Sunday, January 30, 2011

Spicy Chana Chaat

Honestly speaking , I envy all the bloggers who update regularly .They must have great time management skills.I,on the other hand seem to have none .I had no idea being a blogger would be this demanding as its not about just typing recipes , one has to be a food stylist , photographer and a witty writer (which is of course the most difficult part for yours truly ).But the truth is that despite all these hurdles,blogging is very addictive not only that it also gives you a real high when your humble efforts are being appreciated by people . So dear readers ! please bear with me ,  I will Inshallah try my best to update the blog as regularly as I could afford .

Moving on to today’s post , as far as I remember , chana chaat and sheer are the two must have dishes on Eid at the Naseeb’s. I grew up in an amazing and loving Pakistani neighbourhood and I  remember how kids from the neighbourhood look forward to savour chana chaat every year on Eid at our place. All of us have grown up now but as we were talking the other day I discovered that Mani , sadaf ,and Usman Arif   like me still miss the old days , togetherness , the Eid fun and of course the chana chaat.

Its no Eid but I am posting the recipe to rekindle all those sweet memories and for all the chana chaat lovers out like me .I hope you will also enjoy this supper healthy and supper yummy chaat like we do .

Chana Chaat

What you need :
  • kala chana (Bangal gram) : 1/2 kg ( boiled)
  • Onion : 1 ( chopped)
  • Tomato : 1 ( chopped)
  • GG paste : 1/2 tsp
  • Red Chili powder : 1 tsp ( up to your tolerance level )
  • Salt : 1 tsp ( up to your taste)
  • Chaat Masala : 1 tsp
  • Turmeric : 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander Powder : 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin powder : 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon juice : 1 tablespoon ( up to taste)
  • Oil : 1/4 cup
How to :
  1. Heat oil in a wide non stick pan .
  2. Add chopped onions and fry till they become translucent.
  3. Add GG paste , fry a little and then throw in the tomatoes and all the dry masala powders. Cook till the water starts to dry up .
  4. Now add the boiled chana and cook on slow flame till they are nicely coated with the masala and the oil starts oozing out. ( this should take about 10 –15 minutes while stirring in between )
  5. Splash in the lemon juice ,mix and serve garnished with coriander leaves.
Notes :
  • Soak the chana in ample water overnight .The next morning boil or pressure cook them to the tenderness you prefer.
  • You can use tamarind pulp instead of lemon juice to further perk up the chaat.
  • You can omit the onions and tomatoes and just kind of fry the chana with the dry masala powders only and add finely chopped  onions , tomato ( cucumber if you like) and boiled potato cubes like normal chaats before serving.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Everyday Pasta

Gone are the days when daal chawal used to be the “ comfort food “ , now Pasta is the ultimate comfort food of all.Leaving a few “ peculiar ones” pasta seems to be the darling of every household for all the right reasons.It is  Quick to make,very versatile and the best crowd pleaser ever.

Although pasta is Italian , it could easily be adopted by almost any cuisine . A little bit of mix and matching , a dash of creativity , right balance of spices and you have a perfect bowl of pasta ready to gobble.

I am posting one the  quickest and yummiest way of making pasta . I call it everyday pasta because  of the simplicity of the ingredients that go into it. Enjoy !

Everyday Pasta - 2

What You Need :
  • Pasta :1 pk ( boiled and drained)
  • Sausages : 1 pk (12 franks – cut into pieces)
  • Chicken cubes : I pk ( 2 cubes)
  • Mix vegetables : 2 cups ( frozen )
  • Soya Sauce : 1 tbsp ( up to taste )
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp
  • oil : 1/4 cup
How To :
  1. Heat oil in a wide non stick pan.Add in chicken cubes , mix vegetables ,salt and cut up franks.
  2. Fry till the franks and vegetables cook through.
  3. Add boiled pasta , throw in the soya sauce and mix well.
  4. Close the lid and let cook on a very slow flame for about 15 minutes.
  5. Everyday pasta is ready . Serve and enjoy.

Everyday Pasta

Notes :
  • Instead of sausages you can use chicken.
  • Frozen vegetables can be replaced by fresh vegetables. Use carrots,capsicums,Potato,corn,peas and beans.Basically anything you have at hand.
  • In case of using fresh vegetables , add a little water to the pot to cook them tender before adding in the pasta.
  • I usually boil franks in water before adding to the pot but its totally optional.
  • Go easy on salt because the chicken cubes and soya sauce both are salted.Keep checking before adding these up to your taste.
  • For more exotic taste sprinkle a little cheese on top before serving.
Continue Reading >>

Monday, October 25, 2010

Karahi Chicken

In India and Pakistan some of the dishes are cooked and served in a  ‘karahi’ (also spelled karai, kadai, kadahi or kadhai). For those who do not know a  karahi is a circular, deep, bowled dish and is similar in shape to a wok.It is usually made of cast iron but stainless steel, copper and non-stick versions are also available.

Karahi chicken is a popular dish all across Pakistan . Whether you dine in an upscale fancy restaurant or visit a road side vendor, this chicken dish is always on the menu.Karahi chicken is the only dish ( I know of ) that has countless versions .Basically it’s a tomato based clingy gravy dish but it is cooked in a number of ways with slightly different taste according to the ingredients added other than tomatoes.

I am sharing my version of karahi chicken that is easy , quick , robust , tangy  and off course spicy .With its exotic aromas of fresh ginger,freshly ground whole black pepper , red chilies , coriander and bountiful of tomatoes …this is one dish sure to tingle your taste buds !!

Karahi chicken -2

What you need :
  • Chicken : 12oo gms ( skinned ,cut and washed )
  • Onion : 2 – 3 ( medium , finely chopped )
  • GG paste : 1 tbsp
  • Tomatoes : 500 gms ( chopped )
  • Turmeric : 1/2 tsp
  • Chili powder : 1/2 tsp ( up to your tolerance level )
  • salt : 1.5 tsp ( up to taste)
  • Garam Masala : 1/2 tsp
  • Oil : 1/2 cup
Karahi Masala :
  • Whole Coriander : 2 tbsp
  • Whole Black pepper : 3/4 tbsp
  • Dried Red chili : 6-7 
  • Whole Cumin : 3/4 tbsp
Crush or pound all the ingredients using mortal / pastel .

Garnish :
  • Ginger : 1 inch piece ( chopped finely )
  • Fresh coriander : 2 tbsp ( chopped)

How To :
  1. Heat oil in a wide pan . Add onions and fry till they are lightly browned.
  2. Add in the GG paste and fry a little .
  3. Throw in the chicken and fry till its no longer pink .
  4. Add in salt , turmeric , chili and garam masala , stir and cook for 2 minutes .
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook (stirring in-between|) till most of the water ( tomato water ) dries out and the oil starts to ooze out a bit.
  6. Now add in your karahi masala , mix in and adjust seasoning .
  7. Reduce flame to very low , cover the pot and let gently simmer for about 10 minutes .
  8. Karahi chicken is ready . Garnish with Ginger and coriander.
  9. Serve with naan , chapati or boiled rice .
Note :
  • Instead of chicken you can use boiled mutton/lamb .
  • Vegans can try this with paneer(cottage cheese)/tofu/gobi(cauliflower).

Karahi chicken -1
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Friday, October 22, 2010

A personal note about aromas !

Until I was 23, my sole cooking experience was boiling a few eggs and that too under the “watchful eyes” of my father. Being the only child has severe side effects (along with the perks) and one of them is my parents never considered me big enough to do something as “dangerous” as cooking. Remaining blissfully clueless about all things culinary, my “cooking affair” started after seeing my sister in law cooking lip-smacking dishes. Its then I realized good food make people happy and I decided that I should do that too. Seeing my passion, enthusiasm and determination, to my surprise my parents supported me in all possible ways (best of all being the “guinea pig “for the dishes I made)….. So after overcoming countless culinary hurdles and blunders … here I am today, with Rare Aromas in front of you.Successful experiments in cooking are known as recipes. Rare Aromas is the collection of all these experiments of mine, that have proved to do one thing very well “MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY “

I never thought I would ever own a cooking blog .My friends “inspired” me to have one. They keep asking the same recipe over and over again because they keep losing it. I was really fed up of writing\ telling the same recipe so I thought a blog would be my savior, and I was right. I no longer have to re-write the requested recipe :). Rare aromas is my very own personal “electronic recipe journal “for my friends, family and all of you wonderful people out there.

I am no chef neither I want to be .I am just the girl next door who strongly believes that anyone can cook and that too with confidence. All you need is just a bit of motivation and a pinch of inspiration. Rare aromas is my part of inspiring and motivating others and is all about everyday Pakistani cooking with some “international bites “.You won’t find any “funky” recipes here , it’s just my humble efforts to simplify everyday food my way. I have tried to make recipes as easy and confusion free as possible but still if you have any questions regarding any of the recipes then “buzz” me; I am just a click away.

Go ahead! 

Enjoy and spread “ aromas” of happiness , that’s what life is meant for.

Happy Cooking !!

Sadia Naseeb

I would like to extend my immense gratitude to “Lubna Kareem , Mona Hsn and Sia for guiding me so lovingly about blogging .Thank you ladies,without your kind guidance I would have lost in the blogging world. 
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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mix Vegetable Curry ala Jameela

Ever since I have started blogging ,I feel that I have developed some kind of hunting qualities :D as I continuously hunt for good recipes to share with my blog readers be it on TV, magazine , in a dinner party ,at friend’s home .. the quest is always on .
My friend Jamila ,brought this mix vegetable curry the other day .. it was like a rainbow of veggies.. every imaginable vegetable was there .I was really spectacle of the taste but one bite into the dish and wow .. my mouth burst with rainbow of flavors .. tangy , mildly spicy and so very yummy .. by the second bite .. I knew that my quest  has been ended .. so here it is Mix vegetables the way my friend Jamila makes .Try it and i am so very sure that you will like it too.

mix veg -3

What You Need :
  • Potatoes : 200 gms
  • Carrots :  200 gms  
  • Capsicum : 200gm
  • Egg plant : 200 gm
  • Zucchini :  200gm
  • cauliflower : 200 gm
  • Onion : 150 gms
  • Tomato : 150 gms

mix veg -1

Wash,peel ,slice ,dice or cube all the vegetables and deep fry them till they lose their crispness and get a bit tender.Put them in a sieve and let  the oil drip(drain). ( see the picture above )

Masala :
  • Water : 1 glass
  • Chicken Cube : 2
  • Tomato ketchup : 1/2 cup
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp ( as per taste)
  • Chili Powder : 1/2 tsp ( as per taste)
  • Whole Coriander : 1 tbsp ( crushed)
  • National Sabzi Masala : 1 tbsp ( optional)

mix veg -2

How To :
  1. Boil water in a wide pan ,add in 2 chicken cubes ,1/2 cup ketchup and let simmer till the cube dissolved in water. ( pic 1a & 1b)
  2. Add in the fried vegetables , salt , chili and sabzi masala (if using ). ( pic - 2)
  3. Mix in gently and let cook on medium flame till the veggies become tender and well coated with the masala and the oil starts to ooze out. ( pic - 3)
  4. Mix vegetable is ready . Serve with fresh tandoori bread, lassi or cold drink of your choice and a generous helping of butter !  ( pic –4 )
  • Sabzi masala is optional but I do recommend it for extra tastes and aroma .
Continue Reading >>

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ras Malai

If you ask me to name three desi dessert that will never fail to please people of all ages, my answer will be kulfi , kheer and Rasmalai.Rasmalai...a delicious and perfect end to any feast be it  weddings or dinners.Rich in texture and flavor,traditionally Rasmalai is made with Paneer ( cottage cheese ),but to make the process easier with out compromising the taste it can be made easily at home by using milk powder instead of paneer. Despite being really yummy , the other thing I love about Rasmalai is that the whole process takes just 30 minutes from start to finish ( excluding the chilling time of course).Rich , classy , crowd pleaser and quick to make …Rasmalai is no doubt the darling dessert of housewives.

I have made Rasmalai countless times using the recipe i am posting today but honestly to date I am always unsure of the end result.The reason is Rasmalai is a tricky dessert.So for the first time cooks I want to say one thing , follow my recipe as it is I am sure it will turn out perfect,but do not dishearten if it does not , keep trying ..You will get it. just keep in mind Rasmalai is unpredictable ..even now after making countless Rasmalais ,sometimes I mess up too.In that case just put every thing in a blender , blend a little and freeze in kulfi moulds .. really yummy kulfi is ready .. its a win win either way  :)

ras malai - 1

What you need :

For the ras ( milk):
  • Fresh Milk : 1 liter
  • Evaporated Milk : 1 can ( I used rainbow)
  • Sugar : 1/2 cup ( up to taste)
  • Green Cardamom : 3
  • Kewra Essence : 2 drops ( optional )
For the milk balls :
  • Milk powder ( full fat) : 1 cup ( 200 gms)
  • Egg ( well beaten ) : 1 large
  • Baking Powder : 3/4 tsp
  • Butter ( melted) : 2 Tbsp 

    Ras Malai - page How To :
  1. Pour milk into a pan ,add evaporated milk ,sugar ,cardamom and kewra essence ,mix and put on gentle heat to boil. ( pic - 1 )
  2. Add baking powder to the milk powder and mix .Add well beaten egg and melted butter into this. ( pic - 2)
  3. Knead this out till you get a soft and smooth dough. ( pic - 3 )
  4. Make marble size balls out of this dough.( pic - 4 ).I usually make 12 balls from 1 cup of milk my Rasmalai a bit bigger than the usual size.
  5. Check the milk, If it hasn’t boil yet than crank up the heat and let it boil. After a boil reduce to a gentle simmer on medium heat.
  6. Gently put all you milk balls into the simmering milk.( pic - 5 )
  7. Wait till the milk fully covers the balls ( pic - 6 ) and at this point cover the pan , reduce the heat to the lowest possible and let the balls cook for 4- 5 minutes.
  8. 5 minutes latter , remove the lid .you will see the balls are puffing up ( pic - 7 ).Turn over the balls gently with a spoon and cover the pan again and let cook for another 5 minutes.
  9. Perfectly puffed up Rasmalai is ready . ( pic - 8 )
  10. Serve chilled garnished with pistachios. 
    • Use a wide bottom pan preferably non stick to make Rasmalai as it need room to expand.
    • Evaporated milk is added to make the milk thick.If you do not have evaporated milk .. then take 1.5 liter milk instead of 1 liter and simmer it till it reduce to 1 liter.
    • The egg must be at room temperature before adding into the milk powder.
    • You can use any oil you please instead of butter though butter adds richness to the Rasmalai.
    • Do not over knead the dough. As soon as it get smooth and soft stop kneading it any further.
    • If the dough sticks to your hand. Grease your hand with little oil.
    • Grease the plate with oil onto which you are going to keep the balls .
    • To get the fluffiest balls .. the trick is that the heat or fire should be the lowest possible ..and the pan should be covered tightly to let the steam form..this steam will make the balls  puffy and light.

    Ras Malai-1
    Continue Reading >>

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    Mouti Matter Pulao

    Last Friday some unexpected guests knocked at our door ( yes .. it still happens) and since it was about to be the dinner time my mother told me to cook something for dinner.This was the perfect time and situation to PANIC but a quick peek into the freezer made me not to.So with the help of the pressure cooker,pre - made koftas, pre - made curry sauce and a chicken I was able to cook a nice dinner in one and a half hour flat.Our guests enjoyed Mouti Matter Pulao,Namkeen Gosht,Chicken Curry and Sabot Mash ki daal along with Shammi Tikya , salad and raita .. Mission Accomplished :)

    I am sharing Mouti Matter Pulao with you using the  Koftay I made earlier.Its Kind of a kofta Pulao but since the size of the koftas are smaller than the usual like beads or pearls hence the name Mouti Matter Pulao.( I love how the name turns a simple dish so exotic and interesting that you just want to eat it , don’t you ?)

    Mouti Matter Pulao

    What you Need:

    • Rice : 3 cups ( wash and soak for half hour) 
    • Onions: 2 medium ( finely chopped) 
    • Sabot Garam Masala: 1 tsp ( use 5 cloves, 7 pepper corns,3 green cardamom,1 inch piece of cinnamon and 1 black cardamom)
    • GG paste : 1 tbsp
    • Green chilies: 2 - 3 ( up to taste)
    • Yogurt : 1/2 cup
    • Peas: 1 cup
    • Pre - made Koftas balls : 1.5 cups
    • Salt : 1.5 tsp ( up to taste )
    • Oil : 1 cup
    • Water or stock : 6 cups
    How To :

      Mouti Matter Page
    1. Heat oil in a pan add sabot garam masala, let cook for 2 minutes.
    2. Add onions and GG paste and sauté to a pleasant caramel or  golden brown colour. ( pic 1a & 1b )
    3. Add in yogurt,salt,peas,green chilies and koftas,sauté till the oil floats on top.( Pic 2a & 2b)
    4. Add water or stock and let boil. ( pic - 3 )
    5. After a boil ,throw in the soaked rice (after draining ),Mix in once and let cook on medium flame. ( pic - 4 )
    6. When the water starts to dry up ( pic - 5 ), and you can see water holes in the rice ( pic - 6),turn down the flame to the lowest possible ,cover the pan and let cook till the water completely dries out.( it might take around 5 to 10 minutes depending on the heat and amount of water left to dry out on dam)
    7. Mouti Matter Pulao is ready to be served. ( pic - 7)
    Continue Reading >>

    Friday, February 12, 2010

    Moong Daal Palak

    Spinach ( palak) is not only supper rich in iron ( remember Popeye eating palak and getting extra strong ),but supper versatile too.There are a large number of recipes to enjoy palak from creamy soup to yummy combos with veggies,daals ,meat and chicken.

    Although thanks to freezers palak is available year round now but fresh palak taste absolute divine despite the fact that weeding,cleaning,washing ,chopping and boiling palak is quite a task.

    Since winter is the best time to enjoy the freshest palak here is Moong daal palak which is one of the many yummy ways you can have this iron rich and healthy vegetable as the two perfectly compliment each other.

    moong Daal Palak

    What You Need:
    • Moong Daal : 1 cup ( wash and soak in water for at least an hour)
    • Palak : 2 cups ( boiled)
    • Onion : 1 medium ( chopped finely)
    • Tomato: 2 small ( chopped finely)
    • Salt: 1 tsp ( up to taste)
    • Red Chili: 1 tsp ( up to your tolerance level)
    • Turmeric : 1/4 tsp
    • GG paste: 1 tbsp
    • Water: 1.5 cup ( more if you want it a bit mushy)
    • Oil: 1/2 cup

    How To:

    Moong daal page - 1

      • Heat oil in a pan and sauté onions till golden brown. ( pic - 1 )
      • Add in GG paste along with all the dry masala,cook for a minute. ( pic - 2 ) 
      • Throw in tomatoes and cook till they turn mushy and you end up with a clingy gravy with the oil floating. ( pic - 3a and 3b )
      • Add in the boiled palak ( pic - 4 )and sauté till the water dries out. ( pic - 5 )
      • Finally add soaked daal and two cups of water.Mix well and let the water boil. ( pic - 6)
      • As soon as the water start boiling ,lower the heat to medium ,cover and let cook till the water dries out.At this point the daal should be tender enough to eat and you should be able to see the oil oozing around. ( pic - 7 )
      • Moong Daal palak is ready.
      • Serve with plain boiled rice or buttered chapatti , a simple onion – tomato salad and raita. Enjoy!
          1. We like our Moong daal palak a bit mushy as you can see from the picture.. if you like it that way just increase the amount of water say 2 cups instead of 1.5.
        Continue Reading >>
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