Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Chickpea Pilaf {Channa Pulao}

I love simple, flavorful food and this is exactly what this is. 
Simple, sada, ghar ka khana. 

You'll need
1 tin of pre-boiled Chickpeas / 200-250 grams of boiled Chickpea
1 1/4 cup of Rice
1 small Onion
1 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
2 Green Chilies
a few Mint leaves
250 grams of Yogurt
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp of Red Chili Powder
1/4 tsp of Garam Masala

Fry onion till golden brown.

Add ginger garlic paste. Fry till fragrant. 
Add mint leaves, green chilies and all the spices.

Now quickly add yogurt.

Saute till it gets saucy.

Add chickpeas and fry for 5 minutes.

Add water, almost double the amount of rice. I used 2 and 1/4th cup of water.

Add rice when the water starts to boil.
Cook on medium flame till the water almost evaporates but still just a little bit left. Put on dam for 10 minutes (with tawa at the bottom)



Sunday, 29 January 2017

Things To Eat in Istanbul

 What to eat in Istanbul, you ask?
Well, let me take you on a journey of food that you must eat when in Istanbul.
As many of you may know by now, food is a huge part of my life. the first thing we planned when we decided to go to Istanbul was to try different things to eat and not eat anything that we would find here in Oman and to stay in our budget while fully experiencing Turkish food, we decided to eat as much street food as we can.

The breakfast buffet at our hotel was incredible.

Things you must eat when in Turkey

1. Kumpir
You cannot come back from Turkey without  trying this, just dont. You'll thank me later.
Its a giant baked potato with butter and cheese, topped with a variety of toppings of your choice.
I had kumpir thrice during our trip, its that good.
It usually costs around 13-16 TL (360-450 PKR - 1.5-2 OMR) 

Kumpir from 'Otantik Kumpir' at the Forum Mall
Restaurant at Istiklal Street

Restaurant at Istiklal Street
2. Balik Ekmek
If you dont like seafood than this is not for you. But I would still urge you to try it for once.
It is basically a fish sandwich sold on a decorated boat at Eminonu side of the Galata Bridge.
Cost of the sandwich is 8 TL (0.800 OMR / 220 PKR), which is pretty reasonable.
Grilled fish served on a bun with lettuce, a dash of lemon juice and you're good to go.

3. Islak Burger
Super spidy beef burger dunked in tomato sauce. Its nothing like you've ever had before, its that good. Its pretty cheap too, cost 3 TL each (0.300 OMR / 80 PKR)
The one pictured below is from Taksim Park Restaurant at Istiklal street.

4. Doner Durum / Sandwich
Basically flatbread filled with shawarma meat and greens. Pretty good, and sold literally everywhere! 
By all means try the one with doner kebab if you like mutton, we didnt. 
Cost around 4-5 TL.

5. Dondurma
The icecream for which you'll have to literally beg, yeah, that one.
It is one of the best icecream I've had. The texture of the icecream is not like what we ususally eat, its kind of slimy and sticky. Incredibly delicious.
The one which we had outside the Blue mosque was 4 flavors for 7 TL (0.700 OMR / 190 PKR), while it cost us 5 TL (0.500 OMR / 135 PKR) for 5 flavors at the princess island.

Outside Blue mosque. Flavors: Vanilla, Caramel, Chocolate, Strawberry.
At Princess Island. Flavors: Mango, Strawberry, Caramel, Blueberry, Vanilla

6. Turkish Tea
Tea is sold literally everywhere. You'll  find people selling tea out of a small dhabba in small alleyways.
We has the traditional turkish tea with Simit (Turkish bagel) in a small alleyway near Istiklal Street. I loved the tea, really warming in a chilly evening. Najia was not a fan.
We also tried apple tea from a small shop right opposite the Galata tower (dont have the picture for it though)

7. Chestnut and Corn
 You'll see numerous vendors selling chestnut and corn at Istiklal street and many other places.
Just something to snack on while walking. 
Corn was 2 TL (0.200 OMR / 55 PKR) while chestnuts were 5 TL for 100 grams (0.500 OMR / 135 PKR)

8. Turkish Rice Pudding
If you're from Pakistan, this will taste somewhat like kheer, the only difference is that its baked.
Delicious nonetheless. Try it, or no?
7 TL ( 0.700 OMR / 190 PKR)

9. Shish Touk Platter
This was one of the best meal we had during our stay from a small dhabba style place somewhere in the Grand Bazaar. I have no idea about the exact location or the name of the place. We randomly stumbled across this place and decided to eat because we were starving.
The chicken was grilled to the utmost perfection, served with barley, a piece of bread and a tangy salad. Yum yum yum.
22 TL (2.200 OMR / 600 PKR)

10. Bread
If you see anything like the one pictured below, do not, I REPEAT, do dont think that its just blah. This is the food that has been sent down from the heavens for us. Well, not really, but this thing is incredible, so soft. One of the best breads I've had.
You'll find these with variety of toppings ranging from meat, cheese, herbs. The one we had was pepperoni and cheese. I think it was around 4-5 TL.

Other Random things we ate:

Icecream topped with warm semolina. The contrast of hot and cold was amazing. 3 TL (0.300 OMR / 80 PKR)

Grilled chicken and vegetables dunked in tomato sauce. Good and hearty meal.
10 TL (1.00 OMR / 280 PKR)

Handmade toffee from a roadside vendor near Galata Bridge. 3 TL

Cinnamon rolls type something. I have no idea what it called, but delicious. Had this outside the Blue Mosque. 2 TL.

Doner platter. We had this right across the street from the Blue Mosque. 22 TL.

Falafel from a small shop opposite the Galata Tower. 5 TL.

Our view while we had Falafel and apple tea
Strawberries from a random fruit seller. These were the sweetest strawberries I have ever had in my life. If you are from Pakistan, I would definitely recommend that you try the fruit in Istanbul, specially berries, they are incredibly sweet, unlike the tart ones that we have in Pakistan.

Needless to say that I loved Turkish food.
Have you been to Turkey? How was your experience with Turkish food?
Leave a comment to share your thoughts.
The End. Bye.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Istanbul Part 5: Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar is one place that everyone visits on their stay in Istanbul, bustling with people of different nationalities and turkish vendors trying to strike a deal with the tourist. This bazaar is a sensory overload, its amazing.
The main bazaar is lined by different shops, the street is pretty wide initially it becomes narrower and narrower as you go further in the market. There are around 4000 or so shops, this place is truly huge, a maze of narrow streets. The general feel of the bazaar is like 'Zainab Market' in Karachi, without the ugly stares of the shopkeepers and the general 'awam' (I'm sure Karachi waley know what I'm talking about).

The easiest way to reach the bazaar from Taksim is via funicular and tram.

From Taksim take a funicular to Kabatas, from there take the tram to Beyazit-Kapalicarsi (Grand Bazaar)

You will find anything and everything here, from clothing to gold to household stuff and all of this at a very reasonable price. So buy whatever your heart desires.

If you are looking for souveniers to take home, this place is where you will get the best price, make sure you bargain. The vendor will go down 70-80% of the price he originally quotes, so there is a huge margin for bargain here.
We did buy a lot of stuff here, my most favorite are the coasters, such unique and pretty designs. I bought 12 for 20 TL (2.300 OMR / 615 PKR)

We saw beautiful bedding, towel sets, table and bed runners, which can make very nice gifts for new brides. So unique. (done ave a picture of those though)

We had lunch at a small Turkish dhaba type somewhere in the bazaar, I dont even recall the name, the only thing I remember is the fragrance that hit us when we walked by, the fragrance of grilled meat and turkish tea. Stopping for lunch right than was the best decision we made that day.
We both ordered chicken shish touk platter, which was 22 TL (2.5 OMR / 680 PKR)
This was hands down the best shish touk I've ever had. The chicken was oh-so-tender, perfectly grilled served on a bed of spiced barley with a piece of bread and salsa in a tangy sauce on the side.
My mouth is watering just thinking about it right now. So yum!

For dessert we had vanilla ice cream topped with sweet semolina from a small vendor in the bazaar for 3 TL (0.350 OMR / 100 PKR). I love contrast in my food, sweet and salty, hot and cold, so this was right up my alley. The ice cream was cold and the semolina was warm, this was marriage made in heavens. So so good. Must try.

So much of my banter already, I'll let the pictures do the talking below.

Suleymaniye Mosque, near the grand bazaar

Outside the mosque
While I wait for Najia

Until next time!