Dubai: Pakistani dinner with a foodie friend

by Sanne
Pakistani food, dinner in Dubai

Last night, I was invited over to dinner at Haiya from Pass Me The Dim Sum’s place. Our initial plans were actually to go out for dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen on Atlantis, but we had both forgotten all about the minor little detail called “reservation”. Quite crucial in Dubai, especially when Mr. Ramsay himself is in town..

In retrospect, I don’t think I missed anything. I mean, you can always see Gordon Ramsay on TV, but it is definitely not every day, you get the chance to eat delicious Pakistani food.

Watching Haiya cook was such a delight, and my mouth started watering as the kitchen filled with exotic aromas. Pakistani food is so different from Danish food.

The Danes (especially the older generation) would only use salt and pepper to season the food (and basil and oregano if we want to take a walk on the wild side). Pakistani food is really, really spicy, but Haiya explained to me that if cooked properly, it wouldn’t be explode-in-your-mouth spicy but more of a rounded, tamed heat. You eat with your fingers and use the bread to scoop up the food.

Chapli means “slipper” so Chapli Kabab probably got its name from the fact that the patties look like they’ve been hit with a slipper. The minced meat is marinated overnight before shaped into patties and fried. You eat it with bread and a dip made from yogurt, garlic and cumin. Spicy and very tasty.

Okra is a very popular vegetable in Pakistani cuisine, or well, it’s actually a fruit because it has seeds. It is usually marinated in salt, turmeric and red chili powder and then fried in oil, but Haiya decided to skip the marinade that evening. Instead she mixed it with her mom’s homemade mutton stew, and even though she wasn’t very happy with how it turned out, I think it was delicious.

Chicken Karahi is a wonderful dish bursting with flavor (at least when cooked by Haiya). The chicken cubes are fried with cumin, coriander seeds and onions plus at lot of other stuff, and just before it’s ready, you add chopped tomatoes, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

I usually try to bring a small hostess gift, when I’m invited over to somebody’s house, and this time, I had decided to bring something edible, so I stopped by Magnolia Bakery on JBR earlier that day to pick up one of their small pecan cheesecakes and a pot of banana pudding.

I put it in the fridge, so it could stay cool until, I was ready to leave home.

When I arrived at Haiya’s, I gave her the bag, and she suggested that we had it for dessert later. Turned out that we were much too full for dessert, after eating all the delicious food she had prepared, but I told her what was in the bag, before I thanked her for the lovely dinner and left.

Haiya had also prepared a little treat for me: A jar of homemade raspberry jam. She also insisted that I took the rest of the chapli mixture, so I could try and cook it later. So sweet of her!

When I came back home and wanted to put the chapli mixture in the fridge, and guess what I found?

Oh no! The banana pudding was still in the fridge! I felt like the worst guest ever! “Hi, here’s a bag from Magnolia Bakery, but I’ve kept half of the content myself!”

The right thing to do would have been to drive off to her place again and give it to her, but it was late, so I went to bed.

Now I hope that Haiya doesn’t read the following:

Having a pot of banana pudding in your fridge is like having a big fat itch just waiting to get scratched, so guess what I had for breakfast this morning? Sorry Haiya, I owe you one..

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