It’s funny how life takes its twists and turns at unexpected corners, and before you realised it you are a different person altogether. How one’s cooking style change over the course of years, and what was foreign once becomes part of us. More than 15 years ago I left home for a foreign land. Alongside the typical English food that took over my kitchen experiments, I fell in love with Pakistani food, a common food scene that depicts Britain to what it really is. Almost like Indian cuisine, but slightly different to my palate. It was the kind of comfort food that somewhat connects me to home, homestyle cooking that cured my homesickness and wiped away the fear of being alone.
There was a kebab shop nearby the university which served chicken biryani better than home. I remembered the taste till today. Sitting in that crowded joint was never really an ideal option, so I would always ask for takeaway with two cubes of homemade sweets to go with it. Most often the sweets were almond burfi, homemade with buttery taste of ghee which was out of the world. That was my luxury, two sweet cubes that I never knew how to make from scratch yet satisfy my sweet craving more than even any bars of chocolate would.
One weekend I relived the memory of yesteryears and made some ghee, clarified butter so famously used in Indian and Pakistani cuisines. Nothing fancy, but the smell of butter slowly melting in the pan left me standing and reminisced about those sweets. The ghee laden chicken biryani. The small garden where I would sit and enjoy my food, uninterrupted, amongst all the buzz surrounding me. The taste and smell which connect, despite cuisines and countries.
The homemade ghee was used sparingly, due to obvious health reasons. I use it for special occassion, for chicken biryani which tastes almost as good as what I had in that shop.