polenta fish n chips with tartare sauce

Being jet lagged was a classic. Waking up at 2am and sleeping from lunch time til the stars shine. It took a good week to readjust to the climate Down Under after visiting the two Holy Mosques in Saudi for my first pilgrimage ever 🙂

I had some preconceptions of what the place will be like, and how the people will behave, but despite all my mental preparation the experience was surreal and beyond expectations.

Photo's courtesy of my partner's friends :)

Photo’s courtesy of my partner’s friends 🙂

 

You’ve probably heard about “Hajj” – you know, that ritual where 2 million+ Muslims flock to the lands of Makkah in search of soul, faith, redemption. During the ritual itself, the men there dress in two white cloths symbolising two things: their burial cloths, and equality among each other… you could literally be walking next to a millionaire, orphan, or CEO and wouldn’t know it. Because the two of you have brought yourself back to the very basics of human life and the encompassing ideals of “humanity”.

Women cover as Muslim women generally do – wherever you look you cannot judge or compare as women viciously do. You build a kind of self-love because you forget what it feels like to see “the ideal [photoshopped] body image” plastered over billboards that reminds you of everything your body is not.

There, strange things happen. You meet people who don’t speak your language – yet you share lollies and smiles and maybe a goodbye hug. You hussle at the markets and you find yourself blabbering your summarised life story that you’ve craftily learnt to repeat to shop owners and other shoppers you meet.

When your soul searching journey is over and it’s time to head home, you realise how much you’ll miss the place (because bias-ly(?), your origins are from a country so similar!) Then you hit the sands of Down Under and smell the heat of a burnt through ozone layer and good ol’ humidity. Amalgamated with the smell of used canola oil and a freshly fried batch of fish’n’chips.

Polenta Fish and Chips

Only this time, it’s spruced up with a twist on the batter: polenta instead of breadcrumbs. And homemade tartare sauce.

 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 cup polenta

1 egg

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsps finely grated lemon rind

4 firm white fish fillets (about 150g each – I just used Basa)

1 tbs lemon juice

Canola or rice bran oil, to fry (or any oil you like to fry in)

Potato chips, to serve

Tartare Sauce:

1/2 cup quality whole-egg mayonnaise

1 tsp finely grated lemon rind

1 tsp finely chopped capers

2 gherkins, finely chopped

1 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

 

Method:

First make your sauce:

Place mayonnaise, lemon rind, capers, gherkins and parsley in a small bowl. Season. Stir until well combined and refrigerate.

Tartare Sauce

Next, combine polenta, garlic powder and lemon rind in a plate; season with salt and pepper.

Whisk egg in a shallow bowl.

Dip 1 piece of fish in egg. Coat in polenta mixture. Place on a plate.

Repeat with remaining fish. I cut 3 of my fillets into cocktail sized bites for the kids.

Refrigerate fish for 10 minutes.

polenta fish (pre-cooked)

Heat oil in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook fish, in batches, for 3 to 4 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.

Serve with salad, tartare sauce and chips.

Polenta Fish, Chips, Tartare Sauce

☆ my 2013 resolution | recipe roundup from my blogroll ☆

Since it’s year’s end and blog posts are trending around the topic, I thought I’d join the party and post:

a warm welcome to all my new subscribers – I hope to dish up delicacies that’ll tickle your taste buds this coming year;

a tribute to my blogging friends… a roundup of some of the dishes I’ve made from some of my beloved blogging friends. I enjoy receiving your recipes and droolworthy photos right to my inbox; and

my 2013 “new year’s resolution” for the blog to be freshly pressed which never happened!

I’m one of those people that “don’t do”. I don’t do this, I don’t take part in that, etc etc. and new year’s resolutions are one of those things that I don’t really do. Because they’re always a failure. Since “losing weight” has broken the records for being the most wanted, consecutive resolution for the past decade, 2013’s shifted towards the blog in hope that since I’m not losing weight when I set a goal to, I may lose weight in lieu of the blog not being freshly pressed. Did it work? I won’t tell you. 😛 Because there’s either a problem with my posts, the freshly pressed editors, my scales, or eating habits.. or perhaps all 4 things. 😉 I s’pose there’s still 20 minutes to go on my side of the globe, so there’s still hope 😉

 

Most of my 2013 was spent tearing my hair out to graduate from my bachelor, so my cooking frequency dropped, and so did my posts, but I have been on your blogs, and I have fulfilled my promises. When I say “bookmarked for later cooking”, I truly mean it.

Despite losing many photos of dishes I’ve made, I’ll be sharing what I can today.

~★~☆~★~☆~

This past year, and the couple before, I’ve craved, sighed in desire, been inspired by, and eagerly awaited posts from my blogroll, from Samah’s Good Cooks, to Sawsan’s Chef in Disguise, to Ksenia’s Saffron & Honey and more.

~★~☆~★~☆~

To begin, I’m going to share with you Rufus’ Stir-fried chicken with basil, mushrooms and chilli. Rufus was my first commenter, and subscriber and his ongoing presence really boosted my confidence and willingness to continue blogging. I’ve spent far too many late night flicking through Rufus’ daily posts, and have managed to learn a lot of new things from the blog. Thanks, Rufus & co.

Chicken Basil

This chicken basil recipe was delicious, and I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of flavours – minus some of the chilli as the girls around here can’t stand too much spice. Definitely give this recipe a go, all of you, it’s not to miss!

What’s comes after a really good meal? A really good dessert, of course! I cannot begin to explain how comforting, Rufus’ Brie and strawberries “pie” is, or how ridiculously tasty it is, or how simple to make it is. What’s not as simple as I thought though, is the cheese used in this dessert. And particularly, how it’s pronounced. Brie is apparently said Bree and not Bry like “dry”. Sorry, let me insist English is my second language to avoid the embarrassment! 😉

Brie and Strawberries

 

As I was not going to compete with Katherine’s talent, instead of roses and leaves on a rounded Brie pie, I folded over a what looked like a little bundle, and cut out (freehand) letters to spell … well you can see that for yourself! This was a perfectly timed dessert which I shared with the extended family after the birth of a little baby boy to my aunty. The only problem with this dessert is that it’s not enough. The next time I make this, I’m buying an extra large wheel of Brie so I can satisfy my portion needs of desserts this tasty. 🙂

~★~☆~★~☆~

Next I present to you Five Euro Food’s Roasted Beetroot Dip. Five Euro Food is run by Charles, also one of my early commenters and followers, who had to wait a really long time before I decided to check out who this loyal follower was. Since then I fell in love with the Swedish, French, English and all-things-in-between recipes he’d post.

Roasted Beetroot Dip

 

Charles had creative ideas when it came to beetroot which was fantastic for me – because I love beetroot, and, well sometimes my grandpa would buy far too many to just be disappointedly boiled or pickled. The roasted beetroot dip was delicious, although I’ll be roasting the garlic with the beetroot when I make this again. Perhaps our Aussie garlic tastes really strong, but any left over dip will have a super garlicky taste the next day – so enjoy it freshly made, it’s really hard not to finish in one sitting anyway!

If dips aren’t your thing, and you like the chips instead, then go no further than the Hand-cooked beetroot chips also at Five Euro Food.

Beetroot Chips

The littlest one here absolutely loves beetroot chips, so I just had to give these a go, and they were delicious, and far better than the store-bought packs. Be sure to pat your slices dry before frying to get a delicious crisp 🙂

~★~☆~★~☆~

Now if you haven’t headed over to My Ninja Naan, you’re really missing out. I’ve just about made all the smoothie recipes on this blog, and can’t get enough of them! I lost all the photos I had of the smoothies I’d made, but when I coincidentally found myself making yet another Date and Banana Smoothie, I put my glass down beside my window and grabbed my camera for a quick shot. If dates aren’t your thing, then you have to sip the strawberry banana smoothie instead. Both are so delicious! 🙂

Date & Banana Smoothie

Check out the texture on that date 😉 Definitely use medjool dates are they’re soft and will blend smoothly. When I made this one I only had small dried dates, but if you love a bit of texture, then by all means throw ’em in!

~★~☆~★~☆~

Next up is Eva from Kitchen Inspirations. I’ve made more recipes from Eva than I’ll list here, but I’ll share with you my attempt at making Eva’s Rösti potato. I wasn’t very confident when I made this back in January(!) so my rösti didn’t have the gorgeous streaks of browned potato throughout. But it was delicious nevertheless, and was eagerly welcomed into the tummies of the family.

Rosti Potato

From Eva’s blog, I’m also going to share with you her Lovely, flaky buttermilk cheese scones. To be honest with you, my scones weren’t as flaky as Eva’s but they tasted so delicious, I took them along to a family dinner they vanished before anything else did.

Cheese scones

~★~☆~★~☆~

I’ll end my little roundup with Dawn from First Look then Cook. I made her Chive and black pepper pop overs without having ever known what a pop over was. I learnt about these beauties from her blog! 🙂

Pop Overs

With so much batter I made large ones in the 12-case muffin tins and and mini ones in the 24-case muffin tins. The chives and black pepper really complemented each other, and I can only say I’m so lucky to have been introduced to such yummy little treats!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little roundup. I can’t wait to list another, with recipes ranging from MJs Kitchen to Very Culinary‘s! 🙂

Until then, stay safe, keep well, and bon appétit! 🙂

pan fried salmon steaks

With uni back in full swing, there’s been little time to cook – so I’ll be sharing a few recipes I managed to cook up during the summer 🙂 I love salmon – it’s one of my go-to choices when nothing on a menu tickles my fancy, or when I feel the need for something a little gourmet but easy to make.

I fry my salmon steaks on a flat-based, non-stick tefal pan, it cooks like a bbq plate, just without all the cleaning before and after. Feel free to use what you have handy, and to cook the salmon to your preferred level of doneness. I garnished my salmon with coriander, chilli and pan-fried zucchini. I had cored zucchini and fried the cores in the same pan as the salmon, the flavours infused into the zucchini beautifully. If you don’t plan to garnish with kecap manis, add a tablespoon or two into the marinade. And leave the garlic on the steaks while frying for the extra flavour.

pan-fried salmon steaks

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

4 salmon steaks (between 650-850 grams in total)

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

juice of half a lemon

a dash of olive oil, extra for frying

to taste: salt, ground white pepper, paprika, ground tumeric, dried dill

kecap manis (or similar), to serve

 

Method:

Marinate the salmon steaks with the garlic, lemon juice and olive oil for 30 minutes minimum (up to three hours maximum).

Add the spices prior to frying, and mix well.

Heat olive oil in a flat-based pan on medium-high heat.

Add salmon steaks, skin side down, and reduce the heat to medium.

Cook steaks, turning every few minutes until pink in colour, flaky and firm when pressed with the back of a fork.

Serve with an extra sprinkle of dill and tumeric, and kecap manis.

Devour!

chilli sweet potato fries

If you’re after a party in your mouth, then this is the recipe you’re after. It’s packed with flavour, fried nutrition (:P), and loaded with texture to kick-start the best flavourful experience you’ll ever have. I’ll make an outright confession here: these aren’t as healthy as Rufus’ baked sweet potato fries, but they’re fries, so I’ll fry them. I mean, how often do we get to eat chilli sweet potato fries? (A fair bit, I know, but still!)

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2 larget sweet potatoes

1/2 tsp salt

a pinch of each: taco seasoning (homemade or store bought), oregano flakes, smoked paprika

 

Method:

Preheat the deep fryer.

Wash and peel the sweet potatoes (peeling is optional).

Cut the sweet potato in half, then into long strips, no thicker than one centimetre.

Pat dry the potatoes and salt.

When the oil is hot (a potato should sizzle immediately), fry for 3 – 5 minutes, or until golden in colour.

Remove from the oil and immediately sprinkle on taco seasoning, oregano and paprika.

Serve as a snack or side with sour cream and chives if desired.

Devour!

scrumptious curry puffs

I wonder if anyone is finding today a particularly weird day. Because it’s the 29th of Feb. Since I don’t know if I’ll be here or alive after 4 years from now, I thought I’ll put up a recipe for the occasion. A while back I tried a recipe for 2-toned curry puffs I saw on Tes at Home’s blog. Although my 2 tones didn’t turn out as 2 tones, there was still some sort of recognisable difference in the curry puff pastry.

What I love about this recipe is that the dough (water one especially) is SO easy to make. If you’re the sort of person who makes fillings in advance, you could be curry puffing your way in minutes without a tiring huff or puff!

To make these curry puffs again, I think I’ll only stick with the water dough, because I think they’ll taste just as good without the butter dough and extra rolling to do. 🙂



Yields: 25

Ingredients:

Curry Pastry:

Water Dough:

2 1/2 cups plain flour

2/4 cup warm water

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbs oil

Grease Dough:

1 1/2 cup plain flour

1/3 cup butter, interchangeable with Canola spread, softened and cut into small cubes

2 tbs oil

1 tbs water if necessary

Filling (enough for 2 batches of curry pastry recipe above, can be frozen):

2 medium potatoes, peeled and finely diced

2 skinless chicken thigh fillets, finely diced (leave out if vegetarian)

1 medium carrot, grated

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 tbs tandoori paste (or tomato paste)

1/4 cup corn

1/4 cup peas

juice of half a lemon

1/4 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tbs soy sauce

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

a dash of pepper

 

Method:

Combine all ingredients for the water dough in a large bowl.

Knead well for 5-7 minutes. Cover and rest the dough for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the grease dough, crumble the butter in the flour until it resembles coarse grains.

Add the oil (and water if necessary) and knead until smooth and pliable.

Make the filling by adding the potatoes  with a drizzle of oil into a non-stick pan.

Add in the salt and stir through the potatoes for 5 minutes on medium heat.

Add in the chicken and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Add in the remaining ingredients and spices and simmer until the potato and onion soften.

Dish up the mixture and leave aside to cool.

Meanwhile, roll the water dough out into a large sheet and wrap it around grease dough.

Roll out into the long sheet, make marks with the rolling pin to help you roll it into an even shape.

When you have rolled out the dough to a 1 cm thickness, roll it into a Swiss roll.

Roll the dough again out into a sheet, then into a Swiss roll, like the previous process.

I rolled mine a bit thick, but they're tastier when the dough is rolled out thinner (I did this recipe twice)!

Cut the dough into 1/3 cm thick discs.

Gently roll the discs to flatten them.

Add the filling onto the middle and fold the pastry in half.

Press and crimp the edge of the curry puff.

Repeat this until all the remaining curry puffs are finished.

Heat oil in a deep fryer over the medium-high heat.

Deep fry the puffs for few minutes or until golden brown.

Devour!

cogent cauliflower stew

I’m always in a battle when it comes down to cauliflower. Hence the name for this recipe card!

Cauliflower always gives me this nice set of straightforward arguments as to why I should not hate it. And I’m always replying with illogical responses like “but you make people burp – like ew!”

I don’t know what makes me love this dish so much now, because I don’t like red meat, and I don’t like cauliflower. I think it’s just that slowly – overtime, as my mum made this recipe time and again, I gave in. I don’t “hate” cauliflower, I just hate it when people fry it and eat it (something done widely in Arab countries), or when they don’t serve it with a large amount of spices to overcome it’s cauliflower-ness.

Also referred to as “Syrian Cauliflower Stew” if it helps to know 🙂

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

200 g minced meat

1 1/2 cauliflower heads

3-4 cloves crushed garlic

1/3 cup finely diced coriander

1.3 L water or thereabouts

1/2 stick cinnamon

10 peppercorns

salt, pepper, baharat

 

Method:

Wash and remove the leaves of the cauliflowers.

Break into large chunks, using a knife to assist you in cutting up the pieces from the core.

Heat up the deep fryer, when a piece of flat bread turns rosy, the oil is ready for use.

Pop in the cauliflower pieces, turning them within the oil frequently so they can evenly cook, be sure the core/stem is in the oil for a longer time than the top because the top cooks easily.

When the pieces are a faint golden colour, remove from the deep fryer and set aside to release excess oil.

In a non-stick tefal pot, add the meat and a large pinch of salt, pepper and baharat.

Cook for 2 minutes over medium-high heat.

Add the cauliflower pieces into the pot, keeping their stems towards the bottom of the pot (almost like planting mini trees in meaty dirt – hehehe).

The pieces don’t all have to be in one layer, just be sure to put the bigger ones down the bottom.

Boil 1.3 L of water in a kettle.

Add enough of the boiled water to immerse the cauliflowers.

Break up half a stick of cinnamon and add to the pot.

Add the peppercorns and a large pinch of salt. Taste the broth, the salt content should be just over a comfortable saltiness.

Cover the pot and cook on high heat for 10 minutes.

Check on the pot’s contents stirring very carefully.

Reduce to medium and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Next add the coriander and garlic to the pot, cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Dish up and serve with pita bread.

This dish is not eaten with a knife, fork or spoon – you rip up pieces of flat bread large enough to hold comfortably in 4 fingers, then you “clamp” onto a bite sized serving and munch along! Eat how you desire.

Definitely needs a large dash of lemon juice and cumin.

Devour!

zesty za’tar potatoes

I came home from uni a couple of weeks ago, and found a plate of gorgeous looking potatoes sitting there waiting for me! 😀 I asked who’d made them, and how, but I was answered with a question. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to guess everything in this recipe card, but that didn’t matter, because I loved these a lot. The zat’ar we had at home was a bit sour already, that’s why I would’ve added in the sugar.

These make a great side dish to any dinner. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Part 2 of cooking with my sis (only that she did them all by herself this time!)

 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

4 small potatoes (or equivalent large ones)

seasoning: za’tar, sumac, pepper; salt if desired

optional: sugar, black onion seed, onion powder

 

Method:

Wash the potatoes (leave the skin on)

Cut the potatoes into large chunks or quarters.

Season with a bit of salt.

Bring water to a boil and add the potatoes.

Leave to cook until almost done.

Remove from the pot and leave to drain.

Heat up the deep fryer (this gets naughty).

The oil is ready when a potato sizzles immediately.

Fry all the potato until completely cooked and golden.

Remove from the deep fryer and set aside, but don’t put them on absorbent paper.

In a plate, add a few heaped tablespoons of za’tar. Add in about 1/2 a teaspoon of sumac and mix.

Add a dash of pepper, and optionally, you can add a small dash of sugar, black onion seed, or onion powder.

Mix in all the spices until combined.

Take each potato quarter and roll carefully in the spices.

Arrange in a serving dish.

Best eaten with something fresh like a salad.

Devour!

jazzy jam doughnuts

Now that the semester is slowly coming to end, my classes have started to drop, and scramble time for exam study is shining bright. In the hours that I once spent sitting in lectures, I’ve decided to trash study and prep for my great Eid morning tea/lunch, and a Saturday iftar dinner party. All this means I need to rev it back up in the kitchen and learn again the pain of standing up for hours, and the joy of seeing what you’ve made (being devoured)!

I couldn’t have had a better time in the kitchen without my bigger sis, though. I took the snaps and she made the doughnuts, I pinched in from time to time and did a few things. My sis has made doughnuts before, but all had potato in them, so after I found this Daring Baker’s Challenge (Oct 2010) recipe, I decided that we make some non-potatoey dougnuts, and see how they’d turn out.

 

I must say, the doughnuts tasted really good. At the same time we were making chicken and corn pies for dinner (recipe for another time) and we all ended up having our dessert before dinner! There is one problem with making these doughnuts, and that is the candy thermomertre. I don’t have one (I’m not the sort of person who’d buy one – yet), which meant that the oil was hard to predict. We burnt the first three doughnuts (burnt outside, uncooked doughy inside), before I got the oil temp right. Below is the halved recipe I made, you can find the full one on gingerbreadbagels.com

Yields: ~ 12

Ingredients:

3 – 5 cups flour (I used self-raising, it asked for all purpose, same result)

1/4 cup shortening (I used copha), softened (use just under 1/4 cup)

3/4 cup lukewarm whole milk

3 tbs active dry yeast

1/8 cup warm water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

oil for frying

butter and: sugar + cinnamon OR icing sugar for coating

jam + peanut butter, or your favourite spread for filling

 

Method:

In a large bowl pour in 1/8 cup of warm water.

Add the yeast to the bowl and mix in. Let it sit aside to foam for 5 minutes (this is proofing the yeast).

Add 2 cups of flour, the shortening, salt, sugar and egg, and milk.

Mix the ingredients to form a sticky dough.

Continue mixing + kneading with your hand, or beat with dough hooks for 5 minutes, gradually adding in the rest of the flour, 1/4 a cup at a time. Only use as much flour as you need to form a soft dough.

When the dough is formed, place it on a floured counter and knead by hand for 2 minutes.

Return it to the bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap.

Leave aside to rise: up to 30 minutes.

Dust a bench with flour and remove the dough from the bowl. Roll it out on the counter until it’s 1/2 inch (about 1 cm) thick.

Use a circle pastry cutter to cut the dough. I also made 3 love hearts 🙂

Place the doughnuts on a floured/greased tray and cover with a damp towel.

Leave aside for 20 minutes to rest.

Heat up oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees / 180 degrees celsius.

Keep the heat on medium to maintain the temperature.

Slowly drop in a couple of doughnuts at a time. Use a skimming spoon or something alike to get oil on top of the doughnuts so they cook evenly.

You’ll see them start to puff, that’s when you should flip them.

Cook until both sides are golden (you may need to flip them back for a bit).

Keep monitoring the oil temp, and place the cooked doughnuts on absorbent paper or a cooling rack.

To fill the doughnuts, make a hole in the side, and place your filling in a piping bag.

Pipe in the filling then brush the doughnuts with softened butter.

Roll in the sugar + cinnamon mix, and

Devour!

sentimental sweet chilli sauce & spring rolls

Today was a day of “if only”-s. If only .. If only.. If only..

Fried ones on the left, baked ones one the right 🙂

Today was also the day that I made an official decision that Asian cooking is that area which I sometimes struggle with. And that it takes a LONG time. Like 2 hours. Just to make 40 odd spring rolls that looked wonky, but tasted amazing! I knew there is a whole art attached to making spring rolls, but you know, rules are made to be broken, as my vis. comm. lecturer says! So you see……

…. Last week I decided to buy rice vermicelli so that I can explore asian cuisine on the weekend (namely today). I decided to make spring rolls with the filo pastry I bought to make baqlawa (also known as baklava – shudder). So I set off to make them! Quickly I realised, if only I knew a good recipe for the filling. And if only I didn’t have to spend so long looking through Google for a recipe. If only we had sweet chilli sauce in the pantry. I “stuffed all” and went into the kitchen to make up my own spring rolls! That’s when I realised if only there was cabbage in the fridge. Nevertheless, I put together my own stuffing and adapted the sauce from Island Vittles to be compatible with what I had. 🙂

I’m really happy with the end result.

Yields: ~ 40

Ingredients:

10 large rectangular sheets filo pastry

Filling:

1 carrot

1/4 cup peas

2 cloves garlic

2 tbs finely chopped mint

4 tbs finely chopped coriander

1 chicken breast fillet, finely diced

1 tiny red chilli (about 2-3cms in length)

salt and baharat or your favourite spices

sweet soy sauce to taste (I used about 1/4 cup)

130g rice vermicelli (I used 1/3 of a 400g pack); makes about 2 cups after it’s blanched

Homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce:

4 tiny red chillies or 2 medium sized ones

2 cloves garlic

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup white vinegar

3/4 cup tap water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tbs cornstarch + 2tbs water

Method:

First, prep the filling by grating the carrot with a mandolin grater.

Add the carrot, mint, coriander and peas into a large bowl, and toss.

In a non-stick pan, add the finely diced chicken breast, 2 cloves minced garlic, finely diced red chilli, and 1/8 cup sweet soy sauce.

I love my mini red chillies

Add a salt, pepper and baharat and cook over medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes (until the chicken whitens).

Add the chicken to the bowl of filling.

In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil, and add the rice vermicelli.

Leave to cook for 3 – 5 minutes, or until it’s easy enough to pull apart.

Drain then cut the rice vermicelli with kitchen scissors (to about a 5cm length).

Add the vermicelli to the filling. Add in the remaining soy sauce + salt to taste and toss.

fati’s very own spring roll filling

Prepare the filo pastry by covering it with a damp tea towel.

Depending on the shape of your pastry, cut into squares or rectangles for rolling. I believe the proper way to roll spring rolls is to place the filling diagonally on a square and roll it, tuck in the sides and seal the end. But I wasn’t going to do the maths, I’ve got long sheets of pastry, so I cut mine into strips and rolled them the way I roll grape leaves!

Place a tablespoon of the mixture on one end of the filo pastry, roll to about half way.

Tuck in the sides and continue rolling.

Seal the end with a dab or water, milk, or egg.

Repeat the process until the filling is used up. Keep the rolled filo under another damp tea towel in a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.

Leave the spring rolls in the fridge until it’s time to cook them.. Or head on over the deep fryer.

To fry the spring rolls, dip one in to test the oil temperature, if it immediately sizzles, turn the heat down to medium and cook the spring rolls until golden.

To stop the spring rolls from expanding/unrolling, use the back of your frying colander or spoon to keep the spring roll against the side of the deep fryer for the first few seconds. If you don’t enclose upon it, it will fall apart.

To bake the spring rolls, preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Brush the rolls with oil and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, or until golden.

In the meantime, make the sweet chilli sauce by removing the seeds from the chillis (I actually kept mine for an extra chilli punch!)

Place the cloves of minced garlic, the chilli, sugar and vinegar in a mini food processor.

Beat in until the mixture had incorporated.

Transfer to a non-stick saucepan, adding 3/4 cup water and the soy sauce.

Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and leave for 2 – 3 minutes.

Mix the cornstarch with the water and leave aside.

Remove the chili sauce from the heat, stir in the cornstarch slurry and return to the heat.

Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens a bit, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool completely. Transfer to a steralised, air tight jar for later use, but keep aside what you want to serve with the spring rolls.

I swear, it smells and tastes just like (even better) than the ones in the shops!

Keeps for up to 6 weeks apparently 🙂

Serve the spring rolls while they’re fresh and crispy.

Devour!

Nom Nom Nom – abati loved the sauce

proper parathas

It’s winter. And the days are a lot shorter here. Which is great since I get to sleep in for longer. But it’s not so when I’m in a flurry to get everything ready by 5pm. Because a flock of loved ones are arriving soon after.

 

Child minding, cleaning and cooking for one who has very little experience, can I say, isn’t very easy! And it isn’t when you can randomly decide to make parathas an hour and a half before they come! Especially if you’ve had a horrid mess-of-an-experience with their Aloo species before.

 

This time, though, I decided I’m skipping the “Aloo” part, and sticking to just “parathas”. So I look up a recipe, get bombarded with a million. I chose one randomly, then somehow got mixed up with my tabs and did a chapati-paratha recipe. I read the flour from one, and the oil from the other, and then the milk from one, but water from the other, to the first step from one, and then the other.

 

I’m amazed it turned out so well after all – hence the post’s title! I put together below the recipe I ended up using, so you don’t face a big mucky mess like I almost ran into!

Serves: 10 (2 for each)

Ingredients:

5 cups plain or wholewheat flour

1 1/3 cups milk, plus 1/4 cup more

8 tablespoons of any cooking oil, plus a cup for brushing

A very large pinch of salt and a very large pinch of your favourite curry powder, I used madras curry powder, mixed together.

You will need about half a teaspoon of each of the two for each paratha you make.

 

Method:

There are two ways of doing this.

 

Option one:

Measure out about 10 tsps of salt and another 10 of curry powder and add it to the flour.

Mix in very well. Sift the flour if you really want to, but I didn’t.

Add the wet ingredients and knead to form a soft dough.

 

Option two:

Add the flour, cooking oil and milk together and knead to a soft dough.

When you are rolling the parathas, rub in the salt and curry powder mixture and continue rolling to disperse the flavour.

 

I did option two, both give (almost) the same result. Option two gives a more yellow colour colour and nice texture to the parathas.

 

Leave the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Break into segments, somewhere between a golf ball and baseball in size.

Dip into flour and begin to roll using a floured rolling pin.

Just when you think there’s no more chance of it rolling any thinner, brush with oil and flip, then continue rolling.

 

Meanwhile keep a hot pan ready. Keep the heat on medium for the entire time, if it’s too hot then the paratha will burn without cooking properly.

Before putting in the paratha brush generously with oil and place it oiled side down on the pan, when it bubbles, before flipping, again brush very heavily with oil. It should be almost soaked, because this is what it keeps it soft and flavoursome.

I didn’t roll out this one very circular, now did I?

After flipping, brush the top (cooked) side with a bit more oil.

When it’s ready – a golden colour will appear where it became bubbly, remove from the pan and place in a folded tea towel.

Repeat this rolling/oiling/cooking process until all are done.

Garnish with finely diced coriander and serve with some butter chicken curry and rice.

Devour!

Rolling isn’t easy. It’s hard making nice circles…  😦