Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kuku Paka ~ Kenyan Chicken Curry

I am always fascinated in participating in challenges that give me recipes that I know if I try, I will have licked and clean plates, otherwise there is no use cooking, right? For the month of June, for the International Food Challenge, Remya of Lemon Kurry was the host for the month and she had given us some really delectable recipes based on East African cuisine.

African cuisine has a lot in common with Asian and Arabian cuisine and is highly influenced by various world cuisines. Just look for instance, into this creamy chicken curry that I chose to make for this challenge - every ingredient in it makes you feel as though you are cooking something Indian! The final dish is so apt for our parathas, chapathis or rice that you could easily pass it off as our curry. The day I made this for the family and served it, everybody thought it was one of my Indian chicken curry experiments, but when I told them that the base recipe is Kenyan, they were surprised. We had it with some parathas and they were just too good... Off to the way I made it...

Kuku Paka ~ Kenyan Chicken Curry
Serves 4
Recipe adapted from here

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Nutella Oats

Ramadan has come and gone, so has Eid. Feeling a bit low now... Every year, these days come like a whiff of fresh air and disappears in no time. I was just reading on a slide, "Ramadan is like a rare flower that blossoms once in a year and just as you begin to smell its fragrance, it disappears for another year." Really so true... We had a good time during Eid, Alhamdulillah, by visiting relatives, going out on a long drive towards Al Ain, had a visit to a farm, and a great time plucking fresh dates and eating some right away. Most of the time, Eid is a family time, more about bonding and making up for lost times...

Not being in a mood to type out loads, but still wanting to do a post, today I have with me some Nutella oats that I had made for myself as a light dinner. Hardly anybody hates Nutella, I have a 50-50 relationship with it. Sometimes I love it, sometimes, I just don't want to have it. Normally, I make my oats this way, but this was just a little twist to our normal oats and I really loved it. The girls who gulped down in their mini cups also licked it away.

Nutella Oats
Serves 1 generously or 2 as a light snack

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fried Chicken Biriyani

Ramadan 29... the day when the moon plays peekaboo and the whole Muslim Ummah waits to see it it will be Shawwal 1 tomorrow or the day after, which marks our first Eid, Eid-ul-Fitr. This time, Eid is tinged with some sadness. On a personal level, it's the last Eid we spend with my parents here... InShaAllah, if they are able to come later on visit is a different case but for now, it is their last... On a global level, the attacks on Gaza this Ramadan has been heart breaking. The number of children being killed is way beyond our normal sense of apprehension - I mean, which man with a normal functioning heart would be able to kill children that are just days, weeks, months old in the name of terrorism? I found this status by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi very apt, so sharing it...

The videos circulating around the net about the massacres and genocide that the Israeli army and air force is committing against occupied Gaza are too painful for me to watch. I must confess that my heart cannot bear to see the fathers and mothers crying over the corpses of their children, or the rubbled and demolished structures from which bodies are being pulled out, or the gory and wounded victims at overcrowded and under equipped clinics.

At times like this, the weak heart asks, "For how long, O Allah?!" And the knowledgeable heart can only answer with what Allah has told us in the Quran, "Did you think that you would enter Jannah, while the trials of those before you have not reached you? They were afflicted with suffering and hardship, and were shaken to the core, so much so that even the prophet and those who believed with him cried out, 'Where is the help of Allah?!' Verily, realize that the help of Allah is ever-close." [2"214]. 

O Allah! We do not understand Your wisdom in this prolonged suffering of our Palestinian brothers and sisters, but we trust You and believe in You and know that Your promise is true. And so we say only that which pleases You, even as our hearts are weary with grief. 

O Allah! You are the Lord of the weak and oppressed. You might delay the execution of justice, but You never cancel and avert it. And when You take charge of the tyrants and oppressors, then surely You deal with them in the manner of an all-powerful, mighty, unconquerable God - for you are al-Aziz, al-Qawiy, al-Jabbar. O Allah! We ask you with every name that You have, and with every attribute that is Yours, to send Your Anger and Retribution on those accursed tyrants whose arrogant hearts have been sealed from guidance and mercy - those who themselves were tortured and persecuted by others, yet instead of learning compassion, have now become torturers and persecutors themselves. 

O Allah! You are the al-Rahman, the al-Raheem! Have mercy and compassion and pity on the people of Gaza, who have suffered for two generations under the tyranny of a Pharonic apartheid regime. Send upon our brothers and sisters Your peace and blessings, and fortify them with faith and perseverance, and accept their martyrs, and console their grieved ones.

O Allah! You do not place a burden on any soul more than it can bear. We ask for your forgiveness for our own inability to do more than dua and some meager donations. Do not call us to task for what we cannot do, and forgive us for what we could have done but did not do, for you are the al-Ghafoor, al-Ra'oof, al-Tawwab.

Ameen ya Rabb al-Alameen!

Albiet a heavy heart, as we go on to celebrate Eid in our little way.... Eid without biriyani is not complete, isn't it? A couple of days ago, I shared a quick fix semiya payasam and also gave a short list of all the delights that we make on this day. Today, I am sharing with you this delectable, delightful biriyani that has fried chicken in it... I am so sorry for the quality of the picture... seriously I am not happy with it, but then it was a night picture plus I was in a lousy mood when I had cooked this biriyani. Thankfully, that stupid mood of mine did not reflect in the biriyani, Alhamdulillah... and I was happy about how it got wiped out completely without any trace. Even the kids loved it. The list may look exhaustive but unlike the list, the procedure is pretty simple. Off to the way I made it...

Fried Chicken Biriyani
Serves 4

Friday, July 25, 2014

Quick Semiya Payasam/ Vermicelli Kheer

When I got an email from Sarah regarding the link-in party for Eid, I was all game for it. Sharing with you a little slide regarding the Sunnah of Eid before going ahead with the recipe:

I have already shared a few of our normal Eid recipes last year - Ela Ada and Chicken Cutlets for breakfast along with a hot cup of chai, followed by biriyani for lunch, polished off with some Paal Pizhinjathu. Close to Asr prayers, in order to settle down the heaviness, we even go for a serving of Mint Sulaimani.

Every year, as it is, we have a defined set of relatives who are always there for lunch. Sometimes, we have guests out of the blue moon, who decide to come in during their rounds. For our unexpected guest, we always have stock of some semiya payasam with us. Just like how in the other states, they prefer Sheer Kurma, in Kerala, it has to be semiya payasam. They are distant cousins - the only difference being the type of vermicelli used and little on the methodology, nothing else... It is not necessary that it needs to be Eid to make this payasam, can be done whenever a sweet craving hits! I have put up the recipe to do it the quicker way - using a pressure cooker, like umma does. That is why I have aptly named it as "Quick Semiya Payasam"! InShaAllah, in the future, I will post the traditional way of making it... let's have a look at making this payasam really quickly! 

Quick Semiya Payasam/ Vermicelli Kheer
Serves 3

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Orange Juice

Dwelling more on what I left behind day before yesterday, yet another beautiful slide on patience:

Ramadan is truly the season of caring. Yesterday, as I was driving back from an Iftar party, I stopped by a little chai shop close to the corniche. Though not a frequent customer, I do go there on and off, not for the chai, but for the serenity that place provides. The tiny tea shop overlooks a beautiful stretch of creek and hundreds of people throng that area for their get togethers and walks, and therefore this shop is busy all the time. Just to give you a glimpse, those who follow me on Instagram must have already seen this sometime back... As I stopped, I ordered for my cup of chai and pulled my vehicle to the side. To my dismay, I couldn't find any coins in the car, nor in my purse and all I had was one note of 200. Sheesh, what do I do? Normally these shops do not offer change and I was pretty worried. As soon as the waiter gave me the tea, I told him whether he could give me change for the 200 I had. He just smiled and said, "It's OK ma'am, you can come and give me tomorrow or I will give myself.", gave me the cup of tea and walked away. Clearly, he has won a regular customer for this chai, just because of this down-to-earth attitude....

Not much of a recipe today, but since I loved the picture that I took, I just decided I must feature it. I have already mentioned earlier that our Iftaars are loaded with a lot of liquid - water, a juice and a glass of thari kanji or kooka kaachiyathu is always there to finish, while we attack on the fruits that are served. Another juice which keeps appearing on our table is definitely fresh orange juice. Azza is mad about her citrus fruits and she loves her oranges more in its complete form than in the form of juice. But for the rest, it moves out of our pantry quicker as soon as it is served in this form. Off to the way I make it...

Orange Juice
Serves 2