Azad Jammu and Kashmir abbreviated as AJK or Azad Kashmir is an administrative territory of Pakistan, literally means “Free Kashmir”. I highly appreciate Raja Suleman Rauf, an aspiring Mechanical Engineering student of Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST). He’s so cooperative in gathering some photos of AJK and providing information. Suleman is proficient in English and can easily relate to any situation. He belongs to the Muslim Rajput clan in Pakistan. They use the title Raja.
Mirpur is one of the largest cities of the Pakistan administered Kashmir region. It is also known as “Little England” since a large number of population is settled in the United Kingdom. UK products are available in the city.
Barnala is a sub-division of District Bhimber.Barnala. This place is the business hub of Mirpur.
Some wonderful places in AJK…
This one is a special kind of tea, Kashmiri Tea or Chai. I don’t know exactly how to make it but it’s made of Kashmiri green tea, sugar, milk, green cardamoms, a little soda, crushed pistachios and almonds on top of it. It’s served in winter.
The traditional biryani from the valleys of Kashmir is called Kashmiri Biryani. It is an Indian popular spiced rice with meat or chicken. Kashmiri Biryani has lots of spices and nuts.
I love some Kashmiri fashion styles and designs. A Kashmiri friend from Islamabad sent me these items.
Kashmir Solidarity Day or Kashmir Day is a national or public holiday in Pakistan. It is observed on 5th February every year. It focuses on Pakistan’s support and unity with the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir and pays tribute to the martyrs who fought for Kashmir’s freedom. Let’s join hands and pray for a peaceful Kashmir.
It’s a rich food, carbo-loading but so tasty. It’s made of long-grained rice, spaghetti, chicken and vegetable with ketchup-mayonnaise and fried garlic toppings. INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup ketchup 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 head crushed garlic 2 cups rice 1/2 kg. spaghetti 1 large chopped onion 1/2 kg. chicken breast, cubed 1 chicken cube 1 tbsp. soy sauce salt & black pepper 1 cup water 1 small cabbage 3 medium carrots 3 medium capsicums The first thing I do is to prepare the toppings and set aside. Mix 1/2 cup ketchup with 1/2 cup mayonnaise. Fry garlic. Half of it for the topping and the other half for the chicken and vegetable dish. Boil rice until tender and drain excess water. Spread in a dish. Boil pasta until done, wash and drain the water in colander. Spread on top of rice. Mix. Stir fry onion. Add fried garlic and chicken. Stir in chicken cube. Continue sauteing. Season with soy sauce, salt and black pepper. Add water and cover. Simmer chicken until tender. Mix vegetables. Stir fry and cover until vegetables are done. Spread chicken and vegetable mixture on rice and pasta in the dish. Top with ketchup-mayonnaise and fried garlic.
Winter is over. I used to steam cake or flan during that time to produce heat in the surroundings. The weather is getting warmer. Baking or steaming is uncomfortable to prepare food. I experimented the other uses of sandwich maker. It’s successful! I just used my own pancake recipe. Try it.
2 small eggs or 1 big egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter or cooking oil
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
Add sugar and oil, continue beating.
Mix milk and vanilla essence.
Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.
Mix thoroughly to form a thick batter.
Grease the sandwich maker.
Preheat it for a few minutes.
Spread batter within the triangle lines.
Close it and cook for 3-5 minutes.
If the inserted knife in the center of the cake comes out clean, it’s done.
Dust with icing sugar. (optional)
NOTE: You may add 3 tablespoons cocoa powder or mashed banana to produce a different flavor.
This is so tasty Indian/Pakistani dessert… Lauki Ka Halwa. Lauki is a Hindi word for bottle gourd or upo in Tagalog. It was something strange for me at the start because I used to eat bottle gourd as a vegetable dish. It’s so easy to make this sweet dish. Squeeze out water from the grated bottle gourd. Saute’ it in butter or oil. Add condensed milk, simmer until milk is absorbed. Top with raisins, almonds and pistachios if desired. The same recipe with Gajar Ka Halwa. Use grated carrots in place of bottle gourd.
GAJAR KA HALWA
1/4 c. corn oil
5 tbsp. butter
1 kg. carrots, peeled and grated
1 c. evaporated milk
6 tbsp. powdered milk
1 tsp. vanilla essence
3/4 c. sugar
1 tbsp. raisins
1 tbsp. chopped cashew nuts
1. Saute’ grated carrots in hot oil for 5 minutes.
2. Add milk and vanilla. Simmer until milk absorbed into the carrots. Stir occasionally.
3. Add sugar, butter and raisins, continue stirring until liquid absorbed.
4. Garnish with cashew nuts.
***You may use 1 cup condensed milk in place of evaporated and powdered milk. Omit sugar.
She earned her degrees (BSC-BA, MBA) at the University of Santo Tomas, Espana, Manila, Philippines. During her school days, she took Journalism, spent writing articles and became school News Writer and Science Page Editor.
Her maternal aunt, Dr. Anacleta Villacorta Agoncillo (medical doctor and author), wife of the late Prof. Teodoro A. Agoncillo (author of “History of the Filipino People”, essayist and poet), great Filipino historian, inspired her to pursue writing.
She got 99% in the government exams after high school as a requirement before entering college or university and afterwards passed the Civil Service Eligibility.
Her banking career at the Equitable Banking Corporation, Manila, Philippines, ceased after traveling and settling in different countries which gave her opportunities to venture in different professions like teaching in International School in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Cambridge School in Karachi, Pakistan.
She continued writing in spite of her tight schedule. She has written 99% successful UK appeals. Cooking is one of her passions. Writing her own recipes is her hobby. She learned different foreign cuisines from Far East to Middle East which paved the way to the making of English grammar book (Basic English Grammar Guide) and cookbooks (Asian & Middle Eastern Cuisines and Foreign Cuisines From Far East To Middle East).
She was awarded as the ‘Most Talented Teacher’ in O’Level at the Aisha Bawany Academy, Sharah-e-Faisal, Karachi. Pakistan. Her recipe, Lipardo’s Puto Seco, is on Top 20 Best Asian Cookie Recipes as rated and reviewed by millions of home cooks. Being a Featured Author, she maintains a blog site at the WordPress.com, Mlvla65’s Blogs. She has also an Author Page on Facebook. Maria Lourdes is a recipe contributor to Allrecipes.com and CookEatShare.com.
To date, she is a Free-lance Writer and Proprietor/Managing Director of Civic Solution (www.civicsol.com), Building Construction – Civil & ID Works in Karachi, Pakistan.