Sunday, April 18, 2010

Andaza Se

Andaza: roughly translated to mean "just about" or "loose estimate"

About eight years ago when I first got married I showed up to my new apartment thousands of miles from family and friends with a handful of pots and no idea how to use them. After we spent a few days dining out, the time came that someone was going to expect me to cook something. The only slight complication was I didn't know how to cook. Now granted K couldn't cook either, but being as I was home the responsibility fairly fell on me. I went to the store and bought things I remembered my mom buying when she made aloo gobee and then proceeded to call my mother in a state of panic.

Aloo Gobee? Gah. How?
Mom: It's the easiest thing beta. Sautee an onion, add some spices, chop up the aloo gobee and. .
Me: Wait. How many onions?
Mom: One
Me: What spices?
Mom: Hmm, salt, chili, coriander. . .
Me: Wait, how much?
Mom: Bus, andaza se
Me: Andaza? How much? A teaspoon? A tablespoon?
Mom: Silence. You know, I never thought about it. I just used andaza.

Over the next few weeks my mom and I began cooking over the phone. She made a dish and we talked on the phone, me jotting down the recipe as she quantified her andazaas. Well, she would say, it looks like the chili I use is about a quarter teaspoon for this quantity. And I would proceed to cook it according to the exact measurements she provided.

A few weeks ago while my family visited I decided to make a brunch of omelets, pancakes, toast, and hashbrowns. The hash browns were a big hit and I made them two days in a row. After the second morning my mother approached me.

Mom: Your abu likes the hashbrowns, how do you make it?
Me: It's the easiest thing ami! Chop the potatoes, add salt, pepper, cinnamon. . .
Mom: Wait. How many potatoes? How much salt?
Me: Silence. Um, I don't know, just you know, andaza se.

Wow how tables turn. It feels just like yesterday that those words, andaza se felt as foreign as cooking itself.


Tee said...

This must be how all mothers cook because the recipes my Mom gave me, even when she bothered to write them down had measurements such as, "roll dough into golf ball sized portions", and, "add water until the batter is the consistency of pancake syrup" - etc. LOL.

Anonymous said...


I miss your blog.


Aisha said...

Tee, and now *I'm* doing the same thing!!! LOL

Aw Rasha, thank you :( I hope to resume posting again soon- things have been hectic this past year, but I'm thinking having the baby insh'Allah will give me a lot of time sitting around at home with time to write to my heart's content. i miss blogging here too!

I hope you are well :0)

Rozeena said...

Nice post, I enjoyed it :)

mezba said...

You are back to blogging?! Nice !

How is the book project going?

Aisha said...

Thanks Rozeena :)

Mezba, well that's the goal :) The book project is going- its a whole lot of "hurry up and wait" so that's where I'm at right now! :(

Abdusalaam al-Hindi said...


Safiyyah said...


Alhamdulillah! Thanks for making me smile.

mystic said...


Faraaz said...

Haha this is such a beautiful post.
Cooking is such an individual art..kind of like how we have the auteur theory in cinema..where certain directors have their own extremely individual style of making films..Same with cooking :)

Anonymous said...

Where are you originally from? India or Pakistan, I guess.

Full Moon said...

Another interesting article, "Pakistani food: cooking from the heart" by Huma Qureshi, on the same lines appeared in Time On Line on June 3, 2010. Check it out at:

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