Friday 30 April 2010

Barazik Al Sham

It was Syrian cuisine at Walima cooking club this month. As usual we were given 1 savory and 1 sweet recipe the savory recipe was for 'the spring Kibbeh' and the sweet Barazik Al sham. And this months challenge was brought to us by Nisrine of Nisrine's Blog and Mona . I really wanted to try the spring Kibbeh...but as I could not find all the ingredients mentioned in the recipe, I decided to make it later when I find the ingredients coz I wanted to make it exactly the authentic way. And thus, I decided to go for Barzik Al sham/ Syrian cookies. Thanks Nisrine and Mona for this month's challenge. The cookies were yummy and something different and my Son loved these cookies. And as usual before we go to the recipe, a little peek into Syrian Cuisine....
The Syrian cuisine is rich and varies in its ingredients which is linked to the region of Syria where a specific dish has originated. Syrian food mostly consists of Southern Mediterranean, Greek, and Southwest Asian dishes. Some Syrian dishes also evolved from Turkish and French cooking. Dishes like shish kebab, stuffed zucchini, yabra' (stuffed grape leaves, the word yapra' derives from the Turkish word 'yaprak' meaning leaf).
The main dishes that form the Syrian cuisine are kibbeh, wara' Inab, hummus, Syrians often serve selections of appetizers, known as mezza, before the main course. Zaatar, minced beef, and cheese manakish are popular hors d'œuvres. The Arabic flatbread khobz is always eaten together with mezza. Syrians are also well-known for their cheese. The very popular string cheese jibbneh mashallale is made of curd cheese and is pulled and twisted together. Syrians also make cookies to usually accompany their cheese called ka'ak. These are made of farina and other ingredients, rolled out, shaped into rings and baked. Another form of a similar cookie is to fill with crushed dates mixed with butter to accompany their jibbneh mashallale. Drinks in Syria vary depending on the time of the day and the occasion. Arabic coffee, also known as Turkish coffee is the most well-known hot drink usually prepared in the morning at breakfast or in the evening. It is usually served for guests or after food. Syrian beverages include Ayran, Jallab, and White coffee.



200 gm soft butter,
¼ cup powder sugar,
2 large eggs,
1 tsp pure vanilla,
3 cup of sifted all purpose flour,
1 tsp baking powder,
2 tsp white vinegar,
1 cup of chopped pistachios,
1 cup of sesame seeds and
a pinch of salt.


In a mixer add the soft butter and the icing sugar and mix to combine, add the eggs and mix well. Add the vinegar and vanilla.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder add them to the mix well so that they all combined to nice dough. Put the dough in the fridge to rest for one hour.

Take the dough out of the fridge and turn it into small balls.

In separate bowls add around ½ cup of sesame seeds and 1 cup of sliced pistachios. Using the palm of your hand, flatten the round cookies and dip the bottom side with chopped pistachios and the top with sesame seeds.
Bake in preheated 350F oven for 10-13 minutes depends on your oven, or till golden brown.

Some recipes ask for honey syrup to brush the top before dipping in sesame seeds…It will give a darker golden color.
For step by step pic visit, see Nisrine's post here.

Tuesday 27 April 2010


The Walima cooking club was clebrating Tunisian cuisine in the month of March..As I had returned from my visit to India at the end of that month, I couldn't participate and post that month, but I was really eager to try the savory dish given that month and here I am with that challenge...its better late than never. Right?Now before we go to the recipe, below is a quick intro to Tunisian cuisine:

The cuisine of Tunisia, is a blend of Mediterranean and desert dweller's culinary traditions. Its distinctive spicy fieriness comes from neighboring Mediterranean countries and the many civilizations who have ruled Tunisian land: Phoenician, Roman, Arab, Turkish, French, and the native Berber people. Many of the cooking styles and utensils began to take shape when the ancient tribes were nomads. Nomadic people were limited in their cooking by what locally made pots and pans they could carry with them. A tagine is really the name of a conical-lidded pot, although today the same word is applied to what is cooked in it.Like all countries in the Mediterranean basin, Tunisia offers a "sun cuisine," based mainly on olive oil, spices, tomatoes, seafood (a wide range of fish) and meat from rearing (lamb).Unlike other North African cuisine, Tunisian food is quite spicy. A popular condiment and ingredient which is used extensively Tunisian cooking, Harissa is a hot red pepper sauce made of red chili peppers and garlic, flavored with coriander, cumin, olive oil and often tomatoes. There is an old wives' tale that says a husband can judge his wife's affections by the amount of hot peppers she uses when preparing his food. If the food becomes bland then a man may believe that his wife no longer loves him. However when the food is prepared for guests the hot peppers are often toned down to suit the possibly more delicate palate of the visitor. Like Harissa or chili peppers, the tomato is also an ingredient which cannot be separated from the cuisine of Tunisia. Tuna, eggs, olives and various varieties of pasta, cereals, herbs and spices are also ingredients which are featured prominently in Tunisian cooking.


This dish, with many variations, is a popular breakfast in North Africa, especially in Algeria and Tunisia. Most recipes include the eggs, but they can actually be left out if you like. Jewish immigrants from the Maghreb have made this a popular breakfast dish in Israel.


3 tablespoons olive oil,

1-2 tbsp of Paprika,

1 thinly sliced Onion,

2 to 3 cloves minced Garlic,

3 Tomatoes- peeled, seeded and diced,

2 to 3 Green and red bell peppers,

1 cup of Water,

4 Eggs (optional),

Salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Stir in the paprika and cook slightly to color the oil, about 10 to 15 seconds. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent and wilted but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 to 4 minutes to reduce down a little bit. Add the peppers, water and salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add more water as needed to keep it from drying out.

Using a spoon, form four small indentations in the simmering peppers to hold the eggs. One by one, crack the eggs into a small bowl and slip each from the bowl into an indentation. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes or so until eggs are cooked through.

Serve with crusty bread, pita or rice.


Add 1 teaspoon of cumin seed to the hot oil for about 15 seconds before you add the paprika. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of ground coriander along with the onions.

For a little spice, sauté 1 tablespoon of Harissa paste or a minced Chile pepper with the onions.

Sometimes fresh shrimp or a spicy lamb sausage called merguez is added to the simmering peppers along with the eggs.

Add 1 small, diced eggplant along with the peppers.

Add 1 potato, cut in a small dice, along with the peppers.

Sprinkle the top of the cooked dish with chopped parsley or cilantro.

Add a few olives and capers and eliminate the eggs. Chill and serve garnished with hard-boiled eggs or tuna.

Instead of adding the eggs to the pan, one can divide the tomato pepper sauce into 4 ramekins and top them with 1 egg each and bake in a preheated oven at 190 C until the eggs are cooked.

Sunday 25 April 2010

Rawa Laddoo

Last week I was craving for these sooji laddoos, which were my fav fav laddoos during my childhood. My mom used to make these very often and in a large quantity but they would vanish within 2-3 days . And YES!! I used to gobble most of them :) and it had been soo many years since I last ate this laddoo and thus decided to make these on my own for the 'first time'. I know...I know....the shape of my laddoos are not perfectly round as it should be :( COZ ...After removing it from the heat, I was busy talking on the phone and by the time I went back to make the balls it had hardened a bit. But who cares about the shape , when the taste was awesome and as along as my sweet tooth was happy and satisfied :D


1 cup of Sooji/semolina,
3/4th cup of sugar,
1/2 cup of dessicated coconut,
2-3 tbsp of pure ghee,
1/4 sup of warm milk,
a pinch of cardamom powder,
1/4th cup of cashew nuts and1/4th cup of raisins.
Heat the ghee in a non stick kadai/wok on low heat. Add the cashewnuts and raisind and roast till they change their colour to dry brown. Now remove them from the ghee and keep aside. In the same ghee add the sooji and roast till it changes its colour and and a nice aroma fill your kitchen. Now add the sugar and dessicated coconut to the sooji/ semolina and roast for few more minutes. Remove from heat and add a pinch of cardamom powder and the milk -just enough to moisten it a little bit. Add the roasted cashew nuts and raisins to this and form small balls and enjoy these yummy laddoos.

Don't add all the milk at once, add little by little just add enough to moisten it.
One can use sugar syrup instead of milk to increase shelf life because if adding milk these should be consumed within 2-3 days.

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Mushroom Biryani

Hope everyone is having a great week with sunny and bright days. The spring makes our life more livelier and happier, right? The green grass and the colourful flowers one sees around just boosts our energy and brings a big smile on our face. Oh ! how much I love this season... though here in UK the spring starts very late, unlike the spring I have seen in US. Which is more bright and lasts for long. What disappoints me is that, here in UK even the spring and summers are very windy :( Even in spring the kids need to wear fully covered clothes and one has keep his jacket(or atleast a cardigan) and an umbrella throughout the year with him- coz first you never know, when you start feeling cold coz of the winds and then, here you never know when or where it may start raining. Seriously ..... even if its sunny outside, it may rain for few minutes and then, you feel cold and shivering for some time and then again you may say the bright sun and YES all this in one single day :) The weather here changes every few hours.Now, when I am writing this post, I am loving the bright sun outside... but when I check the temperature outside its still 7°C , which is still cold according to me. Specially after returning from India just few weeks back, where the temperature was between 37 °C and 42°C. I know...I know...I am just complaining too much and I need to move on to today's recipe.
Coming to today's recipe...First let me tell you all that I am not a big fan of mushrooms and I have never been. But, when I bought a box full of mushrooms to cook veg hot-pot for my DH, I still had lot of mushrooms left in my refrigerator and was wondering what to cook with them. Then stumbled upon this Mushrom biryani recipe from Sanjeev kapoor's book- recipes for the Indian Kitchen and wanted to give it a try. And Voila ! the Biryani turned out sooooo yummmmy. I loved the mushrooms in this biryani and have decided to cook only MUSHROOM BIRYANI , whenever I buy Mushrooms. Or should I say I have started liking Mushrooms now :)


15-20 fresh button mushrooms,
2 cups of Basmati rice,
2 medium Onions-finely sliced,3 tomatoes,
1 tbsp of ginger paste,
1 tbsp of garlic paste,1/4 cup of fresh coriander leaves,
1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves,
1/2 cup of yogurt,5-6 strands of saffron,
1/4 cup of milk,1 bay leaf,
4 cloves,
3 green cardamoms,
1 inch stick of cinnamon,
2 tbsp of oil,2 tsp of red chilli powder,1 tbsp of coriander powder,
1/2 tbsp of crushed peppercorns,
1/2 tsp cumin powder,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1/2 tsp garam masala powder and
salt to taste.
Wash and soak the rice for half an hour.Wash and cut the mushrooms into quarters.Soak the saffron in warm milk. Heat the oil in a non vessel and add cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf and cloves. Stir fry for few minutes and add finely sliced onion to the oil and stir fry over high heat till onions turn translucent. Meanwhile puree the tomatoes in a blender/ mixer and keep aside. When onion turn translucent, add ginger garlic paste and cook for further 4-5 minutes. Add red chilli powder, coriander powder, crushed peppercorns, cumin powder and turmeric powder. Stir-fry briefly for few minutes and add the pureed Tomatoes. Cook over medium heat for few minutes until the masala becomes thick.
Meanwhile boil 4-5 cups of water in a thick bottomed vessel, add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of oil (to prevent the rice from sticking). When the water starts boiling add the rice and cook till the rice is 3/4th done. Drain in a colander and keep aside.
When the masala becomes thick, add the beaten yogurt, garam masala powder and 1/2 of the finely chopped coriander and and mint leaves. stir and cook for further 5 minutes. Now add the quartered mushrooms and some salt to taste. Stir fry over high heat for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.
Arrange the cooked rice and the mushroom masala in alternate layers in big vessel, and sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves and mint and the milk with saffron in between. The upper most layer should be of rice. Cover with a tight lid and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the rice is done. Serve hot with some raita.

Note: Instead of adding the whole garam masala to the oil, one can even add them to the boiling water before adding the rice.
One can even layer the biryani in an oven proof dish, seal tightly with an aluminum foil and cook in a preheated oven at 160 c for 15-20 minutes

Source: Sanjeev kapoor's book- recipes for Indian Kitchen.

Monday 19 April 2010

Stuffed tomatoes

Want to try something new with tomatoes? Then here is a yummy recipe for you all... these delicious tomatoes- stuffed with vegetables can be served as a side dish with rice or chapathi or can be served as an appetizer . One can serve these stuffed tomatoes with the gravy or can just completely skip the gravy if serving as an appetizer. Here goes the recipe for these yummilicious Stuffed tomatoes...


6-7 large tomatoes,
3 potatoes- boiled and mashed,2 cubes of Paneer- finely chopped,
1 small cup of green peas-boiled,
1/2 tsp of cumin powder,
1/2 tsp of coriander powder,
1/4 tsp of amchur(dry mango) powder,1/4 tsp of garam masala powder
1/2 cup of grated cheese andsalt to taste.
For gravy:
4 tomatoes-finely chopped,
2 onions-finely chopped,
1 tbsp ginger paste,1 tbsp garlic paste,
1 tsp red chilli powder,1 tsp garam masala powder,1 tsp coriander powder,
2 tbsp of vegetable oil,
1/4 cup of finely chopped coriander leaves and
salt to taste.

Method:Slice the top of each tomatoes and carefully scoop out the flesh. Reserve the scooped out flesh for the gravy. Mix together boiled and mashed Potatoes, finely chopped paneer and boiled peas. Mix in salt to taste, coriander powder, cumin powder, amchur powder(dry mango powder) and garam masala powder. Stuff this into the tomatoes, top with some grated cheese and bake in a pre heated oven at 350 F or 175 C until done- approximately 20 -25 minutes or microwave until done. Or those who don't have access to either of them can cook on the stove top- Heat a non stick pan and add 2-3 tbsp of oil to the pan and place the tomatoes and cook covered on low heat until done.For the gravy:
Heat oil and fry the onions until transparent, add ginger-garlic paste , salt, coriander powder, red chilli powder and garam masala powder. Stir well for few minutes and now add the chopped tomatoes and the reserved pulp and cook for about 5-10 minutes. Add a cup of water and cook till the gravy thicken and oil separates from the pan, garnish with coriander leaves and serve the stuffed tomatoes along with this gravy. Can be enjoyed with rice or roti .

Thursday 15 April 2010

Double Orange Delight

This is really a delight for those who love yogurt. Easy to make and tastes yummy. Kids would love to have this anytime as their dessert :) speacially my kid who loves yogurt in any form :D And this Yogurt and orange delight is his favourite.

Ingredients:3-4 tbsp of non-fat Yogurt,
1 tbsp of Orange juice,1 large Orange,
50 grams of cocoa powder and
1 tbsp of butter
Mix Yogurt and Orange juice. cut the orange onto segments and and arrange on the yogurt mixture. Prepare Chocolate sauce with Cocoa powder , little water and butter. Pour the Chocolate sauce over the mixture. Serve chilled.

I want to thank my blog friends for the award they showered on me even in my absence..that is really soo sweet of them, first comes an award from Prasu of FoodLovers. Thanks a lot Prasu for this lovely award :)
And hurray !!! Radhika Vasanth of Food for 7 stages of life has given me this award which she made exclusively for me - for being her 100th follower :D Thanks a ton Radhika.

Sunday 11 April 2010

Goan Lamb Vindaloo

Hi Friends,
I am Back :) We had a wonderful time in Sunny India. It was really a memorable trip.... visited many people, ate lots of yummy food( specially which I don't get to eat here) attended so many parties and also went sightseeing :D
And the one who enjoyed the most was my little Ammar. He would get so excited and happy seeing the things he never got to see auto rickshaw, dogs on the streets, Indian train, two wheelers and not to forget the lizards and cockroaches ;-) and yeah , he has also learned to sell things like the roadside vendors (YES !! He shouts exactly like them :D) And he learned little bit of Urdu and a very lil of Malayalam too. But all in all he had a very good time with his grandparents and his cousin brothers.
And me ? I enjoyed cooking for my family and relatives. Everyone wanted me(the food blogger) to cook something special for them from my blog and I was more than happy to cook for my dear and near ones....But finding the ingredients in India can take days ;-) So, all I could cook was Achari gosht, Trifle, Pizza, Gobi Manchurian, Haleem and also Lamb Vindaloo (which I am posting now)
Okay Okay...I know everyone is bored now without much ado,lets move on to today's recipe- The fiery spicy Lamb Vindaloo from Goa :) My Family loved the taste of this has an unique and delicious taste which everyone will fall in love with. So, here goes the recipe for lamb Vindaloo...


500 grams of lamb,
1/2 tsp of salt,
1/4 tsp of meat tenderizer or
papaya paste,
4-5 dry red chilles,
3-4 pieces of cloves,
2 cardamom pods,
1 small cinnamon stick,1/2 tsp of cumin seeds,1/2 tsp of mustard seeds,
1/2 tsp of black peppercorns,
1/2 tsp of sugar,
6-7 cloves of garlic,
a small piece of ginger,
1/2 cup of white vinegar,
1 cup coconut milk,2 tbsp of oil and1 small onion-finely chopped.

Add salt and Meat tenderizer to the meat and mix well and marinate for 1 hour. In a bowl take the red chilles, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorns, and sugar and add the vinegar and coconut milk to the dry ingredients and soak for 30- 40 minutes. Now grind the soaked ingredients to a fine paste and add this paste to the marinated lamb and marinate again for 3-4 hours.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a non-stick vessel and add the above marinated lamb to it. Saute on medium flame for 5 -10 minutes and add the finely chopped onion to it. Cover and cook on medium heat till the meat becomes tender and oil separates from the pan. Serve hot with roti or naan.

Use meat tenderizer only if the meat is not tender,its optional.
Traditionally feni liquor or wine is used to soak the spices, but those who don't consume either of them(like me) can use coconut milk.
More water can be added to the sauce while cooking to prevent it from burning.


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