Happy Women's Day!
Every year on Women's Day, I send e-cards and flowers to the awesome women in my family. I wanted to do something different this time. I thought of putting together a collection of some of their favorite recipes, and dishes that remind me of them! What better way to honor and celebrate them!
I hope you enjoy and celebrate yourself today, and always! Spice Cravings wishes you lovely ladies a very Happy Women's Day!
Update: I have updated this post to include another 'little lady', my new niece, who was born was on Women's Day 🙂
I have to start this post with my Mom, who brought me into this world and helped me become the woman I am today. She has been my rock at every stage of life, always trusting my choices and encouraging me. Love you ma!
I dedicate two dishes to her, Gajar Ka Halwa & Butter Chicken! The first reminds me of her, and the second is her all-time favorite.
If you asked me for one dish that reminds me of my mom, I would say Carrot Halwa/ Gajar Ka Halwa. She makes the world's best Carrot Halwa 🙂
Carrot Halwa is a popular north-Indian dessert, made by cooking grated carrots with milk, sugar, and flavored with cardamom and saffron. Garnished with chopped almonds and cashews, this dish is the perfect comfort-dessert for winters.
This is my mother's all-time favorite dish. She can have it multiple times a week! Seriously!
Butter Chicken is a popular north-Indian dish, in which chicken is marinated with yogurt and garam masala and then grilled. After that, it is simmered in a tomato based curry and finished with a splash of heavy cream. Amazing rich flavors!
Both my daughters are big foodies. They enjoy anything and everything, from Sushi to BBQ Pork Ribs to Lasagna to a humble Lentils / Dal and rice. But if you ask them what their favorite dishes are, one says Chicken Biryani, and the other one says, Goat or Lamb Curry.
My daughters are the reason I started this blog. It was meant to be an online recipe book for them to follow. So, a big credit for Spice Cravings goes to my two little women! Here are their favorite dishes:
Chicken Biryani is a rice-based dish, like a Pilaf, which is made by steam-cooking rice with chicken, that is marinated with yogurt and warm spices.
It typically requires multiple steps and a slow cooking method. In my Instant Pot adaptation, I simplify the process and reduce the total time to 45 mins, most of which is hands-off.
Goat Curry, is an extremely popular curry from the Indian subcontinent. Tender and juicy chunks of goat meat in a delicious Indian spiced yogurt gravy. My daughter loves this curry over steamed basmati rice!
In this easy recipe, I marinate the meat, saute it with aromatics, and then pressure cook it to get a fall-apart tender texture. This happens to be my dad's recipe that I adapted for the Instant Pot.
My younger sister is the official Super Woman of the family 🙂 An educationist, successful entrepreneur, and an amazing mother to three adorable kiddos. I dedicate two dishes to her, Paneer Makhani & Cucumber Raita. The first is her favorite, and the second brings back fond childhood memories of her!
Growing up, my sister adored mom's delicious Paneer Makhani / Paneer Butter Masala. Paneer Makhani is very similar in flavor to Butter Chicken. It is the same rich sauce essentially, but with paneer cubes instead. It is buttery, creamy, slightly sweet and a real treat!
I remember mom would always make it on her birthday, or any milestone. So, here's to you sis, this easy Paneer Makhani recipe was developed keeping you in mind.
Cucumber Raita was my sister's favorite entree/side through her childhood. Whenever we would go out to eat, my parents always ordered Cucumber Raita & Naan for my sister. She lived on that combination for many years. It is super cute to see her daughter do it now 🙂
Cucumber Raita is an Indian yogurt dip, made with chopped cucumbers and seasoned with salt, roasted cumin and chaat masala. Pretty easy to put together, it is a perfect accompaniment to many Indian curries.
I have two beautiful nieces, my sister's daughters. In fact, the youngest one was born on Woman's day last year. She is too young to have a strong flavor preference currently, but I trust her foodie genes. Hopefully, in sometime, I shall be adding her favorite dish to this post.
Butter Chicken, again 🙂
My older niece's favorite dish happens to be Butter Chicken as well, just like my Mom 🙂 She loves to have it with Naan or rice. Here is another variation of the Butter Chicken recipe, that I adapted for weeknight cooking. It includes a pot-in-pot (PIP) recipe for rice.
This post wouldn't be complete without a shout-out to my mother-in-law, who taught me so many tricks and tips in the kitchen. I'll dedicate two recipes to her as well. One has been a lifesaver for me, and the other reminds me of her.
One of the amazing short-cuts that she taught me is the Master Indian Curry Sauce Recipe, which made life so much easier for me, especially when my kids were babies, and I had very little time to cook. Indian Curry Recipe is a versatile Indian gravy that forms the base for so many awesome dishes in north-Indian cuisine.
I always make a big batch of this sauce and pop some in the freezer for later use. It makes weeknight dinners a breeze. Simply defrost this sauce, add lentils, chicken or vegetables and pressure cook it. Dinner comes together in no time, with minimum effort!
My mother-in-law made the most delicious Badam Halwa and Badam Burfi (almond fudge). She would always make it for us whenever we visited her in India. She would slow-cook it on the stove, stirring continuously till the consistency was right.
Here is my pressure cooker adaptation of her recipe for Kesar Badam Halwa. I don't think I'll ever be able to match her taste, but my husband gives it a thumbs-up and kids love it. I know that would have made her happy!
Lastly, Me 🙂
Last, but not the least, I want to join the celebration and share my two favorite comfort food recipes too. Just like many of you, my average day is super packed, and I find myself juggling between work, kids commitments and home.
But on days like today, I try my best to make time for myself, even if it is for quick coffee at one of my favorite coffee shops. When I have more time to spare, I make comfort foods that I enjoy the most.
On top of my comfort food list is Kadhi Rice, a tangy yogurt soup, with Indian fritters, served with steamed Basmati rice. It's a real treat for me! And I love it more ever since I developed a one-pot way of making it. It comes together in the same pot, in no time.
This recipe isn't Indian, but it would be unfair to leave it out 🙂 I love chocolate, and I can have it anytime of the day, in any shape or form. But this happens to be my preferred way of enjoying it, Chocolate Lava Cake!
The best part is that it takes only 30 minutes to enjoy this decadence, and most of it is hands-off.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this post as much as I've enjoyed creating it. Have a wonderful Women's Day everyone!