Karachi Summers

I came here to write about jalfrezi, because it’s what I do and that is what my blog is about but all I can think about is Karachi and Pakistan. Or a version of that city and country that makes me who I am and makes this recipe what it is.

I’m eight years old, Seemy and Anna, my mother’s sisters have been talking about eating jalfrezi at Silver Spoon all day. You know, I’m sure there were better things to eat at Silver Spoon. My sister and I weren’t that excited, partly because were stuffed from an afternoon of spending our pocket money on Pakola sold in plastic bags with straws, Slims and imli from Mazhar Bhai’s shop. Back in the day ten rupees bought a lot of ice cream soda, chips and imli, these days it only just buys a naan.

I love Karachi now as much as then, but the city has changed. I don’t recall insane amounts of load shedding or hearing the grown-ups talk about there not being enough water.

I spent most summers visiting our family in Pakistan, trying to understand Gujarati conversations, joining the neighbourhood kids in their anticipation of summer rain and learning to kick ass at Chum Chum Chum. The weather was hot but the perpetual hum of the fan above our heads gave us just enough respite from Karachi’s heat.

I don’t know what to tell you about this jalfrezi recipe, just that it made me so sad, just like the recent news headlines coming out of my beloved city. When I first put this recipe together, I thought of how I would tell this story about being in Karachi that summer.

I’m eight years old, Seemy and Anna, my mother’s sisters are ecstatic, we are finally on our way to eat jalfrezi at Silver Spoon. My sister and I rolled down the windows in my uncle’s Suzuki van and let the first breath of Karachi’s evening breeze kiss our faces as we made our way through the city… we were just excited to be there. It was a different time, a different place and people’s suffering wasn’t so easy to come by. My heart hurts so much for Karachi right now.

Tofu Jalfrezi

(Serves 4)

400g of tofu
1tsp garam masala
1tsp garlic minced garlic
1tsp ginger minced ginger
1tbsp coconut oil

Marinade the tofu with the spices, then fry until golden brown in the coconut oil and set aside.

1tbsp coconut oil
1tsp poppy seeds
1tsp cumin powder
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 red onion, quartered
1 red pepper, sliced
1tsp garlic minced garlic
1tsp ginger minced ginger
1tsp cayenne
1tsp turmeric
1tsp coriander powder
1 green chilli, finely sliced and with the seeds removed
Chopped coriander leaves

To serve: freshly boiled basmati rice and vegan sour cream

In a pan on a medium heat, gently stir-fry the cumin seeds and poppy seeds together. As they start to sizzle, add the tomatoes, onions and pepper.

Once the peppers and onions begin to sweat, add the remaining spices and bring to a boil. Stir in the tofu and simmer for about twenty minutes or until the tomatoes have broken down.

Serve with freshly boiled rice and vegan sour cream.

2 Comments on Karachi Summers

  1. Sarah
    June 27, 2015 at 9:02 am (3 years ago)

    I love this, Sahar. The recipe looks delicious as well – full of warming and satisfying spices. I don’t cook with tofu often, but I’ll have to make this sometime. Love to you. x

    • Sahar Aman
      June 27, 2015 at 1:21 pm (3 years ago)

      Aww thank you gorgeous girl. The tofu worked surprisingly well, I rarely have the patience for cooking it but it was beautiful in this dish. I needed something warm. We have to meet up soon, sending you much love back. xoxo


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