Chicken Tikka Pizza

A while back I got a request from hubby dear that I am not preparing specials that often as I used to before babyjaan happened.

Chicken Tikka Kawabs – Murgh Tikka

So one weekend I adorned my chef hat and got onto making something especially to please him. I had prepared chicken tikka a day earlier and there was some leftover. The idea to make a pizza immediately popped in my mind and I am glad he thoroughly enjoyed what I made for him.

Chicken Tikka Pizza

Ingredients:

All purpose flour – 4 cups
Yeast – 1 packet – 7 gms
Warm water – to make a dough
Salt – 2 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Olive oil – 4 tbsp
(Store-bought) Pasta Sauce [or] Tomato Chutney – 3/4 cup
Sun dried tomatoes – 1/2 cup, cut into small pieces
Chicken Tikka – 1 cup, cut into small pieces
Green/Red Bell Peppers – 1/2 cup,
Green Olives – 1/2 cup, sliced
Mozzarella Cheese – grated, 1 cup

Method:

1. In a cup of warm water, add one packet of yeast and mix using a spoon. Add salt and sugar and a cup of flour and mix to make a wet dough. Pour olive oil all over the dough. Cover with a wet towel and keep aside for an hour. Later you will notice that the dough has almost doubled in size.
2. Add the remaining flour to the dough and add water as needed to make a soft dough. Do not work the dough a lot. Mix it lightly ans make sure it is soft. Let it rest for 30 minutes while you prepare the toppings.
3. Preheat oven to 450 F.

4. Line a large rimmed baking sheet using waxed paper. Dust lightly with flour all over it. Drop the ball of dough over it and working with your fingers spread the dough so that it completely covers the entire baking sheet. Slather the pizza with the pasta sauce or chutney whatever you are using, then add all the toppings spreading them all over the dough. Lastly add the grated cheese and transfer the baking sheet into the oven. Your pizza will be ready in about 20 minutes.

For Thin crust pizza: use a rolling pin and roll the dough to achieve the thinness you want. Then transfer the rolled dough to a baking sheet and add the toppings.

FREEZE: To freeze, set dough balls on a plate (they should not touch); freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Then freeze in a resealable freezer bag for up to 3 months. If you plan to use it in a recipe that calls for half a batch, divide it before freezing. Thaw overnight in refrigerator.

Luv,
Mona

Penne in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Minced Meat

After having enjoyed aplenty of locally grown sweet red peppers in various forms, I had made a batch of roasted red pepper sauce and froze it to use later early this year. Yesterday, I had the urge to make pasta for dinner for everyone. So I combined the sauce with minced meat, few herbs and spices and some penne pasta, and the meal was so yummy.

Vibrant red color from the silky roasted red pepper sauce along with the delicious meaty flavor, this pasta meal was satisfying and loved by everyone. I will definitely be making this again and again.

Penne in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Minced Meat and Cilantro

Ingredients:

Penne pasta – 750 gms
Roasted Red Pepper sauce (see below for instructions on how to prepare) – 350 ml
Minced Lamb/Veal meat – 650 gms
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Beef stock – 3 cups
Chopped cilantro – 4 tbsp
Grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Method:

1. Prepare Roasted red pepper sauce, see below for instructions.
2. In a saucepan, heat oil and as soon as it warms up, add ginger garlic paste and fry until it is lightly brown. Add the minced meat, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder and stir well to mix. Cook stirring frequently and breaking lumps until there is little or no moisture left and the meat is well cooked. Add the roasted red pepper sauce, beef broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the penne and cook according to instructions. Drian and add the cooked penne to the cooking sauce of red pepper and minced meat. Add chopped cilantro, mix well and cook until there is just little sauce left. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes for the pasta to absorb flavors. Serve immediately garnished with grated cheddar cheese.

For Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
On a rimmed baking tray, arrange 6 halved and cleaned red bell peppers (or) long sweet peppers(red shepherd peppers). Brush them lightly with oil. Sprinkle salt, black pepper powder and dried herbs of your choice.

Roasted Red Peppers

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Grill/broil them for a few minutes until the skins brown and blister, approx 15-20 minutes. Turn the peppers once in between. Keep a close eye. Remove, let cool and puree them all until smooth. Store in the refrigerator and use in a week, or freeze to use later.
Note:
1. You can use an assortment of colored peppers, or just use red peppers. I didnt peel the peppers after I grilled/broiled them, you can if you want to.
2. You can also use roma tomatoes that are red but not over-ripe instead or peppers. Halve each tomato, season the halves and grill/broil them similarly for a few minutes, then puree into sauce and use instead of pepper sauce in the pasta for a different but equally delicious taste.

Luv,
Mona

Qimah Bhari Mirch

Warm and sustaining dishes that comfort the soul are dear to everyone living in nippy cold weather conditions who is literally sick and tired of bearing the cold winds and seeing the huge piles of snow as white sheets everywhere covered on the vast ground, and waiting eagery to see sun and some color around.

I usually turn to cooking homely and comforting dishes quite often during this season of the year. Qimah bhari mirch is one such dish and I had prepared it with a day old left over Masaaledaar Pudine Wala Qimah as the stuffing for some sweet long peppers which we enjoyed along with some warm store brought Afghani bread.

Qimah Bhari Mirch – Peppers stuffed with Spicy Minced meat

Qimah is so versatile. I usually prepare a good amount of Qimah, and use it in sandwiches, to prepare spring rolls, haleem, as a filling for samosas or aloo cutlets and even as a stuffing in various vegetables, etc. Peppers stuffed with spicy minced meat is a sure sight at most of the party/dawat menus. My Ammi prepares the best of its kind. The peppers are filled with Qimah and slow cooked on dum until they are soft and served warm.

You can even use Saada Qimah or whatever dry Qimah you have leftover as the filling for the peppers here.

Halved and cleaned long sweet red peppers (Red Shepherd Peppers) ready to be stuffed with Qimah

During my recent visit to the grocery mart, I happened to spot a few very fresh looking long sweet red peppers which I brought home. These peppers were really sweet in taste. You can use any kind and color of peppers that you like as long as they are thick enough, boat or bell shaped to hold the stuffing inside.

Qimah Bhari Mirch – Peppers stuffed with Spicy Minced meat

Ingredients:

Masaaledaar Pudine Wala Kheema – 1 Recipe
Bell Peppers (or) Long sweet peppers(Red Shepherd Peppers) – 5

Tomato ketchup – 4 tbsp

Method:

-Wash the peppers and pat them dry with paper towels.
-If you have long bell peppers, cut them horizontally (and keep the other halves aside), so that they form into boat shaped containers in which the Qimah can be stuffed. Or else, if you have bell-shaped peppers, remove the tops, 1 inch from the stem end, and keep the tops aside. Remove the seeds and membranes carefully and discard. Dice the tops of the peppers into tiny pieces, discard the stem, and keep the chopped pepper tops in a bowl.

Sweet Long Red Peppers stuffed with Qimah and arranged on a tray

-Stuff the Masaaledaar Pudine Wala Kheema into the peppers and arrange them on a tray.
-In a bowl add tomato ketchup, and the finely diced pepper tops into the remaining Qimah and mix well. Keep aside.
-With the rack in the middle position, preheat oven to 450°F.
-Spread the qimah mixed with ketchup evenly in a baking dish. Carefully arrange the stuffed peppers on the qimah, so that they do not touch each other and cover the dish with aluminium foil. Keep the dish in the oven and let cook for 30 minutes or until the peppers are soft and well cooked. Serve warm.

Suggested Accompaniments: Pulao/ Baghara Chawal or Roti of your choice.

Luv,
Mona