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 » 862 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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Hara Masala Wali Murgh

February 4th, 2014 Mona Posted in Canola Oil, Cardamom/Elaichi, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Cinnamon/Dalchini, Clove/Laung, Ginger-Garlic paste, Green Chillies, Hyderabadi special, Mint/Pudina (fresh), Nigella seeds/Kalonji, Poultry/Murgh, Red Chilli powder, Salt/Namak, Tomato/Tamatar (fresh), Turmeric/Haldi, Yellow Onion/Pyaaz 3 Comments » 1,969 views

The first I remember I ever witnessed chicken in a green colored gravy was at one of my aunts house, when she had invited us all for dinner. I was little and the green color of the gravy slightly put me off. I was hesitant and scared to try it. But when I did upon my mothers insistence, it was just like any other chicken curry, delicious and safe.

My version has fresh cilantro and mint herbs in the gravy, giving the gravy a light green hint. It is one of my favourites and a lovely change that my family enjoys.

Hara Dhaniya Wali Murgh – Cilantro Chicken Curry

Ingredients:

Chicken – 1 whole cute into pieces
Canola Oil – 4 tbsp
Cloves – 4
Green Cardamom – 5
Cinnamon stick – 2 inch stick
Onion – diced, 2 cups
Nigella Seeds/Kalonji – 1/4 tsp
Green chillies – 5, sliced lengthwise
Ginger garlic paste – 1 1/2 tbsp
Tomato – diced, 3/4 cup
Cilantro/Coriander leaves/Hara dhaniya – 2 cups, tightly packed, chopped
Mint/Pudina – 1/2 cup, tightly packed, chopped
Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Method:

In a heavy bottomed kadai at medium high heat, pour in oil and as soon as it gets warm, add cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon diced onion and nigella seeds. Let the onions cook until they are brown in color. Keep giving them a stir every now and then. Add the green chillies, ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute or two. Meanwhile puree the chopped cilantro and mint and diced tomato into a smooth paste. Add the puree into the kadai and cook for a minute. Add the chicken and mix well. Let it cook for 2 minutes on high and then give it a stir. Again after cooking it for 2 minutes give a stir, and now lower the heat to simmer. Cover with a lid and let cook for 30-35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. I like to cook my chicken until the meat literally falls off the bone. Give it a stir occasionally. Serve warm along with Naan or Pulao.

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 » 6,622 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 » 5,654 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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Nargisi Koftay ka Qorma – Scotch Eggs in Gravy

June 25th, 2013 Mona Posted in Canola Oil, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Egg/Anda, Garam masala powder, Ginger-Garlic paste, Hyderabadi special, Lamb/Beef/Mutton/Veal/Sheep, Lemon/Nimbu, Red Chilli powder, Roasted Coconut paste, Roasted Groundnut paste, Salt/Namak, Turmeric/Haldi, Yellow Onion/Pyaaz, Yogurt/Dahi 7 Comments » 4,692 views

If you want to impress your guests, then this is the dish that you should be making and serving them. With just a little pre-preparation, you can make this exotic looking dish in a jiffy.

Nargisi Kofta are so named because when the koftas are sliced open, they look like the almond shaped flower of the narcissus. I usually make shaami meat in large amounts and store it in the freezer for later use. Doing this really simplifies my meals. When I have just Khatti dal and rice, and my hubby is craving something meaty, I quickly defrost a pack of shaami meat, and either make Shaami kawab, or Nargisi Kofta.

Nargisi Koftay ka Qorma – Scotch Eggs in Gravy
Serves: 4

For the Nargisi Kofte:

Ingredients:

Shaami Meat – 1 zip-lock bag, defrosted or frsh made
Hard boiled eggs – 2, peeled

Method:
1. Divide the shammi meat mixture into two portions. Roll each portion into a ball, then flatten out to form a thin patty. Wrap each patty around the peeled boiled eggs, smoothing out the join and making sure there is no egg left exposed. (if you feel that the shammi meat is not holding well to the egg, you can add a binding agent to the meat mixture, like egg white, or besan and mix well. Then, cover the boiled egg with the fixed meat, and it wont fall off)
2. Add 1-2 tbsp of canola oil and heat until hot. Shallow fry the nargisi koftay, turning it gently using a spoon, until it is browned on all sides. Some people also deep fry the kofta in oil, but I prefer to shallow fry them in little oil. Remove and drain on paper towel.

These are ready to serve as is. You can serve them as an appetizer. Or if you want to serve them in a gravy, follow the steps below.

For Qorma (the masala gravy):

Ingredients:

Canola oil – 5 tbsp
Onions – 4, finely sliced
Yogurt – 400 ml, lightly whipped
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Ginger garlic paste – 1 1/2 tsp
Roasted Groundnut paste – 2 tbsp
Roasted Coconut paste/Coconut cream – 2 tbsp
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Chopped cilantro – 2 tbsp
Lemon juice – 1 tsp (optional)

Method:
1. Take a heavy bottomed non stick frying pan on medium heat and throw in the thickly sliced onion rings with no oil. Give them a stir and cover with a lid. Open the lid, and stir them again, add a few splaches of water and cover the lid again. Continue doing this until the onions are are caramelized and cooked. Transfer them into a blender container. Add the yogurt, roasted groundnut paste and roasted coconut paste/coconut cream and blend till it is a smooth puree.
2. Pour oil into the same pan, and add ginger garlic paste. Fry for a minute and add the pureed paste. Throw in red chilli powder, salt and turmeric and mix well. Cover and let cook for around 15-30 minutes on low heat until oil separates and floats on top while stirring occasionally in between. Add garam masala, chopped cilantro and pour in a about 1 1/2 glass of water and mix well (you can add more water if you prefer a thin consistency.) Half-Cover and let simmer for 8-10 minutes. Pour lemon juice and remove from heat. Serve immediately along with Naan or parathas or along with a Pulao or plain rice.

For the final curry preparation:

1. Just when you want to serve the curry, gently drop the Nargisi Kofte, each cut into half , into warm Qorma.
2. Serve warm with Roti or Naan or Pulao.

Luv,
Mona

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