Hyderabadi Chicken Haleem – Harees

July 17th, 2015 Mona Posted in Almonds/Badaam, Black pepper powder, Broken Wheat/Daliya, Canola Oil, Cardamom/Elaichi, Cashewnuts/Kaaju, Chane ki Dal, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Cinnamon/Dalchini, Clove/Laung, Garam masala powder, Ghee, Ginger-Garlic paste, Green Chillies, Lemon/Nimbu, Mint/Pudina (fresh), Onion/Pyaaz, Poppy seeds/Khus-Khus, Poultry/Murgh, Red Chilli powder, Roasted Cumin powders, Salt/Namak, Turmeric/Haldi, Yogurt/Dahi 3 Comments » 816 views

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

Serves – 6-8

Boneless Chicken Breast – 2 (if large chicken); 3 (if small chicken) – cut into cubes
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
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
Fried cashew nuts
sliced/chopped Green chillies


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.


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Healthy Desi Chicken Tikka Wraps

June 27th, 2015 Mona Posted in Avocado, Lemon/Nimbu, Olive/Zetoon, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Yogurt/Dahi No Comments » 741 views

It is of utmost importance to eat healthy, especially in Ramadan, when our bodies need the best foods to get the best of the nutrients.

I have been trying to eat healthy as much as possible since the last two Ramadan and alhamdulillah I am able to see results. I am feeling much better and able to to do a lot and not feel lazy and lethargic like I used to before.

Full of fresh flavors, these semi homemade wraps that I made for my family were a hit. They make a fun change from regular dinner fare. The parathas were store brought, and the chicken tikka were prepared and frozen the week before Ramadan. So I only just had to assemble the wraps and serve them for dinner. The chicken tikka was baked using a little bit of olive oil. These wraps are healthy and provide your body with good nutrients.

Chicken Tikka Wraps


Parathas – 8
Chicken Tikka – 6 cups
Olives – 1 cup
Avocado – 2, diced
Tomatoes – 2, diced
Romaine or leaf lettuce, shredded – 2 cups
Sriracha Hot Sauce or any other hot sauce – to taste
Whipped Yogurt – 8-10 tbsp
Lemon/lime juice


Divide the chicken, and everything else between each wrap, squeeze over the lime juice, then fold over one end to tuck in, and roll up to serve.

A few Ramadan Tips:
~ Chew your food well before you swallow
~ Eat a Multi-vitamin with your meals


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Mango Cheesecake

March 22nd, 2015 Mona Posted in Butter/Makhan, Cream Cheese, Egg/Anda, Mango/Aam, Sugar/Shakkar, Yogurt/Dahi 2 Comments » 1,116 views

My husband is not a very big fan of cheesecakes. But I on the other hand, a big fan!

I wonder who might have been the person who thought first of inventing a cake made of cheese.

Cheesecakes are divine. A rich, smooth dessert, that definitely would make anyone happy, except my husband.

Mango Cheesecake
recipe adapted from here

Digestive Biscuits – 250 gms, finely ground
Butter – 3/4 cup, melted
Cream Cheese – 500 gms
Hung Yogurt – 1 cup
Mango Puree – 2 cups
Eggs – 4, large
Sugar – 3/4 cup

Preheat oven to 350°F
Wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with 2-3 layers of heavy duty aluminium foil.
For the Crust: In a mixing bowl, add the finely ground digestive biscuits and pour in the melted butter. Mix until well moistened. Transfer crumbs to prepared pan, and press crumb mixture evenly onto the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
For Cheesecake Filling: In a food processor, or an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add all the remaining ingredients and process for 5 minutes until just combined, keep scraping down the bowl. Pour cream cheese filling over crust. Place foil-wrapped springform pan in a roasting pan large enough to hold it. Fill roasting pan with enough hot water to come 1-inch up the sides of the springform and carefully transfer to middle oven rack. Bake until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in center, about an hour and a half.
Transfer the cake pan to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Later refrigerate, uncovered for 6-8 hours.
To serve, run a knife around the edges, slice and serve wedges. The cake keeps well refrigerated for upto 2 weeks.


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Healthy Ramadan Meal – Baked Chicken with Vegetables, Couscous and Tatziki

July 4th, 2014 Mona Posted in Black pepper powder, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Canned Tomato paste, Capsicum, Carrot/Gajar, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Couscous, Cucumber, Garam masala powder, Garlic/Lahsun, Ginger-Garlic paste, Green Beans/Binees ki phalli, Lemon/Nimbu, Mint/Pudina (fresh), Olive Oil, Olive/Zetoon, Onion/Pyaaz, Poultry/Murgh, Radish, Red Potatoes, Salt/Namak, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, Vegetable Stock, White Potato/Aloo, Yogurt/Dahi No Comments » 1,217 views

We desi people tend to eat unhealthy especially during the month of Ramadan. We should all be making a great effort to cook healthy meals for our family and take care of our loved ones instead. Inshallah from this Ramadan onwards, I will posting healthy meal ideas for Iftaar and Suhoor. Keep watching this space for more healthy recipes and meal ideas to come.

The following recipe is just something I made on a whim. It is easy, healthy, and makes a perfect meal for ramadan.

Baked Chicken with Vegetables, Couscous and Tatziki

Chicken Legs/thighs pieces – 12-15 pieces
Black Pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Onion – 1, roughly chopped
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Mixed Chopped Vegetables – 4 cups, carrots, grape tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, olives, green beans, broccoli, radish, baby bok choy etc
Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
Olives – pitted, 1/4 cup
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
for Couscous:
Couscous – 1 cup
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Tomato paste/Pasta sauce (store bought) – 1 tbsp
Fresh leaves and Cilantro – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Water/Chicken/Vegetable stock – 2 cups, very hot
Salt – 1 tsp
for Tatziki
Cucumber – 1/2, peeled and grated
Garlic clove – 1, mashed
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Fat-free Yoghurt – 1 cup
Juice of half lemon
Fresh mint – 4-5 leaves, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl bowl, add chicken, black pepper powder, turmeric, salt, ginger garlic paste, onion, garam masala, olives, olive oil and mix well. In a baking dish with high sides, add the vegetables in a layer. Over them add the marinated chicken again a layer. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 35-45 minutes covered, then the next 15-20 minutes uncovered until the chicken is juicy and done.
Add pasta sauce/tomato paste, chopped herbs, olive oil, and water/chicken stock in a kettle and let it come to a boil. Add couscous in a bowl. Once the water/chicken stock is boiling, pour over the couscous in the bowl and cover with a tight lid. Keep adise and let rest for 10 minutes. Then fluff with fork.

Using a box grater, coarsely grate the cucumber. Sprinkle it with a 1/2 tsp of salt. Let rest for 10 minutes. Then squeeze and scrunch with clean hands to get rid of the excess salty water. Add it to a bowl. Also add yogurt, mashed garlic, lemon juice, chopped mint leaves and salt. Tatziki is ready.

In a serving dish, add the couscous in a layer. Top it with baked chicken and vegetables. Serve along with tatziki on the side.

Healthy Desi Meals Ideas for Iftaar/Suhoor:
For Iftaar
~ Chanay ki Dal – Lemony Boiled Split Bengal Gram 
~ Jaam ka Kachalu – Guava Chaat 
~ Fruit Chaat – Fruit Salad
~ Baked Samosas – bake the samosas instead of deep frying
~ Ragda Cutlet – alter the recipe by not adding any oil to cook the onions, just saute them in a pan until they get a nice brown color; bake the potato cutlets instead of shallow frying; also do not sweeten yogurt
~ Pita Pockets made using Sheekh Kebabs 


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Rasgulla – Rasmalai

January 9th, 2014 Mona Posted in Cardamom/Elaichi, Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Lemon/Nimbu, Milk and Milk Products, Saffron/Zafraan, Sugar/Shakkar 4 Comments » 1,140 views

One of my favorite desserts since my childhood is this Bengali delicacy Rasgulla. The white spongy balls in the sugar syrup please me to no extent. Its cousin is Rasmalai. The first time I tasted Rasmalai I remember very nicely was in one Ramadan during my childhood when we were staying at my Mama’s house for holidays. It was love at first bite.

In order to prepare Rasmalai you have to have Rasgullas. When you have guests and you need a quick dessert to make, you can use tinned store-brought rasgullas to make rasmalai, or making them from scratch is also as easy, but it needs a little time.

Rasgulla and Rasmalai 

For Rasgulla – Cheese Balls in Fragrant Sugar Syrup:
Milk – 4 cups
Lemon juice – juice of half a lemon
Water – 2 1/2 cups
Sugar – 1 cup
1 green cardamom powdered

In a heavy bottomed saucepan at medium high heat, pour in milk and let it come to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice, stir and keep aside for 20 minutes. The milk will curdle. Line a sieve with a muslin cloth and drain the curdled milk. Bring the ends of the cloth together into a bundle and squeeze it to drain water. Hang for a further 30 minutes until all the water is properly drained out. Transfer the milk solids to a bowl and knead into a soft ball. Make smooth equal sized 10-12 balls. In a pressure cooker, boil sugar in water and add green cardamom powder and the prepared balls. Pressure cook until you get a whistle. The balls will now swell up in size. Let cool, chill and serve. Or use them to make Rasmalai, recipe below.

For RasMalai – Cheese Cakes in Fragrant Thickened Milk Sauce:
10-12 Rasgullas
Milk – 3 cups
Rasgulla Sugar syrup – 3/4 cup
Saffron – a pinch

Grease the bottom of a heavy bottomed saucepan with few drops of ghee, this will prevent burning of milk at the bottom. Pour in milk and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for a hour. Meanwhile, take the rasgullas and gently squeeze them between your fingers to flatten them, but not break them, so that most of the sugar syrup is removed. Keep them aside in a bowl. Do not discard the sugar syrup. By now the milk will be reduced to about half its quantity. Drop the squeezed flattened rasgullas in the milk. Add the sugar syrup, saffron, dried nuts and let simmer for 15- 30 minutes. In a couple of minutes, they will soak up the milk and puff up. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature. Serve chilled.

You can store the sugar syrup and use it to flavor tea, coffee etc. It will last a few weeks in the refrigerator.


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