We are cooking up something great for you!!!

   
Helloo! So sorry for the disappearing act that I just did for the past month. But we are cooking something great for you all ;) . A more fresh looking blog design will be there to facilitate you soon. For the next couple of days the site will be under construction. Apologies for that. 
The good part, there will be a cake for everybody after the facelift is over! :D Stay tuned!

   

Easy Red Chicken 

  
Today’s recipe is very special to me, because this is the masterpiece dish of a very very special person, my most favorite uncle Yusuf, my moothapa. He was everybody’s favorite. Such a humble, well mannered gentleman he was….beautiful inside out. His smile was so calming. 

  
My uncle is not there in this world anymore, but i am sure that he is in a much better place now. I miss him so much😞.  He passed away when i was really young, but i remember so many things about him even now…still so fresh in my mind. 

  
One main thing is that he loved to cook, he used to make really delicious food most of it which were new to all of us as those were mainly singapore delicacies as my uncle was a Singaporean. My aunt (moothuma, moms sister) who is also a wonderful cook learned many new dishes from him. And from her many others learned those unique items. 

  
One such dish is this easy red chicken. Oh, this is an amazing one. I love it so much. This one is kinda like a staple in my aunts house. When i visited India this time, i asked my cousin sister for this recipe and i got it. Now this chicken dish has become my husbands favorite too, so i make this very often here. Goes very well with puri or batura. 

  
Ok, i will be honest with you, even though the name is “easy” red chicken, it is not extremely easy to make this, but at the same time it not difficult also. You have to do a little work with slicing the onions because you need quite a lot of them for this. The other thing is that you will have to boil the tomatoes first, peel it, puree it and then cook the chicken in the puréed tomatoes. But seriously all this work is really…absolutely worth it, i can vouch for that. 

I thank my cousin, my moothuma and moothapa for this yummy dish.  😘😘😘

  

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg chicken, cut into medium side pieces 
  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 big onions sliced
  • 5-6 green chillies chopped
  • 1 full bulb garlic chopped medium
  • Few drops of red food color
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala powder 
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves 
  • 1 tbsp Tomato ketchup 
  • Coriander leaves chopped
  • Oil

NOTES:

✔️ While cooking chicken in tomato puree, lots of water will be released from the chicken as a result of which there will be lots of gravy. Remember to reduce the gravy till it thickens. 

✔️ The red color in the chicken is  achieved from the red food color thatis added. You can omit it but it won’t look very nice. But taste will be great. 

Method:

  1.   Boil the tomatoes in water till the skin starts breaking. Remove the skin and puree the tomatoes. 
  2. Pour this tomatoes into a pan, to that add the chicken, salt, sugar, turmeric, and vinegar. 
  3. Boil the chicken in this till it is well cooked. You can do this on high heat. The gravy should be very thick and reduced. 
  4. In another pan, heat some oil and add in onions, green chillies, garlic, and curry leaves all together. Sauté till onions turn soft. Add the cooked chicken to this along with the thick tomato gravy. (Remember that the gravy shouldn’t be loose, it should be very thick and reduced to just about 3-4 tbsp)
  5.   Add garam masala. Sauté. 
  6. Now add the tomato ketchup and red food color and stir well for 5 mins. Add in coriander leaves. Serve. 

  
  

Halawet El Riz 

Halawet el riz, is an Authentic Arabic sweet which is a rice, cheese and cream dish. Riz in Arabic means rice. This dessert is a close cousin to Halawet el jibn in taste and flavor. 

  

This dish has two layers to it. The bottom layer is made of rice and mozzarella cheese. The second layer or top layer is rich and creamy with a bed of ground pistachios on top. 

  
Just before serving, pour in a generous amount of fragrant sugar syrup. When you take a bite, there will be explosion of flavors, the pistachios add the crunch and the sugar syrup ties everything together. 

  

This sweet is a little bland on its own, but the pleasantly odored sugar syrup turns it into a flavor bomb and takes it to another level.  I loved this sweet, you all should try out this very different and exquisite dessert and i am sure you will be just as smitten as i am. 

  

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3-4 drops mastic plus a tsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • Chopped pistachios
  • Sugar syrup
  • Kashta

For the kashta:

  • 450g ricotta cheese
  •  4 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water 
  • 1 tsp rose water

For the sugar syrup:

  • 100g sugar
  • 50ml water
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tbsp Rose water 

 

NOTES:
✔️ Plain thick cream with rosewater and orangeblossom water can be used for kashta instead pf ricotta. If you get the Arabic cream kashta (clotted cream) that would be best.  

✔️ Orange blossom water can be omitted if you don’t get it. But it sure gives an authentic aroma. 

✔️ Mastic can be omitted if you don’t like the smell of it. 

Method:

  1.   In a pan mix together rice and water. Cook till rice is well done. 
  2. In a mortar and pestle, grind together 1 tsp sugar and mastic till powdered. 
  3. Blend the rice into a puree. 
  4. Return back to flame, add sugar and mix well. The mixture will become loose when you add sugar. 
  5.   Pour rose water, orange blossom water and powdered mastic. 
  6. Add in the mozzarella cheese. Mix on very low flame till cheese is nicely melted. It will be a little tough to stir. 
  7. Spread this mixture on a tray. Refrigerate it. 

To make the kashta:

  1. Mix all the ingredients listed under kashta. 

To make sugar syrup:

  1. In a pan add in the sugar and water. Let it come to a boil, stir for the sugar to dissolve. 
  2. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 5 minutes till the syrup turns very thick. 
  3. Switch off flame and add in orange blossom and rose water. 
  4. Cover with lid and keep aside. 

To serve:

  1.   Cut the prepared rice and mozzarella mix into any shape you like. 
  2. Place the piece on serving plate. 
  3. Spread a generous amount of kashta on top. 
  4. Sprinkle pistachios. 
  5. Pour sugar syrup and serve immediately. 

  

  

Saucy Chicken 65

  

Chicken 65 brings a lot of childhood memories for me. There is an old, small restaurant in Deira, Dubai named Najaf restaurant. I have mentioned this restaurant name in the blog before too. They serve the best chicken 65 and malabar paratha in the world. Seriously, if you haven’t visited this place before, i strongly recommend that you should go give it a try. 

 
The ambience there is not so great but you wouldn’t mind that when you eat their 65 and soft tissue like parathas. Unlike the usual 65 which is dry and deep fried, this one is saucy. It has a sweet, sour and spicy taste to it. 

  
I have been trying to crack the recipe for this for sooo long, but in vain. Tried many many recipes before, with some i get a slight taste of the 65 they serve at najaf, but not exactLy. Remember my old post Sweet and spicy chicken fry , that was the result of my moms attempt to imitate the 65 and she discovered another yumminess….which by the way is my faaav chicken fry recipe. 

  
Then, one day i was chatting with my bff Sonia (the one who introduced your favorite serradura to the blog). We were talking about our old times and old visits. And i was telling her how much i miss her mom, haseena aunty’s food especially this saucy chicken she used to make. So Sonia gave me the recipe for that. The next day, I was making it and i could feel the smell of najaf chicken 65 coming from the dish, and after i made it, i got soo excited, i was sooo happy…..because…..i finally got the “EXACT” 65 recipe. It tastes just like that. Promise!!!! Thaaaanks Haseena aunty 😘😘😘😘 Love you for this and for many other reasons too, hehe! 

  
Ingredients:

  • 600g chicken 

For marination:

  • 2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder 
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder 
  • Salt to taste 

For the sauce:

  • 3 tbsp yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste 
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup 
  • 2 tbsp butter 
  • A sprig of curry leaves 
  • 4 green chillies (1 cut into 3 pieces)
  • 1/2 of onion chopped 
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste 
  • 1-2 tsp sugar 
  • Half of a capsicum, cut in chunks (optional)
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt to taste

NOTES:

✔️ If you want to give a bright red color to the curry, add 2-3 drops of red food color. 

✔️ Adjust the spice level according to your preference.

✔️ I added 2 tsp of sugar, do a taste test and add sugar according to your liking.  

Method:

  1.   Marinate the chicken in the above mentioned ingredients and shallow fry on high heat till charred on the outside. Keep aside
  2. Blend together the yoghurt, tomato paste and ketchup. 
  3. In a pan heat butter, add in the curry leaves and green chillies. Sauté for a minute.
  4. Add in onion and saute till soft and brownin color. Add ginger garlic paste and mix well for a minute. Add capsicum if using. 
  5.   Add in the sugar, chilli powder and salt. Sauté well. 
  6.  Pour in the blended yoghurt mix. Stir for 5 minutes on high heat. 
  7. Add the fried chicken to this. Pour in the water. 
  8. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. 

  
 

  

Khameer/ Bakhmri

   

Khameer/Bakhmri is a Yemeni/Emarati bread. Khameer is similar to doughnuts, having a little bit of a sweet taste. However; they are typically less sweet than the usual style of doughnuts and are served without any glazing or frosting. They are frequently made triangular in shape (similar to samosas), but are also commonly shaped as circles or ovals. When fried, they have a “fluffy” texture.

  

Usually the locals there have this soft bread for breakfast with a nice hot cup of chai. It really is a very good combination. Tried it and i loved it. 

  

Even though this bread is eaten with chai, i enjoyed this one with a spicy chicken curry. We Indians like to have anything with curry, haha! But it absolutely tasted good. It resembled our Indian bread, batura a lot. 

  

This post is for Sarah Shakeer, a very sweet follower of my blog. She had asked for this recipe few weeks back, and i have been doing trials and finally i got a good recipe. Hope this is what you were looking for Sarah! Thanks for this recipe request, i came to know of a new dish because of that. 😊

  

Makes 16

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour (255ml)
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp powdered milk
  • 90 ml warm water/milk
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp kalonji (optional)
  • Cardamom powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste

NOTES:

✔️ If you want to have this sweet, just add more sugar. 

✔️ Add cardamom powder if you are making sweet khameer.

✔️ I used instant yeast so i added that directLy to the flour, but if you are using the normal yeast, just proof it in warm water first and then add to flour. 

✔️ You can roll these into rounds too. 

Method:

  1.   In a bowl mix together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix well. 
  2. Add in kalonji and cardamom if using. 
  3. Add in oil and mix well. 
  4. Slowly pour in the warm water/milk and start kneading till you get a smooth dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes. Rub oil all over the dough. 
  5. Keep the dough in a oiled bowl and let it rise for 1-2 hours until it doubles in size. 
  6. Punch down the dough and divide it into two portions.   
  7. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into 1/8th inch thickness. Keep the other dough covered. 
  8. Cut the dough into 8 portions. Repeat same with other dough. Let it rise for 15 minutes. 
  9. Deep fry the bread in oil. Let it puff up well, then flip and let the other side turn golden brown in color. Remove from oil. 

  

Recipe adapted from I camp in my kitchen

Carrot Halwa Spring Roll

  

Indian desserts, are such a treat!! Rasmalai, Rasgolla, Kheer, Gulab Jamun and Gajar/Carrot Halwa are few of the popular ones from among the huuuuuge list of delicious desserts. 

  

When i think of carrot halwa, both my brothers faces come in my mind. They are crazy about this sweet. As a matter of fact they are crazy about just any dessert…….aaah! I love to cook for them. Was missing them soo much when making this here. This one is for you guys, Fazlu and Farhan. 😘😘

  
Nt heard of carrot halwa before? No worries! I’ll tell you what it is. It. A popular north Indian/Pakistani dessert made with grated carrots, whole milk, mawa, dried fruit, and nuts, and it has a delicious light fudgey texture to it. It is also known as gajrela. 

  
To prepare this, the carrots are slowly cooked in lots of milk and sugar until milk has reduced to about one-third of it’s original quantity or till you get a rabdi. I used sweetened condensed milk here. If you use condensed milk you can reduce the amount of milk and so you don’t have to cook for long. But i did it the traditonal way, by using lots of milk plus condensed milk and cooked it on low for an hour. And it tasted divine, melts in the mouth. 

  
I was craving some classic indian dessert, so I made Carrot Halwa, but…. with a twist! So that i could share a new way to eat this dessert with you all in the form of this handy, bite size carrot halwa spring rolls. Drench the hot spring rolls in a thick fragrant sugar syrup and serve it warm with your favorite icecream. Perfect dessert to have during the winters. Put on your sweater, pull up your socks and cuddle in your couch with this dessert and enjoy. 

For the carrot halwa:

Ingredients 

  • 700g grated carrots
  • 3 tbsp ghee plus 3 tbsp ghee
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 tin condensed milk 
  • 100g mawa
  • Chopped nuts
  • Sugar to taste

For the sugar syrup:

  • 100g sugar
  • 50ml water
  • Few saffron strands
  • 1 tbsp Rose water 

For the spring rolls:

  • Spring roll pastry
  • Slurry made with 1 tbsp flour and 2 tbsp water

Icecream for serving

NOTES:

✔️ As i was too lazy to grate the carrots, i chopped mine really fine in the food processor and it came out really good. 

✔️ If you don’t want to cook for so long and need a faster gajar halwa, reduce the amount of milk to about half a cup. But i highly recommend long slow cooking. 

✔️ You can omit the condensed milk amd just add sugar. 

✔️ Drench the spring roll completely in sugar syrup. 

Method:

To make carrot halwa:

  1.   In a heavy bottom pan, add 3 tbsp ghee and cook the grated carrots in it for 10 minutes. 
  2. Add the milk and condensed milk and cook on low flame for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 mins. 
  3.   Add in the nuts, sugar (if needed) and mawa. Cook for 10 more minutes on low flame. 
  4. Add in 3 tbsp more ghee. 

To make sugar syrup:

  1. In a pan add in the sugar and water. Let it come to a boil, stir for the sugar to dissolve. 
  2. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 5 minutes till the syrup turns very thick. 
  3. Switch off flame and add saffron and rose water. 
  4. Cover with lid and keep aside. 

To make the spring rolls:

  1.   Fill the spring roll pastry as shown in the pictorial and seal the ends with the prepared slurry. 
  2. Deep fry in oil. 
  3. Pour lots of sugar syrup on the spring roll, such that the entire roll is covered lavishly with it. 
  4. Serve warm with icecream.  

  
 

Recipe adapted from Chop Chop Chopra