Thai Fish Red Curry

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Thai curry was a love at first bite for me. Eversince it has become one of the regular dishes I make.

I love prawns in curries but as I’m allergic to prawns I had to use chicken instead. Recently I decided to try using boneless fish cubes and the result was absolutely amazing.
Although making thai curry is super easy not everyone can make it perfect. I’ve overcooked veggies many times and failed to achieve the perfect consistency between the curry paste and coconut milk. Despite being a huge fan of low fat cooking I would say low fat coconut milk is an absolute no. It fails to give that rich slightly creamy texture to the curry that I adore.

The vegetables in this curry need to be half cooked so that they retain their natural colour and are a little crunchy. However, it depends on the vegetables you’re using. Bell peppers,  mushrooms, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc need to be cooked for only 2 to 5 minutes, depending on your preference. Carrots and greenpeas, on the other hand, need longer time. I put veggies like carrots along the meet in the pot and after 5 to 8 minutes add the rest of the veggies.

And it goes without saying that buying the right curry paste is crucial.

Here’s my recipe. Hope you enjoy it.

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Ingredients :

3 tbsp cooking oil
100 gm thai red curry paste
400 ml coconut milk
400 gm boneless cubed fish
500 different cut vegetables (I used green pepper, fresh mushrooms, broccoli, brussel sprouts, baby corns and carrots)

Method :

1. Heat the oil in a pot.
2. Add thai red curry paste and fry for one minute.
3. Add coconut milk and incorporate the curry paste in it.
4. Add fish cubes, carrots and baby corns (I was using fresh baby corns which need to be cooked)
5. After 5 minutes when fish is half done add the rest of the veggies and cook for another 5 minutes.
6. Serve hot with steamed rice.

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Healthy Banana Bread

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There’s something very satisfying about baking bread at home. I feel quite elavated when I take out bread from the oven. The rich aroma and the expectation of the first taste is exhilarating in itself.

Banana bread is one of my favourite breads and to be honest whenever I bake it I can’t help having it for breakfast and then again with coffee in the evening.

But sadly like most of the baked goods banana bread can be packed with lots of fats and oils, let aside the processed all purpose flour — my three enemies!

Previously I’ve tried to use stevia instead of sugar but the experiment wasn’t successful as stevia left a strong after-taste. So may be I’ll use stevia only in my tea and coffee or the occasional porridge.

So after my failure with stevia I decided to reduce the sugar to 75% of what the recipe required and use only soft dark brown sugar. And I must say I’m very pleased with the result and would probably reduce it further next time. As brown sugar has a slightly ‘richer’ taste than regular white sugar you can use a little less sugar without compromising on the sweetness.

Also, I replaced 75% of the oil with buttermilk and yet had a gorgeous bread. it was slightly crunchy on the outside and rich and gooey in the inside. A perfect treat when you’re craving something baked and sweet.

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Here’s my recipe. Hope you like it.

Ingredients :
Whole wheat flour 1 cup
All purpose flour 2/3 cup
Baking powder 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder 1 tsp
Soft dark brown sugar 1 1/4 cups
Bananas mashed 1 cup (preferably ripe)
Eggs 2
Butter milk 2/3 cup
Oil 1/4 cup
Vanilla essence 1 tsp

Method :
1. Pre heat oven at 140°C.

2. Combine all the dry ingredients and set aside in a small bowl.

3. In a large mixing bowl blend oil, mashed bananas, buttermik, eggs and vanilla essence.

4. Add the dry ingredients and blend well with a hand blender.

5. Grease a loaf mould and pour the mixed batter in it.

6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 50 minutes.

7. Take out of the oven and enjoy it with a cup of tea or coffee.

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Baked Potato Wedges

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Now with these delicious Baked Potato Wedges you can satisfy your craving for French Fries without feeling guilty about the fat content.

You don’t need to buy those horrible yet overpriced baked or popped chips anymore.

Here’s my recipe. It’s super fun and easy.

Ingredients :

Potatoes 3 medium sized
Olive Oil 2 tbsp
Salt 1/3 to 1/2 tsp
Paprika Powder 1/2 tsp
Oregano 1/2 tsp
Cooking Spray

Method :

1. Pre heat the oven at 180 ° C. Wash and cut the potatoes into thin wedges and pat them dry.

2. In a small bowl mix salt, paprika and oregano.

3. Again pat the potatoes dry and coat them with olive oil.

4. Now add the dry spices and make sure potato wedges are evenly coated.

5. Line a baking tray with tin foil and grease it with cooking spray. 

6. Put the potato wedges on the baking tray but make sure that the tray isn’t overcrowded.

7. Bake for 20 minutes and serve with ketchup.

Crispy Baked Za’atar/Thyme Chicken Thighs

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Who doesn’t love crispy fried chicken with french fries? If it were not for the high fat content I would have it all the time.

Today I decided to experiment with baking breaded chicken to get just the crispness I wanted.

I marinated it with Za’atar which is a Lebanese spice blend made of dried thyme, sesame seeds and some other spices. It’s usually sprinkled over pita bread before it’s baked with olive oil but I love it so much that I’ve been adding it to many dishes including aalu/potato paratha and mashed potatoes.

To make sure that the chicken is tender on the inside do not remove the skin. I know the skin isn’t healthy but since we are hardly using any oil in this recipe I’ll go ahead and say this chicken is still quite healthy.

The secret to baked crispy chicken is marinating only when it is well dried.

Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients :

Whole Chicken Thighs with skin on 500 gms
Salt 1 tsp or according to taste
White Pepper 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper 1/3 tsp
Za’atar/Thyme 1 1/2 tbsp
Garlic Powder 1/2 tsp
OnionPowder 1/2 tsp
Cooking Spray or a little Olive Oil
Egg 1 medium
Bread Crumbs 1/4 cup

Method :

1. Wash and thoroughly dry the chicken with paper towels.

2. In a small bowl mix together all the dry spices.

3. Gently make small cuts in the fleshy part of the chicken and rub the mixed spices on all sides. Set aside for 15 minutes.

4. Pre heat the oven at 180 ° C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment or tin foil and use cooking spray or a little olive oil to grease it.

5. Gently beat the egg in a bowl that would fit the chicken thighs. Dip chicken in the egg and then coat it on all sides with bread crumbs. Repeat with all pieces.

6. Place the chicken on the baking tray with some space between each piece. Crowding the tray would result in a soggy chicken. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Flip the pieces halfway through.

7. Serve with your favourite dip and some crispy baked potato wedges.

Here’s my recipe of Baked Potato Wedges:
https://cravingfoodindoha.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/baked-potato-wedges/

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Shaljam Gosht / Turnip and Lamb Stew

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Turnips are one of those vegetables that we hate as kids but learn to love as we grow up.

I remember how I abhorred the idea of eating turnips when I was little but my mom made sure we siblings ate our veggies.

My husband who hates turnips loved this recipe and asked for a second helping. 🙂

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients :

Turnips 500 gms
Lamb/mutton 300 gms
Onion 1 medium
Tomato 1 medium
Garlic cloves 5
Oil 2 to 4 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Red chilli powder 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Corriander powder 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Brown sugar 1 tbsp

Method :

1. Put the lamb with chopped onion, tomato, garlic, salt and 1/2 cup water in a pressure and cook till the fourth whistle on medium to high heat. Turn off the stove.

2. Peel and cut the turnips in cubes and set aside.

3. When the steam has completed released from the pressure cooker open the lid and turn on the stove on medium to high heat. Add oil, red chilli, turmeric, corriander and cumin powder and fry till the oil is released.

4. Add the turnips and fry for 1 minute.

5. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and pressure cook again till 4 whistles.

6. Turn off the stove and open the pressure cooker when the steam  has been released.

7. Turn on the stove, mash the turnips with your spatula and mix well.

8. Add 1 tbsp of brown sugar and mix throughly. (Brown sugar balances the naturally bitter turnips)

9. Serve with white rice or chapattis.

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Gajrela / Carrot Pudding

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When away from home we cannot help feeling nostalgic about the amazing food that our moms cook from recipes that have been handed down through generations.

I’ve grown up eating gajrela in the winters. In fact, I can’t imagine winters without mom’s gajrela and saag — the two special Punjabi seasonal treats of winters.

Now that I’m living in Doha I couldn’t help feeling homesick when i reminisced about these dishes but then I took the matters in my hands and decided to make gajrela. The first thing I needed was the Pakistani variety of carrots that’s red in color and little bigger than the regular carrots available here. Fortunately I found those in Safeer’s Hypermarket. It was time to do the cooking now.

There are various varieties of gajrela depending upon the proportion of milk, rice and carrots in this pudding. I love my mom’s version that perfectly balances carrots with milk in this pudding recipe.

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Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients :

Carrots 1kg
Milk 2 litres
Rice 1/2 cup (soaked for 30 minutes)
Sugar 1/2 to 3/4 cups (or according to taste)
Cardamom powder 1 tsp
Almond flakes 3 tbsp and more for garnishing
Shredded coconut 4 tbsp
2 tbsp raisins
Evaporated milk 1 small can

Method:

1. Soak the rice and set aside.
2. Grate the carrots. Although electric grating machine works fine and saves time and effort I prefer to grate mine with hand grater because it has a slightly coarser texture which I prefer.
3. Take a big pot and put the shredded carrots in it on high flame. When they start to sizzle turn the heat down to low to medium and cover till the carrots are tender. Keep stirring occasionally.
4. In a separate pot mix milk with the soaked rice and cook on medium to low heat till the rice is tender. Make sure the milk doesn’t boil over.
5. When the rice are tender add cardamom powder, sugar, almonds, shreded coconut and raisins. Mix thoroughly and this mixture to the carrots.
6. Add evaporated milk and cook on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes without covering the pot. Don’t forget to stir or the pudding will stick to the bottom of the pot.
7. Pour in a bowl and set aside to cool down. Garnish with almond flakes and serve chilled.

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Baked Roghni Naan (Flat Bread)

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Craving for some Naan in Doha, but don’t know from where to find it? Well, no need to look for it when you can cook it yourself at home.

Naan is a popular flat bread from South Asia that is available in many western countries these days. There are two other famous varieties of flat breads: chapati (of Pakistani/Indian origins) and pita bread (of Middle Eastern origins). Chapati is rather thin like taco tortilla or burrito wraps; whereas, pita bread is yeast based and hence thicker. Naan is also yeast based and baked in an oven but it is much thicker than pita bread.

In Pakistan naans are readily available at various tandoor (clay oven) shops. The naan varieties include plain naan, roghni naan (smeared with butter or ghee on top), garlic naan, potato naan, mincemeat naan, baisan (gram flour) naan etc. Roghni and garlic naans are usually eaten with festive foods like haleem, nihari, paye, and bbq. Besan, potato and mincemeat naans are eaten on their own.

Getting authentic naan bread abroad can be difficult sometimes or may be the shop that stocks naan is far from your house. The naans sold at the bakery near my house are not that bad but they are rather pricey. So I decided to bake naans at home last weekend and the result was amazing. My husband was stunned by those gorgeous naans at dinner table. I’m definitely going to make them again. May be I’ll try other naan varieties next time.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all purpose flour*

½ tsp dried yeast

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp sugar

¼ cup yogurt

¼ cup water

2 tsp of powdered milk

4 tbsp melted butter

1 egg

1 tbsp of sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Warm up the water so that it’s lukewarm and mix powdered milk in it. Now add the yeast and let it rest for ten minutes.
  2. In a large bowl mix flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar.
  3. Add yogurt and whisked egg to the water mixture and then fold it into flour.
  4. Now it’s time to knead the dough. You can do it in a matter of few minutes in a heavy food processor that comes with a plastic dough hook or spend good ten minutes in kneading it by hands on a lightly floured surface.
  5. Cover the kneaded dough with cling wrap and let it rest on the kitchen surface for 1 hour.
  6. After 1 hour punch the dough down to its original size. Add 3 tbsp of melted butter and knead it until the butter is incorporated well into the dough. Cover with cling wrap and let it rest for half an hour to 1 hour.
  7. Pre heat the oven at 180°C for ten minutes. Brush oil and then sprinkle flour on your baking tray. Divide the dough into four parts and gently stretch them into flat bread shape.
  8. Put the flat bread on the tray and stretch a little, making sure the bread is thicker on the corners. Sprinkle sesame seeds on all four naans and press them down gently into the dough. Bake for 8 10 ten minutes until light golden on top.
  9. Take the remaining 1 tbsp melted butter and brush it on the surface of all naans.

Your roghni naans are ready.

I served them with nihari.

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*Naans are usually made with refined flour you can substitute half of the required amount with whole wheat flour or use whole wheat flour only. However, the whole wheat naan would have a little nutty flavour that I adore but won’t rise as beautifully as the refined flour.