Hara Masala Wali Murgh

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

Tamatar ka Saalan

I remember my Ammi used to prepare all the dishes she wanted to serve at parties and events which my parents used to host during our childhood with her own two hands in her own little kitchen. Sometimes a maid would come for help when the party was large, but it was all under Ammi‘s strict supervision. She never opted for ordering food from a catering company or something like that. I have very vague memories when my mother was young and we were little kids, of the parties and the array of traditional food she used to prepare. I did not have an interest in cooking back then. I never entered the kitchen to help Ammi with parathas in the mornings or helping her with cutting and preparing vegetables on the weekends at the least. I regret, I wish I had paid attention and worked along with her. I was either busy studying, or being rebellious like a typical teenage child. It was only when I choose Nutrition as my subject that my curiosity for cooking evolved.

Today I call my Ammi and ask her on the phone of the doubts I get, but I lost the best chance of actually learning from her in action. I have learnt that sitting and enjoying meals in ones parents house is a blessing. But one should try to develop interest in all that is offered for them to learn at their parents house, from learning their mothers cooking, to the hobbies they master, to the little traditions they follow, because life while at parents house is the best time to learn from the best teachers you will ever get in your life. Parents should also encourage children to develop interest in learning to cook and teach them from a tender age, atleast so that they get in touch with their traditional activities and so that all that does not get lost with time. I am glad alhamdulillah I am able to document and preserve my family’s recipes through my blog, and this way help many young woman alongside as well.

Just like the famous Mirchi ka Saalan and Baghare Baingan, Tamatar ka Saalan is also ubiquotous to Hyderabadi cuisine. All these three mentioned curries, the perfect sides to a Biryani, have the same base gravy, with only brinjals in Baghare Baingan, chillies in Mirchi ka Saalan and tomatoes here in Tamatar ka Saalan. You can also add fish to the same curry base and you get Machli ka Saalan. I have used cherry tomatoes for the curry. Usually regular tomatoes are used which are simply cut into two halves. Tamatar ka Saalan is also referred to as Bagharay Tamatar by some people.

Cherry Tomatoes

Whenever in Hyderabad, I recommend food enthusiasts to attend high class weddings of traditional muslim Hyderabadi families in order to get in touch with the traditional Hyderabadi food which is not very easily available in restaurants or hotels. Or if you are lucky, enjoy home cooked traditional meals locally at a friends house.

Tamatar ka Saalan/Bagharay Tamatar – Tomatoes simmered in a creamy fragrant sauce

Ingredients:

Cherry Tomatoes – 8 (or medium sized tomatoes, each cut into two semi circles)
For masala paste:
Khus Khus/White Poppy seeds – 1 tbsp
Till/Sesame Seeds – 1/2 cup/50 gms
Groundnuts/MoomPhalli – 1/2 cup/50 gms
Dry Desiccated Coconut – 3/4 cup/50 gms
Coriander seeds/Dhania – 1 tsp
For gravy:
Canola oil – 1/4 cup
Yellow Onions – 3, large, each quartered into 4 pieces
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp
Salt – 1 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric/ Haldi – 1/4 tsp
Cilantro/ Kothmir – 3 tbsp, finely chopped
Thick tamarind pulp – 3 tbsp
For baghaar/tempering:
Cumin seeds/ Zeera – 1 tsp
Curry leaves/ Kariyapaak – 2 sprigs
Mustard seeds/ Rai – 1/2 tsp
Nigella seeds/ Kalaunji – 1/3 tsp
Fenugreek seeds/ Methi dana – 1/8 tsp

Tamatar ka Saalan/Bagharay Tamatar – Tomatoes simmered in a creamy fragrant sauce

Method:

1. Wash the cherry tomatoes well. Discard the stalks and make four incisions, perpendicular cuts (an X) from the stem end of each cherry tomato, taking care the other end is intact. Keep aside.
2. Puree the onions into a smooth paste. Also, smoothly/finely grind all the ingredients seperately under the heading ‘for masala paste’ adding just a few drops of water if needed.
3. Heat oil in a heavy non-stick pan at medium heat and as soon as it is warm, add the baghaar ingredients – cumin seeds, curry leaves, mustard seeds, nigella seeds and fenugreek seeds. Once they start spluttering, add the pureed onion paste and mix. Cover with a lid for a minute. Uncover and keep frying until the raw smell of the onions goes away. Add ginger garlic paste, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and chopped cilantro and the masala paste and mix well. Keep cooking until the raw smell of the masala paste goes away and you can see the paste leaving oil on the sides. Add a few drops of water if needed during the process. This might take about 5-10 minutes. Later add tamarind pulp and mix well. Now pour in about 4-5 cups of water (or less) and mix. Let it come to a boil. Once boiling, add the prepared tomatoes and cover with a lid. Let cook for 5 minutes. Once the tomatoes are soft, remove from heat and serve the curry along with Pulao or Biryani. (In the picture you can see that I have prepared a loose consistency of the curry. You can cook it furthur until you achieve the desired consistency. The preferred consistency of this curry is semi-loose.)

On an another note, my blog has been selected for Best Of Indian Blogosphere 2010 polls by blogjunta.com. Please vote for me here.
Thanks.

Luv,
Mona

Khare Seviyan

It has been snowing very hard here in Toronto since a few days. Everyday I get up, and draw the curtains only to see thick layers of snow on roofs, ground and everywhere. Even now it is still snowing.

source

Magical, amazing wonder, but still a pain as it needs shoveling everyday, makes walking and driving on the slippery roads difficult and dangerous, and the unbearable chilly winds. I am wishing that the sun comes out as soon as possible and I get to see color everywhere soon inshallah. In the meantime, keep warm everyone.

Capellini pasta rolls

I love to prepare khare seviyan, or sometimes a simple tomato and leftover chicken + oats soup for breakfasts as a change to the very usual parathas, idli, egg sandwiches or cereals. As the name suggests khare seviyan are savory thin vermicelli noodles cooked in a tomato based sauce. Easy to prepare, simple yet filling. You can prepare it totally vegetarian or add leftover prepared qimah or shredded chicken or lamb meat or even paneer if you wish. Other than enjoying it as a quick breakfast, I also sometimes prepare it as a snack or even as a packed lunch.

Khare Seviyan – Savory Breakfast Noodles
Serves – 5

Ingredients:

Canola oil – 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Nigella seeds – 1/2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp
Green chillies – 4, finely chopped
Bell Pepper – 1, cut into thin strips (I used green bell pepper)
Tomatoes – 4, large, red and ripe, finely chopped
Leftover qimah or shredded chicken or lamb meat or paneer – 1 cup (optional)
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Water – 4 cups
Capellini pasta rolls – around 300 gms, broken into small pieces (or any semolina vermicelli noodles)

Khare Seviyan – Savory Breakfast Noodles

Method:

In a large pan at medium high heat, pour oil and as soon as it warms up add mustard seeds and nigella seeds. As the begin to crackle, add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute. Add green chillies, turmeric powder and bell pepper. Fry them for about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, leftover qimah or shredded chicken or lamb meat or paneer, salt and red chilli powder. Mix well and let cook covered until the tomatoes are soft. Add water and cover. Let it come to a boil. Once boiling, add the broken pasta and mix well. Let it come to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium low and let cook until the pasta has absorbed all water. Serve immediately along with boiled eggs if you wish.

My blogger buddy Tamanna has recently announced an event she is hosting on her blog – ‘Winter Comfort Foods‘~ Classic home cooked meals that make you want to come home and whip up that favorite meal you learnt from your grandmother that gives solace when you are feeling low and uplift your moods. Especially good during this harsh winter season. So do drop by her blog to go through the details and join in the fun.
Khare Seviyan is my contribution to the event she is hosting.

Luv,
Mona

Aloo kay Samosay

Chai shops, bakeries, mithaiwala shops, cart vendors, chat bhandars along the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent, all sell these magical pastries. Originated and traveled to India possibly from the Middleeast, Samosas are triangular pastries, a popular street food, usually stuffed with minced meat, or a potato mixture. They are the usual appetizers that make their presence at the Nizami Hyderabadi meals, and also enjoyed throughout India and also all over the world by everyone. Samosas are also very famous in Toronto and loved by people here.

Samosas – ready to be eaten

This classic Indian snack food appears in different avatars and types within the Hyderabad city, and also all over India with minor regional variations, some differing in the fillings used, others varying in shapes. For example Luqmi, a rectangular qimah-minced meat stuffed appetizer commonly eaten in Hyderabad, is a royal cousin of samosa. Other regional variants of samosas include the sambusak, samusak or shingara etc.

Today I had prepared some aloo samosas~potato stuffed pastries that are just as good as the Qimah Samosas – minced meat stuffed samosas. You can even bake them if you wish, bit I like to deep fry and prepare them the way they were supposed to be made. The crisp outer texture of samosa is what I love the most.

Aloo kay Samosay – Potato Stuffed Triangular Pastries

Ingredients:

Canola Oil to deep fry
For Filling:
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Black mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Fresh Ginger – 1 tbsp, finely grated
Potatoes – 4, peeled and chopped
Carrot – peeled and chopped, 1 cup
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Dry roasted Coriander powder – 3/4 tsp
Dry roasted Cumin seed powder – 1/4 tsp
Kasuri methi – 3 tbsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Frozen green peas – 1/2 cup (or) Dried green peas – 1/2 cup, soak them in surplus water overnight and pressure cook until soft the next day, drain and keep aside to use
Lemon juice – 4 tbsp
Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
Cilantro – 2 tbsb, finely chopped
For Covering:
All-purpose flour/Maida – 1 cup
Whole wheat flour/Durum flour – 1 cup
Carom seeds/Ajwain – 1 tsp
Nigella seeds/Kalonji – 1/2 tsp
Canola Oil or Ghee – 2 tbsp
Water
Salt to taste

Method:

1. In a saucepan, heat oil and as soon as it warms up add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and ginger and let them splutter. In a few seconds add the chopped potatoes and carrots. Add water to cover the vegetables and add red chilli powder, salt, cumin seed powder, kasuri methi and cover with a lid. As soon as the potatoes are done, uncover and add the frozen peas or cooked dried peas, garam masala, chopped cilantro and lemon juice. Cook while stirring until the mixture is dry. Keep aside.

2. Now prepare the dough. Add maida, ajwain, kalonji and salt in a mixing bowl and mix. Add canola oil or ghee and mix well using fingers. Gradually add water and knead to form a smooth and pliable dough. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead until elastic. Cover with a towel and keep aside for 30 minutes for the dough to rest. Later shape the dough into 8 balls and cover them with a towel.
3. One by one roll the balls into thin ovals. Using a pizza cutter or a knife cut each oval in the center into two halves, thus a total of 16 half-ovals will be produced. Cover the rest with a towel while filling others. Take a half-oval and brush half of each straight edge using your fingertip with water. Fold the second half of the straight edge over the fist half to form into a cone. Pinch close the seam. Hold the cone with the open end up and fill the cone with some of the filling. Cut off any excess dough and use it later. Brush one side of the open end with water. Pinch to seal the top edges enclosing the filling. Prepare all the samosas the same way and keep them covered under a towel.
4. Once all are ready, heat oil in a deep saucepan or kadai. To test if the oil is ready to be used, drop a pinch of dough into the hot oil, the dough should come up within a few seconds. Deep fry the samosas a few at a time until golden. Using a slotted spoon remove them into a strainer. Serve warm along with tamarind chutney or ketchup. Once cool, they can even be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and reheated in the oven.

To Bake the Samosa:
After step 4, place the samosas in a greased or non-stick baking tray. Bake in a pre-heated 220° C oven for 20 minutes or until light brown in color. Serve immediately

Note:
1.If you are finding it difficult to enlcose the filling in the dough this way, please head over to Qimah Samosa-Minced meat stuffed samosa where I have explained an easier way to assemble samosas.
2. If there is any left over dough and the filling has been used up, you can make namakpaare out them.
3. If there is any left over filling and the dough has been used up, use the filling to make vegetable curry puffs.

This month Sailaja is on a chaat spree and she is dishing out varieties of chaat items on her blog. Head over her blog to go though them all.

Luv,
Mona

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

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.

Luv,
Mona