Every visit to Pakistan begins this way. Chicken Pulao. It’s the only dish I request my mom to make every time I board an Emirates flight back home. I seldom give mom due credit for her cooking, but for chicken Pulao, it would be atrocious to not award her some laurels. In my attempts to learn to make mom’s Pulao, I would carefully follow her steps but just never had the patience to replicate the exhaustive and involved cooking process. The rice is cooked low and slow in a seasoned broth. Mom makes Pulao with fresh chicken broth. And that my friends takes a bit more patience.
This recipe has no patience so I present to you a version that is almost as delicious as my mom’s if you’re pressed for time. Almost because we’re cheating our way to victory a bit, okay?
Let’s get started!
This soup takes me right back to the hospital room where my aunt is ladling her famous Chicken Corn Soup into bowls for the kids as we younglings excitedly watch another heavily pregnant aunt breathe through her labor pains on the hospital bed. We slurp the soup. The pregnant aunt heaves a sigh. That’s a really strange memory. This aunt was a “soup bearer” and would always bring a huge stainless steel pot with a giant ladle along with her to family picnics, dinners and funerals.
One of the reasons I seldom make crispy chicken burgers is that it demands time and extensive cleaning as you set up your coating station which includes eggs and flour. I wanted to create a recipe that is easy and quick. In this Crispy Chicken Burger recipe, I do without eggs and found that the fat in chicken is enough to hold together the ground meat.
Adding in garam masala and ginger garlic paste gives it a Pakistani flavor, which along with the raita that I shared with my Seekh Kebab fills the kitchen with a familiar aroma of Pakistani cooking. Follow along and you’ll be quite amazed at how crispy and easy it is to make these burgers. Continue reading “Crispy Chicken Keema Burger”
Sheer Khurma is a popular Pakistani dessert prepared around religious holidays to add just the right amount of sweetness to the Eid table. Similar to desserts like Kheer and Kulfi, Sheer Khurma is also made with milk that is thickened slowly with the help of roasted vermicelli. Essentially, vermicelli is a type of pasta (not similar to rice noodles) and the starch allows milk to thicken. Continue reading “Sheer Khurma Recipe”
Ok, I have something to admit. As much as I steer clear of fast food joints, I absolutely love the chilli bowl at Wendy’s. In fact, the first time I tried chilli (I used to call it chilli beans), was at Wendy’s. This recipe that I share is just as good if not better. On those overcast days that threaten to burst open the heavens, I shuffle to my kitchen in my sweatpants to stir a pot of thick, chunky chilli. And to get the right consistency and flavor, the trick is to finish the chilli on high heat! The recipe is incredibly easy. I use leftovers to make tacos–the kind you get in Taco Bell (sorry, sometimes I cheat). Continue reading “Ground Beef Chilli”
I remember making this a long time ago for a potluck during summer. My friends raved about this chicken as they bit the juicy, tender meat off the bones. That chicken roast was a result of digging in my pantry for any spices I could find. It was a recipe that I created right on the spot as I slid. This recipe is an improved version that has a slightly sweet Asian kick to it.
It’s a one-pot recipe that will save you numerous trips to the grocery store. Serve it with my Sriracha dip and your friends will beg you to make this on your next potluck! My Sriracha dip is what In N Out calls their “secret sauce.” Let me tell you there’s no secret to this sauce! Just some mayo, Sriracha and mustard!
- 3 chicken thighs with bones
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¾ tsp cayenne pepper
- ⅔ tsp ground cumin
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2-3 tbsp vinegar (to deglaze)
- 2 carrots, slices
- 2 red potatoes, sliced in wedges
- Sriracha Dip:
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tsp Sriracha
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- Wash and pat dry chicken thigh pieces and create slits on the surface at a diagonal angle.
- In a small bowl, mix the garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, soy sauce and honey. Now rub this mixture well into the chicken. Let the chicken marinate for half an hour and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. (It's okay if you don't have time to marinate; the flavor may be a little less intense but it's still delicious!)
- Next, in a stainless steel pan over high heat, add a few tbsp of oil and sear your chicken. All we want to do at this point is to brown the chicken pieces. Sear three minutes on one side, and then flip the pieces for another 2-3 minutes.
- Next, turn the flame to medium and pour a few splashes of vinegar to the pan. The pan will sizzle and hiss. The vinegar will lift those brown bits stuck to the pan during the searing stage. With a wooden spatula, scrape the brown bits of and stir your chicken around. You will notice a beautiful brown color develop on the chicken slowly.
- Now, toss in the carrots and potatoes along with the chicken and stir in the juices from the chicken.
- Transfer the vegetables from the pan onto an oven proof tray or casserole dish. Now place the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables. This will allow heat to circulate around the chicken and help crisp the chicken pieces. Putting the chicken at the bottom will make the underside soggy.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 425 degrees F flipping once half way through.
- After 30 minutes, turn the broiler on and broil the chicken pieces for 10 minutes--flipping once halfway.
- To make my secret sauce, mix mayo, Sriracha and mustard and serve.
Chicken Karahi is arguably the most popular dish in both Pakistan and India and one that is my absolute favorite. But somehow, I could never achieve that flavor and rich brown color the number of times I tried to make it at home. Although it came out good, the chicken remained a tad bland; the spices never seeped into the meat specially because chicken does not take too long to cook. And then I realized the key ingredient missing from my recipe is yogurt!
Purists would say yogurt is not needed but for me it gives me restaurant-style Chicken Karahi right at home! Yogurt helps to tenderize the chicken and allows the spices to seep in. Another key step is to make sure the juices evaporate. Until you see a lovely sheen of oil, keep stirring on high heat. The stirring does two things. It scrapes the lovely brown bits stuck to the bottom of the wok where all the flavor is hiding, and it also helps to deepen the color of the Karahi. My version is very different from my mother’s and even my grandmother’s. And between you and I, I love mine the best! But the ladies don’t need to know that.
- ⅓ cup oil
- 1 red or yellow onion, chopped
- 1 whole chicken, skinless and cut into 14-16 pieces (rinsed and patted dry)
- ⅓ cup plain yogurt
- 1½ tsp cumin
- 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
- 1½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
- ¾ to 1 tsp salt, to taste
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 5 tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
- ¼ cup water
- Some cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2-3 green chillies, slit thinly lengthwise
- In a wok over medium heat, add oil.
- Once oil is hot, toss in the chopped onions and fry for 6-7 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
- Next, add the rinsed chicken pieces and stir until combined with the onion.
- Add yogurt, cumin, coriander seeds, red chilli powder, salt, pepper and ginger garlic paste and stir until the chicken pieces are coated.
- Continue stirring for about 5-6 minutes on high heat.
- Tip in the tomatoes, cilantro and chillies and stir.
- Cover the wok with a lid, turn the flame to medium to low and let the karahi cook for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove the lid and turn the flame to high and let the water evaporate.
- Once the water evaporates about 10-15 minutes, start to stir again.
- You'll notice that the curry will release oil and you'll see a lovely sheen around the edge of the wok.
- At this point, add in some more cilantro and chilli and pop the lid back on and turn the flame to the lowest possible setting for 5-10 minutes. This is called the "dum" stage which is important to finish off the Karahi.
- Enjoy hot with pita bread or naan! Serves 5-6 people
There aren’t too many things that speak of winter, rain, overcast and gloom quite like a steaming bowl of French onion soup. This soup that often intimidates newbies requires only caramelization and simmering of onions in a basic beef broth. That is it! But my goodness, this soup is all you need on that cold afternoon when the weather app on your phone is showing 50% chance of rain and all your friends have gone into hibernation.
Right after shooting this video, I came down with a nasty cold. And believe me when I say this… I had 6 cups of this soup throughout the day and was back to 100 within 12 hours without popping a single tablet! You may not think that’s a big deal, and Ill ask you when you’re cocooned in a blanket waiting for the Day/NyQuil to kick in.
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 large yellow onions
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 6 cups beef broth
- 3-4 Bay leaves
- French bread slices
- Gruyere cheese
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil.
- Slice onions thinly and add to the pan. Stir for 5-6 minutes until onions are soft.
- Sprinkle salt and sugar and allow the onions to caramelize and brown on medium to low heat for 30-35 minutes.
- Next, sprinkle flour over the caramelized onions and mix really well. This will help to thicken up the soup just a little bit. Just a tad!
- Next, pour in beef broth and add bay leaves. Let the soup simmer for 10-15 minutes on medium heat.
- While the soup is simmering, slice french bread and toast it on both sides. I toast it under the broiler in my oven.
- To assemble French onion soup, pour a couple ladles of the soup into an oven-safe bowl.
- Place the toasted french bread on top, and grate gruyere cheese generously on top.
- Place the bowl into the oven under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and brown.
- Serve immediately!
Starbucks has a few things on display that I absolutely love, the number 1 being their pumpkin bread. It has the right amount of pumpkin in it to make you reminisce about fall. But nothing beats making your own loaf at home. It’s time consuming, yes… but there is a reason you are here reading this:)
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1½ cups pumpkin puree
- ⅓ cup oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ½ tsp cinnamon (optional)
- ½ cup raisins (optional)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Pumpkin seeds to garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, crack in eggs along with sugar and mix.
- Add in pumpkin puree and oil and mix well.
- In another bowl mix all the remaining dry ingredients except pumpkin seeds. (You can also add in the dry ingredients right into the mixing bowl the way I do it in the video.)
- Dump the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix just until everything is mixed through.
- Pour the batter in an 8 by 5 inch loaf pan, sprinkle with chopped pumpkin seeds and walnuts and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
- Let the bread cool for a few hours before slicing because otherwise it will crumble and not be as moist. (Next day bread is the best. The bread can stay on your countertop covered for up to 4-5 days!)