Chicken Ginger

14th August. Fluttering flags, endless patriotic songs, skits in school, shalwar qameez for even the most ‘burger’ of us. Those are my memories of Pakistan’s Independence Day. And they are happy memories. When I look back at my life, my parent’s lives, and my grandparents’ lives, I realize that we are so fortunate to be able to carve out the lives we had in the country my family chose. I am proud to be from Pakistan and my hope is that as my girls get older they too will be proud of their Pakistani heritage. If nothing, I really hope they like Chicken Ginger ;)

This recipe for Chicken Ginger came to me from a scanned newspaper clipping I found on the web a long time ago. It claims to be a copycat of the famous Chicken Ginger from Usmania which is one of Karachis older family restaurants. The fare is mostly Pakistani and mostly delicious, but when we would go there – usually with a large group of people – this Chicken Ginger is what everyone reaches for first.

Chicken Ginger

I have not been to Usmania in a long time now, but I still think fondly of those happy times when in the midst of companionable laughter I would scoop up the chicken ginger with some hot naan straight into my mouth and relish the pungent taste of the fiery tomato based masala. This recipe brings back all those feelings and for that I will continue to make it over and over again.

Some of the ingredients, namely the soy sauce and ketchup, are admittedly a little odd, but when I skip them this dish seems incomplete so please try not to. Also my tolerance for sliced green chillies is a little low so I am happy with 2, but usually put 4 for my far braver husband and in laws.

Azadi Mubarak to my fellow Pakistanis, stay safe Pakistan.

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Coffee Flecked Blondies with Browned Butter and White Chocolate Chunks

I love blondies – I mean who doesn’t right? They’re basically chocolate chip cookie batter with all sorts of fun add ins. Here’s the thing though sometimes they just make my teeth hurt from their over the topness. I think it’s old age, but I now like my sweets a little less sweet and after trying to find a recipe that sounded right and failing this is what I came up with.

Coffee Flecked Browned Butter Blondies w White Chocolate Chunks

These are rich with the caramelly undertones of browned bitter, just sweet enough and chewy from the combination of sugars, nuanced thanks to the ground coffee interspersed throughout and have white chocolate chunks mixed in to to provide a perfect counterpoint to the more ‘adult’ flavours of this sophisticated take on a blondie.

Coffee Flecked Browned Butter Blondies w White Chocolate Chunks

The ground coffee sounds odd, but finely ground coffee for a drip coffee maker works like a charm. You can dial it down a little if it makes you nervous, but my coffee loving self wouldn’t want to add more. Just be sure to watch the clock carefully on this one – it bakes pretty quickly.

Coffee Flecked Browned Butter Blondies w White Chocolate Chunks

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Thai Crunch Salad with an Absolutely AMAZING Peanut Dressing

Okay so here’s the thing. I am originally from Pakistan and well… traditionally back in the motherland we aren’t so big on raw food i.e. salad. The only ‘traditional’ salad is ‘kachumbar’, a desi spin on pico de gallo. It basically involves some chopped cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, green chilies with a hefty amount of lemon or vinegar and a little salt/pepper.

But this salad – or rather this dressing – this dressing changes everything. I could eat it with anything and everything and had this immensely irrationally urge to hoard it and sit in my closet and eat it all (with the actual salad itself ofcourse). It admittedly has a lot of parts, but they come together so beautifully (and quickly) that I would – and will – make this ten times over. The velvetiness of the peanut butter, the sweetness of the brown sugar, the tartness of the lime – it’s a big ol’ party in my mouth.

Crunchy Thai Salad with an AMAZING Peanut Dressing

At this point I realize it’s a little odd to gush about salad dressing so much, but trust me, this is 100% gushworthy. The recipe is from the amazing blog Once Upon a Chef. I made some changes to the greens, but out of convenience more than anything else which is why I am posting the recipe as it was originally written.

Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing
Serves 4
Thai Peanut Dressing:
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from one lime
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2-1/2 tablespoons sugar (I used brown)
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1-inch square piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
Salad:
4 cups chopped Napa cabbage or shredded coleslaw mix (I like to toss in a little shredded red cabbage for color)
1 cup prepared shredded carrots
red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 small English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
1 cup cooked and shelled edamame
2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
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Line up all the ingredients, pull out your blender and combine everything but the cilantro in the blender until smooth. Then, add your cilantro and pulse a few times – too much and you will have a green dressing.  Refrigerate until ready to serve
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For the salad, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. If serving right away, drizzle the peanut dressing over top and toss; otherwise, serve the dressing on the side so the salad doesn’t get soggy.
Thai Crunch Salad w an AMAZING Peanut Dressing
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Three Things Thursday

Happy Thursday everyone! After missing yet another week I am back now no thanks to the ‘gentle’ reminder from my friend AG :P So here are my 3 things for the week, happy reading :)

Thing One: Desi Problems

Having to shower before going to the gym because you just cooked lunch. Feeling personally offended when your child says something is ‘too spicy’ and you know it is mild at best. Knowing you need to walk away from the black eyeliner, but being unable to resist.

Thing Two: Instruction Maker

My daughter had a Eid playdate for friends. She started decorating the cake and then turned and said to me “Listen up, I am getting hungry, you finish the decorating and I will be the instruction maker”. I said “like the head chef?” and she said “no, the instruction maker”. After giving me many many directions, she then inspected my work, had me add more sprinkles in some parts and said “good listening mama, good job, I am so proud of you”.

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At least she is a benevolent tyrant.

Thing Three: The Shoes

When I go to the park I wear sandals. No, not functional Tevas types, but beaded ones, pretty ones. Not necessarily ‘park friendly’ and so in the interest of not having to wear full out sneakers and have something comfy on I bought these shoes (for under 40 – woohoo) and they are so incredibly light that it feels like I don’t have a real shoe on. It is a little disorienting actually, but my feet love it.

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I first saw them on a friend in DC last year (hello friend) and thought they were pretty cute. Apparently that’s because she basically has size 5 feet, on my 8.5 they don’t look so cute.

Enh – you win some, you lose some.

Hope you enjoyed this weeks post. Now head on over to The Write Balance, Pink Chai Living, and Love Laugh Mirch to check out the other awesomeness that is happening this Thursday.

Spicy Shredded Beef or Bhunna Gosht – Guest Post at Yummy Food

First of all Eid Mubarak to all – hope this Eid brings you happiness, love, and of course yummy food :) Second of all, my friends we have an oops kinda situation here. I had sent a guest post over to Lubna at Yummy Food for her event “From Fasting to Feasting” and apparently our wires got crossed on the actual date it went up, but please do hop over and check out her blog and my post about one of my favourite things to cook – some spicy shredded beef!

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This recipe is an amalgamation of the recipes given to me by two of my extraordinary aunts. I frequently play with ingredients and proportions according to what mood I am in and what I am pairing it with. Please feel free to play with it to  suit your tastes.

Also don’t forget to take a look at the incredible Eid Eats round up over here . It brings me so much joy to see so many wonderful bloggers in one space. Cannot thank you all enough for coming together for our first Eid party!

Happy Feasting :)

 

Eid Eats 2014 & Chocolate Covered Salted Caramel Ice Cream Stars

Hello everyone and welcome to the first of many Eid Eats! Eid Eats is a virtual Eid potluck party hosted by Asiya at Chocolate and Chilies and myself. Whether you are celebrating Eid this coming week or not you should keep an eye on this post for some delicious inspiration courtesy of some incredible bloggers.

To my Muslim friends I wish you an early Eid Mubarak – hope us bloggers provide you with some scrumptious ideas for your upcoming festivities!

Click on the Eid Eats button below to see what yummies have been prepared for this wonderful occasion and to submit your blog post as well. You can submit links (and check back for updates) till the 29th of July :)

Today I am bringing to you a dessert that is part recipe and part idea. In other words you can make it like I did or take the idea and run with it. Either way it should be tons of fun :)

Some time ago I had made this star shaped kulfi and since Eid and Chaand Raat (the night the new moon is spotted signifying the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid) reminds me of all things celestial I thought I would go with a fun spin on that idea. I present to you homemade salted caramel icecream in a star shaped chocolate shell with a smattering of edible gold stars scattered across the top.

Chocolate Covered Salted Caramel Icecream Stars w Edible Gold Stars

It is beautiful, luscious, and decadent all at the same time making it utterly celebration worthy.

Now obviously you can use any ice cream that you like, but do remember that a chocolate coating adds an element of sweetness so a less sweet ice cream is ideal. If you have an ice cream machine then this recipe is a must try.

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Three Things Thursday

Hello all you awesome people and here is this weeks Three Things Thursday. Happy Reading!

Thing One: Cronuts

This past weekend I walked by a bakery and saw cronuts and I had to have them. You know largely because I had seen them on tv and the tv peeps told me they were good and everything on tv is clearly true. Lol. But check it out: doesn’t this bakery look super pretty? In my fantasy world where I run a cute bakery cafe it has displays that look roughly like this.

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Anyway, back to said cronut. It was more like a layered donut than a layered croissant in the sense that the dough was flaky, but with the soft chew of a donut. Definitely yummy, but not something I think I would crave. Or use in the place of a burger bun (apparently that’s a thing).

Thing Two: Off with the Hair 

My hair had gotten pretty long and out of shape. You know when I start wearing hats that there are some serious issues at hand.

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So then I did this.

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I think it was last this short in school and although I seem to be getting a lot of responses along the lines of a sympathetically phrased “it will grow out” I actually don’t mind it at all.

Oh and the baby bjorn really is a permanent feature at this point!

Thing Three:  I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Baby No 2 is a happy baby and I am so very blessed to have her in my life. But the kid won’t sleep at night. Between the frequent wakings and the combined demands of my two during the day I have become quite crabby and a little crazy. The other day at a playdate/lunch I turned to a friend and said I hate myself, I really do. And instead of telling me why I shouldn’t etc etc she said I get it and started to tell me why.

Sometimes it is good to be gotten. Yes, yes, I know that is grammatically incorrect in 100 different ways.

Oh and thank you – you know who you are :)

Thanks for stopping by and do check out the other Three Things Thursday bloggers at The Write Balance, Pink Chai Living, and Love Laugh Mirch!