Spiral Veg-Chicken Pasta

Pasta and left overs go well with each other. Especially when we homecooks, dont feel like being in the kitchen for longer times. I had many left over cut vegetables and some chicken in the refrigerator, so I thought of preparing a simple one dish meal adding pasta to it.

Spiral Veg-Chicken Pasta

You can enjoy this it at lunch, dinner or even at breakfast. You can even pack it in a lunch box and have this healthy and filling meal for lunch. Here goes the recipe:

Spiral Veg-Chicken Pasta

Serves : 3

Ingredients:

  • Canola Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Chicken breast pieces – 250 gms, cut into 1 or 1 1/2 cm cubes
  • Yellow Onion – 1 cup, finely chopped
  • Ginger Garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Baby Carrots – 3/4 cup, sliced thinly
  • Green capsicum – 3/4 cup, chopped
  • Red capsicum – 3/4 cup
  • Cabbage – 3/4 cup
  • Tomato Paste – 1 tbsp
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Maggi Chicken Bouillon-Halal -2 cubes
  • Dry roasted Coriander seed powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Cilantro – for garnish
  • Spiral pasta – 250 gms

Method:

To Prepare the Pasta Sauce-

  • In a pan on medium heat, pour oil and put the cut chicken pieces. Stir fry it for 5 minutes.
  • Now add the chopped onion. Fry it till it is translucent in colour. Then add ginger garlic paste and stir it well for 2 minutes or so.
  • Add all the cup vegetables and sprinkle a little bit of salt over it, maybe a big pinch, just to enhance the colour of the veggies. Stir fry the contents in the pan for about 5-7 minutes. Then add the tomato paste, water and the cubed chicken stock. Break the cube once it softens up and mix well.
  • Cover the pan so the the chicken and vegetables soften up and absorb the flavours. The pasta sauce is ready.

To prepare the Pasta Dish-

  • Prepare the Spiral pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  • When you drain the pasta once it is done, reserve a cup of water and drain off all the remaining pasta water.
  • In a bowl at medium heat, pour the earlier prepared pasta sauce, the reserved cup of pasta water, and the drained pasta.
  • Mix well to coat the pasta with the sauce. Cover and simmer for about 2 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with fresh coriander powder and garnish with fresh coriander/cilantro leaves and serve hot.

This recipe goes to Ruth hosting Presto Pasta Nights every friday, with the theme as to send her pasta recipes every week. I really liked her theme and the idea because, i cook pasta every weekend, and i look forward to try out different and new recipes of pasta dishes everytime. Her blog will surely help me 🙂 Thanks Ruth !

Interesting Read: Do you know your pasta shapes?

Luv,
Mona

Haleem~I

Haleem, is a stew or a porridge made by slow cooking the lentils, meat and broken wheat together. It is a nutritous one-dish meal, perfect for a cold weather, or a starving stomach.

Murgh/Chicken Haleem garnished with fried onion slices, halved lime and sliced green chillies

It is mostly a middle-eastern dish in origins, heavily modified by Hyderabadis to suite their palate and is today one of the most famed dishes of Hyderabad city. It is usually prepared by muslims at Iftaar or dinner in the holy month of Ramadhan. I remember back in India, stalls and shops, especially for the month of Ramadhan would be set up and people would gather in big crowds to have it then and there, or parcel it and take home for everyone at home. The crowds and the stalls, the Pista restaurant famous for Haleem being one such, which would especially be seen in the month of Ramadhan in Hyderabad was a sight to watch, remember and recollect always.

This dish needs some pre-planning and is a little bit time consuming. But you will definitely love it once you try it. It is a balanced, delicious and famous Hyderabadi one dish meal.

I have been trying out many ways of preparing this delicious one dish meal and here is my modified simpler version of the dish. Inshallah I will post my Ammi’s version of Haleem in the future.

Haleem – Slow Cooked Lentils, Wheat and Meat/Vegetables Porridge
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:

For Nonvegetarian Version-

Lamb/Veal Meat, boneless or with bone – 300 gms, washed and cubed (or) Chicken meat, boneless or with bone – 300 gms washed and cubed (I suggest using meat with bone) (you could also use minced chicken or lamb/veal meat)

For Vegetarian Version-

Fresh/Frozen chopped mixed Vegetables -300gms (you can use chopped vegetables like Cauliflower/PhulGobi, Peas/Matar, Carrots/Gajar, Capsicums/Shimla Mirch, Green Beans/Phalli)

Remaining Ingredients:

Broken Wheat/Bulgar Wheat/Dalia – 1 1/2 cups
Split Bengal Gram/Chana Dal/Chane ki dal – 2 tbsp
Split Yellow Lentils/Masoor dal – 2 tbsp
Split Yellow Lentils/Tuvar dal – 4 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric/Haldi – 1/2 tsp
Canola oil – 6 tbsp
Onions – 4, large, finely sliced
Ginger-Garlic paste – 4 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander seeds – 2 tsp, dry roasted and powdered
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp, dry roasted and powdered

Garam masala – 1 tsp

For Garnish:

Mint leaves/Pudina – chopped, for garnish
Cilantro/Kothmir – chopped, for garnish
Green chillies/Hari Mirch – 4, finely chopped or slit
Fried Onion/Pyaz – 1 cup
Juicy Lemon/Lime – 4, halved
Ghee – 2 tbsp (optional)

Method:

1. Add the broken wheat to surplus fresh cool water and drain in very fine wire mesh strainer several times to wash it, and soak the it and the lentils~chana dal, tuvar dal and masoor dal, seperately overnight or for atleast 3 hours, in generous amount of fresh cool water.
2. For a Non-vegetarian version, pressure cook the meat in surplus amount of water enough to cover it along with a pinch of salt and turmeric till tender. Chicken Meat will cook faster than Lamb meat. Once the meat is tender, drain, measure and reserve the stock in a bowl, shred the meat and keep aside in an anther bowl. Discard the bones. If using minced meat, cook it in a little oil, salt and red chilli powder until browned evenly. Keep aside.
3. Drain the soaking wheat and lentils and keep aside in a fine wire mesh strainer. In a non-stick 7 quart Dutch oven at medium heat, pour oil and as it gets warmed up throw in the sliced onion and stir fry until evenly browned and crisp (make sure you do not burn it). Remove the pan from heat and using a slotted spoon, remove about 1/2 of the fried onions from the pan onto a platter and spread the fried onions well so that they crisp up. Return the pan with leftover fried onions to heat and add ginger-garlic paste, coriander and cumin seed powder, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Add the drained broken wheat and lentils and mix well. Pour in the reserved meat stock. If you are preparing a vegetarian version, you can add vegetable stock or just plain water. You need to add a total of 8 cups of liquid to the saucepan. Let it boil once then simmer and let it cook covered, until the lentils are tender and the wheat mushy, about 1 1/2 hours, stirring it every once in a while taking care it doesnt stick to the bottom of the dish.
4. Stir in the garam masala and add the frozen/fresh chopped vegetables, or for a non-vegetarian version, the reserved shredded meat or minced meat, and mix well. Let it cook covered till the vegetables are tender and oil comes to surface, about 5 -8 minutes. You can keep adding a little water if needed. Remove the dutch oven from heat. Let it cool down slightly.
5. Once cool, pour the entire thing into a food processor and process for a minute. Pour back into the dutch oven, add a little water, and let simmer covered for 5 more minutes.
6. To serve pour the Haleem into individual plates with a laddle and garnish each plate with a few chopped mint leaves, chopped cilantro, chopped/slit green chillies, reserved fried onion, halved lemon for squeezing fresh lemon juice and a dollop of ghee(optional) for a deliciously nutritious meal.

Luv,
Mona

Delish Dahi-Vade

Dahi means Yogurt, and Vade, or Vada (vada is a single deep fried lentil ball and vade or vadas is the plural of vada) are the deep fried lentil balls shaped differently according to the recipe in which you are adding them. Different kind of vade are added in different dishes. In this particular recipe the vada are shaped like little doughnuts and added to the Yogurt relish. Dahi-Vade are one of the most favorite snacks enjoyed by Indians. And Muslims in Hyderabad usually prepare it in Ramadhan for Iftaar, when they break the fast.

My version of the Dahi-Vade is simple. I combined the recipes of my Mother and Mother In Law here. Soak the dal a day ahead, then then I go to the kitchen an hour before the Iftaar time to prepare it so that they are just ready before the Iftaar time.

Dahi-Vada – Lentil cakes in Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients:

For the Yogurt Relish-
Yogurt – 500 gms
Water – 1 1/2 cups
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Green Chilli paste – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
For the Vade-
Urad Dal/Black Gram dal – 1 cup
Green chillies – 2, very finely chopped
Salt – 2 tsp
Water
For the Baghaar
Dry Red Whole Chillies – 2, broken in half, and seeds removed
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder/Haldi – 1/4 tsp
Canola Oil – 2 tbsp
Cilantro – 1 tbsp, finely chopped

Method:

1. Wash and soak the dal in 2 glasses water overnight.
2. In a large and wide tray, pour in the yogurt, add salt, sugar, water, and green chilli paste. Whisk to mix the yogurt for 5 minutes till the mixture is well blended. Keep in the refrigerator.
3. About 30-40 minutes before you plan to serve the Dahi-Vade, drain the water from the dal and grind them into a smooth and fairly thick batter along the salt and water. Add water drops, as little as possible at a time, just to assist in grinding the dal. The grinded mixture should be fairly thick in consistency as you will be shaping them into vada. Pour the grinded mixture into a bowl. Add the chopped green chillies and mix well.
4. Heat oil to deep fry the vadas in a pan or a kadai. (Never deep fry in a non stick pan)
5. Wet your palm with a few drops of water and spoon about a heaped tablespoon of the mixture onto your wet palm. Wet your index finger and insert it into the centre of the batter to form a hole so that they look like doughnuts. Gently and carefully slip/drop this shaped doughnut into the hot oil and deep fry the vadas in hot oil on both sides until they are nicely golden brown in colour. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towel. The vadas are ready.
5. Once all the vadas have been fried, drop them in a bowl of warm water. Let them soak for 2 minutes. Gently squeeze excess water from the vadas carefully pressing them lightly between your palms. This is done to soak out the oil. Transfer the soaked and squeezed vade into the earlier prepared cooled yogurt relish. Arrange the vade in the yogurt relish so that each one is nicely dipped into it. Cover the tray and transfer it into the refrigerator. Leave it to soak for 10 minutes.
6. Just before you serve, prepare baghaar. In a small pan, pour the oil and add the ingredients under the heading ‘for baghaar’ except cilantro. Let the spices splutter. Pour this onto the Dahi-Vade all over. Also garnish with cilantro, Serve immediately.

Some Tips:

  • For this recipe the lentils are to be soaked before hand, preferably overnight, and grinded. People usually grind the lentils and store the mixture some time ahead of preparing the Dahi-Vade. Here, I suggest NEVER to do so, because I have learnt from my experience, that if you grind it beforehand and keep the mixture at room temperature or in the fridge and you fry the vada out of the mixture later on, they tend to absorb more oil, it becomes thirsty for oil. I have noticed it every time I tried to simplify my work and grind and keep the lentils, when I am free, to deep fry it later on. So I have stopped doing it since and grind it only just before I plan to fry and serve the Dahi-Vade. Or you can grind and deep fry the vadas then and there, ahead of time, and store the fried vadas in the freezer for upto 3 months in an air tight container. When you want to prepare the Dahi-Vade, you simply will have to soak the vadas in warm water for the specified time and then in the yoghurt relish.
  • If you end up with many vadas, some people put all the vadas in the yoghurt relish even if they know they will all not be eaten up by your loved ones in home, which results in soggy Dahi-Vadas the next time you feel like having the left over Dahi-Vadas. Instead.. Count the number of people at home whom you are going to prepare and serve this dish, and the number of vade prepared. Do not soak all vade in water and then put them into the yoghurt, instead, store the excess vadas in the freezer. The next time you want to have them, make the yoghurt relish again, and dip the vadas, now in warm water for the specified time, and then in the yoghurt relish. Also NEVER prepare the yoghurt relish before hand too as it turns sour. Always prepare everything fresh for best results and good taste.

Asha of Foodie’s Hope has requested me to send this recipe for RCI Karnataka Cuisine because she says this recipe is very similar to Mosaru vade, which they prepare in Karnataka, So, here’s my recipe Asha, all the way to you!

Luv,
Mona

Ramadan!

Ramadan Mubarak to all Muslims !!

“There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month, which Allah, the Mighty & Sublime, has enjoined you to fast. In it the gates of heavens are opened & the gates of Hell are closed, & every devil is chained up. In it Allah has a night which is better than a thousand months; whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived” – Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ)
[Sunan An Nasa’i, Vol. 3, Book of Fasting, Hadith No. 2108]

Ramadan, the month when all Muslims fast, starts from tomorrow. For all those of you, who do not know what Ramadhan is,.. and what Muslims do in this month,.. i thought of publishing this post where i will explain to you all about Ramadhan in simpler terms…

Ramadan is the ninth Islamic Arabic month, according to the lunar calender, when all Muslims fast. It is also the month when Quran, the Holy book of Mulims, was sent down from heaven.

Every Muslim fasts during this whole month. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is essential for every Muslim (male or female) who has reached puberty, is mentally and physically fit, and is not travelling, to keep fasts. Fasting the month of Ramadhan is an obligation confirmed by the book of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى), the Most High and His Messenger, Prophet Mohammed (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ).

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims get up early in the morning, before the time of the first Salah of the day, the Fajr Salah, among the Five Salah which they pray everyday, then offer prayers, and have Sehri. The time for Sehri this year is around 5:50 am in the morning. Sehri is the pre-dawn meal. At Sehri, people have chapati or rice with curry, fruits, and milk. It differs from house to house and region to region to region. After Sehri, the day’s fast has started and they perform the Fajr Salah. A day’s fast begins at Sehri and ends at the Maghrib Salah time, the fourth Salah of the day. The time for the Maghrib Salah this year is around 7:00 pm. They then have Iftaar, the evening meal, and break the fast with usually dates, and some juice. People also have some snacks like Dahi-wade, Pakode, Chole, Samosa etc at Iftaar. They then perform the Maghrib Salah after the evening meal. After the Maghrib Salah, some Muslims have their dinner, if their Iftaar was light, or some Muslims offer the Taraweeh prayers, have their dinner and go to sleep.

The Month of the Ramadan is the month when all muslims indulge themselves in as much prayers as possible and ask for forgiveness from Allah (سبحانه وتعالى), The All-Knower. When they fast it is not only about not having food and drink in the daytime, but the Muslims have to abstain intentionally from sexual relations, smoking and other earthly pleasures, curbing evil intentions, every kind of lying, backbiting, slandering, and other forbidden acts and desires. Fasting trains in self control, so that he is able to direct himself to those things which are good for him and bring about happiness in this world and in the Hereafter, when each person will be judged and accordingly sent to Heaven or Hell. It also helps prevent one from becoming of those persons who give in to their animal passions and desire, which is beneficial for everybody.

Fasting has its advantages from the point of view of health and hygiene. Islam wants a Muslim to be healthy, clean, alert, agile and energetic. Fast to be healthy,” had said the Holy Prophet (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ). The health benefits are many which a Muslim attain in the month of Ramadhan as a result of reducing the amount of food consumed and resting the gastrointestinal tract for a specific period of time, and removing harmful substances from the body, etc.

Some Dietary guidelines that a Muslim can follow during the month of Ramadhan are:

There is not much difference between the dietary plan during the normal days and during Ramadan. The below guidelines are beneficial to be followed for anyone anytime.

  • Consure a variety of foods from all the Food groups, which are Bread and Cereal Group., Fruits and Vegetable Group., Milk, Yoghurt and cheese Group., Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts Group.
  • There will be increased gastric acidity noticed during fasts in a person, which is, a slight burning sensation in the stomach or a bloated feeling or heaviness in the stomach or a sour mouth, so a fasting person is advised usually to have whole wheat breads, vegetables, beans and fruits, which are all excellent sources of dietary fibres which trigger muscular action thereby reducing gastric acidity.
  • Peptic Ulcer and Diabetic patients should consult their doctors and ask for the complete advise on the diet methods during fasts.
  • Avoid Caffeine, Coke, Tea and Coffee, especially at Sehri, as they are diuretics and they increase the production of urine by the kidneys, and you lose all the essential minerals from the body. Instead drink lots of fluids, like natural juices, water, between the Iftaar and Sehri time to replenish stores of your body and avoid dehydration.
  • Avoid adding too much sugar to the juices or in your food, like in your desserts, or sweet dishes. Keep off from high sugar intake.
  • Avoid Smoking, it effects the utilization of vitamins and enzymes.
  • Have fresh food as much as possible !
  • Fried foods, Fatty foods and Spicy foods should be reduced in the diet as much as possible. Instead of frying food, bake, broil, roast or grill foods with minimum amounts of oil.
  • Do not over-eat at Sehri.
  • Limit salt in foods, alternatively, add lemon juice or fresh herbs for the good flavours.
  • Choose light, clean, lean and fat-less white meat, the breast meat of the chicken in your diet and avoid red meat.
  • Have complex carbohydrates at Sehri, so that they absorb slowly in your systems. Include Haleem, Dates, Almonds and Bananas in your diet.

Thank Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) for all the bounties, ask for forgiveness, for yourselves and for everyone else and remember in your dua’s.

This month i will be posting the recipes of some Ramadhan dishes which will be traditional, simple, ethnic, all those that i am preparing for my family in this blessed month of Ramadhan. Be sure to come back to check out those Muslim ethnic as well as simpler kinds of recipes from my kitchen 🙂

Luv,
Mona

Tandoori Murgh

Tandoori Chicken is a classic Indian dish. The chicken is marinated in yogurt spiced with ginger garlic and other aromatic spices and some edible food colour. It is left to marinate for minimum 6-8 hours, or for best flavor~overnight, in the refrigerator. During Ramadhan, you can marinate the chicken pieces a day ahead, and just before the iftaar time, you will have to grill them up, and keep them warm in an oven.

Tandoori Murgh – Chicken Marinated in a mixture of Yogurt seasoned with Spices

Traditionally the Tandoori chicken is made in a Tandoor(Indian clay oven) but today I prepared it in the oven. During summer I prepare it in a Charcoal BBQ Grill for a delicious smoky flavor.

Tandoori Murgh – Chicken Marinated in a mixture of Yogurt seasoned with Spices

Ingredients:

Chicken – 1, skin removed, cut into big 8 pieces (approx)
Lemon juice – 6 tbsp
Salt – 3 tsp
Yellow Onion – 1, large, roughly chopped
Ginger-garlic paste – 3 tsp
Saffron threads – 1 big pinch
Milk – 1 tbsp
Butter – 2 tbsp
Roasted Coriander seed powder – 2 tsp
Roasted Cumin seed powder – 2 tsp
Thick Yogurt – 1 cup
Red Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Kasuri Methi – 2 tbsp
Garam masala – 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
Butter – for basting the chicken

Method:

1. Wash and pat dry the chicken with paper towels, then make incisions on the chicken pieces at the thick parts. Soak Chicken in lemon juice and salt for 2 hours. This is the first marination.
2. Meanwhile prepare the second marination mixture. Grind the roughly chopped onion into a smooth paste and keep aside. Warm the milk slightly and add the saffron threads to it. Let them steep into the milk for again two hours, till the chicken has marinated in the first marination mixture. Now, in a bowl, mix the processed onion paste, thick yogurt, saffron threads with milk, and all the other ingredients except the last one, with the chicken marinating in salt and lemon juice. Rub the mixture well into the chicken. Cover and put the bowl in the refrigerator for 8 hours or preferably overnight, for a great taste.
3. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Preheat the charcoal BBQ and grill the chicken pieces, turning and basting them with butter as needed. Grill and cook chicken for 25 minutes till done and but still tender. Alternatively, you can grill/broil/bake it in the oven at low heat again turning and basting them with the butter as needed. Bake it in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes at 400°F turning them once after 15 minutes and basting them with butter. Pierce the chicken with fork to check if it is done. Garnish with onion rings, lemon wedges, sliced green chillies and serve.

Note: 1. The tempetarures and time used to cook chicken depends entirely on the size of the chicken pieces and the type of oven used. So, it varies. Keep a check on the chicken and make sure you not burn it or do not under cook it.
2. Usually for Tandoori chicken an edible red food color is used during marination for appeal, but I have avoided using it.
3. You can also use a whole skinned chicken to prepare a whole roasted tandoori chicken. For this purpose, make incisions on the chicken on the breast part, thighs and legs. Then let marinate covered in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, bake in a roasting pan with rack uncovered at 400°F for 30-45 minutes, turning the chicken once in the middle. Once done, carve and serve along with salad.

Luv,
Mona