Thursday, 27 March 2014

Cooking With Our Hearts... And An Experiment

I enjoy cooking a lot, especially if the kitchen is mine for the day. Because whenever Mum is around in the kitchen watching me cook, she LOVES to contribute. Well, like adding two more spoons of her own masalas, or her own spices, or everything that she associates with the dish that she knows will make it better.

In my Mother’s eyes, till today, none of my dishes are perfect, that is, never with the correct amount of salt, chilli powder or masalas. Or my rice couls have cooked better or for a shorter time. (although the rest of us eating the meals will find everything in place) But aren’t all Mothers always hoping their daughters cook just like they do?

Many times when I am preparing meals for guests, or even my own family members, I tend to be worried if I am cooking enough for all of them. For some reason, at the back of my mind, I would think there may not be enough for everyone. But I am so wrong. Astaghfirullah.

Our beloved Prophet (S.A.W) is quoted as saying on the virtue of sharing food: Food for one (person) suffices two, and food for two (persons) suffices four persons and food for four persons suffices eight persons. (Sahih Muslim)

SubhanAllah. And this is, of course, true. At all times when we have guests, expected or unexpected, there is always ample food for all of us, and even some leftovers for the next day.

I also feel it is about the right niyyah – to be able to feed as many with our cooking. Starting with Bismillah and remembering HIM always.

Lately, AZ has encouraged me to listen to verses of the Quran as I do the cooking (looking at how anxious I can get when I realise I am taking a long time to complete my menu planned for the day, looking at hungry souls patiently waiting for meals.) More so because when I decide to cook for the day, I just can’t stop at two dishes. (This is exactly what Mum-in-Law does back home too.)

Alhamdhulilah, heeding AZ’s advice this time was really helpful. Albeit the same number of ambitious dishes I had set out to put on the table that day, I did just fine.

Considering that there was a new first-time dish and ghee rice (not something I make often), everything turned out well and more importantly, on time.

The ghee rice was nice. But the green chilli chicken curry was not what I expected. I picked it up from a food blog that I quite like. Mum said I should have ground the coconut for a longer time. That version I tried did not add coriander powder and cumin powder. I believe mutton and chicken curries are incomplete without them. So, I added my own proportions. We all felt it was a green variation of kurma, and still enjoyed it.

I don’t think I will make this again though, will try to perfect a ‘normal’ chicken curry with ghee rice next time, In-Sha-Allah.

Simple Recipe for Ghee Rice - A Gem From Mum's Kitchen
Get these ready:
3 cups of basmati briyani rice
2 pieces of cinnamon
3/4 tbsp of ginger and garlic paste (ground together)
2/3 pieces of aniseed
6 tbsps of ghee
2 serai (cut)
2 onions
2 tomatoes
2 red chillies
Mint leaves (for garnishing)
Salt to taste.
2tbsp of rose water
2 tbsp of evaporated milk.

And get started:
1. Saute onions with ghee and spices.
2. Once the onions turn a nice, brown colour, add in water proportionately (1 cup of rice: 1.5 cups of water).
3. Let water boil and add in washed rice and salt. Also add in tomatoes and and red chillies, with rose water and evaporated milk. Leave to cook. And enjoy with loved ones, In-Shaa-Allah.

Oh, and by the way, I had also made fried chicken and brinjal pachadi to go with these. These both were my usuals, and Alhamdhulilah, turned out well.

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