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Pakistani Cooking

Jasmine In Her Hair:
Culture and Cuisine from Pakistan
By Huma Siddiqui

"...The man used to walk around with a little cart filled with hot sand and all the corns buried in it, which is how they were cooked. The Bhutta Wala, or corn man, would pull out a corn, peel off the jacket and rub it with a mixture of fresh lemon juice, salt and chili powder, yummy!"

Mother, accountant, entrepreneur, and cooking school instructor, Huma Siddiqui is intent on keeping Pakistani food traditions alive. In Pakistan, food is so much more than sustenance; it is the foundation of the family. Siddiqui has written a book that gives us a snapshot of Pakistani life. From the Choori wali (woman with bangles) fascinated by Siddiqui's family's refrigerator to the Unday Wala (egg man) whose eggs did not float (the test of a good egg), Jasmine In Her Hair is awash in everyday occurrences that bring Pakistan to life. In brief easy to read vignettes, this book takes you from feast to famine and back again.

Having established the importance of the table in one's life, Siddiqui delivers accessible, home-style dishes perfect for today's palates. Simple, honest and easy to prepare, the recipes are rife with spices. Garlic, ginger, chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, coriander and cumin, traditional to Pakistani cooking, deliver haunting, yet familiar flavors. But when prepared as Siddiqui points out, these spices should accent not overwhelm Pakistani cooking. Simple authentic dishes from kofta (beef meatballs) to lamb curry to samosas dot this cookbook that is filled with 56 recipes and many photos. It is set up in six sections: Home Sweet Home, Day to Day life, Meatless Days, Celebrations, Jasmine in Her Hair, New Beginnings-each proceeded with recipes. Traditional menus are also suggested.

Chicken Curry

This simple, traditional dish is redolent with the spices that define Pakistani food. The spices are cooked in the oil until they are fragrant and browned. Serve over pulao rice.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 1 green cardamom pod
  • 1 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken, cubes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • teaspoon chili powder
  • teaspoon garam masala
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • cup cilantro, chopped

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet; add cloves, cardamoms and cinnamon. Saute 2 minutes. Add onion; fry them 10 minutes or until golden brown. Add chicken, garlic and ginger; fry for 5 minutes or until the chicken is browned.

Add coriander, chili powder, garam masala, turmeric and salt; stir well. Add a tablespoon of yogurt at a time until all of the yogurt is mixed in. Sprinkle the chicken with cilantro; cover the pan, and simmer.about 10 minutes. The sauce will thicken. Serve over pulao rice.

Jasmine in Her Hair: Culture & Cuisine from Pakistan

by Huma Siddiqui
  Captivating stories and delicious recipes intertwine to create 'Jasmine in Her Hair'-bringing the two worlds of a culture life and culinary passion together. The mouth-watering recipes will satisfy your hunger, while the story and descriptions of Pakistani lifestyle will leave you enchanted. The author, Huma Siddiqui, feels it is vital for us to recognize the distinction between eating mere food and enjoying a satisfying meal. Take a moment to slow down your busy life and enrich it with the recipes of Huma's authentic Pakistani cooking. 'Jasmine in Her Hair', leaves you with so much more than simply food on your plate.
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