Turkey Biryani – A Delicious Spin on a Classic!

turkey biryani
turkey biryani

There are few things in life that are as soul satisfying as a masala-licious biryani. You know what I am talking about – the kind of biryani where you can see the gravy clinging to delicate long strands of rice, wrapping themselves around flavorful spuds and permeating the meat. At the end of long Ramadan fasts all I want is for someone to make it and for me to eat it. With lots of raita, of course. This beauty over here, right down below, is extra delicious. Want to know why (Hint: read the title). Because it is made with Canadian Turkey meat which cooks to tender delicious perfection in this gravy. This Turkey Biryani made its first appearance at our Ramadan table this year, but Turkey Biryani, my new friend, it shall not be your last. 

turkey biryani

I have biryani-ed here a few times before and I am pumped about it each and every time. When the opportunity to be part of this exciting campaign to discuss the benefits of Canadian Turkey came up I knew exactly what kind of biryani I wanted this to be. My usual biryanis rely on tomatoes for flavor, but this time I wanted to marinate the turkey in a yogurt mix and let caramelized onions bring their rich brothy flavor to the Turkey Biryani. I wound up adding a tomato, but should you not have one feel free to skip it. Rest assured that this Turkey Biryani will still turn out yummy.

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Chicken & White Sauce Squares

Chicken White Sauce Squares

Desi truth: We love white sauce. Not the milk/cream, butter, nutmeg and a sprinkling of cheese kind, but the fully loaded variety with things in it that would appal French grandmamas. These Chicken & White Sauce Squares are inspired by the memory of another impressive woman. When I was a teenager there was a lady who made part of her living going from house to house making these squares. They were built with samosa wrappers that would shatter ever so slightly when you bit into them and savoured the creamy deliciousness of the white sauce filling.

Chicken and White Sauce Squares

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Asian Inspired Corn Fritters

For Muslims across the world this is the month of Ramadan, a month where we fast from sunrise to sunset with the intent of gaining greater empathy with those less fortunate, being more grateful for our blessings and learning to subsume our physical desires in favour of spiritual ones. It is perhaps somewhat ironic that during this month there is a strong culture of food traditions. Be it the lentil soup of  some Arabs, or the pakoras of us Pakistanis aside from the proscribed opening of the fast with a date there is a great deal of variation across the board. In Pakistan if you open your windows in the hour before iftar then you will smell the delicious smells of crispy fried goodness – samosas, jalebis, pakoras – they’re an almost staple at an iftar table.

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Today I am sharing with you – and more accurately the readers at My Ninja Naan – my recipe for Asian Inspired Corn Fritters, a fun change from the usual. These are simple corn fritters (yes, corn is my new nutella) that come together in a jiffy, you can put the batter in the fridge and fry them up at iftar time. They are best when fresh and a spicy condiment is not optional. I love the slight crunch of these tender fritters with their sweet corn and fiery chillies. Skip the chillies and they are immensely child friendly. Want to add a desi touch? Skip the soy sauce and generously season with the desi trifecta of salt, cayenne, and cumin. 

To learn how to make this happen head over to my lovely friend Henna’s blog and read more! Henna is also amping up her posts for this Ramadan so subscribe to her blog so that you don’t miss out – I am already SO intrigued by her creative Mango Chickpea Salad.

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My Mother’s Coconut Barfi & Eid Eats 2015

Some foods make me think of being a small child, of little hands and not so little hands, sneaking pieces when no one is looking, only half sure that the consequences of this petty theft won’t be so bad.  This barfi is one of them, my mother usually made it on special occasions and colored it so that one layer was pink and the other was green. The coconut she used was sweeter, heftier, and my little self couldn’t get enough of it. Yes, my dental problems started early.

Coconut Barfi

My older daughter has a surprising love for all ‘desi’ desserts. Kheer, kulfi, shahi tukray, gulab jamun – she loves them all. And I love passing down a love for culinary heritage. When I said I would make something for Eid that her Nano (grandmother) made when I was young it made her beautiful little eyes sparkle with excitement. Sometimes I wish I could bottle that stuff up and keep it forever. But to me that is what Eid is about, sheer happiness. While I am far from the land of glittering ‘chaand raats’ (the night before Eid) we are building our own Eid traditions and homemade Pakistani desserts will always be part of them.

My Mother’s Coconut Barfi

This barfi is not the usual white kind; the ingredients combined with the cooking down of the dairy make it taste like a caramelly coconut fudge. I used unsweetened coconut, but my mother put sweetened coconut. Use whatever you prefer, but just remember to stir stir stir otherwise this will burn burn burn!

Another new tradition that I am very excited about is Eid Eats, we had our first annual eid potluck last year and thanks to it I discovered many delicious recipes and some wonderful bloggers who I now think of as friends. This is year two and I am even more excited to see what my fellow hosts – Henna at My Ninja Naan and Asiya at Chocolate & Chillies – and other remarkable food bloggers have to share. Please click on the Eid Eats graphic below to see the full gallery of yumminess and add yours to the mix; remember we would all love to hear from you! Hope this inspires you to have a deliciously happy Eid!

Eid Mubarak to you and your loved ones!!!

Psst for those of you wondering how to join in, hop on over here.

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Jalapeno Popper Wontons or a Spicy Cheesy ‘Samosa’

If I don’t already have a meal plan in place then I try to figure to out early in the day what it is that I will be making for iftar (the meal Muslims have when they open/break their fast). However, the hungrier I get the more I add to my list of things to cook. These babies are the product of one such hungry afternoon. The fact that they’re a cinch to put together is a bonus/ requirement in my world.

Jalapeno  Popper Wontons or a Spicy Cheesy 'Samosa'

I love the flavor of Jalapeno Poppers (when they aren’t too spicy to eat!), but making them has always seemed tedious and store bought ones have some odd mystery ingredients in them. These crispy wontons are the perfect way of getting that flavor with minimal effort. Now mind you I found the one jalapeno to be pretty spicy in here, but I put it in seeds and all so just adjust to taste. Also I had monterey jack handy, but I imagine cheddar wold work just as well.

Jalapeno  Popper Wontons or a Spicy Cheesy 'Samosa'

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Baked Oatmeal with Bananas, Pecans and a Nutella Swirl Plus Announcing a Virtual Eid Party – Eid Eats 2015!!!

Ramzan/Ramadan Mubarak to all those who will be commemorating this holy month. For those of you who are wondering what it is, Ramadan is a month on the Islamic (lunar) calendar where Muslims world over fast from sunrise to sunset. During a fast we can not eat or drink anything. The purpose of this fast is to help us subsume our physical needs in favor of spiritual ones and also to develop a deep sense of empathy with those who are less fortunate, for whom ‘fasting’ is not an option.

At the end of the 30 days of Ramadan comes a wonderful celebration of Eid ul Fitr, which as you can imagine, revolves heavily around food! Last year Asiya of Chocolate and Chillies and I hosted Eid Eats! a virtual potluck party for to celebrate Eid ul Fitr and this year we are back with another co-host, the amazing Henna of My Ninja Naan.

EID EATS 2015

So how do you join in? Easy!

1.) Make any dish of your choosing that you would make for Eid – something traditional, something unconventional, whatever you fancy – write a post and have it ready for the 15th of July 2015.

2.) Our posts will also be live July 15th 2015. You can link back to our blogs i.e. My Ninja Naan, Flour & Spice and Chocolate & Chillies  through a link party  we will set up and use the button above in all of your posts (pretty cute isn’t it!)

3.) Remember to check out and leave comments on participating blogs!

Okay just thinking about Eid Eats is making me hungry. Good thing I have something yummy and filling for you today that would be wonderful for Sehri/Suhoor as well as breakfast any day. Baked in a square tin and sliced it will probably be pretty picnic friendly too!

The yummmy recipe I am sharing with you today originally comes from Asiya of Chocolate & Chillies. With it’s triple whammy of banana, oatmeal, and pecans it is quite substantial and healthy! Or rather it was until I couldn’t help myself and added a teaspoon of nutella on top  of each ramekin *guiltily looking away…*

Baked Oatmeal with Bananas, Pecans and a Nutella Swirl

I baked mine in individual ramekins to make them easier to eat and freeze since I wanted a large-ish portion that would be perfect with a glass of milk for Sehri/Suhoor. The baked oatmeal is fairly dense since I effectively make ‘thicker’ portions than Asiya does. I also halved the recipe, increased the whole wheat flour, and decreased the brown sugar (to make room for the Nutella lol). For my purposes this is wonderful as is. For summer snacks I would omit the Nutella and go back to baking it in bar form like Asiya does.

Enough blathering.. on to the recipe…

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Eid Eats 2014 & Chocolate Covered Salted Caramel Ice Cream Stars

Hello everyone and welcome to the first of many Eid Eats! Eid Eats is a virtual Eid potluck party hosted by Asiya at Chocolate and Chilies and myself. Whether you are celebrating Eid this coming week or not you should keep an eye on this post for some delicious inspiration courtesy of some incredible bloggers.

To my Muslim friends I wish you an early Eid Mubarak – hope us bloggers provide you with some scrumptious ideas for your upcoming festivities!

Click on the Eid Eats button below to see what yummies have been prepared for this wonderful occasion and to submit your blog post as well. You can submit links (and check back for updates) till the 29th of July 🙂

Today I am bringing to you a dessert that is part recipe and part idea. In other words you can make it like I did or take the idea and run with it. Either way it should be tons of fun 🙂

Some time ago I had made this star shaped kulfi and since Eid and Chaand Raat (the night the new moon is spotted signifying the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid) reminds me of all things celestial I thought I would go with a fun spin on that idea. I present to you homemade salted caramel icecream in a star shaped chocolate shell with a smattering of edible gold stars scattered across the top.

Chocolate Covered Salted Caramel Icecream Stars w Edible Gold Stars

It is beautiful, luscious, and decadent all at the same time making it utterly celebration worthy.

Now obviously you can use any ice cream that you like, but do remember that a chocolate coating adds an element of sweetness so a less sweet ice cream is ideal. If you have an ice cream machine then this recipe is a must try.

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Dahi Baray – Lentil Dumplings in a Spicy Tangy Yogurt

You know how you just take some things for granted and don’t think about them very much?

Well, for me Dahi Baray are one of those things. They have been there at every ‘tea’ that I have been to for just about my entire life and my mother makes a variation (Dahi Phulki/Dahi Boondi) but I never thought about how to make them or what goes in and not because I don’t like them. I can certainly polish off an immense amount of dahi baray, especially the savoury and spicy kind. So much so that I am now grateful that I am pregnant and don’t have to justify how much I eat. I just never thought about how to make them because someone else always did.

dahi-baray-5

This summer I decided to be brave and make Dahi Baray for a potluck lunch and playdate a friend was hosting. Is it brave or foolish to try something a little tricky for the first time for a crowd? Let’s just pretend it is brave since that is the kind of thing I do with some regularity.

The good news is that all is well that ends well and to ensure that it was not some kind of fluke I made them again today for a friend who was visiting from out of town. The very empty dish speaks for itself 🙂

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Note Added June 3, 2016: I was recently trying to remember where it was that I learnt to make these and then I remembered that it was on a phone call to my feisty nani who is no longer in the best health. I write this here so that I never forget again that this is one of the many things I learnt from Nanna, the lady that once wore ghararas, carried a paan daan, always used talcum powder in the summer and made some of the best food I have ever eaten. 

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