Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Yakhni Pulao


Alot is happening in my life right now. I'm trying to find a place where I actually belong. I thought Oman was it, but as it dawns on me now, this country is a career suicide. As much as I love Oman (Things to-do when in Oman, coming up on the blog soon), I'm already thinking about moving. Not sure where, not sure when, but it will happen InshAllah (hopefully). *fingers crossed*


Any type of aromatic rice used to be a comfort food for me when I was young. I remember my mother making this (she is one of the best cook in the world!) with shaami kababs and raita. This is totally her recipe and how she makes it. Rough estimate of ingredients, no hard and fast rule and no limitations, that how I cook. Whats the fun in everything thats been set on stone, right?


For this recipe you'll need:
(For the Stock):
500 grams of Beef or Mutton with bone (I used beef)
1 medium Onion
1/2 inch piece of Ginger
5-6 cloves of Garlic
5-6 Cloves
5-6 Black peppercorn
2-3 Black Cardamom
1 Star Anise
2 sticks of Cinnamon
1-2 Bay leaves
1/2 tsp of Cumin
1 tsp of coarsely crushed Coriander Seeds
Some dried chilies (optional)

Other Ingredients:
1.5-2 cups (regular measuring cup) or approx 350-400 grams of Basmati Rice
1 Medium Onion, sliced
250 grams of Yogurt
1 tsp of Ginger Garlic paste
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp of Garam Masala Powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp of Ground Black pepper
4-5 Green Chilies, roughly chopped
Fried Onion (optional)




Start by adding Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Cinnamon, Peppercorns, Black Cardamom, Green Cardamom, Cloves, Cumin, Coriander seeds, Bay leaves and some dried Chilies in a deep pot.

Add beef/mutton

Add water so that the meat is fully covered.

Cook on low till the meat is cooked through, about 1.5-2 hours.
Take out the meat and strain and reserve the stock to use later.

Whip yogurt with Cumin, Ginger Garlic paste and Garam Masala powder. Keep aside.

Brown onion in 4-5 tbsp of oil than add cloves, peppercorn, cinnamon and cardamom.

Add beef/mutton..

yogurt mix, salt, ground black pepper and roughly crushed green chilies

Cook till all the water from the yogurt evaporates and oil is released. 

Add reserved stock (double the amount of rice used, I used 1.5 cups of rice, so 3 cups of stock). If you have less stock, just add water to compensate. Bring to the boil.

Add Rice and cook covered on medium flame till the water is almost dried. Than cook on low with a flat 'tawa' underneath the pateeli for 20 minutes.

Uncover and marvel at the aroma that would hit you in the face.

Sprinkle with fried onion and coriander.




I had this yummy pulao with Potato cutlets (recipe here), salad and raita.





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)

Serve


Enjoy

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.


Breakfast!
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.