Majboos Al Lahm / Mutton Majboos & many celebrations

Alhamdulillah ! Alhamdulillah ! Reached 250 recipes !!!( at last) After so many obstacles and breaks reached this milestone... This is my dream post... there is couple of celebrations attached to it....
yes!!... first belated 7th blog anniversary .... my blog baby is now 7 years old... with the grace of Almighty.. Wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to all my friends and family out there who have been so supportive to me in all these years.. and to my husband who is Maasha Allah very supportive and the driving force behind my blogging... Miss my dear father... he would have been very happy to see me achieving this small milestone..

   And as I am typing this post I remember today (15th Dec) five years back, came to Qatar... five amazing years in this beautiful country.. Shifting from the super fast life in UAE ... loved Qatar for its quietness and calm lifestyle... waking up to the sound of birds chirping in your window ... calm surroundings.. still remember when we first came here there was literally no night life here.. by 9 pm the whole town was quiet with almost all the shops closed.. even in afternoons most shops would be closed... slowly got accustomed to this lifestyle and the Qatar we live now is much different.. so many developments in these five years..


The Souq Waqif

    Describing about Qatar.... there are quite a few landmarks to see... FANAR - Qatar's Islamic Cultural Center.. , Doha Corniche .- the  waterfront which  extends to  several kilometers along Doha bay ..... the Museum of Islamic Arts ... and not to forget the most famous Souq Waqif.. where you get the most amazing spices, traditional garments, handicrafts &souvenirs .....
  Talking about Qatar.. National Day falls on December 18.. and every year I've been wanting to do a special post on that day... but it was never done...  This year In Sha Allah my wish is coming true... and today I am going to share with you the famous Majboos Al Lahm or the Mutton Majboos...



   .. have eaten Mandi quite many times and love it... have heard about Kabsa rice  but had no idea about Majboos until I came to Qatar.... I first had chicken   majboos  at a friends house here.... looking at it resembled like biryani and thought would be hot and spicy... but no it was just full of flavor, yummy and not at all hot and spicy..  both my kids loved it... I liked it a lot coz it was full on flavor... and I liked it for another reason too... my daughter never liked spicy food... everytime I make biryani I cut back on chilli just for her...  But when making Majboos is a different story the rice is not at all spicy and for my liking I add the hot salsa or Salata hara hence problem solved..



   Coming back to  Majboos ... it can be made with Chicken  / Mutton / Fish... and is served with Salata Hara... The Majboos we get from Arabic Kitchens is topped with raisins and chick peas  but at home I don't add it. Chicken Majboos is liked by kids ( In Sha Allah will share the recipe later) unlike Mutton Majboos..which is preferred by adults...

  There is an important ingredient without  which there is no majboos -  Loomi Aswad / Dried Black Lemon( will share its pic soon)... its a common staple in any arabic recipes... it imparts a smoky lemon flavor which lifts the whole dish.  And for making majboos you need a special majboos masala... here in Qatar its is easily available in shops but I like to buy them from exhibitions ... find them more fresh and aromatic...
   Majboos is served with a Middle Eastern Chutney / Salata hara ( recipe here)  and a simple salad with lettuce, cucumbers & tomato.. A simple rice dish to make but always a crowd pleaser.
Off to the recipe now:



You need:

Mutton                                        400gms
Basmati Rice                              2 cups/ 300gms
Olive oil                                      3 tbsp
Clove                                          4 nos
Cinnamon                                   2 " piece
Cardamom                                  3 nos
Bay leaf                                      1 nos
Dried black lemon                      2 nos
Onion (medium)                         1 nos
Ginger Garlic paste                    1 heaped tbsp
Tomato paste                              1/2 tbsp
Curry leaves                               5-6 nos
Majboos Masala                         1 tbsp
Turmeric powder                        1/2 tsp
Salt to taste



Preparation:

Wash the rice and soak for 30 minutes.
Cut the mutton into 4  pieces.
Slice the onions. Lightly smash the dried lemons on your kitchen counter to open up the lemon.. this helps to impart the flavor.
Heat the olive oil in  a wide thick bottomed pan. Add the bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and dried black lemon.. fry them for about 30 seconds.
Now add the curry leaves and onions... fry  till the onions become soft and translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for about a minute.
Next add tomato paste , turmeric powder, majboos masala, salt and cook  for a minute again.
Add the mutton pieces and cook for about 5 minutes .
Add about 2 cups of water . bring it to a boil, Cover the pan and cook in simmer for about an hour approx.. till the meat is tender and falls of the bone.
check in between whether there is water in the stock... add a cup of water if there is not.
Remove the meat and the dried lemon from the stock and strain the liquid.
You need 4 cups / 600 ml of liquid to cook the rice. measure the strained liquid and add water for remaining amount.
Pour the liquid back in the pan, check for salt  and bring it to boil.. now add rice , cover and cook in simmer for about 20 minutes, the rice would have absorbed all the liquid and fluff up . Place the mutton pieces and lemon on top.
Cover again and cook for just 10 minutes.
Serve them with Salata Hara and Salad..



NOTE:

1) Always use mutton with bones, I prefer Shanks or the leg . this imparts deep flavors in the stock.
2) If dried lemon is not available substitute it  with little lemon juice
3) If majboos masala is not available you can use curry powder.




  

The Versatile Green Chutney

At last found time for blogging... When the laptop is free in my home I am busy with work.. When I am free the laptop is occupied... I know its nearly more than three months since I posted.  but meanwhile have been working  on many recipes..  hope to post them soon in sha allah. Today's recipe is the versatile Green Chutney....  It used in sandwiches, chaats , as spreads etc.,etc.,
    I love green chutney... for its spiciness ...for its vibrant color... have attempted to make them at home innumerable times.. but have not achieved the perfect chutney.. sometimes the balance of flavor misses or sometimes the vibrant green color misses.. I can never use them the next day coz I have always felt a bitter taste in my chutney...At one point I have stopped trying it out...
    Recently there was a no-fire cooking class in my son's school... they made sandwich. My son wanted green chutney.. I was quite confused. Then asked help from my dear friend. She told me the recipe which was very easy to prepare and was super yumm too. such a vibrant color n it stays fresh for 2-3 days... storing them in a airtight container... with the arrival of winter  n fresh greens available all around Qatar.. I am preparing it every week..  so lets proceed with the recipe..



You Need:

 Coriander leaves                        a big bunch
Garlic cloves                               4 nos
Green chili                                  3-4 nos
Tomato ( medium)                      1/2 nos
Lemon juice                                1/4- 1/2 cup
Salt

Preparation:

Clean and wash the coriander leaves .. chop them coarsely
In the blender add the coriander leaves, garlic pods, green chilli , tomato, salt  and around 1/4 cup lemon juice first  , and little water and grind
Check for lemon n salt n add if needed...
Transfer to a clean container n store in the fridge .
Now you can use them in chaats, sandwich , rolls. etc

NOTES:
1) I have used the stem of the coriander leaves too.
2) This chutney is quite spicy .. you can always adjust the amount of green chili used according to your taste.
3) lemon juice plays important role in keeping it fresh n retain colour...  Add enough so as not to have the bitterness.
4) this recipe yields around 2 cups of chutney



Salata Hara - Middle Eastern Chutney

Salata Hara ia s a famous Middle Eastern Chutney... Spicy with a hint of sourness... They are served with all Rice n Meat dishes such as Mandi, majboos, Buhkari rice..... Arabic Rice dishes are full of flavour but quite bland unlike our spicy biryani.... This Salata Hara adds the spicy twist to it...
Very simple to make and it goes well as an accompaniment to our Indian dishes as well....
       Learnt this recipe from a friend of mine who is more like a sister to me... Her version is much flavourful... compared to what i used to make before...  The ones the restaurants serve is more of a puree but i like it little chunky.. to add texture.... I make them in my small chopper.... making them in food processor will also turn good.. If you are making them in your chutney jar... Operate them in pulse mode to maintain the texture.  This recipe calls for 2 chilli... if you  like it more spicy you can add another.



You need:

Tomato( medium)                       2 nos*
Onion (small)                             1/2 nos
Green Chilli                                2-3 nos
Coriander leaves                         a small handfull
Lemon Juice                               1/2- 3/4 tsp
Ginger                                        1/2" piece
Garlic                                          1 clove**
Salt

Preparation:

Roughly chop the onion, tomato, green chilli , coriander leaves, ginger , garlic
In your chopper add the ginger garlic onion n green  chilli and grind them for about 30 seconds..
Now add the tomato n coriander leaves  n grind them for 30 seconds - 1 min... depending on how you want them chunky or coarse chutney.
Add 1/2 - 3/4 tsp of lemon juice ( always add little n check for taste then if needed only add more) and salt. give a quick mix n Serve.
You can also store them in airtight container n keeps fresh for 2-3 days

Note:
*The tomato used should be ripe
** I ve used a big clove of garlic... if the garlic pod is small use 2 nos

Sunshine Smoothie

The Perfect Smoothie for Brekkie when you are in no mood to cook or you are in a rush.... Loaded with goodness of fruits.. oats.. flaxseed... A big glass of this smoothie will keep your tummy full for 4-5 hours. The Golden kiwi added gives an extra dimension of taste. You can also substitute milk with almond or soy milk. With not much story lets move on to the simple smoothie




You need:

Apple                                      1 nos
Orange                                    2 nos
Golden Kiwi                           1 nos
Oats                                        1/4 cup
Flax Seed Powder                   1 tbsp + for sprinkling
Sunflower Seeds                     1 tbsp
Agave Syrup / Honey              1-2 tbsp
Cold milk                                1 1/4 cup
Cinnamon powder                   a small pinch
Ice Cubes

Preparation:

De-seed the apple n remove the core... similarly prep the orange.... peel the skin of kiwi
Chop the fruits.
In your blender add all the ingredients n blend well.... Check the sweetness... I have a less sweeter tooth.. so please adjust according to your taste buds.
Pour into glasses .. sprinkle with  flaxseed powder n serve immediately.
Serves 2 for tall glasses or Serves 4 for regular ones

Dreams do come true!!

After hundreds of failure  attempts to type a post..... I know it sounds awkward..... after my fathers demise just couldn't gather courage to do a blog post.... every time I sit in front of the laptop the thoughts revolve around my father who has always been my support for blogging.... he would constantly ask me .... guide me ... search facts for me ... all these thought come and then I stop typing....   trying one more time to do a blog post after much hesitation... hoping to complete it...
 
      Right from the age of 14 the time I started to cook... when my I would burn my dishes sometimes... food that I cooked would taste okay .... he was always there to encourage and fill me with positivity... that I can cook.... I can cook...
     6 years of blogging I have had a quite a lot of happy moments... my recipe being published a couple of times... have won a cookery contest and even had an opportunity to put a up a small food stall here....  but this year got a bigger chance .. yeah... got a chance to do a small cookery workshop for 30 people... It was a wonderful experience.... taught them to make  coconut basboosa .... gave a small talk on food and its nuances.. my blog and its experiences  and finally gave them few recipe tips. Though nervous at the beginning I was quite happy with the end result...


           The Coconut Basboosa we made for the workshop..... made two batches of it
   
        Then again a chance to put up a stall in a charity fair.... had to cook food for nearly 600 people... thats a huge oppurtnity for a blogger like me... Me and both my sisters geared up for the big event....
Planning the menu... buying things and arranging everything... Planning the menu was the hardest... cooking for a big crowd.. needed to cook something thats out of the box... something thats unique and would attract the customers.
    The menu we decided was Roti jala Chicken Murtabak,, Mutton Samosa , Chinese Dipped Chicken,, Chatty Fish ( Both my mom's own creation),, Saffron pudding, Broken glass pudding & coffee pudding..... Coconut Basboosa.. Mars Chocolate cupcakes... Suji Crystal cookie which was named after us---Yanani Cookie  .. and last for Limited Edition we had Lebanese Baklava Rolls.

                                Our stall in the fair .....with a beautiful blue background

    A lovely friend of mine helped us with the designing and packing.... friends n relatives helped us a lot in right from purchasing... cooking.. packing n execution.... It was really a fun time... relationships came closer... got new friends... When the 'D' day came..it was all butterflies in the stomach .... after spent around 36 hours in prep n packing...We made 50 Jalar murtabaks.. 50 homemade samosas... 30 dipped chicken... 25 fish.... 600 cookies.... 60 baklavas....75 basboosa...150 puddings... 50 chocolate Mars...


          The puddings , basboosas, on the table....couldn't click the rest as the day went busy



                                       Cookies.. baklavas...all packed n ready to sell...

       With the grace of Almighty.. Alhamdulillah  the day went off great.... Sending plates n plates of hot food out... n cold puddings was an amazing experience.... Met my school mates... longtime friends.... and by 5 in the evening we managed to sell almost all except for a few puddings.... as we were about to windup n enjoy fair gotta call from home at 6 that there is around 20 boxes of cookies that were somehow left in the house... we were gobsmacked...received the boxes with half n hour left we were literally screaming at the top to sell the boxes at half price..... and Alhamdulillah we manged to sell off everything with the nick of time..... It was just crazy time ... At the end of the day we left the fair dead tired.. but with lots of memories to cherish.... really missed my father that day who was not there with me when my small dream came true .... and also my husband  who supported me in achieving it....
   With lots of inspiration n moral support hope to achieve my goals In Sha Allah......