Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Family Recipe - Aaloo & Puris

On my list of top 10 things that really annoy me, not sharing a family recipe is definitely up there. Food is meant to be shared and enjoyed by everyone at any time. Another list topper is not giving people credit for their recipe or claiming it as your own. C'mon, that's just lying or hiding the truth; both are wrong :) Share great recipes & extend your food legacy; give others credit for their recipes and extend theirs. After all, their food filled your tummy and your day with yumminess. 

In my last post I promised to share my favorite traditional Pakistani breakfast recipe. It's what my mom made on weekends for us and I still ask her to make it whenever we are together. I hope you will try it too and enjoy it with your family and friends. Here is what you will need.

Ingredients for the Aalo curry (potato curry):

1) Five small golden potatoes; washed and thickly sliced (peeled or unpeeled)
2) 1 teaspoon red chili powder
3) 1 teaspoon salt
4) 1/4 turmeric powder
5) 1 tsp tamarind juice
6) 1/2 cup water

For tempering the Aalo curry:
7) 1/2 tsp onion seeds (kalonji)
8) Half white onion sliced
9) A few green chilies, whole, stems removed
10) 1/4 canola or vegetable oil

For the Puris (fried puffed bread):

1) 1 cup whole wheat flour
2) 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3) 1/2 tsp onion seeds
4) Water for kneading the dough


Wash, (peel or not) and thickly slice 5 small golden potatoes. 

Add 1/2 cup water, salt, red chili powder,  turmeric powder and tamarind juice. Boil on low/medium heat till potatoes are tender and some water remains. 

Heat 1/4 cup oil and add 1/2 small sliced onion, green chillies and 1/2 tsp of onion seeds. Fry till onions turn light golden.

Temper the potatoes by pouring the oil with all the ingredients on top of the cooked potatoes. Cover and set aside till ready to be served.

Mix whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, onion seeds and water. 

Knead to make a soft (but not sticky) dough. Make small balls from the dough (slightly bigger than golf balls). Flatten it on a hard surface and roll out into flat circles (like tortillas). 

Cut each circle into 4 triangles. 

Heat oil in a deep wok and fry two puris at a time.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Note: Don't bite into the green chillies (unless you are used to that kind of heat- they are mainly for fragrance and garnishing.)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Abstinence and my absence of mind.

Abstinence and absence of mind will go hand in hand for me this year. If I don't eat, I basically don't remember much and my whole day is like a fog. I'm truly scared of this year's holy month of Ramadan, mainly because this is the first time in my adult life that the fasts will be so long- almost 16 hours long.... basically a 16 hour long fog for me. I am a very unpleasant person to be around when food is missing from the scene, ask my nearest and dearest. I am also a useless person to be around when I don't have access to frequent doses of caffeine and carbohydrates. To make things remarkably difficult, I have a robust toddler on my hands who is always bursting with energy, bless him. You get the picture, it will get ugly. 

At the same time, I am also very excited about fasting; I see it as a test of my will power, strength and my believes. I see it as a challenge and love the devotion and dedication that it requires. Fasting can really whip one into shape and instill the idea of discipline that we might have been lacking during the rest of the year. It's a fixed schedule of eating, praying, sleeping, reading etc. What is also great is the flat stomach that is at its lowest level in the hours closest to sunset ;) Go weigh yourself then, it will give you enough energy to jump off the scale with joy, I promise.

People often say that Ramadan is a good time to kick your smoking habit. I disagree. Don't make any big changes in Ramadan. Fasting is serious work, don't make it harder. Look forward to your reward at sunset and enjoy it. What I would recommend though is to carry over the discipline of Ramadan onto the next month and use it then to get rid of a bad habit or to get yourself into a healthy routine. 

Ramadan is so much more than just abstinence from food but for the purpose of this post food is what I want to focus on (of course, as always.) Ramadan calls for abstinence during the day but allows you to indulge after sunset and, man, do people spread out a feast. Here are some yummy ideas to add to your own spread whether your observe Ramadan or not :) Carb up people! It's going to be a long race.

1) Simple Pakora recipe

2) Fruit Chaat

 3) Kaala Chana Chaat

4) Jalebi - Mmmm...Best when served hot!

5) How about a twist on samosa and french toast?

I hope you will try some of the yumminess and report back :) Check in next week for one of my favorite breakfast dishes. It's a family recipe that I would love to share with you. See you then!