Simple Quinoa Salad

ย  It is the month end and time for the Shh Cooking Secretly Challenge! This challenge was initiated by Priyaakka and then moved on to be managed by Mayuriji. I must say that she is doing a good job keeping everyone motivated to participate in the challenges, even though the group is small. ย  This month, the theme is “cool salads” since it is summer in almost everywhere in the world. I am teamed with Priya Satheesh (there are too many Priyas in the bloggy world! ๐Ÿ˜€ ). I admire her for all the innovative combinations that she comes up with, for almost all her recipes. This is the second time I am teamed with her, the last time being when I made the potato frittata. ย  ย  The two ingredients she gave me was avocado and tomato. I was fine with the tomato but avocado always gives me nervous… 

Read More »



Yum

Semolina Mango Cake

ย  I hope you enjoyed the Mango Custard Verrines and Aamras posts in this month’s 3-back-to-back mango recipes. I have been wanting to bake with semolina since long but never got around it. My first attempt at making the basbousa, which is an Arab style semolina cake soaked in sugar syrup, was a dud, and I never got to making it again. Even though I have bookmarked several recipes that use up semolina, I have still kept it pending. There is so much that I am cooking and trying so some things do go off to the end of the list. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย  I made this cake to finish off a can of mango pulp that I had got at a deal. My mind went loitering at all options like ice cream and pudding but then I remembered the semolina mango cake recipe I had saved up very long ago…. 

Read More »



Yum

Kettle Popcorn

ย  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. ๐Ÿ˜€ I am still wondering about its name. It isn’t made in a kettle, yet, why is it called so? Hehe… ย  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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just… 

Read More »



Yum

Aash-mal-Zaffran ~ Emirati Saffron Rice

ย  I have been wanting to post more Emirati recipes but that doesn’t seem to be happening. I had initially planned at doing one recipe per month, but things are not going as per plan. I try to keep a healthy mix of all kinds of recipes on the blog, and Alhamdulillah, I feel I am doing a fair enough job. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am actually happy with it, since I don’t want to feel any pressure regarding concentrating on one cuisine, especially when you have to be extra careful as to how your folks would react to different flavors. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย But, yes, this year, I have been trying to keep a tap on cooking more local recipes and I am sure I will be able to keep recording them at a good enough pace rather than keep them waiting. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย  Today, I am sharing a very simple recipe but… 

Read More »



Yum

Aloo Paratha ~ Potato Stuffed Flatbread

ย  Most of the times, when I am at office, I order aloo paratha for breakfast. We have a little shop just across the street, that sells some amazing parathas. If we need to get the aloo parathas, we need to order them quite early or else we end up getting a gobhi (cauliflower) paratha or mooli (radish) paratha in its name. ๐Ÿ˜€ ย  I have tried many versions of this favorite stuffed flatbread. However, once I tried this version, I have never gone to try any other recipe. The masala filling is so easy to make. The crushed spices give it a nice intermittent bites, that add to the taste of the parathas. I like it nice and simple, just with some yogurt to dunk in and some pickle. The best thing about this bread is that you don’t need any side to go with it. It is apt… 

Read More »



Yum

Cheera Upperi ~ Amaranth Stir Fry

ย  Moving to the final recipe for the Blogging Marathon #74 under the theme “Quick and Easy Stir fries”, I chose to post this super simple yet goodness loaded amaranth leaves stir fry aka “Cheera Upperi”. ย  I have always said that I feel blessed to stay in a country like UAE where you get abundant supply of produce any time of the year. Umma would wait to come here to have her share of amaranth leaves. Amaranth is said to be power house of iron and is have a lot of vitamins and minerals in it. Back home, she says that the leaves are so heavily sprayed with pesticides that you can’t eat them at all. Attempts to grow them in our backyard have been futile too. D is trying his best to turn the barren land around our house into a little patio. So far, he has had… 

Read More »



Yum

Vendakka Upperi ~ Ladyfinger Stir Fry

ย  ย  In yesterday’s post, I explained the difference between an “upperi” and a “thoran”. While yesterday’s was a thoran, today’s is an upperi – a quick, simple stir fry of ladyfinger without any coconut. This is the second of the three back to back recipes, as a part of the Blogging Marathon #74, under the theme “Quick and Easy Stir Fries”. ย  The slimy ladyfinger is always a pain to cook. If there is a little water in it, it spoils up the entire appearance of the dish. What I normally do is wash the ladyfinger in warm water and then spread it out on a kitchen towel or handtowel. Once most of the water is drained, I wipe off each one of them individually. Yes, it is a lot of work, but you will thank yourself for doing it. ๐Ÿ˜€ Then I get to cutting it. This vegetable… 

Read More »



Yum

Achinga Payar Thoran ~ String Beans Stir Fry

ย  We are a family who loves stir fries. And I would say, Alhamdulillah for that. All the folks needs with rice is some simple curry to go with it and loads of “upperi”, as we call it. ย When umma was here, she used to make lunch and she would ask D to cut the vegetables for making the stir fry, since a minimum of a kg would be required to be made and still it wouldn’t be enough. ๐Ÿ˜€ The girls don’t even need fish but they would eat their rice well if they have a vegetable stir fry by the side. Usually it is beetroot, carrot or cabbage and for me, it’s always got to be french beans! ย  In Malayalam terminology, “upperi” or “mezhukupuratti”, simply means stir fried vegetables in some oil, with minimal seasoning. It may or may not include coconut. But when you say “thoran”,… 

Read More »



Yum

One Pot Turmeric Vegetable Rice

ย  Off late, there is too much floating on the net regarding working mothers vs stay-at-home mothers. When I read some articles, it literally makes my blood boil. Since when have we started questioning mothers at home as to why they are not working? Since when have we started to judge working mothers as to how less they care for their children? With the world changing, our thought process seems to be getting narrower than expanding, without us even realizing it. We judge homemakers (a much better phrase than being called a housewife!)ย as “lazy”, “not ambitious”, “free all the time”, etc. We judge working mothers as “over-ambitious”, “career oriented”, “not bothered about the kids”, etc. Ever since Rasha was born, I moved from a working woman to a working mother. The past ten years has not been easy, whether it is mentally, emotionally or physically. There are times when I… 

Read More »



Yum

Palak Pakodas ~ Spinach Fritters

ย  At times, the feeling of numbness is intense. It tightens you, it makes you feel so helpless and hopeless. Alhamdulillah, life is good but at times, when you think about certain things, you feel a void in front of you. I am talking about death… not an interesting topic to talk about or hear about, isn’t it? “Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.” (Surah Aal-Imraan:185) This is a verse we all know, we stick to, and we tell ourselves. During a weekend, when we were on our drive towards Umm-ul-Quwain, we stopped by the mosque to pray Asr. We were surprised that there were many women… 

Read More »



Yum

Thenga Urulakizhangu ~ Potatoes with Fresh Coconut

ย  I guess there are hardly anybody who hates potatoes. I love potatoes… In fact, this is one vegetable I can have in any form at any time of the day. It is also a vegetable I look at when I am really not in a mood to cook anything and want something quick fix. Here are some of my favorite potato curries on the blog… ย  Naadan Beef Potato Curry Varutharacha Urulakizhangu Curry Aaloo Kheema Aaloo Methi Kashmiri Dum Aaloo Urulakizhangu Ozhichukoottaan (my favorite!!!) Urulakizhangu Musakhan Aaloo Gobhi Puriwala Aloo ย  ย  I don’t know if you noticed but there was a potato dish peeking from behind the Beetroot Pooris and it was this delicious “Thenga Urulakizhangu”. The name of the dish literally translates as “Coconut Potatoes”. Or let’s rephrase it as “Potatoes with Coconut” for grammar sake. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I adapted this dish from a humongous book called “660… 

Read More »



Yum

Greek Salad

ย  One cuisine that I would really love to dabble with is Greek cuisine. If you check out certain recipes of Greece, they have a high Middle Eastern influence in their food, which may be one reason I am so keen to try their food. There are a few that I have in my cut-outs, but when I will try them is to be seen. InShaAllah, hopefully I have many more years of blogging in me so I get to try some! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย  Meanwhile, as a part of the last recipe in this month’s 3 back-to-back green recipes – the first one was the Coriander Chutney and the second Kiwi Green Grape Juice – here is a refreshing Greek Salad for you. There is nothing much complicated about this salad – lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, olives all mixed up together, some crumbled up feta cheese and a little seasoning… 

Read More »



Yum

Kothamalli Chutney ~ Coriander Chutney

ย  Did you miss the 3 back-to-back post series last month? ๐Ÿ™‚ I didn’t miss it. Instead, I felt I had taken a little break. My mind is relieved and InShaAllah, I already have set up in my mind what I would be doing at least till mid of the year. After that, will see… ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย  This month, I chose the theme “Green”, so you will see three green colored foods being featured back-to-back from today. Isn’t green a very fashionable food color these days? With more focus on healthy eating, anything green is coming back into favor. So, green it is, and let’s move on to the first one in the series… ย  The first recipe I choose to feature is our humble coriander chutney. For our idlis, we normally prefer the white thenga chutney. Even when we go to restaurants for vegetarian food, the kids wipe out… 

Read More »



Yum

Beetroot Pooris ~ Beetroot Deep-fried Flatbread

ย  In December, the Sshhh Cooking Club decided to take a break, and now we are back with our new challenge for this month. The theme of the month was anything “red or pink” considering the upcoming “month of love”. I always feel that love is something to be cherished and nourished all through out the year. I don’t believe in the policy of going out and gifting a loved one on one specific day. It is more of a business trick that anything else. I am a person who likes to gift off my whim – when I feel like, I get something for HD, the kids, my parents or my friends, not being specific on dates. The Prophet (PBUH) asked us to “exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love for one another.” (Sahih Bukhari) Therefore I rest my case… ๐Ÿ˜‰ I know people feel gifting… 

Read More »



Yum

Spiced Chickpea Mango Salad

ย  Most of my cookbooks are instant purchases. I just flip through and purchase. At least buying that way has given me decent cookbooks compared to some of my online purchases that have literally made me cry once the books have landed in my hand. ๐Ÿ˜€ I guess I better not talk about them and move on with the book chosen for this month’s book review… ๐Ÿ™‚ ย  “Chilli Notes” by Thomassina Miers happens to be the author’s fifth cookbook. And she is no mean one – she is a Masterchef winner. I really didn’t know that when I picked up the book. ๐Ÿ™‚ I picked it up from the Borders store at Mirdif City Center, along with the “Low Fat Baking Book” that I reviewed the first in the series. I don’t know what exactly pulled me to buy it but there were surely these factors: Hardcover – I… 

Read More »



Yum