Photo credit Ren Behan

Perfect garam masala – the essence of layering flavour

    If you ask a Pakistani cook to share their recipe for garam masala, they will probably tell you it’s a guarded family secret. As an authentic blend, it is quite surprising that there is no one recipe for garam masala, most families have their own combinations and proportions of spices, and indeed it… 

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Rose sugar and cardamom infused crème brûlée

Roses  (desi gulab*)  remind me of summers in my grandmother’s intoxicating garden. As the sun set, the sultry Karachi air shifted to a humid cool sea-breeze bringing with it the scent of her lovingly tended blossoms of motia*, desi gulab, hibiscus, petunia and bougainvillea. As I made my way from the connecting door between my home and hers, her… 

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Bottle gourd (Loki) kofta in a tomato and curry leaf sauce

Hailing from a family where meat dishes were always the hero, there was place for one unassuming vegetarian winner on the Usmani dining table – the Loki kofta. A modest green gourd, with neither intensity nor excitement to boast, it is however a silent carrier for such flavour. This is a treasured family recipe that finds… 

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Homemade ghee – Mouthwatering goodness laced with butterscotch memory

They say silence is golden, and as it seems I have had to take a hiatus from writing on my website as often. But this is not for complacency or distraction, but for the great task of writing my cookbook as well as intense days of food photography with the team. There are many ways… 

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A jewel in Karachi’s crown – Empress Market

Childhood trips to Empress Market were anything but pleasant. To a 10 year old spending Sunday morning in a huge bustling bazaar with a cocktail of aromatics from fresh produce was not a treat. I would forcefully accompany my grandmother or mother, reluctantly agree with bribes of a treat of chickee sweets (sesame jaggery brittle) or fresh… 

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Sago pearl kheer with cardamom

  Those tiny little spheres of iridescent beauty that glisten and speak of the mystery of the ocean, the romance of true love, flattering a girls ears with perfection. My Nani took much pleasure in collecting pretty things in her youth, but in her graceful years I saw her delicate ears mostly adorned with these… 

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