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!

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!

Recipe: Jalapeño Poppers

A couple of days back I was having a little chit chat with Maasi Saba and well, the subject of Iftari came up, which usually is the most popular topic of discussion in our households during Ramadan. I wanted to make something simple but different and voila! She recommended this amazing jalapeño poppers recipe, which I made as soon as i could and was an instant hit in my family!!

Read the recipe in her own words and discover for yourself, these scrumptious little jalapeño poppers. And do try, I’m sure your kids will love you for this!

— Maasi Wajo

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By Maasi Saba

All day long, you think of what you would like for Iftar. You go through the list like a routine. Pakoras? What kind of pakoras? Fruit chaat, dahi bharray, dahi pakoria, chinese rolls, sesame chicken on toast, kebabs, shami kebabs, etc. But as the time rolls on, going into the kitchen is like jumping over a hurdle. But, alas, we still go in, and we prepare Iftar for our loved ones. We try to make it tasty and interesting. (But there is always one person who is not happy.) We make different drinks, different types of milk drinks, and have an assortment of dates on the table. We also put out all the sauces, ketchups, and chutneys we have in the house to make the food more interesting. I hope our families will be happy with our effort.

Trying to make different things for Iftar isn’t easy. Sometimes our efforts backfire and everyone looks at the dish and then our faces thinking, “What is that supposed to be!” I think we all have those bad days. Those days I wish I had someone else doing the work in the kitchen!

Today, we have a quick and easy recipe to share with you. I have been making this for a few years and my family loves it. Well, minus my younger two who don’t like jalapeños. In the U.S., my mom would buy jalapeño poppers from Costco and we would devour them before we sat down at the table. They were delicious! They made them using whole jalapeños stuffed with cheddar cheese! YUM! You can’t find them here, and you can’t use cheddar cheese either. That particular cheese here is a bit in the oily side and it will just lose its shape n become mush. My mom tried making it with cheddar and mozzarella cheese and they opening while she was frying them.

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For this recipe, you will need to buy fresh cottage cheese, a bottle of jalapeño slices, egg, flour (optional) and bread crumbs for coating. 

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 I took about 3-4 heaping spoonfuls of jalapeños, drained and roughly sliced them.

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I have a family of eight members all under our roof so I used two cottage cheese and crumbled it up with my hands at first and then a fork.

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I mixed the two by hand and was able to shape them into small little croquet shaped balls. I had to put them in the fridge for an hour because that day it was particular hot, and my own sweaty hands were ruining the shape.
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After 2 hours, I dipped them in a well beaten egg and coated then with breadcrumbs. (You can add flour as well if you like). I froze mine immediately for later use.

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When frying, make sure the fire is not on low or they will open up before they are golden brown.

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Jalapeños give it the right tangy and spicey taste! These jalapeño poppers are very tasty. Now you will have to adjust to your liking the amount of jalapeños added. I didn’t add any seasoning, but you can if you want.

Going Bananas!

By Maasi Saba

I make this delicious and easy banana cake for my kids every few weeks. With the warm weather upon us, bananas, as well as many other fruits start to go soft after a few days.  This cake is best with bananas that are soft but not spoiled.  It’s a tried and tested recipe I found on the internet, but I can’t seem to find the exact site anymore.

Here is the recipe:
150g butter (I use nurpur 200g, and cut in half, and cut the half remaining as well to = 150g)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup milk
1 cup mashed bananas (this is about 3 bananas depending on the size)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (more or less if desired)

* Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
* Melt butter, add sugar, eggs and vanilla essence and mix well with a beater

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* Sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder on top of melted ingredients
* Mix carefully, and then slowly add milk. mix well.
* Mix mashed bananas.
* If you want, you can add some chocolate chips.
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* Pour mixture in a well greased and lined pan.
* Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees.

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So this was what was left of it. It was scrumptious!

The original recipe was called something like “Busy Woman’s Banana Cake.”  That is all i had copied a few years back. In the original recipe, it stated to melt butter in a pot on the stove and then add sugar.  Then to turn the stove off and add the eggs and mix.  Well, the first 2 times i made it well.  I remembered to wait until it cooked a bit before I added the eggs.  Then, the next two times I didn’t.  Usually, when my children find out I am baking they all come and beg to help. Then I have to designate some easy steps so they feel like they are contributing.  But then they would start distracting me, and I lose my senses.  So two times I actually messed up the second stage by adding eggs into the hot butter and sugar mixture.  After that, I decided to either let it melt at room temperature (which is pretty easy to do these days), or in the microwave.  I follow all the steps as I have stated.  For those who have never made this cake, there are 2 cups of flour so when you are mixing it together, it gets quite thick.  My arm hurts by the time I finish hand beat everything. I usually use an electric beater to just mix butter, sugar and eggs, the dry items are then folded in by hand.  Remember to slowly add the milk or it will splatter all over the counter and yourself.  My kids and I love the the taste of bananas and chocolate so that is why we add some chips to the mixture.  I had taken a few pics so you could see the different consistency of the cake batter at each stage. I was going to also take a pic of the finished cake, but I am sorry that was not possible.  By the time I remembered to, it was already eaten.  So, very sorry for that.  I guess you will have to make it to see the results yourself.

Enjoy!