Crispy Honey Chicken

It’s the 10th and that means time to share the results of another Muslim Food Bloggers Challenge! I really look forward to these challenges because it gives me a chance to cook or bake with a goal in mind. This month’s challenge was to use honey as one of the main ingredients in a dish.

When it was announced that honey was going to be our star ingredient, the first (and second, and third, and fourth 😉 ) thought that came to my mind was to make a dessert. After all, honey is used as a sweetener, so dessert should naturally be the choice. Before I went ahead and got a chance to make a dessert, I happened upon this recipe and I suddenly had a lightbulb moment- why am I restricting myself to just desserts? Why not think outside the box?

This recipe is amazing, and it reminds me of Asian takeout we’ve enjoyed in the past.  It’s easy, and comes together fast; just be sure to have everything ready before you start, because it goes fast!

To see what everyone else is cooking (or baking!) up with honey this month, check it all out here:

 

 

Crispy Honey Chicken

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

For Chicken:

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • Oil, as needed, to deep fry

For Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  • Red pepper flakes, as needed, optional

Directions:

Prepare Chicken:

In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, and onion powder. Mix well and set aside.

Pour buttermilk into a separate bowl and set aside.

Toss the chicken in the flour mixture. Dip each piece into the buttermilk, and then dredge once again in flour mixture. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Fry the chicken in batches until cooked through and crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Prepare Sauce:

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Set aside.

Heat a large vessel over medium heat. Mix together honey, remaining 2 tablespoons water, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes (if using). Once it comes to a boil, slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes (if sauce seems to be too thick, add a few splashes of water). Remove from heat.

Add cooked chicken to sauce, and mix well so that it is evenly covered in the sauce.

Serve over white or brown rice.

Brown Lentil Daal / Sabut Masoor Daal

One of my goals for this year, in terms of blogging, was to share more traditional Pakistani fare and to share more of what we eat on a regular basis.  I have always had a hard time photographing Desi (hailing from the South Asian Subcontinent) food, and I guess I’ve allowed it to be the reason why I didn’t share much of it.  It’s funny because we eat more Desi food than any other cuisine at home, but this little virtual space doesn’t reflect that.  I hope to change that in the coming months.

As for the recipe I am sharing today, Daal translates to lentils, and there are literally hundreds of variations of soupy curries that can be made with these humble pulses.  This Daal is one that I make on a weekly basis.  It screams comfort and is homely.  It’s simple, filling, nutritious, and delicious. It’s great piled on rice, with some yogurt and sliced onions on the side.  Consider it Desi comfort food 🙂

 

 

Sabut Masoor Daal

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

Note: measurements are in actual measuring spoons/cups and not eating utensils.

  • 4 – 6 cups water
  • 1 cup brown lentils/ sabut masoor daal
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ½ medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • Handful mint leave, chopped, optional

Directions:

In a large vessel, combine water, lentils, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, and red chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until lentils are softened and water has significantly evaporated, about 45 to 60 minutes. Be sure to check on daal often, stirring and adding extra water as needed.

Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to pulse daal to desired consistency. Add salt and keep covered.

Warm oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and cook, while stirring often, until they start to show signs of browning. Add cumin seeds and cook until the onions are golden brown. Pour oil and onion mixture (tempering) over the daal, and let it sit undisturbed, and covered, for 5 to 10 minutes. If using mint, stir it in to the daal, and let it sit covered, and undisturbed, for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Eid Eats 2017: Baklava Biscotti

You guys, my favorite day of the blogging year is here- Eid Eats 2017 is officially live! Ramadan is rounding out, and I love that us food bloggers band together to celebrate the blessed month! I, along with my cohost, Asiya of Chocolate and Chillies, are excited to see the yummies that are being brought to the party 😉

The party is live from now until June 24, so you’ve got some time to get in on the fun (the guidelines can be found here).

By the Grace of God, Eid Eats is in its 4th installment (2014, 2015, and 2016), and this year we have some fun in store for you all, but more on that later 😉

Click on this graphic to submit your entry for #EidEats2017. You can also click on it to check out all of the delicious bites our participants are sharing.

This year I’ve decided to attend this party in my finest attire, bearing Baklava Biscotti! I was inspired by a recipe shared by the genius blogger behind Brewing Bliss. I used a mish-mash of recipes, including the topping from Brewing Bliss, and the base of the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. The resulting biscotti is a treat for the senses! It’s nutty, chocolatey, not tooth-breaking-hard, and downright irresistible! The end product results in a decent-sized batch (and is a great make-ahead item!), perfect for your Eid entertaining needs 🙂

(Check out what my co-host Asiya has contributed here! Looks amazing!)

Baklava Biscotti

Yield: 15 – 20 Pieces

Ingredients:

For Biscotti:

  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  •  ¼ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Egg wash: 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon milk

For Topping:

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • ¼ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

Make Biscotti:

Preheat oven to 300°F and set aside two parchment paper lined baking sheets.

Spread almonds evenly over one baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes, stirring twice during that time. Remove from oven and pulse the almonds in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, mix together all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or two knives, until the mixture is crumbly. Fold in the almonds and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix together until moistened.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough gently until soft and slightly sticky.   If the dough is too sticky to handle, knead 1 or 2 more tablespoons all-purpose flour into the dough.

Divide the dough in two. Place each half on a baking sheet. Using floured hands, gently shape each piece into a 8 or 9-inch log, patting down to ½-inch thickness. Lightly brush the slabs of dough with prepared egg wash.

Bake until the top and sides are lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Cut each slab into 1-inch slices. Set the slices cut-side upwards, ¼-inch apart, on the baking sheets. Return to oven and bake for 9 minutes. Flip each biscotti over and bake for an additional 9 minutes. The centers of each biscotti will be slightly soft, but will crisp up after cooling. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make Topping:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place in a small bowl. Add honey and butter and mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a separate bowl in the microwave or double broiler until smooth.

Dip the top of each slice of biscotti in melted chocolate, and then top with nuts. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet or cooling rack to allow the topping to set.

***

This biscotti pairs very well with a cup of piping hot tea- which brings me to the question: How does tea play a roll in you and your family’s Eid festivities? For my family, tea is a must! No celebration, especially Eid, is complete without trays of piping hot chai being passed around and enjoyed. Chai is the icing on the cake, so to speak, after a day of celebrating.

Speaking of chai, Tea India teabags are an excellent choice to quench your tea needs. They use only top notch ingredients and recognize the importance of quality packaging. Also, did you know that Tea India teabags come in four unique flavors, so there’s something to suit everyones taste? They include: orange pekoe black tea, masala chai, cardamom chai, and ginger chai.

Now, the fun part that I mentioned a little bit earlier- Tea India has graciously offered to sponsor a giveaway in honor of Eid! The winner of the giveaway will be sent a Tea India prize pack which includes a box of Cardamom Chai, Ginger Chai, and Masala Chai. Also included in the price pack is a set of coasters made from recycled Tea India teabags handcrafted by a group of South African women from a local township.

Here are the terms and conditions:

Giveaway runs from 12:00 a.m., June 20, 2017 through 12:00 a.m., June 25, 2017.

Open to Residents of the United States and Canada (excluding Quebec) aged 18+ only. Winner will be randomly picked and emailed and will have 48 hours to respond. If they fail to do so another winner will be picked. Entrants can enter on multiple blogs but can only win one prize. Blogger is not responsible for delivery of prize. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook or Twitter.

Be sure to enter through the link below (you can enter through Chocolate & Chillies too!)

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

*This post is sponsored by Tea India and I have been compensated for it.*

Cardamom Almond Spiced Milk / Badam Harira

Another month, another Muslim Food Bloggers Challenge! Although I’ve passed on the last few months of challenges because of one reason or another, I’m excited to be participating today. The theme for this month is befittingly Ramadan Memories. We were asked to share a recipe for anything that reminds us of Ramadan. I jumped at the chance because I’ve been dying to make my mom’s version of a Badam Harira (a cardamom and almond spiced milk).

This drink takes me back to my childhood. My mom would make this delicious and homey beverage multiple times every Ramadan (not sure why not throughout the year, though). I still remember the small black saucepan she would cook it in and allow it to cool in. Sometimes when she would be running low on time she would serve it warm, and other times she would let it cool in the refrigerator. It’s delicious and comforting either way!

To see what lovely Ramadan memories the other bloggers are sharing, be sure to check out their submissions here:

 

 

Badam Harira

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup almonds, coarsely ground
  • 3 cardamoms

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan, and warm over medium heat. Cook, while stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve either warm or cold.

Chicken Tikka Box Patties

Ramadan Mubarak!

How blessed are we to have gotten another chance to experience the greatness of this month! I pray that the peace and blessings of this month are felt throughout the world ❤

***

With Ramadan comes an array of fried goodies for iftar (break-fast time)! My family has a no-fried-food rule during the week, but we do indulge during the weekends. These crispy treats, Chicken Tikka Box Patties, are a direct result of inspiration from our trip to Pakistan this past March. The filling is my version of a samosa I had eaten at someone’s house, and the wrap is inspired by a Box Pattie I had tried at a wedding. By the way, I had never heard of Box Patties until this recent trip. In all honesty, it’s just a fancy name for a square samosa 😉

Enjoy!

(I’ll include written instructions on how to fold the Box Patties, however here is a good link with photos for those of us who are visual learners.)

 

 

Chicken Tikka Box Patties

Yield: Varies

Ingredients:

Note: measurements are in actual measuring spoons/cups and not eating utensils.

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons tikka masala (any brand)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Green chilies, minced finely, to taste, optional
  • Samosa or spring roll wrappers, thawed, as needed
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • Water, as needed
  • Oil, as needed, to deep fry

Directions:

Prepare Filling:

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Add chicken, tikka masala, ginger-garlic paste, and black pepper. Stir and cook until the ground chicken is no longer raw and large chunks have broken up, about 10 minutes (if mixture is dry and sticking to the pan, add a few splashes of water). Add water, stir, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until the water has dried up, stirring as needed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

When completely cooled, add cilantro and green chilies (if using) and mix well. Set aside.

Prepare Flour Slurry:

In a small bowl, mix together all-purpose flour and enough water to create a thick yet spreadable paste. Set aside. This will be the binding paste for the patties.

Assemble Box Patties:

If using square spring roll wrappers, cut into 3 equal strips. Wrap wrappers in a damp paper towel to prevent drying out.

Place one strip vertically, and then another strip horizontally on top of it to create a plus sign. Brush a bit of the flour slurry where the two strips meet, so as to bind them together.

Place a tablespoon of the chicken filling in the center, making sure not to get too close to the edge.

Fold one of the strips over the center. Then in clockwise fashion, fold the remaining strips over the center. On the last strip, brush the slurry on over its entirety and seal the pastry.

Continue assembling the pastries with the remaining filling and set aside. Pastries can be frozen at this point.

Heat a large vessel with oil over medium heat. Add a few box patties at a time and fry until both sides are golden brown, a few minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.