Pakistani Carrot Rice Pudding / Gajrela (Gajar Ki Kheer)

It’s that time of the month again- Muslim Food Bloggers Challenge Reveal Day! This month was special because it marked the end of one year since these challenges began. The theme of this month was to go back and revisit a past challenge of our choice. It could be one that we missed, or one that we wanted to do again. I chose to combine two-

  1. Share a Pakistani recipe.
  2. Share a recipe from a Muslimah blogger.

I’m sharing a recipe for Pakistani Carrot and Rice Pudding, also called Gajrela (or gajar ki kheer). The recipe is actually from a vlogger who shares videos on her youtube channel- Cook With Faiza. I love her recipes because they are authentic and her demeanor is very approachable.

I made this recipe over the summer while I was visiting my family in California. While I was there, my mom and I hosted a surprise anniversary party for my brother and sister in-law (she is more sister than in-law. Love you SaraMaa!). I was originally going to share this recipe back in September for the monthly challenge. Imagine my surprise when I saw that Rafeeda from The Big Sweet Tooth had posted the same dish! Ha! At the last moment I decided to go with something else that was a regional specialty (Karachi Bun Kababs). Truly, great minds do think alike 😉

Anyway, this recipe is very special to Pakistani cuisine, and with the coming cooler months, it is even more special. Enjoy!

Check out all the yummies everyone is sharing this month by clicking on the graphic below!

 

 

Gajrela

Yield: 10-12 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 12 cups whole milk
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup basmati rice, ground coarsely
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • Handful sliced almonds or pistachios

Directions:

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat milk over medium heat until it comes to a low boil, stirring often to prevent the milk from burning. Add grated carrots and stir. Once the milk returns to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the carrots have softened considerably, about 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to stir often.

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and ground cardamom. Add sugar mixture to carrots and mix well. Add ground rice and condensed milk and mix until thoroughly combined. Cook, while stirring often to prevent burning, until significantly reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes. Add sliced nuts and remove from heat.

Gajrela can be served warm or cold. Garnish with additional sliced nuts, if desired.

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Chicken Chili

There’s definitely a nip in the air, and when it gets cold there is nothing better than a bowl of steaming hot chili. There is already a beef-based chili recipe here on the blog, but I wanted to switch things up this time and give chicken chili a chance. I found this recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction, and adapted it to be cooked traditionally on the stovetop. The recipe comes together fast, and yields a flavorful and healthy meal. With autumn finally settling in and winter fast approaching, it looks like there is a lot of chili in my near future 😉

 

 

Chicken Chili

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • ¾ – 1 pound boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 (14 ounce) can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ bell pepper, any color, diced
  • ½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions:

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer raw. Reduce heat to medium low and transfer chicken to a plate and shred.

Add remaining ingredients and shredded chicken to the pot and stir. Cover and cook until thick and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

 

Crispy Honey Chicken

It’s the 10th and that means time to share the results of another Muslim Food Bloggers Challenge! I really look forward to these challenges because it gives me a chance to cook or bake with a goal in mind. This month’s challenge was to use honey as one of the main ingredients in a dish.

When it was announced that honey was going to be our star ingredient, the first (and second, and third, and fourth 😉 ) thought that came to my mind was to make a dessert. After all, honey is used as a sweetener, so dessert should naturally be the choice. Before I went ahead and got a chance to make a dessert, I happened upon this recipe and I suddenly had a lightbulb moment- why am I restricting myself to just desserts? Why not think outside the box?

This recipe is amazing, and it reminds me of Asian takeout we’ve enjoyed in the past.  It’s easy, and comes together fast; just be sure to have everything ready before you start, because it goes fast!

To see what everyone else is cooking (or baking!) up with honey this month, check it all out here:

 

 

Crispy Honey Chicken

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

For Chicken:

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • Oil, as needed, to deep fry

For Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  • Red pepper flakes, as needed, optional

Directions:

Prepare Chicken:

In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, and onion powder. Mix well and set aside.

Pour buttermilk into a separate bowl and set aside.

Toss the chicken in the flour mixture. Dip each piece into the buttermilk, and then dredge once again in flour mixture. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Fry the chicken in batches until cooked through and crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Prepare Sauce:

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Set aside.

Heat a large vessel over medium heat. Mix together honey, remaining 2 tablespoons water, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes (if using). Once it comes to a boil, slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes (if sauce seems to be too thick, add a few splashes of water). Remove from heat.

Add cooked chicken to sauce, and mix well so that it is evenly covered in the sauce.

Serve over white or brown rice.

Brown Lentil Daal / Sabut Masoor Daal

One of my goals for this year, in terms of blogging, was to share more traditional Pakistani fare and to share more of what we eat on a regular basis.  I have always had a hard time photographing Desi (hailing from the South Asian Subcontinent) food, and I guess I’ve allowed it to be the reason why I didn’t share much of it.  It’s funny because we eat more Desi food than any other cuisine at home, but this little virtual space doesn’t reflect that.  I hope to change that in the coming months.

As for the recipe I am sharing today, Daal translates to lentils, and there are literally hundreds of variations of soupy curries that can be made with these humble pulses.  This Daal is one that I make on a weekly basis.  It screams comfort and is homely.  It’s simple, filling, nutritious, and delicious. It’s great piled on rice, with some yogurt and sliced onions on the side.  Consider it Desi comfort food 🙂

 

 

Sabut Masoor Daal

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

Note: measurements are in actual measuring spoons/cups and not eating utensils.

  • 4 – 6 cups water
  • 1 cup brown lentils/ sabut masoor daal
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ½ medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • Handful mint leave, chopped, optional

Directions:

In a large vessel, combine water, lentils, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, and red chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until lentils are softened and water has significantly evaporated, about 45 to 60 minutes. Be sure to check on daal often, stirring and adding extra water as needed.

Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to pulse daal to desired consistency. Add salt and keep covered.

Warm oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and cook, while stirring often, until they start to show signs of browning. Add cumin seeds and cook until the onions are golden brown. Pour oil and onion mixture (tempering) over the daal, and let it sit undisturbed, and covered, for 5 to 10 minutes. If using mint, stir it in to the daal, and let it sit covered, and undisturbed, for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Ground Beef Taco Filling

Growing up in California, my family and I were fond lovers of Mexican and Tex-Mex food. Homemade tacos and burritos were common dinner staples, and going out to Mexican restaurants was routine. My Ohio born-and-bred-son seems to have inherited his momma’s California genes, as he’s a complete taco lover! He looks forward to Taco Nights, and loves to customize his plate with his favorite fillings and toppings.

This recipe is a basic one for a ground beef taco or burrito. Use it as you please. I picked it up from Mel’s Kitchen Café.

 

 

Ground Beef Taco Filling

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (or one 8-ounce can) tomato sauce
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced, optional

Directions:

Heat a large vessel over medium heat. Add the ground beef and onion. Cook, stirring often, until the meat is cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook for a minute, then add the tomato sauce and jalapeno (if using). Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until most of the liquid has dried up, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve as desired.