Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa)

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Is Gajar ka Halwa Indian or Pakistani?
Am lost.
Need to do a good research and repost a new post while in the mean time I’ve got a small twist in a carrot halwa recipe. I decided to try some substitutes in the carrot halwa recipe I’ve come across online. The main substitute for ghee was a super healthy one according to me.
Wondering what I substituted ghee with? Well, it’s none other than olive butter. The tub says its cholesterol free and healthy, which I believe due to the maximum amount of olive oil used in the making of olive butter.
The second substitute was almonds for cashew nuts. Well, almonds are rich in fat but has 0% cholesterol while it also contains a similar percentage of protein and iron which are totally healthy. Almonds were recommended to me by my dietician as a snack. Excess of anything is not healthy so everything has a limit.
So my next substitute for saffron was yellow food color with a few drops of vanilla essence to give the halwa a dessert feeling.
Carrot means a vegetable according to my Sri Lankan family but now they know carrot is sweet and can be used to make delicious desserts too (slight grin).

Some tips for a very healthy carrot halwa that you can try at home.

Use stevia extract instead of sugar as stevia is know as a diabetic friendly sweetener.
Substitute milk with low-fat milk.
Try avoiding the nuts for a gluten free dessert they make no big difference.

Food story of the day
I accidentally added some turmeric powder into my carrot halwa for the color and as a substitute for saffron strands but latter on adjusted it by adding yellow food coloring and sone vanilla to cover up the turmeric powder flavor.

So I end my post with another question.
Are almonds an Arabian nut?
I have seen people gift almonds to relatives when they return from a middle eastern country which is what made me think almonds are from the middle east.
Need to go on a research for the origins of some ingredients I guess!

mafaza

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International cuisine

Cooking up an international lunch
It was a Saturday and I decided to cook up an international lunch. I have gone to many buffets and even an international buffet at the deira creek cruise which was a surprise gift from my husband on my first birthday after our wedding. I have never had an international lunch cooked at home. As usual I tried to be a bit creative and cook up something with the inspiration of Lebanese, Pakistani, indian, Thai and Arabian cuisine.

The Arabian cuisine, a mix of zataar

As I’ve always mentioned in my previous posts zataar has become my favourite spice to cook with and I enjoy experiments with zataar.
As a result I tried adding a few pinches of zataar to my chicken kebab.
I was inspired by masterchef Australia season 3 recipe for chicken kebabs and I finally mastered the art of kebab making.
I now try adding my favourite spices and ingredients to give the kebab a personal touch. Which is why I tried adding zataar to the chicken kebabs. I somehow fed my family zataar without even addressing the spices addition which they really liked eating and was amazed at how good my cooking skills have become since I got married especially my second sister.
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The chicken and mutton kebabs

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My version of Tom yum soup

Thai cuisine-my very own tom yum soup

I have tried a few versions of tom yum soup and have a good knowledge of how it tastes and what spices are added. The tom yum soups I’ve tasted are overpowered with herbs such as pandan leaves and lemon grass. It also contains the sour taste from the tomato. So I decided to create my own version by adding a few spice I have tasted in the tom yum soup without even checking a recipe online.
Here is my recipe –

Ingredients

2 inch pandan leaf (chopped)
1 onion chopped and tempered
1 12 cm piece lemon grass
1 medium size ripe tomato
A few chicken bones
1 tablespoon thick coconut milk
A few pinches of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chillie powder
1/2 teaspoon chillie flakes
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
A few pinches of pepper powder
1 teaspoon oil
Salt to taste
5 curry leaves
A few pinches of cumin powder
Water as required
Method
I added all the ingredients except the coconut milk and lime juice and boiled till the chicken bones were done.
Finally I added a bit of thick coconut milk and cook for a minute.
Later I seasoned the soup with lemon juice and took off heat.
I gotta compare it with a traditional tom yum soup to see if its same or I’ve got to find the difference.

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Curd riata
It’s a common dish when you buy buriyani at any indian or Pakistani restaurant and the difference w
Is either it would be light or thick yet taste the same with the same ingredients used.
I made my raita with 2 tablespoons of curd mixed with an onion and 3 green chillies blended together in a blender to a fine thick paste. Later I added some salt and lime juice. Mixing all these together and garnishing with a pinch of pepper powder made the raita spicy and delicious.

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Lebanese rice without roasted pine nuts garnish
The Lebanese rice was done following instructions on a website yet without the pine nuts. I have fallen in love with Lebanese food ever since my neighbour in Dubai sent a bowl of Lebanese soup with a flat bread. It was so delicious and perfectly balanced with all spices and salt. I am still in a hunt to learn Lebanese and am trying out different recipes as a result. Should I detail my rice dish it’s just plain rice with a mix of tempered onions and some turmeric. I wish I could try my hands on saffron very soon.

Finally my long-awaited international meal is now gonna be live on my blog.
Hope to get back soon with more food stories.