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)
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.
Some foods make me think of being a small child, of little hands and not so little hands, sneaking pieces when no one is looking, only half sure that the consequences of this petty theft won’t be so bad. This barfi is one of them, my mother usually made it on special occasions and colored it so that one layer was pink and the other was green. The coconut she used was sweeter, heftier, and my little self couldn’t get enough of it. Yes, my dental problems started early.
My older daughter has a surprising love for all ‘desi’ desserts. Kheer, kulfi, shahi tukray, gulab jamun – she loves them all. And I love passing down a love for culinary heritage. When I said I would make something for Eid that her Nano (grandmother) made when I was young it made her beautiful little eyes sparkle with excitement. Sometimes I wish I could bottle that stuff up and keep it forever. But to me that is what Eid is about, sheer happiness. While I am far from the land of glittering ‘chaand raats’ (the night before Eid) we are building our own Eid traditions and homemade Pakistani desserts will always be part of them.
This barfi is not the usual white kind; the ingredients combined with the cooking down of the dairy make it taste like a caramelly coconut fudge. I used unsweetened coconut, but my mother put sweetened coconut. Use whatever you prefer, but just remember to stir stir stir otherwise this will burn burn burn!
Another new tradition that I am very excited about is Eid Eats, we had our first annual eid potluck last year and thanks to it I discovered many delicious recipes and some wonderful bloggers who I now think of as friends. This is year two and I am even more excited to see what my fellow hosts – Henna at My Ninja Naan and Asiya at Chocolate & Chillies – and other remarkable food bloggers have to share. Please click on the Eid Eats graphic below to see the full gallery of yumminess and add yours to the mix; remember we would all love to hear from you! Hope this inspires you to have a deliciously happy Eid!
Eid Mubarak to you and your loved ones!!!
Psst for those of you wondering how to join in, hop on over here.
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.
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.
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.
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,
For my firstborn we did a very girly nursery, a soft purple and off white room with panel moldings and chair rails, plus a chandelier (of course lol). Girl 2 is going to get her own room this summer and this time I have something very different in mind and I am really excited about it! Think a bright white room with pops of color and some Pakistani kitsch thrown in. So this…
Beautiful Image Credit: Maria Aeliya Jafri
Whaddya think? Yes, no, maybe?
You can find my Pinterest board for the room here.
Thing Two: Qwirkle
I’ve been seeing this game around for a long time and got the travel version recently and it is so much fun! I love the strategy element of it and that my 4 year old gets it. She still needs a little help, but it is a game that we can enjoy now and play for many years to come.
Between Hello Kitty cookies, Frozen cookies, and these just for fun cookies, I have really started to love decorating cookies with royal icing. Would any of you know where I can take classes to get better at it or is YouTube my best bet?
Have a great day and come by tomorrow for my last post of the South Asian Blogger Networks 2-week challenge!
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.
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.
So much of Pakistani food is hot and spicy and as discussed before we are not big on salads per se, so what do we use then for a fresh counterpunch to our food? Raita. Raita is essentially plain yogurt whipped smoothed and seasoned a myriad of ways with varying veggies or none at all.
This version of raita which is dip like in it’s consistency is new to me. A few years ago, we were visiting friends in London and our friend, who was almost 9 months pregnant then, had a biryani dinner ready for us when we got in. The biryani was very good, but this raita, now this raita blew my mind. Spinach, yogurt, garlic? sold, sold, sold.
So here I present to you a simple, humble side dish, that you can put together in minutes for a lovely side to a desi meal or dunk some crispy pita chips into for a little snack. My girls had it over rice for dinner, I would say the same for me, but an Aunt of mine once pointed out that I have rice with my raita not raita with my rice 😉
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’
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.
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!
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!