Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Kashmiri Sabaz Chai (Pink Tea)

بِسْمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحْمٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Kashmiri Sabaz Chai

Kashmiri Sabaz Chai (also known as Pink tea or Salt Tea) is a pink milky tea with that is consumed at special occasions such as weddings, and drank during the winter months. It is a very soothing chai and my mother usually makes this for us after we have had an indulgent rich meal. It really is a treat. Once again the ingredients vary from family to family. Baking soda is usually added to enhance the colour of the tea. 

I will show you how my mother makes it for us with only variation being I decided to add Star Anise to add that extra alluring potency. Star Anise has a earthy headiness about it with sweet subtle undertones. I find it really compliments the cardamoms in this chai.

Oh! Lastly I would just like to add that this tea take up to an hour to make! 

So here is what you will need.


2 Tspn Kashmiri chai leaves. ( You can buy this in Asian grocery stores, if still hard to find you can use black tea or green tea)
4 Cups of water
8 cups of cold water (4 to use for boiling in beginning, 3 for later)
2 Cups of milk
6 Green Cardamom Pods
1 Cinnamom stick
1 star anise
1 tspn of Salt
3 tbsns of sugar or to your taste


1. Add 4 cups if cold water to a pan and bring to boil.
2. Add the tea leaves and cardamoms, star anise and salt, bring to a boil and then turn down heat and allow it to simmer for 25- 30 minutes.

3. Then add 2 cups of cold water. Adding the cold water will release the pink colour of the tea. You will see the colour intensify.

4. Mix well and bring to the boil again, and then turn down low and allow to simmer for around 10 minutes.
5. As it is simmering whisk from time to time till it froths us. Or in the traditional way pour from jug to jug.
6. Now add 1 more cup of cold water and again bring to boil, once boiling turn heat down and simmer for 5 mins whisking away gently.

See how the colour intensifies.

7. Next add your 2 cups of milk, ensure you whisk whilst pouring.

8. Add Sugar and cook for another 10 minutes.
9. Turn off and pour into cups and sprinkle with chopped Pistachios. Enjoy :)

Bil-hana wa ash shifa'a!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Kajoor ka Halwa (Date Halwa)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Date Halwa

This delicious gooey dessert is a wonderful treat after any meal, it is simple to make and no sugar is added as the dates and honey provide the natural sugars needed, which kind of makes this dessert rather healthy. Sounds good to me! Khoya is used a lot in Indian and Pakistani sweet desserts to add a creaminess to the dish, it is difficult to find khoya here in UK but you can easily make your own, there are different ways to make it. My cousin simply cooks milk with a little oil till it thickens into clumps, I however find the ricotta chesse method easiest and quickest. You can make the Khoya in advance to save time, any left over can be stores in an airtight container for up to a week. I added cocoa powder to this halwa to give it an even richer colour.
You can double or triple the ingredients I have given, when I made this I didn't realise it would make such a small amount, having said that it is a rather rich dessert so I would suggest small servings.


200 grms dates (I used Majool dates as they are soft and sticky)
3 tbsn fine Semolina
3 tbsn Ghee (you may use butter if you wish)
2 tbsn Khoya
1 tbsn cocoa powder (Unsweetened)
2 cups of Milk
2 tbsn honey
Half tspn of cardamom powder 

For Khoya you will need:

250gms of Ricotta cheese
2tspn of oil


1. To make the khoya add oil to wide non stick frying pan and heat up, then add the ricotta cheese and on low heat cook for 25-30 minutes until all the water in cheese has dried up and becomes clumpy. Set aside to cool.

2. Put dates into saucepan and add one cup of water, bring to boil until dates are softened. Mash them up to a paste and set aside.
3. Heat ghee in pan and add semolina, cook until there is no raw smell of semolina and ghee separates shown in picture below.
You can see the ghee separating and coming to surface.
3. Now add the date paste and mix well on medium high heat.

4. Add the cardamom and one tablespoon of the khoya, mix well for about 3 minutes.
5. Then pour in the milk a little at a time and stir well. Add as much milk to reach desired consistency.  

6. Sprinkle some khoya and chopped pistachios and serve warm.

Bil-hana wa as-shifa'a! :)

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Pilaf with Orzo

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

This Pilaf is a favourite in my home. We first experienced this delightful rice dish during our fist visit to Lefke in Cyprus. My youngest son in particular loves it and is always asking me "Mum make that rice we had in Cyprus, the one that has those brown bits in it" :)

Pilaf mould.
So here it is, Pilaf with orzo, perfect accompaniment to stews.


4 cups Basmati rice
1 cup Orzo
4 tbsn Ghee
8 cups of water
salt to taste


1. Wash rice till water runs clear and leave soaking for 15mins.
2. In the meantime fry Orzo in dry pan on medium to low heat until it turn golden brown.

3. Add ghee and drained rice and toss together till all rice and orzo is coated in ghee, cook for about 3 minutes.

4. Pour in the warm water and turn up heat until it comes to a boil, turn down and leave to simmer.

5. When water has all soaked, take a clean damp dish cloth and place over top of pan, as not to touch the rice. Place lid on top and turn heat down low. If you have a diffuser then place this on over hob and pan op top of it. This process is called 'Dum' and will make rice lovely and fluffy. Turn heat off after 5 mins and leave for another 5 minutes to rest. Then serve.

Serving suggestion

Bil-hana wa as-shifa'a!
(May you have your meal with gladness and health)

Cannellini beans with Lamb and Eggplant

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I do love a hearty stew and this is one of my favourites, it is Turkish inspired and has my most favourite vegetable, the eggplant/aubergine. Add this veggie to any dish and I'm in love! I used Cannellini beans for this recipe but you can use any bean you wish, also if you want to make this a vegetarian dish simply omit the meat. This really is a quick simple recipe, yet unbelievably flavourful. Do give it a try!

Cannellini Beans with Eggplant and Lamb

Here is what you will need.


2 lbs boneless lamb
3 eggplants
3 cans of cannellini beans
3 large onions
2 long red peppers
Salt to taste
1 tspn garam masala
2 tspn black pepper
Red chili flakes
5 cloves of garlic crushed
1 cup of Olive oil
2 tbspn of Ghee ( Clarified butter, can be found in Asian groceries)


1. Chop the eggplant into cubes and fry in some of the olive oil until the brown. Set aside.

2. Add some ghee to pan and brown meat on high until it releases own juices. Add in crushed garlic black pepper and garam masala.

3. Now add the chopped peppers and tomatoes. Stir well and then add one cup of warm water and cover and let simmer for about 30 mins.

4. In the meantime brown onions in a separate pan ( You can add onions in the beginning before the meat but I prefer it this way as fried onions add more flavour later on in the cooking process) Add onions to the meat when the 30 mins are up.

5. Let this all cook together for another 15-20 minutes.
6. Next add the eggplant and cannellini beans and combine well. Let this simmer so that the flavours of all the ingredient can infuse.

7. Add 2 cups of warm water and bring to boil, when boiling turn heat down and let it simmer for around 20 minutes so that it all looks well combined and there is enough sauce.

8. Serve with warm crusty bread or pilaf

Serving suggestion; serve with Orzo Pilav

For the Pilaf with Orzo recipe click link below.

Bil-hana wa as-shifa'a
( May you have your meal with gladness and health)

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Panchratan Daal (Five Jewels Daal)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Rive Jewel Daal
Panchratan daal (Five Jewels Daal) is a traditional Rajistani recipe. It is a combination of five daals, and each bring their own texture and flavour to this jewel of a dish!

With its high nutritional value and earthy flavours, this daal is perfect for those no meat days when you crave something simple, fulfilling yet satisfyingly delicious, and this truly truly is a delicious daal recipes! My children absolutely loved it and I am pretty sure you all will too!

20g Urad daal
50g Mung daal
20g Toor daal
20g Chana daal
25g Masoor daal
(All of these daals you can buy at local Asian shops and groceries)

Going clockwise: Urad, Toor, Mung, Masoor and chana daal.

1 Tbsn of Turmeric
1/2 tspn of Asafoetida
1 1/2 tspn of salt
5 heaped tbsn ghee (clarified butter)
1 Large onion thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves thinly sliced
5 green chilies, slit down the middle
2 tbsn julienned ginger (sliced into thin strips)
1 tspn Garam masala
Juice of a lemon or lime
Chopped Coriander leaves.


1. Wash all the daals in a bowl until water runs clear and leave to soak for and hour. Then drain.


 3. Put the drained daal into a pot and add 1 litre of water, bring to boil, remove any scum that comes to surface.
4. Add Turmeric, and good pinch of Asafoetida. Simmer till lentils are well cooked and combined but still holding their shape and texture.

Daal should look well combined.

5. If you want daal to be more runnier then add more water and bring to boil again until it reaches desired consistency. Please make sure that you cook it well so that no separation between daal and water can be seen.
6. In separate wide pan heat the ghee, add a pinch of asafoetida and the cumin seeds. When they begin to splutter add the onions and fry till golden brown.
7. Now add the ginger, garlic, green chillies, and fry all the mixture till golden brown and onions are crisping.

Brown till onions are crisping.
8. Pour this onion mixture over the daal and carefully combine. Or if eating straight away put daal into individual plates and pour some onion mixture on each plate.

9. Squeeze a little bit of lemon juice on top and serve warm with Roti or Basmati rice.


Asafoetida is known as 'devil's dung' because it has a potent aroma and is added to dishes that contain lentils because it is an anti-flatulent!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Gooey chocolate cake

  بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Rich chocolate cake!

This chocolate cake is probably the most rich I have ever eaten! It is made without using any chocolate, only cocoa powder. It is definitely not one to be eaten often! However if there is a call for something rich moist and gooey this is the cake for you!
Here is what you will need.


1 cup of plain flour
1 cup of granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbsns of unsweetened cocoa powder
113g butter
1/2 cup of boiling water
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tspn vanilla extract

For the icing 

1/4 chopped hazelnuts or nuts of choice
113g butter
2 tbsn unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbspn milk
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
200g icing sugar


1. Sift dry ingredients into bowl
2. Melt butter and add cocoa powder and mix, add water and boil for 30-40 secs.

3. Add the chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix well using a whisk.

4. In a small bowl mix the egg, vanilla extract and buttermilk.
5. Add this to chocolate mixture.

6. Pour into lined baking tin, 6 inch or 7 inch tin would be good for this cake.
7. Put into oven at about 180 degrees Celsius for about 25-30 mins.

8. For frosting melt butter in pan and add cocoa powder and mix for about 30 seconds. Turn off heat.
9. Add to this pan the vanilla extract and milk and icing sugar, then add your chopped nuts, mix well.

10. When cake is cooked leave to set for a few minutes then pour over the frosting. Leave to set for about 20 mins and serve warm or with Vanilla ice cream.

Rich and gooey and chocolate cake.