Perfect Pancakes



Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Pancakes are flat round cakes, cooked on a griddle and in North America served as a breakfast food. In the past have tried making them with the store-bought boxed mixes, at home from scratch, tried the gluten-free recipes. Nothing tasted like these ones that I made today for breakfast. Like many other recipes I have tried from myninjanaan's space, this one was a hit at home. They turned out fluffy, melt-in-the mouth and fabulous. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thank you Henna!

Ingredients:

All purpose flour-2 cups
Sugar-3 tbs
Salt-1/2 tsp
Baking Powder-2 tsps
Baking Soda-1/2 tsp
Butter milk-2 cups (2 cups milk mixed with 2 tbs of vinegar)
Melted Butter- 3tbs
Egg-1
Blue berries-a cup
Oil- as needed to grease the pan
Powdered sugar- enough to garnish




Directions:

1. In a bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and mix well.

2. Whisk together the butter, buttermilk, butter, egg and set aside.

3. Make a well in the flour mixture  and pour the liquid ingredients in and mix gently until the ingredients come together.

4. Set aside for ten minutes.

5. Heat a nonstick pan on medium heat and pour the batter with a 1/4 cup measure.

6. Cook until bubbles break the surface of the pancake.

7. Flip the pancake and cook until it gets browned on the other side too.

8. Remove with a spatula onto a serving plate.

9. Sprinkle some powdered sugar, top with a dollop of butter some blue berries and serve hot.

10. Enjoy!








Instant Lemon Pickle


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

As of the first week of March 2015, for the records in the past ten days we have had only 6 hours of sunshine and in between record- breaking ice rains, snowfalls and everything in between. We have had similar weather patterns in Dallas in the past during December-January time frame. Not in March! I am by no means comparing the weather with the folks that have to put up with incessant snowfalls for the whole of winter. But yeah, the weather in Dallas has been  pretty uncertain.



My Mom was very well known among her family and  friends for her lemon pickle. When I was younger, all I did was helped  her to wipe the lemons dry as it was made in stages. Mom took utmost care to choose the best lemons, washed them well, dried them well and made sure there was not a drop of moisture present at any stage. Then when all the spices were added, it was put into tall ceramic pickle jars tightly secured with a cloth, tied with a string and then the lid placed over the cloth  It was put away in a dark corner and mixed every couple days until the juice softened the flesh. After the pickle reached the right stage to be tempered, it was tempered and stored at room temperature for months.

For over a decade, Mom has made and sent her lemon pickle every time I have asked for it. Now, I have come up with my version for an instant pickle that allows me to skip all those stages of  patient waiting and  is so convenient that it can be made in less than an hour. The pickle has just the right amount of tang, is  super saucy and tastes fantastic and can be used in so many ways. However, it has to be stored in the refrigerator. I have even shared this recipe with my Mom and she has made it and was very proud of me:)

Ingredients:

Lemons-5 ripe and juicy (washed and patted dry)
Water-a pot full
Salt-to taste
Turmeric Powder-1 tsp
Asafoetida -1/2 tsp(powdered)
Green Pepper-2-3 slit
Fresh Garlic-1 tbs, sliced

For tempering

Oil-2 tbs
Mustard Seeds-1 tsp
Cumin seeds-1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves-8-10

Directions:

1.Bring the water to a rolling boil in a stainless steel pot.

2. Carefully place the lemons into the pot and reduce the heat to a medium and allow them to cook for 10 minutes.

3. Turn the stove off and remove the lemons with a slotted spoon and allow them to cool completely.

4. Cut the lemons into small pieces and discard the seeds.

5. Sprinkle the salt, turmeric powder, asafoetida powder and mix well.

6. Put  in the garlic and green peppers.

7. Heat oil and put in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and turn off the stove.

8. Put in the curry leaves and allow them to turn crispy.

9. Allow the tempering mixture to  cool completely.

10. Pour the oil mixture over the lemon pieces and give it gentle mix.

11. Transfer the lemon pickle into a clean glass jar and secure it with a lid and refrigerate it.

13. Enjoy!








Chia Seed Puding


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Have you been reading "raw", "vegan", "dairy free" and "super foods", a lot lately? This recipe has all of it. It  is definitely very healthy as it is sugar-free and I have also sneaked in a gorgeous vegetable., the beets. And if you are a person who enjoys sweet things for breakfast, this recipe is for you. And what's even more cool is you can actually make a big batch of it ahead of time and  refrigerate it  and eat it for breakfast or even dessert for the next couple days.



For those who are not aware of what chia seeds are, they are these tiny speckled seeds that are the cousins of the basil seeds used in making the poular ice-cream drink, falooda. They both swell up when soaked in a liquid and become gelatinous. They are very high in fiber, full of protein, are a great source of calcium....the list goes on. This recipe is just a basic one. The additions you can make to it are endless. Read on and figure out....



Ingredients:

Chia Seeds-2-3 tbs
Almond Milk-2 cups
Honey-as needed
Salt-a pinch
Grated Coconut-for garnish


For the Beets version,

Steamed beet puree-as needed
Grated beets-for garnish


Directions:

1. Into a tall cup, pour the almond milk and the chia seeds and give it a good stir.

2. Refrigerate it for atleast 4-5 hours.

3. When serving, add the honey and salt and stir once again.

4. Pour into serving bowls, garnish with grated coconut and enjoy.

For the beet version,

1. Mix in the beet puree into the almond milk and chia seeds and chill in the refrigerator over night.

2. Pour the pudding into serving bowls and garnish with shredded beets.

3. Enjoy!






Seviyan Kheer (Vermicelli Pudding )



Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Kheer is a milk based dessert that is extremely delicious and can be a little tricky to make it taste great. It has to be silky smooth in texture, subtly fragrant and sweet. It is made with a lot of variations. It could be made with sago pearls, rice, vermicelli, corn starch etc. Today, I shall share with you my perfected version of the kheer which turns out just right, everytime.

Ingredients:

Vermicelli-1/2 cup
Sugar-1/2 cup
Milk-7 cups
Cardamom powder-1 tsp
Almond powder-2 tbs
Saffron strands-1/2 tsp
Pistachios (chopped)-1 tbs

Directions:

1. Put the vermicelli into a saute pan and dry roast them while stirring constantly until it changes color to a golden brown and set aside and allow it to cool.

2. In a heavy bottomed pot, add the milk along with the vermicelli and bring it to a boil on high heat.

3. Reduce the heat to a medium and place a lid just half way and allow it to simmer gently for 30 minutes and keep checking on the milk and stirring to make sure the milk is not burning at the bottom of the pot.

4. After 20 minutes, add the sugar, cardamom powder, almond powder, saffron strands and stir.

5. Reduce the heat to a low and let the kheer cook for 5 more minutes.

6. Turn off the stove and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

7.. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with chopped pistachios and a few saffron strands and serve.

8. Enjoy!




Tuna Cutlets


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

These tuna cutlets are a perfect choice  to go with some plain white rice and some some tangy lentil soup on a grey winter afternoon. When served to guests over a dinner party, these would get a lot of attention, as they look cute and taste delicious.  Increase the spice level or or decrease it, add an ingredient in a bigger quantity or skip any completely.  However you choose to make it, you will love to make it over and over again.

Ingredients:

Canned Tuna-3 smalls cans, drained
Salt- to taste
Red Pepper powder-to taste
Turmeric powder-1 tsp
Garam Masala-1 tsp
Ginger-Garlic Paste-1 tsp
Egg-1 whole
Cilantro-1 tbs, chopped
Mint leaves-1 tbs, chopped
Lemon Juice-2 tbs
Corn Starch-2 tbs
Sliced Onions- to garnish
Lemon wedges-to garnish
 Oil-A couple tablespoons

Directions:

1, Put the all the ingredients in a bowl except the oil and give it a good mix.

2. Take a small portion  of  the tuna mixture and form a  firm patty between the  palms and set aside.

3.  Continue making the patties until all the mixture is over.

 4. Heat a pan on medium -high heat  and pour a tablespoon full of oil and use a spoon to coat  the pan with the oil.

5. Gently place each patty onto the pan and cook until it turns a crispy golden brown on the side it was cooked.

6. Drizzle a few drops on the uncooked side and flip it to the other side and cook to the same color and crispiness.

7. Transfer to a serving plate as they get done.

8. Garnish with sliced onions a lemon wedge and some fresh mint leaves.

Enjoy!






Sardine Curry





Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

 This is a recipe for those days when you don't want to cook, yet have no other choice:) I have used canned sardines that are wild caught, in olive oil. They are soft, yet firm and do not disintegrate while cooking. When cooked in a thick tomato gravy, turns out finger-licking good. Read on and make sure you cook them soon if you already have some sardines around.

Ingredients:

Sardines in olive oil- 1 can
Tomatoes -4 medium, peeled and cubed
Salt- to taste
Kashmiri Pepper Powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
Oil-as needed
Ginger-garlic paste-1 tsp
Onions-1 small, sliced
Cilantro- to garnish


Directions:

1. Heat oil in a medium sized pot and add onions to it and fry them until they turn golden brown.

2. Add ginger-garlic paste and stir fry for a brief minute.

3. Put in the tomatoes and fry until pulpy.

4. Add the salt, pepper powder, turmeric powder and allow the ingredients to come together and the oil separates itself from the tomatoes.

5. Add the sardines along with the oil and stir them around carefully and reduce the heat to a medium and cook for five minutes.

6. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

7. Enjoy!






Pan-Fried Taro Chips




Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

A very warm Welcome to the new readers here and a warmer one to the old ones:) I have been out of the loop for a while. I have missed reading posts on my favorite blogs. I have to say,  staying away from blogging and dedicating my time to other important things in life has renewed my interestt in blogging. I think a break from the routine does a lot of good to you.

Lately,  it has been unusually cold in Dallas. For a couple more days the temperature is going to linger around the teens or lower 20's. I wouldn't mind if it was accompanied with some snow. The cold temperatures have made me prefer the indoors and cook up something warm and hot. I decided to cook some Taro chips. Not deep fried but pan fried:)

 Taro, which is also called arbi in Urdu or Hindi, is a  starchy root vegetable with a lot of health benefits. It can be cooked in many ways, with meat or without meat,  dry or in a gravy.  This version of arbi fry  is my favorite to be served piping hot on an extremely cold winter afternoon. It could be served as a snack or as a side dish with any regular meal. It is super crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. With very few ingredients, read on and see how you can cook your taro chips next time:)

Ingredients:

Taro bulbs-5 medium sized, boiled, peeled and cut into round discs
Salt- to taste
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
Red pepper powder-to taste
Black pepper powder- to taste
Cumin powder-1 tsp
Coriander powder-1 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste-1 tsp
Corn Starch-2 tbs
Oil-to fry
Fresh Cilantro-to garnish
Lemon wedges-a few to sprinkle their juice

Directions:

1. In a wide tray, place the boiled taro chips and rub the ginger-garlic paste  on them and sprinkle salt, flipping them over to make sure all the discs have been coated with salt and ginger-garlic paste evenly.

2. In a bowl, make a mixture of the turmeric powder, red pepper powder, lack pepper powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and corn starch and mix well.

3. Sprinkle this spice mixture over all the discs and flip them over again to coat them well.

4. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high heat and place each disc carefully and fry them until they have turned a nice golden brown color and crispy in texture.

5. Flip them over and allow them to cook on the other side too.

6. Turn off the stove and transfer to a serving plate.

7. Drizzle some lemon juice and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

8.Enjoy!



Baklava



Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Baklava is a delicate "middle eastern" dessert that consists of thin and crispy layers of baked phyllo dough (can be bought from any grocery store from the freezer section) that has been baked with lots of butter between each layer and a nut mixture in the middle and topped with more layers of the phyllo dough. Once it comes out of the oven, it is quickly doused with sugar syrup and allowed to cool before serving.



I was like most of you, who would just marvel at this tiny piece of store-bought  dessert, carefully biting into the flakey layers  and thought it was too complicated to even attempt making at home. However,  a few minutes after I ate it, it made me feel it was overly sweet and had loads of butter  and most of all, tasted stale. Inspite of all that, I still looked forward to eating it.



Once I decided to make it by myself at home, I was amazed by how easy it was to assemble it and bake it while controlling the portions of butter and sugar that went into making it. And talk about it's freshness, it tasted like something I never tasted before. I promise you, you will never like to eat store bought baklava once you make it yourself. If I can make it, anybody can. Period.  Please do yourself a favor. Follow my recipe and make yourself some baklava and amaze yourselves, your family and friends and post your comments below this post and let me know how wonderful your baklava tasted in shaa Allah.



Ingredients:

Phyllo dough- 1 package( thawed and brought to room temperature).
Butter-4ozs, melted to a liquid consistency
Sugar-1 cup
Water- 1 cup
Lemon Juice-1 tsp
Rose Water-2 tbs
Walnuts-2 cups (coarsely ground)

Directions:

1. Bring to a boil, one cup of water in a sauce pan along with a cup of sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour the lemon juice and turn off the stove. Add the rose water and turn off the stove and set aside.

2. Pour two tablespoons of the sugar syrup and two tablespoons of butter over the ground nuts and mix well and set aside.


3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

4. Grease a 9inch  by 13 inch glass baking dish.

5. Cut open the bag of phyllo dough and place it on a working surface.

6. Cut the stack of phyllo sheets in half along it's width.

7. Place two layers of the sheets into the baking sheet at a time and apply butter generously all over the sheet.

8. Repeat the process until you are done with one stack of the cut sheets.

9. Spread the nut mixture evenly all over the phyllo sheet.

10. Repeat the layering of sheets with strokes of liquid butter until all the sheets are done.

11. Apply one last round of butter on the top sheet.

12. Use a spatula or a butter knife and tuck in the edes of the phyllo sheets agaings the walls of the baking dish.

13. Use a sharp pairing knife and gently cut the assembled sheets into shapes of your choice.

14. Put the baking dish into the pre-heated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.

15.  Turn off the oven and pull out the baking dish and place it on the kitchen counter and pour the sugar syrup into the creases of freshly baked baklava and not on the top. That way the top remains crispy and the nut mixture and the bottom layers abrorb the liquid.

16.  Leave it to cool completely and serve.

17. Enjoy


Notes:

1. You may use vegetable oil or even coconut oil in place of butter.

2. reduce or increase the amount of sugar as per your taste.

3. While assembling the layers of phyllo, work quickly as it tends to dry up and break.

4. If you think your sheets are less moist and tend to break easily, you might want to cover the unused sheets of the dough with a damp cloth.















Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Fall, officially began almost six weeks ago. But we have had the best and most  moderate weather so far. However, the weather forecast does show that we will be seeing sudden drop in temperatures over the weekend. Fall is a magical time of the year when  lush green trees suddenly change colors and it and it appears like the entire landscape has been painted with an array of diferent colors. Then, the leaves begin to fall and the trees stand without a leaf all winter long before Spring comes in. While all those changes are happening in the weather, people remain indoors more and the outdoor activities get reduced due to shorter and colder days. I take this as an opportunity to cook up some magic inside the kitchen to warm up the cockles of my family's and friends' heart.

Lately, I have been so impressed by the good old pumpkin after reading these following hadith, and I am trying to cook more with pupmkins.

"The Holy Prophet (saw), amongst all other foods, liked pumpkin. (Tirmidhi)

Abu’l-Hasan bin Dahhaq narrated from Aisha (ra) that Rasulullah (saw) said: “Ya Aisha, when you cook, add pumpkins abundantly. Because it strengthens the heart.


Today, I am going to share with you a spice that can be used to make stuff with or without the pumpkin., the Pumpkin Pie Spice. The Pumpkin Pie Spice is an ingredient  used in making the popular Pumpkin Pie in  North America and is eaten during Fall and early Winter. It is a powdered blend of sweet smelling "warm spices", that are guarunteed to This spice blend can be used in  making just  the "pumpkin pie" but many different things. You may add it to milk shakes, oatmeal, chai latte, waffles, cakes and.... you can let your imagination go wild to come up with possibilities.

Ingredients:

Cinnamon(powdered) 4 tsps
Dried Ginger(powdered) -2 tsps
Cloves(powdered) -1 tsp
Nutmeg(powdered) -1/2 tsp
Mace(powdered) 1/2 tsp

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl well and store it in a airtight container.

Notes:

- Pound the spices coarsely in a grinding stone before grinding it in a coffee grinder.

- Use a tiny amount each time as a small amount ges a long way.


Pumpkin Soup

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

If there is one vegetable that I am impressed beyond words, or that offers so many health benefits, it is a pumpkin. It t does not have a taste of it's own, you could cook it in so many different ways. You could make  unlimited number of desserts, soups, curries, shakes etc. All of those you are now going to see them in posts soon in shaa Allah.

This post will show you how to whip up a batch of pumpkin soup with very few ingredients. You would never tell it is made with pumpkin if you were not told. Many people think pumpkins are tasteless. Yes they are but because of their nutritional benefits, you have to eat them, people! Read on and see for yourself how easy it is.

Ingredients:

 Pumpkin-2 cups grated
 Salt- to taste
Turmeric Powder-1/2 tsp
 Ground Pepper -to taste
 Coconut milk-12 ozs ( a cup and a half)
 Onions-1/2 sliced
 Garlic-2-3 cubed
 Oil-a tbs
Cumin Seeds-1 tsp
Curry leaves-a few

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a pan and add the sliced onions and saute until they turn translucent.

2. Add the chopped garlic and stir until it turns slightly brown and turn fragrant.

3. Put in the cumin seeds along with the curry leaves and stir briefly.

4. To the pan add the grated pumpkin along with salt, turmeric powder and cook on medium heat with the lid on, until they soften a little bit.

5. Pour in the coconut milk and increase the heat to a high until the mixture comes to a boil.

6. At this point, turn off the stove and allow it to cool a little bit.

7. Use an immersion blender and blend the pumpkin mixture until smooth.

8. Pour into serving bowls and drizzle some coconut milk on the top and sprinkle some ground pepper and serve hot.

9. Enjoy!