Spicy Masala Chicken Curry (Dhabe wala Chicken)

DSC_2897-Edit

 

Another one of my absolute favorites-Spicy Masala Chicken curry or Dhabe wala Chicken(as I prefer to call it). This amazing Indian Curry dish is spicy, full of flavor, has rich thick gravy and is mouthwateringly aromatic. Even though I’m always in favor of healthier and seemingly less fatty alternatives but there are certain dishes where I just don’t compromise on flavor and stick to its true original recipe and this dish is definitely one of those. So here is the recipe –

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
  • 1.5 lb chicken thighs or 3 lb chicken legs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • teaspoon kashmiri lal mirch or red chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4-5 cups water or chicken broth(for more flavorful results)
  • cup canned tomato purée
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 small potatoes-quartered
  • Plain yogurt, torn fresh mint, and naan, flatbread, or cooked rice (for serving)

METHOD

  • Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat.
  • Add onion, garlic, and ginger to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Add tomato puree, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, coriander, red chili, salt, pepper and cardamom and cook, stirring often, until tomato puree is beginning to darken, about 5-6minutes.
  • Add broth or water and cream to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and add the chicken. Simmer, partially covered, skimming occasionally, until chicken is almost done and liquid is slightly thickened, approximately 1hr.
  • Add potatoes to the pan and cook, partially covered, until potatoes are fork-tender, chicken is fully cooked, and liquid is thick enough to coat a spoon.
  • Top with yogurt and mint, and serve with naan, flatbread, or rice.

(For best result, if you are using leg pieces you should saute the chicken for 7-8 mins in a separate pan before adding to the broth.)

Couscous with Chickpeas and Spinach

Sometime back this recipe was featured in the New York Times. It looked so tempting that I had to give it a try, and I must admit it turned out to be pretty darn good. The combination of spinach and chickpeas is very unusual which made me all the more curious to test it myself. To my amazement, they blended so well and the addition of spinach added a flavorful punch to the overall recipe.

This recipe goes well with couscous but tastes equally good with naan or rice.  For all those health conscious people, this dish is a very good substitute for salads because not only it is so filling, it’s highly nutritious as well.

So here it goes:

Couscous With Chickpeas, Spinach and Mint — Recipes for Health - NYTimesCouscous With Chickpeas, Spinach and Mint — Recipes for Health - NYTimes2

DSC_2216

Mutton Biryani

DSC_7758-Edit

Mutton Biryani … do I need to say anything else.

It is one of the most popular Indian recipes which people relish. I for one don’t know when to stop once I start eating it.

I had been after my mother-in-law to give me her secret recipe which has been passed on for generations in our family. Since she is in India and am here in the US, she wrote me a detailed recipe so that I could get the proportions and the technique exactly right. It took her a while to translate cooking-by-gut approximations into a precise step by step guide for me.

Once I got the recipe I went on a hunt to get good quality mutton. Goat meat isn’t very popular in the US; very few stores have it and if they do, it’s pretty expensive. I did a little research and found this store owned by an Indian in the bay area. I paid $17 for 2 lbs, which is a LOT, so I was praying it better be worth it in the end.

This recipe, is a ‘No-Shortcut’ recipe for an authentic Lucknowi biryani ( If you ever go to Lucknow, I would recommend going to Lallaji Biryani place in the Chowk to get the best biryani you would have ever eaten). This is one recipe that I’m unwilling to share due to its family value, but am posting a link to a recipe which is very close to the one I followed.

http://zeenews.india.com/exclusive/biryani-flavours-from-the-land-of-nizams-and-nawabs_2445.html

Making authentic mutton biryani requires a lot of effort and can easily take upto 5-6 hours. In order to make the process easier, I made the mutton a day before making the biryani which was a wise piece of advice from my mother-in-law. In the end, after 2 days of intense cooking I was more scared than excited because I wasn’t sure if I’d done justice to the recipe.  I made my husband the guinea pig and he was so impressed by it, that he literally had 3 servings. In the meantime I had also started digging in and oh boy, I was hogging as if it was my last meal on earth. Mission Successful!!…Woohoo! Now I can happily brag about my cooking skills..;)

KASHMIRI KOFTE (MEATBALLS)

DSC_6684 Kashmiri kofte…One of my all time favortite dishes, I used to bug my dad every other day to make it for me. He makes it from scratch including the meat balls. I’ve made the mine quite simple by using readymade meatballs, which are very easily available here in the US. I was quite skeptical in using them as I didn’t want to compromise the flavor of the dish but it turned out to be even better and tastier with them (though obviously not as good as my dad’s). You can try making the meat balls too…but when you already have a delicious alternative, I would say use it as it saves a LOT of time. So here is my dad’s secret recipe which am about to share with you, here it goes:

Ingredients:

  • 8-12 meat balls
  • pinch of asafetida(hing)
  • 1-tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 2-tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1-tsp ginger paste
  • 6-7 cashews
  • 1-1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1-tsp ground fennel
  • 2-tsp kashmiri lal mirch (red chili powder)
  • salt to taste
  • 4-5 cups water

Method:

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pan. In a small bowl, take around 2tsp water and dissolve hing and red chili in it. Add this mix to the oil and let it saute for a minute on medium heat.
  2. Add the ginger paste and yogurt and let it cook till the oil separates. In the meanwhile make a paste of the cashews in the mixer by adding very little water.
  3. Add the cashew paste to the pan and then add garam masala and salt. (Add salt carefully since the meatballs are already salted)
  4. When the mix starts turning brown, add meat balls and water and let it cook.
  5. Once the meatballs are slightly cooked add ground fennel and let the gravy simmer for 7-8 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 mins.
  7. Serve hot with rice.

(NOTE: Please use Kashmiri Lal mirch only, otherwise you wouldn’t get the right flavor and the color.) The magic of this recipe is that it has very few ingredients, but it still bursts with flavor.

Rava Masala Dosa

Me and my husband, both are fond of South-Indian food. We usually buy ready-to-eat stuff from the Indian store but gathered enough courage to try making it from scratch one day. Given how tasty the food turned out (surprisingly so), it’s safe to assume that we’ll be cooking similar dishes a lot more often.

Here is the recipe: Rava Masala Dosa

Image

DSC_5290

VERMICELLI (Sevai) UPMA

DSC_5180A very popular South Indian breakfast which you’ll be hooked to. This is another one of our ‘Go-To’ meals which we sometimes have for lunch or dinner as well when we have to make something really quickly. The recipe is similar to Idli upma that I posted earlier. You can alter the recipe as per your taste by adding diced carrots and/or cauliflower.

Preparation time – 5 mins                Cooking time– 10mins                Total time– 15mins

Serves 2

Ingredients :

Roasted Vermicelli- 1 cup
Vegetable oil- 1tbsp
1/2 medium sized onion (diced)
1/2 tomato (diced)
Green peas- 1/2 cup
Ginger grated- 1tsp
Mustard seeds- 1tsp
Curry Leaves- 6-7
Green chilli- 2 sliced
Turmeric- 1tsp
Dhania Powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt as per taste
Fresh coriander leaves- 2 tbsp
Peanuts- 2tbsp
Water – 1 ½ cup
Lemon juice- 1 ½ tsp

Method :

1. Heat the oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, peanuts, curry leaves, ginger and green chilli. When the seeds start crackling add turmeric and dhania powder. Stir for 5 seconds and then add onions.

2. Once onions turn slightly translucent, add the tomatoes and stir the mixture till tomatoes start leaving oil. Add the green peas to mixture and saute it for 1 min.

3. Add water and vermicelli. When the water starts boiling, cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes over medium heat till vermicelli gets cooked and there is no more water left in the pan.

4. Switch off the gas and let it sit for 10-15 seconds. Then add lemon juice and coriander. Serve hot with dhania/mint chutney.

To add a little crunch to the dish, it is often paired with Haldiram Bhujia which can be sprinkled on top. To prevent the bhujiya from becoming soggy, add it once the upma has cooled down a bit.

Idly Upma or Masala Idly

potluck-12 copy

Idly Upma or Masala Idly  is one of my all time favourite Indian dishes. Its so quick and easy to make, fits in with all the meals, you can have it for breakfast, lunch, or as a snack, low in calories and above all ITS YUMMY. It is the best way to utilize the leftover idlies. To avoid making idlies altogether, you can buy the ready-to-eat pack from any Indian store in your area. They are easily available and equally good. The one I use is ‘Udupi Rawa Idli’ by Deep.

To make this you will need:

Diced Idlies – 5-6
Onions thinly sliced – 1/3 cup
Tomatoes – 1/4 cup
Dried red chili – 2 (optional)
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Curry Leaves – 6-7
Ginger Paste – 1/2 tsp
Salt as per taste
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/4 tsp
Vegetable oil – 1tbsp
Coriander leaves – 1/4 cup

Method :

1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add curry leaves, turmeric powder, mustard seeds and dried red chili. When the seeds start crackling, add onions and ginger paste. Saute them till they are soft and tender.

2. Add the tomatoes, salt and coriander powder. Let it cook till it starts leaving oil.

3. Add the idlies to the pan, mix well and turn the heat to low. Saute them for 2-3 mins.

4. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot. (often served with coconut chutney which is easily available at all local indian stores. )

Preparation time – 5-6mins

Cooking time – 15 mins.

Total time – 20 mins.

Serves– 2