… is homemade apple sauce and thin flaky wholewheat paratha for tea :)
I think we have a bit of bear in us :) Now that winter is approaching here in Isloo, we seem to be preparing for hibernation by eating more! I really love looking for food and haunts new and novel. Sometimes one finds the most delightful treats in the most obscure places.
Take Jumah Bazar. I would associate it with food supplies, bargain finds and snacks in the way of assorted nuts and crisps, fritters dunked in heavy syrup and other deep fried treats. It isn’t a place you would associate with sophisticated fare, so I was more than pleasantly surprised to find these delicate morsels subtly flavoured with sugar and rose.
My husband chanced upon an Irani man named Saeed who had a little stall at the weekend farmers’ market. He had an interesting array of treats like apple and carrot jam (more on that later!), flower-shaped sweet crackers and those delicious sweetmeats pictured above called bamya (or okra because of the shape).
There were a dozen bamya in the box.
Only those two were left by the time I remembered to take some shots. I’m not a fan of sweets, but they were really sinfully irresistible ma shaa Allah.
Mr Saeed takes orders by phone… I think I’ve just found a way to make winter more bearable :)
There aren’t many things I like about winter to be honest. I detest the piles of winter wear and extra bedclothes that clutter up the rooms and most of all, I dread how the cold weather reduces me to a wheezing and coughing wretch. (I have adult-onset asthma.) I am a tropical person, so give me heat and humidity ANY day. Having said that, one must count one’s blessings and I must admit that Pakistan’s winters have a lot to offer in terms of gastronomic pleasures. We get sweet kinoo (oranges) in winter. Soups and teas taste infinitely better when it is cold outside as well. I am also looking forward to my mother-in-law’s famous gorgeous pink tea!
Yesterday, the girls and I worked on lunch together. We made a soup whose recipe came from their sweet aunt, Lamiya, who is from Azerbaijan. It is a hit in our home because it is quite easy to make and is so chock full of goodness that it is a meal all on its own. It does involve a fair bit of ingredients and preparation but maybe that is why the girls love it so – we share a lot of laughs while cooking together.
Anyway, for those of you experiencing winter, I hope you like this recipe for the Azeri soup we made. It is good with any crusty bread but we like it with Tendir Choreyi. I don’t know what this dish is called in Azerbaijan… we just call it Lamiya’s Soup :)
Onion, 1 large – chopped/diced fine
Garlic, about 3 cloves – minced
Capsicum, 1 large – cut into small ‘squares’
Tomatoes, about 8 – chopped, the more the merrier!
Carrots, 1 or 2 – diced finely
Potatoes, 1 or 2 – cubed
Coriander, a big bunch – chopped (it’s a big part of the soup, not just a garnish)
Spaghetti/Vermicelli – broken into small bits
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Chilli powder, 1-2 tsp
Turmeric powder, 1-2 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp (optional)
For chicken stock:
Chicken bones and half a chicken
Chicken stock cubes – 1 or 2 (MSG free!)
Onion – 1, chopped coarsely
Garlic – 2, chopped coarsely
Water to cover
1. Place chicken stock ingredients in a large pot. Bring to boil and then simmer over low heat for an hour or so. Remove chicken and shred/chop meat into small cubes. Set meat aside.
2. Saute onions and then garlic in a separate pot. Add chilli powder and turmeric powder and fry for a minute or so. Add tomatoes and cook till softened. Add capsicums and cook till tomatoes have broken down, adding water/stock to make sure mixture doesn’t stick to the pan. Add carrots and potatoes and stir.
3. Place a sieve/colander over the pot. Pour chicken stock through the sieve into the tomato mixture and discard bones/onion/garlic. Bring to a boil and add chopped chicken and noodles. When noodles are cooked through, add chopped coriander and cook another 5 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If you don’t like the soup too sour, you can add a little sugar.
4. Serve piping hot with crusty bread or Tendir Choreyi.
I don’t usually enjoy shopping in crowded places but there is a market here in Islamabad that has a certain charm. It is open on Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays and sells fruit, vegetables, meat, cooked food, baskets and household items. It is called Jumma (Friday) Bazaar or Itwar (Sunday) Bazaar. (I don’t know what it is called on Tuesdays :P)
It is quite an interesting place, for sure, if you know your way around. My mother-in-law’s helper, Anees, is a resourceful little thing who has managed to land numerous bargains like beautiful serving bowls and glasses, branded winter wear and miniature toys for my girls at excitingly low prices :)
I’m rubbish at photography but here are some shots of a market day in Islamabad…
The bazaar is a good place to buy groceries in bulk as it is cheaper than the neighbourhood markets. You don’t get to choose your vegetables and fruits usually, unless you’ve established a good relationship with the grocers though, so you may end up with food that is less than fresh.
Most of the serrano chillies sold in Pakistan are green. Pakistanis do not use fresh/blended red chillies generally (no sambal tumis for me!) and use chilli powder instead .
I think these radishes look pretty and dress up salads very nicely even though I don’t like the taste :)
I like chalkboards and slates like these which are used all over the bazaar. It gives such a vintage feel. I just wish I had done a better job on the photo – so much noise evident!!!
Traditional balance scales… how quaint!
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