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How to : Kerala Style Mutton Biryani (with tips for beginners)!

Hey guys,

One of the very first dishes that I learned to cook, was biryani simply because it’s my favorite. I love to have it any time of the day, lol!. That’s absolutely bad for my waistline but I still do it.. ūüėÄ

Biryani preparation intimidates a lot of people due to the various steps involved. But I will make it simple for you and list it in points. Even newbies can try this out and for that reason, I have explained everything in detail and also included several tips. This is my mom’s recipe ‚ô•

Btw, I will be including links to several of the ingredients I mention below so that you can find them easily in case it’s not locally available to you and also because the site that am linking to, gets you everything on a discount and ships worldwide from US.

Ok, let’s make mutton biryani ūüôā . Btw, the spice level is hot. Tone down the chili if you like it mild.

Preparation

Here are some steps that should be done before hand (or during the cook, if you are ok with multitasking).

‚óŹ Clean the mutton very well. Remove unnecessary fat layers, hair if any and if you look close, it might even have wood pieces in it, from the cutting board used by the butcher. Remove these by hand, wash several times, then add a little bit of salt (for it’s cleansing properties) & turmeric powder (for it’s antiseptic properties). Do one final rinse & keep in a colander so that excess water is gone.

Mutton

Those marked in red, goes away

CleanCleaning mutton

‚óŹ Ginger, garlic and chilies should be ground together coarsely.

‚óŹ Onion should be sliced lengthwise & as thin as possible. You will need onion for 3 purposes – to make masala, for raita & for Birista (deep fried onions used for garnish).

Tip – If you separate the outermost layer of every onion and slice that thinly, that’s the best choice for frying, since this layer has the least water content and fries faster.

‚óŹ Grated coconut & around 12-15 cashewnuts should be ground with a little bit of water, to make a fine paste. Adding this makes the masala richer.

‚óŹ Tomato should be diced into cubes. Add the juice of 1 lemon to this.

‚óŹ Coriander & Mint leaves should be chopped into tiny pieces. This is used for two purposes – for adding into masala & for garnish.

Tip – Use the more leafy part for garnish while the stems and all goes into the masala.

Herbs

‚óŹ Pineapple should be diced into tiny cubes. You just need a handful. Take it into your hand and squeeze to get it’s juice. Dont throw those cubes away now that you have taken it’s juice. These are used for garnish. Add 2 capfuls of pineapple essence to the juice. Keep aside.

Pineapple

‚óŹ Take 1 tsp of milk (that’s at room temperature) & mix 2 drops of yellow food color in it. This is used also in the final garnish process.

Tip – If using powder food color, go for the slightest amount, like maybe 2 mg or something, coz they tend to be pretty pigmented. If milk is not available, you can substitute with water.

‚óŹ By now, water should have left the mutton. Make a mix of 8-10 tbsp yogurt, juice of 1/2 a lemon, some mint & coriander leaves, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp salt. Mix well with mutton and let it marinate for atleast 1/2 an hour.

Tip – Yogurt & lime helps to make the mutton tender while the spices, herbs & salt helps mutton pieces to get more flavor.

‚óŹ Place a pan on high flame & pour equal amounts of RKG (Cow ghee) & vegetable ghee. Once it’s hot, lower the flame & add about 50 gms of halved cashew nuts. Let it fry just the slightest bit. It shouldn’t become reddish. Remove immediately & then fry the onion in the same ghee. The leftover ghee is used in the garnish process. So, keep that aside.

Fried nuts Onion birista

Note – You can add sliced almonds too along with cashew nuts. Also, golden raisins can be added too if you like the sweet taste that they impart. Fry them until they puff up and remove before they become reddish brown.

Tip : Frying the nuts first infuses the oil with a lovely taste & smell. This transfers onto the onions when you fry then next. When frying onions, make sure there is a good amount of ghee, so that it’s immersed in it. We are deep frying the onion. Next thing, don’t stir the onion. Just let it be. When the onion on the sides start gaining more color, give a slight stir. This ensures golden fried onion. A tip within a tip (Whoa, Inception!) – Before frying the onion, add a pinch of salt & 1/2 tsp sugar to it. It gives the onion birista a wonderful flavor & the sugar helps towards making it caramelized.

Ingredients for meat masala

Mutton

Biryani ingredients

Indian spices

Mutton – 2.5 kgs

Onion – About 25 (Yes!. I do mean 25, not 2-5) medium sized ones (used for three purposes, explained earlier) -that’s roughly 2 kgs

Green chilies – 15
Tomato – 4 – 5 medium sized ones
Yogurt – 1/2 cup
Lemon – 1
Vegetable ghee – 5 tbsp for masala & as required for preparing onion birista
Cow ghee– As required
Ginger garlic paste – 3 tbsp (or you could use fresh ginger and garlic)
Garam masala – 2 tbsp
Coriander powder – 2 tbsp
Chili powder – 3 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tbsp
Chicken stock cube – 1
Salt – To taste
Coriander leaves – 2 bunches
Mint leaves – 1 bunch
Cashew nuts – Roughly 50+ gms
Grated coconut – 1/4th of a coconut

Method of making the meat masala

Add 5 tbsp vegetable ghee to a deep pan, on medium flame. Add about 3 tbsp ginger garlic green chili paste. Saute for about 3 mins, until the raw smell of the ginger garlic goes away. Then add onion. Keep sauteing, until translucent/light brown. Add salt (it helps the onion to lose its water content and fasten the process of becoming translucent). Add garam masala, coriander powder, chili powder & turmeric powder to the onion. Saute and mix well.

Add tomato & lime mix to the pan. If you want, you add 1 cube of chicken stock at this point (irrespective of what meat variety you are using. This gives an enhanced flavor). Add yogurt, coriander leaves, mint leaves, cashew/coconut mix. Mix well in between adding the above 4 ingredients. This onion & spices mix is called ‘masala’.

Meanwhile, put the marinated mutton in the pressure cooker (without adding water) and depending on how tender the meat is, pressure cook it for 2- 4 whistles. It should be done to about 80%.

Add this to the masala when it starts to boil slightly. Close the lid. Let it be, for some 10 mins, on sim. This step helps the mutton to draw in the flavor from the masala. Switch off flame & keep aside when you feel the meat is done.

Biryani masala

Method to make rice

Rice – 1.5 kgs (Tip – Usually the rice : meat ratio is 1:2)
Fennel seeds– About 1 tbsp
Cinnamon sticks – 5 one inch pieces
Cardamom – 7-8 big ones
Cloves– 10
Whole peppercorns – 12-14
Bay leaf – 2
Half a lemon
Salt – to taste

Use good quality long grained Basmati rice for biryani.

Long grained Basmati

Wash the rice several times until water runs clear. Strain and keep aside. No need to soak the rice. Then take a pot with 3/4th of it filled with water. Add fennel seeds, cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaf, cardamom, whole peppercorns to it, in order to let it infuse in the water. Add salt in such a way that the water actually tastes salty.

Indian spices

Tip – This is because this water is drained away once the rice gets cooked. By making it salty, the rice gets the right amount of salt in it.

Once it starts to boil, add the rice. Immediately add the juice of half a lemon to the pot.

Tip : This ensures that the rice doesn’t stick together when cooked.

Now, be alert and check the doneness of the rice after about 6 mins and onwards. It should be 80% done when you drain away the water.

Cooked rice

Final cooking process

Add one layer of masala at the bottom of the pan that you are planning to do the ‘Dum’ process (which is the cooking of the meat, masala and rice together). Then add once layer of rice. Next sprinkle some coriander leaves,mint leaves, ghee (leftover from making the onion birista), pineapple cubes, pineapple essence/juice mix, milk/food color, cashew nuts (From here on the above will be mentioned as ‘garnish’).

Next add another layer of rice, then a layer of meat masala, then rice, garnish and repeat the above if there is more rice/meat masala. The final layer will be rice that’s topped with the garnish.

Biryani dum process

Tip – Now seal the pan with a layer of foil. This seals in aroma & heat.

Then put on the lid of the pan. Keep something heavy on top of it, like the mortar (from the mortar & pestle thing). Keep on high flame for 3 mins, then on sim for 15 mins. Biryani ready!

Dum biryani

Kerala style mutton biryani recipe

Note – If you are using fish or chicken as your meat choice, fry them first. A little of the oil that it is fried in, can be added while making the masala and also during dum process. It brings more flavor.

Biryani should be served with a yogurt salad called raita.

Method of making raita

Ingredients :

Yogurt – As required
Onion – 1
Tomato – 1 medium sized one
Green chilies – 3
Curry leaves- 2 stems
Salt – To taste

Method :

Chop onion finely. Dice tomato. Add chopped green chilies and curry leaves along with a little salt. Next, squeeze and crush these together with your fingers to let it release it’s juices. Then add yogurt to make it the perfect raita.

How to make raita

I hope you try this biryani recipe. If you do, please share your experience with me & my readers ‚ô°. If you have doubts, leave a comment & I will try my best to explain more. I have put in a lot of effort in doing this post. Would be great if you shared this on any social media channels. Thanks!

Follow on BloglovinLove,

Naz ‚ô•

Review and Giveaway : Pandavita’s Baobab powder!

Hey guys,

Today am super excited to review a superfood which most of you might not have heard about – Baobab Powder!. Pandavita, a UK based brand, sells 100% natural, 100% organic Baobab powder that’s produced in Ghana, Africa & packed in the UK.

Baobab

What is Baobab?

Baobab (Bay-Oh-Bab) is an exotic fruit, grown on magnificent trees in Africa. It is the only fruit in the world that naturally dries inside its shell and this is because of the hot weather. Pandavita removes the sweet-tasting, dried fruit powder and pack it into kraft-paper pouches. Their baobab fruit powder is 100% organic and free from nasties like sugar, preservatives and additives. It is just a pure, raw superfruit.

Baobab fruit

Baobab fruit

Baobab tree is also known as the upside down tree, the monkey bread tree or the tree of life. They look other worldly. Pretty breathtaking, don’t you think?..

Baobab tree

Benefits of Baobab

Overall studies have shown that baobab has:

‚óŹ10 times the antioxidant level of oranges and 6 x more antioxidants than cranberries, blueberries and blackberries.

‚óŹ Up to 6 times more¬†Vitamin C¬†than oranges.

‚óŹ 4 times more¬†potassium¬†than a banana.

‚óŹ 2 times more¬†calcium¬†than milk.

‚óŹ More iron than spinach.

It also contains zinc, manganese, essential fatty acids, phosphorus, protein and vitamin B complexes.

To read more about the benefits of Baobab, click here.

No wonder it’s a superfood!. Just imagine the benefits of including Baobab powder into your daily diet.

How to add Baobab in your diet

To try it for yourself, use 5-10g (1-2 teaspoons) of this fruit powder in water, a fruit juice or a smoothie; or you can sprinkle it onto cereal or yoghurt.

Smoothie

Baobab & Carrot Smoothie Bowl

raw fudge

Raw Cacao, Baobab & Almond Butter Fudge Bites

Check out Pandavita’s super informative & beautiful baobab¬†recipes¬†that allows you to get creative and gives you ideas on how to incorporate it into foods.The¬†health benefits¬†(such as a positive mood shift, increased energy, better digestion, glowing skin & much more) that you will get from using this vegan-friendly, sugar-free and dairy-free¬†baobab powder¬†are enormous.

My experience with Baobab powder

This fine, cream colored, raw fruit powder is a treat to the taste buds. It has a tart, citrusy taste. It has a full bodied, complex flavor that leaves you with a filling sensation. I first tried the powder on it’s own to understand it’s taste.

Baobab powder

Then, I tried it as a drink. When mixing with water, add a little water to the powder to¬†create a paste, then gradually add more water while stirring. It’s a lovely drink with a citrusy taste. I tried with 2 tsps in a glass of water as suggested on the pack that the powder came in. But had to increase the number of tsps to get the right taste.

The Baobab powder comes in a resealable, recyclable environment friendly & cute Kraft paper pouch. Just love it!. 5% of every purchase on Pandavita goes to charity, which is great. I highly recommend you try this because it is so delicious and will enhance the flavour of anything that you are having, that has a fruity taste to begin with. Not to mention all the wonderful benefits it comes loaded with. Also, this product is gluten free, vegan friendly, paleo friendly, non GMO, dairy free & sugar free.

To buy, click here. It’s available in 50 gms, 100 gms & 250 gms packs. You can get 10% off by using the discount code¬†10OFF.

Reading about all of it’s benefits, being the skincare crazed person that I am, I couldn’t help but wonder whether it’s available as a skincare product. Guess what I found online?. Aura Cacia’s organic Baobab oil!. That’s on my wish list now ūüôā

Also, did you notice Pandavita’s logo?. It’s so adorable and cute. They chose their name based on the fact that Pandas are adorable and seem so happy and ‘vita’ in Italian means ‘happy life’. It’s all about achieving a happy, healthy life ‚ô•.

Giveaway

The amazingly friendly Director of Pandavita, Kieran, is sponsoring a pack of Baobab powder (containing a generous 50 gms) to one of my awesome followers. It is open worldwide and can be entered using the Rafflecopter form below. Please enter only if you have a postal address. Giveaway ends on Mar 21st, 2017 and winner will be announced by Mar 24th. Good luck!.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow on BloglovinLove,

Naz ‚ô•

Note: This product was sent to me for review purposes. All opinions are 100% honest & my own. All images on this page belong to Pandavita, unless otherwise specified.

Review : Sunfeast Yippee Tricolor pasta!

Hey there ūüôā

I have been seeing ads for Sunfeast’s Yippee tricolor pasta for a while now. It’s made especially targeting kids who could have a complete snack using just one packet. I bought two to try it. It comes in two flavors – Creamy Corn and Masala. I bought the former one.

Fotor_142712508242990

Each packet comes with a sachet of Saucemaker and the pasta itself. It’s tricolor, reminds me of the colors of the Indian flag!. Inorder to make it, simply add the pasta and saucemaker to 1 1/2 cups of water and cook for upto 10 mins. It says 5 mins on the packet, but I had to cook it for 10, on medium flame.

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The pasta is buttery smooth and really nice. The sauce is creamy and there are small dehydrated corn kernels in it, which puffs up during the cook. The overall taste is OK. I wouldn’t say it’s great. I personally feel the saucemaker could have better seasoning in it. But overall, it is a good enough snack that fills you up for a good long while. Definitely worth trying out.

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Price : Rs. 20 (AED 1.18) per packet, each containing 70gms. Super affordable!

Love,
Naz ūüôā

Mutton soup curry recipe!

Hey guys!

I haven’t done a cooking post in a long while. Here is one of my favorite Indian¬†curries – Mutton soup curry. There are many versions of it out there from different states of India. This particular one is a Tamilian version I believe, since it’s an aunty from Tamil Nadu who taught my mom this recipe, who in turn passed it on to me.

It’s an extremely easy recipe that uses the pressure cooker. There are not a lot of ingredients. If you are an Indian reading this, they are ingredients that you can easily find at your home already. For others, you can easily find them¬†at an Indian grocery¬†store near you. I will also be including some online links, where you could purchase some of the ingredients, just in case.

Ingredients

  • Mutton : Between 1 – 1.5 kgs. It should be¬†cut into big pieces, bigger than the size you normally portion for biryani. In the pic below I have used 1.3kgs.
  • Onion : 2 large sized or 3 medium sized, sliced thinly.
  • Tomato : 2 big, diced into cubes
  • Green chili : 6, julienned
  • Fresh coriander leaves : A bunch, roughly chopped. If you are buying at local supermarkets here, like say Lulu Center, you get a big bunch for AED 0.95. You will just need half of that bunch, for this recipe.
  • Cinnamon¬†sticks¬†: 2 – 3 small pieces
  • Whole Cloves¬†: 6 pieces
  • Ginger garlic paste¬†: 1 tbsp. Freshly ground would be perfect but I used a refrigerated mix and that’s why it’s looking green.
  • Red chili powder¬†: 1/2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder¬†: 1 tsp
  • Indian garam masala : 1 tsp
  • Ground cumin seed : 1 tsp
  • Ground pepper¬†: 3/4 tsp
  • Thick coconut milk : From that of 1/2 a coconut
  • Coconut oil – 4 tbsp
  • Water : 300 ml
  • Salt : To taste

Mutton soup curry1

Method

  • Keep the cooker on the medium flame. Add coconut oil. Once it heats a bit, add cinnamon sticks and cloves. Saut√©.
  • Add onion and saut√© until it’s translucent. Then add green chilies, coriander leaves and tomato. You don’t need to saute them a lot¬† (and make them mushy) since it’s going to be pressure cooked.
  • Add ginger garlic paste. Saute. Then add red chili powder, turmeric powder, ground cumin seed and pepper powder. Saute well so that the dry ingredients mix well with the other ingredients.
  • Add mutton. Get the masala coated well onto the mutton. Then add coconut milk and water. Let the whole mix boil.
  • Once it starts boiling, place the lid on and let it pressure cook. Wait for 5 whistles. Switch off the flame, let it rest and open when the pressure is gone (don’t forcefully open it). Check whether the mutton is done. It should be in such a state where by it’s ready to fall off the bone. For me personally, it takes 7 – 8 whistles to get to that state. For my mom, 5 whistles is perfect. So, it really depends on your pressure cooker. It’s best to do 5 and after checking, do more if needed. If it’s overdone, it won’t be good.
  • Curry ready!. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

This mutton soup curry goes very well with dosa (especially katti dosa, which¬†are those small thick dosas, which will become soggy when this soup curry is poured on to it), idli, putt (Steamed rice cake), appam, paratta and even rice. It is perfect for any time of the day :¬†breakfast, lunch or dinner. The curry should be watery (like a soup). If you feel there is way too much oil in it, let the curry sit for a while and then remove the oil that rises to the top. This curry isn’t too spicy and can serve upto 3 people. It’s aromatic and mainly smells of coriander leaves and ground cumin. The perfect cut, to use for this recipe, is the shoulder part.

Mutton soup curry2

I hope you try it out and if you do, let me know your thoughts about it, by leaving a comment below =)

Follow on BloglovinLove,

Naz ‚ô•

iHerb Haul #4 – Skincare, Makeup, Snacks and more!

Hey guys!

I am back with another haul from my favorite online shopping site – iHerb!. This time I bought a variety of items. Here they are:

IMG_1348Click this picture if you wish to add everything shown in this picture to your cart in one click.

1) Indigo Wild Zum Soap Lover’s Gift Box – My mom is a huge fan of Bath & Beauty items. Her birthday is coming up next month and what better gift than a Soap Lover’s gift box?. Indigo Wild produces soaps, mists and other body care products containing no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, preservatives, detergents, synthetic fragrances or colorings. It really appealed to me. Goat’s milk soap has many benefits. It delays signs of skin aging due to its high content of alpha-hydroxy acids, has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties (making it perfect for those with acne) and is loaded with vitamins that are easily absorbed into our bodies.

IMG_1349

This box contains 10 items and they are:

  • Three¬†Goat’s Milk soap bars, each 3 oz (85 gms) and having different and exotic smells like Frankincense-Lavender, Eucalyptus and Tangerine-Orange.
  • Three All-Natural Aromatherapy Laundry Soap, each 30 ml, with scents namely Sweet Orange, Frankincense & Myrrh and Eucalyptus-Citrus
  • Three liquid soaps, with scents namely Lemon Grass, Rosemary-Mint and Frankincense & Myrrh
  • One sachet of goat milk bar shavings, which can be used to keep anywhere to take away bad odor like stinky drawers or a stuffy closet.

These smell heavenly and was the first thing I could register when I opened my iHerb package. This is such a perfect gift for those who love bath and beauty products.

Price: $22 (AED 80.81). That’s how much I paid. However, currently there is a promotion and as such it is $20.55 (AED 75.48)

Talking about gifts, iHerb has put together an amazing selection of gift sets for just about anyone in your life, be it men, children, makeup lovers, tea lovers or anyone, in anticipation of the Holiday season ahead of us. Do check it out!

2) 100% Raw Manuka Honey, Active 16+ by Wedderspoon Organic Inc. – I have been wanting to try Manuka honey for so long now. It is a monofloral (means bees get the honey from only one kind of plant species) honey from New Zealand. It is high in anti-bacterial properties making it an excellent product for wound care, skincare and for digestion. So basically, you can eat it, apply it on your face as a soothing face mask (it makes your skin really soft and glowing) and also apply on wounds to help it heal faster.

Since Manuka honey is so rare, it is pretty expensive. I have seen many kinds here in UAE. Were it not so expensive, I would definitely have bought different brands to find out which one is the best. However, that’s just wishful thinking!. Since, I did decide to invest money in it, I thought why not go for the best?. Wedderspoon is a really raved about brand. So I bought the one with the highest Active number, which is 16+ from their range. Active number shows the peroxide activity rate.¬†In layman’s terms,¬†it just means higher the number the better. It starts from 5. But if you are looking for honey to use in wound care, you should definitely aim for 10+.

Manuka

During my researches on which honey I should go for, I did come across a particular article which said any company could put any ‘Active’ number on their label and what you really should look for is the UMF rating. UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor. However, since Wedderspoon is a known brand and there are hundreds of rave reviews on it, I decided to buy it.

Indeed, it has a very unique taste. I would describe it as herbal and woody. It leaves a slightly bitter after taste which goes away within seconds. I really love it. It tastes pretty powerful!. It’s texture is thick, very smooth and almost like a creamy jelly. It’s color is a beautiful golden brown. On the Pfund scale, used to measure the color of honey,¬†I would say, the batch of honey that I received¬†falls in the category between 75 – 85 mm.

ManukaPfundScaleThanks to google.ae for this pic!

It’s perfect to take while having throat infection or cough and it did benefit me. I will be incorporating it into masks and trying some DIY recipes. Will definitely post one soon. I did try it alone on my face and it’s really nice. Skin seemed visibly brightened and softer. Also, while other honeys are a really sticky mess and tough to spread on the skin, this one goes on very smoothly and overall, it’s application is so convenient and easy.

One thing I don’t quite like about it is that it comes in a plastic tub. Usually potent honeys are stored in dark colored glass jars. Wedderspoon uses BPA free plastic tubs. Only positive thing about it is that they won’t break while in transit!. I definitely do recommend this brand anyway, because the quality of the honey is great!

Price: $40.86 (AED 150.08) for a tub containing 500 gms, which is pretty good pricing considering Manuka honey with Active 15+ rating usually sells for about AED195, here in UAE. Thanks to my friend Abidha for mentioning that to me.

3) Snackimals Animal Chocolate Chip cookies by Barbara’s Bakery : I love chocolate chip cookies. That being said, I actually feel extremely guilty when saying this… I didn’t buy this for myself. I bought it for my little nephew but ended up eating it since that particular weekend that they were supposed to come visit me from Abu Dhabi, they didn’t and the thought that there is a large pack of chocolate chip cookies in my cupboard just didn’t let me think of anything else!. OMG!. How bad am I??. But I also thought, “Hey, I never tested it out. I should probably test it out and only if it’s good I’ll get it for my nephew”. Man, it’s scrumptious!. Such a lovely pack of animal shaped cookies, that¬†is made from organic grains.

Snckimals

It’s thin but sturdy and crunchy. Since’s it not chewy and rich, you don’t feel guilty at all!. But I got to say it’s not low in calories. You can see tiny sugar crystals on the backside of the cookies, if you notice that in the picture above. One serving, which is 10 cookies contains 120 calories. The problem is that you wouldn’t stop with 10 cookies. I bet you, you wouldn’t even count :P. It’s really yum and a great snack for kids and adults too. My husband who doesn’t even like cookies, loved it!.¬† It comes in a good quality resealable pack, ensuring freshness every time, not that you will need it anyway. The pack will be over in one sitting!¬†I will definitely buy this one again and I will be buying one for my little nephew too ūüôā

Price : $4.46 (AED 16.38) for a pack containing 213 gms.

4) Exfoliating Serum by Mad Hippie Skincare : I came across the brand Mad Hippie by chance on iHerb one day. When I searched more about it, the more I understood that they incorporate really potent active ingredients into their skincare line. Even their motto is “Advanced skincare”. Usually brands incorporate one or two active ingredients in their products. But this particular serum contains a stunning number of 16 actives!. I love serum like nothing else. They are powerful and¬†penetrate into the¬†deeper layers of our skin. Once I try this product out properly, I will post a detailed review about it.

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Price : $27.99 (AED 102.81)

5) Traditional Italian Risotto by Lundberg : I love risotto and though I don’t know how to make it, I have had it several times¬†in hotels. So, when I saw an option to make it at home easily out of a packet, I went for it :). I love mushrooms. So I went for the Porcini Mushroom option.

Lundberg1

Inside the box, there were two packets. One containing Italian Arborio rice (1/4 cup) and the other containing seasoning and pieces of Porcini mushroom. All you got to do is saut√© the rice in 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, then add 2.5 cups of water and mix the seasoning in it.¬†Once it boils, reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. It’s¬†ready to serve!. It’s that easy.

Lundberg2

The result was quite good. In between the cook, I tasted it and felt it needed more salt. Adding it at that time meant it really got absorbed by the rice.¬†The final product¬†tasted good. I got to say though that in the seasoning, there is butter and dried onion among other ingredients. It tasted a bit too strongly of those two. Once prepared, it amounts to 1 cup of risotto. I couldn’t finish it one go, since I felt it to be pretty heavy. I kept it covered in the fridge and reheated it the next day. I felt it¬†tasted better the next day!. I do recommend this easy and convenient product.

Price : $3.43 (AED 12.60)

6) Dark Chocolate Fusion by The Tea Room : Once I read the concept of this brand, I fell in love with it. The makers of this brand love tea and chocolate. So, they decided to infuse tea into chocolate!. What a novel idea!. Each bar of chocolate contains 1 cup of tea in it. They have infused different types of teas into dark chocolates containing varying degrees of cacao in it.

I bought two bars. First one is Dark Chocolate Fusion with Mate & Cacao nibs, which contains 72% cacao from Europe, organic yerba mate tea from South America, and organic cacao nibs from Ecuador. It tastes very smooth and nice. I have never tasted yerba mate tea. So, I guess the foreign taste it has is of the tea. There are minute pieces of cacao nibs in it which contributes towards the rich and intense experience, that is having this bar of chocolate.

The second bar is Dark Chocolate Fusion with Raspberry Rooibos, which contains 60% cacao from Europe, and organic red raspberry rooibos tea from South Africa. OMG!. This one is absolutely delicious. I love the intense berry taste of this one.

TeaRoom

Overall, the dark chocolate is tasty and so smooth. The bars are covered in a wrap. As soon as you open it, the smell is really inviting. iHerb takes care not to ship out chocolates in hot months. My bars were soft when it arrived. I popped it immediately in the fridge. As you can see, my bars have maintained their structure.

I highly recommend this brand and eventually I hope to try out their other great flavors like Black Masala Chai from India and Lapsang Souchong tea from Fujian in future.

Price : $2.99 (AED 10.98) for each bar, containing 1.8 oz (51 gms)

7) E.L.F Clarifying Pressed powder in Spice : This pressed powder is quite OK. When you apply it, immediately the lack of quality can be felt. The formulation isn’t really great. But when you pay less, that’s all you should expect!. Positives are many though. It’s perfect for someone who is just beginning to collect makeup and is looking for budget friendly options. It takes away any oily sheen on the skin and really mattifies. It also gives a natural look to the face. It’s coverage is low. So, it’s definitely not for someone who even expects medium coverage. For the amount paid, it’s definitely OK and perfect to carry in your purse for touch ups.

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It comes in cute and handy compact, with a white powder puff. I got it in the color Spice. There are a variety of shades and Spice is color just below the darkest one which is Toffee.

Price : $1.99 (AED 7.31).

Discount received

During the month of October, there was a promotion going on whereby if your order is over $40, you get a 10% discount. So, I got a discount of $10.67 (AED 39.19)!. I got a cute little notepad and pencil too in my package.

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iHerb always has some promotion or the other going on in addition to the discounts they give on each product. I just love this site!. You can save so much, while doing your normal shopping.

Shipping

The shipping cost was $13.74 (AED 50.47). This time my order took two days to process and less than two days to reach my doorstep in UAE, from US. I love DHL and I am so glad iHerb has teamed up with them. They move so fast!

Overall, I am love with the things I bought this time. Once again, I highly suggest this site to you. They ship worldwide, ultra fast.

Use the code SCZ695 at checkout to receive upto $10 off your first transaction with them!

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Naz ‚ô•

How to: A quick easy dip for dinner (no cooking)..

Hiya people!

This is a very short post on how to make a simple, healthy and yum side dish/dip which goes great with Kuboos (Arabic bread).

Ingredients (This serves 2)

1) Medium sized onion, finely diced – 1

2) Yogurt (Low fat or Full cream, your preference) – 8 to 10 tbsp

3) Tahina (It is a paste made of ground sesame seeds) – 2 1/2 tbsp (You can buy any brand. There are some name brands which costs a lot. I like the one from Lulu which is made from 100% pure sesame seeds. There is an offer pack available now. 400gms x 2 costs AED 15.90)

4) Green chili, chopped – 1

5) Salt – A pinch

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Method

Just mix it all and top it with olive oil!

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The end result should be very creamy, tasting slightly of Tahina and more of yogurt. If Tahina’s taste is over powering, it would be far from yum. So go light handed when mixing it in. You can start with 2 tbsp and go higher if you wish. If you could finely dice cucumber and add that too, it would be really nice. The onion and cucumber would give a nice crunch. This can be made in a jiffy and is lovely.

If you try this out, lemme know in the comments below what you think of it, coz I love feedback.

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Love,

Naz ūüôā

Banana fritters recipe!

Hello!

Well, for the first time ever, I am going to do a post on cooking!. That makes my blog have much more variety than it already has ūüôā

I am starting with an extremely simple dish. Banana Fritters aka Pazhampori (in Malayalam). Some of my Keralite friends, reading this might think “That’s so freaking easy. What’s the need for a whole post about it??”. I did think of that too and the only thing I can say is, I might be doing it differently. Your way might be different from mine right?. So give mine, a try!

You will need

  • Ripe bananas – 2
  • All Purpose Flour – 110 gms (Approx)
  • Wheat flour (Aatta podi) – 110 gms (Approx)
  • Rice powder – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Sugar – 5 tsp
  • Bicarbonate of Soda – A pinch
  • Cardamom – 3 to 4 pieces
  • Water – Enough to create an awesome batter
  • A bowl to mix in

Method

1) First, here is how ripe the banana should be.

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2) Slice it into slanted thin slices like this.

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3) Then take a mixing bowl and add the dry ingredients. In no particular order, here are the pix. I haven’t clicked adding all the dry ingredients basically, coz it’s just powder on top of powder :P… Just make sure that the ratio of All Purpose Flour to Wheat flour is 1:1.¬†Adjust the amount of sugar according to your liking. 5 tsp is just right. Salt is added, to kinda counteract against the sweetness.

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4) Add water (normal temperature) slowly into the powder, while mixing with your spoon. If you add a lot of water at a single time, you would get a lumpy batter. Pouring water little by little each time and mixing simultaneously helps in getting a lump free batter.

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5) Once you get the right consistency of the batter, lightly crush the cardamoms and get the tiny black seeds from inside it. Add that to the batter, as whole. If you don’t like the taste of cardamom, skip this step.

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6) Dip the banana pieces into the batter. When you dip one and raise it, the batter shouldn’t run off it, instead, there should be a nice coating on it. Dripping/Runny batter means the water level is too high. If that does happen, add a bit more of one of the dry ingredients like rice powder.

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7) Deep fry it on high flame for a few minutes i.e, until it turns a golden color.

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Enjoy!

Some extra info

1) Rice powder and bicarbonate of soda are used to make the fritters crispy.

2) Some add a pinch of turmeric in the batter so that the final coating has a yellow tint. Frankly, I find that yellow color to be kinda sick. So I don’t add it.

3) If you want to keep it healthy, instead of mixing all purpose flour and wheat flour, use only the latter.

4) Adding the black seeds from 3 – 4 cardamoms enhances the flavor of the batter only very slightly. If you want to add more, you can. I don’t like the taste of cardamom to be overpowering, so I use only that much. The aroma of cardamom is nice.

5) If you have leftover batter with banana dipped in it, store it in the fridge for a maximum of one day.

Alright guys, if you try this or you would like to share your recipe or what you do differently, comment below, because I totally love feedback!

Love,

Naznin

Note: I really don’t know if I will be doing more cooking posts. But still, I will be listing this post under a new category ‘Get Cooking!’ instead of ‘Random’. Let’s see. I might post some Indian dishes in future. Nothing extravagant!. I like keeping it simple.. always…