Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I have a friend who thinks this blog needs to come back to life. So this is for her – T, you're probably the only person who will read this anyway!

I had class today, and I had initially planned on starting something in the crockpot before leaving for school but that didn't happen, so I just ended up leaving a tray of goat meat out to thaw. I figured I would just cook it when I got back. The tray said 'putt' on it. I have no idea what part of a goat that is but if you are reading this and know what putt is, please tell. I clearly don't care enough to just google it. Hey, if it tastes good...

On another note, I tried my hand at vegetable gardening last year and pretty much failed EXCEPT for this massive growth of kale in my garden box that passionately survived even though I ignored it for months. I end up giving away most of it, every month, because there's so much when I eventually get around to harvesting it. I picked a lot of it two days ago and wound up driving around town like the kale-fairy. I delivered kale to four different people that day, and I have a jar full of the stuff on my kitchen counter as we speak. Kale chips are a fave around here, which is huge, by the way, considering what a nightmare it is to get healthy food to enter Newbah's body.

So naturally, once I got home and started cooking the gosht in my pressure cooker, I looked over at the bouquet of kale on the counter, and I thought, 'hello. let's make kale-gosht.' You know, like palak-gosht, but with kale? I have to say that I didn't put in nearly as much kale as is required with regular palak-gosht but it was enough, and it was goooood.

Let me back-track a little bit and talk about how I cooked the meat. It's pretty basic. I chopped up some onion. Threw it in the pressure cooker and fried it up till it was brown. The brownness of my onions depends on how enthusiastic I am about cooking on that particular day. It was medium brown today. I added in a teaspoon or tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste, which I try to always keep handy in my fridge. It's a pain to prepare once a month or so, but it's worth it. Then, depending on whether I have tomatoes or not, I either add a chopped up tomato, a can (or half) of tomatoes, or some yogurt. I had tomatoes today, so I just put one of those in there and let it fry up a little bit with the onions. I then added my spices: turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, salt. Regular stuff. After that, I plopped the meat in and let it cook for a minute or so while I chopped up some fresh cilantro and mint. This stuff makes all the difference, I tell ya. I dropped a handful of that into the pot and poured in about two cups of water, let it come to a boil and closed that thing up so it could pressure cook. Once the whistle started blowing, I let it cook on medium for about 15 - 20 minutes and then turned it off. It was around this time that I had my kale-gosht epiphany, so I cut up a bunch of big green leaves.

I also started my rice around the same time. SPEAKING OF WHICH. The most bizarre thing happened when my rice was almost done. In fact, it was at the point where you pretty much turn the stove off and just let the rice sit in the pot, covered, for like 5 - 10 minutes or however long you like before you eat it. I was standing right next to it, talking to the boy about something stupid, and all of a sudden we hear this loud 'POP'. I look over and this is what the lid of my rice pot looks like:

I really thought it was about to fall through into my rice, a million little pieces of it. But I lifted it off really carefully and put it on a plate. It's still sitting there, intact. We tried tapping it and stuff but nothing budged. Why do these things happen? The boy was like, 'is it because of the heat?' and I was like, 'well.......that's what it's made for.....', so yeah. Totally weird. Now I can't cook rice in my favorite pot for rice-cooking. But I have this piece of art that I can put up on the wall or something and then everyone can judge me.

ANYWAY. Back to that gosht. Here's what it looked like when I opened up the pressure cooker.

And here's the kale. Which soon joined the meat. I had the stove on again, letting the water evaporate and just generally bhunofying.

I was pretty excited by this point. And then my mind was racing and I wanted to make it moarrr special and I opened the fridge and just stood there. This is how I cook. I open the fridge and stare at stuff and then I just start throwing random things together. It's like making art. So anyway, I found these little guys and I chopped up a couple of them and threw them into the mix too, mostly because they were ORANGE and I like colorful food.

And since I was feeling so fancy I added a generous sprinkle of black pepper near the end, gave it a little swirl, and it was done! Served over rice, devoured, thanked God, et cetera.

Seriously, the best thing I've cooked in a while:

Alhamdulillah for good, fresh food. Or just food in general. And all the other good things.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

tilapia with vegetables

(this was really written on January 27th but I never got around to publishing it)

Ta-da! Look who's back.
Sorry for being MIA. I just can't seem to stay committed to anything, I'm so all over the place.
Quick update: We've moved to a new apartment and it's exciting because I'm sort of trying to do up the place but it's going slow, what with Newbah and college etc.

I cooked something today while the baby was sleeping and actually managed to take pictures! Wasn't sure how it would turn out but I just served me some lunch and, Yum.

Here's how it goes, before I forget:

Oil, I used Olive.
Tilapia, 2 fillets, quartered
1 small onion, chopped
Ginger/garlic paste - 1 to 2 teaspoons, depending on how much you like. I think I put a little more than one.
Red chili powder to taste. I didn't want to make it too spicy in case I wanted Newbah to have a taste (that didn't happen), so I put a little less than a teaspoon.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
Salt to taste - I still can't figure it out with this sea salt business. I need to go buy some regular salt.
Half a tomato, because that's all I had, but I would definitely put more next time. Diced.
Two really skinny carrots, sliced into little rounds. I feel like the carrots shrank since I bought them. Shrank is a word?
3 mini sweet peppers, sliced. You must use only three, one of each color; no more and no less, else everything will be ruined.
About half a cup of french cut green beans, I used the frozen kind.
Black pepper and dried basil, just for sprinkling
Cilantro; obviously, the more the better.

(Scramble with Friends is distracting me right now but I will ignore it and keep writing about fish)

And so, I chopped up my little onion and threw it into this wok-like-but-not pan that I found in the cabinet, with what I felt was an appropriate amount of olive oil. Probably like, 1/4 cup, maybe a little more/less. I'm still getting used to the stove here so for a while I was just doing stuff like slicing carrots and I realized nothing was happening to the poor onion at medium heat. I then raised the heat till the onions were soft and slightly cooked but not brown. Transparent is what you call it, I believe. I added the ginger/garlic paste, cumin seeds, chili and coriander powders, and the diced tomato. I let everything cook and simmer for a bit (we're probably back down to medium heat now) and added the carrots. The reason I added the carrots so early on is so they could get cooked through better before I put in anything else, because everything else I was using cooks up faster than carrots. I am rambling.

Once the carrots seemed like they were softening up a little bit, I threw in the sweet peppers and green beans. While I waited for the beans to thaw in the pan, since I had taken them straight out of the freezer, I quartered my fish fillets, cilantro, took lots of pictures and what not. I really wanted to put the pictures in here but I found it was easier to just put them on my tumblr like so. Check it out!

And so upon the bed of vegetables and such, I carefully placed the pieces of tilapia, turned them over after a couple of minutes, and then covered the pan with the heat on low.

Then I realized nothing was happening so I turned it back up to medium.

I, in the meantime, super-human that I am, cleaned/washed/wiped/threw away/put away everything that I had used in the kitchen so far, started the rice in the rice cooker, drank a glass of milk and did other such extraordinary things. Somewhere along the way I turned the fish and everything else with it over a few more times, carefully so as not to break it, and sprinkled it with black pepper and basil. And closer to when the fish was done, I added some chopped cilantro.

I don't know how you tell when fish is done cooking but when it looked to me like it was done, I turned the stove off.

And then Newbah woke up from her nap and I fed her zucchini puree. And I fed myself this:

Don't forget to check out the rest of the pictures at guftugoo!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

vegetarian chili, if I may call it that.

This is how I make my so-called Vegetarian Chili:
(the trick is to get the beans prepared beforehand, or start early, so they're done by the time you actually get down to preparing this for a meal)

base ingredients:
1 cup uncooked beans (red, pink, black, whatever) (I once used Great Northern beans - SO good)
1 medium-sized onion, diced
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (or use it finely chopped, whatever's easier for you)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds (zeera)
1 or 2 tomatoes, diced (the more the better, always)
green chilies, chopped (or jalapeno, habanero, anything)
the hot spices you put in here depend on how hot you want this thing to be. I use everything hot I can find - red chili powder, paprika, cayenne, black pepper.
salt to taste.

optional, flexible ingredients (basically, throw in whatever you find in the kitchen)
carrots, finely sliced
celery, chopped
mushrooms, sliced
green beans, cut
mini sweet peppers
What else? I'm sure you can find a whole bunch of yummy things to add in. Anyway, keep the total of all of these veggies to about one and a half cup at most. You want it to be more beans, less veggies.

Boil the beans. Wait no. Soak the beans overnight, if possible. It'll just be quicker to cook them later on. Boil the beans till tender in a pot with salt to taste, and don't let them dry out while cooking. Add more water if necessary to make sure there's liquid in the pot once the beans are cooked through.

In a separate pan (like, a wok, or a regular frying pan, but a big one) heat up a few (4?) tablespoons of oil, and start by frying the onions until they are transparent. Add the ginger-garlic, all the chopped vegetables you want going into the chili, as well as the green chilies, and all the spices you picked out, including the cumin. Throw in the tomatoes and let everything get nice and soft and gooey. Not really gooey but just soft. Mushy, a little bit. The tomatoes. I like my carrots and celery and such to remain solid, a little crunchy but not too hard. Don't forget to put the salt. I do that all the time. I like to divide my salt between the boiling beans and the onion-tomato mixture so there's an even saltiness all around.

So. When the onion-tomato-vegetable mixture seems about done, add it to the beans+liquid and stir well. Let everything come to a simmer for a few minutes so the liquid thickens with the vegetable mixture, and once it is all is nicely blended, garnish it with cilantro, turn the stove off, and cover.

It's ready to be served! And yum, this is one idea of comfort food. Especially when it's hot and fresh!

I'm falling asleep right now because of the chili I made today, and ate for a late lunch.

Today's Chili: red beans, mushrooms, french cut green beans. sleep-inducing not-letting-me-study evil food.

Btw, I am literally falling asleep on my keyboard right now so if you notice any flaws in this recipe, please point them out in the comments. Thank you!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

fried onions = luv

I was hungry today (as normal people are around their mealtimes) and I wanted to have something with rice and fried onions in it. Also, yogurt, but we were all out.

Here's what I came up with:

Sliced sweet peppers, mushrooms and peas sauteed and seasoned with salt, red chili powder and garlic/ginger paste over white rice, topped with crispy fried onions. And a twirly of organic ketchup.
Hey, I like ketchup with my rice, okay? Judge me, NOW!

In other news, I got me a Bobble bottle, the one that filters the water as it's on the way out of the bottle and into your mouth. It's cool, but it's slow, so I'm not a huge fan. It will take some getting used to.

In more news, I was introduced to this awesome blog by the lovely Afia Aslam, who's been nominated for Best Diarist for the Pakistan Blog Awards. Do visit her blog and vote for her here!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Eid Mubarak!

Yah, I know. So much more NaBloPoMo. Meh.

Anyway, it was Eid yesterday. Missed everything about Eid in Pakistan, from chaand raat mehndi parties to my dad's famous kaleji-cooking. I did quite a bit of cooking myself - I cooked a whole lot of goat meat - made tala huwa gosht, and about 10 lbs of tomatoes got turned into tamatar ki chutney. Also made some dum ka kheema. There was some other good stuff on the menu too, some shrimp my mother-in-law made, and mirchon ka saalan, that her mother made.

Little baby wore a pretty shalwar-kameez that my sister sent from Pakistan, too cute. I'm so glad they make clothes that little. It even has a dupatta!

On the whole, Eid was a pretty tiring affair. I'm not going to go into details because it'll just get boring, but we had a lot of people come over, all day long, and besides the exhaustion, I think everybody had a good time Alhamdulillah.

Here's the tala huwa gosht I made, with rice and tamatar ki chutney too:


Friday, November 4, 2011


Most of the time, I'm just a lazy bum in the morning and only have breakfast because one should have breakfast, and so I end up having cereal. But sometimes I'm actually in the mood to eat, and when I want to have breakfast, I want a yummy, fun breakfast.

Today I made what I call anda-roti. Apologies to anybody who has ever named anything anda-roti before, but I just stole your name and made it mine. Nothing official, I promise.

I like sliced garlic in my omelets. It just feels really healthy for some reason. Garlic is supposed to be good for colds and such, and since I've been getting those repeatedly, I feel better when I have sliced garlic in my egg. It might just be psychological, who knows.

I sauteed some sliced garlic, chopped green chillies and mushrooms in a tiny bit of oil. While that went on, I beat the egg with salt and red chili powder, and then poured it into the pan. Sometimes I get really enthusiastic about it and throw in lots of things, from mini sweet peppers to tomatoes, onions, olives and ginger, but today I just stuck with the olives. I like to turn the heat to medium and cover the pan, so the egg gets nicely cooked through without me having to turn it over.

So at some point, once I'd poured in the egg, I pulled out another pan and started heating up a roti on it. You know, one of those desi frozen paratha types. When it was done on one side, and the omelet was cooked, I broke up a slice of monterey jack cheese and sprinkled it on top of the egg, Placed the roti on top of the cheese, uncooked side up, and gently pressed it with the spatula till the cheese got melty and it roti was stuck to it. Finally, I flipped the whole thing over and let the roti cook on the other side. All done!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

parathas and lifeplans

I totally forgot about this today, Gah.
I actually studied today! Now I just have to post three times in the discussions in my class online, then move on to the next chapter. Problem is, I keep falling asleep whenever I try to study.

I didn't cook anything today, besides making myself a kabab roll paratha for breakfast, loaded with yummies: Labne, shami kabab, tomato, olives, green chilli and Monterey jack cheese. I could barely get the paratha to wrap itself around everything. How I ate it is a totally different story.

It was yum, Alhamdulillah.

I'm waiting for Black Friday sales to see if I can find a good deal on a DSLR Insha Allah. I've been saving up for it, so I hope I finally get to buy it! So exciting.

I'm just really sleepy right now.
I actually got out of bed to write this post.
Appreciate it. Thanks.

I'm going to write Tankas one day, and compile them into a book. Someday.