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    Tasneem Ayub’s Mughlai desserts get a modern makeover, a brand name and soon, a take away counter

    here’s no one on the Chennai Food Guide community who has not heard of her biryani, and her Mughlai desserts like the zafrani badam have broken even the most strong-willed weight watchers. Known fondly as “aunty” or “ammee” Tasneem Ayub has been cooking since she was six years old, and after years of sharing through classes and catering, she has started her own food label called Tasneem Ayub’s Ammee’s Kitchen. “Ammee means mother and most of my recipes were handwritten and handed down to me by my mother. Hence the name,” explains the home chef.
    Sweet and sour
    “The desserts we’ve started with are khubani ka meetha and jamuni kheer,” she says, about the treats that now come in 500ml jars. The latter, an unusual Indian dessert of fresh gulab jamuns in a rice kheer, will soon be joined by more daring counterparts like a pumpkin halwa. A stickler for healthy and quality ingredients, Ayub is working on sugar-free versions too, and her pickles (a lime pickle and a mahi-mahi fish pickle available in 250 gm jars) are made with hand-pressed gingelly oil and organic turmeric, chilli powder and cumin. “The pickles are made with recipes I picked up over the years, but I’ll be doing a tomato pickle that was taught to me by my mother, soon,” she promises, adding that experiments like an éclair in a jar and a ‘stuff your face’ chocolate cheesecake are also underway.
    Mind the mains
    With a new centralised kitchen coming up near Defence Colony in Ekkaduthangal, her entire line of products (currently delivered only on order) will be available from a take away counter in the premises. And besides her famous Dakhni-style mutton biryani, you will also be able to pick up her new chicken marinades (tangdi, hariyali and tikka) and ready-to-fry shammi kebabs from there. “The secret to a good biryani is ensuring the rice, oil and meat are of the best quality,” she gives us a parting pointer. And if you want more on the spiced rice, book your slot at the Chennai Food Guide Food Consulate’s inaugural class by Ayub, on April 11.
    Pickles from Rs 130 for 250 gms, desserts from Rs 180 for 500 ml. Details: 9884098631
    Ryan Peppin

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