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.


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)


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


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.


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


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


- 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.


 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


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!

Beet Lemonade.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Everything good in the world is in this glass of lemonade. It is a great drink to cool off in hot weather and a smart way to keep the colds away during winter. The goodness of beets and it's gorgeous color, combined with the goodness of  honey and that of lemons, makes it the best drinks ever.  This very simple and easy to make lemonade can be made with all natural and fresh  ingredients and it does not even contain the not-good at-all refined sugar.


Beets- 2 small ( scrubbed, washed and cut into cubes)
Water-as needed
Honey-to taste
Lemon juice-2-3 tbs
Salt-a pinch
Fresh mint leaves-to garnish
Lemon slice-to garnish


1. Pour 2 cups of water into a sauce pan along with the cubed beets and bring them to a boil on high heat and then let them simmer for 5-8 minutes.

2. Turn off the stove and allow the beets and the  colored water to cool.

3. Take a serving glass pour water, lemon juice, salt, 3 tbs of beet water and stir well.

4. Garnish with mint leaves and a slice of lemon and enjoy!


- You could add some ginger juice too along with the lemon juice.

-Add ice cubes if desired.

Eid ul Adha Mubarak and Smashed Potatoes

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I know it has been a long time since Eid is over. However, a belated Eid ul Adha Mubarak to all my readers and Hajj Mubarak to all those had an opportunity to perform Hajj this year.

It is always a pleasing  to eat vegetables and lighter meals, after eating festive and  meaty ones. Also, when vegetables are cooked and served in cool and attractive ways, they add a shine to the table and make your picky-eaters reach for them  first:) Smashed potatoes are one way to excite everyone at home to eat healthy foods. Read along and see how easy it is to smash your potatoes:)


Potatoes- 8 small ones, scrubbed and washed well
Water- good enough to boil
Salt-to taste
Black pepper- to taste
Olive Oil- enough to brush
Fresh dill leaves- few


1. Preheat the oven to 450 deg F.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray some oil onto it.

3. To a big pot, add water and potatoes and boil them until fork tender.

4. Drain the water and allow the potatoes to cool off just a bit.

5. Place one potato at a time on a chopping board and with the help of a flat plate ( I used a dough scraper) , press it down flat.

6. Repeat the same process until all the potatoes are  smashed flat and carefully lift them up and place them onto the baking sheet.

7. Sprinkle salt, pepper and spray or drizzle some olive oil onto each potato.

8. Bake the potatoes in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until they turn crispy and golden brown.

9. When done remove them from the oven and place them onto a serving platter and sprinkle some fresh dill leaves and serve hot.

10. Enjoy!

Spaghetti In Beet Sauce

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

This gorgeous spaghetti has all good things in it. The creamy coconut milk , the goodness of beets and the pretty pink color. Also, I have given it an Indian twist by adding a few Indian seasonings. Read on and see how easy it is to make it...


Spaghetti-One 14 oz package
Salt-as needed
Coconut milk-1-2 cups
Beets-3 medium, peeled and boiled until soft
Curry leaves-a few


1. Boil the spaghetti according to the instructions on the bag.  Drain  the water and drizzle some olive oil and set aside. 

2. Blend together the cooked beets along with the coconut milk until smooth and set aside. 

3. Heat oil in a pot and add mustard seeds,  cumin seeds and curry leaves allowing them to sizzle and crackle one after the other. 

4. Add the asafoetida to the hot oil and immediately pour the beet and coconut milk mixture into the seasoned oil. 

5. Bring the mixture to a boil anf turn off the heat. 

6. While the mixture is still hot,  add the spaghetti and toss to coat all strands with the beet sauce. 

7 . Enjoy!

Chicken Gola Kabaab.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

If you are anything like me, who loves to easy and quick to cook recipes, this recipe will be a perfect one for you. When you want to either jazz up a dinner table with something very delicious and eye-catching, or make some tiny little balls of goodness to serve as an appetizer, snack, or even stuff your pita pockets, you will love this recipe.


Ground Boneless Chicken-1 lb
Salt-to taste
Turmeric Powder-1/2 tsp
Ginger-Garlic Paste-2 tsps
Garam masala-1 tsp
Coriander Powder-1 tsp
Green Pepper-2-3 in nos(chopped)
Fresh Cilantro leaves-a handful (chopped)
Fresh Mint Leaves-a handful(chopped)
Oil-4-5 tbs


1. Marinate the ground chicken with salt, turmeric powder, garam masala, coriander powder, ginger-garlic paste, mix well and set aside.

2. In a blender, add the marinated ground chicken, chopped mint, cilantro and green pepper and blend until well combined.

3. Oil you palms and make small balls, smaller than golf balls and place them onto a clean plate.

4. Heat oil and slowly drop all the balls in and allow them to cook on medium-high heat, while turning them to let them cook evenly and turn golden brown all over.

5. When done, remove them with a slotted spoon onto a serving plate and serve hot.

6. Enjoy!

Pan Fried Crispy Okra (Kurkuri Bhindi)

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

You can actually enjoy crispy fried okra, without deep frying it with only one simple secret ingredient, the corn starch! Corn starch serves many purposes, it could be used as a thickening agent to thicken soups, can be used in baking, used as a coating for pan-frying fish or other vegetables. Since it is a gluten free ingredient, it is an amazing option for those gluten-free recipes.

Kurkuri Bhindi can be served as a snack, an appetizer or even  a side dish along with plain white rice and some lentil soup for lunch or dinner.


Okra- 1/2 lb (Washed, patted dry and cut into long slices)
Salt-to taste
Ginger-Garlic Powder-1 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli powder-1 tsp
Turmeric Powder-1/2 tsp
Garam Masala-1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder-1/2 tsp
Corn Starch-2-3 tbs
Oil-2 tbs


1.  In a bowl put the cut okra and sprinkle the salt, pepper powder, turmeric powder, Coriander powder, garam masala and finally the corn starch and toss to coat the slices of okra well and set aside for 10 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and lay the pieces of okra in one uniform layer.

3. Stir gently and flip the slices over and cook until the mixture turns a golden brown color and the okra turns to a darker green.

4. Once the coating around the okra turns crispy and begins to make a scratchy sound, you know it is done.

5. Turn off the stove  and transfer the okra to a serving plate.

6. Enjoy!

Sago Pudding

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Sago pearls are very tiny white balls that actually look like pearls. They are a starchy, tasteless flavorless product derived from a plant. When soaked they swell up  and  when cooked, turn transluscent. It is used in various kind of preparations both savory and sweet. They are very soothing to the stomach and easy to digest.

I have always had a hate-love relationship with tapioca pearls as a child. I always ran away from any kind of pudding made with  sago pearls, while I could munch on "sabudana papad"or "papadoms" that are sundried  and deep fried sago wafers, all day long. Now, I am discovering so many ways to interestingly use sago pearls in my own kitchen.

This is a pudding that takes a short time  to whip up and serves as a perfect, eye catching dessert.


Sago Pearls-1 cup (soaked in water for two hours)

Coconut milk-1 cup
Salt-1/4 tsp

Jaggery-2oo gms
Water-1/2 a cup


1. Bring water to a boil and add the soaked sago pearls and allow them to cook until translucent.

2. Turn off the stove and drain all the water using a strainer.

3. Put the drained sago pearls in small bowls, cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

4. Heat the coconut milk along with the salt on medium heat until it becomes thinner in consitency.

5. Turn off the stove and set it aside.

6. Heat water along with the jaggery until it boils and turns into a thick syrup .

7. Turn off the stove and set the syrup aside.

8. To assemble and serve,  invert the bowl with the cooked sago onto a serving plate and tap gently to un-mold the sago pearls which take the shape of the bowl when cooled.

9. Pour the coconut milk over the set sago  and drizzle the jaggery syrup and serve.

10. Enjoy!

Zucchini Kofta Curry

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Zucchini, also called Courgette in some parts of the world is a very versatile vegetable.  With all it's health benefits, it can be cooked or  baked in a number of ways. With them, you could make  a curry, bake a cake, a bread, make fritters, make zucchini noodles or even eat them raw. Today I would like to share a creamy Kofta curry. This is a two part recipe, where the zucchini balls are fried and then served with a gravy, together  in one place.


For the Zucchini  Koftas

Zucchini-2 large, (washed, grated and the water squeezed using a cotton cloth)
Chickpea flour-1 cup or more
Salt- to taste
Turmeric powder-1 tsp
Red Pepper Powder- 1 tsp
Ajwain (Carrom Seeds)-1 tsp
Oil-for deep frying
Cilantro leaves-a handful, chopped

For the gravy

Cashews-1/2 cup, roasted
Tomatoes- 4 medium sized, cubed
Green Peppers-3 small
Ginger -Garlic paste-1 tbs
Onions-1 medium sliced
Salt-to taste
Kashmiri Mirch Powder-1 tsp
Turmeric Powder-1/2 tsp
Garam Masala-1 tsp


For the Zucchini koftas

1. Heat oil in a pan.

2. Mix the grated zucchini, salt, red pepper powder, turmeric powder, chickpea flour, cilantro leaves, carrom seeds well.

3. Form round balls with your hands and carefully slide them into the hot oil and fry them until they turn golden brown all around.

4. When done, remove them with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel.

To make the gravy.,

1. Grind together the roasted cashews, tomatoes, green peppers to a fine paste and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a pot and fry onions until they turn golden brown.

3. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir until it turns brown and becomes fragrant.

4. Pour the ground cashew paste along with salt, kashmiri mirch powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and cook on medium while stirring frequently to avoid burning until you see the oil separate.

5. Turn off the heat and transfer the gravy to a serving bowl.

6. Carefully place the zucchini balls into the gravy while it is still hot and garnish with cilantro leaves.

7. Enjoy!