Moroccan Sheet Pan Chicken

It's 10th of the month and time for MFB challenge.. couldn't participate last month due to my super packed hectic schedule.. but this month I wanted to participate without fail.. and Alhamdulillah I was able to cook for this months  challenge..
......  this month challenge cooking with OLIVES..usually I add olives in my pasta or pizza other wise it's usually had  as an accompaniment.. when I saw olives the first thing that came in my mind was foccasia.. but then thought of searching the Google dear for more options and my eyes fell on the Moroccan tray bakes and Tagines..




        After days of searching and thinking I finalised these Moroccan Sheet Pan Chicken... from here    I 've never made a tray bake and this was my first .. after I made I was thinking why I have not tried tray bakes till now.. such an easy way to make dinner or lunch... you just have to arrange them on a pan and put them in the oven to cook.. job done..
...... let's come back to this recipe.. the recipe speaks for itself.. it shouts Morocco.. juicy chicken with caramelized onions and sweet lemons and tangy olives.. it was yummy..
Actually the recipe calls for 3 pieces of chicken .. but I made for 4 by just adjusting a little spice here and there..  In an hour a hassle free dinner is made..
....... if I added anything to the recipe.. at last I spruced the oven to max and grilled it for 5 more minutes for the skin to get extra crispy.. other than that it's the same...
          Serve this tray bake on a bed of couscous with  a side of bread.. I served it with garlic bread for my family but personally I would advice to have it along with some carbs like mashed potato or thick soups... as the way I served turned out as a light meal and we were hungry ....
so without delay lets move to how to do this recipe..



You Need:

For The Spice Mixture:

Salt                                            3/4 tsp
Ground Cumin                          1/4tsp
Paprika                                      3/4 tsp
Cayenne Pepper                        1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder                      3/4tsp
Olive Oil                                   1 1/4 tbsp.
Balck Pepper powder               1/4tsp
Melted Butter                           1 1/4 tbsp.
Garlic cloves (grated)               4 nos

For the Sheet Pan :

Lemon big                                2 nos
White Onions                           2 nos
Extra virgin Olive Oil              2 tsp
Salt                                           1/4tsp
Turmeric powder                     1 tsp
Skin on Chicken Quarters        4 nos
Olives(pitted n sliced)              1 cup
Coriander leaves chopped         2 tbsp.



Preparation:

Preheat the Oven at 220*C
Mix everything under the spice mixture...
Clean and wash the chicken.. Dry the chicken well with a paper towel.
Rub the chicken well with the spice mixture.
Slice 1 lemon into thin slices. Arrange them in a single layer in a sheet pan... juice the other lemon
Cut the onion into 12 wedges each. Scatter them over the lemons..
Sprinkle the salt, olive oil, turmeric powder, over the onions.
Place the chicken over the onions and drizzle the rest of the spice over it.
Keep them in the oven and bake for 30 - 40 minutes. the juices should run clear from the chicken.
If you want the skin to be little crispier increase the oven to max and grill for 5-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and drizzle around 1-2 tbsp. lemon juice.. scatter the olives and coriander leaves..
Serve them with couscous and bread.                  



   

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One Pot Mutton Biryani - a perfect biryani for beginners

Winters... for many reasons I like it💕.. and for many reasons I hate it😣.. tend to get  more sick  in this cold weather🤒... the icy cold wind has never been my friend and my lungs hate them😑... Under the weather since two days and since today is weekend wanted to make something spicy but easy to cook.. to open my taste buds which I feel are dead..
  Had mutton in my freezer and I thought why not make biryani .... you must be wondering making biryani when sick?🤔..
Gone are the days when biryani s were made for special occasions.. for me if u want to cook something special  but not so elaborate I make biryani🤗.. with a boiled egg and a raita lunch is served..



   When biryani is put in dum.. the flavours develop you get an amazing biryani... which from start to finish will take you an hour and a half minimum .. If I say you can make a biryani with full of flavour that too under 30 minutes will you believe me?
    I made this biryani for the first time  four years back.. when i had shoulder injury.. My right hand was in  sling for 2 months... At that time I managed to find so many tips n tricks to make easy recipes.. and pressure cooker was my saviour..  on one such event I made this biryani with the help of my son who was 6 .. was quite amazed coz the biryani tasted just like regular dum biryani.. 💕💕... now I have made them many times when I am time pressed..  
...... no elaborate sauteing... no elaborate vessels.. just one pressure cooker and you are done... sound so easy right.. who wouldn't want it.. a yummy one pot meal.. ❤... now let's move to the recipe



THIS RECIPE SERVES 4

YOU NEED:

Basmati rice                   2 cups
Mutton                             400gms
Onion (medium)            2 nos 
Tomato (medium)          1 1/2 nos
Ginger Garlic paste        1 heaped tblsp
Coriander leaves             A small handful
Mint leaves                 7-8 leaves
Green chilli                      4-5 now
Lemon juice                   
Yoghurt                             1/4 cup 
Salt
Oil                                       2 tbsp
Ghee                                   1 tbsp
Bay leaf                              2 nos
Cinnamon                          1" piece
Cardamom                         4 nos
Cloves                                  4 nos
Red chilli powder              1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder               1/4 tsp
Black pepper powder        1/4 tsp
Garam Masala                     1/2 tsp 
Water


PREPARATION:

Clean and wash the mutton.. 
Thinly slice the onions.. chop the tomatoes 
Roughly chop the coriander and mint leaves
Wash the rice and soak it for 15 minutes..
Meanwhile place your 5 litre pressure cooker on the stove and heat it..
Pour the oil and ghee and  when it starts to become hot add the bay leaves , cinnamon , cardamom, clove .. saute for few seconds
Add the onions and fry till they turn translucent .. in the oil that has separated add the red chilli powder and fry for fee seconds.. immediately add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute.. 
Add the mutton , coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chilli , salt..and sauce for 2-3 minutes.. add the tomatoes , turmeric powder , pepper , Garam Masala and the yoghurt.. mix them well and add about 100 ml water.. 
Close the pressure cooker and cook for 5-6whistles in medium heat
After the pressure has come down... open the cooker ... you will see around 2 cups of liquid in the Masala ... 
So add the water around 2 cups of water... (you will need totally 4 cups of water / liquid to make this biryani)
Check the gravy for salt and add lemon juice around 1tsp .. bring to boil and add the soaked rice alone .... give a gentle mix taking are not to break the rice  
Close the pressure cooker.. and cook  for 2 whistles in medium heat.. then lower the flame to Simmer and cook in sim for 10 minutes..
Switch off the flame and allow the pressure  to come down .. 
Open.. fluff the biryani. With a slotted spoon  or fork. serve with raita ... Enjoy!!




***IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMEBER***
1) The cup I used is the measuring cup that comes with rice cooker..  so 1 cup measures 150 gms rice and 160 ml water
2) the ratio of rice to water is 1:2
3) if you are using  extra long basmati rice add quater cup of water extra so ratio is 
1: 2 1/4
4) if you have doubt on the amount of liquid in the gravy .. strain the gravy .. measure the amount of liquid and then calculate and add the amount of water.. for eg: if there is only 1 3/4 cup of liquid  add 2 1/4 cup of water to the gravy... totalling 4 cups
5) never miss the simmer part . After two whistles reduce the flame and keep it in simmer for 10 minutes.. 
6) never force open the pressure cooker .. if you are in a hurry .. always place the cooker under running water for few minutes.. the pressure will reduce fast and then it's safe to open
7) you can substitute the mutton with chicken .. but pressure cook them for 3 whistles not 5 while making the gravy.. rest is the same



                
                            

Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Tomorrow December 18 is Qatar National Day... a day filled with joy the whole country both expats n citizens gear up to celebrate QND every year and this year too you can see the corniche is decked up with lights of the National flag.. All the Malls... shops.. cars.. buildings... all decked up for celebrating QND.. Its festive mood everywhere.. Last year I posted this recipe on QND and it was a traditional recipe..




        This year wanted to do something colorful and I think with going for Cake Decorating Classes my mind got fixed in baking and cake decorating.... Found cupcake liners in LuLu Hypermarket that matched the festive mood.. then with lots of browsing   settled down for Red Velvet Cupcake...
thought the color would match the QND... I ve followed  Nigella's recipe which turned out great..
I made only  half the recipe as for the past two weeks Ive been baking ..baking.. and baking only..
and also limit the consumption..hehehe....
    I got 6 overfilled delicious cupcakes.... (my mistake... didnt know the batter would rise so high)..
The cupcakes were soo moist n was not too sweet  and the sweet cream cheese Icing complemented it perfectly... if you are not fond of icing then sprinkle them with icing sugar...
I colored half the icing in Burgundy to match the qatar flag color.. the final product turned out how I wanted alhamdulillah.. and I am happy I could make something special to join the festive mood here in this beautiful country..



I am sharing the recipe for making 24 cupcakes you can always half the quantity to make them 12..
now off to the recipe..

You Need:

RED VELVET CUPCAKE
Makes 24 cupcakes

All purpose Flour                               250 gms
Cocoa Powder                                    2 tbsp
Baking Powder                                   2 tsp
Bi carbonate of Soda                          1/2tsp
Unsalted Butter                                   100gms
Castor Sugar                                       200 gms
Red Gel color                                     1/2 heaped tsp
Vanilla essence                                   2 tsp
Large Eggs                                          2 nos
Buttermilk                                         175 ml
Cider Vinegar                                    1 tsp

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Icing Sugar                                       500gms
Butter                                                125 gms
Cream Cheese (room temp)              125 gms
Cider Vinegar                                    1 tsp
red sprinkles for decorating




PREPARATION:

FOR RED VELVET CUPCAKES:

Preheat oven @170* C .
Place cup cake liners in two regular Muffin tins ( 1 muffin tin can make 12 cupcakes/muffins)
Shift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda together
Cream the butter and sugar  well.. when the mixture becomes soft and looks pale in color add the food coloring and vanilla essence and mix well.
Now while mixing add half the dry ingredients and 1 egg.. mix well.. then add the remaining dry ingredients and one more egg..
At last add the buttermilk and cider vinegar and mix well..
Divide the mixture into the cup cake liners... fill only half the liner.. do not over fill
Bake them for about 20 minutes. insert a toothpick to test.. if it comes out clean then it is done.
After 10 minutes remove them from the tin and allow them to cool completely

FOR CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

Shift the icing sugar ..
Beat the icing sugar, cream cheese, butter and cider vinegar  for about 5 minutes.. it would have formed a smooth and luscious icing ..

TO ASSEMBLE:
Ice each cupcake with a spoon or spatula and decorate with sprinkles.


NOTES:
1.coloring the icing is completely optional.
2. If you plan to frost the cupcakes with rosettes or swirl you will need more icing
3. you can make the cup cakes a day before .. cool and put in an air tight box and place it in the refrigerator
4. It tastes best when iced and eaten on the same day.. but store if any leftover in an air tight box and place it in the refrigerator.


Mei Hoon Chicken Biryani / Rice Vermicelli Chicken Biryani

After a very long time... wanted to participate in the Muslim Food Bloggers from the time the challenge started.. but couldn't for various reasons.. drafted this post to participate in the third challenge.. somehow didn't blog it either I forget the date (mostly with a busy life) or there would be some issues with the laptop ... better late than never right...  Am really happy to be a part of this beautiful group and I hope I would be able to participate in the future challenges too In Sha Allah



Mei hoon  + Chicken Biryani 👀👀 does it sounds unusual .....Lets call it a fusion of Malay and Indian Cusine.  Before moving to the recipe lets just have a small intro of whats Mei Hoon?
        Mei hoon / BiHun / Rice Vermicelli  is used for making Goreng / Stir Fry, Soups and many other versatile dishes in many cuisines.. They are usually hydrated in hot water for 5 minutes and its ready to use.  Many people confuse with Cellophane Noodles..as both look almost similar visually.  For more info you can look in here.  I am a huge fan of Mi Siam especially made by my grandma. My mom makes Chinese Fried Rice with  Mei hoon... I have had in soups but not in Biryani... 
   When my dear friend from Malaysia made this Chicken Biryani for a Pot Luck Dinner... I was just amazed... never I ve imagined that a delicious Biryani could be made with Mee hoon... Loved the soft texture of Mei hoon which I ve never had before... The ones we usually have has a kind of  resistence.. kinda similar texture like Cellophane noodles..... When asked her about it she told me always soaks them in cold water for 6 hours which makes them incredibly soft.  The Biryani she made was a huge hit in the party and also has been a regular in our menu.
    This Biryani recipe is perfect for any dinner party... perfect recipe for those who fear making the usual biryani for a huge crowd....  perfect if you want a lighter biryani.... This recipe is very easy to prepare and stress free if you are making for parties... you can make the gravy well in advance and soak the vermicelli and just before dinner time just mix it n dum cook for a couple of minutes...
 Try this and you will surely like it.... Now lets move onto the recipe now:





You Need:

Rice Vermicelli/ Mei Hoon     200gms
Chicken                                    275-300 gms
Onion (large)                            1 nos
Tomato (medium)                    1 nos
Ginger Garlic paste                  1 tbsp (slightly heaped)
Chilli Powder                           1 tsp
Haldi                                        1/4 tsp
Pepper                                       1 tsp
Coriander leaves                       1/4 cup
Pudina / Mint leaves                 5-6 leaves
Curd / Yoghurt                          2 tbsp (heaped)
Lemon Juice                             1 tsp
Cardamom                                  2  nos
Clove                                       2 nos
Cinnamon                                1" piece
Bay leaves                                2 nos
Oil                                              2 tbsp
Ghee                                         1/2 tsp
Green Chilli                              2-3 nos
Water                                        around 1 cup
Salt as required

Preparation:

Soak the rice vermicelli  for at least 6 hours preferably overnight. After that break them into tiny pieces with your hands.... drain the water n keep aside. ( this process can be done when the gravy is cooking)
Thinly slice onion, chop the tomato... Slit the green chilli ... Finely chop coriander leaves n mint leaves... Cut the chicken into 4-6 pieces
In a heavy bottomed pan add oil... when it heats up add the Cinnamon, cardamom, clove n bay leaves...saute for 30 seconds. Add the onion and fry them till they turn translucent... add the chilli powder n fry for 20 seconds and immediately add the ginger garlic paste... fry for a couple of minutes..
Add the green chilli, coriander leaves, mint leaves and cook for a minute.... Add the chicken and fry them for 10 minutes... add turmeric powder , pepper powder and salt.. then add the tomato ,,, cover n cook them for 10 minutes.. the tomatoes should be soft and oil would start to leave the sides...
Now add curd, lemon juice, Water and salt and cook for about 15-20 minutes.. check the chicken if its cooked..
Now add the rice vermicelli.. close the pan with  a tight fitting lid and dum cook for 10 -15 minutes... all the liquid would have been absorbed and the biryani is ready...
Sprinkle finely chopped coriander leaves ..and serve hot



    

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Majboos Al Lahm / Mutton Majboos & many celebrations

Alhamdulillah ! Alhamdulillah ! Reached 250 recipes !!!( at last) After so many obstacles and breaks reached this milestone... This is my dream post... there is couple of celebrations attached to it....
yes!!... first belated 7th blog anniversary .... my blog baby is now 7 years old... with the grace of Almighty.. Wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to all my friends and family out there who have been so supportive to me in all these years.. and to my husband who is Maasha Allah very supportive and the driving force behind my blogging... Miss my dear father... he would have been very happy to see me achieving this small milestone..

   And as I am typing this post I remember today (15th Dec) five years back, came to Qatar... five amazing years in this beautiful country.. Shifting from the super fast life in UAE ... loved Qatar for its quietness and calm lifestyle... waking up to the sound of birds chirping in your window ... calm surroundings.. still remember when we first came here there was literally no night life here.. by 9 pm the whole town was quiet with almost all the shops closed.. even in afternoons most shops would be closed... slowly got accustomed to this lifestyle and the Qatar we live now is much different.. so many developments in these five years..


The Souq Waqif

    Describing about Qatar.... there are quite a few landmarks to see... FANAR - Qatar's Islamic Cultural Center.. , Doha Corniche .- the  waterfront which  extends to  several kilometers along Doha bay ..... the Museum of Islamic Arts ... and not to forget the most famous Souq Waqif.. where you get the most amazing spices, traditional garments, handicrafts &souvenirs .....
  Talking about Qatar.. National Day falls on December 18.. and every year I've been wanting to do a special post on that day... but it was never done...  This year In Sha Allah my wish is coming true... and today I am going to share with you the famous Majboos Al Lahm or the Mutton Majboos...



   .. have eaten Mandi quite many times and love it... have heard about Kabsa rice  but had no idea about Majboos until I came to Qatar.... I first had chicken   majboos  at a friends house here.... looking at it resembled like biryani and thought would be hot and spicy... but no it was just full of flavor, yummy and not at all hot and spicy..  both my kids loved it... I liked it a lot coz it was full on flavor... and I liked it for another reason too... my daughter never liked spicy food... everytime I make biryani I cut back on chilli just for her...  But when making Majboos is a different story the rice is not at all spicy and for my liking I add the hot salsa or Salata hara hence problem solved..



   Coming back to  Majboos ... it can be made with Chicken  / Mutton / Fish... and is served with Salata Hara... The Majboos we get from Arabic Kitchens is topped with raisins and chick peas  but at home I don't add it. Chicken Majboos is liked by kids ( In Sha Allah will share the recipe later) unlike Mutton Majboos..which is preferred by adults...

  There is an important ingredient without  which there is no majboos -  Loomi Aswad / Dried Black Lemon( will share its pic soon)... its a common staple in any arabic recipes... it imparts a smoky lemon flavor which lifts the whole dish.  And for making majboos you need a special majboos masala... here in Qatar its is easily available in shops but I like to buy them from exhibitions ... find them more fresh and aromatic...
   Majboos is served with a Middle Eastern Chutney / Salata hara ( recipe here)  and a simple salad with lettuce, cucumbers & tomato.. A simple rice dish to make but always a crowd pleaser.
Off to the recipe now:



You need:

Mutton                                        400gms
Basmati Rice                              2 cups/ 300gms
Olive oil                                      3 tbsp
Clove                                          4 nos
Cinnamon                                   2 " piece
Cardamom                                  3 nos
Bay leaf                                      1 nos
Dried black lemon                      2 nos
Onion (medium)                         1 nos
Ginger Garlic paste                    1 heaped tbsp
Tomato paste                              1/2 tbsp
Curry leaves                               5-6 nos
Majboos Masala                         1 tbsp
Turmeric powder                        1/2 tsp
Salt to taste



Preparation:

Wash the rice and soak for 30 minutes.
Cut the mutton into 4  pieces.
Slice the onions. Lightly smash the dried lemons on your kitchen counter to open up the lemon.. this helps to impart the flavor.
Heat the olive oil in  a wide thick bottomed pan. Add the bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and dried black lemon.. fry them for about 30 seconds.
Now add the curry leaves and onions... fry  till the onions become soft and translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for about a minute.
Next add tomato paste , turmeric powder, majboos masala, salt and cook  for a minute again.
Add the mutton pieces and cook for about 5 minutes .
Add about 2 cups of water . bring it to a boil, Cover the pan and cook in simmer for about an hour approx.. till the meat is tender and falls of the bone.
check in between whether there is water in the stock... add a cup of water if there is not.
Remove the meat and the dried lemon from the stock and strain the liquid.
You need 4 cups / 600 ml of liquid to cook the rice. measure the strained liquid and add water for remaining amount.
Pour the liquid back in the pan, check for salt  and bring it to boil.. now add rice , cover and cook in simmer for about 20 minutes, the rice would have absorbed all the liquid and fluff up . Place the mutton pieces and lemon on top.
Cover again and cook for just 10 minutes.
Serve them with Salata Hara and Salad..



NOTE:

1) Always use mutton with bones, I prefer Shanks or the leg . this imparts deep flavors in the stock.
2) If dried lemon is not available substitute it  with little lemon juice
3) If majboos masala is not available you can use curry powder.