Garam Masala with Coriander

  “Garam Masala” – literally mean hot spices – is a quintessential spice mix used in Indian cuisine. The best part of this spice mix is that it varies from house to house! Would you not believe me? If my family despises cumin, I may well skip it off from my bottle of garam masala. I have seen black cardamom being used in some North Indian garam masala mix while this spice is not at all used in south India. A garam masala mix can be with as less as three spices to as many as is available to you. The flavor of the spice mix mainly depends upon which spice is used maximum and which spice is stronger in flavor. Whatever said and done, a pinch or a sprinkle of this spice mix will turn your bland gravy into something amazing. I am sure all of you would agree… 

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Kettle Popcorn

  I am trying to remember when did I get the idea of “kettle popcorn”. I just don’t remember… seriously! Kettle popcorn is nothing but popcorn with a slight sweetness. It isn’t caramel popcorn, yet not just the normal popcorn. This popcorn seems to have originated from the US, you can read a little bit on Wikipedia but more than that, I don’t know. 😀 I am still wondering about its name. It isn’t made in a kettle, yet, why is it called so? Hehe…   The process is just like normal popcorn, just that you add some sugar, which melts and covers over the popcorn giving it a slight sweetness. The sugar actually becomes one reason why you have to be extra careful while popping it, since there are high chances of the sugar getting burned. So do trust your ears and nose while making this popcorn! 😉 Just… 

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Mixed Berry Compote

  Have you wondered what is the difference between jam and compote? You are not alone, I am with you. 😀 I tried going through a lot of material I could find on Googlema (or GGma 😉 ) and got even more confused. Hehe… What I could understand is to get jam, fruit is cooked with sugar in its natural juices till it releases pecitin and becomes like a homogeneous mixture. I have experienced that while I have made strawberry jam. There is a time when we need to stop cooking, the time when the fruit is all pulped up and gets a bit sticky. I feel in a compote, you don’t need to wait till the stage. You can stop cooking it when the fruit is all mashed up and looks pulpy. There is no requirement to check any consistency as such. Then there is something called coulis as… 

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DIY: Dulche De Leche in Pressure Cooker & DDL Coffee

  I have written about DDL in detail in the previous posts. Dulche De Leche is nothing but condensed milk cooked to make it caramel like. This is one of the best discoveries when I fell in love with cooking. Adding DDL to a dessert just lifts it to another level. A few recipes on the blog that already use up this wonder ingredient: Mexican Flan Banoffee Pie DDL Ice Cream DDL Bundt Cake DDL Brownies – my absolute favorite! DDL Baked Cheesecake   Making DDL from scratch is actually a tedious process. It is no fun cooking the tin for a few hours – 3 to 4 hours – soaked up in hot water on low flame. Instead, I use my trusted pressure cooker to do the job for me. It gets done so easily and you just need to leave it overnight to cool completely, to make it… 

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DIY: Peanut Butter | Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

  After the almond milk and labneh, today is something we so frequently use – peanut butter. Peanut butter is considered to be good. While on my weight loss mission – that feels like ages ago now! 😕 – one pre-gym snack that my instructor used to advise, apart from a banana, used to be 2 tbsp peanut butter spread across a slice of brown bread. It is considered as good protein. I am really not a fan of peanut butter but I like to have a pack anytime in my pantry, in case when the craving strikes. But ever since I have learned that home made peanut butter tastes good enough and is preservative free, I prefer making a small batch that gets done within a few days and then make a fresh batch whenever I feel like.     Normally I love it slathered in bread, but even… 

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DIY: Labneh | Cucumber Labneh Sandwich

  Coming to the second post after the Almond Milk… Yes, Labneh is not vegan, and I am not using it at the moment, but I do make it for the kids at times when I am in a mood for making shawarmas. 😀 OK, please don’t search for that recipe, it is not yet on the blog, but hopefully it should appear soon – how soon, I don’t know. 🙂   Labneh is a staple in Arab cooking. You will see a lot of recipes using this ingredient in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and a big part of of Arab and North African countries. What is labneh? Labneh is nothing but strained yogurt. Once yogurt is strained off its whey, it attains a cheesy texture. The use of salt gives it a cheese feeling and keeps it staying fresh in the fridge for at least a week. You can… 

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DIY: Almond Milk | Biscoff Almond Milk Pops

  Time for this month’s 3 back-to-back! I have decided I may leave the series for next month and maybe even September since I may be in the hangover of coming back after vacations. 😉 Just an excuse, you see… Hehe… I guess you would have got it from the title of today’s post about what the theme is going to be – yes, it is going to be some DIYs that you can make at home plus a recipe that uses it. Sounds good? Like receiving a bonus, right? 😀   The first I decided to do was how to make almond milk. Almond milk never occurs to you till you have a problem where you can’t have milk. I love milk, whether it is cold or added into tea or into my smoothies. Even though I don’t have any addiction, but I love my milk in any way…. 

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How to make Ginger-Garlic Paste? ~ Indian Cooking Essential

  There is hardly anything cooked in India without ginger and garlic. Most of the time, it is freshly peeled and pound to be added to the curry or stir fry or for whatever purpose it is being used. Being in a hurry all the time, nowadays a lot of them resort to the bottled ginger garlic paste. I was also guilty of the same. Being a working woman, it was really convenient for me to have a bottle of it in my fridge for my daily frugal cooking during that time. As the kids came along and we started staying with umma, I noticed she had moved on from freshly making to advance ground ginger garlic paste. When asked, she said it was convenient. And yes, it is convenient! The only work involved is the bulk peeling and cleaning. Once that is done, the remaining is a breeze. Not… 

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Home-made Chicken Stock

  With winters in full flow, viruses are creeping up all over the place. Most of the time, all you need is something hot to drink + a nice cozy blanket, so that you can just fold yourself over your couch and not move around for anything! Hehe… Even though I prefer winters to summers over here, I hate the laziness that comes in along with this climate. The days are shorter and even if you plan out to sleep fast, somehow when the alarm rings in the morning, even 8 hours of sleep does not feel enough. I am trying to increase our dependence on soups and salads more this time. Just like I mentioned before, HD and B are totally fine with it, though the kids are not liking it. And I can’t expect them to like it – after all, they are my kids! 😉   Coming… 

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How to make corn in a pressure cooker?

  Already two days of the hyped long weekend is almost getting over. Nothing of my plans happened though… I was wanting to clean the whole house inside out, but I have not even started. Friday and Saturday is going to fly off in a jiffy and it’s back to office and school. Sigh… It has been a horrible week for those in Chennai due to the heavy rainfall obstructing life and bringing it to a complete halt. Things don’t look so good, though the news say that the rains have halted and hopefully things will get better. It is Allah’s tests in many ways – how much we wish for rain, but when it continuously rains, the way it can dislodge life is unimaginable. My thoughts are with all my blogger friends who are struggling to get back to their normal life schedules soon, InShaAllah….   I have not… 

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How to effectively organize a small lunch/ dinner get together/ party?

  The title sounds very intimidating, right? But there’s nothing like that. It is just going to be a long rant post… 🙂 Before I start, a special thanks to HD’s cousin for clicking the pics. I had none and I was worried what I would be sharing in this post… hehe…   We Indians are so used to having guests over for lunch or dinner. Any special occasion, or any special people come over, we have to call them over our home for a “small” meal. When my parents were around, any family that comes for a visit to Dubai is guaranteed to be fed from our home. It was actually a good feel – the panic on umma’s face, the helping her out to cut the vegetables and fruits, to washing plates and waiting for them to leave so that you could eat up all the left overs!… 

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How to make “Popcorn”

If you ask a bunch of people, whether kids or adults, about their favorite snack while watching movies, then it would be popcorn unanimously!!!! I am not a fan of popcorn but HD and the kids are, so whenever we go outing to parks or to watch a movie – which is a once-a-year affair and it is always animated movies – they have to get a couple of XL packs in their hand. Moreover, they end up fighting with each other claiming that the other ate more than them… so much so for the dad and daughters! Hehe…   I used to never make them at home since I thought it was too difficult. HD would keep telling me that it is a breeze to make and hardly costs anything when compared to what we pay in the stalls for a pack of popcorn, but he would never tell… 

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Back to Basics – Putting Biriyani on Dum

I had just asked on the blog’s FB page as to who would love to see a step-by-step post on how to put dum for biriyani, and thanks to the positive response, here I am! I am sure that in the history of this blog, this is the fastest post that has ever happened, within a day! 😉 It is no secret that I have a biriyani crazy family. That definitely includes me. It is very well known with the variety of rice dishes that I have already featured on the blog, and InShaAllah will continue to share all those that I try and succeed. One query I keep getting on my emails is the way to put dum for the biriyani. For most of the biriyanis, putting on dum is one of the most important procedure that helps in the overall taste of the biriyani. By putting it on… 

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My First Attempt at Buttercream Frosting

I did not start this blog only to type in my success stories, but also to put in my not-so-successful attempts as well. However, I doubt if I have ever done that before. Oh yes, I did do it in my Black Forest cake post! OK, so let this be my second post in that category!!! I will never call myself as a talented cook – just like everybody, I really get jitters when I have to try something new. I have nightmares, scares and what not! Before this used to happen when I expect guests too, but now somehow that nervousness is off. But still, when I want to move into unexplored territories, I still feel uneasy. It is through blogging, that I broke off my scare to use yeast. Though not fully out of it, but I can say with confidence that I have somehow pushed down my… 

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Back to Basics – Coconut Milk

Sometimes, we need to keep pulling us back to making things ourselves. Nowadays, everything is so readily available in the shelf that you don’t have to flex your energy to make them from scratch, but actually if you go to see, the taste of food is not as good as it used to be before, nor is it as healthy as it used to be before! Image courtesy Google Being a Keralite means literally attached to your coconut! We try to add coconut and its derivatives into everything we cook. I don’t like to cook in any other oil, apart from coconut oil, even though sometimes people around keep telling how unhealthy it is and how olive oil is a much better option but then the Malayali in me refuses to believe it! Nothing beats the taste of food cooked in coconut oil – absolutely nothing! Hehe… Same goes with… 

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