My Top Ten Favorite Kitchen Items on Amazon

KitchenAid KSM75WH Classic Plus Series 4.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, White

KitchenAid is the leader in kitchen appliances, so of course, this classic mixer is going to be at the top of the list. It’s my favorite for kneading dough, and even though I’m not a baker, my 11 year old daughter is starting to learn. This mixer makes it easier for her to get batters and cookie dough mixed well. The best part of this mixer is all of the attachments that work with it, turning it into a versatile machine that will help you get any task in the kitchen done. The Classic version is perfect for any beginner who is looking for a cheaper alternative to the newer versions.

Fullstar Vegetable Chopper – Spiralizer Vegetable Slicer – Onion Chopper with Container 

This handy little chopper has saved me on countless occasions! I hate dicing veggies and to be completely honest, I think my dicing skills aren’t that great. This chopper allows me to dice veggies super fast and doesn’t require a lot of effort. A LARGE Shepherd’s Salad can be chopped up in minutes!

Vremi 8 Piece Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set

Cookware was never exciting to me until I became a mom. Must be a sign of getting older! This amazing set is SO versatile, and makes my life super easy. I cook a lot of curries and these pieces NEVER stain or stick! Everything slips around as if you have butter or oil in the pan, but you really don’t need it. I love that it’s easy to clean, but the food cooks evenly and really well. The angled frying pan skillet allows you to flip eggs with ease.

Gourmia Digital Stainless Steel 6 Qt/5.7L Digital Air Fryer With AeroCrispTM Technology for up to 80% less fat.includes Non-Stick Basket, Multi-Purpose Rack & 4 Skewers

The Gourmia 6 Qt. air fryer is a new favorite of mine. I never thought I needed an air fryer, since my family has cut back significantly on fried food. This air fryer has allowed us to enjoy things like fried wings without all of the oil. We also use it to heat up frozen pizza (tastes as fresh as the day we bought it!) and snacks like chickpeas and homemade potato chips.

Brita Extra Large 18 Cup Filtered Water Dispenser with 1 Standard Filter, BPA Free – UltraMax, Black

This Brita filter is my favorite because it’s black and looks super sleek. I love clean and fresh tasting water (who doesn’t?!) and in the summer, we go through cold water like, well, water. Fill this up, pop it in the fridge, and fill up your reusable water bottles any time you please. Plus, you’re helping reduce the use of single use plastic water bottles!

CORELLE Livingware 2-quart Serving Bowl Winter Frost White (3)

I love serving curries, rice, soup and more in these beautiful serving bowls. They look elegant and because there’s a pack of 3, you can serve multiple items at once and make your table settings look cohesive.

Vremi Countertop Ice Maker

I’m not lucky enough to have a built in ice maker in my fridge. But, this countertop ice maker is the next best thing! We go through so much ice over the summer, it’s always on hand with this awesome machine! It’s a great compliment to my perfect iced coffee recipe.

Keurig K-Mini Plus Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer

Speaking of iced coffee, this little mini powerhouse gets me going every morning. It works with the k-cup of your choice. I love that it’s small and fits in a small corner, without taking up precious counter space. It’s also an amazing gift for anyone who is a coffee or tea lover! (These Chai Latte k-cups are a staple in my home!)

BLACK+DECKER 8-Cup Food Processor

This food processor is a great basic every home cook needs in their kitchen. Great for chopping, slicing or shredding, I use it for all three! It’s also great for shredding cheese! The 8 cup bowl makes it easy to transfer ingredients into a pan or another bowl.

Staub Coq au Vin Cocotte, Grenadine, 4.25 qt. – Grenadine

The Staub Coq au Vin Cocotte is the priciest item on my list, but it’s so heavy, durable and easy to clean, that I’m planning on passing it down to my daughters! You can make ANYTHING in this bad boy and it will taste amazing. From chicken curry to roast, this cocotte is perfect for slow cooking food for a deeper and richer flavor.

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!

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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.

 

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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.”

 

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Desi Mom Hacks!

We’re all short on time. It’s just a fact of life. My kids love a homemade meal every single night, but it gets exhausting! Here are some of my favorite shortcuts when cooking (especially desi food!)

  • Soak kidney beans for at least two hours before cooking, then cook in the pressure cooker
  • Use pre-made ginger-garlic paste
  • Grind tomatoes so they will cook down faster
  • Marinate different meats and freeze for quick weeknight meals (lamb chops, chicken wings, legs, etc.)
  • Make dough for roti in the KitchenAid Mixer! (This is my favorite hack, and I have not made atta by hand in YEARS!)
  • Brown chicken while making the base (tarka)

 

What are some of your favorite hacks to get meals on the table faster?

 

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