Monday Masala – Khalida Brohi

Our Monday Masala series highlights female Pakistani entrepreneurs, business owners and bloggers.

I am so excited for today’s Monday Masala! I reached out to Khalida Brohi of The Chai Spot because I am so enamored with her story.

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Photo courtesy of Khalida Brohi.

She is the author of I Should Have Honor , a powerful memoir about Pakistani tribal life. Her experiences in Pakistan led her to found Sughar Foundation, a non-profit providing socio-economic empowerment to women in tribal communities in Pakistan. They are trying to end the consequences of exchanged marriage, child marriages, and honor killings.

Khalida is the embodiment of a fearless, smart and inspiring Pakistani woman, which is exactly what we at My Pakistani Kitchen are trying to promote and celebrate. She is a social entrepreneur, author, non-profit executive director, public speaker and lover of chai. Her work is obviously intertwined with her love of helping others.

She was kind enough to participate in our Monday Masala feature, despite being busy being a superhero! At least, that’s what I call her. Her newest location has opened up in New York and I am super excited to visit soon.

How did you get started in this business?

When David (Dawood) and I fell in love in 2014, we knew the universe brought us together, but at the same time we didn’t know how to make our union possible. David belongs to an Italian-American family in LA and I am from a small village in Balochistan part of Pakistan. Not only were we from totally different worlds, but our worlds had many misunderstandings towards each other that kept us apart.

In those days, Chai became one of the biggest sources of creating the powerful and peaceful space for dialogue and conversation between our families and paved the way for us to be with each together. Most often, the process of getting people to not be afraid of each other is the toughest challenge to face because there are ingrained beliefs in our societies that lead us to judge each other long before we even get to know each other. With persistence and teas in hand, we were engaged in Venice Italy and later had a ten day long wedding in Karachi. Instead of using our money for a second wedding celebration in the US, we realized we want to instead use that money to launch an initiative that helps us tackle global misunderstandings and fear in the most loving manner.

The Chai Spot in Sedona Arizona, was launched within three months of that plan and from then on your love, your support and your purchases have kept us successful and we launched our second location in Manhattan.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Managing our wonderful Chai Spot team, greeting guests, and hosting small events in our tea lounge space.


PEACOCKS! My fave! Photo from The Chai Spot NYC


What kitchen gadgets can you NOT live without?
Our mortar and pestle to grind the variety of spices we use for our teas.

What’s your favorite thing about your kitchen?
Our glass Ball jars with multicolored hand woven cozies encircled around them

Can you give us your favorite recipe?
Our recipes are top secret! Please come in to our new Chai Spot to try our many different options.

The Chai Spot has two locations, one in Arizona and one in NYC. Please be sure to visit!

The Chai Spot NYC
156 Mott Street
New York, New York 10013

      The Chai Spot Sedona
#B201, Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village
Sedona, Arizona 86336


Be sure to follow The Chai Spot on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here if you are interested in being featured in our Monday Masala series!






Monday Masala – Lubna Habibi

Our Monday Masala series highlights female Pakistani entrepreneurs, business owners and bloggers. 

Today, we have the famous Chef Lubna Habibi of The Clay Oven! With two locations in New York, she’s busier than ever, but was kind enough to talk to us for Monday Masala!

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How did you get started in this business?

I loved to cook since I was a child. By profession, I was an electrical engineer. I started to cook for my coworkers and invite them over for dinner parties and my husband got tired of us constantly hosting and jokingly suggested to open a restaurant. The rest is history!

What does a typical day look like for you?

A day for me is always looking forward to the next day! People tell me I should slow down now that I’m 59 but I don’t have the term “slow down” in my dictionary. I love working a 14 hour day and I don’t see myself slowing down any time soon 🙂

When you are short on time, what are your go-to recipes or meals?

After 30 years in this business, you tend to manipulate every recipe into a 20 minute affair. My favorite is a quick and easy Tandoori Wings recipe that is super simple but very delicious!

What kitchen gadgets can you NOT live without?

A very good quality knife! You can do a lot of things in the kitchen with a great quailty knife!

What’s your favorite thing about your kitchen?

My incredible coworkers. We make a really great team and that makes everything flow really nicely!

Can you give us your favorite recipe?

Tandoori Chicken Wings

2 lbs wings

2 tablespoons garlic ginger paste

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon cayenne paper

1 teaspoon paprika

4 tablespoons yogurt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt as your requirements

Marinate 2 hours then you can bake or BBQ.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, then broil for 4 minutes to give a barbecued look. I love to do it on flame. This recipe was featured on Newsday and Channel 12.

Be sure to follow The Clay Oven on Facebook and Instagram!


The Clay Oven has two locations:


863 W Jericho Turnpike

Smithtown, NY 11787


601 Veterans Memorial Hwy

Hauppauge, NY 11788



Click here if you are interested in being featured in our Monday Masala series!


A Grandmother’s Love

Growing up, I was blessed to know and spend time with all of my grandparents. I had a special and different relationship with each of them.

Today, I am only left with my Nani. Nani and I have always had a special relationship. I don’t even call her Nani, but rather, Ummie. I try to spend as much time with her as possible, as I know what a blessing it is to have her in my life.

Friday night, I picked Nani up and brought her to my mom’s house. We love a Friday night sleepover and since I live right upstairs, it’s a great way for us all to get together. The next day, we made basaar together!

Just some of the ingredients we used for basaar!


Now I realize everyone doesn’t know what basaar is, but I mentioned it in this post. It’s a Kashmiri spice mix. I’m not ready to share the entire recipe here, since I’m still learning (and Nani doesn’t measure ANYTHING!). We spent an hour toasting spices, grinding them up and mixing it all.


A sample of the spices we ground up! Seen here: cinnamon, cumin, methi seeds and black elaichi seeds.

Part of the reason I wanted to learn Nani’s recipe was to have something of hers that I can have for the rest of my life. Nani is one of those people in my life that I can call whenever I want and ask her how to make something and she’ll tell me. She tells me even when I don’t ask her. We talk a lot about food and recipes, life, work and family. I can sit with her for hours watching cooking shows and judge them harshly, and then laugh hysterically afterwards.

Even when my grandmother scolds me, I know she does it from a place of love. And even though I’m almost 35 years old, I still listen to what she tells me to do. After I had my second daughter, she told me to eat lots of fruit and drink milk.

If you still have your grandparents in your life, treasure them. They are so full of wisdom, love and they have our past within them. So much of what we do in the kitchen has been passed down from our ancestors. Whether it be basaar, the way you cook daal or what kind of atta you use for roti, you have more history in the kitchen than you think.

On that note, I think we should end with the best advice my grandmother has ever given me and will apply to EVERYONE. “Cook with love, because if you don’t, nothing will taste good.”



Monday Masala – TeaforTurmeric

On Mondays, we talk to Pakistani female entrepreneurs, bloggers and business owners. Today, we have Izzah from TeaforTurmeric!

Izzah’s blog is filled with delicious meals that are healthy, but don’t sacrifice the taste we have come to love.

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Seriously, this is the stuff dreams are made of. And it was made in an Instant Pot!

How did you get started in this business?

I started my blog a bit sporadically, not knowing how intense the online entrepreneurship journey would be. But now that I’m in it, I love every bit of it! I hope to continue it as a part of my career.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m a mom, so you can say it’s not as efficient in terms of work. But I do wake up early and that helps me get centered while getting some work done!

When you are short on time, what are your go-to recipes or meals?

Easy Masoor Dal (and it’s on the blog too), Chana Masala, and Fish

What kitchen gadgets can you NOT live without?

Rice Cooker, Instant Pot, Kitchen Aid..I’m all for simplifying life with kitchen tools!

What’s your favorite thing about your kitchen?

I have 2 pantries 😉

Can you give us your favorite recipe?

Thanks Izzah for participating in our Monday Masala series! Head over to her Instagram for some absolutely mouthwatering pics and show her your support!


Click here if you are interested in being featured in our Monday Masala series!


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.


Spicy Sunday

I was sitting with my Nani today, discussing the different spices that go into her basaar mix. Basaar is a mix of different spices, blended together into a perfect powdery mix that is used for any curry dish. People have asked me if I use curry powder, but I don’t even know what that is! I use basaar to get the perfect flavoring in any dish I create. Whether it be sabzi, chicken, daal, gosht, etc. Every dish has basaar as the secret ingredient. The recipe for basaar is so secret that, to this day, I’m not even sure how it’s made. My Nani is going to try to teach me next week, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to need a few lessons!

Just a small sample of what goes into basaar!


Talking with Nani about all the different ingredients got me thinking about spices I know nothing about! As our family sat there Google searching Urdu to English and English to Urdu translations of different spices, I thought to myself, “I should really make a list.” So, here goes nothing! Keep in mind, these are not the ingredients for basaar. 

Ajwain – Carom Seed

Saunf – Fennel Seed

Hing – Asafoetida

Kali Mirch – Black Pepper

Jeera – Cumin

Elaichi – Cardamom

Daal Chini – Cinnamon

Laung – Cloves

Kasoori Methi – Dry Fenugreek Leaves

Methi Dana – Fenugreek Seeds

Deggi Mirch – A bright red chili powder. It adds a beautiful color to any dish.

Badiyan – Star Anise

Haldi – Turmeric

Javantri – Mace (I made a lot of jokes with this one today lol)

I’m no expert cook, but it’s good to know about different ingredients. A lot of the time, I only know the English or Urdu word for something, so a nice little list is handy!

What spices do you use on a regular basis? Tell me in the comments!



The Perfect Kava to Kick Any Cold

Last year’s flu season in NYC was brutal. It was reported to be one of the deadliest on record. My family and I always get flu shots and try to implement healthy habits, especially as the weather gets worse. Simple things like washing hands with soap as soon as we come in, drinking lots of water and orange juice, eating fruits loaded with Vitamin C and taking our multivitamins every morning.

Even after all that, my husband still came down with the flu. My first instinct was to make kava.

Now, I didn’t really grow up drinking kava. Rather, my mom always made plain English tea for me when I was sick. I learned about kava when I was going to school in Pakistan and my Nana and Nani would make it whenever someone was sick.

I sent my husband to bed as soon as he showed me his diagnosis form from the urgent care and went straight into the kitchen. Luckily, I had everything I needed on hand.



Here’s the recipe:

4 cups of water

4 black tea bags

1 lemon sliced

2 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 inch piece of ginger chopped

1 tablespoon of honey (to taste)

Add all ingredients to the pot (excluding honey) and boil for 10 minutes. Take out all ingredients and strain. I poured the kava into a carafe to keep warm and to have on hand. Add honey (or sugar if you prefer) to each individual cup.

My husband didn’t love the taste of this kava, but I thought it was yummy. And it made the whole apartment smell like fall. Who needs a candle when you have homemade kava brewing? I even gave a cup to my neighbor, who said he enjoyed it as well. And he’s not Pakistani.

What are some of your favorite recipes during flu season to help you keep healthy? Share in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links.

The Best Halal Items Found in Supermarkets

We keep a zabihah halal household, so we’re very particular about what kind of items we buy and what the ingredients are. We’re constantly reading ingredient lists and making sure there’s no gelatin, whey and “natural flavoring” that we can’t identify.

I can easily go to the Pakistani grocery store and get halal items, but I get excited when I find halal items in my regular supermarket! There are some AMAZING certified halal items out there. Here are some of my faves!

You all know I love a good homemade stock, but in a pinch, I keep Saffron Road Chicken Broth in my cabinet. It’s great for when you need to make a quick soup, gravy or sauce! I also like that it’s low sodium, so I don’t have to worry about salt levels too much.



Other Saffron Road items that are a staple in our home? Chicken Tikka Masala and Chicken Biryani frozen meals. And no, it’s not for me. My daughter hates sandwiches (I told you they were spoiled) and lunch for school is such a pain. Often, she’ll take leftovers to school in a thermos, but in a pinch, she warms up these meals and puts them in her container. She loves them and they’re easy enough to “prepare” that she can do it herself. I limit her to one per week, so she’s not having them everyday. I’m lucky that I found it in my local supermarket, so I can purchase them easily.


Halal Marshmallows! I was super surprised when I saw these in ShopRite. My aunt was telling me how my cousin loves marshmallows but couldn’t find halal ones locally.  Rice Krispie Treats anyone?



Cabot Cheeses are the BEST! I use them for taco/nacho night in our house.

From Cabot:

“All Cabot cheeses, with the exception of Colby Jack, Shreds, Slices (including American), 3/4-ounce Bars and Cubes are certified by the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America and by Tablet K. Cabot cheeses are free of all animal by-products, and are made without any animal rennet.”

Cabot Cheese is wonderful because it’s so readily available. Often, we have to be careful with cheeses because they can contain rennet or whey, which we cannot eat.


Now I want tacos….


I’m so excited to see Muslim buying power at work in traditional supermarkets. I think this is going to open the door for more halal and Muslim-owned brands!

Did I miss any major brands? Tell me in the comments!



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