Lucy Loves… Aina’s Kitchen

I often blog about how lucky we are to have a thriving foodie scene – that’s been more noticeable during lockdown, with plenty of new places opening up. But one of our tried and tested favourites for takeaway is only on our estate – Aina’s Kitchen.

In fact, I recently looked back and found that we had placed our first order with Aina in January 2018, within two months of us moving in. Every week, she would get rave reviews on the community Facebook group – and rightly so!

Most Fridays, Aina runs a curry night – quite often with a three-course menu, and the option of extras. But I recently found out she can make dishes, sundries or snacks on request. Not only Karachi delicacies, but sweet treats too – like the most delicious-looking cinnamon rolls, and brownies & blondies.

Anyway, with it being Ash’s birthday the other weekend, I decided to go all out with a three-course extravaganza – and even put a couple of requests in, too. Thank you Aina. Collection is usually between 6:30 and 7:00pm and everything is fresh and stays warm on the journey home – although last time I drove the car around (even though it’s up the road).

Let’s get into the food…

Samosas and pakoras, served with mango chutney

Starters: Chicken Samosas, Palak Aalo Pakoras

We shared four samosas and four pakoras between us and it was just the right amount to start. The samosas weren’t actually on the menu, but Aina said she’d make some – giving me the option of vegetable and chicken. She also prepared some which were uncooked, for me to stick in the freezer, ready for air-frying when I want them… spoiler alert, we are having a homemade curry night next Thursday when my mum is with us.

And the samosas were so good. The pastry was so light and crisp, and the parcels were jam-packed – no corner was un-filled! The spinach and potato pakoras were delightful too. Not at all greasy and so flavoursome. I could have devoured more than two (or even four!) let me tell you! We were lacking on the condiments front, so I ended up teaming my starters with a dollop of mango chutney. It did the job.

I also recently saw that Aina made a whole batch of pakoras for one of her pregnant customers and oh my gosh, I would absolutely be craving them too! Baby or not…

Plate of Karachi chicken biriyani, with naan bread

Main courses: Chicken Tikka Masala with Tadka Rice, Karachi Chicken Biriyani, and Naan Bread

I ordered Ash a chicken tikka masala, which came with a choice of tadka rice or naan bread. As we usually share a naan, I went with rice and ordered the naan as an extra. Although, I have to admit, Alfie ate most of the naan bread, as he was still awake, and Ash was working late. No photos of his meal for that reason, and I don’t think I even asked him how it was. But it looked delicious!

Biriyani is my go-to order, but Aina’s is traditional Karachi. I remember the first time I ordered it and she said it’s not like a takeaway. But my god, it made me not want a takeaway biriyani again! I mean first of all, look at that portion size – and the huge amounts of chicken – all cooked beautifully. I think it’s possibly the third time I’ve ordered a biriyani from Aina and it is a firm favourite of mine. Oh, and bonus – I had leftovers the next day for lunch!

Sooji Halwa, an Indian semolina pudding

Dessert: Sooji Halwa

So, this was a traditional pudding, that I had never heard of before, let alone tried – but I thought, why not try something new and authentic! It’s basically made from semolina – and I don’t think I’ve ever tried that before either, so didn’t know what to expect… other than, didn’t it used to get a bad rep as being part of a school dinner?

This was absolutely beautiful… as well as the semolina, there were almonds and sultanas, topped with coconut, and even strands of saffron. I’m not too sure what the other ingredients were, but you get the idea. It was just so delicious, delicate and fragrant. Oh, and moreish too – I think I ate half of the container in one sitting and literally had to stop myself. I don’t think it was overly sweet, either – but that could be because I have such a sweet tooth.

I saved the remainder for the next day, eating it straight from the fridge. The first portion was eaten at room temperature, and while I’m not sure whether it’s supposed to be eaten hot or cold, it was equally as yummy on both occasions.

As usual, everything was so fresh and delicious – but also really reasonably priced. I think our whole meal (including all those extra samosas) came to under £25! I’ve linked Aina’s Facebook page at the top, but you can also find her (and the most drool-worthy food) on Instagram.

Love, Lucy xx

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