Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sulaimaani ~ Malabar Style Black Tea

I am surprised I haven't been writing much about the climate these days. Those who follow me on Instagram would definitely keep seeing the updates. The weather is amazing these days, with the skies having beautiful paintings of the clouds. Mornings are absolutely chilly, I really pity Azza who still is a big sport, going in the dark to catch the school bus, at 6:15 am. At times, she shows me the moon that would very much be visible at that time. I am surprised why she never asked me why she is going to school at night! Evenings, though chilly are quite nice to walk around. But then the bouts of flu, cough and cold circulating is good enough reason to settle ourselves at home. The kids have been having their share of it over the past week, which is not very encouraging considering how tired it makes them feel!

When you talk about cold, there is an epic hot tea we make during this time. Without milk, and sometimes without sugar, little tea lightly brewed in water till the desired color is reached. Sometimes, we flavor it with a pinch of cardamom for an extra punch. We, Malabaris, so lovingly call it Sulaimaani! I have no clue about its history, nor am I interested in knowing about it, but in our home, the men always prefer sulaimaani over milky chai. Maybe it feels more "man-ish" to drink it! Hehe... Anytime D's friends would come over, they would only need a sulaimaani but definitely, without making it too strong! This reminds me that during school days, I made sulaimaani for a bunch of D's friends and ended up making it too strong. I did not want to add extra water and spoil it, so served it as it is. In comes a comment, "Ethentha mole, Sulaimaani ellaam koodi Abdurahmaani aayi poyallo!!!" (What happened, daughter, the Sulaimaain has become an Abdurahmaani!) Since then, it has been testing times for me while making this drink. No rocket science there, but getting the correct strength is the matter. And I found out that it comes if you add the tea leaves into the water as it starts to boil, so that you get control over the strength. Just off to the way I make this simple chai...

Sulaimaani ~ Malabar Style Black Tea
Serves 2


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Banana Cinnamon Muffins

I am going to post something, which mothers of girls can always relate to. I seriously don't know if this happens with parents of boys, but if yes, please do let me know. At an age, probably between 4 and 5, girls always have a fascination of marrying their dads! I saw it with Rasha, and now I see it with Azza. For girls, their abba is always the most perfect man on the face of the earth, irrespective of what their ummis think! (Ahem...!!! Hehe...) This happened last week while the kids and I were on a drive. Azza so excitedly said out of nowhere, "Atha bigaayittu abbane kalyanam kazhikkum!" (When Azza grows big, I will marry abba.) Rasha gave her a stare and very diplomatically replied, "Azza, you cannot marry abba, he is already married to ummi. We both will have to look for somebody else!" I absolutely loved that answer of hers! But actually looking at it, when we also were growing up, we wanted somebody who is like our fathers, didn't we? I would love to hear from mothers who have growing up boys, do they ever say that they would want to marry their mothers? :)

I guess I have quite a bit of banana bakes already and you will see many more coming InShaAllah. I love banana bakes, irrespective of whether the kids love it or not. This awesome muffin was baked when I was off from work one day. Before Rasha woke up, I wanted to surprise her with some freshly baked muffins.  Quickly I put myself into my act, enjoyed the whole process and loved the aroma in the kitchen. After all, banana and cinnamon cannot fail to tantalize your smell buds as much as they can to your taste buds. Unfortunately, she did not touch it! "Ummi, does this have banana?", she asked just by the look of it. "How did you know?" I was really surprised! "The smell tells it, ummi!" That time, my motherly guilt hit me badly. I realized she is not fond of banana in bakes. I have seen her eating whatever I give her but I did not know that she did it because she didn't want to waste. I begged and prompted her to have a piece but she didn't. For all the excitement I had, this was really a de-motivator. But I respect the fact that she finally opened it up to me. At least I know now that my madness for bananas must not hinder the kids' enjoyment to have what I bake! Having said that, these muffins were just too good with a cup of coffee. I gulped down a couple of them as soon as she left for school. And yes, you can see... morning photography that is so rare on the blog... :)

Banana Cinnamon Muffins
Makes 7 large muffins or 12 normal ones
Recipe adapted from here


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Punjabi Dal Fry

Some beautiful lines to share for today... I will leave it at that and not spoil its beauty! :)


I don't have a dal friendly household so it is something which is very rarely cooked as curry for rice or roti. But when I get a chance, I make sure I make some. For me it is comfort food. Scooping it up with some Pakistani tandoor roti slices is my kind of meal of a nice cold night. Not only that, it takes hardly any time to prepare them as well. Making restaurant style dal fry at home can be challenging at times but this recipe that I tried won hands down with a nice homely feel. The ghee gives it an awesome feel so just don't skip it fearing the calories. After all, how much harm can 1 tsp ghee give you? Hehe... Off to this delicious curry...

Punjabi Dal Fry
Serves 4
Recipe adapted from here


Monday, January 26, 2015

Basundi ~ Thickened Milk Dessert

Sweet Fantasy Club was one group I joined some time back but I have never been able to participate in any of the challenges since Preeti was busy with a lot of other commitments. This month, she decided to start the challenge. Every month, she gives two sweet dishes - a desi one and a fusion one which the group members are supposed to try and post within the month. Being a total sweet tooth, I took a plunge into this group. I keep trying fusion sweet dishes since they are more easier to make but making Indian sweets always freaks me out, mainly because the length and the complication of the procedures. I wanted to get rid of that fear mainly.

This month, she had given us Basundi as the Indian dessert and Eggless Chocolate Pancakes as the fusion one. Since she declared the recipes a bit delayed, she gave us an option to try one of them for the month. I have already posted a pancake recipe earlier. I was thinking of not participating this month due to the lack of time, but Basundi has been on my to-do list for so long, so I couldn't resist the temptation of trying it immediately. OK, now what is Basundi? It is basically a Gujarati dessert, where milk is boiled and reduced to half, and then flavored with some spices, nuts and even fruits. It is very close to Rabri, but I understand that rabri is thickened even more to make it like cream. All I can say is that it is an awesome dessert. Normally, it is chilled, so that it gets thicker, but believe me, it tastes good even if had warm - especially for people who have no patience to wait! Hehe... Off to the way I made it...

Basundi ~ Thickened Milk Dessert
Serves 2