KULFA: The Cheat’s Version

This past week has been all about surviving the heat of summer.

Despite the short outbursts of rain here and there, it’s been SO hot.

The kind of hot where all you feel like doing is blasting on the air conditioner, putting Netflix on, and devouring mint chocolate chip ice cream (recipe coming soon!).

Kulfa: rich and creamy. Chuck-everything-into-the-blender easy!

It was on one particularly hot day that I was craving something cold, something creamy when I decided to hunt down a recipe that didn’t require much of my energy or time. Going through my huge recipe stash, I found this magical recipe. A Shireen Anwer classic I remember jotting down in my journal years ago.

Kulfa: rich and creamy. Chuck-everything-into-the-blender easy!

 

Kulfa or kulfi is a popular street food here in Pakistan. Its a frozen milk based dessert, perfect for a hot summer day. The authentic recipe calls for cooking down milk and sugar for hours and hours till its reduced to half. It’s a slow and tiresome process. The cheat version, however, is so much quicker and so much better!

Kulfa: rich and creamy. Chuck-everything-into-the-blender easy!

It’s rich, creamy, and sweet…not to mention delicious. And it is SOOO Easy to make. Chuck-everything-into-the-blender easy!

Try this cheats version, you won’t be disappointed.

Kulfa

Ingredients:
2 slices of white bread, soaked in some milk
1 teaspoon cardamom powder1, leveled
2 Tablespoon almonds, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoon pistachios, roughly chopped
1 pack (200 ml) heavy cream, chilled
½ a tin (200 g) of condensed milk, chilled
1 small tin (210 g) evaporated milk, chilled
Directions:
Blend all the ingredients in a blender till well combined. Pour the contents into an airtight container.2 Seal the top and place in the freezer overnight.
When ready to serve, wrap a warm kitchen towel around the container for a few seconds. Run a knife around the sides. Overturn the container onto your serving platter. Cut into slices. Sprinkle some chopped pistachios and almonds on top and enjoy.
Notes
1.       I made my own cardamom powder by grinding just the seeds of some cardamom pods. Wasn’t very fine, but I liked that it was a bit coarse.
2.      You can use ice cream or ‘kulfi’ molds.
Recipe source: Shireen Anwer

Kulfa: rich and creamy. Chuck-everything-into-the-blender easy!

Peach Crumble Pie

Pie makes everything better.

That’s what I snapped last week when I was baking this peach pie. The therapeutic value of making a pie really is just bazoom!

Peach Crumble Pie. A flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble. It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

Last week wasn’t a particularly good week (refer to last post).

What kept me from going over the edge was baking. And cooking. All day long. I would start my day with pancakes, moving onto pasta, naans, pizza, and ending with iced tea.

But nothing could beat the making of this pie. It was so SO relaxing and stress relieving.  Even if it was just for a few minutes, I stopped worrying about everything else and just enjoyed the feel of the cold butter in my hands, and the wonderful aroma of the juicy peaches and the cinnamon.

Thank you Sally for this wonderful recipe!

I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without making an actual pie (these tiny things don’t count).

 

Peach Crumble Pie. A flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble. It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

 

This pie involves a flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble.

It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

If that doesn’t scream summer to you, I don’t know what will.

 

Peach Crumble Pie. A flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble. It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

I’ve used the same pie crust I used for the Apple Hand Pies. It’s buttery, flaky, and everything a good crust should be.

*As mentioned, the vegetable shortening in the recipe is Crisco and it’s easily available in every big supermarket.

 

A few pointers before we head straight to the recipe:

  • Use very very cold butter and shortening. Cold fat when melts in the oven causes the pastry to puff up creating little air pockets which makes the end result so tender and flaky.

  • Be gentle with the pie crust. Unlike pizza dough, it doesn’t require kneading. Just mix till it comes together.

  • Use fresh peaches that aren’t too ripe nor too hard.

  • Walnuts are optional in the crumble but highly recommended.

  • Ice cream is NOT optional >> You must serve this pie with vanilla ice cream.

A slice of fresh homemade peach pie and a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream, it might just be a slice of heaven!

Peach Crumble Pie. A flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble. It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

Peach Crumble Pie. A flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble. It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

And there you go. Peach Crumble Pie.

Peach Crumble Pie. A flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble. It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

I did it. I made a pie from scratch!

Peach Crumble Pie

Yields: 1 pie
Ingredients:
FOR THE PIE CRUST
1 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoon (45g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoon vegetable shortening, chilled
¼ cup ice water
FOR THE FILLING
6-8 medium sized peaches, cut into chunks
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
FOR THE CRUMBLE:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 (75g) cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, lightly roasted *optional
Directions:
For the Pie Crust
In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the butter and shortening. Using two forks, or with the help of your fingertips, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs, some bigger bits of butter are perfectly fine.
Drizzle in the icy cold water little by little, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the dough begins to form large clumps, do not add more water.
Flour a work surface and transfer dough on it. Using floured hands, fold dough into itself till it comes together, and the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form a ball. Flatten it and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours
For the Filling
Peel the peaches and chop them into 2 inch chunks.
In a large bowl, combine together the peach chunks, brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, and cinnamon until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
For the Crumble
In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Stir in the butter and chopped walnuts. Mixture will be thick. Set aside.
Assembling
On a floured work surface, roll out one of the chilled dough until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough onto a greased 9×2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Cut off any excess dough from the edges. Prick the base using a fork.
Spoon the peach filling onto the crust, leaving any liquid behind in the bowl.  Sprinkle over the peaches the prepared crumble topping.
Bake for 40-60 minutes, depending on your oven, till golden brown and bubbly.
Allow the pie to cool for 3 full hours at room temperature before serving. This time allows the filling to thicken up and the sugars and juices to settle.
Serve with vanilla ice cream. Cover pie leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Notes:
I use and recommend Crisco as the vegetable shortening. It is easily available in all large superstores.
Cover pie leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Baked pie can be frozen for upto 3 months.
Recipe source: Sally’s baking addiction

Peach Crumble Pie. A flaky crust filled with juicy peaches and topped with a walnut cinnamon crumble. It’s sweet. It’s juicy. It’s delicious.

Popcorn Chicken Tacos

Popcorn Chicken Tacos ... bidding summer goodbye.

Summer is winding down. And what better way to end it than with some good ole tacos using some of the summer’s freshest produce. And also last of the juiciest, ripest mangoes!

Popcorn Chicken Tacos ... bidding summer goodbye.

What I love about tacos is how versatile, how adaptable, they are. Fill them up with anything; beef, chicken, fish, or just some fresh vegetables, they’d always be delicious.

Popcorn Chicken Tacos ... bidding summer goodbye.

And they are so fun to put together. Arrange all of your fillings and the taco shells in one place. Get the whole family round the table. And let everyone customize their own taco! Fill your taco up, finish it off with a good dollop of salsa and a squeeze of lemon juice and then dig in!

Popcorn Chicken Tacos ... bidding summer goodbye.

  1. Salsa: I used store-bought salsa, the kind that comes in a jar, Mitchell’s to be exact. It tastes good and is super affordable. But you can use homemade, obviously.

  2. Taco Shells: Ok guys. I know a lot of you will be like we don’t have taco shells, we can’t make these… Yes you can! Trust me, I wouldn’t have made tacos if I hadn’t have seen the bright yellow boxes of Old El Paso taco shells in every supermarket here in Islamabad beckoning me to buy them. And if Islamabad stores have taco shells in stock then I’m guessing all other cities of Pakistan would do too. Things reach here the last. It’s Old El Paso Crunchy Taco Shells that I have used. Use whatever you prefer; soft, hard, crunchy, white flour, whole wheat…

  3. Chicken: Boneless chicken bites coated in a simple batter. Deep fried. Then tossed in a simple sweet and spicy sauce. Or you could simply omit the batter step, and use K&Ns Chicken tender pops instead.

  4. Fillings: I went all out on some of summer’s last finest produce; mangoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, lemons, tomatoes, cilantro, and lettuce. Again use whatever you prefer.

Popcorn Chicken Tacos ... bidding summer goodbye.

Take your taco shells. Warm them in the oven or the microwave according to the directions on the package.

Now this is how I like to do it; take a warmed taco shell. Spoon on some salsa, then carefully place chicken bits inside. Make sure not to hold or pry open the taco shell too hard, or else it’ll crack. Place in the veggies and the mangoes. Give a squeeze of lemon or lime. Top it all off with some more salsa and it’s done! Serve with sour cream, more mangoes and loads of lemonade!

Popcorn Chicken Tacos ... bidding summer goodbye.

This recipe makes 6 tacos. Double the recipe, invite some friends over, watch a movie, and have a full on Taco Night.

Popcorn Chicken Tacos

Yields: 6 tacos
Ingredients:
6 taco shells
2 boneless chicken breasts, sliced in small cubes
Marinate
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon paprika
Batter
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
½ cup milk, or as needed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Self-raising flour for coating1
Oil for deep frying
Sauce
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
½ teaspoon crushed cumin
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoon ketchup
2 Tablespoon chili garlic sauce
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Extras2
Mangoes, sliced
Cucumbers, sliced
Tomatoes, sliced
Bell peppers, sliced
Salad leaves, shredded
Lettuce, shredded
Fresh coriander, chopped
Lemon juice
Salsa
Directions:
Marinate the chicken in salt, black pepper, mustard powder, and paprika. Leave covered for 15 to 30 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, egg, oil, and the milk. Dip the marinated chicken into the     batter and then roll in the self-raising flour. Deep fry till golden brown.
For the sauce: fry the ginger garlic paste in the oil till its golden brown. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Toss in the chicken. Mix till it’s coated well.
Warm taco shells according to the packaged directions.
Fill each taco with the salsa, chicken, and the fresh vegetables and mangoes. Top with more salsa, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Serve immediately.
Notes:
1.       1 cup Self-raising flour= 1 cup flour + 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
2.      You can add or omit whatever you like. Add peaches, lime juice, berries, iceberg lettuce…whatever your heart desires.

Popcorn Chicken Tacos ... bidding summer goodbye.