Alf Mabrook & Eid Mubaarak!

Alf Mabrook to all pilgrims. Hajj Mubarak! Wishing all brothers and sisters a very happy and blessed Eid-ul-Adha

Eid Mubarak! عید مُبارک

May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) accept all our du’as and and fill our lives with peace, prosperity, health and happiness!

I hope that the conditions in Jeddah due to the floods are soon brought under control and the Hajis are able to return their homes safely inshallah.


Pleasing Paneer

During days when I do not feel like having any non-vegetarian meal, I treat myself with some Paneer in a creamy gravy curry. The non-melting attribute and meat like texture of Paneer is favored by vegetarians and is a very good substitute for meat.

Shallow fried Paneer cubes

To add a shahi touch/richness and thickness to the gravy, paneer is simmered in a cashewnut+milk puree along with yogurt and tomatoes. I have used milk instead of using cream, you can go ahead and use cream for the gravy if you want. You will definitely fall in love with this delightful paneer curry which is one my favorites.

You can use home-made Paneer,or store-bought~ easily available at Indian stores in the cold sections. Store brought ones has additives and lacks freshness, but saves time.

Shahi Paneer Masala – A Royal Cottage Cheese Curry


Yellow Onions – 2, large, roughly chopped
Canola oil – 5 tbsp
Home-made Paneer – 400 gms, cut into cubes (if using store bought, I recommend Mother-dairy brand)
Cinnamon stick – one 2″ stick
Cardamom – 2
Cloves – 2
Black peppercorns – 5
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
Cashewnuts – 1/4 cup, soaked in 3 tbsp warm milk for 30 minutes and pureed to a smooth paste
Yogurt 2% – 1/2 cup
Canned Crushed tomatoes – 185 ml (or you can also use 5 medium sized pureed tomatoes)
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Dry roasted Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Karuri Methi – 1/4 cup
Milk 2% – 1 1/2 cup

Shahi Paneer masala


1. Grind the roughly chopped onions in a blender and make a fine paste. Transfer to a bowl and keep aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the canned crushed/pureed tomatoes and yogurt and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a kadhai. Cut paneer into small cubes. Shallow fry over medium heat until light brown on all sides. Using a slotted spoon transfer the fried paneer pieces aside to a bowl.
3. In the same oil, add the cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cardamom and cloves. Fry them for a minute and add the onion paste and fry for a few minutes until the raw smell wards off and oil starts separating. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry it along for a minute. Add the cashewnut+milk paste, tomatoes+yogurt mixture, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Add kasuri methi to the gravy and mix well. Add the fried paneer pieces and mix gently. Pour in milk and mix well, bring the gravy to boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the gravy becomes thick and oil separates. Serve.

This goes to JFI-Paneer being hosted by Trupti at her blog ‘The Spice Who Loved Me‘.


Nominated for ‘Best Food Indiblog’

My earnest thanks to all those who nominated my blog ‘Zaiqa’ for ‘Best Food Indiblog‘. I am honored. Also my heartfelt congratulations to all the other nominees as well!

The polling for the final winners has started. To vote-click here, or on the logo above. The polls will be held until December 10th ’09 and the results will be announced by December 15th ’09. Check out all the nominees and cast your vote for your favorite blog. You will be asked to register with a valid email address to be able to cast your votes. Enjoy!


Announcing “The Hyderabadi Bakr-Eid Food Festival-’09” Season I

The Prophet (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) said in an authentic hadeeth: The best days in this life are the (first) ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah”. Dhul-Hijjah (the Month of Hajj) is the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. It is during this month that Hajj(annual pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca) takes place.

The Prophet (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) has also said: “The greatest days in the scale of Allaah are the days of An-Nahr and Al-Qarr (Abu Daawood). The day of An-Nahr is the major day of Hajj and the day of Eid; the day of Al-Qarr is the following day. Virtuous deeds have a magnified position during these days. The Prophet (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) said: There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allaah than the (first) ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Ad-Daarimi).

Millions of Haji‘s performing Hajj at Masjid-al-Haram in Saudi Arabia (source:flickr)

The second Muslim festival Eid-ul-Adha falls on the 10th of Dhu’l-Hiijjah, the Youm-e-Nahr (day of sacrifice) (this year on the 27th Nov ’09). On this day, in memory of the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim [on him be peace], an animal sacrifice is offered by Muslims all over.

It is only a matter of only a few days from today the muslims from all around the world will be celebrating Bakr-Eid inshallah.

In the spirit of Eid, I announce Season-I of the “Hyderabadi Bakr-Eid Food Festival-’09” on my blog, and invite all Hyderabadis from all around the world to send me Bakr-Eid special recipes. Inshallah I will post the round-up of all entries in the first week of January 2010.

The logo for the event is:

Feel free to use the logo.

Inshallah I plan to host this event every year on my blog during Bakr-Eid, so that people can share the recipes of the dishes they prepare using ‘Qurbani ka gosht’.

The rules of the event are as follows:

1. Both bloggers as well as non-bloggers can send me Hyderabadi special recipes of the food with pictures that you prepare using ‘Qurbani ka gosht’ after the Bakr-Eid (Eid-ul-Adha). It can be a snack, curry, kawab, etc whatever you wish.
2. There is no limit to the number of entries per person. Bloggers should link their post to this announcement page. Mail me the entries to by December 31 ,2009 with following details :

  • Your Name and blog/website title (if you have one)
  • Recipe link (non-bloggers include the complete recipe)
  • A Picture of the food (300 pixels width)

So, spread the word and send me your entries. Inshallah looking forward to a delicious spread.

Update: The grand round-up of all the entries has been published here. Enjoy the delicacies!


Tamatar Murgh

Tamatar Murgh

Today was one such day when I was out of ideas to prepare a chicken curry. Thats when suddenly I recollected the video that I had posted on my blog a while back where Rani Kulsum Begum was dishing out a delicious Tamatar Murgh curry. I tried her recipe today with a few changes of my own here and there and it was one ambrosial yet a simple curry to prepare.

Tamatar Murgh – Chicken simmered in crushed tomato sauce


تيل/Canola oil – 3 tbsp
ثابت کلونجی/Nigella sativa seeds – 1 tsp
ثابت زیرہ/Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
میتھی دانہ/Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
رائی/Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
ادرَک لہسن مسالہ/Ginger-garlic paste – 3 tbsp
کری پتہ/Curry leaves – 2 sprigs, fresh
زیرہ پاوٴڈر/Dry roasted Cumin seed powder – 1 1/2 tsp
دھنیا پاوٴڈر/Dry roasted Coriander seed powder – 2 tsp
سرخ مرچ پاوٴڈر/Red Chilli powder – 2 1/2 tsp
پساہوا ٹماٹر ٹين والا/Canned Crushed tomatoes – 400 ml
نمک/Salt – 2 tsp
مُرغ/Whole Chicken with bone – skinned and cut into pieces (around 1.5 kg)
گرم مسلہ پوڈر/Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp


In a large non-stick saucepan or a saute pan at medium high heat, pour in oil and as soon as it warms up, add the nigella seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds. As they begin popping and spluttering, add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute. Add the curry leaves and fry them along for a few seconds. Add the dry roasted cumin and coriander seed powders as well as the red chilli powder and mix well. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and mix well, let cook uncovered for 2 minutes. Add salt and chicken and mix well. Spread the chicken so that it is in a single layer. Cook uncovered at medium heat for 5 minutes. Then, cover with a lid and let cook for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is tender and well cooked, stirring it gently occasionally. Uncover the lid and cook until the oil is floating on top and the tomato masala is dry and clinging to the chicken, around 8-10 minutes. Add garam masala powder and mix well. Serve warm.

Note: If you like to have a saucy masala instead of a dry clinging masala, do not cook uncovered furthur in the last stages.