Wednesday, 29 August 2012

eid and a recipe for milky vermicelli (dhood seviyan)

now that we are grown up there is no eidi, the extra money that would fatten my pocket money. i spent most of it on customised collections of songs recorded by radio city or off beat. nor are there those family outings on chand raat to get stamps of inky henna on my palms and to buy churiyan. the glittery ones were rough, the glitter from them clinging tenaciously to skin and clothing. the plain glass ones had a blackened joint, a mark of the sear of the flame to close the circle. i remember the crudely made boxes holding an array of multicoloured glitter, matte and plain kinds. they were illuminated by naked light bulbs suspended on a slim wire. gone too are the multiple trips to the darzi to retrieve clothes never stitched on time. 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

keema simla mirch - pakistani mince beef with green peppers

keema simla mirch
i remember angst and myself having many midnight conversations in my early twenties. they often took place over keema sandwiches and were a product of post-graduation jitters, readjusting to living with the parents and juggling multiple jobs. there was something particularly comforting about just warm keema held between slices of very soft white bread. if the keema had aloo in it, the chunks would have to be made manageable by a rough smash. a lacquer of mitchell’s chilli garlic sauce would pick up the heat. this was a sandwich to be eaten with care, as the infrastructure of the bread was frail against its contents. i loved the marriage of soft sweet bread with a meaty centre and the heat of the chilli sauce. 

Friday, 10 August 2012

warm spring onion salad

warm spring onion salad
a bright and hot summer day calls for a salad with lightness. it speaks to crisp leaves like radicchio or a tangle of peppery leaves like rocket. slices of stone fruit or summer berries should go in for colour and contrast of flavour. play around with the ingredients in the vinaigrette with fruity vinegars that have a gentle acidity. i always add a little zest to brighten the salad.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

breakfast pudding

avocado
o is a creature of habit. until recently his weekday breakfast was a bowl of bran flakes and a small cafetiere of fresh coffee. i coaxed him out of eating boxed sawdust with a bowl of homemade granola, a sliced banana and some milk. on the weekend brunch is always some manner of eggs – poached, fried or scrambled. i am his polar opposite as the only constant about my breakfast habit is that it varies very often. there are some constants like greek yoghurt, soft cheeses like ricotta and cream cheese and nut butters. for sweeteners there are homemade jams, honey and molasses. 

Thursday, 2 August 2012

besan ki roti - pakistani roti made with gram flour

besan ki roti with spinach yoghurt
many years have passed since i ate besan ki roti so i decided to take it from the preserve of memory by making it for dinner. in my house it was my dadi (paternal grandmother) who made it, usually for sunday brunch. the mustard yellow gram flour was made lively with lots of chopped coriander, finely diced red onion and fresh chillies. pomegranate seeds provided tartness and crunch. large pats of butter would be glided across the surface leaving melted trails in its wake. it was eaten with kunday wallah dahi - that loose and watery yoghurt set in shallow earthenware dishes. mama and baba bought it by the kilo in rana market. the dahi wallah would scoop it in quick precision using a metal utensil that looked like half a bowl into clear plastic bags before knotting it tightly. i have never been a fan of that dahi preferring prime or nestle yoghurt for its more substantial consistency.