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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.