Monthly Archives: November 2011

Chana Batata

NewImageA friend of mine phoned to say she was coming for a cup of tea and a chat. Since it was almost lunch I decided to make Chana BatataChana translates to chickpeas and Batata means potatoes.  This is a wonderful combination and a great one pot meal.  I rinsed the potatoes and put them in a pot to boil and started cooking the chickpeas.  By the time my friend arrived my dish was ready.  I asked her to pick up a bag of chips on her way as they are a great accompaniment to Chana Batata.

Chana Batata is also known as Aloo Batata .  Aloo also translates to potatoes.  In East Africa we used to have this as an after school snack or a snack  between shopping.  There were lots of small cafes that served chana batata, snacks and Chai (Indian Spice tea) or fresh Passion Fruit Juice.  You can also get Chana Batata as street food in Indian and Pakistan.  Chana Batata originated in India.


  • 14         oz Can Chickpeas
  • 4           med russet Potatoes
  • 2           tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 5           Curry Leaves
  • 1/4        teaspoon Jeera  (Cumin seeds)
  • 1/4        teaspoon Rye (Mustard  seeds)
  • 1/4        teaspoon Methi (Fenugreek seeds)
  • 1           small Tomato
  • 1           Jalapeno
  • 2           tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • ¼          teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1           teaspoon Salt
  • ½          teaspoon Citric Acid or
  •  2          table spoon lemon Juice
  • 1           tablespoon Sugar
  • 4           cups Water


  1. Boil the potatoes with the skin on until soft(about 15 min) Peel the potatoes and cube it 3/4 inch.
  2. Chop the tomato, Jalapeno and half the cilantro in a food processor.
  3. Heat the oil, add the rye, methi, cumin and curry leaves.  When the rye starts to pop add the tomato mixture, turmeric powder, salt, citric acid, sugar. Cook for a couple of min.
  4. Add the Chana and mix well. Let it cook for 2 min. Add 4 cups of water and the potatoes, cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 min. The sauce will become thick.
  5. Sprinkle chopped cilantro before serving.

Serve with potato chips, mogo chips or chevro and Tamarind Chutney.

Karahi Chicken

The name Karahi Chicken comes from the utensil it is cooked in.

A karahi  is a type of thick, circular, and deep cooking pot used in Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Nepalese cuisine. Karahi are traditionally made out of cast iron, and look like woks with rounded bottoms.  These days they are also made with other materials like stainless steel,  copper and non-stick. Flat-bottomed varieties are also available now.

Karahi are useful for the shallow or deep frying of meat, potatoes, sweets, and snacks such as samosaand fish, but are most noted for the simmering of stews which are often named karahi dishes after the utensil.

Stews prepared in a karahi include “chicken karahi” and “karahi paneer.”

This is one of the quick dishes to make and it does not have a lot of spices.  If you do not have a Karahi or a wok , a saucepan will do.



  • 2                     whole chicken breast skinned and deboned.
  • 1                     tablespoon coriander Seeds
  • 1                     tablespoon crushed Ginger
  • 1                     tablespoon crushed Garlic
  • 1                     lb Tomatoes ( 4 Medium) finely chopped
  • 1                     tbsp  jalapenos paste(or to taste)
  • 2                     tablespoon oil
  • ½                    teaspoon freshly ground cumin
  • ½                    teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1                     tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1                     cup chopped cilantro plus 1 tbsp for decoration
  • 1                     tbsp finely chopped ginger


  1. In a Saucepan heat the oil.
  2. Add coriander seeds, garlic and ginger.  Stir for 1 minute  or until the garlic and ginger start to stick at the bottom.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, Cumin, black pepper  salt, tomato paste and jalapeno.  Cook for 10  Minutes.
  4. Rinse the Chicken and slice it thinly.  Add the Chicken to the Saucepan.  Mix well and cook on med heat for 15 minutes.  The chicken is cooked when the meat becomes firm and it changes color.   The sauce will be thick.  add the chopped cilantro and mix.
  5. sprinkle cilantro and ginger before serving.

Serve with Naan.

Wok sits next to a karahi on a western-style stove.

Chicken Curry

Chicken curry is one of the first curries my mom taught me to make.  The longer you simmer a curry sauce better enhanced the flavour will be.  This curry sauce is the base for a lot of other more complex curries.  Many people have the misconception that all curries are spicy. This basic curry can be as mild or as spicy as you want. If you want to make a curry with some heat you can add hot chili pepper to it. I usually make a carrot and green pepper pickle to go with my chicken curry.  You can find the spices you need for this recipe from an Indian grocery store or the International Food section in most grocery stores.


  • 1               whole chicken (3 – 4 lbs)
  • 2               medium onions
  • 3               medium Potatoes
  • 4               tbsp oil
  • 5               black pepper
  • 1               small cinnamon stick
  • 5               cardamom pods
  • 5               cloves
  • ¼              tsp cumin seeds
  • 1               large tomato chopped
  • 1               tsp crushed garlic
  • 1               tsp crushed ginger
  • 1               jalapeno
  • 3/4            tsp coriander powder
  • 3/4            tsp cumin powder 
  • ¼              tsp chilly powder, or to taste
  • 1               tbsp tomato paste
  • ½              tsp garam masala
  • 1               tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1/4            tsp turmeric powder
  • 1               tsp salt     


  1. Skin and cut the chicken into 10 pieces. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 4 pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a sauce pan. Add the whole spices and the onion. Sauté the onions over medium heat till the onions turn golden brown about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and the rest of the spices except the garam masala and the cilantro. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.   Add 2 cups of water and cook for 5 min. Add the chicken and cook till chicken is half done (about 10 minutes) Add the potatoes and cook till the chicken and potatoes are done.
  4. Chicken is done when the color has changed and the meat is firm to the touch.
  5. Serve in a bowl, sprinkle with garam masala and cilantro.
  6. Serve it with rice, chapatti or French bread.

Chicken Curry Ingredients

Thumb IMG 4802 1024


Thepla is a deep fried sweet crispy puri , very popular in parts of India and Pakistan.  It is made with whole wheat flour and  goor.  Goor is  natural sugar.   Goor can be found in an Indian grocery store. 

You will find many different recipes for thepla, I like this recipe which  was given to me by my friend Gulzar.


  • 8                 oz goor      
  • 1                 cup water  
  • 4                 cups whole wheat flour (superstore No Name)
  • 1                 cup  soji (wheatlets)
  • 1                 cup  brown sugar (dark brown) 
  • 3/4              cup  butter  (melted)
  • ¼                tsp  elchi(cardamom)  seeds crushed
  • 1                 tbsp  viriyari crushed                 
  • 2                 tbsp  kas kas (white poppy seeds)
  • 6                 cups oil for frying


  1. In a medium saucepan boil  the water and goor  till the goor melts
  2. In a mixing bowl add flour, soji, brown sugar, elechi, viriyari.
  3. Rub in margarine till the mixture looks like bread crumbs.
  4. Add goor pani a little at a time and make a stiff dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 4 and make a ball.
  6. Roll the dough in kas kas and flatten it.
  7. Roll each ball on a floured surface to a ¼ “ thickness.
  8. Cut with a cookie cutter.
  9. Deep fry on medium heat till they are golden brown.
  10. Drain on paper towel.

Eid Al-Adha

 Today is Eid-Al-Adha . The largest holiday on the Muslim calendar is the Eid al Adhu or the Big Eid(Idd).

Eid Al Adha is the festival of Sacrifice.  According to the Quran, the prophet Abraham received a message from god through a dream.  In the dream, Abraham was ordered to sacrifice his son Ismael.  Ismael, who was still a child , told the weeping Abraham not to be afraid, and that he should follow God’s command before  his own sentiments.   Just as Abraham began to draw his sword to his beloved son, the angel Gabriel appeared before him and told him that his dream was only a test to measure Abraham’s devotion.  the angel Gabriel told Abraham to sacrifice a sheep instead.  To this day, Muslims around the world sacrifice sheep and other animals to commemorate God’s mercy.   According to Islamic custom, one third of the meat must be distributed to the needy, one third must be shared with the family, and the other third may be kept by the person who purchased the animal.  It is customary for the people who receive the meat as a gift to thank the person who gave it to them and say a special prayer in their honor.  During the festival of Eid, Muslims generally prepare the finest meals derived from their respective cuisines.

In my family we make, Lapsi, Samosa and Meat Biriyani

Men, Women and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing to perform the  Eid Namaz.  After the Namaz people Hug each other and wish each other Eid Mubarak..  The regular Charitable practice of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid al Adha by making sure no person is left without the opportunity to partake in the sacrificed meal during these days.

In Some countries, families that do not own livestock can make a contribution to a charity that will provide meat to those who are in need.

The finest sweet meats are prepared during the week and  a plate is sent  to the relatives and friends.

After Namaz the Male Members of the family visit the older members of the Family and Wish them Idd Mubarak.  Gifts are sent  to the family.    Anybody who came to your house on that day was offered a glass of sherbat (milkshake).

For us, after the Namaz a light breakfast, Jelebi and Ganthia, will be served with a cup of chai.

This Idd I will serve:-

Pera and Ganthia                                                                Potato Chops

Pera Potato Chops 1 

Persian Biriyani

Persian Biriyani







Carrot Pickle

Biscuit Pudding

Biscuit Pudding