Hyderabadi Chicken Haleem – Harees

Haleem is meat delicacy, especially enjoyed during the month of Ramadan in India and Pakistan. In Hyderabad, one can see all restaurants begin to sell Haleem as soon as Ramadan commences. Tiny Haleem stalls pop up at every nook and corner, and people of all faiths enjoy it. It is the city’s most induldent dishes. Haleem is not as easily available the rest of the year in restaurants in India.

Haleem is originally an Arabic dish, brought to Hyderabad by the immigrants of Yemen, Iran and Afghanistan. It has all the nutrients a fasting body requires at the end of the day.

Home cooked Haleem is the best. So today I am sharing with you all my simple recipe for Chicken Haleem. I have posted two versions of Haleem earlier on my blog. You can try them all.

Hyderabadi Chicken Haleem – Harees

Ingredients:
Serves – 6-8

Boneless Chicken Breast – 2 (if large chicken); 3 (if small chicken) – cut into cubes
Marinade:
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Haleem:
Chana dal – 100 gms
Broken wheat – 250 gms
For Qorma:
White poppy seeds/Khuskhus – 1 tsp
Chopped almonds and cashewnuts – 1 tbsp each
Canola oil – to deep fry
Onions – 3, large, finely sliced
Cloves – 2
Cardamom – 2
Cinnamon stick – one 2″ stick
Dry roasted Cumin seed powder – 1/2 tsp
Green chillies – 4, each broken into two
Yogurt – 1 cup, lightly whisked
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Cardamom seed powder – 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice – 1/4 cup/60 ml/4 tbsp
For Garnish
finely chopped Cilantro, and Mint leaves
Crisply fried onions
Lemon juice
Ghee
Fried cashew nuts
sliced/chopped Green chillies

Method:

1. Soak chana dal and broken wheat for 30 minutes in fresh cool water.
2. In a mixing bowl, add the cubed chicken breast, ginger-garlic paste, 1 tsp red chilli powder, turmeric powder and 1 tsp salt. Mix well and let marinate to 1-2 hours. In a frying pan at medium high heat, pour 1 tbsp of oil add the marinated chicken and cook while turning the chicken pieces until done. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.
3. Drain the soaking dal and the broken wheat and transfer them to a non-stick saucepan. Pour in 4 cups of fresh cool water and let cook while stirring frequently until the mixture is soft. This might take 1-3 hours. You can also pressure cook if you would like to save time, but I like to slow cook it. Add more water if needed to cook. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Meanwhile, shred the cooked chicken and keep aside in a bowl.
4. Soak cashewnuts and almonds in 1/2 cup warm water for 15 minutes. Grind them into a smooth puree.
5. In a food processor or a blender, add the cooked dal and the cooked broken wheat and process until well blended.
6. In a deep frying pan at medium high heat, pour oil to deep fry and as soon as it warms up, add the sliced onion and fry it stirring constantly until evenly golden brown in color. Using a slotted spoon transfer half of the fried onions onto a platter, scatter so that they cool and crisp up in a while, use these fried onions for garnish later on.
7. In a large non-stick saucepan, add 4 tbsp oil, lower the heat and add cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom, green chillies and cumin seed powder. Stir fry for 10-20 secs. Add the yogurt and cook until separates. Add the pureed nuts mixture and mix well. Add red chilli powder, black pepper powder and salt. Half cover and cook stirring occasionally until it leaves oil. Add the blended wheat+dal mixture and the shredded chicken meat and mix. Pour in 2 cups water, and add garam masala powder and cardamom powder. Mix well. Cover and let cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally for 10-20 minutes. Remove from heat when the desired consistency of a thick porridge is achieved. Ladle in serving plates, garnish and serve warm.

Luv,
Mona

Puran ki Roti – Parathas stuffed with Lentil Halwa

It isn’t until you lose something that you realize how important something was. A few days back I was on the verge of losing my blog. My blog of years, which is very dear to me. I was asking for help around, but no one could, and those who could, were way out of my budget. But I did not give up, how could I? I prayed and alhamdulillah, out of nowhere a very hunble gentleman came to my rescue like an angel. This brother was so willing to help me out for nothing in return. I will never forget your selfless help and you will always be in my prayers.

And I realized how much I missed blogging about my family recipes, and documenting the stories that live in my heart and memories. With a little boutique business and along with a toddler, I was unable to give the attention to my blog that I used to before. But inshallah, I am back. You will all see me blog regularly and I will never take my blog for granted ever again.

Today I bring you a recipe that is very close to my heart, that screams my childhood, those beautiful afternoons, when after a small siesta, my mother would make a few of these absolutely wonderful rotis for us all to fill our stomachs with. We all enjoyed the rotis with so much joy and always looked forward to the the next time when mother would make them again.

Puran ki Roti – Parathas stuffed with Lentil Halwa
Makes – around 10 Rotis

Durum Flour – 1 1/2 cup
Ghee – 1 tbsp
pinch of salt
enough water to make dough
For Puran:
Chana Dal – 1 cup
Sugar – 1 1/4 cup
Green cardamom powder – 1/3 tsp
Oil – as required for toasting

Method:

1. Wash and soak chana dal in surplus water overnight.
2. The next day, drain the water and transfer to a pressure cooker. Add water to cover the dal and pressure cook until the dal is soft. Using a whisk or an immersion blender, blend until the dal is smooth. You can also grind it if you want. Transfer to a pan at medium high heat and add sugar and cardamom powder. Mix well and cook while stirring frequently until the dal resembles a thick paste and begins to sererate from the pan. Keep a close eye. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. You can also make this ahead of time and store in refrigerator for upto a week.
3. To make dough, add flour, ghee and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix well then add water little by little. Form a soft pliable dough just like chapathi dough. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for an hour.
4. Make 10 lemon sized balls of both the dough as well as the prepared lentil mixture. Roll the dough flat just slightly using your hands, then place the lentil mixture ball in the center and wrap the dough around it completely to cover it well, just like you make stuffed parathas. Then flatten it slightly. Now using your rolling pin, roll it to a thick or thin poli. Dust flour if needed. Heat tawa pan and carefully place the rolled out roti on the tawa, drizzle oil and cook the roti on both sides until brown spots appear. Continue until all are done. Serve hot.

Luv,
Mona

Sambar

Sambar is a delicious richly flavored lentil and vegetable stew, native to South India. Many versions of sambar exist, and each one is just as delicious as the other one. The key for a flavorful sambar is a good sambar masala. Like there exists many versions of garam masala powder, similarly every South Indian household has their own version of the sambar masala. I have always only used the ready made MDH Sambar masala powder that is easily available in stores. But I really loved Padma’s Sambar and since then I have only been using her sambar masala to favor mine. I was so glad to discover the right sambar masala for me.

Idli served along with Sambar

Warm Sambar is a delicious accompaniment to South Indian classics like idli, wada, dosa, or just along with plain simple rice, etc. Today I have made Okra Sambar because I had only okra at hand, but the mixed vegetable sambar is the conventional and most delicious. The addition of a variety of vegetables add their own flavor to the spicy and aromatic sambar. Tamarind is the traditional souring ingredient used, but if unavailable you can use lemon juice.

Sambar – Spicy Lentil and Mixed Vegetables Stew
Adapted from here

Ingredients:

Toor dal – 1 cup
Tomato – 1, large, chopped
Green chillies – 4, chopped
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Canola oil – 3 1/2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 3/4 tsp
Cumin seeds – 3/4 tsp
Dry red chillies – 4, each broken into half
Curry leaves – 3 sprigs
Mixed Vegetables – 2 cups (chopped/cubed: brinjal, potato, taro root, bottle guard, radish, zucchini, okra, drumsticks, french beans, carrot, pumpkin, beetroot, etc; peeled & whole pearl onions/shallots; cauliflower or brocolli florets) (I used only okra – 340 gms) (also I did not have shallots so I used 1 large sliced onion instead)
Thick Tamarind pulp – 5 tbsp
Jaggery/gud – 1 tbsp, grated
Cilantro – 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Salt – to taste
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Sambar masala:
2 tsps of bengal gram/chana dal
2 tsps of black gram/urad dal
2 tsps of cumin seeds/zeera
3 tsps of coriander seeds/dhaniya
½ tsp black peppercorns/kali mirch
½ tsp of fenugreek seeds/methi
4 dry red chillies/sukhi lal mirch
¾ cup dry desiccated coconut/khopra

Delicious Warm Sambar

Method:

1. In a non stick frying pan dry roast all the spices separately under the heading sambar masala until they are just a few shades darker. Transfer all the roasted spices to a spice grinder and add a little water and grind to a smooth paste. Keep aside. This is the sambar masala.
2. Wash toor dal in several changes of water. Soak it overnight or for 2-3 hours in surplus fresh cool water. Drain, and wash in several changes of water. Add the washed and soaked toor dal to a pressure cooker. Add 1/2 tbsp oil, chopped tomato, green chillies, turmeric powder and 3 cups of water. Close the lid and pressure cook until the dal is mushy. Using a whisk or a dal ghotni or an immersion blender, blend the dal into a paste. Keep aside.
3. In a large saucepan at medium high heat, add the remaining oil. As soon as it is warm, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When they begin to crackle add the curry leaves and dry red chillies. (If you do not have pearl onions or shallots in hand, add the sliced onions and sauté them until they are pink). Immediately add the prepared mixed vegetables and mix well. Add salt and red chilli powder. Lower the heat to medium and pour in two cups of water. Cover with a lid and let cook until the vegetables are tender crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the tamarind paste and grated jaggery. Now add the toor dal paste prepared earlier along with chopped cilantro and sambar masala. Mix well. Add water to give it a thin consistency. Half cover with a lid and allow it simmer for around 15 minutes more until the vegetables are soft and a good aroma fills your kitchen. Stir frequently and well, as the toor dal tend to sink to the bottom and stick. Serve warm along with plain rice, or dosa, or idli, or wada.

Luv,
Mona

Ambada Dal

One green leafy vegetable that I missed dearly once I had to leave Hyderabad was Ambaday ki bhaji (in Urdu Language) or Hibiscus Cannabinus, also called as Gongura in Telugu. This sour tasting red stemmed leafy vegetable is an Andhra specialty.

Ambaday ki bhaji

Brimming with good nutrients these leaves are good for health. Rich in protein and low in calories, Kenaf leaves have anti bacterial properties and are abundant in iron, calcium, phosphorus, lutein and Vitamin C. The tender leaves can also be used as salad greens.

The leaves are plucked washed and used in cooking, stems discarded. Pairing it along with dal in the current recipe helps reduce the sour taste of these leaves.

Ambada Dal – Sour greens with Bengal Gram
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Ambaday ki bhaji/Fresh Kenaf leaves – about 4 cups, tightly packed
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tspGreen chillies – 3, chopped
Salt – to taste
Fresh curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Chana dal – 1 cup
For Baghaar:
Canola oil – 2 1/2 tbsp
Dried red chillies – 2
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Fresh Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Garlic pods – 2, finely sliced

Ambada Dal – Sour greens with Bengal Gram

Method:

1. Wash and soak the dal in surplus fresh cool water for 4-6 hours. Drain and rinse the dal. Now pressure cook the dal in a little water until soft but not mushy. Transfer the cooked dal to a bowl and keep aside.
2. In the same pressure cooker, add the kenaf leaves, red chilli powder, green chillies, turmeric  powder, salt, curry leaves and just a little bit of water. Pressure cook until the leaves are wilted and then using a dal ghotni or in a mortar and pestle, mash them up thoroughly. Add half the amount of the cooked chana dal and mash it along until smooth. Now add the remaining dal and gently mix. Transfer to a serving bowl.
3. In a small frying pan, prepare the baghaar. Add oil and as soon as it warms up, throw in sliced garlic pods. As soon as it begins to turn into a light red color, add curry leaves, cumin seeds and dried red chillies. Once the spices pop, remove from heat and pour it hot and hissing over the above prepared ambada dal in the serving bowl. Enjoy as a side dish along with meals.

Finally I have been able to spot out two stores that sell this green leafy vegetable in Toronto. Here are the addresses of the stores:
Patel’s Cash and Carry – 416-439-9393
Rexdale grocery store – 416-749-2060
Normally Ambaday ki bhaji or Gongura is available during the months of July to October in Toronto. But they can get it from India and other parts of US.
If you are aware of any more stores that sell it, please let me know.

Luv,
Mona

Daalcha Gosht

Hyderabadi cuisine is unique, a perfect marriage between the fiery South-Indian and rich North-Indian cuisines of India. Yet, sadly there are such few records in the form of cookbooks, TV shows, magazines, newspapers, blogs or even local restaurants/eateries in the city itself that dedicate to chronicle/serve the true Nizami cuisine of Hyderabad. Only those few lucky members of the Nizam Club of Hyderabad, or people who have connections with the fellow local Hyderabadi families get to enjoy the traditional lovingly home cooked Hyderabadi meals.

clockwise from bottom right~tomatoes, opo squash, meat bones, cooked dal

Daalcha is one such true Hyderabadi preparation. The Nizami cuisine of Hyderabad is not just about Biryani and Mirchi ka Salan, or an assortment of meat concoctions unlike considered. It has to its repertoire many vegetarian and especially dal (lentil) preparations that are deeply related to the inimitable flavors of Nizami cuisine. Basically, there are two variations to daalcha, one is the vegetarian version – which can be prepared with either opo squash, eggplants or drumsticks, and the other non-vegetarian version – made by adding meat bones to the tangy tempered dal. To impress your guests, serve daalcha gosht along with baghara khana and phalli gosht, the way it is served traditionally at Hyderabadi households.

I have added a few bottlegourd pieces to Daalcha Gosht, you can skip adding them if you want only meat in the dal.

Daalcha Gosht – Lentil and Meat stew

Chanay ki Dal/Chana dal – 1 cup
Green chillies – 3, chopped
Tomatoes – 2, large, chopped
Salt – to taste
Canola Oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Onion – 1/4 cup, finely sliced
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tsp
Dry red chillies – 2, each broken into two
Lamb meat with bones/Lamb shanks – 500 gms
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
BottleGourd/Opo squash/Kaddu – 1, medium sized, peeled and cut into diamond shape (optional)
Tamarind extract – 1 cup
Cilantro – 3 tbsp, finely chopped

Daalcha Gosht

Method:

1. Soak the dal for 1-2 hours in fresh cool water. Later drain the dal and rinse it in a wire mesh under running water. Add this soaked dal to a pressure cooker, pour in about 3 cups of fresh cool water, chopped green chillies, tomatoes and salt. Close the lid and pressure cook until the dal is mushy. Puree it in a blender until smooth and keep aside.
2. In a separate pressure cooker at medium high heat pour in oil and as soon as it is warm, add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, sliced onion and stir fry until the onion is lightly golden brown in color. Add ginger-garlic paste and stir fry along for a minute. Add dried red chillies, lamb bones/shanks, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well. Pour in fresh cool water to cover the meat and pressure cook until the meat is tender.
3. Add bottlegourd pieces and mix well. Add little more water to cover them and again pressure cook for 1 whistle. (Skip this step if you are not adding bottlegourd)
4. Add the pureed dal mixture and mix well. Add about 2-3 cups of fresh cool water and tamarind extract to get a pouring consistency (not too thick, nor too thin) and let it come to a boil. Once boiling, simmer and let cook for 10-15 minutes. Add cilantro and stir to mix. Serve warm.

Luv,
Mona