Chana Daal in an Instant Pot!

Chana Daal

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When we were kids we took a trip to the Northern parts of Pakistan, to Swat and Kaghan with their beautiful peaks and glacial rivers. I would share pictures, but I have some izzat (i.e. self respect).

Those weren’t necessarily my best years.

I don’t remember many details about the trip, but I do remember those delicious bags of chana daal that we would pick up from the nearest restaurant for dinner. When I say bags I am serious. The chana daal or chanay ki daal actually came in clear plastic bags that I would clumsily try to serve myself from, using roti to scoop up what I could, spilling some in the process. It was one of my favourite things about that trip and I really wish that I could recreate that kind of nostalgic magic. 

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Orange Stevia Cheesecake Pie (GF!)

Stevia Cheesecake

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I know, I know, you’re confused. What is butter sugar carbs loving Sarah doing baking sugar free sweets and gluten free ones on top of that? Getting ready is what. Here is a Fact: South Asians are at a higher risk for Type 2 Diabetes. My father is diabetic. I love me some sugar. See where I am going with this? Yup, people, Stevia is my future. Might as well embrace it now, no? Orange Stevia Cheesecake Pie i

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Mushroom Stroganoff a la Alton Brown

Mushroom Stroganoff

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My husband used to be a consultant which meant a lot of his weekdays were spent in a different city or country. On those days I would usually foodnetwork.com my meals. That means spending hours searching recipes, reading reviews and walking to the neighborhood Rabba for ingredients. This Mushroom Stroganoff from Alton Brown was a favourite, but it got supplanted by the Garlicky Mushroom Pasta my kids love.Mushroom Stroganoff

Mushroom Stroganoff
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Pakistani Soya Aloo – Potatoes + Dill = Deliciousness

Soya Aloo

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Yes, I am a mathematical genius like that. Don’t beat yourself up about it, all of us just aren’t wired that way….

Soya Aloo

I kid, although now that I am on the subject of math I should point out that baking really helped my fraction game. Half my life my mother would say “Oh yeah, this recipe that feeds 12 people, go ahead and make 3.5 times the amount.” Now if only calculus and baking were somehow related. Soya Aloo

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Coffee Toffee Lindt Shortbread Cookies

coffee_toffee_lindt_shortbread_

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Did you ever watch Home Alone? You know, from back when Macaulay Culkin was cute. Apparently it released in 1990 and the fact that I remember it well makes me way old. But back to the movie. Growing up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia that movie was the first time I was exposed to Christmas. You see we are Muslim and before the whole world shrank thanks to the internet Christmas was still a very North American/ European thing. Now I see friends still living in Pakistan putting up trees with twinkling lights. It is fun to see that Santa has gone global 🙂 

I love the carols, the lights, the magic of it all, but I also really love having another excuse to bake. When I spotted these Lindt Shortbread Cookies from Salma of The Write Balance I knew I had to bake them pronto. Because, well it’s the season after all. Coffee Toffee Lindt Shortbread Cookies

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Instant Pot Tandoori Roast Chicken – Cooked in Under 30 Minutes!

Instant Pot Tandoori Roast Chicken

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I am slowing down with age. That’s a thing right. Is it a thing at 35? If not let’s pretend I am 55 and excuse my laziness. Here is the plain truth. I am all about everything from scratch meals. But sometimes, sometimes, I want to be able to make a no muss no fuss meal that’s inviting and impressive. And sometimes, sometimes I think it’s okay to take some short cuts. Like bust out a Shaan Masala packet (or two) and make some quick Instant Pot Tandoori Roast Chicken that literally falls of the bone. Imagine being so tired and being able to easily pull that off. Nothing feels quite as good as using some hot naan to break off some tender masala-licious chicken, scoop up a little of that spicy gravy and savour all that deliciousness. 

Instant Pot Tandoori Roast Chicken

Instant Pot Tandoori Roast Chicken
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Chocolate & Cream Mille Feuille

chocolate & cream mille feuille

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Paris is simultaneously exhilarating and intimidating. I am searching for words to describe what it felt like to be there for a few days this summer and am a little at a loss. Minus those times when the 6 yo and 3 yo both wanted to sit in the stroller, that experience I have words for, but I do like to keep it PG here. Let’s revert to the positive shall we?

chocolate & cream mille feuille

Although I thought I knew what to expect I really did not. Not with the city, or the monuments (hello Eiffel Tower, you are ginormous) or the patisseries. They’re everywhere. As a home baker that sheer amount of talent astounds me. How is it possible I wonder for so many gifted people to reside in one city and produce this endless array of perfection. I am still not entirely sure.chocolate & cream mille feuille

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A Crunchier Lahori Fried Fish – A twist on the Pakistani classic!

Lahori Fried Fish

People go to weddings for the korma. I don’t. I am straight up there for the Lahori Fried Fish and the dessert. For most of my life my “shadi” plate has been half a plate piled with hot naans and the other half with savory unctuous battered deep fried, but so damn good Lahori Fried Fish. My father would always warn me about the perils of eating seafood in the summer, but fish over korma any day. 

Lahori Fried Fish

So in my head Lahori fish always has a spiced chickpea batter and then. Well, and then, my brother got married. That was exciting and all, but there was this fish at his nikah (the Muslim wedding ceremony). This crunchy, spicy, punchy fish. It had all the flavors of a lahori fried fish, but the CRUNCH people, the crunch.

I was so excited that I immediately went into the hosts’ kitchen in my “chamak challo” (glitter and sparkle) dressed for a wedding state and enthusiastically began complimenting a confused catering staff who told me where I could leave my plate.

Leave my plate. Pffft. I had just started eating.Lahori Fried Fish

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30 Minute Fajita Pasta

30 Minute Fajita Pasta

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November 1st. There is something about that date that I find positively intimidating. It is a little silly I know, but somewhere over the course of the next few weeks is my older ones birthday party, my younger ones birthday party, a possible trip out of town, the usual pre Christmas madness, and Christmas itself. While we don’t celebrate Christmas per se, Santa does come to our house with something for the girls. Why you may ask. Well, because this Mama is all about any kind of magic.

30 Minute Fajita Pasta

I grew up reading this Enid Blyton series called the Wishing Tree in which these two children would visit the extraordinary inhabitants of the Enchanted Tree and  explore the lands that came to visit the tree. Even then I was too old to believe in this notion, but it was such fun to play what if. I want my kids to have that – that life full of what ifs and possibilities, a half belief in a world where magic is around the corner, where a kindly figure magically appears and leaves them a special present.

Now I know that this sounds like it has nothing to do with 30 Minute Fajita Pasta, but it kinda does.30 Minute Fajita Pasta

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Baingan ka Raita – Sliced Eggplant in Yogurt

Baingan ka Raita
Baingan ka Raita

I ran a little Instagram poll the other day to see if this Baingan ka Raita was worth posting and apparently over 90% of you think so.

Was I surprised? Not really.

I remember calling my mother one chilly evening in Toronto, at some absurdly early time in Karachi because I had managed to mess it up. My mother did her usual “so easy, just namak-laal-mirch and lehsan (garlic)”. Aah garlic. The tiniest smidge was what my dahi was missing and suddenly all was right again. Incidentally, NamakLaalMirch – always said as one word – is a Pakistani recipe must have. Namak=Salt and Laal Mirch= Red Chilli Powder. It is probably for South Asian food what salt and pepper is for much of the world. But if anyone in my family is giving you a recipe then it is always said as one word because they are considered so inextricably linked. Making an omelette? Put in NamakLaalMirch. Aaloo ki Sabzi? NamakLaalMirch. It’s all NamakLaalMirch.

Baingan ka Raita

As followers of my blog know, I adore a good raita and already have a recipe for a Palak/Spinach Raita and for this killer Sabzi Raita (a total must try). This Baingan ka Raita is one I enjoy making and eating because it is such a simple way to make a meal delicious. I will happily have it with store bought Aalu Parathas. Yes, I said store bought, I am not industrious enough yet to make my own. It is also so yummy with a simple Matar Pulao (Pea Pilaf).

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