On a recent trip to India, my husband had a chance encounter with Dalia. No need to get excited, this clandestine affair is strictly one of gluttony (or rather, the need to stray away from it). Dalia is not a pretty young lady, but rather a form of broken wheat. It is near identical to the Middle Eastern Bulghar (although I couldn’t find any articles online that confirmed the two to be the same).

Dalia is high in fibre, low in fat, and its slow absorption keeps you fuller longer and even stabilizes blood sugar levels.

Being so high up in terms of health benefits, you’d think it tastes pretty bland too. However, my husband came home with a super tasty (and super simple) recipe that is ideal for a wholesome breakfast or lunch. 

The tales of Emperor Akbar and his wittiest minister Birbal are an integral part of Indian folklore. Their stories often end with a moral teaching, and have been passed down to generations of fascinated young children.birbal-ki-kichdi-story-akbar-birbal-folktales-indian-tresind-dubai-indian-fine-dining-review-by-the-tezzy-files-dubai-food-blogger-best-blog-ahlan-masala-awards-2016

Interestingly, Birbal was the only Hindu in Emperor Akbar’s court. Born Mahesh Das, stories of his timely wit and moral standing won him over as Akbar’s dearest adviser, much to the chagrin of his counterparts.

One of the most popular Akbar Birbal stories is entitled ‘Birbal Ki Kichdi‘ (Birbal’s Kichdi). What is Kichdi you ask? An Indian risotto would be the best way to describe it to a global audience. However, the Indian counterpart is not as starchy as the one eaten by Italians. Indian kichdi is made up of near-equal proportions of rice and lentils, cooked together along with a mix of spices, and enriched with ghee (Indian clarified butter). Here is how the story goes:

My father was a very active member of the community at Palmerston North (New Zealand). He was a member of the Rose Society, had acted as president of the cultural society three times over, and was always involved in fund-raising events for the local Islamic Center. In retrospect, his social life has definitely been more varied and meaningful than mine.

On 21st February, Palmerston North held its annual Esplanade Day at the very popular grounds of the Esplanade. Here, small businesses and communities take up stalls selling all kinds of nifty, often handmade items, at exceptionally good prices. A makeshift stage is set up with live music and local entertainment, and members of the Islamic Center also put up a stall here to raise funds for the upkeep of the center’s needs. 

chef gaurav zafran interview
Chef Gaurav with bubby & me at Zafran, Mirdiff City Centre.

Remember my gastronomic meal at Zafran? We had a sampler dish from every corner of India!

Meet Chef Gaurav, the mastermind behind the delicious fare.

With an impressive culinary career including cooking for the Ambani’s, Chef Gaurav gets candid about his journey as a chef so far and has generously shared the recipe for one of my favorite dishes at Zafran: the Bengali inspired Prawn Coconut Curry. This mildly spiced curry is a perfect addition to the Iftar table.