Sunday 26 December 2010

Halva Puri and Getting Organised

What do you do when you are stuck at home, hubby is awat for the weekend and you are likely to go stir-crazy with three full-of-beans kids that haven't been out of the house all day?

Why make halva puri of course! Actually usually I would have sloped off around to my mum's and spent the day watching tv, but decided to try something more productive instead.

I haven't had this since my childhood, but my live-in Aunty has been craing halva puri for ages, so said she would show me how to make these. These are a traditional south asian holiday breakfast dish, but particularly popular where my husband comes from, the party-loving city of Lahore in Pakistan.

We made chickpeas (took 15 minutes):

A mashed potato dish (again that took 15-20 minutes):

The halva, or fluffy semolina pudding - which was the best I have ever tasted:

And of course puri's - or fried flat bread. These are usually heavy, but this recipe makes them lighter:

The kids took one look and refused to eat any of it, but once I had cajoled them into it, they were scoffing the food down.

Learning to cook has inspired me to take a fresh look at my kitchen and which ingredients I have taken to using - more whole spices - cardamoms, peppercorns and cumin , less garam masala and introducing black seed and black mustard seeds.

It also made me think about how I use my kitchen space, particularly how I store those things I use less and how perhaps I use somethings less because of the way I store them (out of reach, at the back).

This is the trolley my sweety bought back from a removal job one day (have I said I love his job? - I'm sure I have). This has become a dumping ground for all sorts including the kids playdough and paints, old newspapers, pack-lunch boxes and kids water bottles (yes that is a hot pot lurking under the newspapers and a bin in the corner for chapatti flour - you would never guess we were Pakistani's would you?)

This is my cupboard for spices and cooking ingredients (I took the picture after I had already taken a load of bags out - you know the ones someone opens and then ties a rubber band around the mouth of and leaves in there).

I had fun making these little labels:

The trolley was fairly easy to sort out and now houses all of my lentils and pulses as well:

The spice cupboard (no Pakistani's don't have spice racks, we have spice cupboards) was a real source of kitchen therapy. I had a box at the back of another cupboard which housed the excess from packets of spice that didn't fully fit into containers. I bought bigger jars for the spices I use a lot of and decanted all of these left-over packets. This including three half-packs of turmeric. It just showed me that when you are not organised and cannot see what is already in the kitchen cupboards, you end up spending more.

Organising these two spaces also had a knock-on effect and freed up space in other parts of the kicthen - which I also organised - so now we have a baking cupboard where all of our cake-making stuff and pasta's are stored and the snack cupboard (where the junk food lurks) is half-empty.
All I have to do now is start writing down all of the amazing recipes I am learning insh'Allah before I forget them.


  1. looks good masha'Allah.. I have to say my hubby was craving halva puri last eid and hes from karachi ;)

  2. one day try shemai/seviyan with thin paratha, my family loves it (including me), we always use frozen paratha.
    On that thought, would you please ask aunty if she knows how to make stuffed puri on a tawa, every time I try it, the filling escapes from my ball when im rolling it out. x

  3. Salaam sis. I always feel so satisfied when I re-organize something that makes my life easier in the process AND saves money.

    It seems your new live-in "Aunty" is a true blessing for you and your family!

  4. Assalaamu alaikum sis

    Any chance you could post some recipes for us inshaAllah?