Thai Noodle Salad – A Guest Post at Aharam

There are some bloggers whose frequent and delicious looking posts lead me to believe that if I were to drop in unannounced any day of the week they would offer up the kind of food I make for guests. Aruna at Aharam is one of them. Not only is she always whipping up something amazing, but she also has a knack of seamlessly relaying some really interesting information about different traditions and the provenance of many foods.

When she asked me if I was interested in writing a guest post for her blog the answer was a resounding yes and while I was tempted to share something sweet – you know, largely because I wanted to eat it – I instead chose to go with this lovely noodle salad that has big bold flavors, incredible freshness, but with the comfort of noodles. My friend Marium introduced me to this salad and suggested the addition of the jalapeno, but the original recipe is from the beautiful blog Noni’s Place.

To read more hop on over to Aharam and do check out Aruna’s other posts. Happy reading!

 

Haray Masalay ki Murghi – Chicken in a Spicy Cilantro Sauce

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.

Hara Masala Chicken

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’

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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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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 🙂

 

Aalu Gobi – Spicy Potato and Cauliflower Curry

This one’s for me. I know, I know, that sounds terrible. But it is.

It is so hard to cook like someone else, but for people like me who grew up only eating their mothers cooking so much of our sense of what food ought to taste like comes from mama. The other day I had this sudden craving for this dish, but truth is I had never made it before and I have had several versions of it which I do not like very much. So I took a risk, called my mother and this is the recipe she gave me. And it works. Mama Jafri, bless her heart, isn’t necessarily the most accurate recipe relayer – often times when I would complain about how something didn’t turn out well she would say “oohhh… but if you wanted to make it really good then you should have…”

Aalu Gobi / Spicy Potato and Cauliflower

Like on what planet am I aiming to cook mediocre food?

Anyway, points to Mama J on this one.

The reason I say this one is for me is this: I cannot afford to lose it. And if I scribbled it down  on a piece of paper somewhere then I most certainly would. Seemed best to put it out in the internet-verse where others can have access to it as well.

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Baked Samosas and Eid Party Details!

I’m  backkkkk …. guys isn’t it a little ridiculous how much something as well… common…as the common cold can really get you down? I usually escape these sorts of things, but this time round it got the best of me for a few days – throw teething and the usual sleep deprivation into the mix and well… it hasn’t been pretty round here.

On to happier things – and we have two of them today. One is Eid Eats, the virtual Eid party Asiya at Chocolate & Chillies and I are hosting and the other is a lovely baked samosa recipe that is from Asiya’s blog.

Eid-ul-Fitr has always had a soft spot in my heart – and not just because of the money/’fitri’ we got as kids from all of our relatives 😉  This is the Eid where my family would host an ‘open house’, a way for everyone to get together to celebrate this wonderful occasion. While the traditional sivaiyan and samosas would usually be present at these occasions there would also be some things that I had never made before. This is where I got to experiment and have fun.

final eid eats

In the spirit of those good times I would like to ask you all to join our virtual Eid party, Eid Eats. Here is how it would work:-

1.) Make any dish of your choosing that you would make for Eid – something new, something old, either goes – write a post and have it ready for the 25th of July 2014.

2.) Link back to both our blogs i.e. Flour & Spice and Chocolate & Chillies and use the button above in all of your posts (pretty cute isn’t it!)

3.) On July 25th, Asiya and I will have our posts up – do remember to add your post to the link up.

4.) Remember to visit and leave comments on participating blogs – who doesn’t like a little bit of love 🙂

Also some of you may recall that Henna at My Ninja Naan was originally supposed to be my co-host, but has had to bow out owing to personal circumstances. Hopefully next year 🙂

Now on to the yumminess at hand.

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A Samosa needs no introduction; this rendition escapes the deep fryer and instead gets a crispy baked exterior with the added flavour punch of ajwain or carom seeds.  I intended to use Asiya’s exact recipe for the filling, but was out of peas and threw in cilantro for some freshness. Folks this one is a keeper. And I am not just saying that because standing over a deep fryer in summer is no fun. The exterior is flaky and flavorful and the spicy filling is simple, but oh-so-good.

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Eggplant, Mushroom, and Spinach Saute

If you asked me a few years ago I would have told you that I categorically do not like eggplants. The usual desi eggplant dishes – baingan ka bharta, bagharay baingan, etc. do not do it for me at all. But then, then something happened. I discovered that you actually  do not have to cook it to soft mushy pulpiness. You can cook it until just tender – a magical point where eggplant pieces retain their ‘skin’ and shape and yield a creamy softness. That friends is my happy point.

This dish meets several of my requirements for something I would make again – it is quick, easy, can be made spicy, and between the eggplant and spinach it is quite healthy for you too. Today’s version was topped with some nice bright feta, but I imagine it would be delicious with some toasted pine nuts strewn on top or even some crispy fried onions.

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The recipe, only mildly tweaked, is from Pretty Delicious by Candice Kumai. I have tried a few of the recipes in this book with mixed results (probably due to my own errors), but I love the premise of the book. Unlike books which tend to be low-fat or low-carb this one takes a FWB (Food With Benefits) approach to food. In a nutshell what we put in our body should nourish it. Sometimes ‘healthy’ cooking tends to focus on minimizing foods impact on us, this book tries to maximize its impact in the best way possible.

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Fish Kadhai/Karahi or Fish in Tomato Sauce

Is it Karahi or Kadhai? I get really confused by that.

Fortunately for all concerned I find it infinitely less confusing to make it. My biggest challenge with this dish was extricating pieces of spice laden tomato-y fish from the remarkably strong grip of my 6 month old as she tried to stuff it into her mouth.

Yes, folks, she has her mother’s natural (or is it unnatural?) enthusiasm for food. I just thought that this may not be an appropriate first food for her, best to stick to oatmeal and purees for now.

Anyway, I make my kadhais slightly differently now according to the meat I have. In a traditional chicken or beef karhai the meat gets put in first and I add more spices, but since fish cooks and breaks so easily I put it in last and hold back on garam masala etc. You are welcome to try this version with chicken as well, just add the chicken in right after the garlic, stir fry, then add spices and resume cooking according to directions.

Fish Kadhai
Serves 4

Boneless white fish fillets, 400g-500g
½ tsp turmeric powder
Juice of half a lemon
½ tsp salt for marinade
1 tbsp heaped kasuri methi i.e dried fenugreek leaves
½ tsp kalonji/nigella seeds
½ tsp cumin seed
8 tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp heaped red chilli flakes
5-6 cloves crushed garlic – or  1 tbsp garlic paste
Sprig curry leaves (optional)
2-4 green chillies finely sliced
Handful of chopped cilantro (optional)
A few lugs of vegetable/canola oil for your karhai/wok/saucepan

Cut your fish into fairly large chunks – mine were about 2*2 inches. Too small and they disintegrate fast. Sprinkle them with the turmeric powder, salt, and juice of one lemon and set aside. If you have a ‘fishy’ smelling fish then rinse the spices off and dry before cooking. If not then go ahead and leave them on.

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Warm oil in your pan and roughly chop your tomatoes. When the oil is hot add the seeds i.e. fenugreek, cumin, and kalonji.

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When the cumin darkens and the aroma of kalonji starts wafting through the air then add in the minced garlic and stir fry for a minute. Now it is time for the red chilli flakes and salt. Cook for a minute and then add your diced tomatoes

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Cook the tomatoes on high heat, stirring constantly until they get dark red and caramelly looking. This takes me about 10 minutes in a large wok.

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If you are up for it then taste your spice mix, adjust seasoning if necessary, then place your fish pieces in the pan and gently stir to coat.

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Drop the heat and add in your curry leaves and let it cook until your fish is just done. It is very easy to overcook fish so just be careful. Top with chopped green chillies, cilantro and serve alongside your bread of choice. I like mine with plain ol’ chapatti, but you could always use naan or pita bread.

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Pakistani Style Spicy Baked Eggs

On my recent trip to Karachi I realized that I have turned into one of those people – you know the kind of person who goes out for brunch and orders the Pakistani Omelette – an eggy creation choc-a-bloc with onions, tomatoes, and green chilies with the occasional cilantro thrown in for good measure.

My younger self would consider me a  little lame, my older self knows that when I go out to eat in Toronto The Pakistani is hardly an egg menu staple. Here I am an Eggs Florentine kinda girl.

Anyway, with Mothers Day and all things brunch around the corner I began to have a hankering for those flavors, but I wanted a cleaner version – i.e less oil and certainly no paratha.

This riff on the classic French baked eggs hit the spot. It is both light and deliciously spicy at the same time. The fresh oregano although optional adds a savory note that rounds out the flavors of this dish. I highly recommend it, use dried oregano if fresh is unavailable.

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Adjust the green/red chilies to your liking, the best part about this dish is that it is infinitely customizable. Continue reading

Spicy Thai Noodles

I like recipes that are quick, easy, and spicy. When this one at A Small Snippet checked all three boxes then I knew I had to give it a try. I tweaked it a little and have written the recipe as I made it. I do confess though that the ‘dressing’ for the noodles made a lot more than I needed. What I love though is that I have been able to keep it in the fridge, shake it up and add to noodles with whatever veggies I have on hand and some lime and it’s delicious every time.

This recipe is infinitely adaptable, feel free to play with it as you go along, especially with spice levels, my family (minus the tot) likes things pretty spicy which is why I use a full 2 tbsp of chilli flakes and add in diced green chillies. If you wanted to make it more ‘substantial’ then you could even add protein to the mix in the form of shrimp, tofu or chicken. Or, for a purely vegetarian version, omit the fish sauce.

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The original recipe calls for cooling the dressing and noodles, I had mine warm – it was raining and warm spicy noodles really hit the spot.

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