Karachi Bun Kabab

It’s reveal day for the Muslim Food Blogger Challenges! This month’s challenge was to share a recipe for Pakistani food (and to say I was thrilled would be an understatement). I was especially excited because although at first I didn’t know exactly what recipe I wanted to share, I knew that I wanted to share something that would be special to not only Pakistan, but to the city of Karachi (my family hails from this part of Pakistan).

I took an informal survey in an online group that I am a part of, and asked what food was considered special to Karachi. I got a variety of answers, but one that stood out to me was Bun Kabab. Bun Kabab is a Karachi street side staple. It’s basically a burger bun stuffed with a kabab, and topped with a slightly sweet and spicy chutney, sliced onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and cabbage.

My husband is especially fond of Bun Kababs, and lovingly recalls his favorite street-side vendor from when he was growing up (Tippu’s). Our trip to Pakistan this past March left him speechless, because his beloved street-vendor was now the proud owner of a brick-and-mortar storefront! Clearly his Bun Kababs were the real deal, because owning property in Karachi is no joke.

Generally speaking, when someone mentions Pakistani food, the first thing that comes to mind is meat. Pakistanis love their meat, as can be seen by the vast variety of dishes specific to the cuisine of the country. However, let me blow your mind by telling you that everyone’s beloved Bun Kabab is entirely vegetarian (and can be vegan if leaving out the eggs and yogurt)! Say what?! Yes, you read that correctly. A completely vegetarian meal that nearly every Pakistani loves.

POOF!

Mind. Blown.

(Recipe from Food Fusion.)

Click below to check out the yummies everyone is sharing:

 

 

Karachi Bun Kabab

Yield: 12 – 15 Bun Kababs

Ingredients:

For Kababs:

  • 4 cups water
  • ¾ cup split bengal gram / channa daal
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½- inch piece ginger, peeled
  • ½-inch piece cinnamon
  • 3 dried red chillies
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 whole black peppers
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 3 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled, and mashed
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon chaat masala
  • Salt, to taste

For Bun Kabab Chutney:

  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chaat masala
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sweet tamarind chutney
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 1 green chilli
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Handful cilantro
  • Handful mint leaves

To Assemble:

  • Oil, to shallow fry
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • Slider buns or small burger buns
  • Onions, sliced
  • Cucumbers, sliced
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Cabbage, shredded

Directions:

Make Kababs:

In a medium sized vessel, combine water, bengal gram, turmeric, cumin seeds, ginger, cinnamon, red chillies, cloves, and black peppers. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until lentils are tender and the water has evaporated, 60 to 90 minutes. Cool slightly.

Transfer cooked mixture to a food processor and grind until smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add mashed potatoes, onion, cilantro, chaat masala, and salt. Mix well. Using about ¼-cup of mixture (or a little less), form patties and refrigerate.

Make Bun Kabab Chutney:

Combine all ingredients in the blender jar and blitz until smooth. Set aside.

Assemble Bun Kababs:

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a fry pan over medium heat.

Dip kabab patties into the egg, making sure both sides of the kabab are coated. Place kabab in frying pan and cook until the bottom is golden brown, flip, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove kababs from the pan and set aside.

On the same pan, lightly toast the buns on both sides. Remove from heat.

To assemble, spread a spoonful of chutney on both sides of the bun. Place sliced onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes on the bottom bun. Top with fried kabab, shredded cabbage, and top bun.

 

Note: Kababs can be frozen once shaped. To use, simply microwave frozen patties for 30-seconds, then proceed as written. Leftover Bun Kabab Chutney must be refrigerated.

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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.

Burns Road Lentil Dumplings In Yogurt Sauce / Burns Road Ke Dahi Baray

Karachi is arguably (not debatable in my opinion 😉 ) the foodie destination of Pakistan. The city is a melting pot of ethnicities, and that aspect of it is best represented in the food Karachi has to offer. Admittedly, I didn’t get to enjoy as much of the street food I had hoped to, but whatever I did manage to get was amazing!

I had mentioned previously that I’ve come back so inspired from the amazing eats of Karachi, and this recipe here is a direct result of that! Burns Road is an area in Karachi that is famous for a few reasons- all food related, by the way. The dahi baray (lentil based dumplings that are soaked in a spiced yogurt mixture, and served cold) of Burns Road are famous throughout Karachi! While most recipes call for urud lentils, these are actually made from finely ground moong dal (split yellow mung beans) flour. What also sets these dahi baray apart from others is how small the fritters are. I would describe them as being no bigger than one or two bites (traditionally, the baray are medium-sized patties/fritters).

I hounded the internet and fell upon this recipe, adapted it and tested it a few times, and now I can confidently say that you don’t have to travel to Pakistan to enjoy Burns Road Dahi Baray 🙂

 

 

Burns Road Ke Dahi Baray

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

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

For Yogurt Mixture/ Dahi:

  • 3 cups yogurt
  • 2 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • A few tablespoons milk or water, as needed
  • 2 cups chickpeas

For Lentil Fritters/ Baray:

  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons split yellow mung bean flour/ moong dal flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ – ½ cup water, as needed
  • Oil, for frying

For Garnish:

  • ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¾ teaspoon chaat masala

Directions:

Make Yogurt Mixture/ Dahi:

In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt and sugar until completely smooth. Add milk or water, as needed, and whisk until a smooth and thick consistency is reached. Add chickpeas and set aside.

Make Fritters/ Baray:

In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add water, a little bit at a time. Mix until smooth. The consistency of the batter should be so that when poured from a spoon, it falls off in dollops (not a steady stream).

Set aside a large bowl of cold water.

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium-high heat. To check the temperature of the oil, drop a small amount of batter into the oil. If the oil starts bubbling and the batter starts making its way upward, the temperature is perfect. Stir the batter, and use a teaspoon to drop spoonful’s of batter into the oil. Cook until the fritters are golden all around. Transfer to the water and allow them to soak for a few minutes. Squeeze the water out of the fritters using the palms of both hands, and arrange them in a serving dish.

Pour the prepared yogurt mixture over the fritters.

Make Garnish:

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and lightly roast. Transfer seeds to a bowl and coarsely crush. Set aside.

Add red pepper flakes and chaat masala to the skillet and cook until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with crushed cumin seeds and mix well. Sprinkle the spice mixture on top of the dahi baray (yogurt and fritters).

Serve cold.

Minced Meat and Lentil Biryani / Keema Masoor Biryani (Memon Masoor Pulao)

2 posts in one week? Whaaaat?

Well, this is my first shot at the Muslim Food Bloggers Challenges. Every month there is a new theme, and the month of February’s was Biryani. Biryani is basically just a spiced rice dish (often times paired with meat). In the South Asian culinary scene, the difference between Biryani and Pulao is that biryani is cooked in layers (the rice is par-boiled and then layered with the meat/masala), whereas in pulao the rice is cooked with the spices in a broth.

I chose to share the recipe for a very traditional Memon (the sub-ethnic group that I hail from) recipe, Masoor Pulao. It’s a bit of a misnomer because although it is called a pulao, it’s actually cooked in layers like biryani.

I’m excited to share this recipe for several reasons, but mostly because (a) I’ve always had trouble taking pictures of traditional Pakistani food, and I’m ready to take the plunge, and (b) it’s a recipe that has been passed down in our family, and I’m happy to finally be sharing it with actual measurements (y’all know how much trouble it is to find a desi recipe using actual measurements and not “a little this, a little that”!)

Enjoy!

keemamasoorbiryanipic

Keema Masoor Biryani

(Memon Masoor Pulao)

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

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

  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • 2/3 cup brown lentils
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¼ cup neutral flavored oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1-2 green chilies, to taste, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppers
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • Handful chopped mint
  • Handful fried onions
  • 3 boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in half

Directions:

Rinse rice in cold water a few times, cover with water, and set aside.

Heat a small saucepan filled with water over medium-high heat. Add lentils and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until mostly cooked through (should not be mushy; there should still be a bit of bite to the lentils, as they will continue cooking with the rice later). Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Add meat and ginger-garlic paste and cook for a few minutes. Add chilies, coriander powder, black pepper, garam masala, red chili powder, turmeric, salt, and lemon juice. Cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add yogurt, mix well, and cook until mostly dry. Add lentils, mix, cover, and remove from heat. Set aside.

Heat water (enough to boil rice in) in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Add black peppers, bay leaves, and salt. Once it comes to a boil, add soaked rice (drain before adding), and cook until about 75% cooked through. Drain and set aside.

In a large vessel, drizzle in a bit of oil. Top with half of the rice, followed by the meat and lentil mixture. Top with cilantro, mint, and fried onions. Cover with remaining rice. Sprinkle on additional fried onions, and gently place the boiled eggs on top. Cover. Cook over low heat until the rice has finished cooking, about 30 minutes.

 

 

Check out everyone’s interpretations and adaptations of this month’s challenge below!

Arabic Lentil Soup

I am a total novice when it comes to making soup.  My mom’s post-op recovery was the first time I dabbled in the business of making soup.  Unsurprisingly, my first few attempts were less than stellar…  much less. My mom was such a sweetheart though.  She would never complain about the lack of flavor, or the fact that I had no idea what I was doing.  One day she suggested making a vegetarian soup, and I instantly remembered that Sawsan had recently posted a recipe for Arabic Lentil Soup on her blog.  Not only is her recipe simple (a plus for soup-novices like me), but the simple ingredients cook and simmer to form a light and delectable soup that anyone would be proud of. I’m home now, but I’ve made this soup a handful of times and every time I sip a spoonful I think of my parents and brother.  I miss them a little more with each spoonful of this soup 🙂

ArabicLentilSoupPic

Arabic Lentil Soup

Yield:  4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and soaked for 1 hour
  • 2 tablespoons flour (all-purpose or wheat)
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, for garnish
  • Freshly squeezed lemon or lime, for garnish

Directions: In a medium pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.  Add sliced onion and sauté until soft. Add drained lentils and flour, and stir so that the flour does not retain any clumps.  Add water and stir so that the flour has dissolved.  Allow the water to come to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and allow the soup to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.  Remove from heat. Puree the soup until smooth.  Top with remaining olive oil and salt to taste.  Serve with black pepper and lemon (or lime).