Chicken Stuffed Paratha


Stuffed Parathas are  great all-in-one meals, specially to pack for kids’ lunches. Easy for us to make, easy for the kids to eat, its a win-win situation. This recipe uses chicken filling. However, veggie fillings are equally (if not more) delightful. My favorite  is grated cauliflower stuffing. You can check out the cauliflower filling recipe in my Gobi Sliders post.

To make the parathas , you will need :

  • Whole wheat flour /Atta – 3 cups (makes about 12 stuffed parathas)
  • salt – 2 tsp
  • oil – 3 tsp

To make the filling, you will need :

  • Minced Chicken – 1 lb
  • Onions – 1 chopped
  • Green chillies – 1 chopped
  • Cilantro –  handful
  • Ginger Garlic Paste – 2 tsp
  • Fennel – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Red chilli powder – 3 tsp
  • Garam Masala – 1 tsp

Here are the steps:

  • Mix the flour, salt and oil and then add water and knead it to a smooth dough. Cover with wet cloth or wet paper towel and set aside for 2 hours.

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  • To make the filling : In a pot, add 2 tsp of oil, fry the fennel. Then saute the chopped onions, green chillies and cilantro. Also add the ginger garlic paste and saute until the flavors come out.

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  • Add the ground chicken and sprinkle some salt.

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  • When the juices come out, add turmeric, chilli powder and garam masala.

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  • Cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. This won’t take long, may be 7 – 8 minutes. Set the filling aside.

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  • Make even sized balls out of the dough that has been rested.

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  • Roll out 2 balls to about 2 inches in diameter (like puris). Place the filling on one.

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  • Cover the filling with the other puri and twist and press the edges together for sealing.

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  • Now roll out this stuffed puri gently to about 4-5 inches in diameter. Make sure the filling is evenly spread, and not clunked up on one side.

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  • Heat a skillet and cook the parathas.

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  • Cook both sides until brown spots appear. You can rub with little oil or dab with a butter stick.

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The chicken parathas are ready, serve hot with your favorite curry. ( I served it with a simple egg white curry).

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Chicken Vindaloo ( Replace chicken with tofu for vegetarian version)


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As much as I love cooking, I am very much intimidated by recipes that call for 25 ingredients and 30 steps 🙂 I have been cooking long enough to understand that good food can also be simple food. But there are exceptions to every rule. Chicken Vindaloo is one such recipe, involves more steps than normal, but completely worth all the efforts. A staple in Indian restaurants’ lunch buffet, this curry with chicken and potatoes is quite spicy. Its not the kind of heat that makes you reach for water after the first bite, but with all the different layers of spices, you will definietly start to sweat before your are done eating 🙂  I don’t mind spending an hour in the kitchen for this, because this could be the only thing I cook for the whole day. Make chicken vindaloo and steam some rice… lunch and dinner are taken care of (with no complaints :))  (The flavor profile closely matches with  chicken chettinad).

  • Step 1 (Making the spice blend)

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  1. black mustard seeds –  2 tsp
  2. cumin – 2 tsp
  3. black pepper – 1.5 tsp
  4. cardamom seeds – 2 cardamom (remove the pod)
  5. fenugreek – 1 tsp
  6. cinnamon –  three sticks (about an inch each)

(These quantiies are for 1.5 lbs of chicken)

  • Heat 1/2 tsp of oil in a pan and fry the spices. Add the mustard seeds first and the fenugreek at the very end. Image
  • Allow them to cool down for a bit and pulse them in a spice blender.

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  • To this add :
  1. 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  2. 2 tsp of red chilli powder
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 3 tsp of brown sugar

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  • Mix everything with 2 tbsp of vingear. Image

This concludes the making of the vindaloo spice blend.

  • Step 2 (Making the onion paste)

Chop 2 medium size onions. Image

  • In a big pot add 2 tbsp of oil and saute the onions. Image
  • The onions have to caramelize and turn brown. This will take approximately 8 – 10 mins in medium heat. Image
  • Cool them down and grind to a thick paste. The paste has to be brown in color, if not , the onions have not caramelized enough and that will definitely affect the taste of the gravy. Image
  • Step 3 (Marinating the chicken)

Clean and cut the chicken into cubes (preferably boneless). Marinate the chicken with the spice blend (step 1) and the onion paste(step 2) and set aside for at least 30 minutes.  Image

  • Step 4 (Making the Vindaloo Gravy)

The rest is quite easy. To make the gravy you will need :

  1. Medium tomatoes – 2
  2. Cilantro – a generous bunch
  3. Curry leaves – few
  4. Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbspImage
  • You will also need 1 large or two medium potatoes. Peel and cut into big cubes and leave them in water until needed.Image
  • In a big pot, add 2 tbsp of oil, and fry the ginger garlic paste.Image
  • Add the tomatoes, cilantro and curry leaves. Sprinkle salt to sweat the tomatoes.Image
  • When the tomatoes soften, add the marinated chicken.Image
  • Add the potatoes.Image
  • Cover and cook. There is no need to add water.Image
  • Usually the restaurant vindaloos are more like thin curries.  But I prefer a thick gravy. Remove from heat when the chicken is completely cooked and your preferred consistency is reached.Image
  • For thicker gravy, cook until oil separates.Image

This goes extremely well with rice or naan. It is a flavor packed dish, so just this and rice makes a sumptuous meal.

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Chicken Noodle Soup


Traditional chicken noodle soup with Indian flavors.
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Carrots, corn, celery, onions , tomatoes, chopped cilantro and a spoon of ginger garlic paste.
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4 cups of chicken broth and chicken breast cut in cubes.
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I am using campanalle pasta for the noodle part. You can use any pasta or noodles. Cook the noodle/pasta as per box instructions.
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bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, fennel, cumin, black pepper and cardamom
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Give a quick crush to the spices to release the flavors.
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Tie the crushed spices into a bundle, I have used a bounty paper towel. A clean cloth can also be used.
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In the pot, add a spoon of oil, and sauté the onions, ginger garlic paste, carrots and celery.Add the chicken, tomatoes and cilantro. Sprinkle some salt to sweat the veggies and sauté until chicken changes color.
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Add 4 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of water.
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Place the spice bundle in the soup. Cover and cook in low heat for at least an hour.
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After an hour, remove the spice bundle.
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Add the cooked noodles/pasta. Season the soup with salt and pepper.
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To make the vegetarian version, replace chicken with chick peas or black beans and chicken broth with vegetable broth.
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Chicken Kola curry


“Kola”s are the Indian meatballs.
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Minced chicken (If you don’t get minced chicken, just grind boneless chicken without adding water).

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Roasted channa dal (pottukadalai) and fennel. grind them together and make dry powder. Or you can use besan and fennel powder.Image

This will be used to bind the kolas.

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chopped onions, chillies, coriander leaves and ginger garlic paste

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Sauté the onions, chillies, ginger garlic paste and cilantro.

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Add them to the minced chicken.

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Add turmeric powder, chilli powder , a pinch of garam masala and salt.

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Add the roasted channa dal+fennelseeds powder to the chicken and mix well.

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Make even sized balls (kolas) out of the meat and set them aside.

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Now for the gravy:
red chilies
coriander seeds
fennel seeds
cumin seeds
raw rice

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Fry the spices in a spoon of oil.

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Grind them with 3 tbsp. of grated coconut.

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Make it to a smooth paste and dilute with water.

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chop some onions, garlic, chillies, tomatoes and curry leaves.

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Use a shallow pan(so that all the kolas can be placed in a single layer). Saute the garlic, curry leaves ,chillies  and onions.

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Add the tomatoes and sauté until they soften.

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Add the prepared masala.(Picture 14)

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Add some tamarind water and salt.

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Bring the curry to a good boil and then place the meat kolas in the curry. This is how its traditionally done. If you are concerned that the kolas might break, you can shallow/deep fry the balls first before adding it to the curry. But then the kolas won’t be as juicy as the traditional way.

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Once you have placed all the kolas in the curry, reduce the heat, cover and cook until the kolas are done..

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Make sure the kolas are cooked all the way before removing from heat.

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Serve with rice. For the vegetarian version, make kolas by grinding soaked thur/moong dhal .
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Chicken and Black Beans Fajitas


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Boneless chicken stripsImage

Marinate with : Turmeric powder, Chilli powder, dark soy, 1/2 tsp of gingergarlic paste, lemon juice, yogurt and salt. Image
Let it sit for at least 30 mins, more the better. Lay the strips down on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees .Image
For the black beans : minced ginger, minced garlic, minced green chillies, lime and minced herbs (I have mint here). The powder I have in the middle is taco seasoning. If you do not have it, you can mix chilli powder, garlic powder, cocoa and brown sugar. If you don’t want to take that route, you can use channa masala too.Image
Saute the ginger, garlic, mint and chillies. Image
Add the black beans, seasoning, sprinkle some water and cook for a couple of mins. Do not make it dry.Image
Thinly sliced onions
red and yellow peppers
green apples(You can use any vegetable as long as they are light and crunchy, like cucumbers and zucchini)Image

Saute the onions and when they turn light brown, saute the peppers.Image
Add the green apples and add salt and pepper.Image
Warm the tortillas.Image
Now you just have to put everything together. You can serve with condiments like guacamole, sour cream or salsa. But just this is good enough, as you get the sweet and tangy from the peppers and green apples and all those spices from the chicken and beans.Image
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Buffalo Chicken Dogs


My kids are always fascinated by Hot dogs. But they are not allowed to eat red meat , so I make simple chicken Kebabs and make them over as hot dogs. Image
Minced/Ground chickenImage
Tomatoes, onions, green chillies and mint chopped.Image
Heat 2 tsp of oil and sauté the green chilles, mint and onions. Also add a tsp of ginger garlic paste.Image
Add the tomatoes. When the tomatoes soften, add turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt.Image
Add the onion-tomato mixture , 1 tbsp. of besan (chick peas flour/gram flour) and an egg and mix well. Add breadcrumbs if the mixture is too loose.Image
Now it is easy to shape the kebabs. Rubbing oil on your palms while rolling helps.Image
Lay the kebabs on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes and turn them over and bake for another 15 minutes.Image
Toss the kebabs with some buffalo sauce (just like you toss the wings). You can use regular hot sauce, teriyaki sauce or even coriander/mint chutneys , according to your flavor preference.Image
Serve in toasted hot dog buns with ketchup / mustard or pickled onions and cheese. Have it your way !

Dhum Biriyani (simplified)


There are more than hundred ways to cook biriyani. This is just one of them. I have combined various steps and tips from many recipes I have tried over the years to simplify the recipe. This is a well tested , fool-proof recipe that guarantees yummy biriyani with authentic taste, flavor, color and texture.
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There are usually three layers in Dhum Biriyani.
1. Rice
2.Meat with gravy
3.Garnish

First, cook the rice. I do not prefer Basmati rice for biriyani. The best option is to use biriyani rice(kichadi samba) or Jeeraga samba. If not, regular raw ponni rice can also be used. 
  1. Soak 3 cups of raw rice in water for 30 mins

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2.  In a pan, heat up 2 tbsp. of ghee and 2 spoons of oil. Fry Bay leaves, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom and Fennel.

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3. Stir in the soaked rice and mix well so that each grain is coated with oil.

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4.Usually I use 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice for regular cooking. But for biriyani I only use 1.5 cups of water for 1 cup of rice. (You can use coconut milk or chicken stock instead of water).
Add salt , cover and cook.
 
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5. Rice is cooked al-dente. (It takes about 10 -13 mins). When we cook in dhum later rice will be cooked thoroughly. This way we can make sure, the rice doesn’t get mushy and the grains stay separate at the end. So the first part, preparing the rice is done.
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6. Now to make the meat gravy : Cut and clean chicken pieces.
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7. Chop : Onions, Tomatoes, Green chillies,  Mint, Curry leaves, Coriander leaves(optional)

You will also need: ginger garlic paste, plain yogurt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala

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8. In a wok , heat up 2 tbsp. of ghee or butter and 2 spoons of oil and fry the same spices :
Bay leaves, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves and Fennel. Saute onions, green chillies, curry leaves and 2 tbsp. of ginger garlic paste.
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9. Saute mint and add the tomatoes.
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10. When tomatoes soften , add chicken. When chicken begins to change color, add turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala.I would add very little coriander powder. If you have a good chicken curry masala, you can add that too.
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11. Add a cup of plain yogurt. Add salt. Taste the curry and add more chilli powder or salt as needed.
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12. Cook until you get a thick gravy. Chicken should not be overdone.
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13. Now for the third part of garnish: Thinly sliced onions  and Mint leaves chopped
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14. In a pan, heat up a spoon of oil and sauté the onions. when the onions brown , add the mint.
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15. Now we have everything we need to start layering the biriyani.
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16. In a baking dish, add a layer of rice. Then add a layer of meat and sprinkle some sautéed onions and mint over them. Repeat layering like this until you have used up all your rice, meat and garnish.
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17. Roughly for 3 cups of rice, you should be able to repeat the layers atleast 3 times. Cover the dish tightly with foil.Place the lid over the foil. Make sure its sealed tight. Else, the rice and meat will lose moisture and we will end up with a very dry biriyani. Bake in the oven at 300 degrees F for 1 hour.
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18. You can serve the biriyani as such with layers or…Image
 
Mix the layers well to get the traditional look. If you do not have an oven, you can layer the biriyani in the electric rice cooker and set it up in “warm” mode (instead of “cook”) for an hour.Image