinkle some chopped nuts and serve it hot as halwa.
Taste delicious with a hot cup of tea in winters.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Chicken Buns

These buns are one of the favourites when it comes to lunch box ideas. They freeze so beautifully that i don't even mind making a double batch. Though it needs a little preparation time but the end result is well worth it. My kids are more than happy to help me in assembling those.



Water                         1 cups
Milk                            1 1/2 cups
Flour                          3 cups
Flour                          2 cups
Olive oil                     1/4 cup
Yeast                         3 tsp
Salt                            1 tsp
Sugar                         1 tsp


  1. In 1 cup of luke warm water, stir in sugar and yeast. Let it sit for 15 mins until frothy. Add olive oil and milk to the mixture after it is frothy.
  2. Mix 3 cups of flour and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Add in the yeast mix and stir with a wooden spoon or your hands. let rest for another 10 mins.
  4. Pour the flour out on a well floured surface. (use flour from remaining two cups)
  5. Start kneading and adding flour until the dough is smooth and elastic around 12 mins. (You many not need all two cups of flour)
  6. In a large bowl put one table spoon of oil and put the dough ball in, rub oil all over the dough, cover with a wet cloth or shrink wrap and let it sit until it doubles in size, around 2-3 hours.
  7. Punch the air out of the dough and make 15 balls. Cover the balls and let rest until they double in size, it may take from 45-75 mins depending on your room temp.



Chicken                     3 cups 
Carrot                       1 cup grated
Spring Onion             1 cup thinly sliced
Cheese                      1 cup
Ketchup                    1 tbsp
Mushrooms               1/2 cup chopped
Oil                             2 tbsp
Salt                           1 tsp
Black pepper            1/2 tsp


  1. Cut chicken into tiny pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add chicken and fry. Add salt and pepper and take it off the heat when it has changed color and cooked through.
  3. Let its cool completely and then add all other ingredients and mix well. Check for the seasoning at this stage.

Assembling Buns

Egg                1
  1. Beat the egg and keep aside.
  2. Roll the ball of dough using a rolling pin or your palms to 3-4 inches diameter.
  3. Fill 1.5 tbsps of filling and join the seams to close it tightly.
  4. Put the buns on a lined baking sheet seam side down.
  5. When done with all the buns, cover and let rest for 10 mins.
  6. Preheat the oven at 400 for 10 mins.
  7. Brush the buns with egg and put them in the oven. Bake till nice golden brown on top.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Daal/ Red Lentils

Daal is a humble ingredient yet satisfying and  beats the festive dishes if prepared well. I used red lentils here but you can use the yellow ones as well. One of the easiest meals to make. That's the reason on laundry days, this is a staple. Just a few ingredients and you have a delicious meal to gobble.


Yellow Lentils/ Masoor daal                        1 cup
Salt                                                             1.5 tsp
Turmeric                                                      1/4 tsp
Crushed red chili                                         1 tsp
Coriander powder                                       1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds                                                1/2 +1/2 tsp
Black pepper whole                                     6-8 pcs
Curry leaves                                                5-6
Mustard seeds                                             1/4 tsp
Garam Masala                                             1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves                                          1/4 cup
Butter/Ghee /Oil                                           4 tbsp
Red chili powder                                          1/4 tsp Optional


Wash the lentils really well and soak in warm water for half an hour.
Put the lentils in the pot with 5 cups of water.
Once it comes to a boil reduce the heat and skim the foam forming on top.
After five minutes of skimming add salt, turmeric, crushed red chilies, coriander powder, black pepper and 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds. Put the lid on leaving half of the pot open and half covered with the lid.
Let cook for 35-40 minutes until lentils are in one mass and you cannot see lentils and water separate.
At this time you can adjust the consistency of the daal. Add water if you like it thin or increase the heat to thicken it.
In a frying pan heat the ghee for tempering/tadka/baghaar. Put cumin seeds and mustard seeds in a bowl. Put red chili powder in a spoon.
Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. The moment they splutter add curry leaves and turn the heat off. Sprinkle red chili powder and immediate pour over the daal.
Add coriander leaves and sprinkle garam masala on top. Serve with fluffy steamed basmati rice and onion pickle.
You can also add chopped green chilies but its totally optional.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Beef Quesadilla

My recipes and cooking revolves around my kids. I try to find new ways to incorporate healthy ingredients in their daily diet. My little one does not like milk but loves yogurt. So these quesadillas are a perfect meal for him as it has cheese, sour cream, vegetables and meat and above all its very easy for him to eat. So this covers his calcium, protein and vegetable intake. It is a perfect lunch box item as well. The crisp outer shells with melt in your mouth filling is just YUMMY.


Corn/flour Tortilla                                     10
Grated Cheddar cheese                            2-3 cups
Sour cream                                              1 cup

Beef filling

Beef mince                                               1 lbs
Red onion                                                1 big chopped
Garlic                                                       2 cloves crushed
Chipotle Chili powder/paste                     1/2 tsp
Cumin powder                                         1 tsp
Salt                                                          2/3 tsp
Lemon juice                                             1 tsp
Cilantro                                                   1/4 cup chopped
Oil                                                           2 tbsp
Heat the oil in a pan and add half onion. Fry till soft.
Add beef mince and garlic.
Sprinkle salt, cumin powder and chipotle powder/paste and mix well with the mince. Fry till no moisture left in the mince and its cooked through.
Put the remaining onion and stir.
Take off the heat and add cilantro and lemon juice.

Mixed Peppers Filling

Green Pepper                                    1
Red pepper                                       1
Orange pepper                                  1
Yellow pepper                                  1
Fennel Seeds                                    1.5 tsp
Salt                                                   2 big pinches
Black pepper                                    1/4 tsp
Vegetable Oil                                    2 tbsp

Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and membranes. Slice and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan big enough to hold all the peppers loosely.
Add the fennel seeds and stir for 10 seconds.
Put the peppers in and sprinkle salt and pepper.
Stir fry for 3-5 mins on high heat and keep aside

Assembling the Quesadilla:

Put the tortilla on a plate followed by mince, peppers and cheese. Put the second tortilla on top to close the sandwich.
Do not overfill or they will be soggy.
Heat a griddle/pan on medium high. Lightly grease the surface with vegetable oil.
Slide your quesadilla onto it. Use another pan or a can to weigh the sandwich down.
When the bottom becomes crisp, flip it over.
Crisp the other side by weighing it down.
Once crisp, take it out and cut into wedges and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

You can replace beef mince with chicken or mutton mince.
I used a heavy pot to weigh the them down, a can of tomatoes or chickpeas does the trick as well.
#yummyQuesadilla #kidfriendlyfood

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Fish Pakora

It is a popular snack specially in winters. They say fish keeps you warm. It is not very spicy so kids enjoy it as well.
Here is how you can make it.


Fish                                   1 lbs boneless fillets
Chickpea flour                   1 1/2 cups
Salt                                    1 1/4 tsp
Crushed red chili                3/4 tsp
Cumin seeds                       1 tsp
Cumin powder                    1 tsp
Coriander seeds                 1 tsp
Dry fenugreek leaves          1/2 tsp
Baking soda                       1 pinch
Garam Masala                    1/4 tsp
Carom seeds                       1/8 tsp
Water                                 as required
Oil                                      for frying


  1. Cut fish fillets in 1 inch cubes. I used basa but you can use any white flesh fish easily available.
  2. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of salt on the fillets and let sit for 10 mins.
  3. Dry roast cumin and coriander seeds and crush them just till they crack.
  4. Add chickpea flour and all the spices including baking soda in a bowl and add enough water to make a paste. It should be pour-able but not watery. At this stage you can taste for salt and spices.
  5. Add fish pieces and coat them well with chickpea mixture.
  6. Heat the oil in a wok on medium heat.
  7. Add fish pieces one by one making sure they are coated from all sides.
  8. Cook till you can see it browning from the edges, flip the over and cook the other side.
  9. Take them out on paper towel and serve hot with hot cup of tea.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Tomato walnut chutney

Tomato walnut chutney is an essential with chapli kababs. Its extremely easy to make and ready in minutes.
here is how the recipe goes:


Tomatoes                  2 large
Green chili                1-2
Coriander leaves       1/2 cup
White Vinegar           2 tbsp
Salt                           1/2 tsp
Walnuts                     2 tbsp
Garlic clove               1
Crushed red chili        1/2 tsp


Put everything in the blender and blend well. 
Serve chilled.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Chapli Kabab

Chapli kabab or chapal kabab has a very interesting name.Chapal means slippers and honestly I don't have any clue why such a delicious thing is named so bad. May be its their long oval shape and large size but still  its a guess only. Don't go for the name as they are sooper yummy and quiet easy to make. Traditionally they were made with sheep meat and fried in sheep fat but I am making it with beef and frying is done in canola oil to make a healthier version but if you prefer by all means use sheep fat as it definitely have more authentic flavour.
Here is how the recipe goes:


Beef mince                       2 lbs (10% fat)
Onion                               2 large
Green chili                        3-6 adjust the heat according to your preference
Coriander leaves               1/4 cup
Tomato                             1 chopped
Crushed red chili               1 tbsp
Salt                                   1/2  tbsp
Turmeric                           1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds                     1 tbsp
Coriander seeds                1 tbsp
Dry Pomegranate              1.5 tbsp
Corn meal                         1/4 cup fine grind
Eggs                                  2
Butter                                1 tbsp
Oil                                     for frying


Dry roast cumin and coriander seeds and crush them roughly.
Chop onions, green chili and coriander leaves very finely.
Chop tomato roughly.
Crush the pomegranate seeds with the mortar and pestle but don't make paste.
Heat the butter in a pan and scramble the eggs half way through. Don't let them cook completely as they should still be very soft.
Put mince in a bowl and add everything in it. Mix until everything is incorporated well. Ideally let rest in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Heat an inch of oil in a heavy bottomed pan.
Make oval kababs about the size of  your hand and fry on medium heat until golden and crisp on both sides.
Serve with tomato and walnut chutney and hot naans..
You can also use it in buns and serve as a burger.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Chicken Katsu with curry sauce

Chicken Katsu is a japanese version of fried chicken and when you serve it with curry sauce, it becomes a beautiful marriage of japanese and south east asian flavours. Here is how I make mine:


Chicken breasts                    4 pcs
Oil                                       2 cups for frying

Flour mixture

Flour                                     1 cup
Salt                                       1/4 tsp
Red chilli                               1/4 tsp

Egg mixture

Egg                                       2
Salt                                       2 pinches

Bread Crumb/Panko mix

Panko crumbs                       1 1/2 cup
Salt                                       1/4 tsp
Red chilli                               1/4 tsp


Put flour in a bowl and add salt and red chilli powder. Mix well and keep aside.
Beat the egg with salt and keep aside.
Mix panko, salt and chilli and keep them in a separate plate.
Put one chicken breast on cutting board and with the help of meat tenderizer (the hammer look alike tool) pound them to get half an inch evenly thick pieces.
Make the assembly line in the sequence of flour mixture, followed by egg and then the panko mix.
Coat the chicken breast in flour and dust the excess flour off.
Dip in the egg mixture and then coat them in panko mix.
Put them in the baking sheet and refrigerate for 40 mins, refrigeration helps the coating to stick to the chicken during frying as well as you end with a crunchier chicken.
Once fried cut them in thin strips before serving them over rice. 

Curry sauce 


Onion 1 finely chopped
Garlic 4 cloves crushed
Ginger 1 inch crushed
Coriander powder 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Garam masala 1/2 tsp
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Salt 3/4 tsp
Sugar 1 1/2 tsp
Chicken stock 2 cups
Red chilli powder 1/4 tsp
Oil 1 tbsp
Flour 2 tbsp


In a heavy bottom pot add oil and onions, fry till they become translucent about 4 mins.
Add flour and fry till the flour is toasted, for 2-3 mins.
Add ginger, garlic and spices and toast for another one min.
Add the stock slowly while stirring continuously as u want to avoid any lumps.
Once it comes to boil slow down the heat and let cook for 10 mins covered. 
Add sugar and taste for the salt and heat.
Use a hand blender or regular mixer, puree the sauce well. You can pass it though sieve if u really want a smooth sauce.
For plating , spread the rice in the plate, add chicken and then pour the sauce over.

Panko is Japanese version of bread crumbs.
Once the sauce is ready, you can start frying the chicken as it only takes 4-5 mins on each side for thin pieces.
This recipe is for four people so i used around two cups of rice.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Lamb Kababs

There are many varieties in lamb kababs. Here is my take on it. They are just melt in your mouth soft.


Lamb mince                                        750 grams
Green onions                                      4
Habanero                                           1
Red bell pepper                                  1/4
Coriander leaves                                1 cup packed
Garlic cloves                                      2
Salt                                                    1 tsp or to taste
Crushed red chili                                1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds                                      1/2 tsp
Green tomato                                     1 medium


Put Garlic, red pepper, coriander,onions, habanero and tomato in a blender/food processor and make a paste without adding any water.
Put the spices in a bowl and add the onion mix. Put the mince and mix.
Make kababs in round/ oval shape of the size of your palm.
Heat the pan on medium heat and add a tbsp of oil. Fry the kababs for 3-4 mins on each side.
Serve with green chutney and naan/pita.

For the best results, make sure the mince has at least 10% of fat.
Do not knead the mince or kababs will be rubbery.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Haleem is a slow cooking dish. It takes quite a bit of planning and cooking time but don't get scared as every second is very well worth it. Traditionally it is made with beef. To make it healthier, i have made it with chicken. you can always replace it with beef if you like. It is a very satisfying dish, full of fiber and protein. Hope you like it as much as my family does. Plan it a day in advance as lentils and wheat needs to be soaked to achieve the texture. Here is how the recipe goes:


Lentils and grains

Cracked or whole wheat              1 cup
Moong washed                            1/4 cup
Masoor washed Lentils                1/4 cup
Maash washed                            1/4 cup
Chana daal                                  1/4 cup
Oats                                            1/4 cup
Rice                                             1/4 cup


Chicken                                       1 whole 4-5 lbs
Onion                                          2 sliced thinly
Ginger                                         1 tbsp paste
Garlic                                          3 tbsp paste
Green chili                                   5-10 (to taste)
Tomato                                       2 medium
Salt                                             2-3 tsp or to taste
Red chili                                      1 tsp
Turmeric                                     1/2 tsp
Cumin powder                            1 tsp
Coriander powder                       1 tsp
Nutmeg                                       1 tsp
Garam masala                              1-2 tbsp
Oil                                               1/2 cup


Ginger                                        2 inch pc julienne
Green chili                                   5-8 thinly sliced
Onion                                          2 thinly sliced and browned and drained
Lemon                                         2-3 wedges


Lentil Preparation

  1. Wash and soak wheat in warm water over night. Make sure water is at least 3-4 inches higher than the wheat in the bowl.
  2. Wash and soak all lentils together for 3-4 hours or preferably over night. Make sure they have enough water to soak in.
  3. Wash and soak rice and oats in a separate bowl over night or for at least a couple of hours.
  4. The next morning cook wheat on low heat till its very tender. The sign is when you press it between two fingers, it mashes easily. Blend them with hand blender till its barely chunky. Don't make a smooth paste. Do not discard the soaking liquid, use it in cooking and add more if required. Liquid should be at least 3-4 inches higher than the wheat.
  5. Cook all the lentils till they almost disappear in their own cooking liquid. You can use a blender to achieve the texture.
  6. Put rice and oats in the same liquid they are soaking in the pot. Cover with 3-4 inches of water and cook till they start looking like kheer/custard consistency.

Meat Preparation

  1. In a big pot, add oil and fry onions till they start browning on the edges. 
  2. Put chicken, ginger, garlic and fry till chicken starts to change colour. 
  3. Add green chili, tomato and all the spices. Fry till oil separates from the chicken.
  4. Add 1 cup of water and cover. Cook till chicken becomes tender and starts separating from the bone.
  5. Let cool and remove the bones from the chicken and use mortar and pestle to mash the chicken.
  6. Increase the heat and evaporate all the moisture from the chicken. You need to caramelize/ bhunofy the chicken at this stage.
  7. Once the masala has become grainy, or as my mother called it "it looks like pearls", drain the oil.
Now let's put haleem together.

  1. Mix lentils, rice, oats, wheat and meat in large pot. Its consistency should be a little thinner than the rice pudding. Using a wooden spoon, mix all of them together till they come to a boil. This is the time to taste for salt and spices, adjust if needed.
  2. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and cook for at least 45-60 mins till it starts bubbling like rice pudding. You need to stir it quite often at this stage as it sticks to the bottom very quickly and tends to burn easily.
  3. Pour the oil drained from the meat and serve hot with the garnish and hot naan.
Plz do not use store bought garam masala as it makes a huge difference in the final result

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Shank Masala

Shank is one of my favourite part to eat. It needs a little time to cook but once its done, its finger licking good. Min this dish, meat falls right off the bone and the spices penetrate to every bite. Use a piece of naan to scoop the gravy and you are in heaven.


Mutton shanks 2
Onion 1.5 cups chopped
Garlic Paste 2 tbsp
Ginger paste 1/2 tsp
Green chili 1-2
Salt 3/4 tsp
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder 1/2 tsp
Cumin Powder 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala 1/2 tsp
Oil 2 tbsp


Heat the oil in a pan which can fit in the shanks in one layer.
Add Onions and fry till translucent.
Put in the shanks and fry till they change color.
Add the ginger/garlic paste in keep frying till you see everything coming together and sticking to the meat.
Put all the dry spices in excluding garam masala.
Keep stirring until the spices starts giving their aroma around 2-3 mins.
Add a cup of water and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and lower the heat. Cook until the meat is folk tender.
If there is any liquid left, dry it by increasing the heat.
At that time you need to caramelize the meat and the masala together. That's where the flavor builds and everything comes together. Lower the heat and be patient as it will take time and care for not letting the meat fall apart. So keep browning until all the oil separates from the gravy.
Take the meat off of the heat. Put in the green chili and sprinkle garam masala over and cover. Let rest for 5 mins before serving.

Cooking time and amount of water varies according to the size of the shanks as well as the age of the animal. It may take from one to two hours.
Add more water if it dries before the meat is tender.

What is masala?

Masala is a relative term and I use it a lot in my recipes. It can be wet or dry.

Wet masala is generally a mixture of onion, garlic, ginger and tomato. These ingredients are the mirepoix of south Asian cooking. There are and can be many variants of this which may include a few more or less number of the ingredients. It is generally the flavor base for many curries, stews, soups or even stir fry dishes originating from the Indian sub continent. Normally these ingredients are fried in ghee or any kind of oil/fat in the first stage of cooking and after tenderizing, they are caramelized on low heat. This caramelizing process is called bhunai.

Dry masalas are normally the spice mixes like a curry powder or garam masala etc. The ratios and the number of spices used in the mixes varies from home to home and city to city. Most commonly known and used spices are cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper etc.
Since we have people from different parts of the world here I thought it was necessary to explain some terms which are used in the recipes very often. I hope this little bit of information helps you all in future. Happy Cooking!

Garam Masala

Garam masala is made different for different recipes. Here is the recipe of common garam masala which I use in my every day cooking. You can always increase or decrease the quantities of a particular spice according to your taste. Flavour will vary according to the dominant spice.
Garam Masala


Black pepper                   1/4 cup
Cumin seeds                    1/2 cup
Coriander seeds               1/4 cup
Bay leaf                           2-3
Green cardamom             15 pcs
Black cardamom             2 pcs
Cloves                            1 tbsp
Cinnamon stick                4-5 inch
Nutmeg                           1 pc cracked
Mace                              2 pcs


Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds and black pepper.
Cool it down and then add everything to your coffee grinder. Make a fine powder.
Store in cool, dark, dry place. It stays fresh for around 2 months.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Honeycomb bread

I have always been scared to try my hands on any thing related to dough until i tried this. It came out so soft and delicious that it was done with in minutes of coming out of the oven. Honey comb is a tender ball filled with soft creamy cheese. You can make it sweet by adding simple sugar syrup  after taking it out of the oven. I kept it plain and served honey on the sides. Here is how the recipe goes:


Flour                             4-5 cups
Milk                              1 1/2 cup
water                            1/4 cup
Yeast                            3/4 tbsp
salt                                1/4 tsp
Sugar                            4 tbsp
Butter                            1/3 cup + 2 tsp
oil                                  1 tsp
Egg                               1 + 2 yolks
Sesame Black seeds      2 tbsp (optional)
Cream cheese                8 oz block 


In a cup, warm the water and add sugar and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes till all frothy and foamy.
In the mean time, mix salt and flour and keep aside.
Melt the butter and add milk followed by the egg. Pour it in the yeast mix.
Take four cups of flour in a large bowl and pour in the milk liquid. 
Knead the dough to a very smooth and soft consistency for about 10 mins. Add more flour if needed.
Add 1 tsp of oil in a big bowl and coat all the sides.
Make a ball of the dough and put in the oiled bowl. Flip the ball over to coat from all sides. Cover with a plastic wrap and leave in a warm place like inside of your oven or on top of the fridge for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven at 350 and start preparing your buns.
After two hours, dough should be double in size. Punch it down to release all the air.
Cut it in half and then quarters and then every quarter into 12 pieces. that would be 48 pieces and you can make 2 trays of honeycomb buns.
Cut cheese block into 2/3 tsp cubes. Its easy to cut the cheese when its cold.
Grease two nine inches pans with 2 tsp spoon of butter.
Flatten a piece of dough into a disc and put in a piece of cheese and pinch all the seems down to close it really well and form a ball. 
Repeat the same process with remaining 47 balls and arrange them in baking pans in a honey comb pattern.
Beat the egg yolks and brush on top of the buns. Sprinkle sesame seeds.
Bake till golden brown around 25-30 mins.

Kneading takes time so don't hurry. If not kneaded properly you won't get soft buns.
You can skip sesame seeds or replace them with back seeds according to your preference.
It is easy to handle the cheese when its cold.
Serve with honey or maple syrup for a sweet touch.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Chicken Vegetable soup

Chicken stock ingredients:

Chicken             3-4 lbs whole skin off
Onion               1 large
Garlic                2-3 cloves
Ginger               1 inch cube
Pepper corn       1 tsp
Salt                   1 tsp
Bay leaf             1
Thyme              1 sprig
Celery               1 rib


Put the chicken in a stock pot and pour enough water to cover it completely.
Put all the above ingredients and let it come to a boil.
Once it starts to boil, start skimming the foam off of the top.
Put it on low heat with lid ajar for 40-50 mins.
Strain and keep aside.
Remove the meat from carcass and shred the chicken.

Ingredients for the soup:

Button mushrooms       4-5 sliced
Pasta  baby shells         1 cup
Carrots cubed              1 cup
Celery cubed               1/2 cup
Turnip cubed              1 cup
Butter                        1 tbsp


Heat the butter in a pot and add carrot, celery, turnips in it. Saute for 2 mins.
Add stock and pasta shells and let the pasta cook as per directions.
Add the shredded chicken in the stock and take it off the heat. Taste for salt and adjust.
Put mushrooms slices in the serving bowls and pour hot soup over.
Serve with garlic bread.
I like to add freshly ground black pepper and hot sauce to my soup but its totally optional.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Brine Roasted Chicken

Brine Roasted Chicken

Who needs a reason to make roast chicken. For me I don't need any occasion to make since its a family favourite. I like to brine the chicken before roasting it as chicken stays very moist and succulent. Brine is just the solution of salt and water or any other flavoring you like. I usually add some lime or lemon and bay leaves to it. This addition adds a invisible lemony note without overpowering.
Recipe goes as follows:


Chicken         4-5 lbs
Garlic             1 head sliced in half


Water            2 litres or enough to cover the chicken
sugar             1/2 cup
salt                1/4 cup
bay leaf          2
lemon juice     3 tbsp keep the rind

Add water in a big enough bowl to hold the chicken. 
Stir in the sugar and salt until dissolved.
Add bay leaves and lemon juice.
Add chicken and make sure it is submerged all the way in brine.

After a couple of hours or overnight, take the chicken out and pat dry with a help of towel.
Next step is to spice the chicken. Here is the mix I used in this recipe:

Spice mix

Salt                                1 Teaspoon
Turmeric                        1/4 teaspoon
Red chili powder            1/2 teaspoon or to taste
Cumin Powder                1 teaspoon
Coriander powder           1/2 teaspoon

Mix all above ingredients and rub all over the chicken including the stomach cavity.
Put the lemon rind and a head of garlic sliced in the stomach cavity.

Preheat the oven at 375 for 15 minutes. 
Tuck the wings under the body to prevent early browning and put the chicken on a rack in a baking dish. 
Put in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for another 30-40 minutes until nice golden brown color is achieved and skin is crisp.  
If you see the chicken browning quicker than its cook through, put a foil over the chicken not covering completely leaving a steam vent.
Serve hot with either garlic bread, potato wedges, mashed potatoes and a nice fresh green salad.

Complete list of ingredients as follows:


Chicken                   4-5 lbs
Garlic                      1 head sliced in half


Water                     2 litres or enough to cover the chicken
sugar                       1/2 cup
salt                          1/4 cup
bay leaf                   2
lemon juice              3 tbsp keep the rind

Spice mix

Salt                         1 teaspoon
Turmeric                 1/4 teaspoon
Red chili powder     1/2 teaspoon or to taste
Cumin Powder        1 teaspoon
Coriander powder   1/2 teaspoon

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Chicken with peppers

Chicken With Peppers

Chicken is a universal favourite among kids as well as adults. Its versatility makes it a favourite thing to cook.
This one is not a spicy dish from heat point. It has a history for me as this recipe comes from my mum. She created it as a menu option for no oil foods after my dad had a heart attack. By using this basic technique, I have made it with a number of different vegetables. After so many variations I still love this original version due to the ease of the recipe as well as preparation time.
With just 1 tablespoon of oil, you can feed 4-6 people. How good does that sound?
Here is the recipe:


Chicken                   1 whole cut in 12 pieces
Fresh garlic              8-10 cloves crushed
Salt to taste
Turmeric                  1/4 tsp
Red chili powder        1/2 tsp or to taste
Garam masala           1 tsp
Yogurt                    2 tbsp
Bell pepper               1 cut in big squares
Onion                      1 cut in thick slices
Potatoes                 2 cut in thick steak fries
Oil                          1 tbsp


Mix yogurt with all the spices and crushed garlic. 
Coat the chicken and let stand for 10 mins.
Heat a large pot and add the oil to it. 
Arrange chicken in a single layer in the pot and after 3-4 lower the heat to medium.
Cook uncovered for 8-10 mins till you can see chicken browning on the bottom. 
Turn the pieces over and put the lid on. Cook for another 7-10 mins.
Take the chicken out of the pan. Put in the potatoes and coat them in chicken drippings. Turn the heat to low and cover. Cook until potatoes are fork tender.
Put the chicken back into the pan and add bell pepper and onion. Cook for another couple of mins.
Sprinkle a bit of garam masala to freshen up the spices and serve with boiled rice or roti/flat bread.

Cooking is a passion for me and I find a lot of pleasure in it. Creating something new from so many natural ingredients and putting it on the table to share with my family and friends is exciting and satisfying experience.
This started at a very young age while helping my grandmother plant her vegetable patch. Harvesting the vegetables was so much fun. Sometimes eating them within minutes after picking, nothing beats the freshness of the ingredients.
I cooked my first plate when I was in grade 3. I belong to the colourful country of Pakistan. There is abundance of fruits, vegetables and milk. So the cuisine is full of these ingredients ass well as a lot of exotic spices. Curries are rich with butter, cream, spices and lots of variety of meat. BBQs are full of exotic aromas and flavors.
I love to explore and cook with international flavours and ingredients. From pizza to chowmein, butter chicken to steaks, I love to learn and teach.
Being the mom of young kids, I need to be sneaky to add healthy stuff in the food and still keeping it welcoming for them to try and like it.
Please join me in this ride of flavours and cuisines where I will share my traditional as well as international recipes with you. There will be posts about, hot and spicy, soft and mild,  kid friendly as well as diet conscious recipes. Hope everyone will have the same fun as i get from sharing it.
#best chicken#yummychicken#quick chicken#chicken#yummy