My Beautiful Gift from Indigo Artisans

Salams and Hello everyone. Hope you’re all well. I think it’s become a kind of tradition for me to write a blog post in Ramadhan.

Well this time round it’s not a recipe for you however it’s something that I am excited and grateful to have been gifted by a beautiful soul. I’m not one of those people who asks for things but Alhumdulillah when least expected I receive messages from lovely people.

When I received a message from Kausar of Indigo Artisans that she wanted to create a bespoke recipe journal for me I was so overwhelmed that she wanted to do this for me, this was because I knew after having followed her page for quite a while it’s something that is such hard work to make but I also knew that it’s something she’s very passionate about and she also knew that with my passion for cooking it’s something that I would cherish and utilize for years to come aswell as the book becoming somewhat of an heirloom that I can pass down to generations after me.

If anyone who knows me I am very organised but when it comes to cooking I am somewhat a ‘messy cook’ I have spoons flying about, sink overloaded, scrappy bits of paper with half written recipes or trying to read from my notes or screenshots on my phone. Oh and another thing is I am very forgetful, ask me for a recipe and it will never just roll off my tongue so this beautiful recipe book is going to be a lifesaver as I’ll be able to write all my recipes in there and like I said earlier I can pass it onto my daughters and their children inshallah.

I just wanted to share a bit about the background of Indigo Artisans in Kausar’s own word so you can all understand how she started her business. Please do read it so you can also understand her passion for what she does;

‘My business is called Indigo Artisans and you can find me at http://www.indigo-artisans.com/

I have a background in fashion and was a globetrotting designer for many years before switching careers and taking up the mindful art of bookbinding. I have a little home studio in Leicester and make bespoke books (journals, sketchbooks, recipe books, wedding guestbooks, travel journals and more) all made entirely by hand. Hand cut leather, hand folded paper, all stitched by hand without the use of machinery, only a needle and thread, to form a bespoke book. I’ve also just recently added complimentary products to do with calligraphy and hand writing like inks and dip pens.

Most of my work is custom made to order so if you have a dream book, I will do my best to work with you to bring it to life. I work predominantly with leather (its all cow hide (but I do have a small line of faux leather too) and have about 15 different leather colours and 25 different thread colours that you can choose from to create your customised book. I have a whole selection of styles on my website but I also work with clients to create totally bespoke books which I love to do.

I offer a very bespoke and personalised service and most of my items can be personalised with custom printed title pages, monograms or names stitched onto the cover, little envelope pages to slip in loose notes, charms, lined and grid printed pages, maps and more.

The recipe books especially, are lovely heirloom pieces that you can pass down to your daughters or make gorgeous gifts for a bride to be. I know they may seem a little pricey, but I use the most gorgeous pull up leather that just gets better with use and wear and develops a character of its own the more you use it. The paper is a beautiful heavy weight cartridge paper that is a joy to write on. Everything is also totally bespoke, custom made and entirely hand made so it’s a labour intensive process but a really artisan product that you won’t get anywhere else that really is made with love and passion.’

So there you go in Kausar’s own words she’s beautifully explained how much work and passion goes in to what she creates.

I personally am totally happy with Kausar’s service and would highly recommend her if you are looking for something meaningful to gift to a loved one that they will adore and love for the rest of their lives. With Kausar she offers that personal one to one service as she asked me what I wanted every step of the way, she consulted with me in regards to all the finer details, from the colour/cut of the leather and thread to what kind of pages I wanted she also offered her professional advice and opinion on what would look good or not. With her knowing that I have millions of recipes she recommended I go for the maximum pages in the book so I know that I will literally get all my recipes in there. As you will be able to see from the photos of the book the neatness of the stitching and binding is second to none (I just about manage to sew on a shirt button)

Kausar also created a contents page for me, although she did suggest whether I wanted sections I thought I’d just have a contents page so I can write the recipes in no particular order. One of my fave parts of the book is the title page which Kausar personalised with my caption from my blog. The book was delivered beautifully wrapped firstly in tissue paper and placed in a sturdy gift box with a ribbon bow so you know the recipient of this gift like I was is going to be excited as soon as they receive it. I was actually nervous to see it, not in a bad way but nervous that I am going to damage it as it’s hand stitched but the stitching on it is so well done and the book looks strongly held together.

OMG one more thing guys how can I forget one of the main features of the book, as you can see from the pictures Kausar has beautifully hand stitched ‘Hajra’s Kitchen’ on the front of the book. That is surely one of my fave parts of it.

I have always had ugly notebooks that I have written my recipes but I am now absolutely in awe and love with this book and can’t wait to start writing in it. All I need to do now is find some beautiful pens to write in ‘MY’ gorgeous book.

Please do check out and follow Indigo Artisans on Instagram by clicking https://www.instagram.com/indigo.artisans/ and the link to her website is above and will also be on her Instagram bio. She has kindly given a discount code for all my followers so please check out my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/hajras_kitchen/ there will be more details on there.

Once again thank you so much Kausar. My Duas will be with you everytime I open those beautiful pages 💙

Tandoori Lamb Sliders Mango and Passionfruit Cheesecake (Aldi)

Hello People, yes yes Hajra’s Kitchen is still alive and kicking. Lack of blogging and recipes is due to a number of personal reasons. Thanks for understanding ❤️

So recently the amazing Aldi contacted me and asked if I wanted to do a feature on their products. They very kindly sent me some vouchers to use in their store. I am a huge Aldi fan as I shop their regularly and I think their products are great value for money, the quality is brilliant and the fact they now do certain branded items its even better.

These are some of the lovely items I purchased today!

Anyways after racking my brain I thought as we are still in kind of a Summer I’d make a main…the Lamb Sliders and dessert was a mango & Passionfruit cheesecake and also added on a refreshing Passion fruit mocktail.

I’ve tried to take some step by step pics but any questions please feel free to message me.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 KG Lamb Mince

1 and half tsp Chilli powder

1 TBS Tandoori powder

2 TBS Tandoori Paste

1 tsp Salt (add more of needed)

1 tsp Peri Peri Seasoning

1 TBS Lemon Juice

2 tsp ginger garlic paste

1 tsp Coarse black pepper

Aldi Brand brioche sliders

Cheese Slices

METHOD:

Wash and Drain the Lamb mince. Add the rest of the ingredients and marinate overnight or at least 2 hours.

Make into small patties and bake for 15 minutes. Once par baked grill in a griddle pan or George Foreman Grill.

To assemble: Slice a slider in half and then layer the Salad in and then add the patty, add some yoghurt mint chutney, add a slice of cheese. Put a skewer through the middle with a cherry tomato.

Mint chutney: Aldi Greek yoghurt, Aldi mint sauce, salt to taste, fresh lemon juice.

Served with a side of Aldi Curly Fries.

Add all the spices to the lamb mince

Mix well and leave to marinate overnight or at least a couple of hoursShape into pattiesGrill in a griddle pan or George Foreman grill Layer Salad into the buns, add the lamb patties and top with a slice of cheese and mint yoghurt chutney.

Now onto the dessert…one of my fave Cheesecakes!

Mango & Passionfruit cheesecake

INGREDIENTS:

For the base:

300g Milk Chocolates digestives

50g melted butter

Blitz some chocolate digestives, add the melted butter to the digestives and mix well. Layer on the bottom of a springform cake tin and press well. Chill for half an hour.

For the topping:

600g soft cheese (Aldi)

150 ml elmlea double cream (whipped separately till soft peaks)

60g icing sugar

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Mango & Passionfruit Coulis (from Aldi)

Whip all the of the above topping ingredients together and then spread on top of the biscuits base. Spread the Aldi Mango & Passionfruit coulis on top.

Chill for a few hours.

All ingredients except the butter are from Aldi

Add the digestives to the chopper and blitz

Blitz until they resemble breadcrumbs

Add the melted butter to the crushed digestives and mix and then press into a springform cake tin and then put in the fridge to chill

Whip the elmlea cream until soft peaks

Add 600g (3 tubs Aldi soft cheese) into a bowl

Add the icing sugar and whisk the cream cheese and sugar

Add the whipped elmlea and lemon juice and whisk well until nicely combined and smooth. Taste for sugar and sourness.

Add the creamy mixture on top of the chilled biscuit base

Spread the mix evenly onto the biscuit base and then add the mango & passionfruit coulis on top

Chill for a few hours until ready to serve

Kheema Pulao (or Peas Pulao)

Salams and Hello all! Hope all is well in your neck of the woods…over here winter is well and truly on its way…I am so not a winter person at all, I’m one of those who can feel the cold going right through my bones 😭😭 during winter I just want to be wrapped up all cosy and don’t want to leave the house, if only I was a hedgehog hey? (Why isn’t there a hedgehog emoji 🤔) Lol sorry for all the waffling I just needed to let that out. 

So I recently made this kheema pulao after a long time, as I don’t make it too often I tend to forget about this dish. I hadn’t written it down so had to give my mummy a quick call to run me through it again. Mum was like chuck that in and throw that in. So this time I thought I’d better write everything down as I go along. I have used chicken mince in this recipe but have previously made with lamb mince too, if you do like beef you can make it with that too.  Hope you enjoy making and eating it if you do decide to give it a go. Any questions as always just contact me…lots of love 

Let’s begin Bismillah….

INGREDIENTS:

1 KG or 2lb Chicken Mince (washed and drained completely)

1 1/2 Cup Sunflower Oil

5 onions (slice thinly)

2 tsp Ginger/Garlic Paste

3 TBS Green chillies (blended)

3 TBS Coriander cumin powder 

1/2 tsp Turmeric 

2 1/2 tsp Salt (add more or less according to taste) 

1 TBS Whole Cumin

2 TBS Lemon juice 

1/2 Coriander (chopped fine)

4 Tomatoes (small cubes)

5 Potatoes (large chunks)

1 Cup frozen Petit Pois

1/4 Cup Natural Yoghurt (whisk lightly)

3 Mugs Basmati Rice

3 tsp Salt

1 TBS Whole Cumin Seeds

1 Cinnamon Stick 
3 Cardamon Pods

METHOD:

In a large pot heat the oil and add the slice onions, fry till lightly golden, add the washed mince and also to that add the green chillies, the coriander/cumin powder, turmeric, whole cumin, ginger/garlic paste and salt, keep the flame on medium heat stir well, keep breaking up with a wooden spoon so that the mince does not form lumps.

As the mince changes colour add the chopped tomatoes and yoghurt and let this all cook, when the water is mostly burned off add the frozen petit pois and the potatoes, after around 5 minutes add coriander and allow to cook further until all moisture has burned off. Keep stirring every so often to ensure it’s not sticking to bottom of pot. Turn of once you can see that all moisture has burned off and the mince is nicely cooked.

While the mince mixture is cooking boil the rice by boiling a pot of water, when water comes to boil add the drained rice with the salt and 1 TBS whole Cumin . Cook the rice until it’s par boiled. Drain out into a colander. Run some cold water over the rice to remove the starch.

Once the mince has cooked you will need layer it all. So in another separate large pot, line a sheet of foil at the bottom and layer 1/3 of the rice, then layer the mince mix on top and then the remaining 2/3 of rice. Add some blobs of butter on top and sprinkle some more chopped coriander. 
Cover the pot with another sheet of foil and cover with lid.
Put the pot on the stove again on low to medium heat and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to gas Mark 3 or 170 electric…place pot in oven and allow to finish cooking for around 30-40 minutes. 

Check that potatoes are tender. 

Serve with yoghurt gravy, raita and poppadoms! 

Enjoy 😇

PS: sorry for the pic quality 🙈

Thinly slice onions 

Heat the oil and add the sliced onions 

Fry until lightly golden

Add the mince with all the spices 

Give it all a stir and cook

Add the chopped tomatoes 

Also add the yogurt 

Next goes in the petit pois and potatoes 

And the Coriander 

Give it all a stir slowly

Parboil the rice and layer 1/3 on bottom of a large pot 


Layer the mince mix on top and then another layer of the remaining rice 

Add blobs of butter and Coriander on top of the final layer of rice

Serve the Kheema Pulao with a yoghurt gravy (chaas) and cucumber raita 

2

Chicken Akhni 

Salams lovely sisters & brothers…hope you are all good and enjoying the lovely summer we have been having so far (including the typical British unpredictable random showers) Well the last day of Ramadhan my family and I jetted off to the amazing Istanbul…and we had a brilliant time..if you have never visited definitely do try and visit, a truly beautiful city..full of Islamic history, beautiful architecture and of course great food (mmmm baklava 😍)I’ll try and add some pics at the end of this recipe post. This post is for a rice dish called Chicken Akhni…rice can be such a filling dish and can be used to make so many different conbinations. This particular dish is made with a chicken curry base, it’s very flavoursome, the rice is actually cooked into the curry rather than it being layered like biryani. Lamb meat can also be used for this. I have tried both chicken and lamb using the same method and ingredients but just allow more cooking time for the lamb. With a side of cucumber raita and spicy yoghurt lassi you won’t want to stop till u finish the pot (that kinda rhymes 😁) So here goes….Bismillah 

INGREDIENTS:
1 Chicken (cut into medium pieces, cleaned and drained)

1/4 cup oil

3 Tbs Ghee

2 onions (sliced thinly)

2 tsp ginger garlic paste

3 cinnamon sticks 

1 Tbs whole jeera (cumin seeds)

3 elaichi (cardamon pods)

3 Bay leaves

2 tinned tomatoes (blended)

1 and half tsp Red chili powder

1/4 tsp haldi (turmeric)

1 and 1/2 tsp Salt

3 tsp Dhana Jeeru powder (coriander/cumin powder)

3 Tbs Tomato Puree

3 tsp Paprika

3 potatoes (cut into large cubes)

Handful of chopped fresh coriander 

2 Mugs of Basmati Rice ( washed thrice and left to soak in warm water for around 45 minutes)

METHOD:

Heat a large pot and pour in the oil and add the ghee, once oil has heated up and the ghee has melted, add the sliced onions, the cumin seeds, cardamon, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves and fry until lightly golden, stir every so often to ensure they are evenly browned.

Once onions are golden, add the blended tomatoes and all the dry spices including the ginger garlic paste. Stir well and cook with lid on for around 10 minutes on low to medium heat. Now add the tomato Puree and paprika, stir and cook further for around 5-8 minutes until the oil has separated.

Now add the chicken and stir and cook covered on low heat. After around another 10 minutes stir and add the potatoes and the chopped coriander. Cook further and check again to see the oil has separated and the masala is a rich colour and thickness.

Boil some water in a kettle and add 3 mugs of the boiled water to the chicken and add 2 and 1/2 tsp of salt. Bring the chicken to the boil and add the drained rice and bring to the boil again. Taste for salt and lower the heat slightly. Let the rice absorb the water and as the water gets more absorbed keep lowering heat. 

Stir gently to check the rice is not sticking to the bottom of the pot. When most of the water is absorbed, cover and lower heat completely and cook for 5-7 minutes. Check the rice and if needs be add a little bit more boiled water.

Heat the oven at gas mark 4 and place the pot in oven. Keep in oven for around half and hour and check the potatoes are cooked through.

Make a raita with cubed cucumber, chopped red onions and cubed peppers, add salt, cumin powder, a bit of crushed red chillies, chopped coriander, salt to taste and Greek yoghurt.

Heat the oil and ghee and add the sliced onions plus whole spices

Fry the onions until lightly golden 

Add the dry spices, salt and ginger garlic

Cook for a while until oil starts to separate

Now add the tomato Puree and paprika 

Cook further on low heat until the masala is rich and thick and oil has separated completely 

Add the cleaned and drained chicken 

Mix well, cover and cook further 

It should now look like this 

Now add the cubed potatoes and fresh coriander, mix gently and cook further on low to medium heat

Allow to cook until the potatoes start to soften 

Add 3 to 3 1/2 mugs  of boiled water and add the drained rice 

Let the rice absorb the water, lower the heat as the water reduces, then cover and leave to cook on low heat
When it looks like this you can put in the oven to allow to cook completely

Make up the raita and get ready to enjoy!! 

As promised here’s a few pics from our trip to Istanbul ❤️🇹🇷
The beautiful Sultanahmet mosque, better known as ‘The Blue Mosque’

Sulemaniye Mosque

Beautiful calligraphy in the Hagia Sophia 

Inside the Blue Mosque 

Fabulous Turkish cuisine 

0

Spicy Rice Flour dough balls aka Papri noh loth/atto/khichi 

Salams lovely people, pray u are all well..I guess for some of you the holidays have started. Lucky you!! I’m sadly working throughout. My girls during their holiday tend to give me a list of their fave foods so that they can indulge during their time off and they can enjoy it a bit more than usual..the one thing at the top of their list was something that I really enjoy eating too, and it brings back great childhood memories. This is a traditional Guji thing, the dough is actually used to make rice flour poppadoms which we call Papri, they are rolled out very thin, there’s a special technique and a special steel rolling pan is used to roll them, it’s a long procedure to actually make the papri itself.  Once rolled out they are laid out on some thin fabric and left to dry out in the sun all day..I have fond memories of myself and my cousins helping our mums and aunts lay them out in the garden and also trying to hide or eat the ones that got all crumpled and messed up (oh well, now they know) I, later was promoted to rolling them out once I had mastered it. Once completely dry, they can be stored in air tight containers and you can either fry, grill or microwave them. Well the dough itself, once boiled is yummy scrummy to eat on its own, drizzled with oil or butter it’s just something very enjoyable…and the fragrance while it’s boiling is just amazing. I do hope you try it out. Please let me know if you do make it and how you liked it.

INGREDIENTS:

6 Cups Rice Flour

2 Tbs Sesame Seeds

6 Cups of Cold Water

4 Tbs Green Chillies (Ground)

1 Tbs Cumin Seeds

2 Tbs Carom Seeds

3 Tbs Salt

3 Tbs Papad Kharo (available in Asian grocery stores)

Oil or butter to drizzle on top (optional)

METHOD:

Measure the Rice flour into a large mixing bowl or if u have a stand mixer then into the mixer bowl and add the Sesame seeds.

In a large Saucepan bring to the boil the 6 Cups of water, once it comes to the boil, add the green chillies, cumin seeds, carom seeds, salt and the Papad Kharo and give it a stir, turn the gas to medium and let this simmer for 10 minutes.

After the water and spices have simmered for 10 minutes slowly pour this into the bowl with the Rice flour and sesame seeds. If using a stand mixer then using the dough hook attachment mix on medium speed until the dough has all come together. If doing by hand first mix with a wooden a spoon as it will be very hot, once it starts to come together use your hands to knead it. The dough will be quite soft and sticky. Take the dough out onto the work top or into a large try and knead for a while until it has all come together.

Take a bowl of lukewarm tap water and wet your hands and take small tennis ball sized pieces of dough and roll into a smooth ball and then flatten, poke a hole into the middle of the flattened dough ball making sure the hole goes right through. Lay them in a large tray and cover with a clean tea towel or cling film to stop then drying out.

Now to cook the dough balls, boil water in a kettle and pour into a large saucepan, fill it to around 3/4 full. Turn on cooker to high to make sure the water is boiling, slowly lower around 3 or 4 of the flattened dough balls into the water and turn the gas medium to high, let it boil for around 20 to 30 minutes making sure they are cooked throughout. You can test it by breaking the dough with a fork and checking it’s not raw inside. Remove the cooked dough balls With a slotted spoon and put in a colander to strain for a few minutes.

TIP: Enjoy these spicy dough balls at its best, drizzle some olive oil or sunflower oil on top or you can always have it with a few blobs of butter. Yummy!!!

Enjoy 😇
 Spices needed for the spicy dough balls

 Rice Flour & Papad Kharo (available from Indian grocery stores)
 Bring the 6 cups of water to the boil and firstly add the cumin seeds (whole jeera)
 Add the green Chillies
 Then the Carom seeds (Ajwain)
 Then goes in the Salt
 Lastly the Papad Kharo (looks like salt)
 Give it a stir and simmer for 10 minutes
 It will look like this after its simmered for 10 minutes

 Place the rice flour in your stand mixer bowl  with the sesame seeds (use dough hook attachment)
 Pour the spiced boiled water into the bowl with rice flour and mix


It will all start to come together

 Take out the dough onto the work top and knead with your hands until it all comes together properly
 Dough should look like this, nice and smooth, then make flattened dough balls (wet your hands as dough may be sticky)
 The flattened dough balls all ready
 Carefully place 3 or 4 dough balls in a large saucepan of boiling water and cook for approx 20-30 minutes

 Just check it’s cooked through and not raw in the centre
  Drizzle oil (olive or sunflower) or even some butter and enjoy mmmm