Friday 20 December 2013

*Queen For One Day*...... 19.12.2013

How days and years fly away and once again THE day arrives called
 “Your Birthday „
when you realize, you are another year older, or may be wiser? Or lets says it this way, you are the lucky one whom Allah blessed another year to live, to experience the beauty of this world, to enjoy your loved ones, your families, friends and much much more. To try do things in a better way, far better than the last years.
It is an emotional day, which gives so many thoughts, of past and future….
Well I experienced this joy yesterday to its full : )
I woke up with the fragrance of these beautiful flowers, gifted to me, which were as beautiful as my daughters. Each and every flower was chosen and made into a bunch; I love this sight each time as I know what loving feelings are behind every flower.
My day started with a surprise table with lovely wrappers and glowing candles all over, my most favorite “Franzbrötchen” with Mango smoothie, my breakfast , then greeting my friends with their sweet caring gifts and chit chatting.
The evening was Entertainment time with Full Calories Pop-corn :)
And the day ended with a delicious piece of Cheesy delight at Mamalicious, divine and indescribable!
And a sweet gift from Mamalicious for the Birthday Girl :D

Saturday 30 November 2013

“Namak Paray” An all rounder delight

                                             (click on the pictures for a larger Image)

One of these days when you just want to cuddle up in your couch, wrap a soft blanket around yourself and place a bowl of these delish Namak Paray and off you go :)
Well who will not want to have these : ) A snack where the hand doesn’t know it has to stop. Far more better than any chips: D I make and store them in big air tight boxes and they stay so crunchy over days….


Lately i had a big XL empty tin box from the Nido I buy for my sweet dishes, and I had the idea to turn it into my Secret Snack Box , so I stuck the wall paper I had at hand, okay okay I admit it is not that lovely but hey it was a spontaneous idea and I thought before my lovely box lands in the waste I better dress it up : )

Namak Paray are made in different ways, this here is my Mom’s recipe which I have been eating since my childhood and have adopted it the same way.
She used to add yoghurt in it and used to knead it with luke warm milk, I never understood at that time why yoghurt?? She told me that these should be crispy and not hard, the crisp you feel as you hold it in your hand and it melts in the mouth.
So I always use yoghurt in my Namak Paaray to make it very crispy ( khasta) and knead the dough with milk instead of water. I keep pouring milk on the sides and knead, so please be careful it’s possible that you need a bit less or a bit more milk so that’s where we have to go accordingly to the dough structure ok, don’t be confused with the measurement as a good cook acts accordingly : )
It’s the best recipe ever and I make all my dough’s which I have to fry with a crispy touch with this method.
Like I always say, we have to develop a love for cooking, only then, we can get the best results : )
So get ready , here we go, you need:

250 gram plain flour (maida ca, 2 cups)
4-5 tbs plain yoghurt
¾ tsp salt (or to taste)
½ tsp white cumin seeds ( sabut sufaid zeera)
¼ tsp Carom seeds (ajwain )
¼ tsp baking powder
**Chaat masala to sprinkle
3tbs level soft ghee (clarified butter)
¾ -1 glass luke warm milk
-sieve the flour, mix in the yoghurt and ghee and mix with hands into fine crumble
-the mixture should seem even, just rub the yoghurt and ghee very well in it
-add in all the remaining rest things, and then pour the milk and knead into soft dough
- make 5 balls out of it and let them rest around ½ an hour
-resting time makes the dough softer and is easy to roll out
-roll out big chapattis and cut diamonds with a cutter or a simple knife
-I uses a curved pastry wheel cutter, gives a lovely look
-fry in hot oil, but don’t over fry them, take them out when they are still light brown
as they will automatically get darker once taken out of the oil.
-sprinkle chaat masala with a pinch, not too much it should only taste “masala darr!!!!
-you can of course leave it without the masala too, solely your choice : )
-preserve them in a tin box or a plastic box laid with a kitchen paper so that the oil is absorbed
-they stay crunchy and fresh a week for sure
Good frying!!!! : )
**What is Chaat masala?
It is a blend of spices which is used for fries, and roasts, and grilled food, dips and fruit salads. It has that specific taste that brings out the spicy touch.
A mix of Coriander seeds, black rock salt, dry mango powder, red whole chilies’
White cumin seeds, dry ginger powder, black pepper from the mill, paprika powder.
I first fry all my spices and then grind them, that’s the secret of the taste : )
I make this at home and honestly I have never measured what I add, I promise you the next time I make it I will note down the quantity of the spices.

After been cooking things so long you reach that stage where you just open your cupboard and sprinkle what you thing you need at that very moment for the dish you are making  : )
You can buy this at any Pakistani/Indian shop too, but I felt the taste is so main stream that it had no taste for me, so I just read all the ingredients on the packing and thought well why not make it at home, I excluded a lot of things like citric acid or vinegar, as the mango powder has the better effect.

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Potato/Zucchini Casserole (Cheesy Over Bake)

Every dish over baked with lots of cheese is very dear to our heart : )
I keep making casseroles with chicken and mince so this time it was a Vegetable  Casserole.
I was gifted a sack full of lovely organic potatoes from my friend’s garden, so pure so fresh, I had Zucchinis at home so I planned to make this immediately.
Zucchini is very good for baking stuff, as in frying t absorbs a lot of oil/butter, it’s outstandingly tasty. It is low in calories and rich in Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron. We can also grate it directly in our salad bowl as well, it s crunchy and similar to cucumber.
This is how I made my Casserole
4-5 medium potatoes (boiled and 2-3mm sliced)
3-4 large Zucchinis (thin sliced)
250ml double cream (1 pack)
50ml milk
50 g grated cheese
A blend of thym, oregano, rosemary to taste
2 tsp butter
Black pepper from the mill
¾ tsp Salt or to taste
1 tsp honey
2 tsp flour
¼ cup cold water
1 tbs butter
250 g grated cheese
-mix the flour in the cold water and let aside
-heat butter in a saucepan
-pour the double cream in it and stir, then mix all the rest ingredients except the grated cheese, honey and flour
-as the milk comes to a boil, pour in the flour mixture and whisk fast to avoid lumps.
-Now sprinkle the 50g grated cheese and honey it, the sauce will form a thick shape so be careful and keep stirring, the cheese will melt and give a thick structure, so lower the heat.
-the consistency should not become too thick as the Vegetable has to cook in it
-now set the casserole, first grease it with butter then lay out with Potatoes and zucchinis the way you like, you can make layers  but the sliced form seems attractive :)
-as all the casserole is covered, then pour the sauce on the top so it reaches each corner
-spread the grated cheese all over from one side to the other sprinkle some mixed dry herbs on the top and then bake it in a preheated oven on 180°C around 40-50 minutes till the Vegetable is cooked and the cheese melts and turns light goldish!
Take it out and let it set at least 15 minutes so you can cut out evenly and easily :)
It’s cheesy, its yumm and its Delicious!
Bon Appétit!!

Saturday 26 October 2013

Chicken Polau spicy and fluffy : )

For me the name Palou is just the ‘Sandali Polau’, the original rich tasty one : ) But as it is many like the chicken meat in it. We at home prefer to make the Sandali one as my Hubby is no great fan of the Chicken Polau, he is a Solid Lahori Puttar fond of Meaty dishes :D

The Chicken has to be made very well so the stock has no smell in it, here again all made with love and care turns out super, it is not the recipe which makes our dishes yummy it is mainly the attention we put in it while cooking which brings out the taste!

No doubt it is made far faster and is lighter to make so I do make it off and on for a change : )
Here you have to note some tips, I will try to explain it in an easier way so hope you have the best results when you make it : )
*Different spices, used at different stages built up the main taste, if you put all together and stir they will lose their flavor.
*I cut my chicken in really small pieces, the larger the pieces the less the taste! Small pieces absorb more spices and are pleasant to eat and are really tasty!
*I don’t use too much onion so the stock is not too thick
*I use fresh grated garlic and no ginger in it
*I use the small green cardamom in the baghaar to bring out the aroma
*I use some kevra essence for that typical rich aroma in the pot
*I use yoghurt so the meat stays soft and nice in color
*I use NO tomatoes as that bring stickiness in the stock and apart from this tomatoes have nothing to do in any Polau : )
So this is how I make it :)
3 cups Basmati rice soaked just 15-20 minutes!
1 whole chicken
(cut in at least 20 pieces)
2 medium onion fine sliced
¼ cup cooking oil
1 tbs mixed grated garlic
( I grate fresh for it)
5-6 small green cardamom
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp black pepper corn
150 g yoghurt (whisk smooth)
¼ tsp red chili : )
½ tsp coriander powder
3 tsp salt and more to taste
¼ - ½ tsp garam masala
1 tbs yellow color
2 tsp kevra essence
3 glass or 6 cups water, more if needed!
-wash the chicken and let the access water drain out
-heat the oil and add the cloves to fry, they will give a nice hot aroma in some seconds
-add the green cardamom and fry till they fluff up and then add the sliced onion in it
-fry the onion till golden brown, not dark brown or the stock will turn too dark and blackish later
-now sprinkle some grated garlic and fry fast, and add the chicken immediately into it
-while it is being fried, sprinkle the black pepper corn and the rest garlic and keep stirring
-you have to stir constant so the meat does not stick to the pot and break
-you’ll see the meat turn nice golden and the oil will show up from all sides
- I never cover the lid as the chicken meat cooks quite fast and takes a nice shape and color when stirred constantly
-now mix the red chili and coriander in the creamy whisked yoghurt
-pour this mixture on the fried chicken and mix all well
-now stir this mixture till the yoghurt leaves water and that dries up
-you will just see the gravy forming into a thick paste
-now pour the 3 glass water and bring it to the boil just 1-2 times
-we don’t need to cook the meat as it s already done and ready
-this process takes around 15-20 minutes so take care and soak the rice before time
-now add the soaked and drained rice to the stock, sprinkle the garam masala now
-when the water starts to cook keep a high flame, the water will start drying in around 5 minutes
-as you see bubbles forming this is the right time to set it on dumm
-add the kevra essence, just stir slightly and set the pot on dum
-I cover my pot with an Alum foil and that works wonders, the rice comes out GREAT!
-before you cover the lid, sprinkle the yellow color on the top at 3 different places, mixed in few drops of water
- the rice will be ready in around 10-13 minutes, don’t lift the lid to keep checking, as you will release the whole steam in it
-Just open it once after 10-15 minutes, Insha’Allah it is ready
-take away the foil immediately or the rice may get mushy in too much steam
-just loosen the sides with help of a skimmer
-sprinkle some garam masala as you dish out the polau…Ummm it’s divine in aroma and taste!
~I made garlic dip with it, added 2 pods ofgrated garlic, 2-3 crushed green chilis and 5-7 crushed black peppers in around 2 cups of yoghurt. Let it stay for an hour so the garlic leaves the intensive aroma in the yoghurt.
Enjoy making it and do share your experience how it turned out : )