Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fried Eggplant Fritters

The Chinese eggplant I bought for this recipe was hilariously long, thick, and wiggly.
Indian foods have always been my thing, making-wise and eating-wise. Though I can make other types of foods, making Indian food is really easy for me. That's probably because I am Pakistani (we usually eat a combination of Indian and Pakistani dishes) but also because these are the types of foods my mother can most easily teach me to make. One Indian snack I made recently was fried eggplant fritters.

Eggplant fritters; before and after
Fried eggplant fritters (pakora in Urdu) are obviously made out of eggplants. But they are coated with besan flour (gram flour) before they are deep fried. I think I was a bit out of my mind when I decided to make this because I'm supposed to be dieting. Needless to say, I do not regret it because they tasted amazing.

First you completely dip a slice of eggplant in a besan flour and Indian spice mixture.
Truthfully, I was pretty skeptical at first. I mean, I know I just said that I love Indian food and all, but eggplants? Come on... But my doubts were proved wrong. Another good thing is that my grandpa from Pakistan is here spending his summer with us. He is an amazing cook and he really enjoys what he does. Luckily for me, he spends most of his time here passing his technique down to me. He was the one who convinced me to try this recipe. (Of course, my vegetarian sister helped).

Fry the dipped eggplants till they're golden brown.
Make sure to drain them well, or they become really oily.
The inside of the pakora was the biggest surprise to me. I've made fried Indian snacks many times before; onion pakora, potato pakora, and even green pepper pakora. These pakoras have always turned out crunchy. The eggplant pakora, however, was really soft and mushy which contrasted nicely with the crunchy outside. This is definitely a recipe everyone should try!

I like my food best with ketchup (I know that's totally un-Desi right there).

Homemade Pizzas

Last week was really busy for me. From adding classes at school and buying textbooks to doing last minute reading, I was swamped. And then, I found out that I'd have to stay on campus all day because of classes! Of course my mom started worrying about what I'd eat all day so she decided to make me a personal pan pizza. Then, it struck me that I could make the pizzas myself and blog about them. The experience was more adventurous than I thought it would be.

I used my mom's recipe for pizza dough (which is amazing by the way) and ended up making 5 pizzas; 2 personal pizzas and 3 large pizzas. The smaller ones were for me and my sis while the bigger ones were for the rest of my family. So, I started by making the pizza dough and spreading homemade sauce and cheese on them.

I decided to bake the smaller two pizzas first. That way, I could leave for school and my mom could take care of the rest. I popped the pizzas in the oven and 10 minutes later, the oven canceled itself! When I checked two minutes later, I found the oven cooling and the pizzas hardening. The oven had been acting up lately but I was still really surprised. I was so sure the pizzas would be a failure because they were only half cooked and already hardening but then I ran over (literally ran) to my awesome neighbor's house and used her oven to finish baking them. Believe it or not, they turned out to be a success, and they were still soft.

In the oven, before the oven died...
Anyways, oven crisis aside, two out of the five pizzas I made had a cheese filled crust. They're really simple to make and really fun too.

Start by pushing out the crust of the pizza.
Put cheese around the rim. Make sure to use a lot of cheese because it'll almost become nonexistent when it melts in the oven.
Bring the pushed out part of the dough and firmly press it down around the cheese.
I like filling the crusts with cheese because it gives the crust a really nice shape. Here, I used a chicken tikka flavored sauce. 
Add the cheese and they're ready to bake!
Sorry there are no after pictures. By the time the pizzas were completely baked, I was already at school, feasting on my own mini pizza. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Singaporie Rice from Pakistan... Huh?

A closeup of Singaporie Rice
Singaporie rice is a dish that originates from Pakistan... Yeah, that is kind of confusing and truthfully, it makes no sense to me whatsoever. I really don't even know how Pakistanis came up with the name. Still, I love this dish. This version of Singaporie rice is made with a layer of white rice on the bottom. Then cooked chicken, vegetables, and noodles are spread on top as a second layer. The last layer is a topping made out of a mayonnaise and ketchup mixture. You have to make sure you have a lot of it, or else the rice will be too dry when you eat it.

There is rice under all this.
I was craving this the other day and I had to beg my mom to let me make it before she actually let me. This dish always reminds me of happy memories because usually my mom makes it on celebrations. Its funny though, 'cause my dad doesn't like Singaporie rice at all. He'll eat it without complaining but he doesn't enjoy it. So my mom always makes like two more dishes for my dad when she makes Singaporie rice. A funny memory.

Chicken before I mixed it with vegetables
Anyways, I'm making a cake as a present for my uncle. Look forward to seeing a post about that. :D But I may not have time to post in the rest of August since I'll be busy trying to add classes at the beginning of the semester. School is always hectic for me...

Ahh, lovely. This stuff tastes amazing, I swear.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Old is Gold

Ever heard of the phrase "Old is gold?" I think this phrase just signifies human nature's inability to accept change. But, if you really think about it, the newer, the better, right?

At the same time, I can't even imagine where I'd be without my previous attempts at painting. I never really took art classes. I just taught myself how to paint through trial and error. It started with sketches and it just grew from there. (Of course my supportive and pushy mother also helped me realize my love for art.) But in a way, old really is gold. For me, my older art has helped me further my appreciation and love for art. I know I'm totally killing the usage of the phrase, but it's true! Check out some of my older paintings.

This is a random watercolor of a very colorful street.

I painted this for my house, it's hanging in the family room.

This is one of those paintings my mother forced me to do. It was a present for a friend of hers.

I painted this for my brother. It's two wolves in front of a red moon.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Welcome to My World

In my world, we eat cake for breakfast, and the sky is pink, purple, and green.

That's why I decided to make strawberry chiffon cake roll today. I used a Chinese recipe so I ended up using less than a cup of flour and less than half a cup of sugar. Of course, I also used four full eggs (...that doesn't sicken me... really). Believe it or not, the cake was really sweet and light, there were no cracks in the roll, and it didn't smell like eggs.

Strawberry Chiffon Cake Roll

I also painted a scene as a present for my beautiful nieces. It's the view of my house from across the pond in my front yard. Though I could have painted more detail, the pink, purple, and green sky is unmistakable. The glowing flowers and magic fireflies are also pictured... Nah, I kid, it's just a Thomas Kinkade rip off. But I swear I didn't trace.

 Thomas Kinkade's Princess and the Frog Copy 
 Anyways, please comment and follow!
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