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Posted On: 12 August 2020 09:30 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 10:30 am

Qatar Home Cook Series COVID-19 special- Yusuf Sheikh & Ayesha Ali

Kim Wyatt
Kim Wyatt
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This week in our cooking series, we’re featuring two sumptuous recipes to prepare at home. First up, a recipe fit for royalty by the talented Ayesha Ali plus a tried and tested family favourite by our youngest featured home cook yet – Yusuf Sheikh.

Our cooking series features Qatar’s diverse and talented home chefs with a passion for food. If you’d like to be featured in our series please share your food photo on Instagram and tag @ilqlive @mama_baba_ganoush plus the hashtag #qatarhomecooks

Name: Yusuf Sheikh

Country: United Kingdom

How long have you lived in Qatar? 10 years

Occupation: Student

Has Covid19 changed the way you cook at home? I have always been interested in cooking especially after my dad opened a restaurant called Kebabbq. Before Covid19, I would go there to watch him cook and return home to copy his meals (with the help of my mum). My grandad used to be a chef and I watched him cook too. He becomes really happy when I show him the meals I have prepared. Now, due to Covid19, I show him the meals via Zoom. Being in quarantine has made it easy for me to watch lots of different cooking programmes and try out my own recipes. I enjoy surprising my family with new dishes every day. I want to get as much practise as possible so I can make everything taste perfect - just like my grandad. I want to be a chef one day and work with my dad in Kebabbq.

What is your dish? Chicken Karahi – a popular Pakistani dish. The recipe is made by frying onions on low heat in a bit of oil until golden brown. Then I add some garlic and ginger and cook for about a minute. Once this is done, I add all the spices and tomatoes. This has to cook well so all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. I prefer to blend it all with a hand blender so the gravy is smooth. I add some water and let the gravy cook for a few minutes and add cut chicken pieces (on the bone). When the chicken is half cooked, I add yoghurt and stir well. Before serving, I like to garnish it with fresh finely chopped coriander and thin slices of ginger.

Why have you chosen this dish? It is my grandad’s favourite! I love it too! We both enjoying preparing this recipe. I could eat it every day!

Yusuf's Chicken Karahi


25g oil

250g onion - chopped

1 ½ tsp fresh garlic and ginger - crushed

400g tomato - diced

1½ teaspoon salt

1 tsp red chilli powder

½ teaspoon of black pepper

½ turmeric powder

1 cup of water

3 tbsp plain yoghurt

½ tsp garam masala (mixed spices)

1 whole chicken (with bone) cut up into pieces (weight approx. 1kg)

To garnish: a handful of freshly chopped coriander and thin strips of fresh ginger


  1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil
  2. Add chopped onions and cook on medium heat until golden brown
  3. Add crushed garlic and ginger. Gently fry until light brown
  4. Blend the tomatoes with a hand blender and add to the pan. Cook for a few minutes
  5. Add the salt, turmeric, chilli powder. Mix well
  6. Blend the gravy with a hand blender until it thickens and add to mixture. Cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes
  7. Add water and cook for a further 10 - 15 mins
  8. Add black pepper and garam masala. Stir well
  9. Add the chicken. When chicken is half cooked add yoghurt and mix well into the gravy
  10. On low heat cook for 30 minutes. (Don’t mix too much as the chicken will break)
  11. When thoroughly cooked - garnish with coriander and ginger.
  12. Serve and enjoy!

Name: Ayesha Ali

Country: Pakistan

How long have you lived in Qatar? 6 years

Occupation: Housewife and full-time mother of two beautiful kids (boy aged 6 years and girl aged 2 years)

Has Covid-19 changed the way you cook at home? Yes. The biggest change - I am cooking a lot more. We stopped ordering takeaway meals and eliminated all junk food from our diet. Now I try to ensure that our meals are healthy, tasty and made from organic ingredients (whenever possible). In fact, contrary to putting on the ''pandemic-pounds'' - my husband has lost over 10 kgs in the past 3 months - all credit to healthy, home-cooked meals.

What is your dish? Royal walnut halwa - an absolutely mouth-watering recipe with a unique blend of sweet and savoury flavours. Made with crushed walnuts, simmered in melted butter, flavoured with cardamom and topped with saffron which gives a ''melt-in-the-mouth'' texture. A nutritious, luscious and rich dessert, fit for royalty, which can easily be made in your home kitchen to share with your dear ones.

Why have you chosen this dish? It's the perfect dessert for any celebration. It has a universal appeal and caters to the taste buds of all people around the world. This recipe perfectly represents Qatar - a home to multiple nationalities living in perfect harmony. With its buttery, nutty, sweet and savoury flavours, this dessert is enjoyed by adults and kids alike! Everyone will definitely ask for a second helping!

Social Media: YouTube:


Ayesha's Royal Walnut Halwa


2 cups walnuts (unsalted) - crushed

1/3 cup dry milk powder (Nido)

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. unsalted butter (Lurpak)

1 tsp cardamom powder

2 cups FULL FAT fresh milk at room temperature

1 egg

½ tsp saffron

To garnish: pistachios, rose petals, saffron


  1. Partially crush the walnuts (do not make it fine/powdery) as it should be semi-crushed and chunky
  2. In a bowl add the milk, sugar, egg and saffron. Mix well. Set aside
  3. In a frying pan add the butter and cardamom. Stir for 2 mins. Add the milk powder. Stir constantly stir for at least 5 mins until the mixture is roasted. (Do not leave on the stove unattended)
  4. Add the crushed walnuts. Stir for another 5 mins until roasted. Add the milk mixture (from step 2). Stir until the milk has dried and all the ingredients are condensed together (this will take at least 15 to 20 mins - do not leave on the stove unattended and stir constantly)
  5. Add 1 tbsp butter and stir until thoroughly combined.
  6. Remove from the stove. Pour into a serving dish and allow to cool for 30 mins
  7. Garnish with saffron, pistachios and rose petals. Enjoy with your loved ones!

What have you been cooking at home? Let us know in the comments section below!