Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Breakfast Bhaturas


Breakfast is a time of peace and harmony.. at least it should be. 

What better why to manage that, other than with a yummy breakfast that fills and is special too.. 

Presenting, the yummy breakfast bhaturas.. 

A cross between a paratha and a poori and a naan :D I'll update the recipe later inshaAllah.. u must give it a try soon :)

Ok so this is my normal bhatura dough. The difference is in the duration of its proofing. 

This is 4 mugs flour and 4 tsp baking powder.
Make a soft non-sticky dough with lukewarm water
Touch oil to complete and let it rest overnight.. or at least 10 hours.
In the morning, make small bhaturas of it and deep fry in HOT oil..
Make sure the oil is really hot. As soon as u lower it in, it should bubble up
Hold it down with a large slotted spoon. It will puff up. Turn once and let the lower side get golden. Turn again, get some colour on the upper side too and drain out. Keep covered till use.

I had some leftover and now even after almost 10 hours its soft and spongy. They are not greasy as u'd expect a poori to be.. but very filling.

Do make and enjoy..
 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Greetings!

Its been AGES since I got in touch with you all. Just the business of day to day living.. and of course the responsibilities of a large house and extended family.

Plus somehow the internet has been playing up. I havent been able to log on since a week.. anyway, so this is the relatively short list of my excuses.. :)

Autumn is here.. winter is approaching. It will be our first in this house.. lets see how it holds on. Winters here in the North are very harsh.. though in out city we're a bit better off.

I'll be posting more regularly . . this is just to let you know I'm here and also to apologise for the late answers to your comments and questions..

Much love!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Madras Chicken..


Madras Chicken & Fragrant Rice

Madras Curry Powder
You'll find various blends on the net. The idea to this one was given to me by a lady in the UAE, in a clinic waiting room :) II've done a lot of trial and error with it and finally believe that I have the perfect combination, Alhamdolillah. It gives me the tastiest chicken I have yet eaten. Give it a try. Great for all chicken dishes and for cutless too :)

1 cup whole dhania
1/2 cup while zeera
1/4 cup each saunf and red chili
2 tblsp each black peppercons and methi dana
1 tblsp haldi
A handful curry leaves

Dry roast all except haldi.
Grind, store airtight

Now u'll certainly find recipes of this everywhere on the net.. its a tasty thing :) But InshaAllah u'll love this one.. give it a try :)

1 kilo boneless chicken
1 medium sized onion
400 gms tomato sauce
1 tblsp GG
3 green cardamons
2 cloves
ghee
salt to taste
1/4 cup milk
2 to 3 tblsp Madras Curry Powder

Cut the chicken in not-too thin strips
Heat the ghee and add the cardamon and cloves to it.
As soon as they splutter, add the finely chopped onion
Once the onion is nice and brown, add chicken and the milk
Let it cook on medium high flame, adding GG and stirring
Once the chicken looks done and the milk is all gone, add the curry powder and sallt
Stir till all is mixed in well
Add the tomato sauce and cook it up, on low heat, covered. Till the sauce is as thick as you want it
Add some water if it looks too dry - but this dish should have a slight gravy only. Nothing thin shorba type.

Once its as thick as you want, remove from heat.

Serve with white rice that u have boiled with a 1 inch stick of cinnamon, 1 star anise (badan khatai) and 2 sprigs of podina.

I've written 2 to 3 - its a taste matter. This powder is very intense. Im used 2 and half. And found it perfect. If you like your food hotter, then add some extra red chili powder to get the taste you want. . thats a personal choice. I just used this and salt.. Alhamdolillah. .very fragrant and very tasty .. give it a try :)
 

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Herby Baked Eggs with Cottage Cheese


I served this recently at breakfast for guests and it was really very well liked.. Very quick and filling.. provided you have all at hand :)

Cottage cheese is the home made milk curdled paneer... you can of course use store-bought cottage cheese.

Here is how:

Crush 4 tomatoes roughly.
Sprinkle over black pepper and salt to taste
Spread them in an oven dish
Crumble over the cottage cheese
Beat 5 eggs with salt, black pepper, white pepper, dried parsely and dried mint and oregano.
Pour this over the tomato cheese mix and bake in a 200 C oven for 15 mins - until eggs are well set.
Serve with chopped fresh mint and bread...

Friday, 8 June 2012

Red and Hot! Chili Sauce with Garlic..




I really love chili garlic sauce.. but somehow, the store bought variety is always either too hot, or too vinegary..so I did buy a bottle every now and then ... but wasn't really happy with it.. until I made this... and I dont think I'm ever going to buy a bottle again ..

Try it, you wont either :)

10 round red chilies
4 large garlic cloves
1 tblsp soya sauce
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
1/4 tsp or to taste salt
150 ml tomato paste
2 tblsp oil

Boil the garlic and the chilies with a little water. Once soft - around 10 mins - blend with hand blender.

Add all the rest and beat well.. Serve with anything u please..

Friday, 1 June 2012

Cute n Quick Choco Muffins!




15 minute mini chocolate muffins with nutella cream topping.. they taste as heavenly as they sound :)

I doubt I have ever made muffins that are so soft and tasty, in such a short time.. Alhamdolillah, they were a success :)

Just use the same cup/mug for each ingredient..

1 mug flour
3/4 mug brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
5 tablsp plus 1 tsp oil
(the one 1 tsp is becos I oiled the muffin pan and had some oil leftover in the bowl so just emptied that in too)
1 eggs
3 tbls each: cocoa powder and cream
3 to 4 tbls milk - add more if the batter is thick. You need a batter that looks creamy.

Dump all in a large bowl and mix well. Don't beat, just mix in well.

Drop muffins in the form and bake at 200 for 10 mins. Infact mine were done before 10 mins.. at around 8 mins maybe..

Let them cool a bit.

Mix 3 tblsp cream with 3 tblsp nutella. Mix to creamy. Tip the muffin head side down in the cream and then in a bowl of sprinkles.. and then eat :)

Its a fun decoration for kids as well.. they love the dipping in part :)

Saturday, 26 May 2012

My Beautiful Breakfast Buns..

Baking is something I love to do.. its a passion with me and I keep on trying to get that specific taste and look - that will make me fall in love... with the baked goods of course :) 

These beautiful buns are - to date - my best ones... sharing gladly since the experience of munching into a soft, butter bun should not be withheld from anyone :) 

500 gm/ 4 cups flour
14 g/ 2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup warm water
2/3 cup warm milk
60 gm/ 4 tbls ghee

Heat milk and water to finger-bearable. Add sugar and yeast and mix. Let rest, covered, till frothy. Around 10 minutes.

Sift flour and salt together. Add the ghee and mix with ur fingers to rub it well in.

Pour in the yeast mixture, and make a soft dough. Dont use the machine, u wont get a feel for the dough. It will be sticky to start with, just keep mixing with a light hand.. the end result should be soft and very slightly sticky. Cover and let rise for about 1 and half hour.

Place dough on a floured surface and knead well, firmly but not in a rough manner.. with a gentle hand.

Shape the form u want and place in a tray. Sprinkle some flour over it, spray water, and cover. Let rise 15 minutes.

Make a dent in the middle, right down to the base. Spray some more water and sprinkle flour on them.

Place a round dish with water on the base of the oven.

Bake in preheated oven at gas mark 1, for around 10 to 15 minutes. Go according to ur oven. Switch heat off from below, spray water on the buns once more and turn grill on. Bake till golden.

Remove from oven, cover loosely with a cloth till neeeded.

Friday, 25 May 2012

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake



Introducing THE ultimate CHOCOLATE CAKE.. with a touch of COFFEE.. and GANACHE to fight for...lol...

Honestly, if I say so myself, I have NEVER baked a cake this good.. and I've tried a LOT of chocolate cakes.. and the amazing thing is, this could have gone SO wrong.. because it's a 'self-made' cake.. means, my own creation.. and Alhamdolillah I am very happy about it :)

I'd asked you all and the most votes were for the buttermilk chocolate cake... so here it is:

3 cups flour (100 grms each)
2 & half cups ground sugar (unground each cup 170grms)
1 cup cocoa powder (70grms)
1 & 1/3 cup oil (170 ml)
1 & 1/2 buttermilk (1&1/2 cup milk, mix with 1 tablsp white vinegar, stand 5 mins)
1 & 1/2 to 2 cups HOT coffee - less is more subtle.. u can add more if you wish.
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

I've written the measurements in grms but just for info, I used the same cup for everything..

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and cocoa, stir to mix

Add oil, buttermilk and whisked eggs

Make a smooth batter with the hot coffee. It will be a bit runny, but nevermind..

Fill in two pans equally and bake in a preheated oven at 175 for 20 mins. Please adjust according to your own oven temp. It doesnt take too long and should not be overbaked, will turn dry otherwise.

Cool, decorate with ganache..

Ganache
1 bowl chopped chocolate
1 cup cream

Heat the cream till almost boiling. Take from heat. Add chopped chocolate. Stir until combined and keep whisking until all choc is melted and the ganache looks smooth.

Let it cool a bit and then beat well to thicken.

Cover the cake with as much as you can save from your children, or yourself :)

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Ultimate Carrot Cake!



I love carrot cake... really. Seriously love it. And I have always made miserable terrible carrot cakes. Which my kids, ever loyal that they are, have eaten smilingly. And yet in the depths of my heart and tongue, I have known - that was a blooper!

So, imagine my utter joy at making this one.. and I will say no more.. bake it and eat it.. and then tell me about it...

250 gm brown sugar
50 gms white sugar
3 eggs
300 ml oil
300 gm plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 and 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 full tsp cinnamon powder
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
6 to 7 medium carrots, grated finely
1 full cup walnuts, crushed

- cream together sugar and eggs, adding eggs one by one
- add oil and vanilla, beat in some more
- sift together baking powder, baking soda and salt with the flour, sieve it over
- add the carrots and walnuts
- pour in 2 tins evenly
- bake in preheated oven at gas mark 1, around 190 C. for 20 to 25 minutes.

Glaze with 300g icing sugar and 200 gms cream cheese. Mixed well. Dont let it be too thin, it should be thick. Place both cakes ontop of each other with this glaze/icing in between and cover on top with remaining as u wish.

*** you could use the full amount of brown sugar instead of white if u prefer***

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Chicken Masaledar

 

This is a recpe I really love to make and I'm pretty sure you will too, once u've had it :)

 Warqi Paratha

3 cups flour
3 tbls oil
1 tsp salt
warm water

Knead a smooth but firm dough. Cover and let it rest at room temp for at least 2 hours.

Mix together
2 tbls flour
2 tbls ghee
1 egg white

Make small peras out of the dough. Let them rest, covered, for 20 minutes.

Roll out to medium thickness. Spread this flour/egg/ghee paste all over, like you would for paratha. Sprinkle flour over it.

Fold the paratha first in one third. Overlap with the other side, to create a strip. Then fold one side to the half and overlap with the other side to make a square.

Roll it out carefully without pressing too much and taking care to keep the square form.

Place on HOT tawa. Let the first bubbles rise. Spread normal ghee over it lightly and turn. DO NOT use any more ghee. Just turn it around, from side to side once or twice to fry from all sides.

Enjoy with curries, yoghurt or just plain tea :)

Chicken

1 kilo boneless chicken, in cubes
1 tbls GG paste
1 cup yoghurt
1/2 tsp haldi
1 level tsp or to taste salt and red kashmiri mich powder
1 level tsp dhani and zeera powder
juice of one small lemon

Fry the chiclen cubes, adding lemon juice and GG paste
Once browned and done, mix all spices in the dahi and pour over the chicken
Add a glass of water, cover and let cook till gravy is as u like it.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

My Trifle



I guess this is one of the easiest desserts there are.. and yet so rich and satisfying .. and fattening of course  but we're not thinkning laong those lines :)

So, I had to whip up dessert and had a few items lying around.. but it can be made from scratch as well.. only, if you have these items at hand and you dont make it, you have no one to blame but urself for missing this treat :)

You'd need some cake - home made sponge or pound is best.. any flavour - I had vanilla, though I'm thinking chocolate would be just as yummy.. 

A bowl of custard, here too, flavour of your choice.. a bowl of whipping cream, some jelly diamonds or more and fruit of ur choice. I combined apples and mangoes.. yummmm

If the cake is dry, pour over some milk and let it soak, but only SOME - dont drench it.

Layer cake, custard, fruit, cake, custard, fruit and top with cake and custard. Finally, add a few dollops of cream and decorate as u wish. You can of course be totally indulgent and lather cream in each layer too but, I guess there IS such a thing as TOO much cream...:) 



Chill and devour

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Mirchi Chutney Potatoes.. or, Potato Snack :)


Ok I'd asked on my FB page, what to do with boiled potatoes.. and so Insiyah Abid suggested that I put mirchi chutney in between slices of potato... anf fry. I had intended to defrost some green chutney I had in the freezer - but then lunch had to be served in a hurry.

So, I boiled eggs (10 mins) and sliced them.

While I was making the rotis, inbetween, sliced the boiled potatoes. Plopped some imli chutney on one slice of potato. Put a slice of egg on it and covered with another slice of potato.

Beat besan (chick-pea flour) with salt and my chole and achar mix powders. Made a semi thick batter. You can of course use any spices you feel like.. just make it spicy. I used these cos they were handy :)

Dipped each 'sandwich' first sideways and then top and bottom in the besan batter. The batter should be thick enough to stay stuck..

And then fry in hot oil. If the oil is cold, it will fall off. So keep it hot. Everything is cooked it just needs to get crispy na. So hot oil.

Fry golden and serve.. 



The kids loved it and even HD who isn't such a fan of potatoes, liked it very much..

Insiyah - this one is a keeper :) Thank you for the idea :)

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Sesame Brittle



Let me start by telling you that I have made such great disasters in this before that I was almost afraid to try again.. but, since giving up is not in my nature, I thought, one more try :)

And Alhamdolillah they turned out so well.. I am really happy :)

I scoured the net for the perfect recipe for making brittle.. and there are so many and all have the right answers.. got me confused. In the end, this is my own 'fankari' and I am glad :)

So, I took 3/4 cup (any cup) sesame. If they're unroasted, just roast them for around 5 to 7 minutes in a good non-stick pan over LOW heat. Keep stirring. Till they are nice and golden.

Then tip them in a bowl and let them cool down. Meanwhile, measure out one cup sugar (same as sesame cup) and put it in a pan with 1 tblsp water.

Reduce heat to LOWEST possible.. and go away. Seriously. If you stand here and wait for it to change colour, u'll be pulling your hair out in no time..

In between, oil a tray (chose one that you don't mind having scratches on) and a broad spatula. Best is keep some oil in a deep plate so u can dip it in if needed.

So, let it be. It will take around 10 minutes.. I wandered into the kitchen and saw that it was nice and melted and dark.. so I removed it from heat and stirred vigorously..

There will be small lumps in it - just keep mixing, they will dissolve.

Once the colour is nice and caramelly, add the sesame and 1 tbls unsalted butter. Mix mix mix.. it will start getting stiff..

Tip it all out on the tray and flatten it with the spatula.. try and get it as flat as possible. The thinner u spread it, the crispier it will be..

Let it cool - around half an hour. Then tip it on a cutting board and either cut in neat squares or just break with ur hands..

Store airtight.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Chicken Mortadella



I'd been looking for ways to make this at home, since its not available in Pesh and my kids love such things.. Scouring the internet only got me recipes which had things like smoke flavour and curing salts and gelatin and what not. Not so much my thing...

So I did it my way...

200 gms boneless chicken
salt to taste
1 level tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
5 cloves of garlic peeled and pressed
1/2 tsp paprika powder

I put the chicken in the grinder and ground it very fine. Mixed all spices and garlic in it..and mixed well. Formed a roll and wrapped it in cling film.. and wrapped that in a muslin cloth. Rounded the corners and tied them up.

Set the whole 'toffee' in a bowl of boiling water. Boiled for 10 minutes and then lowered the heat to lowest and let it simmer uncovered for half an hour.

Removed from water and opened. The roll must have changed colour and be fim to touch.

If u're using more chicken, then increase the cooking time..

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Use as is, or for great taste, fry it...

Friday, 4 May 2012

Summertime Treat.. Strawberry Cake!


Strawberry Sauce Cake ... Finally :)

Okay so I was so very much wanting to make this cake.. So many lovely strawberries everywhere :)

I actually made the sauce first .. thinking to thicken it and use as cake filling... but, one thing led to another and I left it as is.. which was good.. :)

So, for the sauce, just chop and cook the strawberries with as much sugar as u think is alright for ur sweet tooth. I had around 2 cups chopped strawberries and added 1 full cup sugar plus a few tblsp :) I like it sweet na :)

So cooked it till it almost bubbled over. Let it cool and blend fine. Then in the fridge.

And the cake goes something like this:

2 cups flour
2 level tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 & half cup ground sugar (this is very lightly sweet. Add more if u want it sweeter)
1 cup milk
4 tbls butter
1 cup strawberry sauce

Heat the milk and butter together until almost boiling. Take off from heat.

Mix flour and baking powder, sift well together and set aside

Beat the eggs so they're fluffy..then add sugar. Beat long enough to make it look almost like custard.

Then add in the flour, and while mixing, add the milk and butter mix and the strawberry sauce..

Fill in pan.. and plomp in chopped strawberries.

Now I used a pre-heated stone-oven.. I guess you should bake this at 185.. a bit on the lower side.

I turned the cake over .. which is why the strawberries are all on the top.. Dust with icing sugar.. and enjoy with sauce :)

Sunday, 29 April 2012

3 Fruit Jammy Jelly :)





Carrot, Apple, Orange Jammy Jelly with a touch of Cardamon :)

Ok so inspite of wanting to make carrot jam/jelly, I was left with only 1 glass of carrot juice.. the rest was residing peacefully in happy children :)

So, I set that 1 glass of carrot juice, 4 small oranges and 2 medium sized apples, 2 green cardamons, juice of 1 and half smal lemons and 1/2 cup of sugar to cook in a pan...

Once the oranges and apples were soft, I pureed them and sieved them through a fine sieve. The resulting juice I set to cook again.. and let it cook...

After around half an hour, I had a nice soft muss.. puree.. which tasted great but wasnt very sweet and not firm..

Me was not happy with that.. so, back to the pot and another half cup sugar.. flame on medium high.. stir stir.. and wow.. it was all jellyish..

Put that in a bottle, closed the lid lightly and set it in a saucepan of water to boil. The water boiled up and I reduced heat to simmer.

Thats done to preserve the jam... helps keep it for longer.

It simmered 20 mins. Then I removed it and let it cool down. Once cooled, closed lid and stored.. If ure in a warm climate, keep it in the fridge once cooled.

Always remember - never put in a used spoon in jams.. always take a fresh and DRY spoon.. that will avoid build up of fungus .. inshaAllah.

The reason why I had to cook this jam so much was that I didnt want to out any gelatine in it. Had I done that, it would have gelled a lot quicker. But this jam is pure and 100 % free from all chemicals - except of course the ones in the fruits themselves :D

Good luck and DO try... u'll love it...

Additional info: See, you'd find various techniques for canning and preserving and I found them all very confusing wheni started this.. I've experiented and come up with this formula and Alhamdoillah the jams/ preserves have never been spoilt. Just fill a large saucepan or pot with enough water to cover the bottle as high as the jam is in the bottle. Stand the bottle upright in the bath and let the water boil. Once it starts boiling, lower heat and let it simmer.. for 20 minutes. Remove and let it cool. Dont close the lid tightly before hand. Only do that after the jam has cooled..

Friday, 27 April 2012

Pantry Organisation

I'm going to list some things that it in my experience are vital to have at home.. having a large family and extended family, I feel if I can get along good with these things.. and smaller families will do very good with them inshaAllah :) Feel free to add your own experiences to the list... So, here goes:

- 5 kg flour = plain maida, all purpose flour
- 5 kg wheat flour = ata
- 2 kg semolina = soojhi
- 2 kg chickpea flour = besan
- 5 kg white rice = basmati chawal
- 5 kg sugar

Adjust the quantities accordning to your own family's requirements.. Store these items in a cool place

- 3 kg dried chickpeas = kabuli/safaid channay
- 1 kg red kidney beans = rajma

Boil them and freeze them in portions.

- At least 2 litres oil, 1 kg ghee and 1 block of butter spare in the fridge. At least 2 litres Packet milk = milk pack, tetra pack. 1 small packet dry milk powder.

- Almonds, coconut slivers, raisins. Cut, cleaned in separate boxes in the fridge

- At least 1 kilo minced meat = qeema at all times in the freezer
- At least 1 whole chicken, cleaned and washed, in the freezer

These quantities are important for those unexpected guests who arrive at any time. If you use these, make sure to stock up as soon as possible. I keep these thing in a different part of the freezer and our normal use meat in a different part. So I use the normal one and as soon as it is done, I buy the 'storing' amount, use the stored and store the fresh packet. That way the stored meat/chicken is fresh and always present.

Keep a few bags/portions of tomato paste, ginger garlic paste, green chutney in the freezer. Check recipes in my Basics folder.

Apart from that, keep your stock of potatoes and onions complete. These items do spoil quicker than all the others given above but since they are normal household items, they can be used at home at all times.

Needless to say that your spices should all be stored in a cool place. Do not keep little packets of spices rolled up in tins and shoppers. For one, you'll never know what you have. For another, it will spoil quicker.

I keep half in glass bottles and half in the freezer well packed. They dont spoil and dont get insects in them, Alhamdolillah. And I always have stock. So once I take out the freezer ones, I know that new spices are to be bought.

Baking soda and baking powder. After opening, baking powder keeps for six to 12 months, baking soda for two years.


Also, keep some simple small biscuit packs at home. Even if you have nothing else ready on the quick, you can always open a pack of biscuits for tea. Keep them well hidden from little hands :)

Keep a jar of jam in the fridge. If you are careful and never put a wet or used spoon in it, I have personally experienced the opened jar to stay good for as long as 1 year.

So - Thats what comes to mind right now. Will update as and when I get around to it :)

Make it habit to do this at the beginning of every month. Or, when you do your months major shopping. If you dont, then make it a habbit to buy essentials once a month in the beginning. That makes it easier to distribute over the month and you have an eye on what is being used.
Lastly, write things down. Make shopping lists. Make expenses lists. So you know how much money you spent on what. More details on that in the next note inshaAllah.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Sabzi Biryani



Though the traditional biryanis are unbeatable, sometimes a change in palate is not a bad idea.. and this sabzi biryani is realllly yumm :)

I have made it exactly like I make my chicken biryani...

1 large bowl of mixed vegs. I had friend potatoes, peas, carrots, french beans and cauliflower
3 mugs of rice, pre-boiled, kept warm
2 medium onions, fried dark golden, crushed to rough paste
1 tbls GG paste
1 level tsp, or to taste, salt
1 level tsp, or to taste, red chili powder
1 heaped tsp ground coriander = dhania
1 level tsp dry-roasted, ground cumin = bhuna, pissa safaid zeera
1 level tsp black pepper powder = pissi kali mirch
1/2 tsp mango powder = aamchoor
(substitute with khatai powder if needed)
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp black salt = kala namak
1 level tsp of mace, nutmeg, green cardamon mix = jaifal, jawetri, sabz elaichi. Grind, mix and store airtight.
1 cup yoghurt
1/2 can chopped tomatoes
1 large fresh tomato
2 small lemons
2 bay leaves = tez paath
5 to 7 peppercorns = kali mirch ke danay
1 large piece of cinnamon = daarchini ka bara tukra
3 to 4 green cardamons = sabz elaichi
1 black kardamon = bari elaichi
1/2 tsp black cumin = kala/shahi zeera
food colour
oil

- heat oil. add the dry whole spices - the pepper, cardamons, bay leaves, cinnamons and cumin.

- let them splutter

- mix all ground spices with yoghurt and the can of tomatoes

- add GG paste, fry some more

- add the yoghurt mix and mix in well

- cover and set to cook on LOW heat

- once the gravy gives up oil, add the crushed onions and let it cook further

- add the vegs, cover and let it cook. It shouldnt take u long since potatoes are already fried and the rest is easily cook-able. Besides, a little crunch is good. If you want ur veggies to be totally soft, then add some water and let them cook, though I would not advise it.

- now its a matter of personal preference. if you like the gravy in your biryani to be thick and dry, then let it dry out. If you like a 'wet' masaledar biryani, add some water to make a gravy

- then layer as usual with rice, giving the sliced tomato and lemon slices in between. right on top, over last layer, pour over around 2 tsp of liquid food colour. if you only have the powder one, mix 1/2 tsp with 2 tbls milk. Vary amount according to ur preference.

- close lid well and let it gather damm.

Its a matter of your own choice - we dont eat that much spices, so I did not add green chilies. You can do so, if you feel like it.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Hazards of Microwave Cooking

I've had a few mails from members, asking me to start microwave baking.. I've answered them.. and would like to bring the topic up here as well - I am against microwaves - completely and totally.

Its not just a fad - it is scientific fact - type it on google and check the results. I'll make a note for you so you can read it..

For now - just consider - the rays that heat the food and leave the vessel cold.. meat that needs an hour in the pot but is ready in a quarter of the time in a microwave.. a cake that needs 25 to 30 minutes in an oven.. but 5 in a microwave.. What do you think is the force that is making it so fast? And what do you think its doing to your bodies?

Everytime I see mothers heating their children's milk in a microwave.. I shudder.. I am aghast at the courage of these mothers.. who have gone though vigourous hours of childbirth for their child.. and yet are so ease-loving in the case of their nutrition..
My dear sisters - dont feed poison to your families.. who trust you and your expertise in the kitchen. Do justice to your role as the woman, as the mother.. and make an effort..
Ditch the microwave.. Please!



What you need to understand is that there will always be people who will tell you, its not true.. they are either those who themselves are SO misinformed that they simply cannot see the obvious, or, they are sadly not interested. If nothing in these arguments and texts and information convinces you - then follow this Hadith:

On the authority of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Ali bin Abi Taib, the grandson of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ëalayhi wasallam, and who is dearest to him, radiyallahu ëanhuma, who said: I committed to memory from the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ëalayhi wasallam, (the following words):

Leave that about which you are in doubt for that about which you are in no doubt.
[Al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasaíi related it, and al-Tirmidhi said: It is a good and genuine Hadith]

I'm going to copy paste excerpts from the things I have read with their link reference. I think it has been said wonderfully so I dont need to change it.. please do yourself and your family - your innocent children! the favour and read this..


Microwaves unsafe for baby's milk
Dr. Lita Lee of Hawaii reported in the December 9, 1989 Lancet:
"Microwaving baby formulas converted certain trans-amino acids into their synthetic cis-isomers. Synthetic isomers, whether cis-amino acids or trans-fatty acids, are not biologically active. Further, one of the amino acids, L-proline, was converted to its d-isomer, which is known to be neurotoxic (poisonous to the nervous system) and nephrotoxic (poisonous to the kidneys). It's bad enough that many babies are not nursed, but now they are given fake milk (baby formula) made even more toxic via microwaving."


Microwaved blood kills patient
In 1991, there was a lawsuit in Oklahoma concerning the hospital use of a microwave oven to warm blood needed in a transfusion. The case involved a hip surgery patient, Norma Levitt, who died from a simple blood transfusion. It seems the nurse had warmed the blood in a microwave oven.

It's very obvious that this form of microwave radiation "heating" does something to the substances it heats. It's also becoming quite apparent that people who process food in a microwave oven are also ingesting these "unknowns".
Because the body is electrochemical in nature, any force that disrupts or changes human electrochemical events will affect the physiology of the body.
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/health-hazards-to-know-about/microwave-ovens-the-proven-dangers


While microwaves reheat food, they also generate a host of known carcinogens. The ovens produce micro wavelength radiation at a rate of up to 2.45 GHz. This microwave radiation interacts with the molecules in food. The waves agitate the molecules to produce friction, which in turn heats the food. With this friction and heat comes the production of free radicals, or cells that can grow and spread into carcinogens.
http://www.mediafreedominternational.org/2012/01/25/growing-research-points-to-health-risks-of-microwave-ovens/


Microwaving alters food chemistry which can lead to malfunctions in the lymphatic system and degeneration of the body’s ability to protect itself against cancerous growths.
Microwaved foods caused stomach and intestinal cancerous growths, a general degeneration of peripheral cellular tissues, and a gradual breakdown of the digestive and excretive systems in a statistically high percentage of people.
http://wemustknow.net/2011/08/why-did-russia-ban-the-use-of-microwave-ovens/

My dear sisters - you will always find people who will discourage you - but the fact remains that YOUR life is YOUR responsibility. Just think - if this IS true and one day you find out for 100% sure.. how will you ever face yourself or forgive yourself?

With all my love and prayers!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Food Storage Advice

I was thinking, not many people know really how to store what - which sometimes leads to food getting soiled. So thought I'd share what I do..  Sunday's are my Veg and Fruit days.. I prefer to buy fruits and vegs direct from the fresh market on Sunday. I find they're freshest there and rates are quite alright.

So, here is what I always try to buy - depending on what is available and how fresh it is.

Potatoes
Peas
Tomatoes
Onions
Lemons
Ginger
Garlic
Coriander
Mint
Cucumbers
Apples

This is how I store them:

Potatoes
In a large box/jali, covered, with a dark cloth or sheet. Or a large cloth bag. Keep them dry and keep them out of sunlight. As dark as possible. Put in an apple, to per one kilo. That will help keep them fresh for longer.

Peas
Shell them, and put them in a freezer bag. UNWASHED. Rinse before use.

Tomatoes
Wash and cut in half. Put in large pot and let cook. Once they're all soft and mushy, blend them with a hand blender or in a normal blender. Save this puree in small plastic boxes or freezer bags. I save half of it like this and cook the other half down to a paste like consistency. Then either save that, or make chili sauce or ketchup out of it. That too, if its a lot, freeze, otherwise put in glass jars and keep in fridge.

If you want to keep some fresh and whole, keep them in a bowl lined with a paper or kitchen towel. Stem side up. Move them around every day. Keep them dry and out of sunlight and whatever you do, do NOT put them in the fridge. If its very hot, keep them in a room which is cooler.. room temperature is fine for tomatoes. Fridge spoils them quickest.

Onions
Keep them out of sunlight, in a box, mesh bag or in a nylon stocking! Just drop in an onion, tie a knot and drop another.. Keep them hanging and away from direct sunlight. Keep them away from other vegs, that will spoil them sooner.

Lemons
If you need a slice or two of lemon, don't slice the entire piece of fruit. Using a sharp knife, cut off the end, but don't throw it away. Instead, after cutting off a slice or two from the end of the lemon, put the cap back in place before placing in back in the refrigerator. The sliced off end will help keep the rest of the lemon fresh until you need more.

Other than that, store them in the fridge. If you have more than easily storable, scrape off the peel for lemon zest and store in a plastic box in a freezer. Juice the lemon and either make a syrup by boiling juice of 7 to 8 lemons with half a litre water and 1 cup sugar. Make a thick syrup and store in fridge. Use in lemonades. If you want plain lemon juice on hand for cooking, store in ice-cube tray in freezer and use as needed.

Ginger
Keep refrigerated in a well sealed bag with all the air pressed out. To store a large chunk, buy ginger that isn't wet, moldy, or withered; leave the peel on and dry it. It should keep for a couple of months. To use, simply cut off a "finger" of ginger, re-bag the rest, press out the air, and reseal.


Or, fry it and grind it with the oil. Store in glass bottle as ginger paste.

Garlic
The first thought for many people is to store garlic bulbs in the refrigerator or in the freezer. The cold temperature spoils the taste as well as the texture of the garlic cloves.

Garlic is best stored in a cool, dry place. Immediately after buying, take the garlic bulbs and place them in an airtight container or cloth bag. Store them in a cabinet, in a cool dark environment.

Or, fry, and grind with the oil. Store in glass bottle in the fridge as garlic paste.

Coriander
Either ground to a chutney and in the freezer, or, cleaned and wrapped in a moist cloth. Place the moist cloth in a plastic bag and keep in the fridge. Keeps fresh over a week.

Mint
Similar to the coriander. As cutney or in moist cloth in fridge. Additionally, make a syrup of it and store. Use for teas and juices.

Cucumbers
Wrap each cucumber in a tissue and keep them all in a plastic bag in the fridge. Will keep inshaAllah longer than a week.

Apples
The best place to store apples is the fruit and vegetable crisper drawer in the refrigerator.  When apples are stored in the refrigerator, they can stay perfectly fresh for the whole month or even more!  You can store the apples in the refrigerator with or without a plastic bag.  I’ve done it both ways, and haven’t found much of a difference in how long the apples stay fresh.  If you choose to store apples in the refrigerator inside the plastic bag, puncture some holes in the bag to let the air in.

If you are planning to use your apples within a week and don’t have that much space in your refrigerator, you can store them on the counter.  The apples will stay perfectly fresh and crisp on the counter for at least a week.

Also, when you buy apples, examine them to make sure they are not bruised.  Apples that are bruised will spoil pretty quickly, especially on the counter.  Buy good apples that don’t have bruises.  You can count on good apples staying fresh when stored for 1 week on the counter or 1 month in a refrigerator.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Yayayy...

So - I have finally purchased a domain.. elzaa.com.. For now, I don't really know what difference it will make :D

However, it is now a .com site.. whatever positives that might bring :)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Syrups for Summer ....

.. and not just summer :)

I'm giving you the basic syrups.. mixing and matching is only limited to your imagination....

This is Lemon Syrup

Juice of 6 small lemons
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water

Cook together. Add more sugar if u need to. It should be lemony sugary... Cool, chill, store.. make sikanjbeen.. enjoy :)



Then we have here... Simple Sugar Syrup

Boil together equal parts of sugar and water. Let it boil up once. Stir to see that sugar is dissolved. Cool down and store in fridge.

Dont worry if it looks thin - it will thicken in the fridge.

Use this syrup wherever you need to add sugar to a sharbat/juice. Instead of adding sugar and then whisking forever to dissolve it, just add this.


Nothing beats the cool taste of .. Gurr Syrup

Similar to the sugar syrup, keep this for sweetening as well. Or to add in halwa, if u feel like it :)

Around 4 to 5 large 'rocks' of gurr. Soak them in a little less than 1/2 litre clean water for at least 6 hours. Stir once in between to check that it dissolves.

Once its all liquid, carefully sieve into a pan. Take care not to take the residue, that will contain dirt.

Just set the whole lot on the stove - be careful, it will bubble up very strongly once it starts to get warm

Once ur syrup is thicker, remove from heat and cool before storing in fridge. Keep in mind that it will get a lot thicker than it it is NOW.. so remove from heat in time..


Its great, mixed with cold water, lemon and a pinch of salt.. and wonderful, when mixed with cold milk.. besides being really good for children..  

These woderful fruits are in season .. and ideal for Strawberry Syrup

Blend strawberries with a little water and sugar.. Store in fridge soonest...



And finally, a most delicious syrup.. Peppermint Syrup

Now this is an unusual one.. Zara loves peppermint teas.. Just boil a cup of tea and add two tblsp of this. Tea without milk, haan :)

Wash and boil a bunch of peppermint leaves...(podina) with 2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup water. Once the syrup is thick and the sugar is to ur liking, sieve it.

Store this syrup in the fridge and use as wished..

 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Thirst Quenchers

Its so hot now.. honestly.. everything is too hot.. have come up with some syrups.. will update recipes in a day or so.. but for now.. just have a look at this pic and enjoy the scene :)


Friday, 13 April 2012

Change of Style

I was looking through my quota of space on the blog and realised that since its just a blog, I dont have as much space as I thought I did.. and if I keep on uploading step-by-step single pics, I'll be out of space soon :) So, to counteract that, I've decided to upload images as one whole image...

How do you like that idea? is it alright?

Should I ever possess a credit card (or if the gmail staff deigns to asnwer and offer a solution) to upgrade to a websit, I think that problem will be resolved :) 

The Ultimate Sweet.. Balushahi :)


This is Chef Afzal Nizami's recipe - saw it on TV.. I've tried many different recipes of Balushahis before since I love them.. but they never even came close.. This one is a keeper, Alhamdolillah. Just read through all instructions carefully and follow them.. inshaAllah u'll have a perfect result..

Ingredients:
1 kilo flour
1/2 pao - 125 gms each of: ghee - (melt and then measure!) & yogurt & water
1 level tsp baking soda - just LEVEL! not too much!!
Sheera: 1 kilo sugar 1/2 litre water cardamon..

 Method:

First cook the sheera - mix sugar and water and elaichis and let it boil. You want a thick sheera but not too thick.. The Chef said to boil it for 10 to 12 minutes.. but I boiled it only for 5 - it had the required thickness..

Next, in a large bowl, add the liquid ings.. water, ghee and yoghurt. Whisk together and add baking soda.

Mix well. Add the flour, and mix a dough - do NOT knead it like ata.. or dough. You dont want a dough - that will make it hard and elastic. Just mix together, with gentle hands... until it all comes together.

Tip it out on a board or whatever you have.. and flatten it.. cut through the middle with your hands and divide in two. Place one on top of the other, pat down so as to join them and then repeat this process 4 or 5 times.

Break off small balls - I divided it in 4 parts and then rolled each and cut off small pieces with a knife.. Place the small piece between your palms.. flat side down.. and press with both palms in a circular motion.. do NOT press down hardly.. remember, you dont want to knead it in any manner..

This gentle circular motion will give it the layers.. Then place this balushahi on the back of your thumb.. and press a hole through it with the thumb of your other hand.. not too big..

While you are making them.. place ghee in a deep pan..and heat on lowest. The ghee should only be so hot that you can tip your finger in it and not burn.



Place the balushahis in the ghee. They should sink to the bottom and not do anything.. just sit there..

In a few minutes, as the hot ghee works, the balushahis will bubble up.. once they are all up, increase heat to full and fry them from one side to a golden colour.

Look carefully, when the bottom side is done, turn them over and TURN OFF HEAT!! That is a must - the heat is enough to fry them from below too.. But the turning off stove will cool the ghee down enoough for the next batch.

So when u put in the next batch, they'll sink down like before.. then turn heat back on.. As soon as the colour is as you like, take them out and put them in the sheera.

Pour over some with the help of a spoon. Turn over once so that they get soaked from both sides. Remove after 2 minutes and let them drip off on a jali.. The sugar will dry out and give those white touches.. Eat them once they're cool.. otherwise they wont have the crunch u want and u'll be disappointed...

I hope I've explained well and its understandable.. if not, please ask!! Good Luck.. :)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Kitchen Tips

Kitchen Tip of the Day. This is something I'm starting... from today :) I'll try and give you a tip, every now and then .. :) How to master your kitchen in the most effective way possible. If you agree.. implement it. If you dont agree, let me know why and we'll work to a solution together inshaAllah :) So.. my Tip for today is: Decluttering your Kitchen. Make three boxes - Always used, Seldom used, Not used. The definition of used is, you must have used it at least ONCE in 6 months. If you dont use it for 6 months, chances are you wont be using it. Stack the items accordingly in those boxes. Keep always used up front... seldom in the store or in a cupboard in your room... and not used either give away, maybe someone else needs it? Or, consider using it for something else. Like, if its a pot without a lid, use it as a kitchen garden pot and plant coriander in it..

Monday, 13 February 2012

My Sill and Chutney :)

So Baj gifted me something I'd been wanting to have since ages..... a sill and its batta.. now someone please tell me what the stuff is called in the Queen's language.. Anyway, so I made my first chutney on it.. Coriander, Green Chilies, Tomato Chutney .. With G&G :) Took half a bunch fresh coriander, 5 cloves of small garlic, one small piece of ginger, 4 green chilies - adjust to your taste. And 4 tomatoes. Plus 1 tbls cumin.
First I made the green chili chutney.. buy grinding together the corinander and GG and chilies..added the zeera and crushed that well with the whole sauce. and then chopped the tomatoes and added them.. and used the sill carefully as not to make a complete mash. The main effort is just the use of the sill.. You need stokes.. not smashes :) So watch that.. otherwise.. perfect chutney is just a 'sill' away :D

Friday, 27 January 2012

Current Affairs

Hullo my dears... I was wondering how you liked the new look of ElZaA? Especially proud me is of the index :) Do let me know how you see it.. Other than that, my grey cells are spinning overtime to understand the havoc of Maya Khan and whether what she did was right or wrong.. and whether we should give her a pat on the back for being a responsible woman, or a busy-body-miss-interfering? The jury in my mind is still out on this one... Would love to hear what you all think.. Till then.. Much love!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Congratulations!!!

... to all of us! Thank you, my dearest members... for suggesting my blog for the rating, and for bringing US within the top 10! This is for you all more than me :) Thank you.. love u all!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Some Changes

Morning People... Just a short note - I've added a Copyright thingy on the page.. primarily because I'm quite fed up of copy-cats and kittens... Dont know what effect, if any at all, it is going to have.. but it will make me feel better :) Secondly, have added the Email option. Means, if you want to be updated and get an Email everytime I post something, add your Email to it. The Blog will send you a mail of its own accord ... and u can come and check or not, as you feel right at that moment :) Thirdly, there's a fancy new thing called Appointron.. means, if you really need to get in touch with me and have something to say.. or want me to do something.. use it.. I dont know exactly how and what it will do.. but apparently it will 'book' you an 'appointment' with me.. As I said, no idea how it works but it sounded kind of nice so I added it :) In case it turns out to be a complete bore.. or ya'll dont really want to talk to me that much :/ - I'll remove it. Oh and it says 1$ price - just ignore it... couldnt get rid of that bit :) I just thought sometimes I miss the comments and this could be a good way to get in touch if its important. So, this much right now.. will log in later with some more stuff :) Till then..