Stories about cooking

Life without a cellphone is…normal

Life without a working smartphone in your pocket, at all times, is strange. It’s like something in missing in your life, like some tragedy befell upon you. I have gone through such a tragedy, and I’ve been the same. Five days ago, after receiving a phone call, I saw that my phone’s battery was almost dead. That’s normal, right? Well, I rummaged around my room to find the charger. My eyes remained settled on the screen as I connected my charger to the tiny slot, waiting for the light come back and see my phone grin with life again. However, that didn’t ...

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Wagon-wheel pasta: A little taste of Tuscany on your Pakistani plate

So if you are amongst 95% of the people of the world, you are probably intimidated by cooking. So was I, once upon a time. To look at a well-cooked dish was like looking at the great pyramids; fascinating and intriguing, but a mystery as to how it was built. But watching Nigella Lawson cook, who made it look like a piece of cake, inspired me to start cooking. And to avoid any complications, I started developing my own simple recipes. And if I can cook, trust me, so can you. Unless you have a cooking-phobia and faint upon stepping into ...

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Women in sports: What Lala might not know

A friend of mine shared a clip on Facebook of a journalist asking Shahid Afridi his views on the development of a girls’ cricket camp in Peshawar (something the journalist said he felt proud of) and Afridi replied that Pathan girls are best at cooking food and should stick to that. This statement did not come as a shock to me. Other than being aware of Afridi’s record of having passed ludicrous remarks about us, Indian Hindus, not being large-hearted enough, which was slammed by many rational Pakistanis, it reminded me of a scene from the Bollywood movie Chak de India starring Shahrukh Khan. It showed ...

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Sunday mornings with aloo ke parathay and chai!

Savoury aloo walay parathay and hot, sweet, milky tea have an unbreakable connection to winter in my head. The reason could be growing up in Pakistan; that’s how it used to be in our house. Waking up late on Sunday morning meant it was too late for breakfast and too early for lunch.  But the rumbling tummy could not be ignored. And so, chilly, winter Sunday mornings called for potato-stuffed buttered parathas for brunch served with shami kebabs or Pakistani style spicy omelettes. In my mother’s household all parathas were prepared either with home-churned white butter or with homemade desi ghee (clarified butter). As a little girl I remember watching my nani (maternal grandmother) ...

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Karri Pakora: Finger lickin’ good, literally!

Karri is loved in almost every household in Pakistan. But the cooking procedure can intimidate even the most well seasoned and skilled cooks. I learnt how to make it whilst watching my mother cook it in her kitchen. But my love for karri goes back to my barri ammi’s (maternal grandmother) cooking skills and generosity. In her house, the rule was simple. Karri was never cooked in medium or moderate quantity. It was always cooked as if 30 people were coming over for dinner. Bari Ammi would send a bowl each to all her friends and relatives living close by. Hence, her karri was not just loved because it was delicious ...

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Seafood cravings: Lemon drizzled grilled fish steak, served with lightly spiced jumbo prawns on pesto fettuccine

Grilling is one of those techniques of cooking that preserve the nutrition, is quick and brings out food that is visually pleasant and tastes superb. This method seals the juices and flavours of the meat inside, leaving it flaky and crispy with mouth-watering grill marks on the outside but juicy and moist on the inside. A stove top griller is the best thing that happened to me. Since I cook a limited quantity of meals, the one made by Prestige is good enough to cook a grilled meal for four. During the winter chill, inviting your friends for an outdoor grilled meal ...

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The Royal pieces: Decadent, delicious and delightful

People say I have a wicked sense of humour. And if that’s true, I think I know where it came from. I was cradled by humour since the day I was born. A chest surgeon by profession, my chacha, Dr Aamir Ijaz has spread laughter lines much more than the stitches he has sewn. He claims to be my adopted mother and used to shower me with gifts, hugs, shoulder rides, and till date endless laughter. Wit, a one-liner, pun, wisecrack, pulling someone’s leg or a dirty joke – he is the master of all. I have seen my 90-year-old grandfather teary eyed ...

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Yousuf’s Fried Chicken (YFC): Finger lickin’good

Be it in the form of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) or a cloned recipe, fried chicken has literally taken this world by storm. What can we say, it is finger lickin’ good and we all love to indulge in some from time to time! For most of us though, we’d prefer making it at home. I’m in love with the extra-crispy recipe that KFC has and I have tried hunting for a good clone for ages. Unfortunately, all the recipes that I have tried so far don’t quite come up to par with the original. After all the experimentation with what works and what ...

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Afghan Burgers: A moody cook’s way to success

I am a moody cook who lazes around as much as possible before entering the kitchen. I would rather resort to last night’s leftovers than make something from scratch. Thus, when I actually make the effort and get my apron on, it certainly is a big deal. And the biggest motivation that is leading me to share this easy to make recipe was the never ending “wows” and “yums” by my family members that came with every bite. It all started after a chat with a friend living in Islamabad who could not help talking about Afghan burgers that he ...

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Pakistani women in the Pakistani advertisements world

“Main iske elaava kisi aur pe kabhi aitemaad nahi karsakti. Bhalay aap koi bhi aur lay ayein, main isko nahi chhor sakti. Ye mera partner hai.” (I cannot trust anyone but him. Bring whatever you can, I would never leave him. He is my partner.) A woman saying this must really like the person she’s talking about. The statement shows that she trusts him immensely and loves him enough to find him irreplaceable. It seems like they have a strong emotional bond; maybe it’s her husband or a friend she confides in? Isn’t this what you would ask yourself if you heard ...

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