Fragrant Saffron & nut biryani

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The cool winter sea breeze of Karachi in December brought a very different feeling with it. It was welcomed after a long hot, intolerant summer. Suddenly the streets would be buzzing with happy folk, in their shawls and the men in their warm hand-woven Peshawari topi’s  longing for the first touch of winter to pull out… 

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Afghani Kabuli lamb pullao with caramelised carrots, raisins and pistachios

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  Wholesome, simple and fragrant is this dish – while it steams away in your kitchen, your home will be enveloped with the delectable aroma of whole garam masala and the soothing and nurturing earthy smell of rice, while the sweet yet sour crunchy carrots and tangy black currants will add a unique flavour to… 

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Aaloo ki Tehri – Turmeric + cumin scented rice pullao with baby potatoes

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Many Sunday mornings I would wake late, only to be greeted with the intoxicatingly simple aromas of Aaloo ki Tehri – a family favourite rice dish which is fragranced with turmeric, vibrantly yellow in colour and tasted undefinably delicious. Served best with a raita of cucumber and mint – this was a Sunday lunch I… 

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Sindhi Mutton Biryani with sour plums, potatoes and dried pomegranate

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  Reminiscent of lazy Sunday afternoons at my home or at one of my grandmothers – nothing speaks louder of a warm sultry afternoon better than a Biryani, be it chicken, vegetable or meat – the satisfying marriage of rice with curry perfumed with saffron, Kewra (screwpine water), fragranced further with mint leaves and allowed… 

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Shahi Biryani with fenugreek and seasonal vegetables

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Biryani means to me what a roast dinner might been to a Brit – it’s the ultimate comfort food without any guilt. Warm, fragrant, reminiscent of the comfort of beautiful Pakistani houses with marble verandas,  airy rooms where the singular ceiling fan brought sacred cool breeze to a stifling humid afternoon – these were much… 

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Yakhni basmati pullao with caramelized onions

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Sometimes I need a meaty rice pullao – fragrant, warming, filling and full of meaty comfortness. A yakhni pullao delivers. A pullao infused with flavours of garam masala, caramelized onions and with either chicken or mutton. It’s cooked in it’s own stock  or “Yakhni” as it is known in Urdu. This can make it tricky,… 

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Green Masala Biryani – Featured on Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Nation tv show

photo by Joanna Yee

    Attempting to block out the madness on the train back from work today, I popped in my headphones and something made me click on songs sung by a famous Pakistani rock band I idolized growing up, called Junoon and in a sudden spirit of nationalism I listened to their song ‘Jazba-e-Junoon‘ which was… 

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Simple Mince Biryani

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Sunday morning, pj day and with my little helpers…..one interested in doing her bit the other in sampling the meat on offer, I’ll just about get it done just in time for lunch. And hey little one wants to help soak the rice and the cat wants to have some mince! Right I’m getting delayed! The pleasures of parenthood… 

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DadiJaan’s Poppy Seed Flatbreads – “Puris”

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Something that is reminiscent of those, desert cool wintery winds in Karachi are these poppy seed pooris which are my Dadi’s (Dad’s mom) recipe – something handed down generations in my Dad’s family. I won’t forget the last time she ever made these for me, it was one of those cool crisp Sunday winter brunchs at her… 

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Cinnamon and Coconut Rice

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Ingredients: 1 – 1 1/2 cups of basmati rice, which has been soaked for up to a minimum of 1/2 an hour 1 cup of coconut milk water salt to taste 11/2 tsp of nigella seeds (kalongi seeds) rind of one large lemon 1 tbsp of lemon juice a medium piece of a cinnamon stick… 

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Coriander & mint rice pullao

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Anything green and with coriander reminds me of my Dadijan’s Sunday lunches, fragrant, tangy and incredibly delicious. We are always greeted with the  pungent aroma of the curry leaf trees in her garden to the shade of her tamarind and pomegranate trees, her home always conjures up sensory memories. All my five aunts cooking labourously… 

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