A word of advice for all you beginner cooks – stick to the basics. It is the absolutely safe place to start. I say this for two reasons, one you will be surprised at how easy it is to get the basics right early on because you have been picking up, subconsciously, how they are cooked around you. Which brings me to the second reason, getting something, anything, even the basics right is a HUGE motivational factor, especially for a beginner. It gives you the high, heady rush that makes you believe you can cook anything. And trust me, that feeling is very important to have and to hold on to.
I was always academically strong so it came as no surprise to me when I excelled at work. I got into banking as soon as I got done with business school and did pretty well for myself. Got myself a job in one of the largest multinational bank in the world and that too in New York. By the time I got ready to marry I was one of the youngest Vice Presidents in the global operations comprising of 300,000 employees. I am not gloating here, just trying to make a point. That being, even though I was able to achieve so much in such little time, stepping into the kitchen to cook for my husband sent shivers down my spine like never before. So every time I got something simple right it soared my spirits so high, Mr. Mazhar thought I was over-reacting bit! Men!! What do they know, right?
Well you may ask, what are the basics? That is an excellent question. The basics are all those things that are a staple in your meals since childhood. We all like to spice things up with something exotic here and there but if you master the basics early on, pulling off a dinner for just you and your special someone or a party of ten will not be as difficult or stressful as you would imagine. For me, the basics include, boiled rice, potatoes in gravy, korma (rich, fragrant, spicy meat curry), qaliya (light but flavourful meat curry), qeema (mince meat) and fried peas!! I focused on getting these elements right, in the beginning. That made all the difference, when I attempted things like butter chicken, chicken Kiev, herb crusted fish fillets and risotto! You will find all my basics on the Recipes page.
Needless to say that I made these dishes often, so much so that Mr. Mazhar started suggesting eating out a couple of times a month. But by then I knew I had earned my stripes and so I did go all exotic with dishes that will make your mouth water when I share them with you, soon enough!
So till then keep working on getting your basics right and it will all be smooth sailing from there, In Shaa Allah (with Allah’s Will). Enjoy!