Stories about food

Hara masala machchi: Devouring fish, the Parsi style!

I adore hara masala (green masala), as you might have noticed from a few of my earlier recipes. In this recipe, the marriage of green chilli, coriander and mint is sublime. The leafy pungency of the coriander, the sharp fragrance of the mint, coupled with the grassy heat from the green chilli, brings out the aquatic essence of the hake or haddock (use only a chunky, meaty white fish), together with the addition of coconut, which adds exotic nuttiness, and this will give you a match made in heaven. This recipe was passed on to my mother by a Parsi friend at university where my mother ...

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Soggy rains and crunchy okra pakoras

We have had some rainy days in Karachi but, while I was there, they were always welcome and for some reason just very ‘happy’ – I call it ‘happy rain’. We would go out in our clothes and get drenched and love it. There was something liberating about the rain, maybe it was freedom from the constant 35 degree weather in the summer and the oppressive humidity. And that it washed the dusty hot city clean – though I can’t say the knee deep puddles and traffic jams as a result were enjoyable. Nevertheless, rainy, hot days laced with the ...

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Flattery over flatbread: Hogging on Hoagies, the revolutionised sub!

Bread! Sounds doughy, sounds boring and definitely sounds like a typical consumption option around K-town; but a revolution is here! Oh yes, it’s Hoagies that has entered the food market of Karachi, like a thunderbolt to strike the agendas of all possible foodies of the city! Photo: Hoagies Facebook page Hoagies drew a lot of popularity over social media and the food scene of Karachi within a short span of time with a promising new concept of deliciously toasted ‘hero sandwiches’ and stirred the right amount of hype to challenge the traditional ideology of subs, wraps and sandwiches. The ...

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This Eidul Azha, go Kheer a la mode!

For me, there can’t be an Eid without the ravishingly delicious Kheer – the ultimate sweet indulgence. A new twist to this traditional delight will surely bring a smile to your lips and, while the tongue revels in its milky glory, its creamy decadence will keep you entranced and craving for more. Food aficionados like me are fascinated by the Mughals who brought their rich, aromatic food culture, and thereby refined cooking to an art form. The exotic use of spices, dried fruits and nuts makes Mughlai cuisine undeniably unique in style. Extravagant connoisseurs of beauty, they left behind an enduring legacy of culinary ...

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Shocking, funny and likeable experiences of Pakistan

My friends and family were concerned about my health when I told them that I would be fasting during Ramazan, but my Pakistani friends all assured me that I would go back home “fatter than ever”. Food coma The tables are set up and the feast includes biryani, samosas, pakoras, jalebi, gulab jamun, naan, paratha, daal, chicken, yoghurt, dates and much more. It is a spread fit for a king and we all stand around looking at the food, then our watches, waiting for the clock to tick over to iftar time with our mouths salivating. The call to prayer is heard and ...

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Do your parents a favour and eat at home this Ramazan

According to a recent research, people in Pakistan spend 47.7% of their income on fast food and beverages. If we compare this to the spending patterns of other countries we will realise that this is, in fact, a very high ratio. Eating out is a popular pastime for the people of Pakistan – we are seen at restaurants, food courts and even food stands during festivals and celebrations. Ramazan, ironically, is like a month of food festivities for us. With people choosing different food for sehri and iftar, in Ramazan we are seen frequenting food outlets a lot more than in any ...

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Let’s have a cup of chai together, India

It is a truth acknowledged in the subcontinent that no meeting is complete without a cup of chai (tea). The freshly brewed combination of masalas, cardamom or a frothy cup of doodh pati touches the tip of the tongue, instantly refreshing one’s mind. Some have even argued that chai purifies their souls. We all certainly love our tea!  The addiction is tremendously mind-blowing, in its literal sense, and on a serious note, I often think Pakistani and Indians need a tea rehabilitation centre. When have you last visited a household where you weren’t offered chai? The alternative options are, of course, thanda (cold drink) or pani (water), but the fervour of making fresh chai for the guests is ...

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An ‘Hummazing’ way to eat right in Ramazan

Chop the veggies, whip up gram flour with seasoning, make a paste with water, dip the veggies and fry! Fasting and pakoras are insanely intertwined. Roadside vendors, kiosks, and general stores – all have flaming hot oil pans, centered neatly on busy roads, frying away these crunchy, deep mustard, vegetable fritter devils. Admittedly, they are best eaten after a hot day of fasting, right after gobbling up a mushy sweet date and right before sipping a deep red cold drink. The scrunch, the spice and the saltiness are all addictive. But I protest against this addiction. And this alluded me to think ...

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Hello Ramazan, hello Dahi Bhallay!

Sweltering summers and food-less Ramazans are a rather challenging, patience-testing combination. But not once does it falter the resolve of a believer when it comes to fasting. For people who fast, away from home and, in non-Muslim countries, things are even tougher. The work hours don’t change, meaning even when your energy levels are dwindling and your eyes are droopy due to sleep deprivation, you still need to keep on marching. This also means that the expatriate families hardly have time to prepare the elaborate iftar, which we are accustomed to in Pakistan or any other Muslim country. I personally enjoy a ...

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Don’t ignore your IDPs, Pakistan!

The military operation in Swat five-years-ago led to the displacement of approximately two million Pakistanis, who had to abandon their homes, commodities and lives overnight to a bleak and uncertain future. Facing obscurity, these two million refugees trekked to safer locales with infants and elderly in tow. According to United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) statistics, released as of September 11, 2012, there were 160,063 families still resigned to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) status, of which 12% (18,783 families) were still residing in camps and 88% (141,280 families) were residing in host communities two years back. Though the World Food Programme (WFP) assisted ...

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