What’s for Dinner: [Baked] Bang Bang Shrimp

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This past Tuesday, I did a baked version of my Bang Bang Shrimp. It was just as delicious, and I loved that it wasn’t fried!

  1. Make your sauce: combine the 1/2 cup of [low-fat] mayonnaise, 4 teaspoons of chili garlic sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar in a small bowl. I let mine chill in the fridge in the meantime. This helps the sauce stick to the shrimp.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Spray non-stick cooking spray on top of the foil.
  3. I seasoned shrimp with: black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne powder.
  4. Next, I added in a [beated] egg to the marinated shrimp.
  5. Separately, in a ziploc bag [for easy cleanup], I add in flour and season it with black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne powder. Next, add in the shrimp to the ziploc bag, seal… and shake to coat all of the shrimp.
  6. Transfer your coated shrimp on to the lined baking sheet. When all are transferred, spray another layer of non-stick cooking spray on top of all the shrimp.
  7. Bake the shrimp in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes.
  8. After a few minutes of letting the shrimp cool, transfer to a dish where you fold in the sauce with the shrimp before serving.

Like I mentioned in the original version, the ideal combination/process for a crispy breading [that doesn't fall off -- especially once you start to add the sauce]:

  1. Make the sauce first [and put it in the fridge to chill].
  2. Next, bread the shrimp [then put the shrimp in the fridge too].
  3. Wait to add the sauce to the shrimp until once the shrimp is a little cooler. Gently toss.

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button:


What’s for Dinner: Cholay

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Cholay is another Pakistani dish that is served as a snack or appetizer… and I’m sharing it today as part of iftari food.

If you are working with dried chick peas, soak them in water [overnight].

When you are ready to make the cholay:

  1. To chana [chick peas], add salt, baking soda and enough water to cover all the chick peas to bring it up to a boil.  Keep your heat on high until it comes to a boil, then turn to extreme low heat for the rest of the cooking process.
  2. Add in [peeled and diced] potatoes to the chick peas half way through it’s cooking process [so it can just cook together]. You can remove liquid if there is an excess amount.
  3. Once it’s ready, add in diced tomatoes, one of the following [cumin or chaat masala, and imli [tamarind] chutney.
  4. When you are ready to serve, add in either mint or coriander leaves.

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.

What’s for Dinner: Mango, Mint and Strawberry Salsa

This one is pretty self explanatory [just by it's name]!

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I diced up mangoes. Same with strawberries [fresh from our backyard]! Added in some chopped mint [also from the backyard!]… and mixed everything together.

Today, when I made this, I served it over baked tilapia:

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I seasoned the tilapia with black pepper, paprika, garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice. I baked it for about 25 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button:


What’s for Dinner: [Baked] Sweet Chili Shrimp

Today, I made a baked version of Sweet Chili Shrimp.

I’ve made a fried version of this before [you can see that by clicking here], but today I decided to go the healthier route and bake the shrimp instead.20140708-205434-75274139.jpg

What I did today was:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheet with foil [for easy cleanup] and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. I seasoned the shrimp with the usual: black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder. I seasoned flour with the same seasonings and coated all of the shrimp.
  3. Lay them on the lined baking sheet. Spray the top with non-stick cooking spray as well.
  4. In your preheated oven, baked the shrimp for about 10 minutes. Half way in the baking time, I flipped the shrimp over.
  5. Once it’s out of the oven, let it cool a bit.
  6. After it has slightly cooled, fold in sweet chili sauce and serve!

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button:


What’s for Dinner: [Baked] Chicken Fajita

Last night, for dinner/iftari, I made chicken fajitas.  I baked it, instead of grilling it or cooking on the stove. It was juicy enough that no other sauce was needed and neither was any condiment necessary… but that’s your personal preference.

How I made it last night:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

I cut my boneless chicken into thin strips before marinating it with: black pepper, paprika, chili powder, cay20140702-192922-70162846.jpgenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, ginger powder and cumin. Next, I added in some cornstarch. No added salt and definitely no oil.

Then, I cut my onion and [red and orange] bell peppers into thin strips. Toss it really well with the marinated chicken so it gets seasoned too.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 35 minutes. I tossed it, I think, twice in between the baking time to make sure it was cooking evenly.

As soon as it came out of the oven, I squeezed half a lime over it, leaving the other half of the lime to be squeezed on top after you assemble your fajitas on top of your [warmed] tortilla(s).

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.

What’s for Dinner: [Mashed] Potato Fritters

Since several people have asked me what is for iftari around here, I thought I would share some of my family favorites… starting with the recipe for [Mashed] Potato Fritters that I made [and shared] yesterday. I’ll be honest and say that Ami makes most of the “typical” iftari food… while I make more of the “fun” stuff. 

Most nights in the month of Ramadan we have typical iftari around here [along with whatever else I felt like making that day]. [Mashed] Potato Fritters [pakoray] are one of those things that we typically end up making only in Ramadan for iftari and is definitely one of my favorites. After popcorn chicken of course!

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This is how I make mine:

  1. I took [4] potatoes, peeled them, and washed them. Add about enough water to cover them 1/4th of the way.
  2. Next, pop it in the microwave for about 10-15 minutes until they are soft enough to mash. You could also do this, of course, on the stove.
  3. Drain excess liquid, but leave some in to keep the potatoes moist.
  4. Mash the potatoes!
  5. As you are mashing them, to your potatoes, add: salt, black pepper, paprika, chaat masala, and cumin powder. Make sure all the potatoes are mashed and the spices are mixed in very well.
  6. Let it cool before forming them into balls to fry. While you are waiting, work on the batter to coat them.
  7. For the batter to fry: to gram flour [besan], add salt, black pepper, garlic, ginger, cumin powder, paprika, and baking soda water. Add enough water to leave it a thick consistency to be able to coat the potatoes. Leave the batter covered until you are ready to use it.
  8. After the mashed potatoes are cooled enough to work with, form them into balls [as big or as small as you want them].
  9. Heat your oil up in a skillet. Enough to cover the potato balls at least half way up.
  10. Coat each of the potato balls in the batter and fry them until them are golden brown.


P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.

Moon Sighting

Let’s start off this post first and foremost with a “Ramadan Mubarak” to all the fellow Muslims. May Allah (SWT) guide us all in the right path, and accept all our prayers, fasts, & good deeds during this blessed month. Ameen.

For my non-Muslim friends: the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar so the start of each month/year, therefore, is based on the [new] moon. Thus, the days in each month can vary by a day as a result.

The significance of the month of Ramadan? The holy Qu’ran was revealed in this blessed month.

Now onto the topic itself that is eating away at me today. It’s actually been eating away at me for years.

So, each year, when it’s time to figure out when the month of Ramadan is going to start and/or when Eid will be based on the moon sighting… well, let’s just say the days before every Ramadan/Eid [for as long as I can remember] is always full of controversy, debate and even, perhaps, arguments.

A moon is a moon. If it’s been “sighted” by one, then as a collective ummah we need to unite. The earth has but one moon.

Yet every year, without a shadow of a doubt, there is at least one group of people that decides to vary from the pact and do it a different day. There have been times in the past when the difference in days has been two days. How that is even possible, I don’t know, considering a month can have either 29 or 30 days in the Islamic calendar.

For there to be different days of Eid, or to argue which day is the first day of the blessed month of Ramadan is to essentially accuse the other half of the ummah of deceit and lies. That “we know you say you saw the moon, but we don’t believe you”… which in itself is something major and something for you to ponder.

There is an hadith that says something to the likes of that:

“Whenever you sight the new moon (of the month of Ramadan) observe fast, and when you sight it (the new moon of Shawwal) break it, and if the sky is cloudy for you, then observe fast for thirty days.”

Which is very ironic because so many times the argument made in previous years is that it was too cloudy for the moon to be visible so Ramadan doesn’t start tomorrow.

Which brings me to my next point. Technology. Technology has come a long way. We now can very easily figure out when there is [or will be] a new [visible] moon. We need to come together and create an Islamic calendar based on the help of indisputable astronomical information and all of the advancements in science and technology over the years.

I read a quote online by the national coordinator and moon sighting consultant to ISNA that said:

“Today, Muslims have expertise and access to technology to understand the calculations of when and where the sighting occurs. Recorded data shows how the science of moon sighting is compared with the actual observations. The results show that calculations of sighting and observations have matched every month since 1993. Calculations of moon sighting and actual sighting are not two different things for an Islamic Calendar when it was found that they both match.”

Don’t even get me started on the argument that back in the day, there wasn’t all this science and astronomical information. Because most of the people who argue this are the ones who open their fasts based on the exact time of maghrib down to the minute/second as listed on the prayer schedule [and are not so particular about prayer times the other 11 months of the year]. Never mind the fact that back in the day there weren’t cell phones, computers, TVs, and all these other technological advanced things available either.

Religion isn’t meant to complicate your life, rather it’s meant to simplify it. If you dig deep enough, it will always help you find an answer to every single one of your questions.

I am not sure if I completely agree with leaving it all completely to science. Some part of me believes that there needs to be a reliance on a physical sighting IF it’s not cloudy because of the hadith. I think science and technology should be used to help, not hinder. I think we need to establish and follow a universal “moon sighting” at the very least [that if it's visible to one, then it's as if it's visible to all]. I think we need to get our acts together and work on establishing an Islamic calendar.

Again, these are my thoughts and thoughts alone. I’m not an expert by any means… and I don’t claim to be one either.

Allah knows best.

What’s for Dinner: Olive Oil and Herb Dip

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To serve alongside my homemade bread last night, I quickly put together this olive oil and herb dip that is served at several restaurants.

I combined garlic powder, [very little amount of] salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, thyme, basil, oregano and parsley flakes. I also mixed in a little olive oil so the herb mixture would stick together.

Add some of it to olive oil and it’s ready to serve/eat.

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.

What’s for Dinner: Homemade Bread

You need:

  • 1 cup of [warm] water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar20140625-173527-63327979.jpg
  • 1 package of instant yeast
  • 3 cups of [all-purpose] flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Olive oil

What I did was:

  1. In your mixing bowl, combine the warm water, the sugar, and the yeast. Stir the ingredients together. Then let it sit for around 10 minutes [until the yeast starts to foam].
  2. Next, add in the flour and salt. Mix the ingredients together until everything is incorporated and a nice dough forms. In my stand mixer, I switch to the dough hook when adding the flour and salt.
  3. I, then, sprayed the bowl that I would let the dough rise in with non-stick cooking spray just to make things simple for me. Transfer your dough into this bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and let it rise in a warm area. I typically let any type of dough I am working with rise in a turned off oven. No kneading involved!
  4. Let your rise for around an hour. Or at least 30 minutes.
  5. When you are ready to bake the bread [the dough has risen], preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Line a baking tray with foil [for easy cleanup]. Drizzle olive oil on top of the foil.
  7. Transfer your dough to your lined baking sheet. Score the top of the dough, and drizzle with more olive oil.
  8. Bake in your preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes.

I served it alongside an olive oil and herb dip today, but it would be great for sandwiches or anything else too.

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button:


What’s for Dinner: Garlic Knots

Tonight, I made garlic knots.

The semi-homemade way. I say that because instead of making my own pizza dough first, what I used instead was those refrigerated biscuits.

Easy to make, delicious, and ready in twenty minutes [prep and baking time included]!

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 [16-ounce] can of [refrigerated] buttermilk biscuits20140619-192121-69681884.jpg
  • 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of [unsalted] butter, melted

Here’s how I made it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line your baking sheet with foil [for easy cleanup].
  2. Cut each of the 8 biscuits in half. Then, using your hands, roll each of the pieces until they are about twice the length. Or even a little longer.
  3. Make a knot out of each piece of dough. and lay on top of your [lined] baking sheet.
  4. In a small bowl, combine together the Parmesan cheese, garlic powder,oregano, parsley and salt.
  5. Melt the butter and add it to the dry ingredients. Mix well.
  6. Brush each of the knots with the butter mixture. Don’t get rid of the leftover butter mixture just yet.
  7. In your preheated oven, bake the garlic knots for about 8-10 minutes. Until they are golden brown.
  8. As soon as you take them out of the oven, brush them with the rest of the butter mixture that was leftover earlier. The heat will help the mixture melt over the baked garlic knots and give the finishing touch.

Serve immediately!

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button: