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 » 906 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

Ingredients:
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 

Luv,
Mona

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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 » 1,041 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.

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

Luv,
Mona

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Halal Tandoori Turkey – Roasted Turkey Desi Style with Pasta

October 6th, 2013 Mona Posted in Black pepper powder, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Carrot/Gajar, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Coriander seeds, Cumin seeds/Zeera, Garam masala powder, Lemon/Nimbu, Mint/Pudina (fresh), Olive Oil, Radish, Red Chilli powder, Red Potatoes, Salt/Namak, Turkey, Turmeric/Haldi, Yogurt/Dahi 14 Comments » 6,970 views

Every Eid I try to cook something special and make the day memorable by preparing a delicious meal. I had never tried turkey before. So I was ecstatic to learn that Mina Halal is now offering zabihah by hand, Grade A, whole halal turkey through large grocery retailers throughout Ontario.

Mina Halal Turkey

Turkey is a magnificent bird. It has ultra lean, high in flavor meat and is it large enough to easily feed a gathering of 8-12. Turkey is high in protein, low in calories and one of the leanest meats around. It’s also an excellent source of B12. Dark meat from the drumstick is also an excellent source of zinc and selenium. This Eid why dont you all try my recipe in your home and impress your loved ones. They will be happy to eat something new and feel special inshallah. And when there are leftovers, you can use the meat in a multitude of ways, from soup and sandwiches, to pizza and pasta, to burgers and beyond.

I wanted to make an desi version of roasted turkey. And what better roasting technique than making a tandoori roasted bird. I served the tandoori turkey along with pasta and vegetables which I made using the broth after roasting the bird. The result was a spicy lip-smacking turkey that we all thoroughly enjoyed.

Halal Tandoori Turkey – Roasted Turkey Desi Style with Pasta

Ingredients:

Halal Turkey – fresh or frozen (if frozen thaw according to instructions)
Vegetables:
Baby Bokchoy
Carrots – chopped horizpntally into 1/2 inch pieces
Broccoli florets
Baby radish
Baby potatoes with skin (red and white)
To Marinate:
Olive oil – 3 tbsp
Hung Yogurt – 1 cup
Red chilli powder – 4 tsp
Salt – 4 tsp
Juice of one large lemon
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Roasted Cumin Seed powder – 1 tsp
Roasted Coriander seed powder – 1 1/4 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
Cilantro and Mint leaves – finely chopped, 1/2 cup, tightly packed

Method:

1. In a bowl, add all the ingredients for the marinade and mix well to form a paste.
2. Preheat oven to 440° F. Rinse inside and outside of turkey; pat dry with paper towels. Rub the marinate mixture all over the turkey, inside and out. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, cover with cling wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

marinated Turkey on a bed of fresh vegetables

3. The next day, atleast 5-6 hours before serving, begin the preparation of roasted turkey. Take the turkey out of the refrigerator. In a large roasting pan, place aluminium foil to cover it. Place the vegetables in the roasting pan so that they cover the entire base of the pan. Season them with salt and pepper. Tuck wings under turkey, tie the legs together with kitchen twine, and place it in the roasting pan over the vegetables.

roasted turkey

4. Roast turkey, uncovered for 15-20 minutes until you get a nice browned color on the turkey. Then lower the heat to 325° F, and cover the turkey with aluminium foil. Roast for a furthur 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees. The turkey will be cooked to perfection and so soft that the meat will literally fall off the bone.

vegetables nicely done in the delicious broth

5. Transfer the turkey to a platter. Let cool for 30 minutes until you make the pasta.
6. Place a strainer over a bowl. Transfer the vegetables along with the pan juices into the strainer.

turkey meat

the base for the pasta made with broth and pasta sauce

vegetables in the strainer over a bowl

pasta served along with vegetables and roasted turkey meat

For Pasta: (Serves: 4)
7. Add 350 ml pasta sauce (I choose Garden Select) and the collected pan juices to a saucepan and let it come to a boil. Taste and add salt pepper to suit your taste. Mix and add 500 gms fusilli pasta to the saucepan and enough warm water to cover the pasta. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat. Keep stirring every few minutes. After about 10-15 minutes, lower the heat to simmer and cook covered while stirring occasionally until the pasta is done. Add more water if needed to cook the pasta. While you are cooking the pasta, debone the turkey and transfer the meat into a serving platter. Once the pasta is done, add the vegetables from the strainer to the pasta and gently mix. Serve the pasta along with turkey meat. Enjoy!

I still have a ton of leftover turkey meat mashallah. I will be posting something delicious with the leftover turkey meat in a few days inshallah.

Tip: you can store cooked leftover turkey meat once it has cooled down to room temperature in freezer bags in the freezer indefinitely. To use thaw in the refrigerator.

Luv,
Mona

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Healthy Ramadan Recipe – Chicken Phyllo Fingers

July 19th, 2013 Mona Posted in Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Garam masala powder, Ginger-Garlic paste, Lemon/Nimbu, Mint/Pudina (fresh), Olive Oil, Poultry/Murgh, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Turmeric/Haldi 6 Comments » 5,677 views

These Chicken Phyllo Rolls are a healthy take on Meat and Chicken Samosas. They make a perfect healthy iftaar during this month of Ramadan. Serve them along with your favorite dipping sauce, or chutney.

Phyllo is a thin dough made mainly of flour and water, mixed to a stiff paste, and machine-rolled. It has been used for centuries in Greece and the Middle East to make sweet and savory dishes. It is easily available in major grocery stores in the freezer section. Today I have a simple chicken filling for the rolls. You can experiment and try different fillings too.

Chicken Phyllo Fingers
Makes – approx 12 rolls

Ingredients:

Phyllo Pastry Sheets – 12
For brushing the rolls – Milk, or Olive oil, or lightly beaten egg
Boneless Chicken Breasts – 2, cubed into small pieces
For Marinade:
Ginger Garlic paste – 2 tsp
Red Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp
Cilantro and Mint – finely chopped, 3-4 tbsp
Juice of 2 lemons

Method:

1. The night before you plan to cook these, put the frozen phyllo pastry in the fridge to defrost. Take the packet out of the fridge the next morning two hours before you plan to use it to bring to room temperature, otherwise the sheets will stick together..
2. In a mixing bowl, add chicken and the rest of the ingredients for the marinade. Mix well and keep aside.

3. In a pan at medium high heat pour oil and as soon as it warms up add the chicken and cook covered while stirring occasionally until tender. Add chopped cilantro and mint. Mix. Let cool. Once cool, either chop it up into tiny bite size pieces, or shred it. Keep aside.

4. Preheat oven to 375° F. Unroll the phyllo and lay it flat on a clean, dry surface. Place one sheet of phyllo on work surface, keep remaining phyllo sheets covered with damp towel to keep from drying out. Using a pastry brush, apply either olive oil, or milk, or lightly beaten egg all over the sheet. Place about 2-3 tablespoons of cooked chicken in the center of the narrower side. Fold the two edges towards the center. Now roll it up into a log. Brush the top with either olive oil, or milk, or lightly beaten egg. Arrange on a rimmed baking tray lined with aluminium foil. Bake until phyllo is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Luv,
Mona

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Chicken Jalfrezi – Chicken with Bell Peppers in Fragrant Sauce

July 14th, 2013 Mona Posted in Canola Oil, Capsicum, Coriander seeds, Cumin seeds/Zeera, Ginger-Garlic paste, Hyderabadi special, Lemon/Nimbu, Onion/Pyaaz, Poultry/Murgh, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, Yogurt/Dahi 7 Comments » 5,642 views

Ramadan has started, and already we have completed the first five fasts Alhamdulillah. My very mischievous babyjaan will be two years old insha’Allah by the end of this Ramadan Masha’Allah. How time flies. This special month is even more dear to me as my little babyjaan was born in the month of Ramadan Alhamdulillah.

Stay healthy everybody. Be thankful that we are alive to witness this Ramadan Alhamdulillah. Pray Allah your heart out and ask of him whatever you need insha’Allah. And please remember me, my hubby and my baby in your duas. Enjoy this yummy and very easy to prepare chicken curry that insha’Allah your entire family will love.

Chicken Jalfrezi – Chicken with Bell Peppers in Fragrant Sauce

Ingredients:

Chicken – 1 whole, cut into pieces
Juice of a large lemon
Ginger Garlic paste – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Onion – large, chopped
Bell Peppers/Capsicum – yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper, orange bell pepper and green bell pepper, all chopped up into small pieces – about 3/4 cup
Tomato – 2 large, chopped
Yogurt – 1 cup, lightly stirred
Roasted Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Roasted Cumin Seed powder – 1/2 tsp

Method:

1. In a wide saucepan with high sides at medium high heat, pour oil and as soon as it warms up, add the chopped onion. While the onion is frying up, marinate the chicken with lemon juice, ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Keep aside. Srir fry the onions until they are slightly browned.
2. Add chopped peppers and fry them for two minutes. Add the tomatoes and cover the lid. Cook for 3-5 minutes until they are mushy while stirring it an occasional stir.
3. Add the marinated chicken and the yogurt and mix well. Cover with a lid and let cook for 20 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Give it a stir every few minutes. Sprinkle the coriander powder and cumin seed powder. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. Serve with rice/pulao/naan.

HEALTHY RAMADAN RECIPES:
Before I sign off, This ‎Ramadan I am on a hunt for healthy meal ideas for Suhoor‬ and ‎Iftaar‬. Please message me your recipes or send them to zaiqa.mona@gmail.com I will be posting them all on my blog with your name and details before this Ramadan ends insha’Allah. Please join in! I look forward to going through your recipes insha’Allah!

Luv,
Mona

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