Tag Archives: cinnamon


Certain aromas put me off. The chief one is cinnamon. I don’t use it in baking. Another one which overwhelms me is vanilla. I only use a drop, or two when there is a need for it. Then another one on my list is fenugreek. I like it occasionally. What I dislike most of about it that its’ smell lingers on whenever it’s used. It won’t go away.

I liked the old fashioned kitchens to which you could close the door. The smell of cooking didn’t permeate throughout the house. I know when one is feeling  hungry, the aroma arising from the kitchen feels welcoming, and heavenly. After eating, I want the smell to disappear, and not grate on my nerves. 

There are other aromas which I like, and those are: the smell of coffee, bread being baked, sauté d onions, rice with cloves in it, and cardamom.

Last year when I visited Peshawar, and I was without a driver, I would call my older brother, or brother in law to take me out for shopping. My brother’s car had the aroma of freshly made coffee. One day I couldn’t help asking, “Did you have coffee just now?”

He burst out laughing. I was wondering whether I had said something wrong. He opened his dashboard, and dropped a sweets packet in my lap. They were coffee sweets, and finally I knew the secret why the car carried the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.




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One of my favorite dish is Pulao. It’s an Urdu name for a rice dish. My memories go back to my childhood days. Back to Baba, (my father) when he was alive. It was a tradition in our home that on Sundays we had Pulao for lunch. It was a must and never to be missed routine. It had raisins, almonds, apricots,mutton,chickpeas and rice. We used to stuff ourselves with it.

Fast forward to me after marriage. I didn’t know cooking. I took time to learn how to cook. Fortunately I learned from magazines, friends and by watching other people. Woman’s Weekly and Woman and Home from UK were my guides in baking. My other must have mag was from US, Good Housekeeping. I simply loved it for ages. Still do.

I will always feel indebted to some of my friends who gave me their recipes. Now back to my Pulao dish. The basics I learned by watching my mother in law, whenever my husband left me at her home. This happened at regular intervals. He would be posted to a new place or in winters he would be called to ‘Army School Of Mountaineering and Snow Warfare’ to conduct Courses in Skiing, Mountaineering and Snow Warfare. I would be without a home and so would be back to m in law.

She was really great at cooking. So this is a family recipe with additions and alterations by myself. I like it made with mutton but it can be made with chicken. The ingredients are as following:—–
Basmati or any long grain rice 2 cups, soaked 1/2 an hour before cooking
Mutton 3/4 kg 🐐 or 1 whole chicken cut into pieces🐓
Chick Peas 1 cup, cooked
Almonds3/4 cup, blanched and skin removed
Raisins, washed and fried for a little while, till they fluff up
Garam masala made up with black pepper, zeera (cumin seeds), a few sticks of cinnamon, 4 large cardamoms, all finely ground
Cloves. 6
2 large onions, sliced
A piece of ginger and 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Oil 3/4 cup.
2 Tomatoes, chopped

This recipe is enough for four people.

Cook meat till it’s tender. Fry onions in oil till golden brown. Add meat, ginger and garlic. Add tomatoes. Add 1 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp garam masala to the mixture.Fry for a few minutes. Remove the fried meat with a slotted spoon. Put 4 cups of water or left over broth from meat. Let it come to a boil. Now add chick peas and rice and 6 cloves, plus salt to taste and another 1 1/2 tea spoon of garam masala. When the whole thing comes to a boil, lower the heat. Cover. When water is partially absorbed, add meat, raisins and almonds. Cover and simmer on low heat till rice is cooked and water absorbed.😋