Tag Archives: Chicken

Chicken Khichda / Haleem

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It is Eid today… the day that marks the end of Ramzan or Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. For the past 29 – 30 days, devout Muslims the world over do not eat anything from dawn to sunset. However when the sun goes down everyday, at Iftar, the fast is broken.

If you walk through streets around the Bombay Central Station, Mohammed Ali Road, Dongri, Mahim – There’s such an atmosphere of festivity! The streets are lit up with fairy lights, groups of people milling about, all dressed up & the roads lined with stalls selling everything from bright clothes to jewellery & shoes to… of course… Food! Oh! It’s such a treat! It’s been a while, but I remember for a couple years, going down to Mohammed Ali Road with my friends at least once during Ramzan during Iftar, to, well put it politely, stuff ourselves silly!

You wouldn’t know where to start! Of course, if you were fasting, you would with dates & some fruit from the dried fruit & juice stalls & then move on to the real stuff. But that never applied to us! We went straight for the meat & chicken Kebabs, Tikkas (marinated chunks of Chicken or Lamb grilled to melt-in-the-mouth perfection over charcoal), Naans (flat bread), Baida Rotis (thin, soft flatbread stuffed with meat, coated with eggs & deep fried), Biryaani (saffron & spice laced rice layered with a flavourful meat or chicken gravy), my favourite Khichda / Haleem! You can’t end the feast without anything sweet… so there are Malpuas (crisp little pancakes deep fried in clarified butter) served with Rabdi (sweet, creamy, thickened milk) or Phirni (a delicate rice pudding flavoured with cardamom) in little clay pots… The feast is surely not for the faint hearted!

For the past 8 – 9 years (maybe more!), we’ve been invited to be part of the Iftar & Eid celebrations at the Khan residence… & that is another experience altogether! Pure gastronomical heaven! The everyday food out there is out of this world… so you can imagine what these special dinners would be like! Nalli, Biryaani, Kebabs, Mutton cooked the Moghlai way, Khichda.. & of course Auntie’s special Sheer Khurma (a special vermicelli pudding)! How our dear friend turned vegetarian & more importantly, remained one, growing up in this household, is something that always baffles me!

Gosh I’m salivating as I write this, & feeling rather sorry for myself as I’m going to miss the festivities, being with my friends (who are more like family) & of course the food at the Eid dinner at the Khans’, for the second year in a row! I’m in my home away from home, Jaipur, working (for a change!) for 2 weeks 😦

I knew I was going to be missing out so, a few days before I left Bombay, I made my favourite Khichda / Haleem for my family! Khichda is a one-dish meal, comfort in a bowl… I love it! And this is my first attempt at making it!

I used these websites as a reference for the recipe – Khana Pakana & Kulsum Mehmood, & followed the tips & suggestions given to me by the lovely elderly Bohri Kaka (uncle) who sold me the ingredients at Crawford Market  (the one stop wholesale bazaar in Bombay for everything!) 🙂

So here it is the recipe for a meal that satisfies the soul, with a special Eid Mubarak to everyone!

Ingredients

Polished Whole Wheat

Mixed Lentils

  • 250 gm Polished Whole Wheat Grains
  • 150 gm Mixed Daals (red, white & yellow lentil & Bengal gram)
  • 450 gm Boneless Chicken Pieces
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • Red Chilli Powder (to taste)
  • Turmeric Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Dhania – Jeera / Cumin & Coriander Seed Powder
  • Special Haleem Spice (recommended by the sweet Kaka at the shop)

Spices

  • 2 stick Cinnamon
  • 3 – 4 Cardamom
  • 2 Star Anise
  • Mace
  • a pinch Nutmeg Powder
  • 1 large Onion (finely sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons Mint Leaves (finely chopped)
  • Ghee / Clarified Butter – Lots of it!

To Serve:

  • 3 large Onions (finely sliced & deep fried)
  • Mint Leaves (finely chopped)
  • Special Haleem Spice
  • Lemon Wedges
  • Ghee / Clarified Butter

Method

  • Soak the wheat overnight (at least 8 – 10 hours) in a large vessel filled with water. Pour in 1-2 teaspoons oil & some salt. (Kaka’s tip: Do not wash the wheat or disturb it while soaking. It affects the cooking process)
  • Soak the lentils for about 2 hours.

Marinated Chicken

  • Dry roast the cinnamon, cloves, star anise, mace & cardamom & grind to a fine powder.
  • Marinate the chicken pieces with ginger-garlic paste, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric, the spice powder from Step 3, nutmeg powder, 2 teaspoon Haleem spice, cumin & coriander powder & mint leaves. Leave to rest for about an hour.
  • In a large heavy bottomed vessel, heat 2 – 3 tablespoons of ghee, add the onions & sauté till the onions turn golden.
  • Add the marinated chicken & stir fry for about 10 minutes. Add more ghee if you need to, don’t be shy!
  • Drain the soaked wheat & lentils & add to the chicken.

Soaked Wheat Grains, Lentils & Marinated Chcken

  • Add enough water to cover the chicken & grains, plus some more & simmer on a low flame.
  • Now this is where patience kicks in! Allow the chicken & grains to cook for 6 – 7 hours, stirring regularly. (I kid you not! That’s how long it took! You could pressure cook the whole thing. But Kaka said the true taste emerges when the Khichda is slowly cooked over a long time. I believe him! It’s totally worth it.)
  • Add more water if it gets too thick or starts to stick to the bottom of the vessel.
  • Once the wheat has softened (around 6 hours later), take the vessel off the flame, remove the chicken pieces & keep aside. Using a hand blender make the wheat & lentil mixture as smooth as possible. Add the chicken back to this thick, porridge-like mixture & place the vessel on a very low flame.

The Khichda Cooking Slowly

  • Add another 2 teaspoons of the Haleem spice & check the seasoning. (I find it easier to taste my way through a dish like this, so at this point if you feel you need to add more salt, chilli or spices, go right ahead!)
  • If possible, leave the vessel on the flame till you are ready to serve.

To Serve

The Condiments – Melted Ghee, Haleem Spice Powder, Mint Leaves, Deep Fried Onions, Lemon Wedges

Ladle the Khichda into a bowl. Pour a generous amount of ghee over it, sprinkle a bit of the Haleem spice, some mint leaves & serve with a wedge of lemon. Then sit back & watch the expressions of your family as they dig into it!

This recipe serves 6

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Baked Chicken

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This has got to be my laziest trip to Jaipur, ever! Apart from my classes everyday & going over to my friend’s for dinner last night, I haven’t done anything! I’m blaming it on the weather… it’s too hot in the afternoon to go anywhere.

Though today this is how it was outside when I got done with lunch… cloudy, breezy & a light drizzle…

And when I woke up from my nap (it’s summer in India… you have to nap right?) it was warm & still all over again!

Anyway, I thought I’d make myself useful & write in a post sharing a recipe for a dish I had cooked over a month ago. As you will notice after reading the ingredients, this was before my diet days!

Ingredients

  • 450 gm Chicken Breast
  • 1 large Onion (finely sliced)
  • 7-8 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • ½ Carrot (chopped)
  • 6 Mushrooms (sliced)
  • 150 gm Corn Kernels (boiled)
  • 1 small head Broccoli (florets)
  • ½ each green, yellow & red Bell Peppers (chopped)
  • 200 ml fresh Cream
  • 2 tablespoons Milk
  • Fresh Basil (finely chopped)
  • 200 gm Cheese (grated)
  • Bread crumbs
  • Dried Oregano, Celery Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Method

  1. Make diagonal slashes on the chicken & rub in minced garlic, pepper, oregano & celery salt. 
  2. In an oven-safe pan heat a tablespoon of Olive Oil & sear the chicken quickly both sides till brown & keep aside.
  3. In the same pan sauté the onion till soft & pink.
  4. Add the carrot, mushrooms, broccoli & bell peppers & cook for a few minutes.
  5. Place the chicken on the veggies, drizzle olive oil generously, cover pan with foil & roast in the oven for about 35 minutes at 200 C. 
  6. Remove the chicken from the pan & cut into slivers.
  7. To the veggies add cream, milk, basil, corn, salt, pepper, 150 gm cheese.
  8. Cook till the sauce thickens
  9. Pour over the chicken slivers.
  10. Sprinkle the bread crumbs, 50 gm cheese & basil over it & bake for 20 – 25 minutes till the cheese melts & the crumbs turn golden.

Serve hot with a side of mashed potatoes.

This is one of those “comfort” dishes… mild, gentle flavours but rich enough to make you feel all warm & gooey & totally content 🙂

This recipe serves 4 people.

Murg Methi – Chicken with Fenugreek Leaves

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This is a delicious, low fat Indian Chicken dish with a yogurt based sauce. The yogurt gives it a bit of tang which is balanced out by the slight bitterness of fenugreek leaves.
Fenugreek leaves have Protein, Vitamin C, Potassium & helps reduce blood glucose & cholesterol.
I had this with a Roti & a Diced Zucchini Pesto Salad

Rustic Chicken Meatballs

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I spent the better part of the last week staying over in at my parents’ as my husband was away on a work trip to Goa without me 😦 Goa is on the West Coast of India, by the way… Beautiful beaches, the river, palm trees, churches, temples, the seafood (mmhmmnmm!!)

You get the picture!

Anyway, on the flip side I got to relive my single days again 😀 Gossip sessions with old friends over lunch, Maggi Cup Noodles, hot chocolate & drinks, a dinner date with my dad, marathon daytime soap sessions with my mom!

And the highlight… an awesome day-long bread-making workshop with Reshmy Kurian of Bombay Chow-party.

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A group of 7 of us learnt how to bake Pain Ordinaire, Irish Soda Bread & Monkey Bread. Reshmy organized a large spread of accompaniments, including cheeses, cold cuts, and preserves, to go with our bread. So we baked, ate, drank wine & got to know some very interesting people!

Well the husband returned (& I secretly missed him…) So I’m back home & it felt good to be back, so what better way to show it by cooking for everyone!

Once again, no groceries done, so had to go with “Whatever’s in the Fridge”. I found chicken meatballs, a couple of chicken sausages, some cheese, frozen home-made focaccia, spaghetti, loads of  eggs, tomatoes, coriander, onions, garlic, carrots, bell peppers, apart from the usual spices you find in an Indian kitchen.

So I made Rustic Chicken Meatballs to go with Spaghetti & a loaf of home-made Garlic & Cheese Bread (Yes… I almost always have the essentials for bread stocked up!)

Why “Rustic”? Well, I went with the rough & ready way of chopping & prepping & then went ahead & used very Indian flavours!! The end result… A winner with the family, paired with a glass of Red Wine!

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

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  • 350 gm Chicken Meatballs (ready-made)
  • 1 cup Bread Crumbs (I used my left-over focaccia)
  • 4 tablespoons Cheese
  • 1 Egg (beaten)
  • 3 tablespoons Coriander
  • Salt, Pepper, Ginger-Garlic Paste (to taste)

 

For the Sauce

  • 2-3 Chicken Meatballs (chopped finely)
  • 1 Cheese ‘n’ Onion Chicken Sausage (chopped finely)
  • 2 Onions (chopped)
  • 1 small Carrot (diced)
  • 1 Bell Pepper (diced)
  • 5-6 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
  • 3 Roasted Tomatoes (Recipe courtesy Reshmy Kurian of Bombay Chow-party.) 
  • 5 Tomatoes (pureed)
  • ½ cup Coriander & Mint leaves (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon each Jeera (Cumin Seeds) Ajwain (Caraway/Carom Seeds) & Saunf (Fennel Seeds /Aniseed)
  • A pinch of Turmeric
  • Salt & Red Chilli Powder to taste
  • Olive Oil

Method

Meatballs

  1. Add salt, pepper & ginger garlic paste to the egg & beat well.
  2. Mix cheese, bread crumbs & coriander in a flat plate.
  3. Dip each meatball in the egg mixture & roll it around in the bread crumb mixture.
  4. Set the crumb coated meatballs in a baking tray & bake for about 35-40 minutes at 180 C.

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Sauce

  1. Heat oil in a wok & toss in the jeera, ajwain & saunf.
  2. When the spices start to crackle, add in the onions & garlic. Cook until they are soft & pink.
  3. Stir in the chopped sausage & meatballs & cook for about 5 minutes on a high flame.
  4. Lower the flame & add in the carrots & bell peppers
  5. Roughly dice the roasted tomatoes & toss into the wok.
  6. Add the pureed tomatoes & season with salt, pepper, turmeric & red chilli powder.
  7. Add 3/4 of the coriander & mint & let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes.
  8. Gently stir in the meatballs & allow them to cook in the sauce & absorb the flavours for 15 minutes.
  9. Garnish with the rest of the coriander & mint & serve hot with Spaghetti & fresh bread.

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This recipe serves 4-6 people