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

Aloo Gosht and Arusuvai Friendship Chain

I had received these lovely gifts from Mallugirl from Malabar Spices a few weeks back as part of the Arusuvai Friendship Chain..

The day she informed me that she was going to send me a surprise ingredient, I was thrilled. From that day till I received the package, I wondered every moment what the surprise ingredient might be. When I received it I tasted the surprise powder ingredient and guessed it might be something with ground Cinnamon as it had a pleasantly sweetish aroma. Mallugirl then told me that it was the Biryani Garam Masala. I also loved the fiery red hot dried chillies she sent me along. I used them in my cooking for the Baghaar (tempering), even planted the seeds from a dried chilli and the plants are doing very good. Mallu girl, I really enjoyed the yuummy chocolates and delicious other ingredients.

Aloo Gosht – Lamb meat and Potato Curry 

I used the Biryani Garam masala to prepare Gosht Ki Biryani and also prepared Aloo Gosht a few days ago using the Biryani Masala and it turned out quite delicious.

Aloo Gosht – Lamb meat and Potato Curry

Ingredients:

  • Canola Oil – 1/2 cup
  • Yellow Onions – 3, large, finely chopped
  • Lamb/Veal Meat – 300 gms, washed, cubed and drained
  • Yogurt/Dahi – 2 cups, lightly whisked
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Red Chilli powder – 3 tsp
  • Lemon Juice – 2 tbsp
  • Green Beans/Binees Ki Phalli – 20 to 30 ,fresh, each sliced at an angle into 3 pieces
  • Potato/Aloo – 2, medium, peeled and quarted
  • Dried Fenugreek leaves/Kasuri Methi – 1 tbsp
  • Biryani Garam Masala – 2 tsp

Method:

  • In a medium sized pressure-cooker at medium heat, pour oil and as soon as it gets warm add the finely chopped onions and let them fry till they are nicely browned. Keep stirring them frequently.
  • Add the cubed meat and let it cook along the onions for 4-5 minutes. Pour in the whisked yogurt and salt and mix well. Let it cook for 5 minutes.
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook till the meat is tender. Keep an eye on it.
  • During this time, in a seperate frying pan, pour little oil and stir fry the french beans and the quartered potatoes seperately for 5-8 minutes each. Drain and keep aside.
  • Add red chilli powder, lemon juice, Kasuri methi, Biryani Garam Masala, quartered potatoes and water (around 5 cups or according to your wish as per the consistency of the gravy you desire) and let it cook till the oil has seperated and the potatoes are soft and nicely done. Serve hot.

Suggested Accompaniments: Serve hot with warm Naan, Afghani Roti or Parathas..

I will be sending my surprise ingredient to Trupti of The Spice Who Loved Me very soon.

Luv,
Mona

Navratan Khorma

Khorma is one dish which we can have with Pulao, or Plain Rice, or Parathas or Naan. Today I savored this curry along with Rajma Pulao. I love the meal the day I get to enjoy combination. It is even great for gatherings, when you can prepare this combination with some snacks and a dessert to finish off and impress your loved ones.

This dish comes from the cookbook India’s Vegetarian Cooking by Monisha Bharadwaj. I have tried many recipes from this cookbook and loved most of them. I have not yet bought this book, but it sure now is among the top in the list of my Cookbook Wishlist.

Navratan Korma – Nine Jewelled Curry

It was yummy, and I am glad I tried this recipe. You can dump in all the left over vegetables, like cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, peas, corn, capsicum, carrots, beans, from the refrigerator you have in you house. I have used only a few, I didnt have all those in the house.

Navratan Korma – Nine Jewelled Curry

Serves:4; Preperation Time:15 mins; Cooking time:25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Frozen Mixed Vegetables – 300 gms
  • Canola Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Onion – 1, small, finely sliced
  • Ginger Garlic Paste/Adrak-Lahsun Masala – 1 tbsp
  • Tomato Paste – 3 tbsp
  • Green Chillies – 3 fresh, slit in middle
  • Turmeric powder/Haldi – 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp
  • Cashew Nuts – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Tinned Pineapple Chunks – 2 tbsp, chopped
  • Light Cream – 100 ml
  • Cherries – to garnish
  • Cilantro – to garnish
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese – to garnish

Method:

  • Heat oil in a saucepan and fry the onion for a minute or so. Keep stirring to prevent it from sticking and stir in the ginger garlic paste.
  • Add the tomato puree and chillies and cook until oil seperates, ading a couple of tablespoons of water to hasten the process.
  • Add the frozen vegetables, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt. Mix gently and cook for a couple of minutes before folding in the cashewnuts, pineapple and cream. Heat through without allowing to boil.
  • Serve hot garnished with the cherries, coriander leaves and cheese.

Suggested Accompaniments: You can have it along with Pulaos, Naan, Parathas, Basmati Chawal or Roti

Luv,
Mona

Haleem~I

Haleem, is a stew or a porridge made by slow cooking the lentils, meat and broken wheat together. It is a nutritous one-dish meal, perfect for a cold weather, or a starving stomach.

Murgh/Chicken Haleem garnished with fried onion slices, halved lime and sliced green chillies

It is mostly a middle-eastern dish in origins, heavily modified by Hyderabadis to suite their palate and is today one of the most famed dishes of Hyderabad city. It is usually prepared by muslims at Iftaar or dinner in the holy month of Ramadhan. I remember back in India, stalls and shops, especially for the month of Ramadhan would be set up and people would gather in big crowds to have it then and there, or parcel it and take home for everyone at home. The crowds and the stalls, the Pista restaurant famous for Haleem being one such, which would especially be seen in the month of Ramadhan in Hyderabad was a sight to watch, remember and recollect always.

This dish needs some pre-planning and is a little bit time consuming. But you will definitely love it once you try it. It is a balanced, delicious and famous Hyderabadi one dish meal.

I have been trying out many ways of preparing this delicious one dish meal and here is my modified simpler version of the dish. Inshallah I will post my Ammi’s version of Haleem in the future.

Haleem – Slow Cooked Lentils, Wheat and Meat/Vegetables Porridge
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:

For Nonvegetarian Version-

Lamb/Veal Meat, boneless or with bone – 300 gms, washed and cubed (or) Chicken meat, boneless or with bone – 300 gms washed and cubed (I suggest using meat with bone) (you could also use minced chicken or lamb/veal meat)

For Vegetarian Version-

Fresh/Frozen chopped mixed Vegetables -300gms (you can use chopped vegetables like Cauliflower/PhulGobi, Peas/Matar, Carrots/Gajar, Capsicums/Shimla Mirch, Green Beans/Phalli)

Remaining Ingredients:

Broken Wheat/Bulgar Wheat/Dalia – 1 1/2 cups
Split Bengal Gram/Chana Dal/Chane ki dal – 2 tbsp
Split Yellow Lentils/Masoor dal – 2 tbsp
Split Yellow Lentils/Tuvar dal – 4 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric/Haldi – 1/2 tsp
Canola oil – 6 tbsp
Onions – 4, large, finely sliced
Ginger-Garlic paste – 4 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander seeds – 2 tsp, dry roasted and powdered
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp, dry roasted and powdered

Garam masala – 1 tsp

For Garnish:

Mint leaves/Pudina – chopped, for garnish
Cilantro/Kothmir – chopped, for garnish
Green chillies/Hari Mirch – 4, finely chopped or slit
Fried Onion/Pyaz – 1 cup
Juicy Lemon/Lime – 4, halved
Ghee – 2 tbsp (optional)

Method:

1. Add the broken wheat to surplus fresh cool water and drain in very fine wire mesh strainer several times to wash it, and soak the it and the lentils~chana dal, tuvar dal and masoor dal, seperately overnight or for atleast 3 hours, in generous amount of fresh cool water.
2. For a Non-vegetarian version, pressure cook the meat in surplus amount of water enough to cover it along with a pinch of salt and turmeric till tender. Chicken Meat will cook faster than Lamb meat. Once the meat is tender, drain, measure and reserve the stock in a bowl, shred the meat and keep aside in an anther bowl. Discard the bones. If using minced meat, cook it in a little oil, salt and red chilli powder until browned evenly. Keep aside.
3. Drain the soaking wheat and lentils and keep aside in a fine wire mesh strainer. In a non-stick 7 quart Dutch oven at medium heat, pour oil and as it gets warmed up throw in the sliced onion and stir fry until evenly browned and crisp (make sure you do not burn it). Remove the pan from heat and using a slotted spoon, remove about 1/2 of the fried onions from the pan onto a platter and spread the fried onions well so that they crisp up. Return the pan with leftover fried onions to heat and add ginger-garlic paste, coriander and cumin seed powder, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Add the drained broken wheat and lentils and mix well. Pour in the reserved meat stock. If you are preparing a vegetarian version, you can add vegetable stock or just plain water. You need to add a total of 8 cups of liquid to the saucepan. Let it boil once then simmer and let it cook covered, until the lentils are tender and the wheat mushy, about 1 1/2 hours, stirring it every once in a while taking care it doesnt stick to the bottom of the dish.
4. Stir in the garam masala and add the frozen/fresh chopped vegetables, or for a non-vegetarian version, the reserved shredded meat or minced meat, and mix well. Let it cook covered till the vegetables are tender and oil comes to surface, about 5 -8 minutes. You can keep adding a little water if needed. Remove the dutch oven from heat. Let it cool down slightly.
5. Once cool, pour the entire thing into a food processor and process for a minute. Pour back into the dutch oven, add a little water, and let simmer covered for 5 more minutes.
6. To serve pour the Haleem into individual plates with a laddle and garnish each plate with a few chopped mint leaves, chopped cilantro, chopped/slit green chillies, reserved fried onion, halved lemon for squeezing fresh lemon juice and a dollop of ghee(optional) for a deliciously nutritious meal.

Luv,
Mona

Gosht Pasinde~I

Ah! The long weekend has gone by and I still wanted more of it. Weekends just fly away, dont you all also think so?

Today I am sharing with you all the recipe for ‘Pasinde’, my naniammi – grandmother’s version. This is a dry meat curry with a thick and aromatic gravy consisting of a range of spices, shallow fried french beans and potatoes.

Pasinde ka Salan

Pasinde is one of the most classic Hyderabadi dishes loved by the muslims mostly. My family loves it. We enjoy it with Paratha or Rice and Khatti Dal.

Pasinde ka Salan – Meat Cooked with Spices, French Beans and Potatoes

Ingredients:

Boneless Veal Meat – 600 gms, cut into thin long strips, 5 × 7.5 cm and 1.2 cm in thickness)
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 1/2 tsp
Yogurt – 1 cup
Salt – 2 tsp
Red Chili Powder – 1 tsp
Canola Oil
Green Beans – 10, each cut diagonally into 3 pieces
Potatoes – 2, large, peeled and sliced thick from the longer side
Yellow Onion – 2
Khus Khus – 1 tbsp
Chironji nuts, Almonds, Cashew nuts – 2 tsp each, soaked in 3/4 cup warm milk for 15 mins (optional)
Desiccated coconut – 1/4 cup
Groundnuts – 1/4 cup, deskinned
Black Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
Dry roasted Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Cilantro – 1 tbsp, chopped finely
Mint leaves – 1 tbsp

Method:

1. Place the strips of meat between sheets of cling film and flatten and tenderize the strips of veal by pounding them flat with a kitchen mallet or a rolling pin. Marinate the meat with turmeric, ginger-garlic paste, yogurt, salt and red chilli powder for atleast 3-4 hours in the refrigerator. After the marination time of the meat, bring it to room temperature and, now, lets start preparing the curry.
2. Add the marinated mutton to the pressure cooker and let it cook covered for 5 minutes. Keep stirring it occasionally so that it doesnt get stuck to the bottom of the pan. Close the lid and pressure cook until the meat is done.
3. Meanwhile, in pan with little oil, shallow fry the french beans, and the sliced potatoes seperately and keep aside in individual platters. Keep aside.

Shallow fried french beans

Shallow fried thick potato slices

4. From the same pan, pour off all but 2 tbsp oil and shallow fry the sliced onions in that oil, until just lightly browned. Remove using a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined platter. Keep aside to cool.
5. In the same pan (no need to add any oil), roast the khus-khus, desiccated coconut, and groundnut on an iron rawa or in a thick bottomed pan individually for just a few minutes and remove onto a platter. Keep aside to cool.
6. In a grinder, add the fried onions, and roasted khus-khus, soaking chironji nuts, almonds, and cashew nuts with milk, desiccated coconut and groundnut and grind them all together to a smooth paste. Add just a few drops of water if required.
7. Open the lid of the pressure cooker. Using tongs, remove the meat strips from the masala into a bowl, cover the bowl and keep aside. Add the above blended smooth paste of spices to the pressure cooker and stir well to mix. Cover with a splatter screen and let cook on simmer until its starts leaving oil. Keep stirring occassionally. Add the black pepper powder, garam maslaa powder, cardamom powder, coriander powder and cilantro and mint.
8. Add the meat, stir fried potatoes and french beans to the mixture and gently combine well without breaking the potatoes.
9. Cook the mixture at medium heat till the potatoes are soft and the whole mixture is fairly dry about 4-6 minutes. Sprinkle a few drops of water if it sticks to the bottom of the pan. Serve immediately.

Suggested Accompaniments: We usually have this curry along with Parathas or Basmati Chawal and Khatti dal for a meal.

Luv,
Mona