French Bean Sabzi (Phalliyan) Recipe

 This is my Mum's favourite dish and I think I have had these more times in pregnancy than any other time in my life. While I was pregnant with my twins I used to crave this and especially with potatoes but this time I have made this with just the green beans. 

This recipe is so easy to make, from start to finish it took me only half hour to make. From cutting the beans to the pan and done in half hour. This works well as a side dish to you daal, chawal and chicken combo. 

All you need is;

5 to 6 teaspoons of Vegetable Oil 

4 garlic Cloves chopped 

4 tsp tomato puree 

1tsp turmeric powder 

1tsp garam masala powder 

2 tsp black mustard seeds, crushed

2-3 green chillies, seeds in, chopped 

1tsp salt 

200g French beans cut into 2cm pieces 

I am using the bag from Aldi Supermarket

2 table spoons Dill ( I have used dried ones, you can use dill leaves) 


Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, then add the garlic and make it golden, after that add the tomato puree and then the spices and the green chillies, saute for another 2 minutes add a splash of water if it starts to stick to the pan. Add the beans and the dill, mix and cover. 

Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the beans have softened, and serve with daal, roti or rice. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe, I have a reel on instagram too. So give me a follow there if you want to see how its made.


Homemade Butter Chicken Recipe

Butter Chicken Recipe

The Most highly requested chicken recipe in my house is this delicious butter chicken. It can be eaten with naan, roti or rice. We love it with roti and salad. Due to its calorific content I do not make it too often but once a month is allowed as a treat. So as the name suggests its made with butter and the sauce is then thickened with cream. 

For the ingredients you need: 

For the Chicken

  • Chicken boneless 500 grams cut into cubes
  • Yogurt 2 tablespoons
  • Ginger Paste 1tsp 
  • Garlic Paste 1tsp
  • Chilli Powder 1tsp 
  • Garam Masala Powder 1tsp
  • Turmeric Powder 1tsp 
  • Cumin Powder 1tsp 
  • Salt 1tsp or to taste  

For the Sauce: 

  • 1 Onion chopped 
  • 50 grams of butter 
  • Ginger and Garlic Paste 1tsp 
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree 
  • cardamom pods 5 to 6, slightly bashed 
  • cinnamon powder 1 tsp 
  • clove powder 1tsp 
  • turmeric powder 1sp 
  • chilli powder half teaspoon 
  • garam masala powder 1tsp 
  • coriander powder 1tsp 
  • cream 300 ml 
  • coriander to garnish 

First Marinate the chicken cubes in the chicken mixture for about 15 minutes. In the mean time preheat the oven at 180 degrees. Put the chicken in the oven for 25 minutes, I put the chicken in skewers and put it in a dish where the skewers are above the pan so that the cubes can bake evenly. Take it out after the time is up and once its cooled, take the skewers away and put it in the plate for the sauce.

Then we make the sauce, saute the onion in butter with the cardamom pods and tomato puree, then add all the spices and mix, till the onion becomes translucent. Then add the cream, once the mixture starts bubbling then add the chicken and stir, its ready to be served. Garnished with coriander. I did not have coriander so I put on dried mint. 

Hope you enjoy this recipe trust me, this dish does not see the light of another day as its so tasty. I hope yours won't either. 

Love and Peace all 
Shireen x



Ah those days of being care free, the days when you would dress however you wanted to. Eat whatever you wanted to without a tiny hand going in your mouth and asking what you eating? Thinking about the latest hair trend and thinking about getting it done. Be on the look out for new clothing trends. Remember the bell bottom trend in 1998, yeah what was that all about? or that teeny tiny shirt on that said bell bottoms. I sometimes cringe on the care free nature of mine wasting all that precious time and energy on such petty things. And especially the time when I used to have hobbies, now its cooking and baking because I do that so often since 2009, I might as well make it a hobby. 

At the time no one says anything to you, you want to dress like a 70's model, wavy hair, tall and gangly with bell bottoms and a short shirt, sure why not. The minute you become a Mother, it feels like is a public sport. Oh you should not be doing that! or the my favourite, In my days I never used to do this, or oh you new kids come up with so many silly things, it was done like this when you were tiny and I raised 4 kids on my own and you are complaining about just one child. I don't understand why raising a child becomes a spectator event where everyone thinks its their right to comment on what ever you are doing and however you are doing it.

There are some things you should never say to a Mum, regardless of how many children she has, regardless of her children's genders too. On that note, I should tell you that its never easy being a parent, once you pop out a tiny human from your nether regions, you will never be the same. And parenting is never the same either, it changes from day to day. If you ask Mums, does it get easier? My answer is always, Nope! same shit different phase and season of life and different kind of awesomeness. Do not get me wrong its the most rewarding thing on the planet and if you are a believing Muslim, you will understand why He created heaven and said its under a Mums' feet. 

That being said, dear reader, if you have never been in this position, or you have someone whom you feel could use a handy guide, I have put together some points NEVER to say to Mums. 

1. Oh! what happened to you? you used to be so thin! How about we never say this to anyone shall we. Especially to mums who may be struggling with post partum weight and its never easy seeing yourself change so much over the course of just 9 to 10 months. 

2. Oh my God! you have so much stuff ! Ah yeah Karen! (no offense to Karen) caring and being responsible for a tiny human is not going to be the easiest thing, you have to have everything but the kitchen sink with you when you travel, ANY WHERE. If it was feasible we would travel with a water tank and a sink with us at all times. 

3. It takes you so much time to get ready.  I will tell you why it takes me so much time to get ready, because every time I want to put on mascara, a child calls out MUMMMMMMM to get their shoes ready, their hair done. What do you have to do ? Sit there and knit ? 

4. OOOH When are you going to have another one. None of your damn business!

5. Just one? dont you think he or she will want someone to play with ? Why dont you come around and play, seems as though you are very concerned about my child's social development. 

6. All sisters, poor you! When will you have a boy? (this goes both ways btw) Until science invents the choice for us Mums to choose the genders of our unborn children, no I don't think I have any inclination to have another child of the opposite gender. By the way this is also very disrespectful to my kids as well. Keep away from them.

7. Your kids dont speak Urdu at all? How will they talk with us?  To all bilingual parents, this is often the worst comment you can get. No matter how much you talk to your child in your language, if they do not live in a country dominated by your language they will not talk fluently in that language. The only answer I give is, may be they dont want to talk to you. Or what I really want to say to them is, if you were a bit educated may be you could talk in both languages.

8. My kids cannot eat that, they are so fussy, how did you start getting them to eat all that ? How about you start eating what you want your child to eat, that way they will also eat it and not be fussy eaters. And how about not comparing them.

9. Your kids are on the healtheir side, they are girls you know, they need to be skinny ! How about no, they are healthy because I give them nutritious foods to eat and no girls dont NEED to be skinny, they need to be whatever they want to be. 

10. One of your kid is darker that the others!  Step away from my child and never come near me again. 

11. Dont you think that kids are expensive? Yes they are and you will be spending all your wealth on them. That is why you should not be having them. 

And my personal favourite ! 

12. I am never going to let my kid do that. *cue howling laughter* This will be met with pure hysterical laughter, its nothing personal, you just remind us of our younger, stupider sleves.

So there you have it folks a guide for what NOT to say to a Mum. 

What would you like to add on to the list?

Love and Peace All


Chilli Cheese Toast

I think this is the easiest recipe I have found on the internet which has become a big family favourite. As hubby was bored of eating the same egg and toast everyday for breakfast, he demanded a change. Rightly so; anyone would get bored of eating the same thing over and over. I made a quick search and found this recipe. This is an Indian street food now but it was a lunch menu special in the early 90's. People would go into five star restaurants and order this. It certainly can get really fancy if you go big on the ingredients, although not much of them are used.

This recipe is as simple as it sounds, requires minimal prep time and you will be making them again and again. All you need is; bread, cheese and chilli. No its that simple. 

Take a bowl, shred a quarter of cheddar cheese, add 2 tablespoons of softened butter, dice half a red capsicum and put it in, finely chop 3 green chillies and add them in the bowl, grate a clove of garlic and add that as well, now mix it with your hands. Its important to mix it nicely to make it one with the butter and cheese so when you put it under a griller or the pan the butter will not disturb the cheese, so keep mixing either with a spatula or your hands so that its one. Now keep it in the fridge for almost 20 minutes. Now take the bread and toast it a little bit in a pan, then add 1 dollop in the center and spread it from the center to the corners, put it in a pan and cover it with a lid, on low heat. I burnt the toast the first time I made this. so be very careful with the toast not to burn it to a crisp. 

Your delicious chilli cheese toast is ready to serve when the cheese has melted. Cut the toast diagonally and serve. Delicious for parties as well as for breakfast. 

I hope you liked this recipe, please do give it some love by commenting below and if you have made it, please dont forget to tag me on instagram @chasingfajir 

Much Love and Peace 



Self Care Tips you can learn from My Mother

Its Evening around sun down, my Mum has freshly showered, donned her ironed clothes, nothing fancy, just some clean ironed Shalwar Kameez and Dupatta, her hair is dripping wet from the shower and she is applying her moisturiser and a slick of lipstick, Revlon burgundy, and applying kajal, and her beloved Charlie perfume which never went out of style for my Mum. She made it her own. This is a typical weekday I am talking about. My Mum has always been stylish and after hearing " hmmm which perfume are you wearing ? " or "where are you off to ? going to a dinner somewhere ? " , I was like I need to write this down somewhere. But I did not need to because when I started my own home life, this routine was ingrained in me and I started doing the same. 

During my school age, my Mum was the only lady on the gates of the apartments in the morning, wearing a full 3 piece shalwar kameez, i.e. Matching Shalwar Kameez and dupatta and donning a lipstick at 7:30 am while other mothers coming to drop off their kids in the morning for the school vans to pick us up, were still in their pyjamas ready to go back to sleep while my mother had put the daal on the stove and clothes were already in the washing machine half way through to be put up on the clothes line to be dried.

Its no wonder that I picked up a few tricks from my Mum. So here are some self care tips from her:

1. First thing in the morning, wake up a bit earlier than everyone, if you wake up for fajir, then do not go back to sleep after prayer time, (weather permitted). Get up start a cleansing routine, or better yet as everyone is sleeping put on a face mask after cleaning your face. ( My Mum's go to was egg whites or honey) 

2. Put on a full set of clothes rather than being in your pj's all day long, as soon as you wake up change your clothes. And put that apron on to protect your clothes from the kitchen.

3. Eat something before drinking tea, at least a fruit or almonds or toast. My Mum's breakfast to be which has not changed in a long time is still really small, toast, almonds, apple and tea. Nothing too much or too little. Sometimes she has something different like a last nights' roti or a veggie dish made a day before.

4. Drink at least 2 litres o water daily. I shared on my instagram stories a few weeks ago that drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses is easy. Drink 1 glass of water before every meal, or before and after every prayer. drink as snack with a small fruit like a satsuma or a plum. It really is not difficult.

5. While you are in the kitchen put on the radio or listen to music, my Mum used to love instrumental music so Yanni was her go to. I love listening to the radio or a podcast. Another way to utilise hours spent in the kitchen.

6. Do a facial for yourself by your self every week. Mum made us rub our hands with lemon and soft sugar as a scrub. A hair oil treatment was a must every weekend Saturday morning, a face mask made with either crushed masoor daal and gram flour or crushed rice and yogurt was a must. 

7. Do not wear any undergarments at night. This is one thing which I cannot emphasise enough. This is so liberating at night. No Bras ahhhh! Your night dress needs to be co-ordinated, it does not and should not be 2 different things, pin striped buttoned down pyjama set yay, grey pjs and some other shirt nay nay. And they need to be cotton, no satin, no polyester. Cotton is breathable and your skin needs to be breath at night. The reason behind this is, you should feel good in your night clothes, what if there is a fire and you have to go out of the house, you will be out looking like a homeless person. Yes this was her reasoning although very extreme but I get the point. Thus co-ordinated pyjamas it is.

8. Mum's cup of tea in the evening was a half hour long, which included us interrupting her and her precious digest hour with our school tales which Mum always listened intently but we used to leave her alone for this was her time out of the day to read her beloved digest stories, Mum loved telling us the stories that she read or any line that she loved would go in her fancy diary written with a fountain pen which we were never allowed to touch. The little quotes were read to us if they had a sentiment to it or something related to Allah and His Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)  

9. A shower in the evening is a must, no compromise. Freshly ironed and clean clothes is another must after that, always wear kajal and lipstick in the evening. A must which is still my Mum's staple at I dont know what age my Mum is but still is her go to. My Mum always wears stylish good quality clothes. She has never followed trends and will never. Always bought good quality fabric to be tailored to fit her according to her taste which is exquisite in its own right. That is why my Mum repeated a lot of her clothes as they were such good quality. This taught me, quality over quantity. 

10. Use. Perfume. Every. Day. For the morning Mum used a flowery perfume which was not too strong, for the evening Mum used Charlie or Aramis. Both are masculine scents but she always liked her scents stronger. So that when she entered a room everyone should notice.

I am surprised and ashamed to say I do half of these, after having 3 kids these self care tips went out the window and I only followed a few which was unfortunate. Slowly as the girls have grown up I have found a simple routine in my busy life and I try be glamorous as my Mum has paved the way for me and my girls. I have followed a morning and night time skin care routine since I started a skin care routine. SPF although was a later discovery for Mum and Me. Remember those white sheen sunblocks in the 90's uff! they were awful. Further away from what we have today with some skin care moisturisers in them or tints too. My kajal is a must, I am not a lipstick person and I still get told off for not wearing lipstick whenever I come on video chat with her. I do change into my morning clothes after I wake up and yes I have started doing more facials and hand and feet massages now as the girls are getting older and leave me enough time to do my own thing.

I do hope my dear reader you found these self care tips useful. These tips if summarised tell you to drink more water, look after yourself no matter what you are going through, your mood will instantly light up when you wear good ironed clothes, put on a lipstick and just generally take care of yourself.

Love and Peace All 
Sheen x 

An Organised Mother. A Myth or Talent?

 Is there such a thing as an organised mother ? Or is it a myth? I believe anyone can get organised if they put some sense into what is going on in their homes. What comes in and what goes out. To be aware of what you have. I call my home extremely functional, I have nothing instagram worthy, I find white furniture too mainstream and I find pinterest worthy decor just that, a picture for the gram or a mood board. Don't get me wrong I have those boards as well, the one with bohemian decor, the one with the minimalist decor. But I see no one with a functional home. I have that home, its all functional, to me all the jazz around getting things organised to become picture perfect is just mental. I like things organised and functional which does not include a circuit maker but a chalk pen and chalk board sticker on previously used jam jars.  

When I was growing up, I remember specifically one fine afternoon during lunch break in school, I happen upon my bench mate's bag and it was filthy, had wrappers in it, pencils in the bottom of the bag and some crumbs as well. I just asked her permission if I can clean her bag. Yes I was that particular friend! I took all the things out of her bag, gave it a quick shrug so all the wrappers and stuff fell out, put her pencils in her pencil case, the rubbish in the bin and the books in an orderly fashion. And gave it back to her. She knew me and is one of my best friends, she did not say a word just said thank you. 'Embarrassed' I thought. Another friend saw all this and said everyone should have an organised friend like you, so you can organize all our bags. Organised, hmmm is that a trait or an adjective? can one become organised by following Marie Kondo's advise or does one have to have this in them?

When I became a Mother, all this organizing stuff fell into place, I had to have a nappy basket at the ready where my twins were, so I could get them changed as fast as possible, without getting the other one neglected for minutes because I could not find the nappies or the nappy sack or the wipes. (functional) 

So here is my series of organizing tips and tricks or Mum Hacks if you want to say it which will make your home more functional and the plus side to that is you will feel more in control and organised of the mountains of stuff in your own home. 

1. Set a timer for 15 minutes at the end of the day to just put dishes in the rack from drying or put them in the dishwasher, wipe clean all the surfaces and the microwave with an all purpose spray or damp cloth. Buff away with a microfibre cloth. 

2. If you cook from scratch, put the chicken out from the freezer and let it thaw overnight on the kitchen counter in a bowl of water, that way you can make something from it the next day, while you are at it, just write down what you want to make on a post it note and put it on the fridge or a cupboard door for you to see the next morning. Hassle from what to cook for dinner? Gone ! 

3. If you exercise in the morning, put your clothes out, hang them up in the bathroom or behind your bedroom door so that you can just change into them the next day and you have no excuse to not exercise.

4. In my house we don't have a tumble drier so we dry our clothes on the clothes horse, they dry very unevenly so when anything dries, I don't wait for the other clothes to get done. I just start folding it and putting them away. Fold and put away as soon as the laundry dries out. Don't let it pile up.

5. Have one box of toys in the living room, so when your kids are done tell them to put all of it away at the end of the day, so no lego or small toys will be found at the end of your feet or worse your knee. Keeps your living room tidy too.

A kitchen cupboard

so are these acquired traits or just a desire to keep myself and my surroundings clean? I would put myself in the later category. I do love things clean and love them being functionally organised to suit me in whatever surroundings I am in. I am known begrudgingly by my husband that I make my bed and clean up after myself when we are in a hotel. It always irks him because he knows someone will come and clean up so what is the point of me cleaning. But all this cleaning and being organised makes me feel good inside and that is what we are looking for. That dose of dopamine on seeing a clean kitchen first thing in the morning.  

So I leave it upon you my dear reader, you decide whether an organised mother is a myth or a trait? 


Why Use A Sun Screen Even when its Raining

While I am writing this, the sun in question is hidden in the clouds and there is rain splashing on the windows, it’s the blessings of the great British weather and autumn. I love the warmth of the summer sun on a lazy afternoon but I am not a sun worshipper, I get tanned easily, being Asian does not help, tan lines that distinguish your face from your neck are not good. (hijabi problems!) Thus for me a good sunscreen is a must. After lots and lots of studying I found out why sun screen is important even on days when the sun is not out and you are sitting in your home in front of the T.V or Laptop. 

So today I am going to jump right in and skim through the very vast subject of skin, we all know that our skin is the largest organ of the body, it comprises of several layers, protects us from extremities and also controls our body's temperature. Melanin present in the skin produces the skin pigment which is dominated by our race, producing less or more melanin, which is called pigment of the skin. Pigmentation can be affected by different factors medication, genetics, hormonal changes and exposure to UV light. When the skin becomes more pigmented than the surrounding skin, this is termed as hyper-pigmentation, which is common for women after pregnancy or during pregnancy. When the skin becomes lighter than the surrounding types of skin, this is termed hypo-pigmentation

Now what are the UV Rays that everyone keeps talking about, Ultraviolet Rays are electromagnetic radiation which is all around us in sunlight and also emitted by electric devices. We all know there are 2 kinds of UV rays, UVA which is responsible for ageing and penetrates the deeper layers of the skin causing fine lines and wrinkles. UVB is the burning rays of the sun which penetrates the upper layers of the skin causing tanning.

Now to the sunscreen, it protects you from the damaging UVA and UVB rays of the sun, which is responsible for creating fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation on the skin. not to mention the tan lines. 

A lady in hijab

Over the years I have experimented with a lot of sun screens, some would not leave my skin even after 3 cleans, some would block pores and then I had a period where I stopped wearing sun screen at all because uni days mixed with Karachi's sweltering heat makes for milk drops on your face. Not a good look.

In my thirties though I have found the perfect sun screen for my skin and its a re-purchase since 2011. (one year after the twins were born as pigmentation decided to stay on the stash)  

La Roshe-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Invisible Fluid Sun Cream SPF50+

Enter the age of the French brand La Roshe-Posay which by the way is another company owned by L'Oreal which I will discuss in another blog post. I love this sun screen, its light weight and also comes tinted as well which if applied gives you a beautiful sheen and light coverage, if you want that. trust me after kids I need a bit of coverage. 

  The texture is lovely and glides on easily and dries quicker than a moisturiser. Always apply your sunscreen after your usual serum + moisturiser combination. I would not recommend this for dry skin as it can be drying, for people with normal skin you need this. It has very high SPF which is sun protection factor which measures how much of the UV rays goes through the sun screen, the higher the number the better. It does not mean that you are immune to the sun, it means that you are 90% protected from the harmful rays of the sun. 15 means it protects your skin 93%, 30 means 97% and 50 means 99%, so any SPF is good for you. 

You can get this from Boots for £17.50 or from Feel Unique for £11.55 (Sale Price) for a tube. Let me know which is your favourite sun cream? 

Love and Peace All 



Homemade Cinnammon Rolls

When I posted on my stories a few days ago about me and the kids making the cinnamon rolls, I got a lot of eyeballs on it. So here is the recipe. Its not my recipe, I saw it on Buzzfeed Tasty. I always thought that they were pretty difficult to make but it turns out its pretty easy. You just need to knead the dough which makes the rolls super moist and wonderful. I am a desi so I knead dough for the chapatis so I reckoned that it would be as easy as pie and honestly its nothing like that because the flour is different and the yeast gets activated more if you knead the dough more making it more dry making rock like rolls was not my intention so here goes.


Warm up 2 cups of milk, it should be warm to the touch and not burning hot. When you put your finger in, it should not burn you. Mix together the milk, 1/2 a cup of Granulated Sugar and 1/2 a cup of Butter. Then sprinkle a packet of Yeast on top and let it rest for 10 minutes. Its best to do this in a warm kitchen. Add 4 cups of plain flour to the milk mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon. And cover the dough with cling film and leave it to rest for an hour, till the dough has doubled in size.

The recipe calls for round baking pans. I used a pie dish which were generously buttered. Now to make the FILLING, in a bowl mix together 3/4 cups each very softened butter at room temperature and not microwaved I must add, mix in light brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of Cinnamon. And set it aside.

KNEADING: Remove the cling film from the dough and add 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Tip it on to a floured clean surface and knead for almost 10 minutes till the dough is soft to the touch. Adding more flour as necessary so the dough stops sticking to your hands and the surface. The dough should be very smooth and spring back when poked. 

Spreading Cinnamon Butter on Roll

Roll the dough out into a 1 cm thick rectangle, shaping it by a scraper or a knife. Then spread the filling and roll it into a...Roll. (I have found to cut it with dental floss rather than a knife as it cuts it better and does not ruin the shape).

Place them in the pans and leave it to rest for half an hour again. This second proving is very important, it makes the dough fluffy.

Now heat the oven at 180 degrees, bake the rolls for 25 minutes or until they have golden brown tops. And leave it to cool for 10 minutes then top them up with frosting.

Mix together 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 4 tablespoons of warm milk, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 2 Cups of Powdered/Icing Sugar. You can substitute heavy cream for milk. Mix all of it together and you have frosting.
Pour it over the cinnamon rolls and there you have it. Enjoy for a luxurious breakfast on a wintery morning.  I hope you like this recipe. I honestly thought it required eggs but it doesn't. And its a lovely recipe, the buns come out very nice and soft.

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