Cholay - Garbanzo Beans in a Tomato Sauce

This recipe has also been a staple in our home. It is heartwarming to see my son making this recipe often for his family, I guess that is what traditions and passing on the recipes to the next generation is all about. 
Garbanzo beans are full of protein and a healthy way to add some flavor to your meal times. I like to serve this recipe with tea for visiting guests or as a side dish on the dinner table. 

Cholay - Garbanzo Beans in a Tomato Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon whole cumin
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 cup green onions, chopped
4 cups cooked garbanzo beans (can be canned)
1 teaspoon White Jasmine Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Add whole cumin and wait until it starts to sizzle. Add the yellow and green onions and let everything saute for a few minutes until the onions start to get golden brown on the edges. Add garbanzo beans and stir everything together. Add all ground spices and continue to stir everything together. Add fire roasted tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low/medium and let everything cook for about 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the stove. Sprinkle the cilantro and serve with Raita. 

Prevention rather then Cure??

I was just thinking about this the other day and what instigated this thought process is some close calls of health challenges for people I know and cherish. I feel that there is a lot of power in prevention, however, quite often it seems to me that there is more emphasis on cure rather than prevention. Why is that?

Is it because we know that medical science has come a long way and we can rely on treatments when needed as a crutch, so we don't have to be mindful or responsible for taking action? or is it because in the life full of "busy-ness" (don't even know if this is a word:)) which we have created for ourselves there are better things to think about and invest in, then our own health and quality of life?

Whatever the answer maybe, I do feel that we have an immense responsibility to ensure that we are focusing on prevention and making good choices when it comes down to our health. Don't get me wrong, medication and treatment is absolutely essential when something unfortunate happens, however, a lot can be mitigated by taking a few small steps every day.
On this note, here is a very healthy, easy and flavorful recipe for today:

Mediterranean Couscous:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 4 inch cinnamon stick
2 green cardamoms
2 whole cloves
1 red pepper, chopped
1 8 oz can garbanzo beans
2 cups couscous
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups warm water
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced with seeds (optional if you like it hot!)
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the whole spices, add red pepper and garbanzo beans. Saute everything. Add Couscous. Add the ground spices. Add warm water. Switch off the heat once everything comes to a boil and cover the pan. Set aside for 12-15 minutes. Sprinkle cilantro on top and serve warm as a side with any entree. 

Mediterranean Chicken

This is a very hearty and warm recipe. I love using the whole spices first which start with infusing the oil with rich and deep flavors. Onions, garlic, tomatoes and our bold and fragrant Garam Masala continue to add layers of flavor and create a beautiful, thick sauce for the chicken and Garbanzo beans to simmer in. Enjoy!

2 Pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (cubed)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Medium yellow onion, chopped
2 Black cardamoms
2 Green cardamoms
2 Whole cloves
2 Tablespoons garlic, chopped
2 Teaspoons White Jasmine Garam Masala
1 Teaspoon chili powder
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
1 8oz can chopped tomatoes
1 8oz can garbanzo beans
1/2 cup cilantro

Add olive oil to a pan, add cardamoms and cloves, let everything sizzle for a minute or so. Add the yellow onions, sauté  for a few minutes so it is sautéed well but not crisp. Add the chicken and all ground spices. Add garlic. Let everything cook for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and garbanzo beans. Cover the pan and leave everything to cook for 5-7 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve as an entrée with couscous or basmati rice.

Be sure to check out the Couscous recipe to bring a new dynamic of flavor to this dish!  And as always don't forget to upload your creations to our Facebook page!

Simple Lamb Curry

Lamb is one of the simple meats and readily available in Pakistan. It is considered to be a bit sophisticated meat compared to beef and is offered frequently when there are guests around the dining table as a sign of hospitality. It is important to add garlic and other spices generously to complement the meat. 

2 Pounds lamb, cubed
2 Medium onions, thinly sliced
2 Medium tomatoes, chopped
1 Teaspoon garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon ginger, minced
2 Large black cardamoms
2 Small green cardamoms
2 Cloves
1 Cinnamon stick - 2 inches long
1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon White Jasmine Garam Masala
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons plain yogurt
2 Tablespoons Canola oil
2 Cups warm water
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat cooking oil in a saucepan and add all whole spices. Add sliced onions. Fry everything for a few minutes until the onions turn light brown. Add lamb and continue to fry the mixture for about ten minutes. Add garlic and ginger. Leave the mixture to cook for about five minutes, add all the ground spices. Keep adding the yogurt until all of the yogurt is used. Add chopped tomatoes, cilantro and water. Bring the mixture to a boil and then leave it to simmer for about 45 minutes or until the lamb is tender. Serve warm with pulao rice or parathas. 

Karahi Chicken Recipe

Karahi chicken is a traditional dish mostly prepared in Pakistan and India. 'Karahi' is a kind of a wok in which this dish is created. I love to make it often because of how the fresh flavors of tomoatoes, peppers and onions come together with fragrant spices. It is a recipe which your family and friends will always remember. 

1 Tablespoon Canola oil
2 Green Cardamoms
2 Cloves
1 4inch Cinnamon Stick
1 Pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
1 Green pepper, chopped
1 Red pepper, chopped
1 Medium yellow onion, chopped
1 8oz can tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 Teaspoon White Jasmine Garam Masala
1 Teaspoon White Jasmine Tandoori Masala
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 Teaspoon salt
Small bunch cilantro, chopped

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a deep pan, add cloves and the cinnamon stick, let them sizzle. Add chicken and garlic, saute for about 5 minutes.

Add chopped onions, pepper and tomatoes. Add chili powder, Garam Masala, Tandoori Masala, turmeric, and salt. Gently mix everything together with a slotted spoon. Sprinkle cilantro and cover the pan to simmer for about ten minutes. The sauce will thicken and then it is ready to serve with basmati rice. 

*For a more authentic experience, prior to cooking the chicken - add all the ingredients with spices to a pan.  Once all cooked together blend in a blender for 1-2 minutes.  Add it back to a pan, add the raw chicken to the mix and cook through.

Hearty Chicken

This recipe is one of the heartiest recipes you will ever find. It has everything that you would want on a cold rainy evening or a snowy day. The whole and ground spices come together to create an amazing blend of flavors. The fresh vegetables and garbanzo beans provide the warmth which we all need from time to time. 

2 Tablespoons cooking oil
2 Whole Cloves
1 Black Cardamom pod
1 Green Cardamom pod
1 2inch Cinnamon Stick
1 large onion, chopped
1 Pound boneless, skinless chicken breast - cubed
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon White Jasmine Garam Masala
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 8oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 Red pepper, thinly sliced strips
1 Zucchini, thinly sliced strips
1 8oz can chickpeas
1 Cup chicken stock
1/2 Cup cilantro

Heat oil in a large skillet; add cloves, cardamoms and cinnamon. Saute 2 minutes. Add onions; fry them 10 minutes or until golden brown. Add chicken and garlic; saute for 5 minutes.

Add coriander, chili powder, garam masala, turmeric and salt; stir well. Add red pepper and zucchini, tomatoes and chickpeas. Add chicken stock, sprinkle fresh cilantro; cover the pan, and simmer about 10 minutes. The sauce will thicken. Serve over rice.

Harissa Chicken

Use the wonderful "Harissa" recipe I showed you earlier to create this wonderful chicken dish with our Garam Masala.  The flavors are exquisite and accompany each other so well that it's just a natural combination! I hope you get a chance to use your Harissa in many environments but definitely try it here and watch these flavors shine.

2 Pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast - cubed
2 Tablespoons Harissa *refer to Harissa recipe
2 Teaspoons Garam Masala
2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
1/2 Teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Whole green cardamoms
4 Whole cloves
1 4inch cinnamon stick
1 Medium yellow onion, chopped
1 Cup cilantro, chopped

Add chicken in a bowl with Garam Masala, garlic and salt. Mix well and set aside. Heat olive oil in a pan, add whole spices. Add chopped onions. Saute the onions until the edges are golden brown.  Add the harissa*. Add the chicken mixture and cook on medium heat. Once the chicken is fully cooked, add chopped cilantro. Serve with basmati rice.

*This is a two part recipe, don't forget to start with the "Harissa" recipe so you can perfect that spice side sauce that accompanies this dish.

Penne Pasta Flavor Fusion

This recipe is one of my favorite creations because it brings two very different herbs, cilantro and basil, used in completely different cuisines together. This combination allowed me to clearly demonstrate the power of fusion cooking, hope you get a chance to enjoy this simple but delicious recipe!

2 Pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast - cubed
2 Teaspoons garlic, chopped
1 Teaspoon ginger, chopped
1 Teaspoon White Jasmine Garam Masala
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Green Cardamoms
2 Whole Cloves
1 Cup fresh basil leaves
1 Cup fresh cilantro
2 Whole dried red chilies
8oz can fire roasted tomatoes

Add chicken in a bowl, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, ginger, White Jasmine Garam Masala and salt. Mix well and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan and add whole spices. Add chicken mixture to the sauté pan and stir gently on medium heat. In a food processor, add basil, cilantro, red dried chilies and salt. Make a coarse paste. Add the paste to chicken and stir well together, add fire roasted tomatoes and leave on medium heat to cook for about 10 minutes.

Prepare penne pasta per instructions on the box, when drained add a tablespoon of olive oil and add cooked chicken with the pesto sauce on top of pasta and serve with garlic bread and a salad on the side.

Chicken Curry Recipe

This is a traditional recipe with a contemporary twist. I am sure most people have tried a curry recipe at some point in their lives and can seem pretty daunting to make. That is why I wanted to simplify it to an extent that it seems pretty straightforward and inviting to give it a try. Hope you find it easy and delicious!

3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Pounds boneless chicken strips
1 Teaspoon White Jasmine Garam Masala
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Garlic, chopped
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 4inch Cinnamon Stick
2 Green Cardamoms
2 Whole Cloves
1-2 Teaspoons White Jasmine Tandoori Masala
1 Cup cilantro, chopped

In a bowl, add chicken, olive oil, Garam Masala, chili powder, turmeric, salt and garlic. Mix well and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add cinnamon stick, cardamoms and cloves. Let it sizzle and then add chopped onions. Saute the onions for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken with all the spices and garlic from the bowl. Mix everything well and leave it to cook for another 10-15 minutes on low/medium heat. Add cilantro. Serve with basmati rice.