Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Ultimate Chicken Bread...

Presenting .. THE Chicken Bread :))

We had tea somewhere and they served chicken bread with tea.. It was slightly raw on top and the filling was a nondescript overly spicy mass.. But I so craved the taste of chicken bread that I thought, now or never 

This is originally Shireen Anwar's recipe. I guess almost all the chicken bread recipes u'll find around FB are hers or modifications of it.. As is this one..

I've changed the dough ingredients to suit my own taste and experience. So since her is widely available everywhere, I am giving you my own ingredients and measurements. As with the filing too. 

Here goes then:

The dough

3 and half cups plain flour
1/2 cup nido milk powder
4 tblsp butter - room temperature soft
1 tsp salt
1 tblsp yeast
1/4 tsp castor sugar
1 egg
Lukewarm water

Extra egg for egg wash

Mix together the flour, milk powder and salt.
Add the butter and rub it in to crumb form
Make a well in the middle and put in the yeast and sugar
Pour over the lukewarm water and mix in
Cover and let it froth for 10 minutes
Break in the egg
Then knead a soft non-sticky dough with more water as needed
Cover and let it rise. Took me 2 hours almost

Meanwhile, prepare filling

Boil and shred half a kilo chicken boneless
Heat 2 tblsp butter in a pan
Add 2 tblsp flour and mix
Add milk gently to form a roux.. and keep and stirring so that there are no clumps
Add salt, black pepper, white pepper, zeera and red chili powder. Taste and make sure its spicy.

Once the sauce tastes as you like it, add the shredded chicken.. Dont let it dry too much but keep it a bit moist. Let it cool down.

This amount made 6 smallish chicken breads. So made 6 balls. Rolled each out and placed the filling in between.

Cut strips diagonally on both sides ....

and fold over in a criss cross design. ..

Brush with beaten egg and bake in preheated oven at 200. Use top grill to get the golden colour.

Have fun and do give it a try. The taste is worth the effort involved.

Banoffee Pie

A dream of cream and caramel .. I dont think I should give you the recipe you know .. You'll make it and gain 100 kilos and blame me for it .. Tch tch ...

On second thoughts.. maybe I should, why should I gain the kilos alone? :) 

I have the recipe from the Carnation website.. have adjusted it to my own designs.. but the basic recipe is theirs

For the crust
100 gm butter
250 gm biscuits of your choice

For the Caramel
100 gm butter
100 gm brown sugar
397 gm - 1 tin, condensed milk
* my addition, 1/2 tsp instant coffee

4 medium sized bananas

200 ml cream
(In the UAE I used regular whipping cream. Here, I use the Nestle thick cream. Add 2 tbsp ground sugar to it and whip with mixer. Keep on doing this for around 5 to 8 minutes.. the cream will thicken.. )

2 tblsp chocolate horlicks - or grated chocolate
I used horlicks. . different taste..

(Usually banoffee recipes use condensed milk that has caramelised in a boiling pot of water, cooking for over 2 hours. I dont like the idea of wasting so much gas on it - hence this recipe is perfect from this aspect too..)

Acha so melt the butter and set aside
Crush 250 gm biscuits very fine in a processor.. Use whatever you have, I had some candi, some choco chips, some cafe.. used them all.. made for a very unusual taste and I think that added an extra kick

Add these crumbs to the butter. With washed hands, mix well and pat in a springform tin

Make a crust, pushing a bit to get some side crust too

Keep this in the fridge

For the caramel
Heat the butter and add sugar
On medium low heat, keep mixing and stirring
The sugar must dissolve and be very smooth
Add the condensed milk and keeping it on low heat, keep stirring..
Bring mixture to a boil
Once boiled, dissolve the coffee in a few drops of melted butter and add to the sauce

You must cook it long enough so its firm.. but not too long warna it will become toffee.. which is tasty too but not needed here

Pour over this sauce in the crust and let it rest in the fridge

Once chilled a bit, put the sliced bananas over it and spread out..

Cover with whipped cream..

Sprinkle with horlicks or chocolate and chill at least 2 hours before cutting and serving

It will be gooey and it WILL spill over .. because thats what a Banoffee Pie should do...

Enjoy and do take a brisk walk after it.. you have been warned ....

Fried Besan Naan.. Trip down memory lane!

Our dinner yesterday - besan fried naan nd green chilies, onion rings and chutney 

Back in the last century, when I was a college going girl, on the way back from college there was this naan bai.. wo used to have these naans - and they were only available at 'chutti-time' and only on weekdays. I guess that was his marketing scheme - and I suppose it went very well.. since they were almost always gone for the batch of girls who came by 20 mins later.

I've tried to recreate it and except for the green chilies, its almost the same. I say almost since that naan had the magic of that age.. the hunger after college time.. the companionship of friends and the knowledge that it was SO unhealthy and fattening and yet the carefree attitude that one couldnt care less.. it was yumm and thats all the mattered 

No great science involved - just take a day old naan, wet it nicely. Make a besan batter like you would for pakoras - adding fresh green dhania, green chilies, coarsely crushed whole coriander and pomegranate seeds.

Make a batter not too thick and not too thin. It should flow but not swim 

Soak the naan in it for a few seconds.. make sure its covered from all sides..

The oil must be piping hot - u dont have to cook anything na, just fry it.

Carefully lower the naan in the oil, taking care it doesnt splatter over u. turn carefully after a few seconds and take out as soon as the colour is golden.

Now he used to drain it on the newspaper - with Anjuman all over it  We now know its not healthy so we use brown paper bags slit open or wax paper. Even tissue is not a good idea by the way..

Drain.... and eat as soon as possible.. the colder it gets the greasier.. and the tougher to eat.

Serve with green chilies, fried in same batter, raw onions soaked in lemon juice and chutney of ur choice..

Ah the memories of youth!

Hyderabadi Khubani ka Meetha...

... In all its glory ....

I dont know if this is THE original way of making it.. but its the way I make it.. and I assure you, once you eat it as is, u'll only make it this way, inshaAllah  Dont blame me for the weight you gain though, thats entirely your own business 

Khubani ka Murabba
Soak 1 kilo dried apricots in clean water over night.
Next morning, set the pot too cook on medium heat, adding a cup of sugar.
Taste it, and reduce or increase as per your taste. I'd suggest keeping it a bit on the lower side.

Now here is something which demands utmost deliberation on your part.. you must think, think with all your might and come to the great decision on your own..

Do you, or do you not, remove the stones/almonds from the khubani before you start cooking them?!!

I was not very well when I made it and did not have the energy when I was making it so did not remove them. I thought, cant be that bad.. will pick them out with a spoon. Let me give u a piece of friendly advice - do not do as I did. Make the effort and remove them before u cook the whole lot.

As it were, the stones got in the way of everything.. so I pulled on a pair of food-safe disposable gloves and removed them all by hand. It got done eventually and was alright but in the end I actually did more work that I would have, if I'd taken them out first..

So once your murabba looks nice and thick and syrupy, remove and chill

I hope you have already made it while the murabba was cooking.. which is why at this moment it is in the fridge, chilling too..

Thick cream/whipped cream is just that..
Nuts as per your choice

Assemble by layering the custard, then the murabba in layers in a glass bowl. Top with cream roses or whatever shape you can make.. and sprinkle with nuts if using. Serve this meetha very well chilled.

A note from the testers here in my home: keep the custard a bit more than the murabba. Since the murabba is very sweet, it will be better balanced...

So now make and tell... No great science involved, very simple and easy recipe.. inshaAllah u'll love it


My Panjeeri .. Finally 

I'd been planning on making this the whole month.. but somehow never got round to it. Even today I had to break thrice, while making it.. but finally its done.. I still have a few days to go so I thought I'd make it and eat it at least once in this whole time 

The recipe is my Mama's.. passed down to me through my sis... . I've made it many times, for myself and for others.. usually, when made for myself, I only eat a fraction of it and the rest gets gobbled by 'others' - samajh tau aap gaey hon gay 

Panjeeri has a load of good stuff in it.. and it also has a lot to do with how much you believe in its good properties. Yes it is very calorific.. for all that ghee and sugar. It will give you pimples if you eat too much since it is 'garam' what with all those nuts in it.. But, it will also inshaAllah help you with the aches and pains and weaknesses.. especially after delivery.. But even in winter, to ward off the cold..

I did not measure the ghee I used.. Couldnt be bothered to do so.. it was enough for me to complete the work quickly.. But I had around 300 grms of home made desi ghee and I used it all.. I say 300 because it looked more than the butter packet yet not too much more  Sorry 

Dont use the ghee all in one go.. just put in a little by little, to fry each item and then fresh for the next... 

I'll list the items in grms - they make roughly one mug.. and it really makes no such big difference exactly HOW many almonds and pistas you put in.. just eyeball it.. it should balance more or less. . . .

800 gms semolina – soojhi. Try and get the coarser kind..
1 bowl or 300 grms ghee. Best is if you have desi ghee. But normal will do too
100 grms of coconut, chopped
150 grms pistachios, unsalted please!
150 grms makhanay – water lilly flower/lotus stemm flower/fox nut/gorgon nut
(I guess its just best to find makhanay from an Asian shop – have listed all the known names, in case u don’t have a shop close by though)
300 grms almonds, with skin..
50 grms charmaghaz - muskmelon, watermelon, pumpkin, cucumber seeds in equal quantity
50 grms gond – gum
20 grms kamar kass – sometimes refered to as sage, though also called Flame of the Forrest
6 to 7 green cardamons
500 to 700 gms sugar – depending on ur taste for sweetness. I used a bit less..

What I did was, heat 2 tblsp ghee for each ingredient – add the nuts one by one, and fry them to a nice golden. Remove in a bowl

Proceed similarly with all, keeping them all in separate bowls. Don’t fry them all together and don’t mix them after frying yet.

The makhanay will take up a lot of ghee. Just limit it to 3 tblsp at the most, no matter how much u use, it will soak all up..

Next, bhunfoy the soojhi in ghee – I used maybe 150 gms ghee for that much soojhi
You need the soojhi to be nice and pinkish golden.. just be careful not to burn it.

Next, roughly grind each ingredient in the machine.. Don’t dump them all in at the same time since they each have a different grinding time and don’t all get ground samely..

Then add them one by one to the soojhi, on VERY low heat and keep mixing in. All except kamarkas. Keep that separate in a tin or box.. Don’t include it in the main dish..sprinkle some before u eat..

Once u have all in, remove from heat and add sugar. Mix in well and store airtight once cooled down.

Heat it before you eat, sprinkle some kamrkas on it and eat it with a glass of warm milk or hot tea..

Please ask if something is unclear..

Enjoy and don’t weigh yourself 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Saucy Buttery Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken ..  a dream of soft meat.. butter and cream.. As usual, the pic says nothing good about it, but it was really yum. I used my Salan Masala Mix in it .. Perfect .. Only problem is, I cant remember how much of it I put in :(
Will work that out nd then post recipe inshaAllah :)

Ok so finally I have remembered :) I've taken to boiling onions and keeping them blended in the fridge or freezer... it makes cooking that much easier and quicker. Plus it makes a good smooth gravy... so this is what I did here. Just boiled 2 medium onions and blended them with a little water.. Used half the onion paste in this dish.. So try and keep a jar of this in the fridge, It holds good for 3 days at least..

So here goes:

1 kilo boneless chicken - in cubes. You can of course use normal chicken pieces, but I prefer boneless in this dish
2 tblsp vinegar
2 tblsp gg paste
paste of one boiled onion
5 tomatoes, blended
100 ml cream
big blob of butter - unsalted!
2 heaped tsp of the spice mix
1/2 tsp or to taste salt

Heat some oil and fry the chicken in it
Add the vinegar and gg and keep frying till the water is gone and ur chicken does not smell anymore.
Add the spices and salt and saute a bit
Add the onion paste and the tomato puree
Boil up, reduce heat and let it cook
You wan the extra water to vanish and the sauce to be cooked
Once it looks done, check the chicken, taste the spices and adjust if you have to
Add the cream and cook it up again..
At the end, drop the blob of butter, turn off heat and keep it covered. Serve hot with white rice or naans..

Homemade Salan Masala Mix

The easiest shortcut to any salan .. Just this, and a little more salt to ur taste .. No other spice needed ..

Its something I've worked on a few times and finally I think I have the perfect combination.. 

2 and half tblsp red chili powder
1 tblsp salt
3 tblsp paprika powder
1/2 tblsp each ginger and garlic powder
1 tblsp papita (papaya) powder
2 tblsp whole zeera, roated
2 tblsp whole black pepper
1/2 tsp whole cloves
3 tbslp whole coriander 
1 tblsp green elaichi
1 tblsp black zeera
1 tblsp methi dana
1 whole nutmeg
4 strands mace
1  tblsp anardana powder
1 and half tbls haldi
1 piece badan khatai (star anise)
12 round red whole chilies
3 bay leaves

Grind all together.. store in a glass jar, dry and away from moisture. Thats it :)

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Imam Bayildi

Imam Bayildi... My way :)

Influenced by my Turkish neighbour in Hamburg.. I give them a twist of my own... Worth every single olive-oil laden calorie :)

There was this Turkish lady on the floor above ours.. very simple and very humble. Its been so many years since we were together in the same building.. and a few since we met. I've learnt a lot from her and am still indebted to her..

Many an afternoon I remember coming home from work and being presented by a dish of something yumm and steaming by her or one of her lovely daughters..

Amongst those many morsels of delight, was this dish too. I've watched her make it.. and eaten it directly in the kitchen...perched on a chair.. totally un-guest-like.. I think that added to its taste..

Imam Bayildi - The Imam fell over.. many fables, why its called so... whether he fell out of sheer delight at the taste.. or at the thought of so many calories.. who knows exactly? But really, once you enjoy this dish, its of no consequence WHY its called so.. :)

Here's how I made it..

5 small aubergines.. best would be the long ones, but any small thin shape would do..
3 medium onions, sliced thin
5 tomatoes, chopped rough
6 to 8 cloves of garlic
1 cup olive oil...
2 small limes (this is my own addition.. not essentially a part of the recipe.. but I like it)
1 tsp dried or 1/4 cup fresh:
Parsely, Basil, Mint each - chopped fine.
(I had dried ones only so used  that..)

Slice the aubergines in half, wash and soak them in salted water for 10 minutes

Brush olive oil over the surfaces and place them on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Or until the flesh is soft and the skin is easy enough to push away. Cover and set aside

Heat olive oil and add 2 tsp garlic to it
Add the onions and fry them to a nice golden
Meanwhile, heat some more olive oil and add the tomatoes
Add some more garlic - around a tsp, some salt and pepper as per your taste
Saute the tomatoes and let them reduce.
You want the tomatoes to be nice and saucy.. but not wet
So once the onion is nicely done, add the tomatoes
Mix well and bhunofy a bit more
Add the herbs and turn off heat.. mix in well and set aside
Once the aubergines are done, flatten the flesh with a spoon or fork to make a hollow
Spoon on the onion tomato mix in heaps
Add 1/4 cup water to the dish, so it just covers the base a bit - the aubergines are cooked, you just need some steam to warm them through
Add some salt and pepper to it and the limes, halved, flesh side down..
Pour over the remaining olive oil and add the remaining garlic...
Heat the dish in the oven.. until the water dries off and the aubergines are warm
Serve with white buttered rice or bread as per your wish.. serve with the remaining onion mix..

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Alubukhara Murabba

Great on its own, with roti or spoon .. perfect on kheer and very refreshing with yoghurt .. A standard staple on weddings here .. And a regular at home

Its more of an andaza recipe - sorry about that but I'll try be as accurate as possible..

I had almost 250 gms dried alubukhara, dried plum.

Clean, wash and soak in around 1& half glass clean water at least half an hour before cooking.

Make a sheera - 4 cups sugar 3 cups water. Boil is twice and simmer a bit.. then add the soaked fruit with its water to the pot. Add 1/4 tsp black pepper powder.

Check for taste. It should be quite sweet. The plums will cook and leave their taste which will add the khatai to it.

You need it to cook down, reduce, making a thicker sheera and the fruit should be soft - not pulpy nor hard. But soft.

If you feel its not khatta enough, add 1/2 tsp vinegar to it.

Add skinned sliced almonds and char maghaz.. according to your choice... I put in lots of almonds.. love them.. :)

Thats it. NOTHING else. You'll find many recipes telling u to add this or that. But the original that is made on weddings here in Pesh, dont have any of this or that

Keep in an airtight jar or box and never ever put a wet spoon in. Take care of these simple tips and you can enjoy it for as long as a month, inshaAllah

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Chicken Tikka Biryani

Chicken Tikka Biryani is served ... Come join us :)

Had been meaning to make this since ages.  Just never got round to it. So finally decided Friday was a good day for such a lavish meal :) Here goes the recipe:

For the Tikka spice:
There are many variations of this powder.. some a lot simpler and some even more complicated. Its up to you - I usually have all these spices in my spice rack, so its not an issue for me. But if you need to drop something lemme know and I'll tell u what to substitute for it 

3 tblsp ground coriander
3 tblsp ground cumin
3 tblsp paprika powder
3 tblsp mango powder
1 tblsp garam masala powder
1 tblsp garlic powder
1 tblsp ground ginger
1 tblsp dried mint
1 tblsp Kasuri methi
1 tblsp red chilli powder
1 tblsp orange food colour
1/4 tblsp nutmeg and mace powder

Make sure the coriander and cumin are freshly ground. If ure really into spice making, like I am, then use home made garam masala :)

Keep the spice well labeled in a glass jar.. airtight and away from moisture ..

Prepare the Tikkas first
This is one chicken, cut in 4 pieces.
Slit a few cuts on the pieces
Make a paste with
3 heaped tsps tikka powder
1 level tsp salt
3 tblsp vinegar
2 tblsp ginger garlic paste
Oil to make a thick smooth paste
Apply 3/4 of that generously on the chicken pieces and cover and set aside.

For the biryani
1 kilo boneless chicken cubes
1/4 of the tikka paste
1 bowl or 250 gms yogurt
puree of 2 medium onions
puree of 4 tomatoes
1 tblsp fried onion paste
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp red chili powder
1 heaped tsp ground coriander powder
2 tblsp gg paste
150 ml cream
2 small lemons, sliced very thinly

1 kilo white rice, boiled with a stick of cinnamon and drained, set aside

Marinate the chicken cubes in the remaining marinade for the tikka and the yoghurt. Set aside.

Put the tikka pieces on foil on a baking tray. Add 1/2 cup water and 4 tblsp oil.. Cover the tray with foil and set it in  the oven on high heat to bake. Once it looks done, uncover and let it get some colour... Do check to see whether its done before u uncover!


Brown the onion puree in oil and once it catches colour
Add the spices.. saute more. . careful not to burn..
Add the tomato puree
Saute it till it leaves oil...
Tip in the marinated chicken, bhunofy, cover and let cook.
Once the gravy looks done, add the gg and bhunofy more. Test for spices, set aside.

Layer the biryani as you would normally... and in each spread the cream as evenly as possible. Place the lemon slices on top and cover with the next layer of rice..

Serve the tikka pieces on top separately.. or you can place them on the rice once it has gathered steam and open at the table...

The tikkas are very very yumm on their own as well .. so you can just make them and serve with salad, naans, the works.. Do give it a try, inshaAllah u'll love it :)

Friday, 14 June 2013

Yummy Gooey Pull-Apart Bread

This bread is also known as the Monkey Bread.. but I dont like using this name.. it is afterall food na so I use its other name - the Pull-Apart Bread ..


There are a lot of recipes for it, usually with premade dough.. you know those crescent roll thingys.. but whats a bread if not from scratch?

So here is how I made them. Quite simple and not too lengthy.. but the taste is just awesome, especially when fresh out of the oven..

2 and half cups all purpose flour
1.5 tsp active dry yeast
4 tablespoon sugar - if its not fine sugar, grind it
4 tablespoon melted butter
4 tablespoon dry milk
Pinch salt
160ml warm milk
1 egg

For the coating
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar - granulated, not ground!
1 tblsp ground cinnamon

Here's what to do with it all:

Froth the yeast with a little warm water and 1 tsp sugar
Mix together the flour, milk powder and sugar
Combine warm milk, butter and salt in a small bowl.
Beat in the egg
Gradually add milk mixture to the dry ingredients and knead a soft non-sticky dough with ur hands. Dont use the machine... you need to feel the dough. If it sticks, dont use more liquid, just touch hands to a little melted butter and gather the dough..

Cover and let it rise for an hour and half.

Meanwhile, mix the sugars and cinnamon in a plate
Place the melted butter in a small dish
Break off small balls of the dough, roll them smooth and dip them in the butter
Roll the balls in the sugar mix and place them in a baking pan
Use the bundt pan - you know, the one with the - ah, whatdya call it? uff. You know na, the name eludes me..
So once the balls are all buttered and sugared, mix the remaining butter with the remaining sugar and pour over the bread
Cover and rest for half an hour
Preheat oven at 220 for 5 minutes
Bake the bread at 200 for 10 minutes
The bread will have risen and look done by 10 to 15 minutes
Turn off lower heating and turn on upper grill.
As soon as the bread has some colour, remove
Let it rest for five minutes
Place a plate over the baking dish and turn upside down.. the lovely goey sugar and butter will have formed a beautiful crown on ur bread..
Enjoy warm ...