Apple Pie-ایپل پائی

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Hello everyone, how is everybody doing? I have missed all of you so much. Me and my girls had so much going on that we couldn’t coordinate anything on time. When we finally decided on what to make, it took me a while to send Sab the recipe, and very obviously she got busy right around then. When she was finally able to write the blog, Sal couldn’t take the pictures haha, It’s funny how we have finally gotten around to this one. No worries my dears as I’m here now and that’s all that matters. Sharing another one of my perfected recipes of a simple yet mouth-watering pie.

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The classic Apple Pie..

An apple pie is one of the most basic, easy to make pies, some still call it the old english pie. I have been making this pie for the longest time and It was one of the first things I learned to bake. The pie crust is super easy to make once you get the hang of it. Perfect for autumn and cozy afternoons. My kids love this and over the years I have made simple variations to adjust it according to my family’s taste preferences. I think this is pretty perfect now! I’ll wait for all your feedback once you try this out.

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Serves 4-5  individual pies|Recipe Prep:Salmina| Photography: Salmina|

The filling:

Make the filling first because you want it to be cool when your pie crust is ready.

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Ingredients:

  • 8 medium sized apples
  • 20 grams butter
  • 100 grams caster sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/4 tbsp cinnamon powder

Method:

  1. Peel and core apples. Then cut the apples into thin slices.
  2. Turn the stove on medium to high and add all the ingredients to a saucepan.
  3. Cook the apples for 5-7 minutes making sure they don’t get too dry. Turn the stove off and let the apples come to room temperature before adding them to the pastry.

The pastry:

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Ingredients:

  • 500 grams all purpose flour
  • 200 grams butter, chilled
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg white
  • 3-4 tsp cold water

Method:

  1. Grab a  large bowl and sift the flour in it.
  2. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, rub butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add the egg yolk to the mixture and add cold water,a tablespoon at a time. Mix lightly with a fork after each addition until the dough is just moist enough to hold together. Make sure that you don’t add extra water, we don’t need it.
  4. Lightly flour your hands and shape the dough into a ball in the same bowl.
  5. Cut the dough in two parts, one part bigger than the other, cover them separately and put it into the fridge for 20 minutes.
  6. Flour the surface and using a rolling pin roll out the larger dough into a 3mm thick round from center to edge. Add more flour if it starts to stick and push the sides in if needed.
  7. Grease your pie dish and then gently ease the dough into bottom and up side of pie dish to line evenly. Trim the edges.
  8. Prick the base of the pie with a fork and fill with the apple mixture that we prepared.
  9. Dust the surface with flour and roll out the smaller sized dough. You can cut it in strips like I did int he images or roll out the complete thing and just cut some slashes in the middle, be as creative as you like.
  10. Carefully lift this dough and place on top of the pie. If you are placing the dough in the shape of a round then using a spoon, prick very carefully on top of the pie crust.
  11. Whisk the egg white, and using a brush aply this all over the pie crust.
  12. Preheat the oven to 220ºc or 428ºf.
  13. Bake for 40-45 minutes or untill the pastry turns golden brown.
  14. Transfer the pie dish to a wire rack, let it cool slightly so you don’t burn yourself.
  15. Slice and serve.

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Tips:

  • Make sure all the ingredients (pastry and the filling) of the pie are chilled.
  • We dont have to knead the dough much, its ready once it comes together.
  • Flour the surface generously before you roll out the dough so that it deosnt stick.
  • Don’t over-bake the pie as that would make the crust very crumbly.
  • If running short on time, you can also make this in a food processor or a kitchen aid.

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The aroma that fills the kitchen when I bake this pie is so soothing and calming. It just smells like home and cinnamon and pie and love and everything. I think that is one of the reasons why I bake this pie so much. Do try this one out and don’t forget to share your versions on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #tcid.

Aa jao bachon “apple pie” tayyar hai!!

 

Namkeen Gosht-نمکین گوشت

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Eid-al-Adha or “Bakra Eid” as it is more commonly known here, mubarak to all those celebrating. I hope your “meaty Eid”  is going well. Eid days are always busy, sorting out meat and distributing it, family get togethers and lots of family food traditions. In our family we usually get up early for prayer and then the qurbani(sacrifice). It’s usually a long day but totally worth it when the family gathers together for lunch and dinner.

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The most loved thing for Eid on our table is “Namkeen Gosht”, namkeen basically means salty and gosht means meat. It really is a meat-lover’s dream and is perfect for Bakra Eid. You can use the freshly slaughtered meat, a few other ingredients and slow cook it to perfection by the time your guests arrive for lunch. Easiest, delicious-est (I’m sure that’s a word), best-est thing in the world. It has meat and then some more melt-in-your-mouth textured meat. Hailing from the northern and tribal areas of Pakistan, it’s a popular dish because it uses the minimum number of spices but the preparation brings out the natural flavor in the meat. You have to eat it to believe it!! But first you need to make it!

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Serves 4-5 |Recipe Prep:Sabeeka| Photography: Sabeeka|

Ingredients:

  • 2kg Goat meat/mutton, (the best cut is the leg+shoulder/back chopes ( in Urdu: dasti/puth))
  • 1 1/2 tbs vinegar
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed black peppercorns
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • Sliced/chopped ginger for garnish
  • chat masala, for garnish.

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, marinade the meat in ginger, vinegar, salt and crushed black peppers. Cover and let it sit for an hour. If you want you can marinade the meat for up to three hours, but place in the refrigerator if you plan on using it later.
  2. Add meat in a large enough pot that fits the meat. Add 2 cups of water
  3. Turn the heat on medium high and cook for 10 minutes or till the water comes to a simmer/boil.
  4. Cover the pot and turn the heat to low. Let it cook until the meat is tender and the water is reduced. If the water evaporates and the meat is still not ready then heat a little bit of water in a separate container and add to the meat to finish cooking.
  5. Turn the stove off when ready.
  6. In a separate open faced pot heat oil on medium heat.
  7. Add meat in this pot and fry for about 4-5 minutes and you are done.
  8. Plate and garnish with ginger and sprinkle a bit of chat masala on top.
  9. Serve warm with naan.

Tips:

  • Make sure that the meat is well cooked but not cooked to the point where it starts to fall apart (over-tenderized).
  • Try to use really  good quality cut of meat (there is no alternative to fresh meat).
  • You can also use a pressure cooker. Use the same amount of water and put on pressure for about 15-20 minutes. Check to make sure that the meat is not over-cooked.

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I have lived in Peshawar, the capital city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for a long time and I learnt that the fewer ingredients we use for this recipe, the better it tastes. It was really a treat to be able to sample a number of local variations. This is a quick and short recipe, I love such recipes that are easy to prepare and taste awesome. Don’t forget to share your Eid celebrations and all the BBQs you had with us, on Facebook.

Happy Eid everyone, let’s dig in.

Aa jao bachon “Namkeen Gosht” tayyar hai!!

Matar Pulao – Rice pilaf with peas – مٹر پلاوُ

IMG_6811 copyMost of you must be enjoying some respite as it’s back to school time for kids. I am quite happy because I have time to do things now, other than just running around the house trying to look like I’m accomplishing much. It’s not that I mind having the kids at home but when it’s three teenagers, it is hard to keep a schedule. Messy rooms, late-night snacks, birthday celebrations, baking lots of cake for birthdays, girl’s nights (if you have girls), cousins coming over, an oven for a kitchen if you live in Pakistan and countless other stuff that I can rant about (but I’ll be kind and spare you guys). All of it can be a bit exhausting at times.

I love my morning routines when the kids go to school. Having my breakfast: cake rusks and a hot cup of chai while relaxing, is just the best feeling one could have after a long summer. It helps me in making the hardest decision of the day: what to make for lunch/dinner? Just like I have to decide what to post next for the blog. Even though Biryani is always a strong contender, “Pulao/Pilaf” is my middle name. I can never have enough, literally! No dinner at my place is complete without it. If you are coming over you already know what the menu is going to be.

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My mother and now my sister are basically Pulao queens. Whenever I see Pulao (the real deal that is), my heart beats faster and my palate gives my brain certain commands (abuse of basic neurology but that is what Pulao does to me, people!)  which basically translate to: stop thinking and start eating like there is no tomorrow. Its amazing how only a few ingredients end up making something bursting with so much flavor. I can’t even begin to describe… Insert an emoji here that shows how miserable one can be without pulao.

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When I was explaining what to write to Sabeeka (remember her ??  our manager/wannabe boss. Click here if you haven’t read about us) she kept asking me if I ever had trouble making this or if it turned out into a mush instead of rice and I kept telling her that I never had any issues, it always came out perfect. My recipe is extremely easy once you get the hang of it, it does have a few extra steps than normal but that makes all the difference.I know she doesn’t believe me, she probably wanted to smear my Pulao reputation with a horrible story. If you follow my recipe you can proudly tell your daughter ( just like I did) that she is a really bad cook and that’s why she should have learned earlier (satisfied grin). All those years of telling my daughters to learn how to cook and they never did, redemption time :D.

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Serves 4-6 |Recipe Prep:Beenish| Photgraphy: Salmina|

Special Masala: Ingredients:

*This is a special masala I make most recipes you will find on the internet do not include this, it makes a huge difference*

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp corriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp chaat masala

Method:

Mix all of these  ingredients except the chaat masala. Finely grind them into a powder. Sift these using a sieve to remove the larger pieces and to mix them well. Now add the chaat masala. keep this spice mix on the side to be used later.

Ingredients for the rice pilaf:

  • 2cups Basmati Rice
  • 1 cup fresh/frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 small green chillies, chopped in small pieces
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, skinless and chopped finely
  • 4 tbsp yogurt
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups water+ a few tablespoons

Garam masala:  Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 inch or a Small piece of cinamon

Method:

  1. Wash the basmati rice until clean. Then soak in luke-warm water for 20-25 minutes. Drain and keep ready.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat.
  3. Add the onion and all the garam masala. Saute until fragrant. Caramelize the onions, we only want them to have a slight golden color. Do not let the onions turn a darker shade or burn.
  4. Now throw in the garlic, ginger and the green chillies. Saute for a minute.
  5. Add a tablespoon of water so nothing sticks to the bottom,  mix in the tomatoes as well.
  6. Cover for 2 minutes to soften the tomatoes.
  7. Uncover and mix the tomatoes so that they turn mushy and loose their shape and turn into more of a paste. Cook for a few minutes making sure nothing sticks to the pan.
  8. Add the peas. I usually use fresh peas but you can use frozen ones as well. They taste just fine. Make sure the frozen peas are not expired or have been sitting in  the freezer for too long. Cook the peas for a minute.
  9. Add a few tablespoons of water and cover for 2 minute.
  10. Uncover and mix in the yogurt and the special masala/spice mix at this stage.
  11. Add a tiny bit less than the measured 4 cups of water to the pot.
  12. Once the water comes to a boil, add salt.
  13. Turn the heat up high and add rice. Do not cover. Mix the rice in with a spoon a few times. keep an eye on the water
  14. When you see the water has been absorbed and the rice look almost dry turn the flame really low.
  15. Cover and let the rice cook for about 15 minutes on really low flame.
  16. Take the pot of the flame, fluff and serve hot.

Tips:

  1. If you want to add some more flavor then use chicken broth instead of water, or substitute with a chicken cube or chicken bullion powder.
  2. Also if you do not mind consuming a bit more oil than normal, add a few tablespoons in the beginning as well.

IMG_6814 copyAnyways lets dig in, shall we.. Hey who took my shami kabab?.. Oh and don’t forget to serve with raita, achaar(pickle) and a light leafy salad.

Aa jao bachon “Mattar Pulao” tayyar hai!!

Gulab Jamun-گلاب جامن

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Eid Mubarak everyone!!!

It’s such a nice feeling that  all around the world, we are all celebrating this auspicious day together, this year. I wish your day will be filled with happiness and lots of eidi:p (eidi is a tradition of getting money from elders of your family). Oh and Don’t forget to  share how you celebrate eid, what is your family’s eid menu like?? Anyways, I was thinking about what to post for Eid, these past few months and I wasn’t able to decide until a few weeks ago when I posted the gulab jamuns on instagram. The response was so warm and soooo many of you asked for the recipe that it felt right to post it this Eid.

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We do not need any introduction for Gulab Jamuns. They are the crown-less kings/queens of all the sweets combined. There is no one that I know who doesn’t like these gorgeous looking sweets from heaven. No celebration is complete without them. In the sub-continent and even found in the Caribbean, these are appreciated all over the world. I love gulab jamuns, piping hot, dripping with sheera, right from the karahi, there is no other feeling as amazing as that first bite of a Gulab Jamun.

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Most of you know home made gulab jamuns are tricky to make. There are countless recipes available online. Your family probably has tens of recipe too and to find that one perfect recipe is hard. I have tried at least ten different recipes and found this one, which is a combination of a few to be the most perfect. For first timers there are a few important steps that you should know about. I feel that recipes fail to explain or highlight and we end up with something that is not gulab jamun. I’ll try to explain everything as best as I can. The thing you should focus on is the temperature of the oil. It might make or break your GJ.

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This recipe has two parts, one is the sheera -the syrup and the second part is the actual gulab jamuns.

Sheera/Rose and cardamom syrup

Ingredients:

  • 475 gm (2¼ cups)  caster sugar
  • 750 ml (3 1/4 cup) water
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 tsp rose water (optional)

Method:

  1. Turn the stove on medium high heat.
  2. In a large saucepan,  add water and stir in sugar, cardamom, cinnamon sticks. Let the sugar dissolve. I feel that cinnamon to be a really strong flavor so I use only 1 stick.
  3. Once the sugar dissolves then bring it to a boil and cook until a slightly sticky syrup forms, About 8-10 minutes. Test between thumb and index finger – it should form a thread when stretched.
  4. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, then stir in rosewater. I also do not like rose water so I usually skip this step. Try adding just 1 tsp first and see how you like the result, add more if you want but no more than 3 tsp.
  5. Keep this sugar syrup in a large enough bowl so that you can add the gulab jamuns directly to it later.

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The gulab Jamuns

Ingredients:

  • 260 gm (2 cups) full-cream milk powder
  • 150 gm (1 cup) self-raising flour
  • 90 gm (½ cup) fine semolina
  • 300 ml thickened cream
  • Vegetable oil, for frying.

Method:

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, add cream and stir to just combine.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a flat work surface, knead lightly to bring dough together. Don’t knead too much as we do not want gluten to form, just enough to form a ball. If you knead too much it will cause gluten to form. That will make the center of the balls dense and it won’t absorb any of the syrup. The dough should be smooth and very slightly sticky.
  3. Divide this mixture into 25 portions.
  4. Rub some oil on your hands and shape these portions into small balls. These will double in size when you fry them and also when you soak them in syrup so don’t make their size too big.
  5. Cover these with a kitchen towel.
  6.  Heat oil in a wok to 170°C. This is a crucial step, the temperature of the oil needs to be just right. If you have a thermometer use it. If you don’t try throwing in a test gulab jamun. If the oil is too hot the ball will rise to the top quickly, brown super fast and not cook all the way through. If it doesn’t rise to the top then the oil is not hot enough.
  7. Once you think the temperature is perfect, carefully lower dumplings into oil in batches (be careful, hot oil will spit), then cook, gently shaking the wok so they brown evenly. You can also use a slotted spoon but it might break the gulab jamuns.
  8. Cook until golden and cooked through. It usually takes about 2-3 minutes.
  9. Every time you add a new batch of gulab jamuns make sure the temperature is right, if it cools down the gulab jamuns wont cook perfectly and absorb waay too much oil. So heat it up again untill it is just right.
  10. Remove with a slotted spoon, immerse in the container with the sugar syrup to soak for 1 hour, then serve.

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I swear by this recipe and my daughters do as well. Every time we make it, it comes out perfect and everyone loves it. We like it just as they are, very basic: no garnishing. Serve as you prefer your gulab jamuns. Warm, room-temperature or cold, they taste just as delightful. These are a perfect thing to serve to your family on Eid and it will be a feather in your cap: that you are a gulab jamun pro.

Aa jao bachon “Gulab jamun” tayyar hain!!