Because I am happppyyyyy…clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth…
Why the unnatural cheer you may ask?
Especially since this be a savory dish and I am clearly not on a sugar high – well, it’s thanks to this little round up of Pakistani foodies on instagram featuring yours truly along with some of her personal heroes. A HUGE thanks to Sadaf the talent behind Siddy Says for doing this!
Pssst you aren’t already following me on instagram then I am @sarahjmir.
Anyway, on to the dish of the day (yes, yes still singing “Happy” as I type this)…
Cilantro/Coriander is my favorite fresh herb. Although I love the flavors of basil, oregano and thyme the desi in me would not survive without cilantro. It brightens up every dish from a cool raita to a spicy daal. If I like hints of this stuff so much then, well, a dish that relies on cilantro and green chilies for it’s flavorful savory base has got me hook line and sinker.
This folks is what I like to think of as my one blender version. The chicken gets cubed, the onion chopped and the rest of the ingredients get ground into a paste in the blender. Saute some onion, stir fry some chicken, throw in the paste and cook on. It’s pretty straightforward and as long as you have the cilantro, green chilies and garlic in there you can play around with the other ingredients to suit your fancy.
A quick note on the spice level – 4 green chillies may seem like a lot, but a lot of the spiciness will actually cook out so if you want it to be seriously spicy then add at least 2 more. I wouldn’t drop below 3 though. Just sayin’
Hello it’s me. I know, I know, I haven’t been Three Things Thursdaying much recently, but it has been a little chaotic round here. Thankfully I finally have the illusion of control if not control itself and so here I am back in the fray :)
Thing One: School
My big girl – hurts my heart when I think of her like that – is now in her second week of school. There were tears (mostly mine) and the unfinished lunches continue, but other than that she is so happy. It makes me a little sad to think that “mama zara days” are over and that my little coffee-croissant buddy will now be gone 5 days a week.
Fortunately for me I have another little buddy to keep me company! When she goes to kindergarten I will probably lose it. lol
Thing Two: Red Baby Red
I don’t have a stand mixer. When I tell people that they are usually very surprised, but the fact is that I don’t need one. My compact kitchen doesn’t have the room and I love my handheld mixer. When it finally wheezed and whirred for the last time this past week I had to replace it.
So I did. With the same one. In a different color if that counts :) If you’re looking for a good hand mixer that you can really put through the paces for several years (mine lasted 5) then this Kitchenaid 5 speed is it. No, they don’t give me anything for saying this. I wish.
Thing Three: Flipp
I have recently discovered price matching and it is so easy that I thought I would do a quick share here. Going through flyers with scissors isn’t exactly my thing, but tapping a screen even I can do and that my Canadian friends is where Flipp comes in. It won’t give you Extreme Couponing style savings, but if I can have more money to shop with pay less for my groceries then why not I say!
Every family has it’s go to recipes, the ones with a totally retro vibe that make a steady appearance at dinner after dinner, but somehow never get boring. For some it is a classic cake or a kheer, but in my family that dessert is Lemon Velvet and the best way I can describe it is as an eggless lemon mousse. It is sweet, tart and utterly luscious. Like most things I like to make it is also a cinch to pull together and can be used in many ways.
We usually served lemon velvet in a square or rectangular dish, layered with salty buttery Tuc biscuits, stabilized with two spoons of dissolved gelatin and cut in to squares for serving. These days I love prettying it up by serving it in glasses and adding some attitude with crushed gingersnaps. You can also layer it with fruit, spread over meringue, use it as a tart filling – the possibilities are endless.
(between you and me, it’s yummiest licked of the spatula … shhhh)
People it is hot. Like really hot. I love it. Chalk it down to my desert birth (Jeddah) or my youth in a hot humid city (Karachi), but that lovely skin tingling under the suns rays feeling, that folks, is my happy place. On such a happy day I happened to venture to a local fruit/vegetable store and acquired these babies just because they looked so darn good.
Then I got home and remembered something – I don’t actually like raspberries. Raspberry flavored things yes, raw raspberries not so much. So then 20 minutes later I had this.
It was hot you know, and in my mind sorbets without the cream and eggs of French style ice creams are practically a health food and this one hit the spot. Slightly sweet, slightly tart, and just beautiful to look at it, it’s the perfect cold treat for those last days of summer.
This makes a generous 3 servings which is perfect for us, but if you were having company then I suggest doubling it. Extras aren’t a bad thing ;)
2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar (more for a sweeter sorbet)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
squeeze of lemon juice
Puree the raspberries and water together. Set a strainer over a large bowl and strain the puree to remove seeds. Whisk in sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Taste. Churn in ice cream machine according to manufacturers directions (this small amount took me 10 minutes) or put in a freezer safe container and mix every few hours till it is at your desired level of firmness.
There are biscuits you make to impress people – the pretty kind, the indulgent kind, the kind that you look at and ooh and aah. These are clearly not those biscuits, these are the biscuits that you put into the nearest jar and share with a good friend over coffee and really good conversation. There is something extraordinarily comforting about the crunch of finely chopped hazelnuts toasted to nutty caramelly perfection and I can imagine them disappearing quickly over gossip with friends.
If you wanted to make these prettier looking you could do so with a little drizzle of chocolate or a dunk in Nutella and some nonpareils. Before gussying them up try them as they are just so you can truly appreciate just how something so simple can be so good.
Added perks? Great hazelnut taste without peeling and toasting hazelnuts AND they are eggless for those avoiding eggs.
These babies are from Alice Medrich’s book Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy and so far most of the things that I have tried from this book have turned out well including these.
On another note, I am sorry for the lack of posts. A crazy combination of time away, failed photos, recipes that I came up with and forgot to write down has meant that I have been an absentee blogger. My instagram followers (@sarahjmir) know that for the most of it I have been cooking and baking away and will have lots to share with you in the coming weeks!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.