Chicken Pitas With Spicy Garlic Sauce

It’s reveal day for the monthly Muslim Food Blogger Challenge! This month’s challenge was to try a fellow Muslimah blogger’s recipe. To be very honest, this was hard for me. I follow a large number of amazing and creative Muslimah bloggers, and I had the hardest time narrowing them all down to one. Whose recipe do I share, or whose do I exclude? Do I share a recipe that I make often, or do I share something that was made for a special occasion?

The truth is that the Muslimah blogging community is a large community, and it is ever growing. Our community spans across the globe, and is full of wonderful, creative, and supportive women. We are a patchwork quilt, made up of different colors and fabrics and various textures and grains. I have leaned on this wonderful community for support, and they have not only supported me, but have lifted me up. Each of you hold a special place in heart, and I pray that The Almighty raises you in His ranks.

 

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Today I am sharing a recipe from This Muslim Girl Bakes. It is a chicken pita with spicy garlic sauce. I’ve made this multiple times, and each time it is a hit. The first time I made it, I made homemade pitas (!!!) to serve with them, and omg, so so good! The times I’ve made it after, I just used store-bought pita due to time constraints. If you have the means and time to do so, I would highly recommend making you own pita bread. It’s so easy, and tastes infinite times better than store bought.

Back to recipe- the marinade on the chicken is amazing! Obviously the longer you allow it to marinate, the better, but if you’re pressed for time it tastes good even with a 20 minute stand. I must add that the spicy garlic sauce is phenomenal! It’s so good in these pitas, and I imagine it would be amazing used as a burger sauce as well!

As always, I look forward to these challenges each month. I’m excited to see what everyone is sharing for this month’s challenge, and if you also would like to take a look, just click on the button below:

 

 

Chicken Pitas With Spicy Garlic Sauce

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

For Chicken:

  • 1 ½ – 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, butterflied
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

For Spicy Garlic Sauce:

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce or chili garlic paste (sambal oelek)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

For Pitas:

  • Pocket pita bread, lightly toasted, as needed
  • Tomatoes, sliced, as needed
  • Lettuce, shredded, as needed

Directions:

Prepare Chicken:

In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except chicken, until smooth. Add chicken and mix well. Cover and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes (up to overnight; if marinating longer than a few hours, refrigerate marinated chicken.).

Heat a large vessel over medium high heat. Add chicken and remaining marinade. Cover and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes on each side. Once chicken is cooked through, increase heat and cook off as much of the marinade as possible without burning the mixture. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare Spicy Garlic Sauce:

In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Set aside.

Assemble Pitas:

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred or slice into desired size pieces.

Place chicken, tomatoes, and lettuce inside the pita. Top generously with spicy garlic sauce.

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Karachi Bun Kabab

It’s reveal day for the Muslim Food Blogger Challenges! This month’s challenge was to share a recipe for Pakistani food (and to say I was thrilled would be an understatement). I was especially excited because although at first I didn’t know exactly what recipe I wanted to share, I knew that I wanted to share something that would be special to not only Pakistan, but to the city of Karachi (my family hails from this part of Pakistan).

I took an informal survey in an online group that I am a part of, and asked what food was considered special to Karachi. I got a variety of answers, but one that stood out to me was Bun Kabab. Bun Kabab is a Karachi street side staple. It’s basically a burger bun stuffed with a kabab, and topped with a slightly sweet and spicy chutney, sliced onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and cabbage.

My husband is especially fond of Bun Kababs, and lovingly recalls his favorite street-side vendor from when he was growing up (Tippu’s). Our trip to Pakistan this past March left him speechless, because his beloved street-vendor was now the proud owner of a brick-and-mortar storefront! Clearly his Bun Kababs were the real deal, because owning property in Karachi is no joke.

Generally speaking, when someone mentions Pakistani food, the first thing that comes to mind is meat. Pakistanis love their meat, as can be seen by the vast variety of dishes specific to the cuisine of the country. However, let me blow your mind by telling you that everyone’s beloved Bun Kabab is entirely vegetarian (and can be vegan if leaving out the eggs and yogurt)! Say what?! Yes, you read that correctly. A completely vegetarian meal that nearly every Pakistani loves.

POOF!

Mind. Blown.

(Recipe from Food Fusion.)

Click below to check out the yummies everyone is sharing:

 

 

Karachi Bun Kabab

Yield: 12 – 15 Bun Kababs

Ingredients:

For Kababs:

  • 4 cups water
  • ¾ cup split bengal gram / channa daal
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½- inch piece ginger, peeled
  • ½-inch piece cinnamon
  • 3 dried red chillies
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 whole black peppers
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 3 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled, and mashed
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon chaat masala
  • Salt, to taste

For Bun Kabab Chutney:

  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chaat masala
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sweet tamarind chutney
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 1 green chilli
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Handful cilantro
  • Handful mint leaves

To Assemble:

  • Oil, to shallow fry
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • Slider buns or small burger buns
  • Onions, sliced
  • Cucumbers, sliced
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Cabbage, shredded

Directions:

Make Kababs:

In a medium sized vessel, combine water, bengal gram, turmeric, cumin seeds, ginger, cinnamon, red chillies, cloves, and black peppers. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until lentils are tender and the water has evaporated, 60 to 90 minutes. Cool slightly.

Transfer cooked mixture to a food processor and grind until smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add mashed potatoes, onion, cilantro, chaat masala, and salt. Mix well. Using about ¼-cup of mixture (or a little less), form patties and refrigerate.

Make Bun Kabab Chutney:

Combine all ingredients in the blender jar and blitz until smooth. Set aside.

Assemble Bun Kababs:

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a fry pan over medium heat.

Dip kabab patties into the egg, making sure both sides of the kabab are coated. Place kabab in frying pan and cook until the bottom is golden brown, flip, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove kababs from the pan and set aside.

On the same pan, lightly toast the buns on both sides. Remove from heat.

To assemble, spread a spoonful of chutney on both sides of the bun. Place sliced onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes on the bottom bun. Top with fried kabab, shredded cabbage, and top bun.

 

Note: Kababs can be frozen once shaped. To use, simply microwave frozen patties for 30-seconds, then proceed as written. Leftover Bun Kabab Chutney must be refrigerated.

Pakistani Slow Cooked Beef Stew – Nihari

Here we are yet again, on the 10th day of this month, which means it is reveal day for the Muslim Food Bloggers Challenges! This month’s challenge was to use meat as the star of our dish, as Eid al Adha is coming upon us. The challenge asked that we aim to use mutton as the meat of choice, however I used beef because mutton is not eaten in our home (although you can totally swap out beef for mutton in this recipe!).

I chose to make Nihari, a traditional Pakistani/North Indian delicacy that is a spicy slow cooked stew. Nihari is a dish that has eluded me ever since I started cooking seriously. I know I could just throw it together easily with a packet of ready-made Shan masala, but I’ve been wanting to learn how to make it at home from scratch.

I stumbled upon this recipe by Food Fusion, and decided to adapt it to personal tastes.

You guys, this is the real deal. The Nihari secret is out, and now you can wow even the toughest critics with this amazing from-scratch Nihari!

Quick note- I mention the use of a banana pepper towards the end of the recipe. Although it can easily be replaced with a regular green chili, I highly recommend using it as it imparts an amazing flavor into the Nihari. It is my mother in-laws secret, which isn’t so much of a secret anymore 😉

Thank you once again to the lovely group of ladies who organize these challenges month after month! I look forward to when the challenges are announces, and wait excitedly until reveal day 🙂 Be sure to check out all the yummies everyone shared for this month’s challenge by clicking on the link below-

 

 

Nihari

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

For Nihari Spice Mix:

  • ¼ cup fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppers
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
  • ¼ – ½ piece nutmeg
  • 1 small piece mace
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 1-inch pieces cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 black cardamoms
  • 4 cardamoms
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

For Nihari:

  • 1 ½ – 2 pounds beef, cut into large cubes
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • ¾ cup Nihari spice blend
  • Salt, as needed.
  • 1 banana pepper or jalapeno (or desired amount of green chillies)

For Tempering/ Bhagaar:

  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced (½ if onion is large)

For Garnish:

  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • Fried onions
  • Lemon or lime juice

Directions:

Make Nihari Spice Blend:

Combine fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppers, cloves, ginger powder, nutmeg, mace, star anise, cinnamon, bay leave, black cardamoms, and cardamoms in the jar of a spice grinder. Grind into a fine powder. Transfer to a small bowl and add coriander powder, red chili powder, paprika, and turmeric. Mix well and set aside.

Make Nihari:

In a small bowl, combine wheat flour and water. Whisk until smooth and no lumps remain. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium high heat. Add meat and cook, stirring along, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add ginger-garlic paste, mix, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add Nihari spice blend and salt, and mix well. Add enough water to cover the meat by a couple of inches, about 6 to 8 cups. Add the flour and water mixture, stir, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 1 ½ to 3 hours, stirring intermittently, until the meat is cooked through and falling apart and desired consistency has been reached.

Add green chillies and reduce heat to low.

Make Tempering/ Bhagaar:

Heat oil in a small pan over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until golden brown, stirring often. Once onions have turned golden, carefully pour the mixture over the Nihari and cover. Cook over low heat for ten minutes. Remove from heat and serve with desired garnishes.

 

Note: Extra Nihari Spice Blend may be stored at room temperature for use at a later time.

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.