Thursday, October 30, 2014

Chicken Croquettes

I love food with stories! :) This one goes back to beginning of the year, when my cousin's marriage was fixed. His fiance was based in Ras-Al-Khaimah. When aunt and entouage were going to her house, she called umma and me as we had not met the girl. Since we are from the boy's family, you can imagine the feast that was arranged. I must say that her umma is a fantastic cook, whatever was served was one over the other excellent. These croquettes were on the menu. I loved what I had though I would have wished to eat more, though umma was really not impressed. This was our first experience...

Post marriage and now that she became a part of our clan, I asked her for the recipe. She had made this a couple of times during the Iftars and it was highly appreciated. She would smile and agree, but then she would just forget. After loads of pestering, she finally messaged me the recipe on Whassup. I did get the reason why she had delayed providing me the recipe - because she relied a lot on her gut instincts to make it and wanted to give me exact quantities, knowing how much I was a stickler to measurements! Not exactly, yeah... if I feel that I can make changes, I would definitely do that! Once I have got the recipe from her, I have made it a few times at home only to be wiped out completely. It is that good... A word of warning though - please don't expect these to be as easy as chicken cutlets as far as handling is concerned. These will give a mini heart attack but it is all worth it. Just handle them with delicate hands, ensure to dip them properly in the egg and breadcrumbs so that they don't break up in the oil. Off to the way I made it...

Chicken Croquettes
Serves 4-6

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bread Halwa

I have been wanting to write about this for sometime, but some how was pulling myself from it. Now I feel I should write and clear off my mind.

We often refer to food that looks good to our eyes or tastes out of the world as "heavenly" or "divine". Seriously, I cannot get my mind to accept those two terms for food in this earth when Allah has clearly promised in the Quran that food and drink in heaven is much more than our little mind can ever imagine. He has given us hints in various places in the Quran as to how it would be, even though it is way beyond our imagination. We cannot fathom how good the food and drink in heaven would be, how awesome it would smell, etc. still Allah gives us an idea how the afterlife in heaven would be, in order to motivate us to do good deeds and to pull ourselves from committing bad deeds. Allah has asked us: "O you who believe! Eat and drink the good things We have provided you and give thanks to Allah, if you worship only Him." (Surah Baqarah:172). This clearly means that the food and drink on earth can be classified as two - good and bad. Bad is what is prohibited - canine and swine flesh, blood, wine, etc. "Divine" or "heavenly" food will never have a classification - it will all be good, pure, with tastes that we can never imagine. Then how can we call good food on this earth with these attributes? Alhamdulillah, He has blessed us from millions of people, giving us the opportunity, money and all that requires to eat and drink clean, good food. Due to this blessing, we have the duty of ensuring that we eat limited and do not waste, and thank Him for His endless mercy. I feel it very inappropriate to use these terms while describing earthly food, when we can use words like "delicious", "lipsmacking", etc...

I guess after that heavy talk there, a very simple dessert is what I share today. In a mood to make some bread halwa off some extra wholemeal bread that I had bought on offer, I set off searching for a recipe. Most of them use deep fried bread slices, which is a big no-no for me! The healthier versions had toasted bread or flipped with a little ghee on a dosa tawa. I chose the second part to go ahead with my halwa. I also could find people calling Bread Halwa as "Double Ka Meetha"! I thought the latter was a totally different dessert, much richer in taste and texture! However, I am not going to confuse myself for a name - I will call this just "Bread Halwa". :)

Bread Halwa
Serves 4

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bombay Chicken Biriyani

I am always on the lookout for new ways to cook any ingredient I get in my hand. I have already mentioned before, if it turns out really good, it immediately appears on the blog and if doesn't, I still jot down the recipe to improve it in my next trial. Most of the time, Alhamdulillah my first trials have always been good. For me, cooking is all dependent on my mood. If I am in a really good mood, whatever I cook, even if it is a simple dish, it comes out well, but if I am lousy, I just prefer keeping myself away from cooking rather than trashing the food, as simple as that...

I love it when my colleagues share their recipes with me. It gives the cook in me a push. I have already posted a couple of them that were passed onto me by my colleagues, one example being this curry. The colleague I am talking about today is my bestie in office, P. We joined with a gap of 10 months and have been together since then. I have always heard people say that women are hard to get along with each other, but I share a good rapport with the handful of female staff in my office but P tops the list hands down. Her daughter is just a few months younger to Rasha, so that bonding is also quite there. She would always keep saying how much she loathes making biriyani since it is always a tedious task. That is what pushed me to ask her for her recipe. I don't know if this is really authentic Bombay biriyani, but as far as I know, this is how P makes it and shared it with me. Yes, I did make some adjustments here and there to get to my taste but I kept the essence of her recipe. The highlight is the fragrance of safforn - just unbeatable. It is always fun to see how different biriyanis are made and how the taste is derived, but biriyanis are always biriyanis so this one was a winner as well! Off to the recipe...

Bombay Chicken Biriyani
Serves 4

Monday, October 27, 2014

Easy Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Sharing a beautiful poem to start off this blog post...

So early it's still almost dark out. I'm near the window with coffee,
And the usual early morning stuff that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend 
Walking up the road to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters, and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They were so happy, they aren't saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take each other's arm.
It's early in the morning, and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly. The sky is taking on the light.
Though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
Death and ambition, even love, doesn't enter this.

Happiness. It comes on, 
Unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
Any early morning talk about it. 

Happiness ~ Raymond Carver

My love for quick bakes is very well evident all over the blog. I love cakes, but I hate when I have to wait for the butter to soften, and then to be beaten, eggs to be bought to room temperature and beaten till fluffed, etc. Yes, they do give soft and pillowy cakes and is worth all the hard work but then people like me for whom each minute is split into seconds for every activity, I always look out for recipes that can be done in a jiffy and the monster in me can be tamed! I have baked with mayonnaise once in these cupcakes and the result was good. I have been hearing a lot about how wonderful the combination of chocolate and mayonnaise and have been wanting to make a cake since ages. This is when I landed up on this recipe. This recipe is great for a snack cake. Very easy to put together, very mild of sugar levels - it goes perfect with a sweet cup of coffee. If you want to frost the cake, then do check out the link which has a frosting recipe in it. I always wonder why I don't frost my cakes. There's hardly any on this blog, apart from the Tiramisu cake, the Black Forest, the Dark Chocolate Cake and my first butter-cream attempt. I have to slowly start putting myself in trying various frostings, but believe me, the calories in a frosted cake really peeve me off, though I would love to have them once in a blue moon!

Easy Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
Makes a 6 inch cake
Recipe adapted from here

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Varutharacha Erachi Curry - Mutton Curry in Roasted Coconut Paste

Sharing something, that reminds me a lot of things day in and day out...

The Qura'n clearly states that Allah will test us with our near and dear... our spouses, our children, our parents, our siblings, our relatives, our friends - close and distant, our foes... This is what the verse above means. Alhamdulillah, I have gone through a few experiences in the past couple of years through people I thought knew me inside out. However, the lessons we take from it must be valuable enough. We can be bitter about the experiences, lamenting how much misunderstanding has been created and keep making yourself miserable. On the other hand, you can take the lessons positively and realize that nobody will ever be able to understand you completely apart from the Creator. Never... once we accept this fact and move on, life becomes much easier to deal with... People may feel that you are being calm much to their irritation, but nobody apart from Him has the ability to know and calm down your internal turmoils and frustrations... I am slowly learning this, and trying to be there, but then being human, I do get a bit carried away. Only praying that He keeps me grounded till I am destined on this earth, InShaAllah... At no point, as human beings, can we be complacent about our state of affairs...

Today I thought of sharing with you another of umma's special curry. It's been long since I posted any recipe that she makes so well... Hmm... I have already shared previously the recipe of her varutharacha chicken curry, so this is a variation with mutton in it. More than chapathis and rice, this curry tastes so good with pathiris, which is a flattened rice bread, a totally Malabar specialty. I am yet to master the art of making perfect pathiris. InShaAllah, the time I master it, I do intend to do a post with a video, hehe... but how long it will take is a big question! ;) Till then, let me drool over this delicious mutton curry and you all could join me too! :)

Varutharacha Erachi Curry - Mutton Curry in Roasted Coconut Paste
Serves 4