I proudly own a copy of Hafeez Inayatullah‘s famous book khaana pakaana (cooking meals). This book was frist published in 1987 with a circulation of 25000 and then that was it. It never got published again. That is why it is too precious to own a copy of it in 2007.
I had an earlier post on this book in September 2006 which laboriously taught us on how to cook mouth watering Omelets in Pakistani Style. Today I am back with another set of 3 jaw-breaking, tongue stinging recipe’s from this book. The greatest thing about Ms Hafeez’s book is that it not only teaches you how to cook food but also gives you an insight on life’s philosophy, man-woman relationship, politics of in-laws etc. It also causes the readers to laugh involuntarily at every other sentence and that is why the book is so popular. For example here is an excerpt from the book’s preface which sheds light on the reason as to why Ms Hafeez decided to write this book.
Approximate English translation of the Urdu text above is in the following. I’ve added some masaala (spices) to the translation. It is added just enough to bring out more flavor to the text and not enough to make it a sour lie.
I am writing these sentences with a personal grief that most of our girls, after becoming educated, consider home cooking a sub-standard job. They say very proudly: “We don’t even know how to stir the pot” . After marriage, if these girls don’t get a personal cook at in-laws house then they have to do restaurant-hopping with their husbands. But for how long? This causes strife in their married life and we all know what happens next. Therefore keeping such situations in my mind, I have decided to write this book. Hopefully not only below-average-IQ MEN but also the inexperienced MEN will learn how to cook from this book.
The last line is the punch line. Even though all through the paragraph Ms Hafeez sounds very old fashioned where she wants all educated women to be bound to kitchen duty only; In actuality she is a feminist and wants men to share women’s burden and her actual target audience; as obvious from the last line; are MEN.
Before I go into actual recipe’ section, here is one more paragraph from the book which I couldn’t wait to share. This paragraph is also from the preface where Ms Hafeez is building her case as to why her cook book is the best. Take a look:
For our non-urdu readership, a mildly spicy translation goes like this:
“Wouldn’t you gals like it if your in-laws actually praise you? or wouldn’t you like it if your husband proudly says: “Despite being a graduate, my wife cooks finger lickingly delicious food“. blah blah blah.
RECIPE’ ONE: SCRAN-BLED EGGS # 11
Yes this is the title of the first recipe’ which I am quoting for you from the book khaana pakaana. Because of Arabic‘s influence on Urdu, sound of alphabets “NB” is pronounced as “M“. But this was old Urdu and Ms Hafeez has chosen to write this classical Urdu for her recipe’ book. Therefore at first read, by mistake I read ‘scrambled’ eggs as ‘scran-bled’ eggs. See below and decide for yourself if I was wrong in reading Scramble as Scranble.
For our English readership, the underlined text above is where the recipe’ made me laugh. Here is the mildly-spiced up translation:
This recipe is for eggs to be eaten with sandwiches or for ‘without any reason’ to be added on toasts. Stir the eggs as long as they look like kheer (a dessert made from sugar, milk and rice). If you continued stirring then egg will break down into many pieces and it will appear as if water has separated from the eggs.
RECIPE’ TWO: Pickled Bitter Gourds
First of all if you have ever eaten karela (bitter gourd) then you will know that nothing in this world (dunya ki koi taaqat) can take bitterness away from it. It reminds me of a sher.
hum bhi muNh meiN zubaaN rakhte haiN
kash poocho ke zaiqa kia hai
Therefore even if we cook it pickled, it will still remain pickled-bitter-gourds. so cook at your own risk. It is no joke that Urdu language even has an idiom on its legendary bitterness:
ek to karela oopar se neem chaRha
(As if bitter-Gourd was not bitter enough, it has grown on a Neem Tree to add to its bitterness)
The First line of above recipe’ describes medium sized karela as the one which is neither too big nor too small. Got it? That was so easy. This recipe’ also uses a word with phoenitc effect that is: kaRkaRaayeN. This word cannot be found in any Urdu dictionary but at Ms Hafeez’s it means when the fried oil starts making sounds like:
kaR kaR kaR kaR aaaayeeN aaayeeN….
kaR kaR kaR kaR aaaayeeN baayeeN shaayeeN
…and hence the word kaRkaRaayeN
RECIPE’ THREE: Chicken Roast # 1 (ENGLISH)
The word English in this title made me smile. It means the recipe’ is for English (Western) style Roasted chicken. Rest of the recipe’ is pretty straight forward with notations of smile here and there which I’ll let you pick yourself as you read through it.