There are few dishes that can stand on their own. That don’t need a second fiddle, a side, anything else really except the garnishes that accompany it. Biryani is one such dish, but if I am to be honest than my favourite one dish meal is Nihari. With it’s strong spices, beautifully tender meat, the sourness of the lemon, that bright leafy cilantro. If I had a last meal request it would be Nihari.
There are foods that I think of as Paratha foods, the kinds where even the tenderest chapati does not have the same oomph. A good Dum ka Keema, spicy, smoky, heady punctured with the brightness of mint, the boldness of ginger, that just calls for parathas. It is the one dish that I will always eat at a dinner because there is something about this potent combination I find hard to resist. If there are parathas on the table then whose counting helpings. Definitely not me.
Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Bernardin and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.
I always thought these lemons were a just my mama thing. As in I was actually convinced that no other person on this planet makes this super simple, clean, oil free lemon that is delightfully sour and the perfect condiment to brighten up your biryani and khichri alike. I shared an image of the process in my Instagram stories and was stunned when so very many of you responded and said that your mother, your mother in law, an aunty, a grandma, they all make it as well. In fact it was someone on instagram who supplied the moniker Khattay Leemoo.
So now I am going to put this pickle in the category of things that I keep humble delicious “ghar ka khana” (food cooked at home) dishes like daal and aaloo gosht in. Their utter simplicity means they may not be restaurant dishes, but they are definitely a worthy addition to the home cooks repertoire. Also can I just say how fun they were to do?
In Urdu there is this expression – “haath ka maza” – it literally translates to the taste in someones hand, but is a nod to the idea that there is an intrinsic style to everyone’s cooking. My MIL is our resident expert chawal ki kheer maker, while this recipe incorporates a tip from her it does not attempt to be hers. Something about her haath ka maza I think.
It is still really good if I do say so myself and a derivative of this recipe I found from a lovely blog I discovered recently. The blog is called Rookie with a Cookie and she cooks with a zestful passion that had me reading her posts well into the night. Her chawal ki kheer is one that mimics the classic kheer you get in Pakistan, the kind in two earthenware bowls tied together. While I love that dearly, I wanted to make a more homestyle kheer and ended up making a quicker version of hers that incorporates a tip from my MIL.
My favourite part about this recipe is the preboiling of the rice and mashing to teeny tiny pieces. It makes me question my previous raw rice moves. hmmm
One of Murphy’s Laws should be if one of your children loves something the other will probably hate it (unless it’s icecream). My little one takes such joy from chicken drumsticks. She loves to get in there and strip it down to bare bones. Her sister on the other hand thinks there is something terribly wrong with dark meat. More often than not I find myself taking the pieces off the bone for her to eat.
I don’t mind really. For most of my life – I refuse to give an end date for this – my father did the same for me.