Kaju Rice

Kaju Rice





Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

"Kaju" in the Urdu language refers to Cashews, which happen to be one of the nutritious nuts and also the most beautiful looking nut. This is a recipe that is easy to follow, quick to make and is very fragrant and rich all at the same time. The fried onions and the fried cashews add a unique touch to it.  When it comes to cooking food, the cooking technique would make a big difference in the way the food tastes, looks and the fond memories it can make. You could actually make your rice look as good as mine with a handful of ingredients that you might already have. Read on and see how easy it is to recreate it in your kitchen.


Ingredients:

Basmati Rice: 1cup, soaked for 30 minutes
Water 4-5 cups
Salt-2-3 tsps
Clarified butter-2-3tbs
Oil- 1/2 cup to fry onions
Cloves-4
Green Cardamoms-4
Cinnamon Sticks-4 pieces, small
Fresh mint leaves-5-8
Fresh Cilantro-a handful
Green Pepper-4, small
Onions-1 large, sliced and fried until golden brown
Cashews-a handful, fried until golden brown

Directions:

1. Boil water in a fairly large pot and add salt, mint leaves, cilantro, green peppers, cloves, cardamoms, and the cinnamon sticks.

2. When the water starts to give out fragrance, add the soaked rice and cook al dente, that is cooked just enough and not all the way through.

3. At this point, drain all the water from the rice using a colander and put it back on the stove over a medium heat.

4. Drizzle the clarified butter all over the rice and place a tight-fitting lid, wrapped in a kitchen towel and allow the rice to finish cooking until you see the steam escape through the lid.

5. Turn off the stove and allow the rice to sit for 10 minutes.

6. Remove the lid, use a fork to fluff the grains of rice and transfer the desired amount of rice onto a serving platter.

7. Garnish the rice with fried onions, fried cashews and some leaves of cilantro.

8. Enjoy!




Soupy Potato Curry





Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Nothing beats a bowl of this piping hot potato curry along with boiled rice. It tastes great with some homemade bread too. It smells like my mom's kitchen and has comfort written all over it. I often try to recreate the whole experience in my kitchen and it amazes me how just a handful of ingredients along with a big pinch of love and affection, can make a humble potato get so much attention.  It is a little tangy, a little spicy and can be made runny or thick if you like it so.

Ingredients:

Potatoes- 4-5, boiled, peeled and cubed
Tomatoes-3-4 small, cubed
Salt-to taste
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
Red pepper powder-1 Tsp
Asafoetida-1/4 tsp
Onions-/2, sliced
Ginger-garlic paste-1 tsp
Mustard Oil-2-3 tablespoons
Coriander powder-1  1/2 tsp
Cumin powder-1 tsp
Cilantro- enough to garnish
Green peppers-1, slit into two
Water-as desired

Directions:

1.  Heat oil and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle and pop.

2. Add the onions and saute them until they turn light brown.

3. Add the asafoetida and mix well.

4. Put the ginger-garlic paste and stir

5. Put the tomatoes in and cook until they soften.

6. Add the potatoes in, along with a desired amount of water and allow it to come to a rolling boil.

7. After it comes to a boil, lower the heat to the lowest, add the cilantro, green pepper and cook for five minutes.

8. Turn off the stove, transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy!







Cherry Clafouti

Cherry Clafouti







Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem


Cherry Clafouti is a dessert made with cherries that are baked in a custard-like batter that is dense and tastes best when served warm with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. I have tweaked the original recipe and have made a few changes that make it less fatty,, meaning, there is no oil or butter in it except the butter used to grease the pan and is super fragrant. It comes together in about 30 minutes. If you have a lot of cherries at hand, this is the best recipe to try.

Ingredients:

Fresh cherries -200 oz, pitted
Sugar-3/4 cup
All-purpose flour-1/2 cup
Eggs-3 large
Nutmeg-1/2 tsp, freshly grated
Milk-1 cup
Salt-a pinch
White granulated sugar to drizzle on the top.
Butter-to grease the pan
Whipped cream-just enough to serve

Directions:

1. Grease a baking dish with some cold butter, add the pitted cherries into it, spread them evenly and set the dish aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 deg F.

3. Crack the eggs into a big bowl and whisk them well.

4. Add in the sugar and mix.

5. Pour the milk and mix well.

6. Add the flour, salt, grated nutmeg and mix well until the whole mixture comes together.

7. Pour the batter into the baking dish with the cherries in them.

8. Place the dish into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes until the top looks brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean when poked.

9. Drizzle some white granulated sugar on the top and turn the broiler on for a brief minute to allow the sugar to caramelize.


10. When done, turn off the oven, remove the dish from the oven and allow it to sit for 10 minutes on the countertop.

11. Cut into slices of desired sizes and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

12. Enjoy!





Malai Chicken Kabob





Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Malai Chicken Kabob

Kabobs are small pieces of meats or seafood, marinated and grilled, usually over skewers with their origins in the Middle Eastern cuisine. The kabobs are very popular in the Asian cuisine as well, with a variation in spices. Mostly all Indian restaurants have the Malai Kabobs on their menus and it tops all orders.

These malai kabobs get their name from the word "malai" that is an ingredient that gives the added creamy, silky texture to the Kabobs. They are extremely easy to make, super moist and succulent in every bite and have a balanced measure of spices and flavor. If you can find free-range, organic chicken thighs, you will be in for a treat. You do not need an outdoor grill to make these kabobs. If you have a grill pan, that's great. If you do not, you can make them on a regular frying pan. Read along and figure out how easy it is to make them at home.

Ingredients:

Boneless Chicken Thighs:  2 lbs, cut into cubes
Salt-to taste
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
Garam Masala-1 tsps
Fresh cream-1/4 cup
Ginger-garlic paste-1 tsp
Green peppers-4(ground to a fine paste)
Fresh Mint leaves-6-8, (ground to a fine paste)
Fresh Cilantro leaves-2-3 tbs chopped(ground to a fine paste)
Oil-a few tbs to fry
Wooden skewers-as needed, soaked in water for an hour

Directions:

1. Marinate the chicken cubes with the ginger-garlic paste, salt, turmeric powder, garam masala, fresh cream, the green pepper paste, mint paste, cilantro paste and set aside for 30 minutes.

2. Skewer the chicken cubes onto the wooden skewers, without over-crowding and set aside.

3. Heat oil in a pan that is big enough to hold your skewers and place the skewers gently into the pan.

4. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook on high heat until you see the juices released into the pan.

5. Remove the lid and flip the skewer over and allow the kabobs to cook, with the lid on.

6. When you see that the juices have dried up and are beginning to caramelize at the bottom of the pan, remove the lid and reduce the heat.

7. Turn the stove off and serve them on a platter and garnish with what your heart desires.

8. Enjoy!










Chicken Tagine

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem.

Alhamdulillah, I am back after a long hiatus. Interesting things happened during this long absence including travel, cooking experiments, family reunions etc.  Now that I am back, let us go straight to the amazing things I have cooked.

My family loves to eat Mediterranean food when possible. It includes a lot of  fresh fruits and vegetables, it uses healthy fats, a good amount of protein etc. However, it tends to be a little bland, as it is low on spices and pepper. Moroccan food, on the other hand, is along the same lines of Mediterranean food with the perfect blend of spices and bold  flavors, for an Indian palette.

I have adapted this recipe from my favorite Moroccan food channel,
https://www.youtube.com/watcv=TpsUQ7SbTXs .

Tagine gets the name from the pot it is cooked in, called the "tagine". It is a two-piece glazed clay pot with a flat base of short sides, and a conical lid that fits snugly over the base and allows the moisture to be trapped inside while causing  the condensed moisture to trickle back to the food in the base and keeps the food uniquely moist and tender. Traditionally, the tagine is made over hot charcoal leaving an adequate space between the charcoal and the pot to avoid the temperatures to rise fast and prevent the pot from cracking. I have made the chicken tagine over medium heat with a heat diffuser plate right over the flame to avoid burning and for even distribution of heat. It took a little over two hours from start to finish. Serve it with crusty bread for an amazing dinner or late lunch.


Do tell me if you own a tagine pot and also if you have had the opportunity of eating any Moroccan food.

Ingredients:

Chicken-1 lbs
Preserved lemon-1, (skin separated and cut into wedges, pulp chopped and set aside.)
Cilantro-2 tbs, finely chopped
Parsley- tbs, finely chopped
Garlic-1 tbs, crushed
Olive oil-4 tbs
Kashmiri Pepper Powder-2 tsp
Salt-to taste
Turmeric powder-1 tsp
Ground ginger-1 tsp
Ground Cumin -1 tsp
Black Pepper Powder-1tsp
Saffron Strands-a pinch, soaked in 2 tbs of hot water
Pickled olives-2-8
Onions-2 medium, grated

Directions:

1. Make a marinade with preserved lemon pulp, cilantro, ground ginger, ground cumin, parsley, paprika, garlic, olive oil and mix well.

2. Rub the mixture into the pieces of Chicken  and  refrigerate for an hour.

3. Pour the olive oil into the tagine pot, spread the grated onion, sprinkle salt and turmeric evenly over the onions and place the pieces of chicken over the onion bed making sure they are not crowded.

4. Place the heat diffuser plate onto the stove and the tagine pot over the plate.

5. Cover the tagine pot with the lid and turn the stove to a medium heat and allow the chicken to cook for 15-20 minutes.

6. After 15 minutes, lower the heat to a low and cook for 30 more minutes.

7. After the 30 minutes, remove the lid, add the preserved lemon wedges, olives and increase the heat to a high and cook without the lid until the liquid evaporates and  separates itself from the oil.

8. Turn off the stove , serve the Chicken Tagine in the tagine plate itself along with some good bread.

9.Enjoy














Home Made Ginger Tea

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I can't believe I have not blogged for months. I am glad I am back to blogging. Like always, I am looking forward to reading all your amazing recipes and trying them out too, in sha Allah. I will go right ahead and share with you a recipe of an amazing drink I made yesterday.



Ginger root is a hot, fragrant spice widely used in Asia. It is used fresh in all almost all of Indian cooking and can be used in it's dry powdered form.  Apart from the ginger I use to make scrumptious curries, I like use it to make myself a hot cup of tea with just ginger. It does not require any special tools or skills. It is great in treating colds and is great for digestion too. I usually add ginger root to boiling water and allow it to simmer for sometime before I serve t. But, this specific recipe, needs no boiling or simmering, yet tastes great.  It will be my go-to drink during winters.




Ingredients :

1. Ginger- 1 cup, grated
2. Honey-1 cup
3. Water as needeed

Directions:

1. Mix the grated ginger along with honey and set aside.

2. Bring the desired amount of water to a rolling boil.

3. Put two teaspoons of the ginger-honey mixture into a big coffee mug.

4. Pour the hot water over mixture, into the cup.

5. Stir well and sip hot.

6. Enjoy!


Note: I put the remaining ginger-mixture in a glass jar and save it int the refrigerator to be used for up to  a week.

No-Knead Bread



Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I have been away for longer than I expected from my blog. I have been cooking, baking, taking pictures and all that stuff but just did not post the recipes. I  thank all the readers who have been commenting on the older recipes and also my friends and relatives who have been trying my recipes and enjoying them.



One winter afternoon, I was invited over for a quick brunch by my best friend. The company and food were both amazing. Time just flew amidst all the conversations and laughter and and we quickly went back to our daily activities, looking forward to meeting again. One thing I really enjoyed among many other things she served was the bread she baked, that was very moist, very dense and soft on the inside and slightly crusty on the outside.  It tasted great with a good slathering of butter. It looked like she had worked hard for hours to bake it. I was surprised when she told me she didn't even knead it and it was very easy to bake. A few days later I gave it a try and it disappeared while we were tasting it before we could sit at the table to eat.



There is no better aroma than that of freshly baking bread wafting out of the oven, making the kitchen smell like a bakery. If you always wanted to bake your own bread at home but were too intimidated with the whole process of making one, you must try this recipe. You cannot ask for an easier one. It takes only a few moments of mixing, about less than an hour to rise and about 30 minutes for baking. Read on ...

Ingredients:

All Purpose Flour-4 cups
Water-2 cups (luke warm-110 deg F)
Salt-2 tsps
Sugar-2tsps
Active Dry Yeast-2 tsps
Butter: 2 tsps to grease the pans and to brush the top of the bread.

Directions:

1. Pour the warm water into a small  bowl, add the sugar, sprinkle the yeast and leave it aside to activate.

2.  In a tall big bow, add the flour , salt, and mix well.

3. Pour the water mixture onto the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix the flour and the water well until just combined.

4. Use a plastic wrap to cover the bowl and set it to rise in a warm corner until it has doubled in size (approximately 20-30 mins).

5. Grease a round baking dish with butter and transfer the dough to the dish.

6. Cover with a plastic wrap and allow it to rest for another 20-30 minutes allowing it to rise a second time.

7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, remove the wrap and place the baking dish into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.

8. Turn off the oven, remove the baking dish out and quickly brush it with the butter and allow it to cool slightly.

9. Remove from the bowl, cut into desired shapes and enjoy while it is still warm with lots of butter.

10 Enjoy!



Quick Pan-Roasted Chicken

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

You wanna cook like a pro and don't want to work too hard? You are not confident of the results yet have to make the table shine? Well then, this is the recipe you need in shaa Allah. This is a  very succulent and flavorful chicken with a crispy crust that can be made in a pan and does not require an oven.

Ingredients:

Chicken Thighs- 4-6
Salt-to taste
Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
Red Pepper Powder-1 tsp
Ginger-Garlic Paste-2 tsps
Water-1/2 cup
Corn Starch-4-6 tbs
Garam Masala-2 tsps
Coriander Powder-1 tsp
Ground Black Pepper-1 tsp
Oil-2-4 tbs

Directions:

1. Mix the ginger-garlic paste, salt, turmeric powder, pepper powder to gether and rub the mixture on the Chicken thighs and set aside for 30 minutes.

2. Place the marinated thighs in a pot and cover with a lid and pour the water and cook the chicken until just cooked and the water gets evaporated.

3. Turn off the stove and allow to cool.

4. Make a mixture with corn starch, garam masala, ground black pepper, coriander powder and sprinkle it all over the cooked chicken thighs.

5. Heat Oil in a wide pan, place each chicken thigh carefully into the pan, fry them while flipping them carefully until done on all sides.

6. Turn off the stove and transfer to a serving plate and enjoy!

Perfect Pancakes



Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Pancakes are flat round cakes, cooked on a griddle and in North America served as a breakfast food. In the past have tried making them with the store-bought boxed mixes, at home from scratch, tried the gluten-free recipes. Nothing tasted like these ones that I made today for breakfast. Like many other recipes I have tried from myninjanaan's space, this one was a hit at home. They turned out fluffy, melt-in-the mouth and fabulous. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thank you Henna!

Ingredients:

All purpose flour-2 cups
Sugar-3 tbs
Salt-1/2 tsp
Baking Powder-2 tsps
Baking Soda-1/2 tsp
Butter milk-2 cups (2 cups milk mixed with 2 tbs of vinegar)
Melted Butter- 3tbs
Egg-1
Blue berries-a cup
Oil- as needed to grease the pan
Powdered sugar- enough to garnish




Directions:

1. In a bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and mix well.

2. Whisk together the butter, buttermilk, butter, egg and set aside.

3. Make a well in the flour mixture  and pour the liquid ingredients in and mix gently until the ingredients come together.

4. Set aside for ten minutes.

5. Heat a nonstick pan on medium heat and pour the batter with a 1/4 cup measure.

6. Cook until bubbles break the surface of the pancake.

7. Flip the pancake and cook until it gets browned on the other side too.

8. Remove with a spatula onto a serving plate.

9. Sprinkle some powdered sugar, top with a dollop of butter some blue berries and serve hot.

10. Enjoy!








Instant Lemon Pickle


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

As of the first week of March 2015, for the records in the past ten days we have had only 6 hours of sunshine and in between record- breaking ice rains, snowfalls and everything in between. We have had similar weather patterns in Dallas in the past during December-January time frame. Not in March! I am by no means comparing the weather with the folks that have to put up with incessant snowfalls for the whole of winter. But yeah, the weather in Dallas has been  pretty uncertain.



My Mom was very well known among her family and  friends for her lemon pickle. When I was younger, all I did was helped  her to wipe the lemons dry as it was made in stages. Mom took utmost care to choose the best lemons, washed them well, dried them well and made sure there was not a drop of moisture present at any stage. Then when all the spices were added, it was put into tall ceramic pickle jars tightly secured with a cloth, tied with a string and then the lid placed over the cloth  It was put away in a dark corner and mixed every couple days until the juice softened the flesh. After the pickle reached the right stage to be tempered, it was tempered and stored at room temperature for months.

For over a decade, Mom has made and sent her lemon pickle every time I have asked for it. Now, I have come up with my version for an instant pickle that allows me to skip all those stages of  patient waiting and  is so convenient that it can be made in less than an hour. The pickle has just the right amount of tang, is  super saucy and tastes fantastic and can be used in so many ways. However, it has to be stored in the refrigerator. I have even shared this recipe with my Mom and she has made it and was very proud of me:)

Ingredients:

Lemons-5 ripe and juicy (washed and patted dry)
Water-a pot full
Salt-to taste
Turmeric Powder-1 tsp
Asafoetida -1/2 tsp(powdered)
Green Pepper-2-3 slit
Fresh Garlic-1 tbs, sliced

For tempering

Oil-2 tbs
Mustard Seeds-1 tsp
Cumin seeds-1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves-8-10

Directions:

1.Bring the water to a rolling boil in a stainless steel pot.

2. Carefully place the lemons into the pot and reduce the heat to a medium and allow them to cook for 10 minutes.

3. Turn the stove off and remove the lemons with a slotted spoon and allow them to cool completely.

4. Cut the lemons into small pieces and discard the seeds.

5. Sprinkle the salt, turmeric powder, asafoetida powder and mix well.

6. Put  in the garlic and green peppers.

7. Heat oil and put in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and turn off the stove.

8. Put in the curry leaves and allow them to turn crispy.

9. Allow the tempering mixture to  cool completely.

10. Pour the oil mixture over the lemon pieces and give it gentle mix.

11. Transfer the lemon pickle into a clean glass jar and secure it with a lid and refrigerate it.

13. Enjoy!