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My Halal Kitchen: A Review

Reviewed by Theresa Corbin

I have been a fan girl of the website myhalalkitchen.com for some time. I might need a restraining order from the Pinterest page. So when I heard there was a book coming out, Oh My God, y’all, I was so excited. 

My Halal Kitchen review

If you are not familiar with the phenomenon that is Yvonne Maffei and her website, check it out. She did a podcast right here on islamwich not too long ago. Check that out too.

Yvonne’s website is a resource of all things halal (permissible), including tips, recipes, halal substitutes, a blog, and so much more. And with a following of 1.2 + million people on Facebook alone, it is a phenomenon not to be missed. 

The book, My Halal Kitchen by the same genius mind who created the website by the same name, is to me and many other Muslim American foodies, the answer to a prayer in an American gastronomic scene that is wrapped in bacon and battered with beer (i.e. mostly haram).

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Interview with My Halal Kitchen founder, Yvonne Maffei: Podcast ep. 3

In this episode of the islamwich Podcast, Kaighla interviews the founder of My Halal Kitchen, sister Yvonne Maffei.

We discuss her journey to Islam, how MHK was conceived, the state of halal food marketing among American consumers, how MHK is a dawah effort, and some tips she has for healthy, delicious eating in Ramadan.

 

 

My Halal Kitchen

…is a website dedicated to spreading love and understanding of the beauty of halal food. MHK aims “to provide home cooks with the tools to prepare completely halal meals, including those with the necessary substitutions to make every dish halal and without having to filter a recipe for non-halal ingredients. It aims to make the lives of readers better by expanding the list of available recipes that are wholesome, healthy, delicious, economical and halal.”

Without further ado, we present to you our interview with Yvonne.

 

Shownotes:

  • We talk about a few popular halal restaurants, the huge one among them being The Halal Guys, a food cart in NYC that’s insanely popular among all New Yorkers, regardless of religion.
  • Yvonne’s two cookbooks are My Halal Kitchen and Summer Ramadan Cooking. Her cleaning book is called Clean Your Kitchen Green.
  • Check out Yvonne’s favorite halal food companies,  Saffron Road and Crescent Foods.
  • Yvonne mentions some “halal food myths” she works to debunk.
  • Yvonne uses some Arabic words, like halal, tayyib, & zabiha. Check out our extensive glossary.
  • It happens that Yvonne was one of the people who helped guide me (Kaighla) to Islam back in 2009!

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Muslim Crawfish Boil

halal crawfish

Written by Theresa Corbin

Hey, y’all! I have been having a pretty busy couple of weeks with my other writings and family stuff. But I did have time to squeeze in a crawfish boil.

In case you haven’t heard of such a thing, the crawfish boil can be described as a party in a sack. Crawfish come in a sacks the size of a third grader. They are then boiled in a large pot (like huge) with corn on the cob, potatoes, garlic, sausage, and seasoning. And everyone gathers around, rolls up their sleeve, peels the crawfish, stuffs their face, talks, and has a good time, washing it all down with beer.

Crawfish boil the halal way.
Crawfish boil the halal way.

When my father (who was born and raised in Missouri) married my mother (born and raised in New Orleans), he refused to partake in her crawfish boils. Until one day she brought home a sack of already boiled and spicy crawfish. She insisted that he stop being such a sissy (she was sassy like that), and try just one.

Well he did. And she regretted it. He proceeded to eat the entire sack, leaving none for her. She nearly divorced him for this travesty against humanity, but instead decided to train him to do all the hard work of a crawfish boiling, now that he was an enthusiast.

My father went on to become the best crawfish boiler, peeler, and consumer this side of the Mason Dixon line. (pardon my folksy-ness)

Spring time denotes the beginning of crawfish season in New Orleans and surrounding areas. With the weather not so hot yet, and the crawfish on sale, people get together to enjoy the bounty of the area and some friendly spice both in food and conversation.

Even though the crawfish boil usually entails some un-halal aspects (pork and alcohol), those can easily be switched out for their halal counterparts.

So, if you have access to crawfish, even if it isn’t from the Gulf of Mexico, you need to think about having a boil. It is an amazing delicacy in my neighborhood, and I don’t want anyone to have lived in this world and have never had a boiled crawfish. Some may be squeamish because it looks like a bug, but I guarantee it is worth the gross factor. You will first thank Allah, then thank me!

Halal Crawfish Boil:

1 lb Beef sausage, sliced to bite-sized pieces (vegetarians who eat fish: you can just leave this out)
6 onions, cut in half
5 lemons, cut in half
5 heads of garlic, whole
1 c salt (yes, one cup. You don’t drink the liquid it’s boiled in and the salt needs to get past the shell of the crawfish)
10-12 small red potatoes
5 ears of corn, shucked and cut in half
60 oz of Zatarain’s crawfish, shrimp, and crab boil zatarains-crab-boil_MED
5 lbs live crawfish per person (this recipe is for 25 lbs- or 5 people)
softened butter
Barq’s root beer (http://barqs.com/)

How To:

-Bring a larger than life stock pot of water to boil (preferably outside if you can. The spices will make everyone in the house cough).

-Add garlic, onions, potatoes, lemons, corn, sausage, and Zatarain’s boil
and boil for 20 mins.

-Add crawfish and salt, cover, and cook or 5 minutes.

-Turn off heat and let set for 20 mins (the longer it stands the spicier it will be 😉 ).

-Drain water and pour out the deliciousness onto a table covered in several layers of newspaper.

-Bandage any cuts you have on your hands (these spices burn).

-Place a full roll of paper towels on the table (you and your guests will need the whole roll. It gets messy).

-Drench potatoes and corn in butter.

-Peel (how to peel crawfish: 

-This is the most important step: Say Bismillah (In the name of God).

-Eat!

-Quench the spice with Barq’s root beer.

You don’t need pork or beer to have a great crawfish boil.
(you can also use this recipe for shrimp and/or crabs, as the zatarain’s boil suggests)
P.S. Make sure you wear clothes you are not overly fond of because stains happen, and throw your crawfish shells in the outside trash. It gets smelly quickly!

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