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… 

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Chocolate Beetroot Brownies

ย  While almost all Indian schools started yesterday, I had some respite of not having to send the girls to school for a week more. I am feeling really relieved of having got an extended holiday from having to wake up really early on a weekday and bang my head over what to pack in their boxes. ๐Ÿ˜€ Five days isn’t much of a long time, but still… any small break is definitely welcome, since this is going to be the case for the next three months, InShaAllah… ย  And talking about the weather, we are back to getting hot. The rains have stopped and the winters have moved on. The mornings and evenings are still good, though a little humid, but the afternoons are getting a bit unbearable. The summers have to come in, isn’t it? So let’s get to having a lot of fluid and keeping ourselves hydrated… 

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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… 

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Vegan Strawberry Mango Smoothie

ย  It is the end of the month and it is time for the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge of the month. With the summers looming in this part of the world and back home already under a heat spell, it wasn’t difficult finalizing the theme for the month. The theme for the month is “Summer Coolers” and my partner for this month is Shailaja, whom I am dealing for the first time and am glad to be partnered with. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย  She gave me mango and ice cream as my secret ingredients. Mango is coming into season and who doesn’t get excited about this delicious fruit! I am not very fond of ice creams in my smoothies or drinks, so decided to only utilize mango for this challenge. What I did was pair it up with another seasonal fruit that are available now in the market, which is strawberries. This… 

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Baked Blueberry French Toast

ย  We have had some amazing weather over the last weekend. Scheduling posts actually keeps me away from updating the blog with what happens, but sometimes you are forced to, especially when the posts are related to challenges and you don’t want to miss the dates. ๐Ÿ™‚ I like to be particular that way, and Alhamdulillah, so far I have been doing well to manage. If you are following me on Instagram, you would have caught up with the weekend weather updates. I tend to post more weather/sky/nature clicks there rather than my food. ๐Ÿ˜€ Somehow, I prefer to click my surroundings rather than what I am eating, especially when we are at a restaurant. I prefer to dig in right away rather than pull out the mobile, click it till the perfect click is done, and then eat it cold. I can’t take it that way… ๐Ÿ˜› The rains… 

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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… 

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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… 

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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”,… 

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Cheesy Chicken Pizza with Wheatgerm Crust

ย  There is one thing I am slowly convincing myself – that I can’t escape from night photography. Period… I have always wondered if people would stop reading my blog if I don’t improve my pictures. Would you? Please do tell me… ๐Ÿ™‚ Once during a casual conversation, Lubna had mentioned that the pictures on the blog reflects the nature of the blog. If the concentration is on food photography, then there will be lesser posts, but if the focus is on recipe sharing, then the number of posts will be more. It actually made a lot of sense to me. ย  I never started the blog to focus on food photography. It was more to keep me motivated to cook, since I know the type of character I am. ๐Ÿ˜€ I can have long stretches of no-cooking days when we live off the fridge. I don’t want to blame… 

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Ustad Hotel Sulaimaani ~ Spiced Black Tea

ย  Seriously speaking, I was in no plans to do any post today. I had already scheduled the post for tomorrow, InShaAllah and was planning to go ahead with it. But the climate today… A change from what it was over the last few days! We have had hot days but cozy nights and the fluctuation is wrecking havoc on everybody’s health, it looks. It has been on and off cloudy with hardly any rains. So yesterday evening, when I saw the thick clouds and the drizzle, I wasn’t expecting it to shower heavily. But He had other plans. ย  It rained heavily late night messing up all around the building. ย My car is stuck in between a little pond. If I have to take it out, I have to push through it. On top, I woke up with a sprained neck, which isn’t really helpful. I had to take… 

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Lemon Cream Cheese Pudding

ย  ย  This recipe is quite special to me. Why, you would ask. A reader of this blog, Shinaz from Abu Dhabi had shared this picture on an FB group sometime ago. If you really watch out my space, I don’t have much of fruity desserts apart from a few trifles and a banoffee pie, among the very few, and not a single “citrusy” dessert. Most of the them are chocolate based. It is not that I don’t love them. It is just that my mind is fixated with chocolate as dessert and always end up giving it my first preference. I don’t know if it is a good habit. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย  OK, coming back to the story, I ended up asking her for the recipe, which she messaged me. I rubbed my eyes twice while going through the list. So easy! All you need is 3 main ingredients and… 

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Chocolate Croissant Pudding

ย  After the Mango Coconut Milk Pudding, here is the second one for the “Are you Pudding Me?” theme for Blogging Marathon #74. This easy yet delicious Chocolate Croissant Pudding is quite like a bread pudding but with croissant in it. ย  If you have school going children who are picky about their boxes, then I am sure one of your grocery purchases is a box of croissants. I buy a box at least once a week so that the box for one of the days is sorted out. Sometimes I end up picking up from a different store and the kids just don’t touch it. This recipe is a savior when your croissants threaten to go stale. ๐Ÿ˜‰ What more, the base is a chocolate custard, with even more chocolate chips sprinkled, so it is a totally chocolate treat. A bread pudding is best had warm, so that is… 

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