Sunday, March 10, 2019

Instant Pot Methi Daal Gosht


2 lbs medium bone-in goat botis, wash and marinade in pinch each of turmeric, red chile powder, and garam masala

From a bag of Indian frozen methi, remove 4 cubes (they are about the size of lemons), microwave for 4 minutes, allow to cool, and strain any remaining water content (press with fork or squeeze).

1/4 cup oil
 1 tsp whole cumin seed
1 onion finely sliced 
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 medium tomatoes pureed
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chile powder (or to taste)
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 cup chana daal rinsed, keep soaking in water until ready
1.5 cups water

To finish:
Three fresh green chiles, whole
Pinch qasuri methi
Pinch garam masala
Pinch elaichi powder

Method: On Sautee mode, heat oil. Add in cumin seeds and onion. Fry onion until it is golden reddish brown. Stir in gg paste and allow to color. Stir in tomato puree, toss in dry spices, and stir until the oil separates and it is dried up a bit. When it looks dry, add in methi and fry for a few moments. Add in salt. Add in meat and mix well. Strain chana daal, then add it to the pot, stir in water. Cover and cook on bean/chili setting. Allow natural release. Open pot and mix well. Stir in finishing ingredients and allow to rest for a few moments. Serve with fresh roti or plain rice.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Easiest Dessert Ever: Pineapple Delight

Pineapple Delight

A couple of friends of mine made this for their desi dinner parties. It was always a hit at their houses. I could never get an exact recipe from either friend, but here is what I came up with to replicate what I had tried before. This is a fire-free, egg-free icebox recipe. It's an easy crowd pleasure to put out to make your dinner party/daawat dessert selection more lavish. It is light on the palate and complements richer desserts. I've served this with heavy cream cheese coconut flan before and they went so well next to each other.


8 oz heavy whipping cream
16 oz sour cream
1.5 cans sweetened condensed milk

1 can crushed pineapple in syrup
1 can pineapple chunks in syrup
*if you can find mango chunks, add some

Method: Strain pineapple in syrup and pineapple chunks. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix, sour cream and sweetened condensed milk. Add in crushed pineapple and pineapple chunks. You can also add mango (like a cup of chunks) if it is in season. You can use frozen mango, but I find those to be a bit flavorless and fibrous. Keep aside sour cream-condensed milk pineapple mixture. Now whip your heavy whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks. Once this is done, gently fold in the pineapple mixture. Transfer into serving bowl. Refrigerate at least 4-5 hours or overnight. 

*I suppose you could add any fruit you want into this or make a fruit salad with a medley. I recommend using fruit that won't add color to the dairy ingredients, though.

Pineapple Delight served with flan de coco and fresh watermelon.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Fatima's Yakhni Pullao (Goat)

Fatima’s Yakhni Pullao

Yakhni pullao ready to serve for large gathering.

Yakhni means broth. This pullao is cooked in a golden, collagen rich, fatty goat broth. It is one of my husband's favorite dishes in my repertoire, and I like it a lot, too. It is not chile-hot at all. It's a great weekend dish for the family, but it's also a good fancy dish for a party because it shows "mehmaan nawaazi" that you are serving a lot of meat and high quality basmati rice. A deep stock is enriched by the addition of nalli, or bone marrow. 

*Take note that most of the pics I've added are from a day when I made this pullao for a daawat/party, but I'm giving a family sized recipe. That is why there are greater portions of ingredients than what I specify in the instructions. That day, I used a whole goat shoulder for my iftar party, 7 cups of rice, and 14 cups of yakhni.

The meat: Get about 2 pounds of goat meat, bone-in in medium botis (roughly 2-3 inch cube-ish size). Shoulder and chop pieces preferred. Ask butcher for about a pound of extra goat bones in a separate bag, especially nalli (marrow) bones, and trotters.  Desi halal butchers usually keep bags of this frozen. If you have a knowledgeable butcher, just ask for small to medium pullao cut pieces. If the pieces are too small, they will break apart when cooked.

On the left are the extra bones, on the right is a full shoulder with chops. I have washed this meat in my (spotlessly clean) kitchen sink.

For the yakhni (yields about 10 or so cups of stock)


water to cover meat and bones in pot
1 onion peeled and cut in two halves
15 cloves garlic
about 5 inches of ginger chopped into large chunks (no need to peel, but wash well)
3 tbs whole garam masalas (I buy a bag of mixed whole garam masala, I think Deep brand)
make sure to get a couple of pieces of cassia bark, bay leaves, bari elaichi, and choti elaichi in the mix which will mainly be tiny pods of dhaniya, saunf, zeera, laung, and kali mirch. My mix also has star anise and mace (javitri).
2 whole dried red chiles


Wash meat/bones well. Add to deep stock pot. Add water till the water just covers the meat. Too much water makes a weak stock.

Allow the water to come to a boil. Skim the scum that rises to the top a few times. When you have gotten most of the scum, add in all aromatics and sabit garam masala, and chile pods.

Scum to be skimmed off of the top of the broth before the seasonings are added.

Cover, lower heat to the lowest flame, and simmer for 1 hour and 15-30 mins till meat is very tender but not completely falling apart, and nalli looks loose from bones. My meat here in VA takes 1.5 hours to soften or “gallofy,” but in other places it only took 1 hour to 1.25 hours so use your best judgment on the timing. You don’t want the meat hard and spongy, you don’t want it shredding apart bc you still have to cook the rice and meat together.

About 5 mins before meat is done, add a large amount of salt to the stock. This will flavor the meat. You will still need more salt once the rice process begins.

Strain yakhni and keep the solids aside and allow them to cool. When cool, pick out all of the good meat pieces and keep aside. Now take a Japanese or Korean chopstick, which has a very thin pointy end (or similar thin pronged instrument, unused earwax cleaner, I dunno what else…linking pics so you get the idea of what to use) and use it to gently nudge the nalli out of the bones. Add nalli globules to stock. If you cook meat for a long time, the nalli will fall out on its own, but that would be too long a stage to cook the botis, so better to cook it till it is soft but still needs to be scooped or tapped out.

So you have your nalli floating in stock, and your good meat kept aside. Now throw away all of the spices and aromatics because they have done their job. You can keep a little of the tezpatta and cinnamon for looks if you like.

For the rice:
I use India Gate (Classic) brand rice. You should use your judgment for typical soaking and cooking time requirements of your preferred basmati rice brand. Don't use sella rice or any low grade of basmati. Three cups of raw rice to 6 cups stock will be needed. A 1:2  cup rice:stock ratio is used no matter the size of the pullao.


3 cups basmati rice rinsed well and soaked for approximately 10 minutes (will be strained shortly before adding to the boiling stock)
6 cups stock
salt to taste (about 2.5 tsps or more…use more salt than you think you need)
1 tsp red chile powder
1 tsp zeera seeds whole
1 tsp ground zeera
¼ cup oil (same oil for frying finely sliced onions is ideal, I always keep it in a glass jar)
your boiled meat botis, cool and dry
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ghee or butter for basting the serving dish


In a pot with a tight fitting lid: Add oil and zeera, when it sizzles, toss in meat and brown for a couple of minutes. Be gentle so it doesn’t break apart too much. The browning gives flavor but it is already cooked as much as it needs to be.

Toss in ½ o f the fried onions and allow to sizzle for a moment, these are red-brown fried so take care not to blacken them as they are already darkly fried.

Toss in ground spices, allow to sizzle. Before this burns, pour in all of the stock. Allow to come to a boil.

When stock is boiling, add in pre-soaked rice.

Allow stock to come to a boil again. Stir in lemon juice.

All should be bubbling and boiling along nicely. Now, cover and reduce flame to lowest point. Cook for 20 mins covered. After 20 mins, lift lid and allow some steam to escape and turn off flame. Re-cover and allow rice to rest for 10 mins. Resting the rice helps grains stay long and not break apart, as basmati is sensitive.

You will pour this into a large serving dish. I usually butter a deep serving dish like a lasagna pan or turkey broiler pan. Ghee also works well if you prefer that to butter. Before you start the transfer of vessels, put your remaining fried onions in the microwave for about 30 seconds to wake up the flavors. Pour pullao in layers adding a few sprinkles of the fried onion slivers between the layers, adding a final bit on the top layer for looks. Take care not to break the rice, be gentle.

Serve with plain yoghurt, lemon wedges, and if desired, a mild raita.

Left over yakhni can be frozen and used for a plain pullao or as the liquid in gravy. 

A smaller pullao made on a different day.

Rice grains lengthen like noodles and are very tender but separate. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Easy Jalfrezi

Jalfrezi is likely a Raj era invention from Bengal side that has morphed into a dish that appears in many interpretations.

For some, it is Indo-Chinese and requires stock powder, corn starch, and soy sauce. For others, it is a protein like paneer or chicken plus a medley of vegetables. Some like it fairly dry, and others like it in a wet tomatoey gravy. Some people use ketchup in their recipe, and in some restaurant style recipes it is creamy.

However it is made, the common factor in chicken jalfrezi seems to be that it must have bell peppers (aka capsicum) in it. Some people also like onions cut into petals in it. I am not a huge fan of lightly cooked onions, so I don't add those. Here is my very simple and easy version. For this you will need a curry powder type mix like Shan Curry Powder or a Kitchen King Masala. I use MDH Kitchen King Masala.

This recipe is as simple as a daily dish in method, but yields a bell pepper-chicken curry that is unique enough to serve at a party. The soy sauce adds an extra layer of flavor.

1 small organic chicken skinless and cut into karhai pieces (bone in)
1/4 cup oil
4 fresh green chiles, slit but intact
1 small onion diced
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chile powder
1 tsp ground cumin powder
1 heaped tsp ground coriander powder
2 medium tomatoes roughly pureed
1 tsp MDH Kitchen King Masala
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp soy sauce
one and a half cups bell pepper cut into petals (1/2 inch square pieces)...the number of peppers depends on how large they are. About 3 small or 1.5 of those giant ones.
1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish

Method: Heat oil in pan. Add in slit green chiles and allow them to fry for a few moments until they start to slightly soften. Remove with tongs or a slotted ladle. Keep aside to use as garnish at the end of cooking. Add the chopped onion to the oil. Cook this until it is turning golden, then add in the ginger and garlic. Cook this until the ginger and garlic also turn golden. Now add in the turmeric, red chile, cumin, and coriander powder. Allow this to sizzle for a moment, then stir in the tomato. Stir the tomato-masala a bit until most of the water has evaporated from it and the oil has risen to the top of it. Now add in the salt, soy sauce, and MDH Kitchen King Masala. Mix in the chicken and stir well until the chicken has completely changed color and is no longer raw looking. Now cover the pot, turn the flame to the lowest setting, and cook about 10-20 minutes until the chicken is just completely done. You shouldn't need to add water because they chicken will release water as it cooks. If needed, add very little water. When the chicken has just reached the point of being done, add in your bell pepper petals and turn up the heat. Stir for a moment, then lower the heat, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes. You want the bell peppers to cook through but retain a gentle amount of crunch and good color. Now stir in 3/4 of your fresh cilantro. Pour into a serving dish and garnish with remaining cilantro and with the four fried slit green chiles.

Serve with white basmati rice or even Chinese style stir fried rice.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Vegetarian Haleem

Haleem replete with garnishes

*Can be made vegan by omitting the yoghurt

Haleem can be made with beef, chicken, or goat. But what about a vegetarian version? Here I have created one. This is not a low fat dish. It is rich and heavy due to all of the nuts, seeds, and oil. Vegetarians will enjoy this veg version of this classic dish which is eaten in many Muslim communities, but those who are used to rich, meaty versions of haleem will also enjoy this recipe.

For this you need a box of Shan Shahi Haleem. This box will contain a packet of lentils/grains and a packet of ground spices. For those of you who have not used Shahi haleem mix, this makes a HUGE amount of haleem. Since this is a labor intensive recipe with a lot of steps, I usually freeze half of the batch of haleem, or even divide it into thirds and freeze it. That way you can enjoy haleem without having to do the work every time. Alternatively, you can half the recipe.

Open packet of Shan Shahi Haleem lentil/grain mixture. Optionally, and 1/2 cup extra pearl barley. I do this because I like the chewy texture of the barley in the haleem. Wash the lentils/grains well and soak overnight.

So you need:
1 box Shahi Haleem Mix (take care not to accidentally buy the Shan Easy Cook Haleem)
1/2 cup pearl barley

Making the Masala Yakhni

To cook them make a vegetarian masala yakhni. You will need 10 cups of water. (I make this in two sessions in a glass bowl in the microwave, rather than all at once.) To the water you will add:

2-3 tbs medley of whole garam masalas. I buy a bag of mixed whole garam masalas, but if you need to assemble your own medley----a few bay leaves, pieces of cinnamon bark, a few cardamom pods, 1-2 black cardamom pods, whole coriander, cumin, fennel, cloves, black pepper, a tiny bit of nutmeg and mace, 5 dried red chiles.

Optionally, you can add Hyderabadi potli masalas. Don't worry about this if you don't have it. It just adds an extra level of flavor, but this is already a flavorful dish with lots of masala. I ordered my potli masalas online, but if you live in an area with a lot of Hyderabadi Muslims, the Indian/Pakistani store will have some of these masalay, and some ingredients will be in the ayurvedic section of an Indian grocery.

1 tbs stone flowers (pathar ka phool)
1/2 cup dried rose petals (sukhe gulab ke sej)
a 3 inch chunk of dried root of betel plant  (paan ki jar)
1 tbs all spice (kabab chini)
1 tbs naag kesar (I have no idea what word exists for this in English) 
1 tbs kapoor kachri """"
1tbs dried Vetevier roots (khas ki jar)
3 pieces pipli (long black pepper corn, piper longum)

In a large microwave safe bowl, add these masalas in 5 cups of water. Microwave for 6 minutes. Strain the water twice (use a fine sieve) and keep aside. Repeat with the same wet spices. Once you've microwaved and strained the spices in water twice, you can toss them out. They have done their job. You will end up with brown colored masala water. 

Optionally, you can boil the water and spices together on the stove top for 10 minutes. The result is called a yakhni, or broth.

The Lentils/Grains

Cook the soaked lentils/grains in the masala yakhni that you have made. This can be done by boiling and then covering on simmer for about 1 hour, pressure cooking (in 2 split batches), or even left overnight in a crockpot. Add 1/4 tsp turmeric to lentils/grains as they cook. You can add 3-5 green chiles to the lentils when you boil them to make it extra spicy. But don't add salt unless you are cooking in a pressure cooker.  Otherwise add salt after the lentils/grains are completely cooked. You need about 2 tbs salt. (This is going to end up being a huge pot of haleem, but you can split the recipe in half if you use half the Shan lentils.)

Keep the cooked lentils aside in the vessel in which you want to finish the dish (large pot, crockpot, etc). You will have a bunch of cooked lentils in starchy water. Take care that the pot you use have room to add more ingredients because you will be adding your vegetables and spice paste and you don't want overflow or difficulty in pureeing later.

The Vegetables

For the vegetables which will be cauliflower and eggplant. You can really use any vegetable but avoid veg that will give the haleem a strange color. Haleem varies in color from khaki tan to yellowish to golden no large quantities of green or orange veg.

Chop one medium head of cauliflower in florets and deep fry them until tender. The cauliflower does not have to be completely cooked from frying because it will cook further when you add it to the haleem.

Roast 2 large eggplants in the oven. Do this by stabbing them a few times with a knife, coating lightly in oil, and wrapping in foil, then baking on a foil covered tray at 400 degrees for 1 hour and 20 mins. When the eggplant cools, skin it and remove the seeds and keep aside.

The Spice Paste

For the masala:

1 whole packet Shan shahi haleem masala spice.
1 heaping tbs garam masala
1/4 heaping cup almonds
1/4 heaping cup cashews
2 tsp roasted ground white poppy seed (khashkhaash or khas khas)
3 tbs roasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut, browned (I use frozen Indian coconut from the desi store and toast it in the oven)
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
5 fresh green chiles
3 tbs Greek yoghurt, whipped
pinch of salt
3/4 loosely packed cup of red fried onions/birishta (linked instructions for making birishta)
1 cup oil (best if you have oil from frying the birishta)
2 tbs ginger/garlic paste

Soak the cashews and almonds in warm water for 1+ hours. In a blender add the nuts and soaking water. Add the fried onion, sesame seeds, coconut, and green chiles, and pinch of salt. Grind, adding a little more water as necessary.

Heat  the cup of oil in pan. Fry the ginger garlic paste. When this looks golden, stir in the masala paste. Fry this for 5 minutes. Add in the mint leaves. Turn off the heat and add in the yoghurt. Keep stirring until the oil starts to rise to the top of the mixture again. (Turning off the heat and stirring like this prevents the yoghurt from splitting.) VEGANS: just omit the yoghurt. Turn the heat back on and keep stirring, frying for 5 more minutes. Add in the roasted poppy seed and the full packet of Shan Masala (use less for less spicy) and stir for 1 more minute. Turn off flame and stir in garam masala. You should have an oily, spicy mixture.


Take out 1.5 cups of cooked haleem lentils grains + liquid and keep aside. This will be added back to the pot after you have pureed the rest of the haleem to give some chewy, grainy texture to the dish because of the pearl barley. Some people like a pure paste with no texture, so you can skip this if you want. I like the texture of some pearl barley in the haleem.

Add the vegetables and spice paste into the grains/lentils. Puree well with a stick blender. (This can be done well in a blender, too. That's just more work.) Add back in the un-pureed lentils/grains. Allow this to cook on low for a while so the flavors blend well. You can add water to get the consistency you like. Some people prefer haleem like a thick daal, others like a thicker paste. It shouldn't be too liquidy or too thick, though. If you add water, be sure to taste for salt. You've added a lot of salt but this is a huge degchi/pot of haleem, so check the salt. I think based on the recipe I have given that I usually add 1 cup to 1.5 cups water towards the end to achieve the consistency that I like.

Cook on low for 20 mins or so to let the flavors blend well.

Finishing with a baghaar

2-3 tbs oil
3 tbs birishta/brown fried onions

Lastly, give a baghaar/tarka of oil and birishta/fried onions. Use about 2-3 tbs oil and 3 tbs brown fried onions. Take care not to burn the already fried onions in the oil. Rather than just tossing the pre-fried onions into the haleem, awakens their caramelized sweetness and flavor. Pour this hot oil-onion tempering on the haleem. You may stir in the baghaar or leave it showing on the top, as per your preference.

Oila. You have vegetarian haleem!

Optional: Traditionally, haleem was made over a wood fire. Haleem cooked this way has a special smoky flavor. To replicate this and make your haleem extra fancy, add a "dhungar" (smokey flavor) by heating a small piece of coal on the stove, then placing the hot coal in oil inside of a little metal katori/dish to the haleem, and covering the pot so it can get smoked for 20 minutes. Then pour in some of the oil from the dhungar and mix well. Be sure to use pure charcoal and not a chemical filled briquette. This blog has instructions with pics on giving dhungar...there are also some youtube vids on it if you search.

Don't forget the garnishes! 

fried cashews, matchstick ginger shards, finely chopped green chiles, fried onions (birishta), fresh chopped cilantro, a tiny squeeze of lemon juice, and optionally, some chaat masala. This haleem is rich and spicy, so you may not want the chaat masala, though.

You'll have to prepare a small amount of these garnishes and set them on a platter next to your haleem as your serve it for each diner to add to their own dish.

Serve with naan.

*This dish is rich and fattening. You've used more than a cup of oil plus all kinds of fatty nuts and seeds. But this is a large batch of haleem, so don't worry too much. You can likely get 20 or more cup sized servings out of this recipe.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Brown poha with the husk on Poha Cheora Chira

Bag of husk-on poha aka chira in Bengali

Cooked poha studded with potatoes, onions, peanuts, curry leaves, green chiles, and cilantro.

I wanted to note this find: I got husk-on brown poha at a Bangladeshi market. I used my regular poha recipe. But I had to wash this poha well to remove the gritty chaff and soak it for 45 minutes. (I experimented to reach my conclusion on the soaking time.)

It came out well. The poha itself was nutty, as brown rice typically is. I still like white poha better. But this is a good high fiber option.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Aloo Anday ka Saalan (Potato and Hard Boiled Egg Curry) #2

A very simple recipe to use for daily cooking, I make this a couple of times a month. I typically serve this with a wet daal or a simple vegetable dish such as bitter greens or karela. The gravy, potato, and egg taste delicious mashed into plain rice. You could even serve this as a solo dish and set out a selection of pickles and a raita on the table. This saalan (wet curry) also goes well with roti.

Oil has been poured off but you can still see some oil in the finished dish or this wouldn't be a proper saalan!

For this dish you need 5 hard boiled eggs peeled and cut in half. I discovered a couple of years ago that if I steam hard boiled eggs on medium heat for 14 minutes, then remove them from the steam and let them rest for 15-20 minutes, they turn out with a perfectly cooked yellow yolk.

In addition you need 1 large potato or 2-3 small potatoes peeled and cut into wedges that are similar in size to the hard boiled egg halves.

The saalan:

1/2 cup oil (oil will be poured off later)
1 tsp whole cumin seeds (sabut zeera)
1 medium onion sliced thinly
1 heaping tbs ginger-garlic paste
2-3 finely chopped green chiles (I ground these with the ginger-garlic paste)
2 large ripe, juicy tomatoes finely chopped, or 2 cups of roughly pureed tomato
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1/2 tsp red chile powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tbs coriander powder
2 cups water
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 pinch Shan Curry Powder or any Kitchen King Masala
1 pinch dried methi rubbed between palms (qasoori methi)

Heat oil in pot and add in cumin seeds. As they sizzle toss in the sliced onions. Stir onions frequently on high heat. When you see that a lot of moisture has evaporated from them, turn down the heat and allow the onions to cook until they are golden. Turn up the heat and add in the ginger garlic paste and finely chopped green chile. When the ginger garlic paste changes color from pale to golden, add in the tomato. Stir tomato on high heat for a while. Add in your turmeric, red chile powder, cumin, and coriander. Cook this gravy for a while until all of the moisture has evaporated from the tomatoes and you have a paste with all of the oil on top of it. Remove from the heat and pour off as much oil as you can without losing any gravy. (You can discard the oil or re-use it in a red meat curry dish.) Put pot back on the stove. Set the flame to high and add in the potato. Stir for a moment, then pour in the water.  Stir in the salt. Allow this to come to a boil. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are completely cooked. When they potatoes are cooked, turn off the heat. Toss in the curry powder and the dried methi and stir. Add in the hard boiled egg halves and gently shake the pot to allow the top of the eggs to get covered lightly in gravy. Ideally they shouldn't be completely submerged so that they are visible and look pretty. If you care to make this daily dish fancier, pour the gravy in a flat rimmed serving dish, then arrange the eggs in the dish, spooning some gravy on top of each egg. The eggs should sit in the gravy for 5-10 minutes so that they pick up the saalan's flavor.

For an alternative alu anday recipe that does not use the typical tomato-onion masala, see here.

Served with healthy brown basmati rice with the gravy mixed and mashed in. Yummy to eat with fingers!