Friday, October 11, 2013

Orange You Glad I Didn't Say Banana

What Ayaan Is Wearing:
DIY Bow-Tie
Custom Blazer
H&M Button Down Shirt
Gap Skinny Jeans
Converse All-Star Sneakers

Chili Lime Chicken Wings

These chili lime chicken wings are sweet, savory, and not the traditional buffalo wings we're used to. They are in a category of their own. They are seriously that good. The unexpected twist? Pepsi. I won't explain why, just try it and see for yourself!

For wings:

  • 1- 1 1/2 pounds chicken wings
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • Frying oil

For sauce:
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green chillies, minced
  • 2 stalks scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 1/4 ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Zest from one lime
  • Juice from half of one lime
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Pepsi
  • Pinch of salt

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, ground red pepper flakes, garlic powder and ground coriander in a large bowl or large Ziploc bag. Toss the chicken wings to coat them really well and allow to sit in the fridge for up to 2 hours. The longer you let chicken wings sit in flour mixture to better it will adhere to the chicken, resulting in a crispier coating.

Thirty minutes before frying in oil, remove the chicken wings from the fridge to bring them to room temperature. Dropping in cold wings into the hot oil will reduce the oil temperature too quickly and then they won't become crispy, which is the main goal for the best chicken wings.

On medium high heat using a large skillet with frying oil, drop the chicken wings one by one into the oil. Fry on each side for 7-8 minutes. Remove from oil and set aside.

{To check to see if your oil is ready, either take a pinch of flour and drop it into the oil. If it disappears fairly quickly your oil is ready. Or you can take a wooden spoon, stick the handle in the oil and if you see bubbles beginning to form around the spoon handle, then your oil is ready.}

It is best to fry the wings in two batches so that the temperature of the oil doesn't drop too much.

While the wings are frying, in a small saucepan with a teaspoon of oil on medium heat, add in the onions, garlic and chillies. Saute for a few minutes until onions become translucent. Then add, scallions, hot sauce, ketchup, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce and a pinch of salt. Stir and bring to boil. Add in lime zest, lime juice, brown sugar, stir well. Add in Pepsi and allow it boil and reduce. The sauce will thicken a bit. Remove from heat.

You can either toss the wings to coat in a sauce in a large bowl, or lay them out on a platter and top it with the sauce. Garnish with scallions and sliced limes.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Asian Beef Lettuce Cups

Asian beef lettuce cups is the perfect low carb, kid friendly, easiest dinner party appetizer ever. Instead of making these as wraps (which you can most certainly do) making them as cups makes them so elegant. Instead of using sliced steak, using ground beef will get you eating in no time. 

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1-2 tablespoon soy sauce*
  • 1-2 tablespoon chili garlic sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • Salt*
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Iceberg lettuce, cut into wedges
  • Carrots, jullienne
  • Red cabbage, jullienne
  • Sesame seeds to garnish
*As always, suit to taste!


In a skillet, start by heating up oil on medium heat. Add in the ground beef and begin to brown. Do not stir the meat around too much otherwise, it will turn gray - not good! Add in the salt, garlic powder, ginger powder. Stir a bit. Next, add in garlic and ginger pastes, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce and rice vinegar. Allow beef to cook thoroughly for 15-20, lowering the temperature to low heat and stir occasionally. Once it is cooked, add in sesame oil off of heat. Let beef mixture cool for about 5-10 minutes before assembling into lettuce cups to prevent the lettuce from wilting.

Assemble the lettuce cups by taking a few pieces of lettuce and placing a few tablespoons of the beef onto the lettuce. Add in the carrots and cabbage on either sides and top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

That's it! Simple, easy and deliciously beautiful.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Classic Beef Chili

Beef chili is one of those foods that can be eaten any time of the year as is, with bread, rice, corn or tortilla chips and can be topped with a number of things. The best thing about this dish besides being so easy? It's a one pot meal!

My version not only has the traditional flavors of cumin and paprika, but it also has a secret ingredient which is unexpected. Cocoa powder! Yup, (unsweetened) cocoa powder. This little gem adds such a depth of flavor and makes it well rounded. If you don't tell anyone, no one would even notice besides saying how delicious it is.

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon chili powder*
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (use your favorite!)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups kidney beans
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water (optional)
  • Salt*
*The chili powder and salt can be adjusted to suit your taste. 


In a large pot over medium high heat, add onions and sauté until translucent. Add in the minced garlic and continue to sauté. Next, add in the ground meat and begin to brown. Do not stir it too much. Allow for the meat to brown and start by putting in all the spices: cumin, coriander, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, chili powder. Continue to brown the beef for 10-15 minutes allowing any liquid released from the beef to evaporate. Next, add in the worcestershire sauce and tomato paste, stir well. Add in the BBQ sauce and continue to cook on medium heat. Add in the diced tomatoes and depending on how thick you want your chili to be, add water. Stir well and reduce heat to low and allow it cook to let the flavors infuse. After 45 minutes, taste to adjust seasonings. Salt can be added at this point. Add in the kidney beans and bell peppers and stir. Let it cook for 10 minutes, still keeping the bell peppers crunchy.

Serve with corn chips, crusty bread or rice.

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Pico de gallo
  • Diced avocado
  • Corn
  • Sour cream
  • Chives/Scallions
Makes 4-6 servings


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Eating chocolate chip cookies is one thing but eating chocolate chip OATMEAL cookies makes it healthier, right? Right.

These cookies not just have oatmeal in them, but they also have almond flour in them. They bake up soft and chewy. 


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F). In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. set aside. In another large bowl, using a stand mixer or hand held mixer, cream together butter and both sugars until smooth, light and fluffy. Then, beat in one egg at a time. Next, combine the flour mix into the creamed butter and egg mixture just until blended. Gently fold in almond flour, oats and chocolate chips so as to not break the chips.

Using a 2 tablespoon measure to help with conformity, roll little balls of dough with your hands and drop onto a parchment lined cookie sheet about 1 1/2" apart. 

Bake for 12 minutes in the oven. Bake 1-2 minutes for crispier cookies. Allow cookies to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.


Friday, July 12, 2013


This is the easiest Falooda recipe ever. It may not be the traditional way of making it, but it has all the same flavors! The perfect dessert for after iftar/dinner.


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 /2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 cardamom pods
  • 1/8 oz. Cellophane OR vermicelli noodles
  • Rooh Afza
  • Your favorite vanilla ice cream
  • Chopped almonds

Start by warming the milk on low heat in a small pot with sugar, cinnamon stick and the cardamom. Allow the milk to scald and the sugar to dissolve. Once the sugar has dissolved let the milk come to room temperature before putting it in the fridge to chill.
When ready to serve, boil the cellophane/vermicelli noodles. Once the noodles are tender, drain and rinse with cold water.
Using a tall glass to serve, pour in half of the cold milk, then half of the noodles. Scoop out a few balls of vanilla ice cream to top the noodles. Drizzle Rooh Afza over the ice cream and top with almonds. Serve with a long spoon and straw.

Easy, right?

Of course you can substitute the vanilla ice cream for your favorite flavor as well as the nuts. Strawberry ice cream would work even better!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Turkish Lamb Chops with Rice Pilaf

Lamb chops are one of the easiest cuts of meat to cook up either on an indoor grill or out. Make sure the chops haven't previously been frozen and are fresh. 

The only seasonings needed to flavor the chops are already in your pantry! 


  • 1 tablespoon Sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon Granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon Sumac *
*if you don't have sumac, don't worry just omit!


Lay out the chops and just sprinkle the sea salt, cracked black pepper, garlic, and sumac on both sides of the chops. Place in refrigerator for 4-6 hours.

When ready to grill, take out the chops and let them come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. You do not want to throw cold chops (or steaks) on a piping hot grill/griddle.

Grill on a piping hot grill for 7-9 minutes per side depending on how well you like your chops.

Turkish rice pilaf is the perfect side or accompaniment to go with the lamb chops. It's also very easy to throw together in a hurry!

  • 1 cup basamati rice or long grain rice
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 2 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • salt to taste

In a pot on medium heat add butter or olive oil and orzo. Allow orzo to brown for about 5 minutes while stirring. Once the orzo has brown slowly add the chicken stock and salt to taste. Stir and add rice.  Once it start boiling stir a bit and let boil for 2-3 minutes. Then cover and reduce heat to low. After about 20 minutes check to see if all the liquid has evaporated. Let the pilaf steam for another 5 minutes.

Plate up the rice pilaf along with the lamb chops are garnish with chopped parsley and mint. Optional: Grill tomatoes to go along side the meal.