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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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.

Eid Eats 2016: Zesty Spice Roasted Chicken

Eid Eats 2016 is officially here! This “party” is one that I look forward to all year 🙂  With Ramadan coming to an end, it’s fun to get together with other bloggers and enjoy the festive atmosphere.  Do you want to come to the party but worried that it’s too late?  Fret not my friend, there’s still time! You’ve got until Wednesday, July 6, to submit a recipe.  Just follow the guidelines found here, and you’re in!  I, along with my co-hosts Asiya of Chocolate and Chillies (check out what she’s sharing here), and Sarah of Flour and Spice (and the yummies that she’s sharing here) would love for you to join us!

EidEats5

Click on this graphic to submit your addition to #EidEats2016. You can also click here to check out all of the yummies everyone has brought.


This year, Eid Eats falls on my father’s birthday.  I had decided beforehand that I wanted to make something that would make him proud.  My father was a huge fan of roasted poultry (chicken and turkey). He was the honoree turkey-carver at every Thanksgiving gathering. He used to enjoy revving the electric knife and getting down to business on the bird. Friends (and their children) would stand around and watch him, and he would hand feed little pieces to those standing closest to him.

I decided to make a zesty spice rubbed roasted chicken (adapted from here) because I knew it would be something that he would have enjoyed.  Prior to this attempt, I had never roasted a chicken before. I don’t know about you, but I had so much fear going into it! Afterwards however, I wondered why the heck I took this long to attempt something so simple! Please, don’t be a scaredycat like me. It’s a simple dish to prepare, and it really adds a classy touch to any spread.

 

ZestySpiceRoastedChickenPic

 

Zesty Spice Roasted Chicken

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3 – 3 ½ pound) whole chicken, skin removed
  • 1 tablespoon + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ lemon
  • Potatoes, as needed, diced into 2-inch chunks (or baby potatoes cut in half)
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine 1-tablespoon butter, salt, paprika, basil, oregano, black pepper, and red chili powder.

Place chicken in a large container and rub with spice mix, making sure to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate, allowing the meat to marinate for several hours (overnight is best).

Remove chicken from the refrigerator and preheat oven to 450°F. In a baking pan, place potatoes in an even layer. Place chicken on top and stuff the cavity with garlic and lemon. Tie the chicken legs together with baking twine. Brush chicken with remaining 3 tablespoons butter, making sure to pour a few spoonfuls into the cavity as well.

Roast chicken in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 400°F and cook for an additional 40 minutes, until the internal temperature has reached a minimum of 165°F. Remove from oven, cover lightly with foil, and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve garnished with cilantro.

Chicken Over Rice (Halal Cart Inspired)

We visited New York two years ago, and while there I was able to try a plate of Chicken over Rice from the famous Halal Carts (didn’t get a chance to visit the OG of halal carts, the Halal Guys on 53rd and 6th. Boo!). You guys, that’s some good stuff! There is a local restaurant that sells New York Style Gyros, which truly aren’t gyros, but actually a personal take on Chicken over Rice. Whenever we visit this restaurant, we always get an order of it. To say it is delicious is an understatement.

This recipe, courtesy of Flour and Spice, is a homemade take on the yumminess that is Chicken over Rice. The marinade on the chicken is fabulous and so versatile, that I imagine it would be great in anything (sandwiches, pizza, salad!). The original recipe also includes a recipe for homemade harissa (!), which I didn’t include because I had a jar stored in the refrigerator that needed to be used up.

 

ChickenOverRicePic

Chicken Over Rice

(Halal Cart Inspired)

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

Ingredients:

For White Sauce:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water, cold
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt, to taste

For Chicken:

  • 1 ½ – 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

For Rice:

  • 3 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked in cold water for 2 hours
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

For Toppings:

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Pocketless pita bread, buttered or oiled and toasted, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Harissa or hot sauce

Directions:

Make White Sauce:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Taste and season accordingly.

Note: White sauce can be made in advance and kept refrigerated.

Make Chicken:

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add chicken and marinate for several hours (overnight is best).

Heat a lightly greased fry pan over medium heat. Add chicken, along with marinade, and cook until completely cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken and cooked marinade to a plate to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, dice the chicken into bite size pieces and toss with the cooked marinade/juices. Set aside.

Make Rice:

Melt butter in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Add turmeric and cumin powder, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add drained rice and stir to coat. Toast for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow the rice to sit undisturbed (do not remove lid) for an additional 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Assemble:

Place rice in a plate, top with diced chicken, shredded lettuce, diced pita, and white sauce and harissa as needed.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I fell in love with the flavor of pumpkin a few years ago (here are just a few of the goodies I like to make with the flavorsome squash). I’ve been experimenting with it a bit more this season, and this delicious, moist, and autumn-centric Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread was a result of said testing. It pairs well on its own, or alongside a mug of steaming tea or coffee, and it is Zuni-approved 😉

(Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.)

 

PumpkinChocolateChipBreadPic

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Yield: 1 Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon ground all-spice
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a greased loaf pan.

In a large bowl, beat together sugar, pumpkin puree, oil, water, and eggs until smooth.

Add all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and all-spice. Stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 60 to 80 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow bread to rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.