Malai Kofta

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mal 20/06/2018

What do you do when you don’t look at the packet properly and buy a block of paneer instead of feta? Get creative – The Greek salad can wait!

Delicately spiced paneer and nut stuffed potato dumplings are simmered in a velvety smooth and creamy gravy in this malai kofta recipe. It has a few stages but is very simple and totally worth the effort. You can use shop bought garam masala but I highly recommend taking the time to make your own as the flavours are so much more alive and layered.

Serves 2-4 depending on your appetite

Ingredients:

For Kofta:

  • 200g potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 100g paneer
  • 10 cashews
  • 1 Tbsp raisins (optional)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp corn flour
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying

For Gravy:

  • 200g tomatoes
  • 150g onions, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 1 Tbsp green chili paste
  • 1/ 2 cup fresh cream (malai)
  • 2 Tbsp ghee
  • Salt to taste

For making garam masala:

  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 whole dry red chilies
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 4 cashews

Instructions:

  1. Place the boiled and mashed potato in a mixing bowl and add the grated paneer into it. Now add all other ingredients and mix them well. Add some corn flour for binding so they don’t break up when frying.
  2. Make small balls out of the mixture by rolling in your hands. Around 15 balls can be made.
  3. Now coat the balls with a little more corn flour.
  4. Heat the oil on medium heat and deep-fry all koftas until a dark golden brown colour.
  5. To make the garam masala spice mix, take all dry spices and blend in a spice blender or pestle and mortar to make a fine powder.
  6. Make a puree from the tomatoes. I use a stick blender but you could just use passata for time.
  7. In a frying pan, heat the ghee, add chopped onions and cook for 2 minutes. Then add garlic, ginger and green chili paste.
  8. Cook for another 3 minutes then add the homemade garam masala powder. Let it cook in ghee with onions. Cook it for 2 minutes.
  9. Then add tomato puree and cook until the majority of the water contents evaporate. (If using passata, the water won’t evaporate so add less water in the next stage).
  10. Now, add half a cup fresh cream or malai, and red chili powder (optional), salt and 1 cup of water. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  11. The gravy is ready. Add koftas to the sauce when ready to serve.
  12. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with Indian roti or paratha.
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Polish Krokiety

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croq 17/06/2018

These Polish krokiety are full of a tasty pork and mushroom paté. Traditionally they can be made with sauerkraut and mushroom or cheese and mushroom fillings but this version is my personal favourite. They get their name from the crispy exterior that is similar to potato croquettes. This teamed with velvety paté, chunks of mushroom and soft pancake is a delight to eat.

Shout out to my amazing housemate, Nat for her mum’s recipe.

Makes 8

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 150-200g pork and mushroom paté
  • ½ egg, beaten (use the other half in the pancake batter)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the pancake batter:

  • 5 heaped Tbsp plain flour
  • 1 egg + ½ egg leftover from filling
  • Milk, enough to make a batter the consistency of double cream

For the breadcrumbs:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g dried breadcrumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for shallow frying

Method:

For the filling:

  1. Mix the paté in a small bowl with half the beaten egg.
  2. Season and set aside.

For the pancakes:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl combine eggs and flour and gradually add milk then mix until batter is smooth and there are no lumps. The batter should be runny. If it is not, add a little more milk.
  2. Over medium-high heat, warm a medium frying pan and brush it lightly with vegetable oil or butter.
  3. Pour ½ cup of batter into the frying pan and quickly distribute it over the surface of the pan. You can do this by tilting the pan back & forth until you have a large pancake with no gaps.
  4. As soon as the batter cooks and becomes firm, turn it over. Wait 5-10 seconds and remove it from the frying pan.
  5. Repeat until all the batter has been used. Place on a plate and set aside. This should make roughly 8 pancakes.

To assemble:

  1. Spread each nalesnik (Polish for pancake) with a tablespoon of paté filling and fold into rectangular shaped cubes.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Prepare separate bowl or plate with breadcrumbs and season.
  4. Cover each rolled crepe with egg and then breadcrumbs.
  5. Fry each krokiet in hot oil (just enough to barely cover the base of the frying pan) on each side until golden brown.
  6. Remove from the pan onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain before serving.

Cheese Souffle Omelette

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souf 05/05/2018

Making a soufflé omelette is a doddle and is a perfect meal for a Sunday brunch. It takes no more than five minutes and tastes amazing. This one has three cheeses, but you can make it with just one, or even four if you happen to have them hanging around. I always have a selection of cheeses to rival a small deli in my fridge.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 oz (25 g) mature Cheddar, finely grated
  • 1 oz (25 g) Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), finely grated
  • 1 oz (25 g) Gruyère, finely grated
  • 1 heaped tablespoon finely snipped chives
  • ½ oz (10 g) butter
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper

Method:

  1. First separate the eggs – yolks into a small bowl and whites into a squeaky-clean large bowl; it helps if you separate the whites singly into a cup first before adding them to the bowl, then if one breaks, it won’t ruin the rest.
  2. Now beat the egg yolks with a fork, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Next put the pan on to a low heat to warm through. While that’s happening, whisk the egg whites with either an electric hand whisk or a balloon whisk, until they form soft peaks.  Next add the butter to the pan and turn the heat up.
  3. Then, using a large metal spoon, quickly fold the egg yolks into the egg whites, adding the Cheddar, half the Parmesan and the chives at the same time. Then, when the butter is foaming, pile the whole lot into the pan and give it a good hefty shake to even it out. Now let the omelette cook for 1 minute exactly. Then slide a palette knife round the edges to loosen it, sprinkle the grated Gruyère all over the surface and whack the omelette under the grill, about 4 inches (10 cm) from the heat. Let it cook for 1 more minute, until the cheese is melted and tinged golden.
  4. Next, remove the pan from the heat, then slide the palette knife round the edge again. Take the pan to the warmed plate, then ease one half of the omelette over the other and tilt the whole lot out on to the plate.
  5. Scatter the rest of the Parmesan all over and serve immediately.

Spicy Masala Buns

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3 28/04/2018

Can you tell I have a lot of potatoes to use up at the moment? If I see another jacket potato any time soon, I might scream so this recipe jazzes up the humble spud with a bit of spice. Wrapped in a flavoured wholewheat dough, these tasty warming buns  deliver on flavour and comfort.

Ingredients:
For the dough:

  • 1 cup Plain Flour
  • ½ cup Whole Wheat Flour or Atta
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 7g packet instant dried Yeast
  • ¼ cup Hot Water
  • ¼ cup Milk
  • 2 tsp Chilli Powder
  • ½ cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp Oil, plus extra for preparing the dough
  • a few pickled Jalapenos

For Potato Filling:

  • 4 Boiled Potatoes, crushed
  • 1-2 Red Onions
  • 3 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 inch Ginger, grated
  • 1 Green Chilli, chopped
  • ¼ tsp Asasoetida
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 Tbsp Fresh coriander, chopped

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Method:

  1. For preparing wet ingredients add salt, sugar and hot water in a bowl and mix for the salt and sugar to dissolve. Add milk to bring the liquid to room temperature and then add yeast and allow to sit until it foams. Then add oil.
  2. For dry ingredients add the flours, chilli powder and coriander and mix them well. Add the liquid and mix to form a dough. Make a ball and then apply 1 tsp of oil to coat the dough and allow it to rest anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. The dough has to double in size.
  3. For the filling heat the oil in a wok. Add asafoetida, green chillies, garlic, onion and salt and cook until the onions are well done. Then add turmeric, potato and cilantro and mix well and cook it for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before making the buns.
  4. Set the oven to 200 degrees C and when the dough is ready, take a little over a golf ball size dough and pat it. Place a heaped tablespoon of the prepared stuffing in the centre and cover up the filling with the dough. Place it on a baking tray and add jalapenos on top and bake for 14 -15 minutes.
  5. When the buns are done brush them a little with melted ghee or butter for a lovely gloss and serve them hot with any chutney.

Baked Aloo Chaat

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4 27/04/2018

Aloo chaat is an Indian street food made by frying potatoes with spices and chutney. It is a versatile dish that has many regional variations. This particular recipe uses it as a filling for a baked snack that is comforting and delivers on fresh and vibrant flavours.

To make 4 Pockets

Ingredients:

Stuffing:

  • 2 Boiled Potatoes, roughly broken by hand
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • ½ tsp Chaat Masala Powder
  • 3 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 inch root Ginger, grated
  • 1 Onion – 1 finely chopped
  • 1 Green Chilli, finely chopped (remove seeds if you do not want extra spice)
  • ¼ cup fresh Mint Leaves, chopped
  • Sweet Tamarind Chutney
  • ¼ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • A squeeze of Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Oil plus extra for coating the pockets

Dough for Pockets:

  • 1 cup Bread Flour
  • ½ tsp Ajwan Seeds
  • Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee
  • A pinch of Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp Water 

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Method:

  1. Heat a frying pan with oil. Add turmeric, cumin seeds and chilli powder. When the cumin starts to toast add garlic, onion and ginger and give it a toss and allow for the onions to cook.
  2. Add salt and chickpeas, mix well. Add 1/3 cup sweet tamarind chutney. Then add the mint, chillies, coriander and mix before adding the potatoes. Add the chaat masala powder and mix well. Allow for the mix to cook for a few minutes. Add some lemon juice. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Set the oven to 200 degrees C. Mix the flour, salt, baking soda and ajwan seeds in a bowl.
  4. Add oil and ghee, rub to blend them well with the flour. Then add the water and make a very hard dough. Divide the dough into 4 portions.
  5. Roll each portion out into a round shape. Add a sufficient portion of the aloo stuffing to one half of the round.
  6. Cover the stuffing with the other half. Tightly pinch the corners to seal the pocket. Pat them and try to shape into rectangular log.
  7. Spread some oil all over the pocket and place in a foil lined baking tray.  Bake the pockets for 20 – 25 minutes until the pockets look golden brown. Serve them hot with sweet tamarind chutney.

Uzbek Samsa/Sambusa

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samsaa 06/04/2018

These Uzbek/Central Asian flaky shells are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The meat filling is nicely textured, juicy and flavorful. Make sure to make the full batch – these puppies have a tendency to magically vanish in the blink of an eye.

The dough in this sambusa recipe is very traditional: one part flour, half-part water and salt. The dough will be stiff and hard to knead, and that’s exactly how you want it to be. Modern recipes add an egg or two to make kneading easier. The resulting dough is more supple and easier to work with, but the sambusa lose their crispness and this is one of the best things about them.

Traditionally Uzbek meat sambusa is made with lamb meat and tail fat. A lot of tail fat. And a lot of onions. This fat and onions, which release water during baking, is what makes sambusa juicy and moist. While it tastes amazingly delicious, it’s very greasy. My sambusa recipe is a leaner variant made with lamb leg or shoulder. Shoulder works the best as it has the right lamb to fat ratio and is a very flavourful cut. Removing the fat does not make it taste any worse.

Meat for sambusa must be finely diced with a knife. It takes some effort, but this is very important. If you grind the meat you will get a dumpling, you don’t want that. Diced meat gives sambusa its peculiar texture and juiciness as diced meat retains water better than ground meat. Add finely chopped onions, salt and spice to the meat and the filling is ready. Cumin is one of the traditional spices added to sambusa, as well as black pepper. I am not a big fan of cumin, so I use black pepper and coriander instead for flavour. If you prefer, you can substitute coriander for cumin.

Makes 16

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 400g plain flour
  • 200g water
  • 1 1/2tsp salt
  • 3Tbsp vegetable or olive oil

For the meat filling:

  • 2lbs beef chuck diced into about 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2large onions finely chopped
  • 1tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 2tsp salt

For the egg wash:

  • 2egg yolks
  • 2tsp milk

sam samm

sams samsa

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the dough by combining all the ingredients in a large bowl and let the flour hydrate for 5 minutes or longer, then knead for 5 minutes. Wrap in plastic and let sit at room temperature for at least half an hour.
  2. Prepare the meat filling by combining the meat, the onions and the seasonings.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Roll it out to a rectangle about 1/16 inch thick. Pour 3 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil and spread out evenly across the entire surface. Roll the dough into a tight log, making sure there are no air pockets. Slice the log into about 16 1 ¼ inch cylinders. Flatten each cylinder with the palm of your hand then roll out to a 5 inch circle.
  4. Put about 3 – 3 ½ ounces of meat filling in the centre of each circle. Seal and place on a large baking sheet seam side down.
  5. Whisk egg yolks and milk until well mixed. Using a pastry brush paint the sambusas with a light, even coat of egg wash.
  6. Bake on the top rack of the oven preheated to 220C for 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet around once after 15 minutes. For softer crust, bake at 210C for 30 minutes.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.
  8. Refrigerated leftover sambusa can be re-heated for 10-15 minutes in the oven at 200C.

Dragon Chilli Chicken

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c 02/04/2018

In case you couldn’t tell, I have a bit of a craving for chillies at the moment. Dragon chicken is an Indo-Chinese dish that definitely delivers on this front and consists of battered chicken stir fried in a spicy chilli sauce. The sauce has a lot of flavour from the garlic, ginger and soy sauce while the dried red chillies deliver a fiery kick. You can adjust the amount of chillies and chilli paste based on your taste. If you like a milder dish, you will want to use significantly less but then you won’t really be making dragon chicken.

This is quite a dry dish. The sauce should be just enough to coat the chicken so if you want more then, by all means, double the sauce ingredients. The chilli paste can be bought readymade but is easily made by soaking dried red chillies in hot water and then grinding to a paste. They give the dish an amazing kick. If you are not a spice fan then this recipe is probably not for you. If however, you can’t get enough of it, read on.

serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 500g Boneless Chicken Breast (cut into thin strips)
  • Coriander leaves or Spring Onion for garnishing (finely chopped)
  • Oil for Deep frying

For Marination:

  • 2 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Red Chilli Paste (ground dry red chilli)
  • 1 Egg White
  • ¼ – ½ cup Plain Flour
  • ¼ cup Cornflour
  • Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper

For Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 3 Dry Red Chillies
  • 4 Tbsp Cashews, broken into small pieces
  • 1 large Onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 Bell Pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 Tbsp Red Chilli Paste (ground up dry red chilli)
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Sugar

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Method:

  1. Take chicken in a bowl and add all the marination ingredients. Mix well and let it marinate for 15 minutes. Now heat some oil for deep-frying. When the oil is hot drop the chicken in oil and fry till golden. Drain and set aside.
  2. Now heat oil in a frying pan. Add in dry red chilli and cashews and fry till the cashew turn golden brown.
  3. Now add in onions and bell peppers and toss well in the oil.
  4. Add in ginger garlic paste and sauté for a min.
  5. Now add in red chilli paste, soy sauce, tomato ketchup, salt, sugar and mix well.
  6. Cook this for a couple of mins till the water evaporates and sauce thickens.
  7. Now add in the fried chicken and toss well in the sauce. Add in chopped coriander or spring onion and mix well.
  8. Serve hot.