What your mother never told you about fried onions

Fried onions is an essential part of almost every Desi recipe. My mom was very precise when it came to frying her onions. The color was a perfect golden, the onions were crunchy and sweet and she stood in front of the stove the entire time while her onions crackled in the hot oil. I had a very short attention span when it came to cooking and was always looking for shortcuts, to my mothers dismay!

That is why I’m here to tell you that after many experiments I have come to the conclusion that you can in fact use store bought fried onions for certain recipes!

So typically recipes ask to fry onions and then add in the ginger and garlic paste. When I am using already fried onions I put oil in the pan and put about a half a cup of fried onions let them sizzle a bit then continue on with the GG paste and follow the rest of the recipe.

I have used store bought fried onions in aloo gosht, nihari, haleem and simple currys.

 

There are a few recipes that will always need freshly fried onions, these include rice dishes such as biryanis and pilaus which require the fried onions to be placed on top of the rice. Also freshly fried onions are ideal for all baghars for daals and other similar dishes.  For recipes that require you to crush/grind fried onions,  you should also use fresh onions.

So next time that your cooking  a meat curry don’t be afraid to use store bought fried onions. Happy Cooking and  please share!

 

Oh Brother!

One of the greatest joys is to see your kids play and enjoy each others company, on the flip side one of the most frustrating things is to see them fight and cry.

My sons play and fight all day, I’ve learned to let them “duke it out” the more I get involved in their matters, the more I get frustrated, so at a very young age I gave them the independence of resolving their own matters. The good thing is that they are both around the same size so when they begin to wrestle and sit on top of each other I’m not particularly concerned about them getting hurt.

Advantages of having a sibling close in age is that there is never a longing to be around other kids, you have a partner to play with and you learn to share EVERYTHING!

Disadvantages are that both kids don’t get that much one on one bonding time with the parents. Boys tend to get more aggressive and learn to fight over everything, including parental affection.

Sometimes I’ll laugh at something silly my 18 month old (Hassan) will do and then my three year old (Humza) will do the same thing and I’ll give him a disapproving look! It gets tricky for the parents and there has to be a constant balance so that both siblings know where their place in the family is. It is so important that they each understand their unique personality and self-worth. Easier said than done, it’s something I have to remind both myself and my kids.

Having a small age difference between two kids, can be challening but the love and friendship they have is so warming. When one gets in trouble the other one sneaks into the time out corner with him to give him support, or when one of them gets a shot at the doctors his brother cries for him! The two are inseparable and often when I want Hassan to do something I’ll ask Humza to explain it to him and it works!

One time, my 18 month old was crying and fussing… exhausted, I lost my temper and ordered him into a timeout corner, his elder brother came and calmly explained to me that Hassan was creating a fuss because he wanted juice in a sippy cup.

I instantly realized that my three old was right and gave Hassan the sippy cup, voila! The problem was solved.

Their intuition and love for each other is remarkable and I pray that Allah always keeps my boys close and best friends forever – Ameen.

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Burqa + Bikini = Burqini!

Trust me I’m not bragging when I say I spent  *muffledcoughcough* dollars for the burqini.  Bur who? yeah thats right…a burqini.  A burqini is a Muslim version of a swimsuit. So burqa+bikini=burqini!

I bought the burqini when I was going on a beach trip.  I needed something modest and trendy.  Before the burqini I wore ‘swish’ pants (aka windbreakers) and a long shirt.  The problem with that was that while you were in the water, the shirt would keep riding up. The other problem was that when I would come out of the water my clothes would be sticking to my body and would expose my figure for a long period of time.

I contemplated on buying the burqini, since I am a beach lover, I figured it would be a good investment.  It wasn’t so bad paying a high price ($186) for the burqini as it was paying an additional $50 for shipping .  No no it wasn’t Brad Pitt bringing me my burqini to my front door step wrapped up in chocolate, it was actually being shipped from Australia.

So was it worth it? Yeah, I would say so.  It is a very modest fit;  With the shirt coming down to your knees and the pants being loose. Although I wasn’t a fan of the attached-hijab, and so in place of it I wore a two-piece lycra fabric hijab, which was water friendly.  The burqini was light, comfortable and good quality.  When I came out of the water it did stick to the body for a a minute or two and then became normal.  It also dried pretty fast, especially if you were out in the sun!

Some of my friends bought the Al-Sharifa swim wear which is half the price of the burqini.  So some of you may want to check that out as well.

All in all, I think it was well worth it.  So while I bought my oh-so-cool burqini, my huband went and bought three different swimming trunks! When I was shocked to see him come home from a shopping trip with three swimming trunks, in response he said “my three trunks still cost a lot less than your one swimsuit!”

*A beach lover just sent a picture of her gorgeous self (masha’Allah) rocking the burqini!

Something to swim about…

 

Soul Food

Motherhood… ah good old motherhood.  It is most certainly a blessing and one of the greatest joys a woman can ever experience Alhumdulilah.  However, I’m sure I’m not the only mommy who feels exhausted, stressed, and deprived.  Deprived? well ya…of food, sleep, and pampering (not talking about diapering her babies!)  Not only do we deprive ourselves of worldly things, but also of spirituality.  Just like our body needs sleep and food, we also need soul food.

My body, mind, and soul get the most amount of nourishment when I turn to Allah SWT.  Whether it be 5 minutes or 50 minutes, the result of that worship is far greater than anything ever imaginable.  If you are having the blues, or just one of those really chaotic days, manage to squeeze out some time for Allah SWT, for indeed Allah SWT is the only One, who can help you.

“Those who believe, and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” {13:28}

Motherhood has given me a million reasons to thank Allah SWT.  Sadly, that gratitude does not come into play as much as it should.

Here are a few tips that I try to follow and I hope they will help you too insha’Allah.

1.  Listening: While cooking, cleaning, or even folding laundry put on Quran or a lecture.  You may not be fully listening, but even catching a line or two here and there from a lecture is more beneficial than not listening to it at all.  Quran is very soothing, so listening to it while doing chores would not only be relaxing but can earn you some ajr (rewards) as well insha’Allah. For Quran I go to www.halaltunes.com and for lectures I go to www.halaltube.com

2.  Prayers:  If you manage to find an extra two minutes while your children are napping or busy playing, than try to pray the Sunnah prayers.  Narrated by Muslim, “A house will be built in paradise for every Muslim who offers twelve Rak’ah of optional salah other than the obligatory salah in day and night, to seek pleasure of Allah.” Here is a source on the excellence of praying Sunnah. http://islamqa.info/en/ref/12844

3.  Dua: Remember Him, so He will remember you. Print out the common every day duas, such as when waking up or entering the restroom and tape/pin them in visible areas that can serve as reminders to read them.  Here is a good site with duas for almost everything, http://www.fortressofamuslim.com

4.  Quran: This is one of the most important and beneficial things you can do for your iman. We all struggle with sadness, pain, fear,  anxiety and depression.  Allah SWT has sent us His book to cure us from these.  Our hearts will be full of love for Him through His words.  Now, I know not all of us have time to read many pages, but I know we can manage to read at least ONE line  a day.  
For me personally, the ideal time to read is after Isha, usually my son is sleeping or getting ready to sleep.  If he is drowsy I consider this to be a good time to recite out loud so he can hear it too.  Find that moment in your day that you can read at least one line.  Don’t worry about it not being enough, because the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said “The deeds most loved by Allah(SWT) are those done regularly, even if they are small.” (Bukhari).  So let us get in the habit of reading Quran daily.

5.  Dhikr: Allah SWT has given us endless opportunities to remember Him throughout our day.  The Prophet (PBUH) said the most beloved words to Allah are four:

Subhan-Allah (Glorified is Allah),

Walhamdu-lillah (Praise is for Allah),

W laa-ilaaha’illallah (there is none worthy of worship but Allah),

Wallahu’Akbar (Allah is the Most Great).

So we can say these four words while we’re washing dishes, driving, putting our children to sleep or absolutely WHENEVER! I consider this to be one of the most simplest ways to please Allah SWT.

These are easy and small efforts that will grant us big rewards (insha’Allah ta’Allah).  We must constantly renew our intentions and make dua that all our efforts are accepted.

However, We must not undermine our roles as mothers or wives.  If these duties are done with the intention of pleasing Allah SWT, then they too will be rewarding and fulfilling.  Whether it be cooking for your husband or caring for your child, one can seek Allah’s SWT pleasure if done with the right intention.

May Allah SWT reward all mothers, and allow them to stay strong on the siratul mustaqeem Ameen.

Something to ponder about…

Biscuits and Banarsi Explained!

Welcome to Biscuits and Banarsi, we’re so excited to finally launch our blog.  It may not seem like it but this was a massive project for us! In between children nap times, grocery runs, and dinner times, our blog managed to bloom and hopefully blossom insha’Allah! (God wills)

Abeer has been telling me to blog for a very long time, I would look at her and say yeah I should do something and then settled back into complacency. Well I finally entered the exciting world of the “blogosphere” but not without my buddy!! We both decided that if we support each other we can do it insha’Allah!

Motivation to blog …. CHECK!

The next big thing was the name of our blog, two different people, one important decision. We toyed around with a lot of ideas, some seemed to click, others were nice but weren’t catchy enough, after browsing many blogs and getting even more confused about the direction we were going in we decided to keep it simple and pick two words that we liked.

Abeer suggested biscuits  and I loved it, now we needed another B word and I looked down at my dining chair and yelled BANARSI! (Banarsi is a very popular fabric in South Asia) thus our blog name “Biscuits and Banarsi”

Name of blog….CHECK!

Next we had to decide what we wanted to feature on our blog so we came up with the subtitle that would explain a little bit more of what B&B is about, and that subtitle is: ” A Mix of Motherhood, Faith and Humanity”

Why a mix? Well, simply because we wanted to talk about all issues important to us, such as living as Muslim women, our lives revolving around our family, and issues affecting our communities.

Topics…..CHECK!

After some weeks and lots of lunch meetings, emails and inspirational talks later our blog is born.  Please cut us some slack, we’re new to this and we’re taking baby steps but send some love our way by commenting on our posts.

Thanks for stopping by 🙂