There are expressions that don’t translate into English with the same oomph they have in Urdu. “Gari mein thhoosna” is one of them and it is a hallmark of the Pakistani experience. It basically means to stuff yourselves into the car, and I mean stuff. Somehow in English it doesn’t capture the enthusiasm of children piled onto adults as the 25 people in the house pack themselves into two cars to head out for Chinese food. We would arrive at a Chinese restaurant decorated in the traditional red and gold, places that always knew how to put together enormous tables in minutes. Then soon enough it would be time to inhale the mellow smells of the Chicken Corn Soup (a must) when it arrived and wait with considerable enthusiasm for the “sizzlers”, the beef dishes served on hot plates, literally sizzling and smoking as they make their way over. Someone always burnt their tongue sneaking in that extra charred piece. I may or may not be that someone trying to subtly steal a piece of the Beef Chilli Dry.
I have an aunt who basically conducts pantry magic. You can say to her you are coming in the evening for tea and she will create remarkable dishes without leaving her house the way that only a genius cook can. It is an ability that has always amazed me as I diligently write down every single instruction for every single recipe. When I was envisioning this Spiced Turkey Wreath recipe I knew what base to start with – Namak-LaalMirch-Adrak-Lehsan (obviously), but from there on I was a little stuck so in true desi daughter fashion I called my mother. My mother (as expected) told me to marinate the turkey pieces in Namak-LaalMirch-Adrak-Lehsan and a little yoghurt, saute with a little onion, cook till tender and then add a certain cheese. In the spirit of pantry cooking I decided to switch it out with cream cheese and love what it did in terms of adding both body and flavour.
My mother btw was not impressed by my unwillingness to do a store run.
This recipe has made me think a lot about our Pakistani Palates, palates that are not strictly confined to ‘traditional’ foods, but also palates that love Chinese Hakka food with the same intensity as a meaty spicy lasagna that would appal an Italian grandmother.
Bread Pudding has got to be one of those classic dishes that everyone has had at some point or the other – am I right? I recently saw a picture my niece (no agist comments please) had posted of a luscious divine bread pudding my cousin had made and mannnnnnn… you get the picture. But with birthday season (it’s a thing in this house) upon us and Christmas fast approaching the indulgence factor had to be dialed down and so I whipped up with this Bread Pudding with Liquid Stevia that hit the spot without putting me into a food coma!
Three. That is how many Kashmri Chai posts I have written and not published. It seems that every time I about to I find another recipe, another technique, something with a pink that pops far more than mine and I go back to the drawing board. I have played with the quanities of tea leaves, the time it takes to cook, etc and time and time again I find myself back here, happily sipping away at this incarnation.
I learnt something about myself recently that really surprised me. I have always described myself as a Baker, butter and sugar as my primary loves. Then recently I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of this beautiful cookbook called Oh Sweet Day by Fanny Lam, the talented blogger behind the blog Oh Sweet Day. After much deliberation I decided to make the Chewy Ginger Cookies first – they seem so perfect for Fall! Also I was secretly hoping my kids would not like them and there would be lots for me, but more on that later.