Tandoori Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Oven Roasted Tandoori Brussel Sprouts

You guys, I think I am doing that aging South Asian woman thing where I desi-fy everything.

(desi-fy= put a desi/south asian spin on)

Tandoori Roasted Brussel Sprouts

The other day I pulled out brussel sprouts to do one of my usual oven favorites. but instead of the parmesan I reached for the tandoori masala powder (premade readily available in many stores) and decided anything is worth trying once. They were awesome. Then I did the only reasonable thing I could under the circumstances; bought more brussel sprouts and made them again. This time I had two additional family members test them to double check. I have never seen brussel sprouts, especially ones cold from their photo-op fly off the plate so fast.

So here it is – an easy to do spicy vegetable side dish that would go well with a simple pilaf, daal chawal (lentils and rice) or even a tandoori turkey if you are so inclined. I swear I have seen ads for those.

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Aaloo Chholay/Chana or Potato and Chickpea Curry

School was a hop skip and jump away from Boat Basin, an iconic strip of food joints that had some of the best food Karachi has to offer. Most people will sit in their cars and order food from the servers who will come up to the window. You could get a burger from Chips, a slush from Mr. Burger, Chicken Tikkas from Tandoori Hut, Caramel Crunch Ice Cream from Rajoos and a Cold Coffee from Baloch all without moving an inch. Just thinking about it is making me happy and hungry.

Aaloo Chholay or Potato and Chickpea Curry

My favorite Boat Basin memories are the early morning ones – the times where close friends and soon to be friends would show up long before the city was awake to sit on damp plastic chairs, huddling in to ourselves as we held our cups of chai tight and anxiously awaited our halwa puri breakfast. Now we call it halwa puri, but most of the times it was a ‘hold the halwa, bring me puris and aloo chholay” breakfast. I have blogged about this breakfast before and didn’t anticipate doing so again. But then I made a variation of this awesome recipe and I decided that with it’s extra everything it was just too good to keep to myself.

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Timatar Gosht or Tomato and Beef Stew

All things tomato-y are delicious. IMHO. I know some of my family members will disagree – you know who you are 😉

So for my meat loving tomato loving self timatar gosht ranks pretty high in my list of favorite foods. It is not the same as my previously posted, but also delicious Bhunna Gosht – there is no boiling, no shredding, etc. This is a one pot dish that is delicious with a side of raita and your flatbread of choice.

Timatar Gosht or Tomato and Beef Stew

My only complaint with this dish is that as opposed to a rice dish or a curry this doesn’t stretch very far since there no fillers, just solid meat. You can easily double this recipe if needed and if you make it ahead then I would suggest reheating it on the stove. Beef chunks and microwaves are not good friends.

It really is at it’s best when you put in as many green chillies at the end as you can handle. You can cut them lengthwise instead of chopping them so that you can pick them out if need be, but that way at least you get that green chilli flavor and aroma that really makes a good timatar gosht sing. I’ve attempted to make this without tomato paste, but it always pales a little in comparison,

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Fish Salan or Fish Curry

That first tear of chapati (flatbread), that first swoop through the curry, that first morsel of glistening fish with a scatter of cilantro as it gets scooped up into your mouth, that is a moment I look forward to every time I make this fish salan. I love the subtle notes of the golden onion, the lone tomato, and the moderate amount of fenugreek. The whole spices are there, but less aggressively so resulting in a curry that seems so perfect for this time of the year.

Fish Salan or Fish Curry

I didn’t grow up eating a lot of fish, not unless you count fish fingers as fish. It is  only in recent years that I have started to cook it for a household that can’t live on chicken breasts alone and discovered how much I truly enjoy it’s delicacy. It is also an added bonus that once you’ve developed the curry part, the actual fish takes only minutes to cook meaning you could make the masala, set it aside and when you’re ready to eat it add the fish and finish the cooking.

My sister in law suggested adding fenugreek earlier in the cooking process and I find it works well, the flavor of the fenugreek seems to permeate the curry and the fish in a way my usual ‘last five minutes’ addition doesn’t. If you really enjoy the flavor of fenugreek you could easily double it here. If you are not a fan then leave it out and this will still be yummy.

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A Spicy “Chatpata” Tehri – a Potato Rice Pilaf

My name is Sarah and I am a carbaholic. There, I said it, it’s done. Judge me all you skinny people with your zoodles and quinoa. By the way I like both things just fine, but put a steaming bowl of tehri in front of me and well…. I think you know how this plays out.

A Spicy 'Chatpata' Tehri

I have always loved Tehri unlike the rest of my siblings which meant I didn’t get to eat it as often as I liked, but when I did it always felt special. It was a dish that I had only ever seen made in my house and it didn’t even occur to me that there was another way to make it. When I got married my mil told me about her way – a way that involves tomatoes, curry leaves, and onion seeds and creates a flavor explosion which makes this a fun change from my usual. It is also different from my usual curry that I do not pre fry the potatoes for it. In this one you slice them nice and thin and cook it with the rest of the dish making this a one pot meal. Who doesn’t like a one pot meal?

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Aaloo Qeema – Ground Beef and Potatoes

Whenever I am about to go back to Karachi my mother always asks me what I want to eat when I get home. The answer always is “qeema paratha” which usually prompts my mother to say “you’re your fathers’ daughter; he also wants qeema all the time”.

I have always loved a good qeema, but since living abroad I practically crave a ghar ka qeema. I don’t mean bihari style qeema, or galawat ka qeema or any of those other varieties that are commonly found in restaurants: I mean the kind of qeema that mama’s make. To say that it has been my nemesis thus far may sound dramatic, but it is true.

Aalu Qeema or Pakistani Ground beef and potatoes

Ground beef here doesn’t taste the same and it certainly doesn’t smell the same. In fact some times it smells pretty darn icky. It has taken considerable trial and error and even the occasional chucking of the final product to get me to a place where I am happy with the end result. I don’t even keep the achar (pickle) bottle handy any more – God knows a few spoonfuls of it has rescued many bad qeemas!

The fresh minced ginger makes a significant difference in overall flavor so please please walk away from the pre ground stuff. If you don’t have time to finely mince then use a box grater and shred it. This recipe is fairly basic so you’re welcome to tweak it by adding more or less tomatoes, throwing in some green bell peppers at the end (yum), subbing peas out for the potatoes etc.

Happy Cooking 🙂

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Spicy One Pot Burrito Bowl

In most cases when you’re of desi (south asian) origin a lifetime of eating spicy food means that you automatically lean towards other cuisines that are spicy – Mexican, Thai, other East Asian foods. If they aren’t ‘naturally’ spicy foods then you make changes – my bechamel sauce for my lasagna has green chillies in it. True story.

Am I embarrassed to admit it to all you wonderful foodies out there? Only a little 😉

Spicy One Pot Burrito Bowl

Meals like this lovely spicy one pot burrito bowl really hit the spot on many fronts. First of all it’s spicy (you can always dial down the spice if you wish), second of all it comes together fairly quickly and in one pot (hooray for less washing up), and thirdly it is so good for you with it’s healthy combination of lean chicken, beans, and brown rice. The best part is that because of all the flavor that gets worked into the dish you don’t miss white rice at all. Trust me in my household that’s an accomplishment.

Spicy One Pot Burrito Bowl

A few quick notes before we go on to the recipe. First of all I used the chilli flavored canned tomatoes which helped give this dish an extra layer of hearty smokiness and second of all I used this brand of brown rice and my cooking time reflects that. If you use a brand that takes longer to cook then add in a half cup of extra water and let it cook on low heat. Also, if you want to make this a vegetarian dish then omit the chicken and sub the broth with vegetable broth or water.

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Taco Lasagna

I am not that good with crowd pleasing dishes – most things I make don’t quadruple well and if you’re Pakistani a small family dinner easily means 40 people and a whole bunch of quadrupling. Over time this cooking for a crowd has become a lot easier and I have fewer meltdowns (lol). However, that is in part because I have started building an arsenal of delicious recipes that are easy to whip together, make in advance, and double if need be.

Taco Lasagna

This Taco lasagna is the latest addition to that collection. The components come together quickly and since you bake it the day of the event it tastes fresh and delicious. I make it with a side of a cheesy spicy garlic bread loaf (recipe to be posted) and a nice bean salad.

Taco Lasagna

The best part is you can actually make this (minus the dicing bit) with a 1 yr old hanging off one hip as long as you give her a little bit of cheese to snack on. Oh and keep her away from the jalapenos if she is convinced all green things are delicious.

Taco Lasagna
Serves 8

Meat Mix:
1/2 cup diced onion
1 lb ground chicken (or beef)
Spicy taco seasoning – 1 packet or make your own and use 3 tbsp
24 ounces salsa
1 cup corn kernels

Ricotta Mix:
1 egg
15 oz carton ricotta cheese
1 jalapeno diced
2 cups shredded cheese – I used Monterey Jack + Mozzarella
Generous pinch of coarse salt and pepper

Additional ingredients:
1 box oven ready lasagna noodles (you can sub w regular, just parboil first)
2 cups shredded cheese for topping the lasagna
Chopped green onions for garnish

Note: Most pans and lasagna noodles aren’t friends. There is usually some rejigging and some swearing involved. To mitigate some of this lay out your (uncooked) noodles once in the pan to figure out how many noodles you will need and how many layers you will get so you can readjust layers accordingly. I am giving instructions for a roasting pan (what I use) and a 9*13 below.

Meat Mix:

Saute the onion in a little bit of olive oil until translucent, add the ground chicken and the seasoning then cook until the meat is browned. With chicken this is v quick. Add in the corn kernels and salsa and warm through.

Ricotta Mix:

While the meat is warming empty the ricotta container into a large bowl and mix in the egg, seasoning and diced jalapeno (deseeded or otherwise). Once well combined mix in cheese.

Roasting Pan:

Drizzle a little oil on the base of your pan layer as follows – a ladle or two of bolognese, 6 lasagna noodles vertically across, 2/3 taco meat mix, lasagna noodles, 2/3 ricotta mix, lasagna noodles, then lasagna noodles, then the meat mix dotted with the remainder of your ricotta mix, top with cheese.

9*13:

In a 9×13 baking dish, start by layering 4 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Next, layer ⅓ of the ricotta, ⅓ of the beef mixture, ⅓ of the salsa, and ⅓ of the cheese. Repeat the layers 2 more times.

To Bake:

When ready to bake preheat the oven to 350, cover the dish foil (tent to prevent it from sticking to the cheese) and bake for 35 minutes. If you don’t use foil then you will end up with what I like to call extra crispy edges (I was out of foil the day I took pictures). Remove foil and bake until the top is nice and bubbly and broil for a minute or two.

Taco Lasagna

Taco Lasagna

 

 

 

 

Fajita Pizza

I am having a social few weeks guys. First I visited Aruna at Aharam and shared a wonderful Thai noodle salad and now I am over at Indira’s blog “I’ll Cook, You Washsharing my recipe for a pizza I am basically obsessed with. It is so good.

Let’s just take a minute to look at it in it’s cheesy topping heavy goodness. Yum. Sigh. I wish I had pizza right now.

Fajita Chicken Pizza

Okay *exhale*, focus Sarah focus.

Indira with the awesomely named blog cracks me up – she really does.  Apart from being a fellow lover of avocados, Indira is also a lover of everyday food – you know the kind of food you look at and can make and eat without exhausting your annual grocery budget and two days worth of time. My kinda girl I tell you. I have tried her Foolproof Lime Cumin Quinoa salad (so yum) and now have my sights set on about a dozen other recipes at her blog. Visit her, follow her, and thank me later 🙂

So Indira and I have a bit of a pizza swap going. She is sending a scrumptious White Pizza – both my love and nemesis – my way and this week I have shared with her the recipe for my Fajita Pizza. You can read more about it over here, but for now imagine this – a thick crisp on the outside soft and chewy on the inside crust, topped with tangy salsa, beautiful melty cheese, sweet niblets of corn, feisty jalapenos, delicious black beans, diced bright red peppers and finally some spicy fajita chicken. Damnit. I am hungry again.

 

Prawn/Shrimp Masala – Shrimp in a Spicy Tomato Base

I’ve been told that my family’s love for food is perhaps not entirely ‘normal’. What do I know – it’s normal for me 😉

I do know though that sometimes we can overdo it like the time my eldest brother and I decided to order food for sehri/suhoor from Barbq Tonite, a Karachi institution and home of some incredibly tasty prawn masala. The prawn masala was not the only dish we ordered – if memory serves correctly it was one of eight of which only the naan and half a kabab were left after the two of us were done with it. In our defense it was Ramadan – we were clearly internally stockpiling food… camel like and all…

Shrimp/Prawn Masala

I don’t know what it is that makes that prawn masala so good and I suspect I could spend endless hours in the kitchen and never achieve an exact copy, but man this one hits the spot. It is spicy and unctuous with it’s tender yet firm shrimp, the tomatoes that have been softened, but still hold their shape, the traditional karhai flavours slightly muted and loads of bright green cilantro and green chillies. The net result? Finger lickin’ good.

Oh and I usually use shrimp because I always have them handy, but you are welcome to use prawn.

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