Everyone thinks their mom is the best cook in the world. But my mummy is seriously yummy! And this is the proof! My mother Gulnar, came from Basra, Iraq to Karachi in 1965 and brought recipes the likes of which Karachi had never seen (well, maybe). Here's some of her signature recipes that should try. Some of them are my experiments and food experiences from around the world. You can check out the menu and order details on facebook.com/yummymummyandme

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Nauroz: Spring Is In The Air

Last Tuesday, that is, 20th March 2012 was the official start of the spring. Yup, that's right. You can check with the kids at NASA if you don't believe me. Nauroz is definitely my favorite 'holiday' - so much joy, sharing, casting out of evil, bringing in the new and most importantly, food!

Nauroz is the Persian New Year and said to be celebrated for over 3,000 years in the Persian/Central Asian region. Nauroz is also one of the most important Zoroastarian festivals and thought to be founded by Zoroaster himself! Pretty cool, huh?  However, the spring festival is observed today by people across Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Albania, Central Asian states, India, Pakistan and even parts of China!

So here's how it goes down at my house - lots and lots of prepping and cooking starting two days before the festival. The table must have as many things of good fortune and food as possible - a sign of more prosperous things to come in the New Year. Traditions defer slightly between the Zorastarian and Muslim observers of the festival.

Every year, there is a color for Nauroz - the use of that color on the table brings good luck. Needless to say, this year's color is red. Besides food, the table must also hold symbols of good luck. In my house we include gold, silver, money, Maula Ali's coin, gold fish, mirror and the Holy Quran at the table, this year I went ahead and added some Chinese moneybags and Ang Pow packets as well - all things we could with more of in the coming year - prosperity, fertility and faith :)

See that bowl of water with a rose in it? That's the star attraction of the table. At the exact time of the spring equinox - 10.19 am this year - the rose does a bit of dance around the bowl. However, it takes a believer to  see it.

A good Nauroz table must include ... everything. Well, almost. Fresh fruits and vegetable,s eggs, dry fruits, milk and dairy products, grains, bread, meats - fish, chicken, beef etc, sweets and pretty much anything else you want more of in the coming year.

I'm going to try and list down all the food we had at the Red Nauroz table, and if you can spot something in the pictures that I have not list - you're invited to Nauroz at my place next year.

Here we go:
  1. Dahi Baray
  2. Chicken reshmi kabab
  3. Beef seekh kabab
  4. Roast chicken
  5. Garlic Naan
  6. Roghani Naan
  7. Chick pea salad
  8. Red beans
  9. Red Velvet Cake
  10. Sun dried tomato and olive quiche
  11. Tomato Chutney
  12. Dry fruits
  13. Apples
  14. Bananas
  15. Pears
  16. Strawberries
  17. Mandarin oranges
  18. Eggs
  19. Potato salad
  20. Carrots
  21. Capsicum
  22. Tomatoes
  23. Cabbage
  24. Peas
  25. Spinach
  26. Lettuce
  27. Beetroot
  28. Curry leaves
  29. Mint leaves
  30. Biscuits
  31. Milk
  32. Cream
  33. Cheese
  34. Tuna
  35. Chocolates
  36. Dates
  37. Cereal
  38. Pudding
  39. Masoor dal
  40. Rose tea
  41. Lavendar tea
  42. Sharbat
  43. Vinegar
  44. Rice
  45. Water
Now THAT is a table. Here's the pictures:

My absolute favorite part of Nauroz takes about 3-4 days to bloom - planting my own plants. The idea is to have a sprouting plant on Nauroz day. This year we planted 'bajra' on a bed of wet cotton. You have to keep the cotton moist and give the plant gentle sunshine for a few hours every day and viola! On day 3, you have yourself a little grassy patch!

That's Nauroz done for this year! Nauroz is a celebration of faith, hope, nature and God's bounty. We have so much to be happy and grateful for! Thank you God! and thank you Mom for teaching us about this fantastic feast!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Super Simple Stir Fry

It doesn't get any easier than this - a vegetable stir fry people who don't like veggies i.e me. Perfect for vegetarians and those on a weight loss plan

You'll need:
1/2 medium head of cabbage
100 gm carrots
100 gm peas
100 gm green/French beans
1/4 tsp garlic paste
2 tbsp soya sauce
A pinch of sugar
Salt to taste

Cut the cabbage, green beans and carrot into inch long pieces and set aside separately. Boil the diced carrot and peas until half cooked and drained. In a wok, heat up 1 tbsp of oil and fry the garlic paste for no longer than 30 seconds. Add the cabbage and green beans and keep stirring until they become glossy. Add 1 tbsp soya sauce and the sugar and mix well. Next, add the cooked peas and carrots. Add the remaining soya sauce and stir fry for another couple of minutes. The vegetables should be cooked just enough to release the sugars and give you a good crunchy bite.

This will give you a big helping of delicious vegetable stir fry. Good to eat on its's own or as a side with some  beef/chicken chilli and rice. This is good, you must take the veggie hater's word for it. Thanks mom! For making vegetables taste and lookd good!