Cooking Recipes

Here's how you can make this simple yet flavourful dish for your iftar.


  • 1 to 1 and 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1 to 1 and 1/2 cup cabbage
  • 1/2 cup capsicum
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/4th or 1/2 cup green onions
  • 1/4th cup ginger (optional)
  • 3 to 4 green chillies
    All vegetables to be cut in thin long strips, julienne style.

  • 1/2 cup tempura mix
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • cold water to mix dry ingredients

  • Add the vegetables in a bowl. Mix it well so when you add it to the frying pan you get equal amounts of vegetables in each fritter. You can add more vegetables such as radish, mushrooms and eggplant.
  • Keep the mixed vegetables and the batter in separate bowls. This will allow you to increase or reduce the quantity when mixing the vegetables and batter together.
  • In a separate bowl add dry ingredients and an egg. Then add spices such as chilli flakes, salt, black pepper and white pepper (optional).
  • Start mixing it and slowly add cold water into the batter until it develops a medium consistency. Make sure it's not too thick or too runny.
  • Separate the vegetables in a bowl and add as much as you need at that time. Slowly pour in the batter, making sure that it sticks to the vegetable mix. Adding vegetables all at once will make the mixture watery, hence I suggest you mix it in in batches.
  • Use a tablespoon to scoop out the mixture and add it in a pre-heated wok with oil. Make sure to fry on medium-high heat until golden brown.
  • Once fried, take them out on a metal grill or serving dish for the oil to separate and then they are ready to be served. Avoid using kitchen towel or tissue to soak the oil as it makes the fritters soggy.
  • However, you can lay the tissue on the serving dish to catch the oily residue.
    Serve with teriyaki sauce or sweet chilli sauce and enjoy!


2 Cups Milk

2 table spoons Roughly chopped ginger / ADRAK

1.5 table spoons Sugar or as per your taste



Step-1: Combine all the ingredients in a deep pot, mix it well and cook on medium flame for 5 to 6 minutes.

Step 2: Strain the mixture

Step 3: Pour the milk into 4 individual Glasses and serve.


Nutrient Values Per Glass

Energy 141 Cal.

Protein 4.3g

Carbohydrates 11g

Fat 6.5g

Cholesterol 16mg

Sodium 19mg




1 cup wheat

¼ cup plus 1 tbsp barley

¼ cup white maash (urud) dal

¼ cup moong dal

¼ cup masoor dal

¼ cup basmati rice

1 cup channa dal

½ to ¾ cup oil

2 ½ lbs preferably boneless veal or beef stew (without fat), mutton and chicken can be used as well

1 ½ cup chicken or beef stock

1 ½ heaped tablespoon red chilli powder (increase or decrease according to taste if needed)

Salt to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons ginger garlic paste,

1 tablespoon heaped coriander powder

1 ½ teaspoon level turmeric powder

1 ½ large onions sliced for frying

Ingredients for sealed pot cooking

1 level teaspoon garam masala powder, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder, ¼ teaspoon mace powder, ½ teaspoon black cumin, ½ teaspoon green, cardamom powder

Ingredients for Garnish or served on the side

Lemon wedges, chopped cilantro and green chillies, fried onions, julienned ginger, chaat masala, yoghurt and naan.


Wash and soak all seven grains for 6 to 8 hours. In a pan, fry onions until golden-brown, adding meat, ginger, garlic, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder, stock and salt. Cook until korma is tender.

In a large separate pot, boil pre-soaked grains until tender, approximately for 2 to 2 ½ hours.

Eyeball the water quantity (for boiling and cooking) depending on the required consistency and thickness of the haleem.

Once boiled, put grains in blender and blend roughly, pouring the blended grains back in the pot for cooking.

Repeat the blending process with the meat korma, pouring the roughly blended korma into the cooking grains.

Mix thoroughly on low to medium flame, stirring constantly.

Cook and stir until the correct consistency, tasting for salt and chilli content. The haleem must be well blended.

Now add all five sealed-pot ingredients and mix well. Seal the pot and let steam for a few minutes.

Garnish and serve with a side of naan, if desired. This one is a sure-shot hit — nothing short of a professionally made street-food deghi haleem. Enjoy.

The writer is a journalist and her debut novel *Feast, With A Taste of Amir Khusro is up for release this Autumn*




During my wonder years, the 10th of Muharram meant a pulao degh being made at my parents’ home, and a haleem degh at my nani’s. Needless to say the haleem was delicious — hot, spicy, flavourful and (for a child) consumable only with a few bottles of soda. However as I entered my teens, my tolerance for spice went up and my appreciation for haleem went up even further.

I have been researching South Asian foods for some years now, and my fascination for our cuisine grows with time. Our foods have travelled regions, jumped cuisines, evolved and survived the test of time, hence earning an elite status amongst the cuisines of the world, and haleem is one such dish.

It is said to be one of the original “generosity dishes”, meaning it was always prepared with the intention of sharing with others. It is believed that the recipe of Middle Eastern harissa, written millennia ago, is what haleem actually evolved from. Harissa, according to food historian Claudia Roden is the parent of haleem and is believed to be an Arab specialty rather than a Muslim one.

Haleem is said to be one of the original “generosity dishes”, meaning it was always prepared with the intention of sharing with others

The medieval Andalusian Jews ate it on Saturdays, a day of Sabbath for them. The Lebanese and Syrian Christians make harissa to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. And in Iraq, Lebanon and the subcontinent, Shia Muslims made it to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain at Karbala in the month of Muharram.

It was perhaps Mughal Emperor Humayun who brought the recipe of haleem to the subcontinent, but apparently it was his son Akbar who made it popular across the board, from troops to the throne. It is originally a slow-cooking dish and its name in Arabic even means ‘patience’.

Here is something interesting that I stumbled upon some years ago when researching the history of haleem.

Ciezadlo in her article History on a Plate, quotes in the article Food Stories, Haleem:

“In the late 7th century, Caliph Mu’awiya of Damascus, received a delegation of Arabian Yemenis. According to medieval historians who wrote about the encounter, the Caliph’s first question to his visitors addressed something more urgent than political matters. Years earlier, on a journey to Arabia, he had eaten an exquisite dish, a porridge of meat and wheat. Did they know how to make it? They did.

It was perhaps Mughal Emperor Humayun who brought the recipe of haleem to the subcontinent, but apparently it was his son Akbar who made it popular across the board, from troops to the throne

"The first written recipe of harissa [haleem], dates from the 10th century, when a scribe named Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq compiled a cookbook of the dishes favored by the caliphs. The version described in his Kitab al-Tabikh (Book of Dishes), the world’s oldest surviving Arabic cookbook, is strikingly similar to the one people in the Middle East eat to this day.”

This Muharram, I am torn between making pulao like my mother did, or haleem like my nani did. Maybe I’m going to end up making both. That’s not such a bad idea after all.

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. We aren’t arguing that fact, however.


2 litres whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp cardamom

4 to 5 tsp corn starch, dissolved in 2 tbsp of water

1 tbsp rose water

2/3 cup pistachio, chopped

A pinch of saffron dissolved in 1 tbsp of milk


Soak saffron strands in one tablespoon of milk and set aside. In a separate bowl dissolve cornstarch in water and let it rest. Pour milk in a heavy-lidded pan to boil. Once it comes to a boil, lower the flame and let the milk thicken. Half an hour in, add the cornstarch, saffron and sugar to the simmering milk. Stir the dissolved cornstarch before adding to the milk, and keep stirring while doing so. Add cream and pistachios and keep stirring. Let simmer for an hour and a half, or until desired thickness is reached. Add cardamom powder, rose water and switch off the flame.

Let the mixture cool completely and pour into kulfi moulds. Freeze overnight. Your saffron kulfi is ready.


And why is that?

Because it takes 75,000 flowers to make one pound of saffron, and the flower is said to bloom only one week of the year. No wonder the spice is said to be priced as much as gold — maybe not literally, but almost.

My first recollection of being introduced to saffron is from the jingle of Zahoor Zaafrani Patti Tambakoo. This catchy jingle holds a bell for all those born between the 1950s and the 1970s. However, what’s never been established is that was saffron really an ingredient in this two-bit chewing tobacco product? A mystery yet to be solved, and one that makes me chuckle.

One of the myths surrounding the origin of saffron tells the tale of the Greek god Hermes, where he accidentally killed his friend Crocus, and whose spilling blood germinated saffron. God only knows how this can be true; all we know is that Hermes products now are also worth their weight in gold, or saffron.

Photo: The Splendid Table.
Photo: The Splendid Table.


Beautiful, war-ravaged Kashmir is one of the places where saffron is cultivated. The spice and its mehek (fragrance) is a big part of the dishes included in Kashmiri wazwaan, and is the oomph factor in it. However, it is said that it was first cultivated in Greece and then further moved east to Morocco, Iran, Turkey and Japan in Asia, and to Spain in Europe. Currently, Iran is said to be the largest producer of the spice.

Saffron is a magical spice, and having experienced its aroma there is one thing I know about it for sure, it’s hard to describe it. If I had to, I’d say it’s a smell that has a taste.

According to Sarah Salkin, an editor at, “Wherever saffron is grown, foods have been developed to showcase its magic: The French have bouillabaisse, the Italians have Risotto Milanese, the Spanish have paella, the subcontinent has biryani, curry and kulfi and Iran has a whole host of saffron-infused dishes. And saffron can be added to any number of plain foods to make them magical. But in order to make the most of saffron, you need to know how to handle the precious threads. The secret is infusion.”

Like tea leaves, saffron threads have to be infused in hot water for maximum fragrance — usually for 30 minutes or so, a few threads in eight to 10 ounces of water, or any other liquid, hot milk, broth, etc.

Photo: Hamiast.
Photo: Hamiast.


Sitting at a Kashmiri family friend’s dinner table, I learnt an interesting little anecdote about the spice. Uncle Rasheed Mir, while passing a platter of Roghan Josh, said to me, “A Spanish dish will taste perfect when made with Spanish saffron, while a Kashmiri dish is best flavoured with saffron cultivated in Kashmir.”

Saffron is high in riboflavin and vitamin B and has long been acknowledged for its medicinal uses. Europeans used it to treat the common cold and cough, and ancient Persians thought it to be an aphrodisiac. I don’t know about it being an aphrodisiac, but I do know that there is nothing as delicious as the zaafrani kulfi, and here it is from my kitchen to yours.

Zaafrani Kulfi

Photo: Sumagandlur/Pinterest.





2 cups chopped potatoes
2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon amchoor powder
Salt to taste
4 to 5 tablespoons oil (or as desired)
Curry leaves
Garnish with chopped coriander, lemon wedges and green chillies


Heat oil, add cumin, curry leaves, mustard seeds, turmeric, onions, fry for a few minutes and toss in the vegetables. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring and spraying with water, periodically, once vegetables are tender, add all the masalas, cook for a few minutes, garnish and serve.



1 kg carrots (orange)
1 ½ to 2 litres of milk
½ pint Half-and-Half
1/3 pint heavy whipping cream
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
¼ cup oil
8 to 10 cardamoms
1 tablespoon raisins
2 tablespoons blanched and chopped almonds


Lightly peel and grate carrots and set aside. Bring milk to boil and add the carrots, let the milk and carrot mixture come to a boil then add half-and-half and sugar, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until the mixture comes to boil, reducing heat to medium. Once the milk evaporates (should take one-and-a-half to two hours) add heavy cream, stirring constantly. Once cream evaporates, add butter, oil and cardamoms stirring constantly, keeping the flame medium to high. Keep stirring until oil separates, and the colour is a rich beautiful deep orange. Garnish with raisins and almonds and serve.



2 pounds carrots, chopped
4 or more cups water
1 can condensed milk, or malai with sugar (I prefer it with condensed milk)
Dash of nutmeg/cinnamon or green cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon fresh ginger


Blend carrots in a blender, adding water; sieve through mulmul (muslin) cloth. Squeeze extracting all juice, discard the pulp and pour the juice into the blender, adding all ingredients. Puree and serve hot or chilled.


  • Lamb leg piece 1 kg weight
  • Oil 4 tsp
  • Yogurt ¼ cup
  • Papaya paste 4 tbsp
  • Lemon juice 2 tbsp
  • Green chilies 2 tbsp (chopped)
  • Crushed red chili 1 tbsp
  • Ginger garlic paste 2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Chaat masala 1 tsp
  • Garam masala 1 tsp
  • Roasted cumin 1 tsp



  1. Mix all above ingredients in a mixing bowl.

  2. Wash and make cut on lamb and rub marination on lamb. Leave it overnight.

  3. Place lamb on baking tray and cover with aluminum foil.

  4. Bake at 180 degree for one and half hour. Then uncover and bake for 15 minutes or until tender.


10 chicken legs (whole) with barbeque cuts (skin off)
1 cup yogurt
2 to 3 tbsp. red chili powder (or to taste)
Salt to taste
6 to 8 tbsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. ajwain (carom seeds) roasted and ground
Red food coloring ¼ to ½ tsp. (optional)


Combine all the ingredients to make a marinade, (except the chicken) mix well, let it sit for 10 minutes.

Then, marinate the chicken and refrigerate it for 6 to 8 hours, grill on a barbeque grill or bake in an oven, periodically brushing with oil.

Once tender, charcoal the tikka to get the desired smoky flavour. Serve with side of yogurt, tamarind chutney, sliced onions, and naan.


Karachi does chicken tikka like no other city in the world. Hence growing up in the wonderful metropolis, I have had the luxury of tasting the best barbecue chicken tikka available to humanity, may it be from Meerut, Bundoo Khan, Spinzer, the local clubs, BBQ tonight, or any other local restaurant.

Expectedly, every trip back home has me devouring tender chicken tikka off the bone, one hand tearing at the warkhi paratha, while the other is busy dipping thinly sliced onions in imli key chutney, and the result is my taste buds enjoying a meal in foodopia.

The Encyclopedia of Meat Sciences edited by Michael Dikeman and Carrick Devine says the following when describing the famed subcontinent chicken tikka:

The meaning of tikka is ‘bits and pieces’ and thus it refers to the meat, mostly boneless chicken, that is cut into small pieces and baked like tandoori in a tandoor, following marination in spices and yoghurt. While cooking, butters and oils frequently brushed over the chicken to ensure that it remains tender and moist and is not overcooked.

Tikka can be served as chicken tikka sizzler, wherein it is served on a red hot plate along with onions. Tikka sizzlers are also eaten in Afghanistan along with Pakistan and India. Tikka can also be used as an ingredient for preparation of chicken tikka masala. Tikka masala is a gravy dish containing tikka chunks, cream, a blend of Indian spices, and a gravy containing sauce and tomatoes.

My research also led me to understand that barbequing and grilling are entirely different; until now I thought the two were an interchangeable form of cooking.We can safely assume that our ancestors were grilling meats from the beginning of time. Travelling men hunted and cooked meat over fire, sometimes rubbing salt water, or available herbs on it.

Grilling is the cooking of raw foods in its basic form over direct fire or heat source, while barbequing is slow cooking over indirect heat. Hence, this slow cooking process infuses the barbequed meats with a delicious smokiness of the charcoal (if used as a heat source) and marinade.

The wonderfully rich subcontinent has a large menu encompassing traditional meat items. Countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and other regional countries are more alike culturally than different, and the availability of spices, meats, dairy, fruits, vegetables and grains has played a key role in the evolution of the sub-continental cuisine.

The Encyclopedia of Meat Sciences furthers says;

These meat products have percolated down history and have metamorphosed into spicy ethnic Indian meats. The history of the Indian subcontinent depicts various culinary practices amalgamated into Indian spices and the Indian cuisine embodying the culture of the different settlers. The meats common to the region are kabobs, chicken tikka, biryani, curry, meat pickle, palao and dry salted meats amongst others.

For the tikka, after marination, the meat is cooked at a high temperature on a grill or an oven and charcoaled to give the authentic barbeque flavour. It is periodically brushed with fat to maintain a tender, juicy and moist texture to the bite.

In researching my world tour of grilling and barbeque, I discovered there was a barbeque belt that encircles the globe. Or more specially, that there are six grade barbeque zones. The largest continuous barbeque zone starts in Turkey and runs east through the Caucasus Mountains, Central Asia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
The Barbeque Bible by Stephen Raichien says the following about grilled Tikka:

In the 13th century, the Moghuls lead by Genghis Khan spread their love of grilled meats as far west as turkey. The Arab world refined the idea and then shipped it back via the Moghul rulers to the Indian subcontinent and possibly beyond to Indonesia.

To make chicken tikka for Food Stories, I used Shazlee Auntie’s recipe. Easy to make and so delicious, here it is, from my kitchen to yours.

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