Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Watermelon Milkshake

I don't mind calling this blog of mine a collection of my thoughts and quotes I love along with my recipes... that's why I call them "sweet nothings...", though I would not like to call them "nothings", because most of the messages I like to stock and store have quite a bit in them peripheral as well as below what is peripheral... Today I am sharing a very lovely prayer from the Qur'an. Daily I am only becoming more and more in awe of how much a heart can be softenend and calmed by the effect of the verses of the Holy Book... truly Allah's Kalaam...

I have a watermelon crazy bunch at home. The kids and the adults alike can sit and finish a huge watermelon in one sitting, without even bothering to spit off the seeds! By the time poor me or umma would finish cutting and serving, there would not be even a single piece to enjoy. Most of the time, we have to hide some in the beginning so that we can get to eat them. At times, especially during Ramadan, I love to blitz them with some condensed milk. The idea was taken from the Nestle website but every after I started doing it, whenever I have some leftover condensed milk, I just blitz and drink it down. As I have mentioned so many times earlier, the kids don't prefer the juiced version so I get the whole share! Hehe...

Watermelon Milkshake
Serves 3-4

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chicken Tikka Masala

Today, I don't wish to blabber much. Instead, I wish to go straight to the recipe...

Why? Because I would rate this as one of the best chicken masalas I have tried off late. I had once mentioned in my Butter Chicken post that just like I have seen so many versions of butter chicken, similarly I have so many versions of Chicken Tikka Masala in my cut-outs and recipe books. They all have similar ingredients, but maybe one or two extra and with some variation. This one is the first I tried and I must say that it was just mind-blowing - so much like restaurant made! OK, I am not blowing my own trumpet but the day I made this, I was on Whassup with my best friend, who stays in Oman (yep, the one I went to meet after 15 years with these cookies! :) ) and upon seeing the picture, she insisted on knowing the recipe. I gave it to her and she tried it the next day. Hers being a bigger family, it was wiped off within no time. The same happened in my household as well. I saved up some for office next day because I knew I wouldn't have any to take with me.

Do try it at least once -first of all it's damn easy, do you see that you don't have to cry cutting onions? That itself would be a big motivator to try this. And take it as a treat or make it on your cheat day. The butter scared me... but who cares??? Hehe...

Chicken Tikka Masala
Serves 4

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sheermal/ Shirmal ~ Saffron Flavored Flatbread

Time for this month's challenge for We Knead to Bake! This time it is edition #22 and Aparna chose a really beautiful bread for us to try - the Sheermal/ Shirmal.

A little introduction as provided by her:

Sheermal or Shirmal is a saffron-flavored slightly sweet traditional leavened flatbread that is found in various countries on the Asian sub-continent including Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. Sheermal is a Naan-like milk bread, apparently of Persian origins, and it is suggested that the name comes from the Persian word for milk which is “sheer”. In India, this “milk” bread is predominantly found in Muslim neighbourhoods (another reason to suppose it came to India with the Mughals) of Kashmir, Lucknow and Hyderabad.

This can be eaten for breakfast along with tea or with some spicy curry for lunch or dinner. Sheermal can be made either with baking powder or yeast, and she gave us a version with yeast. The bread is very rich in itself - having ghee and using milk for kneading. We had it with a really spicy mutton curry and the mild sweetness perfectly matched the spiciness of the curry.

Sheermal/ Shirmal ~ Saffron Flavored Flatbread
Makes 6 medium breads
Recipe from here

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Microwave Meals ~ Simple Chicken Curry with Plain Rice

A couple of weeks back, I had put a status up on the blog's FB page as to how many of you would be interested in having a look at some microwave recipes. As you know, till now, I was struggling with my kitchen, which Alhamdulillah, is slowly coming to normal. Till then, majority of our meals were hotel food, with very little that I cooked at home. The only major thing I used to make was cakes! Hehe... It took me a lot of thought to start cooking in the microwave. Yes, I know, there are some health hazards due to the quick cooking happening in the microwave, there are a lot of articles related to it all over the net and otherwise. However, I feel it is a blessing when you get fed up of having food from outside every time! I haven't cooked much meals in the microwave, but whatever I have tried, we have enjoyed it. I will keep posting it on the blog as and when my drafts get regularized.

As for now, I am sharing the first meal I cooked in the microwave. It was a lonely Friday afternoon - both the men of the house, HD and B were enjoying their short stays back home. I was not in a mood to order a take away. I checked up with a lot of my blogger friends for ideas and finally thought of making plain rice and chicken curry. My first attempt had to be non-veg, then only I would have empty vessels to wash! Hehe... I must say that I was mighty pleased with the whole meal. The kids enjoyed it, in fact Rasha was surprised that I cooked it. "How did you make it, ummi?" "In the microwave!" The expression said it all. Off to the way I made it...

Simple Chicken Curry with Plain Rice
Serves 2
Recipe adapted from here

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

"Thank-you" are two words that are rarely valued now. We expect people to be good to us. If they do any favor or do a good job, we take it for granted. That may explain the reason why relationships, whether formal or personal, gets so strained these days. The level of courtesy is unfortunately on a dip. I always prompt my kids to say "thank you" to anybody who does them a good. They do forget but as soon as I tell them, they say it. Maybe it takes time nowadays for kids to get it in because they don't see others doing it. It is seriously a sad state of affairs... Of late, I learned that there is a way of expressing our thanks in Islam, by saying "JazakAllah Khair", which means "May the Almighty recompense you with goodness." Definitely this is a much better way of saying thank you plus an additional way to earn goodness from the Almighty.

This bread was a "thank you" bake for my friend, who took care of the kids when we were staying at our old place. Since having a maid is a Herculean task in this part of the world, many of the working parents resort to babysitting facilities to take care of their children in their absence. For many housewives, it is an added income and support for their husbands. My friend became my friend because her daughter was Rasha's classmate in grade 1. When I knew she was taking care of other kids, I asked her and though her hands were full and she could have said no to me, she very wholeheartedly took them in and took care of them very well. In fact, Azza, who is a very reserved character, struggled during the initial couple of weeks but with her persistence, now enjoys the company of other children, which is such a relief to me. Close to the time when we were in the process of shifting, I baked this delicious bread to her. Since her husband is a fitness freak, I added more wholewheat flour than all-purpose flour to this bake - normally, when I bake for somebody else, I always use only all-purpose flour as not everybody would appreciate the dense texture that wholewheat flour lends to bakes. I was glad that they absolutely loved it. I still keep in touch with her, because I am thankful to Allah and her for giving her when I was really in a fix when umma had to constantly travel.

Off to this healthy bread...

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
Makes a loaf
Recipe adapted from here