Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Timater aur Podina Chutney(tomato and mint Chutney)

Asalam Alaikum,
In our house we eat a lot of chutney. We eat it with snacks like samosa and pakora, and with rice dishes. We make several different chutneys but this is our favorite.

1 Medium Timater(tomato)
1 Small bunch Hara Dhania(coriander):10-15 stems
1 Small bunch Podina(mint)
2 cloves Lesan(garlic)
8-10 Hari Mirch(green chilies)
1 Tbsp Zeera(cumin seeds)
salt to taste

Step 1-Wash hara dhania, and cut 1-2 inches off the stem end.

Step 2-Wash hari mirch, cut off stem and cut into 1 inch pieces.
Step 3-Wash podina, remove leaves and discard stems.
Step 4-Wash timater, cut off top and cut into chunks.
Step 5-Place all ingredients on your silpatta(REALLY HEAVY stone grinder) and working out your arm muscles, grind until a smooth paste.
Step 6-Scrap paste into a bowl add 3-4 tablespoons water and mix well. It should have the consistency of a slightly think salad dressing.

For those who don't own a silpatta(or who don't want to end up with forearms like Popeye:-) just throw all ingredients in a blender with some water and blend until smooth.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Off to Pakistan

Asalam Alaikum,
We are going for our second rip to Pakistan. As I do not know if we will have internet this time, I maybe a way from blogging for a while.

I hope to record some new foods while away, so Inshallah I will have a lot to share when we get back.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Asalam Alaikum,
Daals are also a very quick and easy dish. You can eat with boiled rice or roti.

Step 1- Ingredients(counter clock wise from top left)-
One cup each of Moong dal(de husked and split mung beans) and Masoor dal(red lentils)-rinsed well
10- balls whole kali mirch(black pepper)
6 -whole Loung(cloves)
1-2 inch piece of dal chini(cinnamon) broken in half
8-10 whole cloves of Lasaan(garlic)
2 thinly sliced cloves lasaan (garlic
1 tbsp zeera(cumin seeds)
1 tbsp haldi(turm)
1 tbsp dhania (coriander powder)
2 tbsp lal mirch(red chili powder)
1 tbsp namak(salt)
you will also need 2-3 tbsp ghee
Step 2- Put everything in the pot except for the sliced lasaan, the zeera and the ghee. Add 8 cups water, and stir well.
Step 3-cover and cook on a medium heat stirring occasionally, until the daals are soft, and have somewhat lost their shape. At this point how much longer to cook depends on what you are accompanying your daals, for roti you want to continue cooking to reduce the water until your daals are the consistency of oatmeal. For rice, cook only 5-10 more minutes.
Step 4- The next step is called a tuRkha (there is a heavy emphasis on the r, it is a strange work that I can never pronounce right). In a a small frying pan on a medium heat, warm your ghee.
Step 5- Add your sliced lasaan(garlic), and fry until it starts to turn a very light brown.
Step 6-Add your zeera and fry for about 30 more seconds
Step 7-Place your daals in a serving dish, and then pour the tuRkha on the top and serve.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Aloo Salaan...Spicy Potato soup

Asalam Alaikum,
This dish is very easy to cook and doesn't take as long as a meat dish, so if you are in a rush this is the perfect meal. We are used to very spicy meals in my house, if you like a little less spice then cut the red chili powder to 1 tbsp or less and only use 2-3 green chilies.

Starting from the top left and going counter clockwise
3-4 medium Aloo(potatoes), sliced into 1/4 inch chips
4 medium tomatoes, diced
4-5 hari mirch(green chilies)
1 small bunch fresh hara dhania(cilantro), roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbsp namak(salt)
2 tbsp lal mirch(red chili powder)
2-3 tbsp zeera(cumin seeds)
You will also need 2-3 tbsp ghee
and 1/4 c oil

Step 1-On a medium heat add your oil, and zeera to the pot, fry for about 30 seconds, until the zeera starts to release an appetizing smell.
Step 2-Add your aloo to the pot and stir well. Fry until the aloo starts to turn yellow/very light brown.

Step 3-Add the lal mirch and namak.
Step 4-Add the tomatoes, and stir well.
Fry, stirring often for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes start to breakdown and turn to a paste.
Step 5-Add the ghee and stir well
Step 6-Add the green chilies
Step 7-Add 6-8 cups water, stir well. Cover and cook on a medium heat, stirring often until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. If you like your soup a bit thicker add less water and continue to cook until it is the consistency desired.
Step 8-Pour into a serving dish and garnish with the chopped cilantro. Serve with plain boiled rice or Roti.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sooji Ka Halwa...Semolina Dessert

Asalam Alaikum,
This is a sweet dish that we sometimes make, especially on Fridays or holidays.

1/2 c Sooji(semolina)
1/4 c Ghee(this is the brand we
use, it is very tasty)
3-4 green Elichi(cardamoms)
3/4 c Cheeni(sugar)
2c Pani(water)
Optional -1-2 TBSP each of Kishmish(rasins) and sliced Badam(almonds)

Step 1-In a dry skillet on a medium heat dry roast the sooji, it will change color for a pale off white to almost brown. You must stir CONSTANTLY, otherwise the sooji will burn.

When it is about this color, it is finished and you should put the sooji on a plate to the side to cool while you start the next step.
This is a before and after of the roasted sooji-
Step 2 In the same pan put the ghee, then break open your elichi(cardamoms) and drop them in, fry for a minute until they release a pleasant scent.

Step3-Add the roasted sooji, the water and sugar. Stir well, cook for several minutes and then remove the elichi.
Step 4(optional)- Add the sliced Badam(almonds) and the kishmish(raisins)
Step 5-Continue cooking, stirring often so that it does not burn, until there are no more light colored grains of sooji and the whole thing thickens until it is(roughly) the consistency of peanut butter.
Step 6Your sooji is complete, pour into a serving dish and garnish with additional sliced Badam(almonds) if desired. You can eat it still warm(like a custard) or if you prefer you can wait until it cools, it will firm up sort of like jello and you can cut it into bars and eat it like a cookie.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Square Paratha

Asalam Alaikum,

After roti, another important bread is paratha. It is often eaten for nashta(breakfast) with chai(tea). In our house we usually have square paratha because it takes less time to make than a round paratha(saving time is important when cooking breakfast for 11!). Usually I make breakfast for the house because everyone says my paratha are "Zabardast"!

Many of the steps to make roti are the same steps you follow for paratha, and the only additional tools you will need are a small bowl of cooking oil, and a spoon. We will start our paratha from step 10 of making roti-

Step 1(of paratha)-
Spread one spoonful of oil on your paratha, don't get closer than one inch to the edge as it can get messy.

Step 2-fold the bottom up by one third.
Step 2-Fold the top down by one third
Step 3-Fold in the left side
Step 4-Fold in the right side
Step 5-Using the tips of your fingers, flatten the paratha out a little.
Step 6-Dip it into your extra plate of flour to prevent sticking
Step 7- Roll it out to about 8-9 inches across
Step 8- When it has changed color and gotten a bit brown and lost most of its doughy look, flip.
Step 9-Spread one spoon of oil on the top side, then flip again and do the side to the other side
Step 10-Continue fliping your paratha and rotating it a little to make sure it cooks evenly, when both side look a little like this it is finished.
Step 11-Put your paratha into your Rumal(breadcloth) and fold over the corners to keep it warm while you make the rest.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Asalam Alaikum,
One of the most important things of almost all Pakistani meals is the bread.
Step 1-Here are the tools that you would need to make roti-

Starting in the top left and going clockwise-a large bowl, a plate with extra flour for dusting, a tawa(like a cast iron skillet), a chimta(tongs), a chukla(like a raised cutting board), a bailen(rolling pin), and a rumal(bread cloth). You will also need two cups of atta(wheat flour), and 3/4 cup of water. It is better to use a gas stove if you are lucky enough to have one, but if you don't then its not a big deal.

Step 2 is to make the dough, put the atta and the water in the bowl and use your hands to mix.

Step 3 Knead until you get a somewhat stiff dough, it shouldn't be very dry but it shouldn't stick to your hands either.

Step 4-Divide the dough into six balls, take one in one hand and using the tips of our other finger, push the edges of the ball towards the center-

Step 5-now with the same hand hold your hand in the shape of a C move it in a circular motion. Both of these steps are important to help make a nice round shape in your bread.
Step 6-Next roll your ball in the extra flour,
Step 7-And use your hands to flatten it a bit-
Step 8-Put your dough on your chukla(board), and using your rolling pin flatten it out to about 4-5 inches across-
Step 9-If it seems like it might stick to your board you should dip it in your extra plate of flour-
Step 10-and then continue rolling until it is about 8-9 inches across.
Step 11-Pick the round up carefully and then flip it from right hand to left hand and back a few times-

This serves two purposes, one to knock off any extra flour and to to widen the circle a bit(sort of like when the pizza guys flip the dough in the movies!)

Step 12-After that you flip the dough onto your pre-heated tawa-
And if there are any wrinkles then just flatten them a bit.
Step 13-On a medium heat the bread will darken (and it won't look doughy) in about a minute, then use your chimta to flip your bread over.
On the other side your bread should look like this-
Give the second side about the same cooking time as the first side then comes a bit of a tricky part.
Step 14-Move you tawa to the side of the flame and using your chimta hold the bread over the flame. Don't leave it in one place, rotate the bread so theat the flame touches all parts of the bread. The bread should have turned mostly white with small charred spots, but with no dark dough spots. If you are using an electric stove you will skip this last step and instead use a small clean folded kitchen towel to press on the bread to help get it to cook evenly(gets rid of the dark spots that take a bit longer to cook)
Step 15-Now your bread is finished, put it inside your rumal(bread cloth, if you don't have one a clean dishtowel would work). Then fold the corners over your bread to keep it warm while you cook the rest.