Where’s the Beet?!

By Maasi Saba

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It’s still quite hot here in Lahore. The temperature has lowered a bit where at times the fan is enough to cool me. Even though schools have reopened this week and inshallah I will get back to my old routine, I’m still a lazy bum. And a bum just wants to eat. To eat something cold, and ready to eat is more my style these days. So, I wanted to share with you all a recipe for a salad my mom makes. Her salad had these ingredients, apples, beets, and pears. Mine just has apples and beets. My kids don’t like the pears available here, they say they feel too bumpy, and sometimes they can’t seem to swallow them. Don’t ask me why.

In this salad, I used 2 beets, and about 3 apples since apples these days are a bit small. After peeling the beets, I diced them up as I would when making fruit chat. I peeled and diced the apples as well.  Boil the beets until tender. Just make sure they are boiled through. Let the beets cool down and then mix with the apples in a container.  Now, on to the dressing….

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When I asked my mom how she made this salad, she just told me the things she added and no quantity. I like to know the quantity and my mom would just say, “mera andaza hai,” (It’s according to your taste) which didn’t help me much. She tried her best to tell me how much, and the rest was up to me. So trial and error many times this summer and I found a balance I liked. The funny part is, I didn’t use measurements either! So let’s see if I can explain it well enough for you to try this as well.

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The dressing consists of yoghurt (I used Nestle and not homemade because this is a sweet/tangy salad), mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and sugar (I use castor sugar because it dissolves quicker). Now, in my head, I feel using a bit more yoghurt than mayonnaise is a healthy decision. So I use more of yoghurt and mix it well with some mayonnaise, then I would use a cap half way full of vinegar and a bit pinch of salt, and 2 big pinches of sugar. Does this make sense? Well, today, I measured the ingredients and well, it didn’t come out the way I want it. I think it needs a bit more vinegar. But since I already have mixed it for you all to see, I’ll just eat it the way it is. It’s still tasty! So I measured it this way: ½ cup yoghurt, 1/3 cup mayonnaise,  ¼ tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp vinegar. There is something wrong with this, it isn’t tangy enough, so yes, I need to add a bit more vinegar, and I might have added a bit more sugar than I stated, and not enough salt. You guys can figure it out. Sorry ladies, I’ll try better next time, inshallah.

Mix both dry and wet ingredients and refrigerate. After a few hours, it will turn a nice shade of purple. Serve chilled as a side dish or your main course. And it tastes better the next day. Be careful though as beets to stain clothes! I think one day I will try it when I attempt to dye things using natural household items. Lol!

7 Layered Salad

By Maasi Saba

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Salads are quite refreshing. Some with a light vinaigrette, and some with a creamy dressing. I love the crunch sound in my mouth because of the juicy, crunchy lettuce and bell peppers, and the juicy tomatoes. I love to add some fried cottage cheese to my salads sometimes too. Though I’m not sure what the health ratio is in that particular salad.

Last summer, my sister was visiting, and she made this particular salad at my parents’ place several times. And each time, I was not there! But, this year, my sister in law made this salad for us one day when I was visiting. She kept going on and on about how amazing it was and so forth. I didn’t really believe her. LOL! Since we were all preparing for the lunch, she asked me to cut the vegetables. I tried my best but she did go back and recut some of the things. She explained to me that she wanted the vegetables cut in a certain way so one could get everything on the fork. It didn’t really make that much sense to me because to my knowledge, I was cutting the stuff small and thin. Anyway, we set out every vegetable we needed, sliced onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, black olives, and jalapeños. Since she had made this several times, she knew that the onions needed to be rubbed with salt and then washed well. They also needed to be drained well, and the dried in a towel (reasons I’ll share later). The olives, corn and jalapeños also needed to be properly drained. After about 20 minutes, she started layering the salad. It’s best to make this in a glass dish so one can see all the pretty colors of the vegetables.

So here is the order she liked best:

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-Sliced onions
-Sliced tomatoes
-Corn
-Sliced bell peppers
-Layer of salsa
-Sliced olives
-Chopped jalapeno peppers
-Layer of yoghurt

Set in fridge for an hour and it’s amazing. You’ll see.

So there are a few things I noticed and wanted to share with you all.

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Vegetables should be properly washed, drained and cut into small pieces.

Our onions were quite strong, so we cut ours in thin bit size strips and rubbed with salt. We washed them well, and after draining them for about ½ hour, we then proceeded to dry them in a towel. Because onions have water, it will actually make the salad liquid-y, and that isn’t nice. (I once forgot to dry them in a tea towel and low and behold, after a couple of hours, the yoghurt and water from the onions had made a layer at the bottom). All of the vegetables were sliced into bit size pieces. We used sliced olives to cut our time short. And I only used a few jalapeños, which I chopped into very small pieces. I felt a layer of these would be too spicy for my kids. I also used a medium flavored salsa, which is the imported kind because that is what I like. Also, we used the Nestle orange container yoghurt because it’s not sweet. My sister in law likes to use the juice of the jalapeños in most of the layers to make it tangy.  She just uses a few drops.

The actual recipe has mashed refried beans, avocado and sour cream. It’s actually a dipping sauce. They use cheese and some even bake theirs to make it into a salsa dip. It looks amazing on Pinterest. But alas, we don’t have all the ingredients available here, though this version is equally good. I made it the other day and it was even amazing with my daal chawal. My kids had it with their chicken tenders and rice. It makes for a nice side dish, and even a main dish as well. It’s cold, refreshing and healthy! What more could a gal want!  So please try it and enjoy.  I hope you all find it equally satisfying.

P.S., in my pictures, you will notice that my layers of bell pepper and olives aren’t fully covering the dish, I actually ran out. It is best if each layer is properly filled.

Recipe: Paratha Rolls

By Maasi Javeria

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Salam Dearies!

And Ramadan Mubarak! Well yes, it’s a bit late for greetings, and I am really sorry for catching up this late with you guys. But it won’t happen again. Promise! So this Ramadan it’s our humble Goal to make it easy for you ladies out there regarding the age old “what to make for Iftar” problem. We will try our best to provide you with recipes that are made with ingredients, which are already present in almost every home. And you won’t have to rush to the super market for anything. Absolutely loved Maasi Saba’s jalapeños poppers recipe. Definitely will try it sometime soon.

Today I will be providing a recipe for Paratha Rolls. Noooo!!!! We are not going to use any frozen flour based paratha’s. We will make our own wholesome, healthy and of delicious home made paratha’s. Trust me your kids will love it and you never know, may be that finicky hubby of yours might also show some appreciation :p 

Ok coming back to the recipe, I’ll be giving u minimum standard recipe that you can double as per your family members/requirement.

PARATHA

1) 1/2 kg whole wheat atta, or your regular atta would do just fine. You can also put 1/4 kg chookar in 1/2 kg regular aata to give it that whole wheat touch.

2) One instant yeast sachet (instant yeast will spare you the hassle of first soaking the regular yeast and waiting for it to rise). Do read the instructions, usually one sachet is enough for 1/2 or 1 kg whole-wheat flour.

3) 1 egg

4) 3 tablespoons oil or desi ghee (I prefer desi ghee as it makes it super moist)

5) 5 Tb sp black seeds (kalongi seeds)

6) 4-5 cups of warm water

7) 1 tsp salt

8) 1 tbsp sugar (trust me!)

For the Filling:

 1) One whole chicken: get it bone less n ask the butcher to cut in small cubes, smaller than the regular sized cubes, that way u get both type of pieces the breast n thigh.

2) 2 tsp black pepper, crushed

3) 4 tbsp oil

4) 1/4 tsp garlic paste ( i always prefer home made )

5) 1 tsp salt

6) Cheese slices

7) Ice berg

8) Plain ketchup and chilli garlic ketchup.

METHOD :

Now don’t get scared looking at such long method I have only tried to explain it to you guys till the last bit.

First we will make parathas so that the time it takes to rise, we will be done with our chicken.

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Mix all the dry ingredients of paratha, no sequence required.

Now start putting water, those of you who are going to knead it in food factory or the mixer should put eggs and oil half way between when the dough is kneading.

Those using hands should make a centre in the atta ( whole wheat flour)

Put water n eggs n oil n start working from the centre, until it is firm not very hard or soft, just the right amount of firmness which would be easy to handle it for making the balls n Roti.

Now we don’t to put all the water all at once, just enough that your dough is kneaded to perfect consistency. Like wise if the dough becomes too soft you can add more whole-wheat flour, or if too hard take some more water but remember it has to be hot.

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Now when you are done with the kneading of dough cover it with cling film or cloth and keep it aside in a warm place for 1/2 an hour to let it rise. Don’t worry if it hasn’t risen exactly double or even near it as per your expectation, this is not a pastry competition we are having so chill n relax; you can never go wrong with this dough.

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Filling method:

Now if you r even little bit of familiar with cooking or even if not, this part is piece of cake.

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Fry the garlic in oil, don’t let it gain colour. Put chicken, salt, pepper, and let it cook on low flame first and covered, after fifteen minutes or when the water is drying out almost, start frying it on medium flame till it is nice and tender.

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Now take your dough, half hour is maximum for giving it rest. Start making balls little less than almost the size of tennis ball.

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Roll out a Paratha and carefully put this rolled out Paratha on the hot flat pan or tawa. Now put ghee just enough to cover it don’t let it run on the hot plate on both sides and let it get a nice golden brown colour— those of you more diet conscious can go with only putting oil on one side, which I normally do for my self or skipping it altogether.

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Now when your done with your Paratha, the dough will make easily 6-7 paratha’s or may be couple more. Depending on the size of balls you have made.

Take one Paratha, put plain ketchup and chilli garlic ketchup spread it on Paratha (my little one doesn’t like ketchup so I put cream cheese for him), put your chicken in the centre length wise, a nice quantity, take slice of cheese, half it and put it on the chicken both halves again length wise. Now top it with ice berg or what ever veggie (like shredded carrots or cucumber, my personal favourite is ice berg).

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And fold it, now don’t roll it, just bring the both corners on each other and lock them in place with 2-3 tooth picks on top n bottom. No need for centre.

VIOLA guys enjoy and let me know. If you guys had a good time making and eating it. Total prep time is an hour and a further half an hour for filling.

Same as it takes us to prepare a Salan or gravy, but lot yummier!