Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

The author is a LUMS and University of Warwick Alumnus and is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). She calls herself a bibliophile,a dreamer and an avid foodie.

These mac and cheese balls are little bites of deep-fried cheese heaven

Now if there is one dish I have never been able to get right, it’s macaroni and cheese (yes collective gasp I know). After successive failures, a friend (who I shall call ‘lion’) suggested mac and cheese balls, Chaye Khana style. Since I have never had them but had this dimagi keera (bug in my head) to conqueror this elusive dish one way or another, I decided to give them a try. After plenty of search engines, I finally decided to mash together not the usual (roll the leftover mac and cheese into balls and deep fry them) recipes, but to execute a slightly spicier version. Even though ...

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Too tired to cook? Fret not, this easy and delectable chicken handi is here to save the day!

This one is for all the working women (and men) out there! Have you ever come home too tired to cook? Or have you ever struggled your way through some very low emotional time? Recently, I have started expanding my arsenal of relatively quick dinners that can be cooked in a jiffy. Chicken is one of the easiest ingredients to work with. There are so many ways one can use it to satisfy the taste buds. Chicken handi has its roots deeply engrossed in tradition. Although this isn’t a traditional handi recipe – it is more of a desi-retro version – I ...

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When pizza meets French toast, love transpires

During my time at LUMS, if there was one thing I looked forward to before going to those early morning classes, it was the Pepsi Dining Center (PDC) French toast with a cup of steaming illaichi chai. Another thing I remember from university was the all-nighter sessions, where pizza was our staple, our means for survival… let’s just say pizza saw us through many a tough one. We owe pizza a lot. I have already done a piece on pizza bread and one on French toast so today, I am going to be very creative and combine the two to turn ...

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Gulab Jamun: The quintessential Pakistani dessert

It’s March 1 and Isloo is on lockdown. Since my brain is fine tuned to waking up at 6am, I decided to make my mid-week sudden day-off as productive as possible. I am of the firm belief that it is important to treat yourself – it’s the philosophy I follow in my cooking. However, too much of anything will not make anyone appreciate the time and effort that goes into making a dish. Hence, for me, moderation is key. Now I am not a huge fan of desi sweets but if there are two desi delights I would pick over any ...

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To all my ‘berry’ special someones, these recipes are for you

I shall start off by highlighting the importance of the strawberry emoticon in my life. For me, hearts are over-rated. So if I have ever used a strawberry on someone – even once – it must mean they have some special significance in my life. I know it’s cheesy, but I’m possessive when it comes to using this particular emoticon.   Now when rairi wala (fruit cart) stands are laden with bright red fruit, you know the season for the king of berries has arrived! Strawberries are by far my favourite fruit. I could eat them all day long and there are so so so (I cannot put enough emphasis ...

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This Valentine’s Day, single or taken, try out these tasty treats

Valentine’s Day is back again. Shops and restaurants are all decked in red. Street vendors with heart-shaped balloons and red roses can be seen in every nook and cranny. It is my personal belief that this day does not have to be about couples alone as it has mostly been made out to be. All the single people out there do not have to go underground for the day. It can be an ideal way to spend a non-public holiday with your family and friends. I will take this opportunity to admit I am not big on celebrating all the love ...

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This food street inspired white chicken karhai will leave those desi taste buds drooling for more

As we know, Lahore is well known for its gastronomic treats, and is considered one of the culinary titans of Pakistan. I recently had the chance to visit the city and the famous food street. Upon entering the street, my mouth automatically started watering. The atmosphere was thick with steam, oil, and smoke from the countless karhais loaded with chicken and marinated kebabs on the charcoal grills. Watching the chef add green chillies to the wok was nothing short of torture. But it was one well worth waiting for. As soon as the dish was placed in front of me, I jumped at it. It was ...

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Monkey bread: A bundt pan of heaven!

Have you ever had monkey bread before? You will fall into one of the following two categories: 1. Those that have eaten it and love it. 2. Those that have no clue what it is and probably think it involves monkeys (I did too). If you fall into the latter category, let me try to explain what this amazing-ness is. Monkey bread is akin to a giant cinnamon roll, only it’s a whole bunch of little rolls clustered together. Sweet, sticky, gooey pastry in the form of little balls of dough rolled in cinnamon sugar and baked together in a bundt pan. You can ...

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For the love of pizza (and your tummy)

Just about everyone loves pizza. If you’re a pizza lover, chances are the phrase “too much” seldom crosses your lips, and you can but taste a world of cheesy, saucy goodness waiting to tickle your taste buds. The classic American pizza pie consists of a flat, open–faced round of bread–type dough topped with tomato sauce and cheese and any number of different toppings. Still there is a lot more to say about pizza than, “Make mine a large with mozzarella, mushrooms, and pepperoni.” Pizza comes in many forms too – that just increases its awesomeness tenfold! So you get the ...

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This winter, cuddle under the blanket with a warm slice of this carrot cake

The temperatures are falling. It is getting colder by the day – the perfect weather to enjoy several mugs of coffee, cuddled under a cosy throw blanket by the window while enjoying a good book. For me winters would be incomplete without carrot cake. I am all for cooking healthy food, but some of the best desserts combine a bit from both worlds. Now, I’m not claiming that carrot cake is healthy. But it can’t be bad with all those good ingredients in it, right? The great thing about this cake (apart from it being extremely delicious) is how easy it ...

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