Saturday, 5 October 2013

Something simple for a change.. Potato Cutlets

.. aka alu ke kababs :) 

I had made a polau.. of the left-over shorba of my chicken salan  and so I thought to add to its goodness with these kababs..

Nothing special - 

7 medium alus, boiled
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 green chilies, chopped fine
1 bunch of fresh mint, chopped fine
1 tsp of salt, or to taste
1 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
1 heaped tsp pomegranate powder
1/2 tsp dhania powder
1 heaped tsp curry powder

Mix all well... coat in egg and shallow fry. Thats it

Jelly and Jalapenos

Ok so this is Peach Jelly and Jam and Jalapenos....I followed the following link for help with the Jelly ..(thank you, Sehrish!) and will note down what I actually did.

I washed and cut 8 apricots with skin and covered them with water.. and set to boil. Cooked for about half an hour.. . Then I dumped them in a sieve and let the juice drain. Pressed a bit with a flat spoon but not too much.

The remaining peach puree is what made the peach jam. That was about 3 mugs. I put it in a pot and added 1 mug homemade imli ki chutney and 2 cups sugar. Cooked for 10 minutes until it passed the test* and filled my previously boiled and dried bottles. Twist on the cap and turn the bottle upside down for 15 mins. The heat will make a vacuum and seal your jam. Store in fridge once cooled.

The Jelly
So measure out the juice. Add one cup of sugar for each cup of juice, plus one. So if you have 4 cups of juice, add 5 cups of sugar.

In 1/2 cup of freshly pressed lemon juice, add 1 tsp black pepper very finely ground. This is entirely optional - I feel the black pepper adds a touch of spice to the very sweet jelly..

So set it to boil.. Let it boil up once, then remove it from heat. Set it on the slab and give it a few minutes. THEN add the lemon juice.. stir and mix in and then put it back on the stove.

This is because I made the mistake of adding it while it was cooking and it boiled up and went all over the place  So after the marathon of cleaning sticky sweet jelly from a burning hot stove .. I have understood that it must not be done like this  So be careful not to... unless you like cleaning hot and dirty stove-tops. In that case, carry on 

So then lower heat a bit and let it keep bubbling for 20 minutes. Do the test* and proceed to store like you did with the jam.. Bas 

They taste really really good - both things. If you like the combination of sweet and sour..

*The test is an easy one: Place a plate in the freezer while your jam/jelly are boiling. When they look done, remove plate and place a small tsp of jam on it and put it back in the fridge for a few seconds.. Remove and run your finger through it. If it leaves a trail - matlab a line inbetween that doesnt join up, then its done 

The Jalapenos
Wash and slice 1 kilo thick green chilies
Mix together 1 and half cup of water and 1/2 cup good quality vinegar.
Add 1/4 salt and 1/4 cup dark soya sauce
Set to boil
Once on boiling point, add the sliced green chilies and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let it cool slightly before filling in a jar. Store in the fridge.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Black-Eyed Beans and Bhaturas

Join us for a lunch of Black Eyed Beans nd Bhaturas :)

Its an easy recipe and one that is very filling ..  not lavish in the traditional sense yet good enough for any dinner table.. 

The bhaturas this time are a bit different than my usual ones... 

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp or to taste salt
2 cups - approx, buttermilk
(make your own: 1 cup full fat thick milk plus 1 tblsp lemon juice. Stand for 10 mins at room temp. Mix and use)
1 tblsp oil

Knead a soft non-sticky dough with the buttermilk. Use oil to make a smooth dough. Cover and let it rest for an hour.. 

Roll out medium sized discs, not too thick nor too thin. Make sure the oil is really hot.. As soon as you put the disc in, press down lightly with a spoon and hold it down very lightly in the oil for a few seconds. It will puff up .. let it get some colour and then turn it carefully. When done, lift up and keep covered .. 

The Beans
Soak 2 cups of the beans in warm water for 2 hours. Boil them till soft, drain and set aside. Save some of the boiling water. 

Dry roast and grind together the following:
1 tbsp cumin seeds - safaid zeera
1 tbsp coriander seeds - dhania
1 tsp fennel seeds - saunf
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds - methi
1cm/½in stick cinnamon - darcheeni

Grind and rest aside.

Heat some oil or butter in a pan. 
Add to it
10 curry leaves
1/2 tsp kalongi
1/2 tsp black zeera

Saute it

Add one large chopped onion

Saute to golden 
Add 1 tsp each fresh chopped ginger and garlic
Add the spice mix plus
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp or to taste crushed red chilies

Saute and add the boiled beans to it. Mix and toss and then add around 2 cups of water - use the boiling water.. but normal will do. 

Mix and cover and let it simmer on low heat. You want the water to evaporate and the curry to be a tad dry. Sprinkle with fresh chopped dhania and a tblsp of butter.

Serve with plain yoghurt and the bhaturas. 

You must try it once.. its really a very different taste..

Pista Khoya Burfi

I had that pista bag na.. almost 300 grms.. So I made this burfi..

Here's how:

300 grms pistas, coarsely ground
khoya from 1 litre milk
10 tblsp dry milk powder
Sheera made from 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water
4 to 5 green elaichies
1 and half cup ghee
3 to 4 tblsp almond paste (the one I made for my almond sherbat. Optional but very tasty )

Heat the ghee in a pot and add the elaichies - let them splutter
Add the khoya on medium low heat and bhunofy
You want the remaining water to evaporate and the khoya to look a bit bhuned
Add the pistas and keep some aside for deco
Bhunofy more keeping a low heat
Add the milk powder and continue..
Once the lot is fragrant remove from heat and slowly carefully add sheera. Around 2 cups should be enough but I just went as with how it looked..
Once the while khoya/powder are well mixed return to heat and continue bhooning it
Now would be the time to add the almond if using
You must bhun it until the whole lot comes together in a ball and leaves the base and sides of the pot clean
Spread out in a greased tray, decorate with pistas and let it cool. Keep refrigerated if the weather is hot.
Cut in squares once cooled enough..

Better than *** Chicken Shamis :D

Usually we dont like buying ready-made stuff - especially things like kababs and such.. because I can never trust whats in it.. so I prefer to make everything myself.

However, after having Maryam, I wasn't much in form for a while and to deal with unannounced guests, HD bought Chicken Shamis, of KNN..

I must honestly say, without wanting to create an ad :) - that they are very yumm.. at least as per my and my family's taste buds..  Though I didnt get round to taking a better pic, unfortunately..

Now that I'm back on my feet, I thought I'd try and recreate the taste..

So this is my attempt. There is a difference, of course.. but they are very very close to the store-bought thing. I will do some adjustments to the remaining mix - primarily just to satisfy myself :) But even without them, these shamis are really good..

Here's how:

1 kilo boneless chicken
2 boiled medium sized potatoes
1 mug - around 250 grms Daal Channa
2 slices of white bread
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup milk

Whole spices:
2 inch piece whole cinnamon
1 tsp white zeera
1 tsp black pepper corns
1 tblsp whole dhania

2 tsp salt, divided
2 tsp red chili powder
3 green chilies - less or more as per your taste
1 level tsp haldi
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground zeera
1 heaped tsp dhania powder

Marinate the chicken with the milk and 2 cloves of crushed garlic and 1 tsp of salt. Leave it overnight.

Next day, boil the daal channa with the onion, rest 2 cloves and all the whole spices

Once the daal is soft, add the chicken, without its marination liquid

Let it all cook.. until its soft enough to be mashed with just a spoon. While drying, add all the rest spices and the potato

Process the bread slices to powder in the machine and add the chicken mix bit by bit to process it

Once its all a nice smooth paste, taste for spices and if you must adjust and add, use a little oil. Mix the spices to be added in the oil and then pour that over the mix and then knead well.

Form kababs and fry in very less oil..

They're great cold or in sandwiches too... a good thing to make for the children and their lunch boxes. If making for children, do adjust the spices..

Masaledar Chicken Kaleji

Actually, Im not such a fan of meat.. and then too 'extra' meats :) But HD likes it.. and so I buck up courage and make things that I dont eat but can still Alhamdolillah make :) This is one of them..

When the chicken is washed, I store the livers in a separate bag and freeze it. And once I have 2 or 3, I make a salan out of it... This is how:

Wash and drain the kaleji and cut in chunks. Not too small otherwise it will be lost in the cooking process.

In a bowl, around 200 grms, of yoghurt, mix the following:
1 level tsp salt, or to taste
1 heaped tsp red chili FLAKES
1/2 tsp haldi
1 heaped tsp dhania powder
1 level tsp garam masala
1 tsp zeera powder
1/2 tsp khatai powder or aamchoor
1/2 tsp papaya powder

Grate 2 cloves of garlic very fine
Chop 1 medium onion
Ginger julienne and green chilies chopped

In a pan, heat some ghee and add the kaleji
Add the chopped garlic and saute
The smell will go once its been bhooned well enough in the ghee and garlic, eitherway chicken liver doesnt have such a strong smell..
If you still feel uneasy, add a 1/4 tsp haldi to it. That should work inshaAllah.

So, once u've stirred and sauteed for 5 to 7 minutes, keeping flame on the higher side, add the yoghurt mix and bhoonofy. After 5 to 7 minutes, lower heat and cover. Cook covered for 10 mins. Add a little water if you want a little gravy and let it cook up twice. The ghee should separate.. once it does, its ready..

Check how done it is... It should be soft and breakable at the touch. Garnish with ginger julienne and green chilies.. Serve hot with pooris, parathas... or even plain roti...

Banana Apple Delight

Base of sweet biscuits.. covered with bananas n apple.. covered in chocolate sauce n cream.. the best part? No added sugar :)

Had a couple of bananas.. quite ripe and in danger :) But didnt want to make something heavy like Banoffee.. So did this:

Crushed plain biscuits (I used Tiger Max, you can use any you like..) and made a dough out of it to cover the base by adding 1 tblsp olive oil and milk as needed until the dough was nice and spreadable.. not too wet and not crumbly.

Spread that in the base of the pan. Sprinkle over it chopped apples and sliced bananas. . as much as you want..

Cover that with plain, sugar-less cream. Drizzled with chocolate sauce and spread all over.. so that the cream gets sweetened and also gets some colour. But be careful not to go deep.. mix only the surface so that when u eat, u can see a layer of white cream beneath the choclaty..

Then refrigerate.. and before serving just drizzle with chocolate sauce before serving.

Its really very tasty and unbelievable though it sounds, its also very light. There is no butter and no sugar.. extra added I mean.. of course, there is the fat content of the cream and the biscuits itself.. but thats it...

Olive and Cheese Crusty Bread

I have this recipe from BBC Good Food. I'd been on the lookout for something easy and simple.. without too many ingredients and variable.. and this fits the bill perfectly. Whats more, Abdullah likes it.. which is a feat I tell u  Alhamdolillah.

So, I'm writing what I did and how..

500 grms flour - plain or mixed, up to u.
1 heaped tsp yeast
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 level tsp salt
Around 300 ml Warm water

Pile the flour in a wide bowl and make a well. Put in the yeast and pour over some lukewarm water.

Mix in and let it sit awhile.

Sprinkle salt on the outside of this well and pour over half the oil

Mix well with your hands, kneading as you go. Use water carefully.. not too much. Once the dough is joined but sticky, just use some oil for your hands to gather it.

Pour in remaining oil in a bowl and place the dough in it. Let it rise for 2 hours.

Punch down gently. Form into a loaf and let it rise again.

Bake in preheated oven at 200.. until hollow from below.. and browned on the top..

Directly before and during baking, spray it with water and close the oven immediately. The steam that rises will give it its crust..

Thats is the basic recipe. You can add anything else to it or give it any other shape...

Ive just kneaded a fresh batch and have added sesame seeds to it.. So basically thats up to u...

Keep it wrapped in a clean cloth and that placed in a plastic bag..

And for this version I did this:

Divide the bread in half.. I baked half as is, plain white.

Roll the dough out, and spread 4 tblsp COLD butter over it. Knead quickly, using some extra flour if its too sticky.

Then spread a bit with hands and place one tblsp each chopped jalapenos and olives and 2 tblsp grated cheese.

Knead carefully and form to a bread shape. Oil a baking tin and bake as before.. Use flour to help hold shape if needed..

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

In-a-hurry School Lunch :)

Forgot to get bread for today's lunchbox .. So made these pizza muffins in a rush. Alhamdolillah turned out great. Abdullah was happy and his excitement was the best reward 

Acha, so I was at a bit of a loss.. but am grateful that I had a few basics at hand.. which made the job easy..

This is what you need: 

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 egg
3/4 cup cooked and diced chicken, or minced meat
( I had chicken burgers - so fried them quickly, and chopped them small)
3/4 cup shredded cheese - I had Kraft
Seasonings: salt, black and white pepper, dash of dried basil
3 tblsp melted butter
4 tblsp pizza sauce ( I usually have a jar of pizza or tomato sauce in the fridge.. but you can also just use chopped tomatoes)

Sieve the flour with baking powder
Add salt and pepper
Add all other ings and mix well.
The whole lot will look a bit watery - dont worry, it needs to be like this, otherwise they'll dry out. They get firm, worry not 
Fill in a 12 hole muffin pan..
Bake in preheated oven at 180 for 10 mins.
As soon as they're done from inside, turn on upper grill and give them some colour..
Cool on wire rack..

You can add the following to make it more versatile:
Chopped olives
Chopped paprika
Green chillies
Fresh coriander
Fresh basil

Wonderful Cheesecake n Blueberry Tarts

Anyone want a Blueberry Streusel Cheesecake Tart?

The very special thing about this, is the cream cheese.. My children (read that as in, all of us!) absolutely love cheesecake. It was never a problem in Germany or Abu Dhabi.. but has become one here.. since I have not yet found Philadelphia .. and the other variety I have seen is too little, for too much money.. which I dont agree with. So, I've

 only made cheesecake with home made cream cheese. Which was alright, taste wise.. but not really yumm.. you know.. not quite 'cream cheese'..

Until HD turned up with a carton of Olpers Milk  Actually I wanted to make FroYo.. so made yoghurt with the Olpers milk and once set, poured out in a muslin (malmal ka kapra) lined sieve and put it in the fridge. for 2 days... and somehow, I never got round to make the FroYo - primarily cos my gang here make a noise about it..

So, here I had this one litre cream .. and as I tasted it, it was the bestest cream cheese ever.. So what better to do with it, than make cream cheese?

I am so happy about it - wonderfully creamy cream cheese, that too almost half a kilo, for 90 rupees only  Thats a far cry from the tiny some grams box u get for exorbitant prices..

Anyway, so this is the cake crust:

280 gm flour
150 gm ground sugar
226 gm butter - cold, from the fridge..

Short pulse the butter with flour
Add sugar, pulse again
If the mixture seems too dry, add just a FEW DROPS of ice cold water.
Mix till a dough is formed
Chill till needed

Or you could do it like I prefer to do and crumble the butter with the flour and sugar and just keep on kneading, until a dough is formed, no need for machines or water 

So now the cream cheese filling:

Whip 400 grm cream cheese till smooth
Add 2 eggs, mix in well
Add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup, depending on how sweet you like it, ground sugar
Plus 1 tsp vanilla essence

Whip all together nicely, till u have a smooth cream. Chill.

Crumble topping
This crumble I have left-over from the Apple Crumble that I made..

115 grms butter
115 grms sugar
175 grms flour

Crumble all together, set aside

In muffin forms, press in small rounds of dough to form a tart..
Spoon in a heaped tablespoon of the cream cheese
And then plop on top a heaped tsp of BLUEBERRY JAM 
Spread some crumble on it.. and in the preheated oven at 180...
As soon as the tarts get some colour, turn on the upper grill to give the crumble some colour.. and there you have it.
Dont try and remove them instantly - they'll be very fragile. Let them cool a bit before u remove them from the form..

You can of course use fresh berries and make a sauce.. but I didnt have blueberries.. so the jam was perfect..

Fabulous Chunky Apple Jam

Jams are a tricky thing.. they can turn out wonderfully luxurious, like this one Alhamdolillah.. or they can be a disaster, as my poor family remembers only too well 

The trickiest part of it, as far as I am concerned, is the question, 'is it done?' .. well unless you have a jam thermometer or some such thing.. you'll have to rely on your common sense.. 

First the recipe, then I'll tell u about the common sense 

Remember to use the SAME bowl for water, sugar and apples. It can be as per your wish, large or small..

So this made 3 Horlicks bottles full .. and a teeny bit left over.

As follows:

First prepare the bottles:
Set a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add washed clean bottles and their lids to it. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bottles with a tong (chimta) and set on a CLEAN DRY cloth. Cover.

Now the jam:

7 to 8 small apples
(core and chop, no need to peel, in the machine. It should look shredded and make 6 bowls/cups)
4 to cups of sugar - 4 and a half is the ideal sweetness for me.. but thats as per your taste. You can go half half with white and brown sugar.. or all brown sugar.. entirely up to you
1 to 2 tsp cinnamon powder, as per your taste
1 tblsp butter
Zest and juice of 2 small limes or a small lemon
1 cup water

- Mix the water with half the lemon juice and butter
- Add the shredded apples to it and bring to a rolling boil
-As soon as the mix starts to boil. about 5 minutes, add the rest lemon, cinnamon and all sugar
- Bring to a rolling boil once again.. and let it keep cooking.. on medium heat
- Keep stirring.. you dont want it to burn. Wear oven mittens if you like, it can jump around a bit.. I didnt though, cant be bothered 
- In 7 to 10 minutes the jam should be thick enough. Do the test (described below) - and remove from heat.
- Fill the bottles and screw on the lids but not completely closed.. leave them a tad open..

Now, water bath:

Set a medium sized pot on the stove. Place the jars carefully - they will be hot! - in the pot. The pot must be small enough for the jars not to bang against each other but not so big that they fall around..

Carefully pour in enough water to reach to 3/4 of the bottle. Turn heat on. The water should boil and bubble.. once that happens, reduce heat and semi cover. Let it simmer for 20 minutes.

Turn off heat and carefully pick out bottles. You can leave them there until they cool if youre not happy picking up hot bottles like this..

The lid should have closed with vacuum. If not, nevermind, just screw it tight and once the bottles are cool, put them in the fridge..

Enjoy with whatever you want. Yes there is a lot of sugar in here. But when you read the ingredients list on the commercial jams, I still think this one is better. Its clean, I know EXACTLY what went into it.. no preservatives, no chemicals, no additives, no nothing. Besides, jam is used sparingly anyway.. no need to gobble by the cupful 

The Test:
Place a plate in the fridge for 10 mins. Once you think the jam is done, put a small bit on the plate and put it back in the fridge for a few minutes. Remove - run a finger in the jam. If it leads a trail and doesnt fall back in or is too runny, its done.

Do give it this jam a try. InshaAllah I am sure you will like it.. and inspite of the sugar content, I still maintain that it IS healthier than the store-bought version..

Quick and Healthy Soda Bread

Our Quick Breakfast Bread...

I made this Sunday night for the children's breakfast and lunch.. Made Abdullah a sandwich of it with egg spread for his lunchbox.. and the girls had it for breakfast.. Still some left and its still good.. Very quick to make and healthy too.. Here's how:

225g wholewheat flour = ata
225 plain flour = maida
1 level tsp salt
1 level tsp soda bi carbonate = meetha soda
375 t0 450 ml buttermilk
(make your own buttermilk: 225 ml full fat milk plus 1 tblsp fresh lemon juice. Mix and leave to stand for 10 to 15 mins. Stir before using..Keep remaining in fridge and use soon - as in pooris )

Preheat oven to 230c/gas mark 8

Mix flours, then add salt and mix, then add soda and mix

Add buttermilk as needed, all the while mixing so get a soft crumbly dough

Turn it out on a floured surface and knead well with floured hands to get a smooth dough.

Place on washed cold oven tray and make a diagonal slit across, cutting through its thickest part. Prick a few holes inside.

Place tray in oven and bake for 15 mins. Turn heat down to 200c/ gas mark 6 and bake for another 15 mins

Turn the bread upside down and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes. Its done when u knock on the base and it sounds hollow..

Wrap in cloth and stick the parcel in a plastic bag .. Leave to cool down.

Slice and enjoy with whatever you feel like 

Fragrant Apple Tea..

... wonderful fragrance through out the house... beware of the chips thieves :) The Making of Apple Tea 

I got a box of apple tea gifted, tea bags.. really fragrant and good to drink.. yet they give me heartburn. I wonder why? Even though the ingredients show it to be a pure herbal product.. But somehow it doesnt suit me..

So I thought, if they can make it, so can I  And so I did - Alhamdolillah. Its almost as tasty.. and loads healthier since I know exactly whats in it and can control all of it..

Here's how:

Wash and core lotsa apples.. I say lots since its a time consuming and lengthy procedure so better make a larger batch.

Dont peel them. Slice the apples as thin as possible.. the thinner the better.

Fill a bowl with ice-cold water and the juice of a large lemon.

Tip the apple slices in it for an hour.

Heat oven at 200. Place the slices on a grill - you know the oven ki jali- and stick it in the oven. You can cover the grill with baking paper or silver foil.. or stick a tray under the apples..

After 5 minutes turn the heat down to 70. And then go away. Go sleep or something. Come back after an hour.. and turn the slices over. Go sleep some more.. or read a few pages of your book.. and then turn the oven off.. IF by that time the slices are nicely golden brown and crisp.. warna continue..

Shuffle them a bit if you feel they're not browning evenly.. the goal is to have them crisp.

Let the slices cool down and crush them slightly (you may want to keep some to devour as chips.. )

Add to the crisps of 5 apples a 2 inch piece of cinnamon, broken in bits and 2 cloves. Shake around and store in an airtight box.

2 tsps of this mix to one cup boiling water and a half tsp of honey if you want it sweet... have it hot.. or chill it and drop in a few ice-cubes 

Alhamdolillah.. one of the best teas you will ever have - inshaAllah 

Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Ultimate Chicken Bread...

Presenting .. THE Chicken Bread :))

We had tea somewhere and they served chicken bread with tea.. It was slightly raw on top and the filling was a nondescript overly spicy mass.. But I so craved the taste of chicken bread that I thought, now or never 

This is originally Shireen Anwar's recipe. I guess almost all the chicken bread recipes u'll find around FB are hers or modifications of it.. As is this one..

I've changed the dough ingredients to suit my own taste and experience. So since her is widely available everywhere, I am giving you my own ingredients and measurements. As with the filing too. 

Here goes then:

The dough

3 and half cups plain flour
1/2 cup nido milk powder
4 tblsp butter - room temperature soft
1 tsp salt
1 tblsp yeast
1/4 tsp castor sugar
1 egg
Lukewarm water

Extra egg for egg wash

Mix together the flour, milk powder and salt.
Add the butter and rub it in to crumb form
Make a well in the middle and put in the yeast and sugar
Pour over the lukewarm water and mix in
Cover and let it froth for 10 minutes
Break in the egg
Then knead a soft non-sticky dough with more water as needed
Cover and let it rise. Took me 2 hours almost

Meanwhile, prepare filling

Boil and shred half a kilo chicken boneless
Heat 2 tblsp butter in a pan
Add 2 tblsp flour and mix
Add milk gently to form a roux.. and keep and stirring so that there are no clumps
Add salt, black pepper, white pepper, zeera and red chili powder. Taste and make sure its spicy.

Once the sauce tastes as you like it, add the shredded chicken.. Dont let it dry too much but keep it a bit moist. Let it cool down.

This amount made 6 smallish chicken breads. So made 6 balls. Rolled each out and placed the filling in between.

Cut strips diagonally on both sides ....

and fold over in a criss cross design. ..

Brush with beaten egg and bake in preheated oven at 200. Use top grill to get the golden colour.

Have fun and do give it a try. The taste is worth the effort involved.

Banoffee Pie

A dream of cream and caramel .. I dont think I should give you the recipe you know .. You'll make it and gain 100 kilos and blame me for it .. Tch tch ...

On second thoughts.. maybe I should, why should I gain the kilos alone? :) 

I have the recipe from the Carnation website.. have adjusted it to my own designs.. but the basic recipe is theirs

For the crust
100 gm butter
250 gm biscuits of your choice

For the Caramel
100 gm butter
100 gm brown sugar
397 gm - 1 tin, condensed milk
* my addition, 1/2 tsp instant coffee

4 medium sized bananas

200 ml cream
(In the UAE I used regular whipping cream. Here, I use the Nestle thick cream. Add 2 tbsp ground sugar to it and whip with mixer. Keep on doing this for around 5 to 8 minutes.. the cream will thicken.. )

2 tblsp chocolate horlicks - or grated chocolate
I used horlicks. . different taste..

(Usually banoffee recipes use condensed milk that has caramelised in a boiling pot of water, cooking for over 2 hours. I dont like the idea of wasting so much gas on it - hence this recipe is perfect from this aspect too..)

Acha so melt the butter and set aside
Crush 250 gm biscuits very fine in a processor.. Use whatever you have, I had some candi, some choco chips, some cafe.. used them all.. made for a very unusual taste and I think that added an extra kick

Add these crumbs to the butter. With washed hands, mix well and pat in a springform tin

Make a crust, pushing a bit to get some side crust too

Keep this in the fridge

For the caramel
Heat the butter and add sugar
On medium low heat, keep mixing and stirring
The sugar must dissolve and be very smooth
Add the condensed milk and keeping it on low heat, keep stirring..
Bring mixture to a boil
Once boiled, dissolve the coffee in a few drops of melted butter and add to the sauce

You must cook it long enough so its firm.. but not too long warna it will become toffee.. which is tasty too but not needed here

Pour over this sauce in the crust and let it rest in the fridge

Once chilled a bit, put the sliced bananas over it and spread out..

Cover with whipped cream..

Sprinkle with horlicks or chocolate and chill at least 2 hours before cutting and serving

It will be gooey and it WILL spill over .. because thats what a Banoffee Pie should do...

Enjoy and do take a brisk walk after it.. you have been warned ....

Fried Besan Naan.. Trip down memory lane!

Our dinner yesterday - besan fried naan nd green chilies, onion rings and chutney 

Back in the last century, when I was a college going girl, on the way back from college there was this naan bai.. wo used to have these naans - and they were only available at 'chutti-time' and only on weekdays. I guess that was his marketing scheme - and I suppose it went very well.. since they were almost always gone for the batch of girls who came by 20 mins later.

I've tried to recreate it and except for the green chilies, its almost the same. I say almost since that naan had the magic of that age.. the hunger after college time.. the companionship of friends and the knowledge that it was SO unhealthy and fattening and yet the carefree attitude that one couldnt care less.. it was yumm and thats all the mattered 

No great science involved - just take a day old naan, wet it nicely. Make a besan batter like you would for pakoras - adding fresh green dhania, green chilies, coarsely crushed whole coriander and pomegranate seeds.

Make a batter not too thick and not too thin. It should flow but not swim 

Soak the naan in it for a few seconds.. make sure its covered from all sides..

The oil must be piping hot - u dont have to cook anything na, just fry it.

Carefully lower the naan in the oil, taking care it doesnt splatter over u. turn carefully after a few seconds and take out as soon as the colour is golden.

Now he used to drain it on the newspaper - with Anjuman all over it  We now know its not healthy so we use brown paper bags slit open or wax paper. Even tissue is not a good idea by the way..

Drain.... and eat as soon as possible.. the colder it gets the greasier.. and the tougher to eat.

Serve with green chilies, fried in same batter, raw onions soaked in lemon juice and chutney of ur choice..

Ah the memories of youth!

Hyderabadi Khubani ka Meetha...

... In all its glory ....

I dont know if this is THE original way of making it.. but its the way I make it.. and I assure you, once you eat it as is, u'll only make it this way, inshaAllah  Dont blame me for the weight you gain though, thats entirely your own business 

Khubani ka Murabba
Soak 1 kilo dried apricots in clean water over night.
Next morning, set the pot too cook on medium heat, adding a cup of sugar.
Taste it, and reduce or increase as per your taste. I'd suggest keeping it a bit on the lower side.

Now here is something which demands utmost deliberation on your part.. you must think, think with all your might and come to the great decision on your own..

Do you, or do you not, remove the stones/almonds from the khubani before you start cooking them?!!

I was not very well when I made it and did not have the energy when I was making it so did not remove them. I thought, cant be that bad.. will pick them out with a spoon. Let me give u a piece of friendly advice - do not do as I did. Make the effort and remove them before u cook the whole lot.

As it were, the stones got in the way of everything.. so I pulled on a pair of food-safe disposable gloves and removed them all by hand. It got done eventually and was alright but in the end I actually did more work that I would have, if I'd taken them out first..

So once your murabba looks nice and thick and syrupy, remove and chill

I hope you have already made it while the murabba was cooking.. which is why at this moment it is in the fridge, chilling too..

Thick cream/whipped cream is just that..
Nuts as per your choice

Assemble by layering the custard, then the murabba in layers in a glass bowl. Top with cream roses or whatever shape you can make.. and sprinkle with nuts if using. Serve this meetha very well chilled.

A note from the testers here in my home: keep the custard a bit more than the murabba. Since the murabba is very sweet, it will be better balanced...

So now make and tell... No great science involved, very simple and easy recipe.. inshaAllah u'll love it


My Panjeeri .. Finally 

I'd been planning on making this the whole month.. but somehow never got round to it. Even today I had to break thrice, while making it.. but finally its done.. I still have a few days to go so I thought I'd make it and eat it at least once in this whole time 

The recipe is my Mama's.. passed down to me through my sis... . I've made it many times, for myself and for others.. usually, when made for myself, I only eat a fraction of it and the rest gets gobbled by 'others' - samajh tau aap gaey hon gay 

Panjeeri has a load of good stuff in it.. and it also has a lot to do with how much you believe in its good properties. Yes it is very calorific.. for all that ghee and sugar. It will give you pimples if you eat too much since it is 'garam' what with all those nuts in it.. But, it will also inshaAllah help you with the aches and pains and weaknesses.. especially after delivery.. But even in winter, to ward off the cold..

I did not measure the ghee I used.. Couldnt be bothered to do so.. it was enough for me to complete the work quickly.. But I had around 300 grms of home made desi ghee and I used it all.. I say 300 because it looked more than the butter packet yet not too much more  Sorry 

Dont use the ghee all in one go.. just put in a little by little, to fry each item and then fresh for the next... 

I'll list the items in grms - they make roughly one mug.. and it really makes no such big difference exactly HOW many almonds and pistas you put in.. just eyeball it.. it should balance more or less. . . .

800 gms semolina – soojhi. Try and get the coarser kind..
1 bowl or 300 grms ghee. Best is if you have desi ghee. But normal will do too
100 grms of coconut, chopped
150 grms pistachios, unsalted please!
150 grms makhanay – water lilly flower/lotus stemm flower/fox nut/gorgon nut
(I guess its just best to find makhanay from an Asian shop – have listed all the known names, in case u don’t have a shop close by though)
300 grms almonds, with skin..
50 grms charmaghaz - muskmelon, watermelon, pumpkin, cucumber seeds in equal quantity
50 grms gond – gum
20 grms kamar kass – sometimes refered to as sage, though also called Flame of the Forrest
6 to 7 green cardamons
500 to 700 gms sugar – depending on ur taste for sweetness. I used a bit less..

What I did was, heat 2 tblsp ghee for each ingredient – add the nuts one by one, and fry them to a nice golden. Remove in a bowl

Proceed similarly with all, keeping them all in separate bowls. Don’t fry them all together and don’t mix them after frying yet.

The makhanay will take up a lot of ghee. Just limit it to 3 tblsp at the most, no matter how much u use, it will soak all up..

Next, bhunfoy the soojhi in ghee – I used maybe 150 gms ghee for that much soojhi
You need the soojhi to be nice and pinkish golden.. just be careful not to burn it.

Next, roughly grind each ingredient in the machine.. Don’t dump them all in at the same time since they each have a different grinding time and don’t all get ground samely..

Then add them one by one to the soojhi, on VERY low heat and keep mixing in. All except kamarkas. Keep that separate in a tin or box.. Don’t include it in the main dish..sprinkle some before u eat..

Once u have all in, remove from heat and add sugar. Mix in well and store airtight once cooled down.

Heat it before you eat, sprinkle some kamrkas on it and eat it with a glass of warm milk or hot tea..

Please ask if something is unclear..

Enjoy and don’t weigh yourself 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Saucy Buttery Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken ..  a dream of soft meat.. butter and cream.. As usual, the pic says nothing good about it, but it was really yum. I used my Salan Masala Mix in it .. Perfect .. Only problem is, I cant remember how much of it I put in :(
Will work that out nd then post recipe inshaAllah :)

Ok so finally I have remembered :) I've taken to boiling onions and keeping them blended in the fridge or freezer... it makes cooking that much easier and quicker. Plus it makes a good smooth gravy... so this is what I did here. Just boiled 2 medium onions and blended them with a little water.. Used half the onion paste in this dish.. So try and keep a jar of this in the fridge, It holds good for 3 days at least..

So here goes:

1 kilo boneless chicken - in cubes. You can of course use normal chicken pieces, but I prefer boneless in this dish
2 tblsp vinegar
2 tblsp gg paste
paste of one boiled onion
5 tomatoes, blended
100 ml cream
big blob of butter - unsalted!
2 heaped tsp of the spice mix
1/2 tsp or to taste salt

Heat some oil and fry the chicken in it
Add the vinegar and gg and keep frying till the water is gone and ur chicken does not smell anymore.
Add the spices and salt and saute a bit
Add the onion paste and the tomato puree
Boil up, reduce heat and let it cook
You wan the extra water to vanish and the sauce to be cooked
Once it looks done, check the chicken, taste the spices and adjust if you have to
Add the cream and cook it up again..
At the end, drop the blob of butter, turn off heat and keep it covered. Serve hot with white rice or naans..

Homemade Salan Masala Mix

The easiest shortcut to any salan .. Just this, and a little more salt to ur taste .. No other spice needed ..

Its something I've worked on a few times and finally I think I have the perfect combination.. 

2 and half tblsp red chili powder
1 tblsp salt
3 tblsp paprika powder
1/2 tblsp each ginger and garlic powder
1 tblsp papita (papaya) powder
2 tblsp whole zeera, roated
2 tblsp whole black pepper
1/2 tsp whole cloves
3 tbslp whole coriander 
1 tblsp green elaichi
1 tblsp black zeera
1 tblsp methi dana
1 whole nutmeg
4 strands mace
1  tblsp anardana powder
1 and half tbls haldi
1 piece badan khatai (star anise)
12 round red whole chilies
3 bay leaves

Grind all together.. store in a glass jar, dry and away from moisture. Thats it :)

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Imam Bayildi

Imam Bayildi... My way :)

Influenced by my Turkish neighbour in Hamburg.. I give them a twist of my own... Worth every single olive-oil laden calorie :)

There was this Turkish lady on the floor above ours.. very simple and very humble. Its been so many years since we were together in the same building.. and a few since we met. I've learnt a lot from her and am still indebted to her..

Many an afternoon I remember coming home from work and being presented by a dish of something yumm and steaming by her or one of her lovely daughters..

Amongst those many morsels of delight, was this dish too. I've watched her make it.. and eaten it directly in the kitchen...perched on a chair.. totally un-guest-like.. I think that added to its taste..

Imam Bayildi - The Imam fell over.. many fables, why its called so... whether he fell out of sheer delight at the taste.. or at the thought of so many calories.. who knows exactly? But really, once you enjoy this dish, its of no consequence WHY its called so.. :)

Here's how I made it..

5 small aubergines.. best would be the long ones, but any small thin shape would do..
3 medium onions, sliced thin
5 tomatoes, chopped rough
6 to 8 cloves of garlic
1 cup olive oil...
2 small limes (this is my own addition.. not essentially a part of the recipe.. but I like it)
1 tsp dried or 1/4 cup fresh:
Parsely, Basil, Mint each - chopped fine.
(I had dried ones only so used  that..)

Slice the aubergines in half, wash and soak them in salted water for 10 minutes

Brush olive oil over the surfaces and place them on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Or until the flesh is soft and the skin is easy enough to push away. Cover and set aside

Heat olive oil and add 2 tsp garlic to it
Add the onions and fry them to a nice golden
Meanwhile, heat some more olive oil and add the tomatoes
Add some more garlic - around a tsp, some salt and pepper as per your taste
Saute the tomatoes and let them reduce.
You want the tomatoes to be nice and saucy.. but not wet
So once the onion is nicely done, add the tomatoes
Mix well and bhunofy a bit more
Add the herbs and turn off heat.. mix in well and set aside
Once the aubergines are done, flatten the flesh with a spoon or fork to make a hollow
Spoon on the onion tomato mix in heaps
Add 1/4 cup water to the dish, so it just covers the base a bit - the aubergines are cooked, you just need some steam to warm them through
Add some salt and pepper to it and the limes, halved, flesh side down..
Pour over the remaining olive oil and add the remaining garlic...
Heat the dish in the oven.. until the water dries off and the aubergines are warm
Serve with white buttered rice or bread as per your wish.. serve with the remaining onion mix..

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Alubukhara Murabba

Great on its own, with roti or spoon .. perfect on kheer and very refreshing with yoghurt .. A standard staple on weddings here .. And a regular at home

Its more of an andaza recipe - sorry about that but I'll try be as accurate as possible..

I had almost 250 gms dried alubukhara, dried plum.

Clean, wash and soak in around 1& half glass clean water at least half an hour before cooking.

Make a sheera - 4 cups sugar 3 cups water. Boil is twice and simmer a bit.. then add the soaked fruit with its water to the pot. Add 1/4 tsp black pepper powder.

Check for taste. It should be quite sweet. The plums will cook and leave their taste which will add the khatai to it.

You need it to cook down, reduce, making a thicker sheera and the fruit should be soft - not pulpy nor hard. But soft.

If you feel its not khatta enough, add 1/2 tsp vinegar to it.

Add skinned sliced almonds and char maghaz.. according to your choice... I put in lots of almonds.. love them.. :)

Thats it. NOTHING else. You'll find many recipes telling u to add this or that. But the original that is made on weddings here in Pesh, dont have any of this or that

Keep in an airtight jar or box and never ever put a wet spoon in. Take care of these simple tips and you can enjoy it for as long as a month, inshaAllah

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Chicken Tikka Biryani

Chicken Tikka Biryani is served ... Come join us :)

Had been meaning to make this since ages.  Just never got round to it. So finally decided Friday was a good day for such a lavish meal :) Here goes the recipe:

For the Tikka spice:
There are many variations of this powder.. some a lot simpler and some even more complicated. Its up to you - I usually have all these spices in my spice rack, so its not an issue for me. But if you need to drop something lemme know and I'll tell u what to substitute for it 

3 tblsp ground coriander
3 tblsp ground cumin
3 tblsp paprika powder
3 tblsp mango powder
1 tblsp garam masala powder
1 tblsp garlic powder
1 tblsp ground ginger
1 tblsp dried mint
1 tblsp Kasuri methi
1 tblsp red chilli powder
1 tblsp orange food colour
1/4 tblsp nutmeg and mace powder

Make sure the coriander and cumin are freshly ground. If ure really into spice making, like I am, then use home made garam masala :)

Keep the spice well labeled in a glass jar.. airtight and away from moisture ..

Prepare the Tikkas first
This is one chicken, cut in 4 pieces.
Slit a few cuts on the pieces
Make a paste with
3 heaped tsps tikka powder
1 level tsp salt
3 tblsp vinegar
2 tblsp ginger garlic paste
Oil to make a thick smooth paste
Apply 3/4 of that generously on the chicken pieces and cover and set aside.

For the biryani
1 kilo boneless chicken cubes
1/4 of the tikka paste
1 bowl or 250 gms yogurt
puree of 2 medium onions
puree of 4 tomatoes
1 tblsp fried onion paste
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp red chili powder
1 heaped tsp ground coriander powder
2 tblsp gg paste
150 ml cream
2 small lemons, sliced very thinly

1 kilo white rice, boiled with a stick of cinnamon and drained, set aside

Marinate the chicken cubes in the remaining marinade for the tikka and the yoghurt. Set aside.

Put the tikka pieces on foil on a baking tray. Add 1/2 cup water and 4 tblsp oil.. Cover the tray with foil and set it in  the oven on high heat to bake. Once it looks done, uncover and let it get some colour... Do check to see whether its done before u uncover!


Brown the onion puree in oil and once it catches colour
Add the spices.. saute more. . careful not to burn..
Add the tomato puree
Saute it till it leaves oil...
Tip in the marinated chicken, bhunofy, cover and let cook.
Once the gravy looks done, add the gg and bhunofy more. Test for spices, set aside.

Layer the biryani as you would normally... and in each spread the cream as evenly as possible. Place the lemon slices on top and cover with the next layer of rice..

Serve the tikka pieces on top separately.. or you can place them on the rice once it has gathered steam and open at the table...

The tikkas are very very yumm on their own as well .. so you can just make them and serve with salad, naans, the works.. Do give it a try, inshaAllah u'll love it :)

Friday, 14 June 2013

Yummy Gooey Pull-Apart Bread

This bread is also known as the Monkey Bread.. but I dont like using this name.. it is afterall food na so I use its other name - the Pull-Apart Bread ..


There are a lot of recipes for it, usually with premade dough.. you know those crescent roll thingys.. but whats a bread if not from scratch?

So here is how I made them. Quite simple and not too lengthy.. but the taste is just awesome, especially when fresh out of the oven..

2 and half cups all purpose flour
1.5 tsp active dry yeast
4 tablespoon sugar - if its not fine sugar, grind it
4 tablespoon melted butter
4 tablespoon dry milk
Pinch salt
160ml warm milk
1 egg

For the coating
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar - granulated, not ground!
1 tblsp ground cinnamon

Here's what to do with it all:

Froth the yeast with a little warm water and 1 tsp sugar
Mix together the flour, milk powder and sugar
Combine warm milk, butter and salt in a small bowl.
Beat in the egg
Gradually add milk mixture to the dry ingredients and knead a soft non-sticky dough with ur hands. Dont use the machine... you need to feel the dough. If it sticks, dont use more liquid, just touch hands to a little melted butter and gather the dough..

Cover and let it rise for an hour and half.

Meanwhile, mix the sugars and cinnamon in a plate
Place the melted butter in a small dish
Break off small balls of the dough, roll them smooth and dip them in the butter
Roll the balls in the sugar mix and place them in a baking pan
Use the bundt pan - you know, the one with the - ah, whatdya call it? uff. You know na, the name eludes me..
So once the balls are all buttered and sugared, mix the remaining butter with the remaining sugar and pour over the bread
Cover and rest for half an hour
Preheat oven at 220 for 5 minutes
Bake the bread at 200 for 10 minutes
The bread will have risen and look done by 10 to 15 minutes
Turn off lower heating and turn on upper grill.
As soon as the bread has some colour, remove
Let it rest for five minutes
Place a plate over the baking dish and turn upside down.. the lovely goey sugar and butter will have formed a beautiful crown on ur bread..
Enjoy warm ...