Hyderabadi Chicken Haleem – Harees

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

Ingredients:
Serves – 6-8

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

Method:

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.

Luv,
Mona

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

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

Pyaaz ki Pakodi – Crispy Onion Fritters

Every time I visit Hyderabad, I ask my father to get some crispy pyaaz ki pakodi from sweet shops in the city. I just love them. Small sweet shop at almost every corner in Hyderabad sell an array of sweets and also savory snacks.

But when I am in Toronto, missing them, I make these myself in my kitchen trying to replicate them as close as possible to the ones that I get in Hyderabad. I love these pakodi along with tamarind chutney on a rainy day. They also make a yummy Iftaar snack. Sometimes I also enjoy them along with my meal on the side.

Pyaaz ki Pakodi – Crispy Onion Fritters

Ingredients:

Besan – 1 1/2 cups
Rice Flour – 1/4 cup
Green chillies, finely chopped – 8
Ginger – grated, 1/2 tsp
Onions – 2, large, thinly sliced
Olive Oil – 2 tbsp
Curry leaves – 1 or 2 sprigs, roughly chopped
Salt – 3/4 tsp
Pinch of baking soda
Canola Oil for deep frying

Method:

1. In a mixing bowl, add sliced onions, besan, chopped green chillies, curry leaves, salt, olive oil and baking soda. Mix well. Add just 1/4 cup of water and mix well to form a thick-hard batter. Go easy on water as onion and salt release water too.
2. In a kadai or wok, pour oil to deep fry and as soon as it is piping hot, drop small and flattish balls of the batter using your hands into the hot oil. Reduce heat to medium and deep fry till they turn golden brown. Remove using a slotted soon into a large strainer for excess oil to drip away. Continue until all the batter is used up.
Serve hot with chutney/sauce of your choice, along with chai/coffee or juice. I served them with tamarind chutney along with other sides at Iftaar yesterday.

Note:
1. If you want do not want them crisp, omit rice flour and add a little bit more water, to make onion bhajiyas.
2. If you do not want to fry them, you can even shallow fry them in about 2 tbsp per batch in a non-stick frying pan. Make sure you flatten the batter so that they shallow fry evenly. You can even bake them for a healthier version. I have tried baking them a few times and will still continue to do for a few more trials until insha’Allah I come up with a perfect recipe for you all soon.

Luv,
Mona

Chicken Jalfrezi – Chicken with Bell Peppers in Fragrant Sauce

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