Ambreen Malik

Ambreen Malik

The author is a Microfinance Banker, food blogger, LSE Alum and a dragon in training. She tweets as @ambreen_malik (twitter.com/ambreen_malik)

This Chicken Karhai is as good as the one from the Karachi-Hyderabad highway!

The word Karhai means “wok”. This dish is traditionally cooked in a wok on a high flame and is hence called chicken karhai. My recipe for chicken karhai has evolved after I ate karhai at a dhaaba (roadside restaurant) on Karachi-Hyderabad M-9 Super Highway in Pakistan, many years ago. I can never forget its taste. What struck me the most about that particular chicken karhai was, the simplicity of the technique and minimum spices used to create such an unforgettable taste. My reverse engineering of the recipe led to some success in creating a similar taste at home. I have ...

Read Full Post

Firni: A Pakistani rice-pudding that is a must have this Eid!

Rice puddings are part of quite a few cuisines around the world. Be it Thailand, UK, Iran, Bangladesh, Norway, Egypt, Puerto Rico or Pakistan, everyone has their own versions of rice puddings prepared with local ingredients. In Thailand, they make theirs with coconut milk and serve it with mango. In Iran, it is made with saffron infused milk. The Danish add butter and cinnamon to their rice pudding and serve it on Christmas Eve and the Egyptians make it with nutmeg and rosewater. It seems joyous occasions in Pakistan, as well as all around the world, are celebrated with some version of rice ...

Read Full Post

Shami kebabs: Deeply satisfying and authentically Pakistani

We Pakistanis love various types of kebabs in our food; shami kebabs being one example. They are served with almost any main course on a Pakistani dinner table. Be it with daal chawal, with paratha and achaar, a shami kebab sandwich, with mattar (peas) or chicken pulao or even with our afternoon tea. In some way, directly or indirectly, shami kebabs have been an integral part of our favourite home-cooked meals. These kebabs used to be a part of the sandwich in my school lunchbox for the longest of time and were simply known as shami kebab sandwich. Now, even ...

Read Full Post

Palak chicken: A true Pakistani delight

Palak gosht was cooked very frequently in my mother’s household during the winter season and for some reason, I never liked what meat did to the spinach. While living in London, I once had Palak chicken at one of the Pakistani restaurants and loved it. Later, I tried my own version at home and have not looked back ever since. My brother, O, who was studying at the University of Warwick during that time, became the guinea pig for my cooking experiments. My palak chicken didn’t just get approved by him, but I was also requested to make some for him to take along to ...

Read Full Post

Tired and hangry? This easy and delicious Khageena is just for you!

An associate from my former university, who is currently working on his PhD thesis on Pakistan, asked me if I could share a simple and basic recipe from a Pakistani kitchen which he could try. As I sat and thought about it, it took me a while to come up with something. Khageena was the first thing I learnt to cook as a 13-year-old. Nothing fancy, just the Pakistani version of spiced scrambled eggs eaten with homemade chappati (flatbread) or toasted bread. Ammi would cook this for a quick lunch or dinner when the fridge would be out of groceries or times when we had ...

Read Full Post

No Eid meal is complete without our world famous mutton pulao!

Muslims all over the world are celebrating Eidul Azha this weekend. Every household has its own Eid traditions in Pakistan. Those of us who live away from Pakistan try to continue those traditions to ensure our kids stay connected to our culture. Eidul Azha, or Bari Eid as it is called in Pakistan, is centred around food and family. This Eid is a bit more stressful because of the involvement of qurbani or animal sacrifice. Those who are in charge of qurbani at home understand the preparation needed to buy animals for this ritual and arrange for the help needed for ...

Read Full Post

Baingan ka bharta: Baba ghanoush with a Pakistani twist

In Pakistan, baingan (aubergines) are available only during peak summer season. Perhaps that’s why whenever summers are here, I immediately think of the nice old baingan. The Urdu word bharta means mashed. Essentially, roasted aubergines are mashed and spiced in this recipe. It can be served at lunch with hot chappatis and salty lassi, which would automatically put you in a siesta. The long summer days along with the intense heat in Pakistan makes one lazy and sleepy after lunch. The only thing needed then is a dark corner in an air-conditioned room. Ammi (mother) would slowly char the round purple aubergines on her gas stove over open flame. The whole house would smell of it. I, however, roast the aubergines ...

Read Full Post

Mango yogurt: Mangoes and Ramazan, a match made in heaven

Mango season and Ramazan have been coinciding since the last few years. Hence, my love for mangoes has made me incorporate mangoes in my Iftar regularly. With June’s blistering heat around, one longs for things that are cold and refreshing while breaking the fast. This simple and easy to make mango yogurt provides that along with appropriate nutrition. I always save an extra bowl for Sehri as well. Hope you will try it out. Ingredients: Unsweetened Yogurt – 500 grams Sugar – ¼ cup Mangoes – 3 medium-sized (cubed) Dates – 8 (pitted and chopped) Fresh Apricot (Khobani) – 5 to 8 (pitted and chopped) Almonds – 8 to 10 (coarsely chopped) Method: 1. Add sugar to the yogurt and mix ...

Read Full Post

My nani’s achaar recipe – Pakistani-styled vegetable pickle

Before the arrival of mass produced, ready to use jams, pickles and chutneys, everything was prepared at home. In the early 80s, my nani– (maternal grandmother) prepared achaar (pickle), murabbay and chutneys at home ritualistically. These homemade products were consumed around the year and our friends and family also had their fair share in the prized produce. This activity would take place during summer holidays, when tons of extended family would be over. Nani, her sister, sisters-in-law and other female cousins visiting her, would divide the work of cleaning and chopping up tons of vegetables along with cleaning, roasting and grinding of a sack load of spices. ...

Read Full Post

Remembering Muzaffarabad with this divine Kashmiri chicken curry

During the long summer school holidays in Pakistan, as we roamed around the beautiful northern areas of Pakistan for summer vacations, Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan’s side of Kashmir, would be one of the stops. There weren’t that many hotels in that area back then so the government guest houses were the place to stay on such trips. Regardless of which part of northern areas one went to, the government guest houses would have one thing in common – a Kashmiri cook or khansama as they call them in Pakistan. Those trips were the reason for my delicious encounters with Kashmiri chicken ...

Read Full Post