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.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

potayto, potahto.

I made Aloo ki Bhujia today and it's been polished off while I was out buying groceries. I don't think I've ever seen it last, when made using this recipe, for more than half a day.

The recipe is from my sister Khadija's cookbook, which is basically a compilation of all the recipes my mother concocted and collected over the years. My sister tried and tested each recipe, made the required adjustments, and typed everything up. That's a lot of hard work, if you think about it. It's an informal, within-the-family cookbook, but we all hope to see it published one day, Insha Allah.

Here goes the recipe:

2 big or 4 small potatoes, peeled, washed, cut up
¼ cup oil
¼ tsp rai/mustard seed
¼ tsp kalonji/blackseed
¼ tsp methi dana/fenugreek
1 tsp zeera/cumin seeds
6 whole dried red peppers
4 kari patta stalks/curry leaves on the stem
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp salt
½ cup water
1-2 green chilies

I used red potatoes for the bhujia. If you're preparing things beforehand, a good way to keep the potatoes from turning black once they've been cut is to keep them in a bowl of water till it's time to cook.

When you're ready to cook, heat the oil in a pan. Add the rai, kalonji, methi dana, cumin seeds, red peppers and 2 kari patta stalks. When the spices begin to turn reddish, add the potatoes and fry them for a few minutes.

Add the red chili powder and salt, along with chopped tomatoes and the remaining stalks of kari patta. Also add ½ cup water, for the potatoes to soften easily.

Once the water starts to boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and cover. Check the potatoes regularly, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. You may turn the heat to low if the water starts to evaporate too soon, and the potatoes are still hard. Add more water if needed. When the potatoes are tender, let them cook uncovered till the water is dry. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and green chilies.

I like to pour in a teaspoon or so of lemon juice near the end, and I may have added the green chilies part to the recipe :) Other than that, I followed it accurately and am proud of myself for doing so. It's a fail-proof recipe, unless if you're bad at knowing when to stop softening the potatoes. I had that problem when I was younger. 
Like, a year ago. 
Don't laugh.

Anyway, try it out and let me know how it turns out! 
I had mine for lunch, with a really yummy whole wheat paratha:


Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Alright, let's just hope the Hyderabadi aunties don't come chasing after me with a beylan, because I made some sort of daal today and am insisting on calling it Khatti* Daal (Hyderabadi style lentils).

Reasons why it may not be considered authentic:
I used mixed daal.
I didn't think about making it khatti daal until it was halfway done. That's when I added the tomato :)
I didn't put sliced garlic in the bhagaar**
I made up my own recipe.

Reasons why I call it Khatti Daal:
I put imli/tamarind in it.
I put lemon juice in it.
It's khatti.

I admit it, I've never made Khatti Daal and have never been taught how to make it. I just always thought it was a tedious job. It really isn't. All you do is cook the daal with salt to taste, a bunch of masaley/spices (red chili powder, coriander powder, garlic and ginger paste), chopped green chilies and diced tomato, until it's nice and mushy and smooth (I used a whisk to get it all blended), then you add the tamarind juice (soak a few imli pods in a cup of hot water, and squeeze everything out of it, strain water it into the daal), lemon juice and then bhagaar with zeera/cumin, whole dried red chilies and supposedly sliced garlic. Gah. Oh oh also curry leaves!

I believe the most common daal used for Khatti Daal is Masoor (red lentils), but I may be wrong. I used this mixed daal I bought from the Indian store, which is a combination of masoor, mung, chana (split chickpeas), toor (yellow pigeon peas) and mash/urud (black gram). It turned out good, and was great over white rice.

I just love me some fresh cooked daal-chaawal (lentils with rice):

Make some Daal, boys; even if you don't wanna call it Khatti, it's still going to taste yummey.
Don't forget the cilantro!

*khatti : sour, tart
**bhagaar : frying spices in a few tablespoons of oil till reddish, then pouring the oil and spices over the cooked dish, in this case, daal. Cover for a few minutes, and serve hot.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

nablopomo and hydrating. yippee.

I registered my blog for NaBloPoMo - for November 2011. That basically means I'll be updating my blog every day for a month, which should be fun! I probably won't be posting about food everyday though. Maybe a little bit of crochet and life in general. Speaking of which, I really need to start working on Newbah's blanket again; it's getting cold now. We could use it for her stroller when we're out Insha Allah!

I have about two cups of cooked black beans sitting in the refrigerator. Gotta think up something creative that I could do with them for dinner, perhaps. Really not in the mood to cook today though. Let's see, they might just turn into burgers, yum!

In other news, I'm going to really start working on drinking more water every day. Apparently, most of us live in a dehydrated state. If you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated. The trick is to drink water before you even feel the need, and keep drinking regularly. Lack of water could lead to all sorts of problems, from muscle soreness to water retention, digestive complications and obesity. Let's drink more water!

Monday, October 24, 2011

shaljam - turnip

I decided to be nice and try to really document this recipe for the shaljam/turnips I cooked a few days ago. Except I'm kind of late in writing this post so I may miss out a couple of minor details. Going to try my best not to.

So I actually bought fresh vegetables the other day. It takes more time to prepare the food, but tastes good! Anyway, let's get to it.

oil - olive, vegetable
1 small onion, chopped
1 tomato, diced
about 2 - 2 1/2 cups chopped turnips
garlic + ginger paste, 1 tsp
1 tsp zeera/cumin seed
1/2 tsp flax seed
1/2 tsp sesame seed
1/2 tsp rai/brown mustard seed
1/4 tsp methi daana/fenugreek seed
1/4 tsp kalonji/blackseed
1/4 tsp haldi/turmeric
salt, red chilli powder to taste
1 - 2 green chillies, chopped
cilantro, finely chopped

I like to get all my ingredients ready before I start cooking, but sometimes I just do stuff as I cook. Actually, I usually chop up my onion and get it frying before I do anything else because it takes long, but in this case those turnips will take long to prepare so it's up to you if you want to start your onion first or just wait. I would just first wash and peel the turnips. At this point, a good potato peeler will be your best friend. Next, chop up the turnips. Don't leave the pieces too big because it'll just take longer to cook and it's more flavorful when the pieces are smaller.

Fry the onion on medium-high till it's soft and transparent, but not brown. Add the ginger+garlic paste and the first 6 spices on the list - all the whole seeds:

Once the seeds start to get reddish-brown, throw in the tomato and lower the heat to medium and stir.

When the tomato is a little soft, add the turnips and stir to coat them well. Once everything is nicely mixed, cover the pan and let it sit for about half an hour or until tender. Check and stir occasionally so as not to let anything stick to the bottom of the pan.

When the turnips are nice and tender (and look much more appetizing than the picture above), turn the heat down to low and sprinkle those yummy green chillies and cilantro over them and cover for a few more minutes before serving.

I think I got everything down. Hope you try the recipe and enjoy it! The boy loved it, took some to work the next day for lunch, with a couple of naans :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Possibly the easiest, quickest vegetable to cook - Okra.
We had daal and rice today, and chicken but the boy isn't having meat. So I figured I'd pull out the bag of cut okra from the freezer and quickly cook it up before he got home.

So easy:

half an onion, chopped
1 teaspoon zeera/cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon methi dana/fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon rai/black mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon kalonji/black seed
3 whole dried red chillies
1 tomato, diced
2 cups of okra, cut (I used frozen, easier, but fresh always tastes bettah)
salt and red chilli powder to taste

Saute the onion in a pan, preferably a wok, and add all the seeds and whole red chillies. Let the spices turn reddish brown, and add the okra. Season with chilli powder and salt, and stir in the tomatoes. Let everything cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until the okra is cooked through and the tomatoes are tender. Throw in a bunch of chopped cilantro and cover for a bit so as to infuse the okra with the scent of the cilantro...yum.

I know some people like their okra nice and dark and crispy, while others like it just cooked, bright green. I like mine somewhere in the middle. Like so:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

the bean scene

Last week, I came across a Babble post about the Top 50 Food Apps for Moms. And while I haven't had the time to try out all fifty (no, I don't intend on doing so either), I did download the highest ranking one on there: How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.

It's a pretty cool application, what with timers built into the recipes and such. While browsing through the recipes I came across one called The Simplest Bean Burgers, which I just searched and found online for y'all here. I have to say, I was pretty excited about the recipe. What an exciting concept! So the next morning we went to Publix and bought some oats. Everything else on the list we had at home. (I'd boiled some red beans the day before for something else)

Very very easy recipe. You just dump a bunch of things into the food processor and pulse till it's the right consistency. I forgot to add the egg at first and ended up putting too much liquid, and so when I added the egg later on it got too wet and sticky. But I managed. Instead of shaping the patties by hand I just dropped globs of the mixture onto the pan and sort of shaped them into patties with my spatula. It worked out fine. I think I may have been a little stingy with the salt at first, but I added some more later and made yum little bean kababs the next day with the leftover mix.

We got some kaiser rolls while we were at Publix, and used those for the burgers. Put in some sliced (and slightly grilled) mini bell peppers and lettuce, and voila!

And now that I know how to make these, I can start experimenting and adding cool stuff into the mix. Definitely some cilantro next time. I love cilantro. Have I said that before?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the dal and i

So. I never really consciously wondered how people make the dry kind of dal, but when I did think about it, I was like, how do they get it just right? As in, how do you not get the dal too soft or pasty, how do you know how much water to boil it in? And then my mom told me, genius that she is, all you really do is you boil it till its right and then you just throw the rest of the water out. Whaaatt.

I felt sort of dumb after that.

But I'm over it now. And I made some dal the other day and it turned out pretty good, if I may say so myself.

Also, nobody ever told me Maash and Urad are the same dal? (dumb moment #2)

So. Here's what you do. You get yourself a cup or two of dal - maash, chana, whatever. You boil it in a lot of water, and wait till it's soft but not pasty and throw the water out. In a separate pan/wok you fry up some zeera/cumin seeds, kari patta/curry leaves, ginger, garlic, an onion and such, you season it with salt, haldi/turmeric and red chili powder and just add your little boiled dal to it and let everything get nice and spicy. Oh and you can add a chopped tomato too, I didn't have any. And a dash of lemon juice. And cilantro.

I love cilantro.

So the dal was a hit. Look forward to making more of it for the boy when he's off his juice fast! Insha Allah.

I'll try to write more structured and accurate recipes in the future. Promise.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Who's heard of Joe Cross? The guy's been an inspiration for thousands of people since his documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It's basically about Joe and his battle against an autoimmune disease and a really bad lifestyle. It documents his progress over 60 days, during which all he consumes is fresh fruit and vegetable juice. He gets rid of his disease, his extra weight and the steroids he's been on for a long time.

Somebody recommended the documentary to us because the boy has had Lichen Planus for over half a year now, and nothing besides the steroids seems to help. And he doesn't want to be on steroids for too long. So he's starting week 3 of the juice fast today, and I have to say, I'm totally impressed by his willpower! For someone who will eat just about anything and everything just because it's there in front of him, to be so strict about having nothing but fruits, vegetables and nuts, is a really big deal. I think he's planning to do the juice fast for three weeks, and then going on to mainly fruits, vegetables, lentils and perhaps fish.

The lichen planus is starting to fade, and he's tapering the prednisone so we're just hoping and praying it stays away forever, insha Allah.