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

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

Halal Tandoori Turkey – Roasted Turkey Desi Style with Pasta

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

Kulfa ki Katli

Its a wonderful day today in Hyderabad. The weather is the coolest it has ever been since I landed here, and my jet lag seems to be fading away gradually. So, I thought this morning as the perfect opportunity to visit the wholesale market in Hyderabad at Gudimalkapur, and indeed the visit was totally worth it. The market was a frenzy, but a treat my sore eyes. There were huge piles of fresh greens, seafood, vegetables and fruits, flowers and I bought all that I could at very reasonable prices.

Kulfa ki bhaji ~Purslane

To start with I chose Kulfa ki bhaji (in Urdu language), (Purslane in English) that I bought to cook and satisfy my long patience. It had been more than 3 long years since I had tasted Kulfa ki bhaji and many other such basic fresh vegetables and fruits available here in Hyderabad. Purslane is a succulent with thick leaves and reddish stems and a crisp citrusy taste.

Today my Ammi prepared Kulfa ki Katli, a dal preparation cooked along with Kulfa ki bhaji, tomatoes, tamarind and other aromatic spices. Aloo Methi and Khushka were accompaniments to this humble dal concoction and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal.

Kulfa ki Katli – Purslane simmered in Aromatic and Tangy Dhal

Ingredients:

Thick Tamarind concentrate – 1/4 cup
Kulfa ki bhaji/Purslane – washed and drained, tender leaves and stems chopped fine, roots discarded ~ around 3 cups, loosely packed
Tuvar ki dal – 1 cup, washed in several changes of water and drained
Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Tomato – 1, medium sized, roughly chopped
For Baghaar:
Canola oil – 4 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Dried red chillies – 2, each split into two
Garlic pods – 2, finely chopped
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs

Method:

In a pressure cooker, add the washed dal, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, tomatoes, salt and curry leaves. Add about 4 cups water and pressure cook until the dal is mushy. Once done, mash the dal with a dal ghotni, or blend it until smooth. Add the chopped purslane and gently mash just a little bit. Add tamarind and pour in more water to adjust the consistency. Let it cook on medium high flame. Meanwhile prepare baghaar, add oil to a small frying pan at medium high heat. As soon as it is hot, add the baghaar ingredients and let them splutter for just a few seconds. Immediately pour this baghaar hissing into the cooking dal. Let the dal cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Serve warm along with rice and a curry of your choice.

I have never been able to find this green leafy vegetable/herb in Toronto. If anyone of you living in Toronto has been able to spot Purslane at grocery stores, please let me know. Also, if anyone is willing to trade seeds with me, I am more than happy. Please contact me if interested.

Note: If Purslane is unavailable you can try this recipe with any of your favorite greens. I have tried this dal using baby bok choy and spinach.

Luv,
Mona