Friday, December 24, 2010

Chopping Tomatoes

When I first met my husband I had never chopped a tomato. I was that girl in college who ordered fried chicken wings when everyone else ordered normal Chinese from the takeout menu. In fact, this was what a good friend of mine from college pointed out to me the first time she learned that I was cooking Pakistani food. It was my first tastes of chicken curry that convinced me I had to learn to cook Pakistani food, not to mention that I thought it might be a little unfair for me to expect my husband to convert to American cuisine only.

The first dish I tried to make was chicken curry, but if I had only worked on that dish until I perfected it, we both would have starved. I kept getting chicken curry wrong! I would cook it in Canada and everything would seem fine and then, back home, I'd invite my best friend over to try it and cook it all wrong. Eventually, my husband and I all but gave up on it and I learned to cook byriani by watching Z's wife cook it once. It was really great! Even though she does not speak much English, she talked as much as she could and was very tolerant of my note-taking. That dish was so easy that I've done it just right since that day and it really built up my confidence. Since then, I've gotten really good at Kadhi Pakora, all types of byriani, beef and chicken, bindhi and daal curries.

Finally, in year number seven, I've made a chicken curry that I consistently adore. It took me seven years of and youtube cooking gurus with trial and error to finally get proficient enough to even ask coherent questions of others who are better cooks! Gori Wife, you've no idea how much I envy you!


  1. I am always interested to know how other goriwives have managed to pick up PK cooking. The best PK recipes in English are on websites meant for ppl who already know how to cook PK food (like khanapakana, pakirecipes, etc) so it's all written for people who already know the methods. So it makes it hard for ppl like us who start from scratch.

    I have found that the secret to the best and authentic tasting curries is to make sure to bhunno or "bhunofy" (Urdu-lish) the ingredients well---we don't even have a term for that in English cuz that isn't really what caramelize means, but you know, like when the oil floats to the top of your tomatoes and all the moisture is evaporated out of them, or when your onions are red fried way past any stage used in American cooking. I think at some point I realized that when a curry failed (or just didn't taste authentic), it was because I hadn't cooked down the onions/garlic/ginger long enough before I added the tomatoes, or added the meat when the tomatoes were still raw.

    Awesome that you have managed to do a great chicken curry. I know what your husband likes to eat, but what are some of your fave Pakistani foods? Any dishes in particular that you have fallen in love with in addition to chicken curry?

  2. The sad thing is I'm a chicken freak.. . I think that's why I had so much trouble figuring out chicken curry, I love it so much that I was trying too hard, lol, and kept messing it up. I always order chicken bhuna, chicken curry or chicken korma, lol. . . .I always get the chicken whether it's American, Chinese, Pakistani, Mexican. . . .no matter what!

  3. I was raised in a Pakistani family where we only ate out maybe once or twice a year. And my mom used to cook everything from scratch. When I first started cooking I also had trouble making Pakistani food, with time I have gotten better at it. I wasn't very interested in cooking when I lived at home. Like, when I initially got married I didn't even want to think about making homemade wheat rotis but now I make them everyday. I actually learned to cook from watching different Pakistani cooking shows. And I still can't make authentic tasting chicken curry for some reason, something always goes wrong :S. Here is a group founded by Pakistani women with tried and tested recipes by people all over the world with photos: I absolutely love it!!

  4. I am lucky. My A has lived on his own for 9 years and taught himself how to cook, so he just shows me or better yet, has no problem cooking!

  5. M has lived in Canada and the US since around '99, lol, he taught himself to cook, just not well, haha.