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“Dastarkhaan” is a word derived from Persian word Dastarkhwan, which means “table cloth” or “great spread”.  The term refers to a long cloth that is spread on the floor, or ground, to be used as a sanitary surface for food before the meal is set. The food placed on the Dastarkhaan can range from simple food to a feast. The cultural significance comes from various traditions, signifies a meal where family and friends sit together and enjoy their meal. With most people preferring to use dining tables than sitting on the ground to eat, dastarkhaans are not used as often as they were few years ago. But, even today when families get together in India/ Pakistan and most parts of middle east and central Asia, it is the most preferred way of serving meal. Unlike a dining table, a dastarkhaan can accommodate any number of people. Some prohibitions include never stepping on the dastarkhaan.

This website is sum of recipes that I have invented and created after a lot of  research.  Food cannot be categorized into a set pattern. Tastes and flavors go beyond one person’s imagination. It would be tough to say that one person can conquer it all and would be able to serve everything ever cooked around the world, and present it on a platter. No amount of travelling unseen destinations or meeting people from different religions or customs can give you a complete idea of their food choices. But, trying to learn more and having keen interest in exploring different horizons of traditions and flavors around the globe does broaden your view and your vision of looking at the world changes, your perspective towards people, and their food definitely becomes more accepting.

I have been inspired family inheritance, friends, books, people,  travelling or by just reading about some culture. Not everything you try will be everything you like but, you willing to try does make you more daring and helps you understand the community better. I once heard a beautiful saying “ Boti aur Boli ka rishta jeebh se hai to agar Zubaan samajhni hai to zaaiqaa samajhiye” which means, “ Your tongue senses your speech and taste, so if you want to understand a language, understand the flavor ” .

It’s simply amazing how many different cuisines around the world are so delicious, yet so different from one another. Belonging to a country like India makes me feel so fortunate since every state/ region is so different from each other. I have tried a lot of dishes from different states of India and I tried my level best to get to the history and detail about origination of the recipe. I feel knowing a little story behind every recipe makes you connect better with the recipe. I have incorporated as many pictures as possible so, steps are easy to understand and a picture always explains better than words. Secondly, the pictures of the process have not been modified to look better, the main reason behind that is to make the appearance of food look as real as possible. I want every person going through is website believe that everything posted here is done by one person and not a team and also that its doable in the vicinity of your home kitchen. Good food is a result of patience and love. Skills can be learnt and enhanced.

Haala’s Recipes

My aim behind compiling all these recipes and sharing them is to help people like me. Cooking is my passion and I know it’s for a lot of other people as well. I am just fortunate to be able to give time, and focus on what I love doing. A lot of people like me might not have the time, patience, and courage to go through the process of trial and error.

A lot of times, we take a step back thinking that a certain dish is cooked by a popular chef and when tried, the dish never looks the same, leave alone the fact that it isn’t edible. I am a homemaker and I have no fancy dishes, pans, or gadgets, or a super fancy camera that would make my dishes look like “dishes from heaven”.

I have no certificate in culinary arts to explain dishes in fancy words, and make you go through dictionary to understand simple terms. My recipes are simple to understand and very easy to follow. I have been through times where I was clueless about what to cook to make my family happy, and spent hours searching cookbooks and magazines. Some days were success, and some so bad that my dishes made me cry and question my skill. With all the errors, I became better, improvised and also realized that I should help others like me and offer error free recipes that are easy to make and fancy enough to amaze.

The recipes have measurements and specifies the number of people it serves. If you need to make changes to the number of people, you just have to change that and the remaining measurements for ingredients will change accordingly. I have had problems and messed up dishes changing and calculating measurements and I felt it would be a great help to everyone. The passive time is the time required to dumm Biryani, bake a dish, freeze it or leaving it for marination. Please make sure you use your kitchen timers for the times you are using your oven, grilling, baking etc.

Every delicious dish is a result of a perfect recipe, your hard work, effort, love and ingredients that you use. Please always make sure the ingredients are fresh and clean. Most ingredients are easily available at your local grocery store or the recipes for masala are provided on the website, that can be easily made and stored for future use.

I hope you enjoy trying the recipes as much as I enjoyed cooking and posting them for you. Wishing your Dastarkhaan to be as colorful and flavorful as mine.

Paradise Chicken Fry

With wide variety of Chicken Kebabs that we try every now and then, some cooked at home and some eaten at restaurants. This Kebab dish is from one of our favorite restaurants, which has quiet a few branches around New Jersey and a few neighboring states. This Kebab was always a family favorite and a …

Tava Tangdi Chicken Kebab

My experiments for Kebabs always have to be innovative, different and always have to be super delicious in taste. My boys love different styles of Kebabs and always look forward to trying different varieties and I believe that’s what pushes me to try different styles. After making so many different styles of Chicken Kebabs, it …

Paav Bhaaji

I still remember when the trend of Paav Bhaaji came to my town. I was in Elementary school and I loved the flavors and so did everyone in the family. The funny thing was that all of a sudden Paav Bhaaji became a favorite dish for all. Now I have never been to the roadside …

Haala’s Zaaiqaa

In 2015, on a snow storm day, with a foot of snow outside my front door, stuck at home, I was baking bread and making some hot soup for lunch. Being a social butterfly, I had to click a picture and post it on my FB profile. That’s when few of my friends questioned as to why I don’t start my own website or blog. Though, the idea was very tempting and I felt it is something I would love to do but 4 years ago, I wasn’t just as ready as what I am today.

I wanted to introduce something that connects better to people. So, instead of just starting a random website and being one among so many, I started a closed group that started with around 50 people and now has around 2000 members. The group could have all members post their recipes and share them with other people as well. Not only did the group help me improvise my cooking skills, I learnt so many new dishes and innovations made by fellow members.

ZAAIQAA would always be close to my heart and I owe a lot to all the members who have been so appreciative towards what I posted and shared.

Below is the link to ZAAIQAA and if you are on FB and would like to be member, please feel free to apply. Its a closed group and becoming a member is only if a member adds you or if you apply, and are accepted.

ZAAIQAA

Consultant Chef

I have a considerable amount of experience in cooking, decorating and serving food. I am capable of handling menus based on food preferences, as in vegetarian, non vegetarian, vegan as well as allergy free dishes.

 

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Please fell free to contact for more details. I offer my services online, via skype as well as in person.