Sunday, July 28, 2013

Chinese for f6oor? Yes please!

After a while, the rice, thireed and harees starts to become so routine.  In the back of my mind, a thought is etched in my mind  that it is unheard of to stray away from the traditional Ramadan food.  However a few days ago, I was craving PF Chang's Mongolian Beef and I thought - why not?

So, I pulled out my old recipe and got cooking.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Proud Kitchen Moment: My first Biryani

Biryani is pretty big in Bahrain.  Originally a South-Asian dish, it became increasingly popular in Bahrain and surrounding Gulf nations.

Nobody can deny the influence of South-Asian cuisine on ours, and fortunately - spices are in abundance - ever since the days of Indian trade.

So Indian/Pakistani cuisine has become an essential part of our Arabic cuisine, and thank God for that.  Or I would not have been introduced to...

The subject at hand...

The Biryani.

I served it for my family at fitoor a few days back and let me say I had everyone lipsmacking and asking for more.  What a relief.

I am also proud to say that not one drop of oil was used in the making of this biryani.  Healthy-meal: check!

I also used to dread making it for fear it was too complicated, or worse - would come out uneatable.  But it was so delicious there was hardly any rice particles left in our plate.

The recipe is off the NestlĂ© website

Basically you need the following: 
2½ cups basmati rice, washed
3½ cups water
Spray oil 
1 medium white onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon grated ginger
500 g skinned chicken breast fillet
2 cubes Maggi bouillon 
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and pureed
½ cup low fat yoghurt (equivalent to one Almaraie container)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1½ tablespoons ground garam massala
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
Pinch of saffron, soaked in ¼ cup water

Cook the 2 1/2 cups rice with 3 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan and cook with stirring until it boils. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is cooked. Set aside.
Meanwhile, spray a large saucepan (I like to use a wok), cook the onion until golden brown in color. Add garlic and ginger and stir. Add chicken and stir until it’s cooked.

Add the Maggi cubes, tomato, yogurt, lemon juice, tomato paste and spices. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium pot, place half the quantity of the prepared rice and the chicken mixture on top. Sprinkle the chopped coriander and mint over the chicken mixture and cover the top with the remaining rice.
Pour the saffron water on top. 
Cover firmly with the pot lid and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until rice is completely cooked.

When serving, try to scoop out the white rice and later on the bottom of your serving plate. Follow with chicken on the very top. 
Sprinkle nuts and fried onions. Serve with yogurt (mixed in with sumac and fresh mint) and a side salad of tomato and cucumber with lemon. 

Now turn around and pat yourself on the back. 

Bon appetite!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm on DimaSharif.com!


I am THRILLED beyond believe to be featured on Dima's kitchen blog - www.dimasharif.com

I frequented her blog back when it was just starting and to be a guest contributor now is an honor.

Dima is featuring daily posts on Ramadan recipes and rituals from all over the GCC - if you haven't seen her blog yet do so now - I am  certain you will find something that captures your undivided attention and make you come back from more.

Check it out!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Delicious Yemeni Chicken

One of the most popular dishes in my house is Yemeni Chicken. I got this off the NestlĂ© website and it is so delicious that my usual modifications were not necessary.    

More importantly, it is super healthy. No oil, no frying, no kidding. And for those who don't want the stench of cooking to permeate their hair/clothes, then this recipe is for you. 

My kids love the lemony taste of this chicken, cooked to perfection - crusty on the outside, juicy on the inside. And the potatoes are just the vegetable to accompany this meal. 

The ingredients are pretty straight forward, you will need:
  • One whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I use Altanmia
  • 4 potatoes, sliced
  • 2 and a 1/2 cups water
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed 
  • One bunch fresh coraniander, chopped
  • 2 Maggi cubes (I use low-sodium chicken bouillon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (yes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (trust me)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour dissolved in a dash of cold water
  • Juice of 2 lemons (I squeeze 3 or 4 because I like it the tang)
  • Canola oil spray 

1. Preheat your oven to 200C. Spray the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange potatoes and then arrange chicken on top. Set aside. 

2. In a saucepan, add water, spices, coriander, garlic, corn flour mixture and Maggi cubes. Stir until it simmers. 

3. Pour the mixture on top of the chicken.  
4. Bake for an hour to an hour and a half. As the chicken cooks, spoons some of the sauce on top to maintain juiciness. 
5. In the meantime, squeeze some fresh lemon juice (or get your daughter to help out). 
6. Once the chicken is ready, pour the squeezed lemon juice on top and serve with brown rice.  How good does this look?


Notes:
- You might find it odd that this recipe contains cinnamon and cardamom, but trust me - the 'smell' of chicken is destroyed with these two spices. 
- Add lemon once it's done baking and not before - lemon juice goes bitter when baked for long. 

Bon appetit! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Purple Patchouli's Prom

I was thrilled to receive an invitation to Purple Patchouli's launch party.  I call it a prom because it truly was - pumping music, endless drinks and delicious bites, a photobooth, the girls all excited to see the guests coming, and the owner Mariam Abdulrahim making sure all the guests were comfortable and entertained.

Tuesday, June 25 marked the launch of several unique brands that Purple Patchouli was exclusively featuring in its salons.