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

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Ramzan Daze: 1

  As a rule, as a family, we never break fast outside the home on the 1st day of Ramzan. But this Ramzan, my 'sister from another mother' suggested we leave the city behind and head to Hub for Iftar. And what a wonderful idea it was! We just followed the sun and the sky and broke our fast accordingly.

Iftar in my house is inconceivable without shorba and hummus. So that's what we packed for our little Hub Ladies Only Iftar Picnic. Check out the spread below:

Tick tock tick tock - laying the table

Hummus and some really big peaches
Each time I ask my mother to give me her hummus recipe, she gives me different ingredients! Looks like I won't be putting up this recipe anytime soon.

Best iftar idea so far! Bread, butter and cheese!
Hyperstar Karachi makes great bread! Couple with butter and cheese and it makes a most satisfying, carb-rich, comfort food experience.

Starters complete
Chips, hummus, bread, cheese, butter, dates and peaches. A good mix of healthy and junk!

Ah Shorba! The best thing about Ramzan
Ramzan would not be Ramzan without this lentil and spagetti soup. I refuse to believe it! You'll find the recipe here.

Roast chicken with potatoes
No complicated flavors here - slow roasted chicken with onions, garlic and potatoes.

Another roast chicken :)

 Spinach and Bechamel Sauce Pasta
I really regret not having eaten enough of this spinach, mushroom and white sauce pasta. But I was just so stuffed!

Ramzan is super prime time for a food blog but I have mostly been in a food coma or horribly sick through Ramzan. Hopefully, I'll be more regular with my blog updates from now on. Ramzan Mubarak!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Home Alone Chicken

The hardest part of maintaining this blog has got to be coming up with names for each post! The recipe ones are even harder because I have to literally dream up names for my experiments.

So we'll call this one Home Alone Chicken because I came up with it when my mum left my Dad, my sister and I home alone for a few days. Finally, we got tired of ordering in and I decided to play 'mum' and here's what I came up with!

Spot the chicken in this picture
You need:
1/2 chicken pieces 
2 -4 tablespoons of yogurt
Ginger and garlic paste
6-8 green chillis
2 large, firm tomatoes sliced
2 large onions sliced
4 potatoes sliced (round)

Marinate with chicken with yogurt, ginger and garlic paste, salt and a few chopped green chilli for at least an hour.In the mean time, fry the potatoes. On a clean, hot non-stick pan, sear the tomatoes and onions, separately ans set aside. For the chicken, heat about 2 tablespoons of canola oil and add the chicken, marinade and all. Keep stirring till it changes color - cover and let it cook for a slower flame for about 15 minutes or until tender. The chicken when done should have a bit of grav ity from the yogurt marinade, don't let it run completely dry. Lastly, fry off some whole green chilli.

When serving layer the dish in the following order - chicken, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and green chilli. Sprinkle with some black pepper and you're good to go with naan or chapati.

I quite loved my creation but my sister thought it was a bit bland - however, that's because she's quite the wuss and won't bite into fried green chilli!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Afghans Do It Better

It seems 'Kabuli' is THE place to eat in Islamabad - Afghan being the hot new in cuisine in the capital these days. Also, Habibi - a mix of Afghan, Central Asian and Middle Eastern is worth a try too and the old Karachi classic BBQ Tonight is now in Lahore and Islamabad too. Gone are the days of the Afghan naan wala, we now have a cool, new breed of Afghans showing the capital what food is all about. 

But of course, the best way to experience a cuisine is in people's homes. And hearts. The Afghan embassy in Islamabad was kind enough to host myself and colleagues from the media - from both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Afghan ambassador Mr. Muhammad Umar Daudzai and his staff were gracious hosts. I told him I was doing a story on the growing influence of Afghan culture in Pakistan and he personally took the time to explain each dish on the spread to me. Here goes:

Kabuli pulau
Surprise, surprise - Kabuli pulau is called 'pulau' in Kabul. Where does all ALL this flavor come from? Slow cooking the beef and then cooking the rice in that beef broth with cinnamon and cardamon.

Afghani kebab and tikka
As you can see, most of this dish is gone. Skewered,barbecued  tender pieces of chicken and beef are probably the stars of Afghan cuisine. So rich, so simple - you're never quite sure when you're full.

Zamarud pulau
What a pretty name for a dish! Zamarud being emerald, of course. This is basically a vegetarian pilaf with spinach, dill and leeks with very simple seasoning. I was told lamb or beef can be added to this - which reminds of an Arab staple at my home - a pilaf made with fried meat, dill and peas, with the same 'zamarud' tinge.

By far my most favorite dish of the night! The humble eggplant/baingan done so well! Grilled  slices of eggplant topped off with a tomato sauce and a garlic yogurt. This is definitely one I will be trying in my kitchen.

Mantu (like Momos)
Remember my love for Nepalese momos? The Afghan-Tajik version of these dumplings is a little more suited to the 'desi' palate. These 'mantus' are stuffed with raw meat and then steamed. They are usually topped with a garlic yogurt and a tomato and 'channa dal' sauce. It's an interesting little mouthful - lots of different textures and flavors.

Simply because, as the Ambassador said, 'Afghans love spinach.' Which might explain the 'fitness' of Afghan men.  And women, of course. More power to the spinach!
Mutton Stew
Chicken Qorrma
Also on the menu, some Pakistani influences in the form of a mutton stew and chicken qorma.

When I asked to meet the chef, there was some surprise and some consultations before the chef came out to meet me. Such a gentle, old man who seemed obviously flattered (and a bit confused) by my request to see meet him. There wasn't much conversation to be made and most of that was lost in translation. But thanks to Zalmai Azizy for the help! That's the best Afghan chef in the region - Ghulam Sakhi Rahmani! Ghulam Sakhi has been cooking for close to thirty years and most recently for the Afghan mission in Islamabad. If they ever let him go, I'm stealing him!

Ghulam Sakhi Rahmani

The kitchen crew at the Afghan embassy
Great food, better conversations and warm Afghan hospitality - I'm really looking forward to more of that in Kabul. Thank you Mr. Daudzai and Mr. Rahmani!