Another Turkish Classic – Mince Pide

The very few of you who have thankfully been following my blog would know that I often experiment with dough making.

Over the years I have tried to come up with the perfect multipurpose dough recipe for making pastries.

Yesterday I made a dough with the intention of making Naan bread, but realised the ingredients I had out for dinner were more suited to making some mince pide.

This dough recipe (with the tips) yields an amazingly soft dough, and the final touches to the dough make it look as good as the ones you buy from the store.


Delicious!

You will need (makes about 4 pides)

For the dough

3 cups self raising flour

1.5 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons castor sugar

1/2 cup warm milk

1/2 cup full fat plain yogurt

For the filling

250 gms lamb mince

one green and one red capsicum – chopped

one large onion

2 cloves of garlic – minced

2 tomatos – pureed

1 tablespoon oregano

2 tablespoons paprika

Handful of chopped paresly

Method (will be updated soon)

To make the filling:

Cook the mince in a tablespoon of oil until it picks up colour. Add capsicum, onions and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tomatos, oregano and allow to cook on a low heat for about 20 mins. If water still remains cook uncovered on a medium heat, stirring regularly until mix is dry. Season well. Add chopped paresly ad paprika.

Allow to cool and set aside.

For the dough:

Place all dry ingredients in a deep bow. Make a well in the centre (this will make mixing easier) and mix warm milk with yogurt in a seperate container to make a snooth liquid. Add to the well and gradually mix in the flour to make a dough. Dont add all the ;iquid (start off with most of it). Only use the rest if the dough looks dry.

Do not worry about kneading at this point as the dough will be too sticky to work with.

Cover well and allow to rest and rise for 2 hours.

If in a hurry leave for at least 30 mins.

Knead well to form a smooth dough. Adding more flour little by little. Smoothing out the dough is essential to a good end result. Do not add more flour than kneaded or else your dough will be dry.

Heat your oven to 200 deg.

Now divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll out into a circle a few mm thick. Add a few tablespoons of filling and fold both sides in, making an oval shape. Press the edges tightly so mix doesnt ooz out.

Brush lightly with a whisked egg and sprinkle with nigella or sesame seeds.

Bake in the oven until done. I grill the top first and then bake. Make sure the dough is cooked through and all edges are golden brown.

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Tips for soft chapattis

It can be a bit tricky making chapattis, with  the wrong technique they can become really dry, or dense and chewy.

Here are a few tips to  making soft, pliable chapattis:

1- Make sure you do not use too much flour when making the dough. your dough should contain approx 50% water

2-Do not roll out too thick or else it will be too dense and chewy.

3- Do not roll out too thin or else it will be too crunchy

4- Ensure the dough is evenly flattened for even cooking

5- Wipe your hotplate clean between uses to get rid of blackened specs of flour which can stick to your chapatti

6- The temp of your hotplate is really important, too hot and it will burn the outside, too cold and it will take too long to cook and may dry out.

7- Ideal heat is medium high.

8- Cook first side of chapatti for about 1 min(long enough for the bottom to cook but not gain color), flip over for the other side.

9- You need to press down on the chapatti for it to puff up and cook thoroughly. Use a paper towel to protect your fungers from the heat. Make sure you press on all edges to ensure even cooking. You can flip over to puff more and properly cook both sides.

10- Chapattis are done when all raw or wet looking bits are now opaque. Minima colouring should be seen.

11- Store covered with a teatowel if not eaten hot.

Chapatti and Layered Paratha recipe

I  have been experimenting with making indian breads over the past few weeks and have discovered a few techniques to making different delicious varities. With a basic dough recipe you can make both chapatti bread (which is a wholemeal flat bread) and layered paratha (which has more flaky texture and oil)

You will need: (makes about 20 chapattis)- I make a batch for two days, the rest i wrap tightly and keep in the fridge.

6 cups chapatti flour

3 cups warm water

2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons oil

a hot plate or non-stick pan for cooking

To make:

In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients together, then add oil and water (first 2 cups and mix well, then add as much as is needed of the third cup to make a sticky dough.)  Knead to form a smooth dough adding flour if necessary. The dough should just have enough flour to come together, do not add too much when kneading.

Cover well with a towel or in a plastic bag and allow dough to rest for at least 15 mins. You know it is ready to use when you can handle it without being too sticky. If after 30 mins it is still sticky you may add some more flour, a handful at a time, until it is less sticky.

Resting the dough is really important. Do not skip this step.

Divide into approx lime size pieces and smooth out to form a round ball. Dust it with flour if necesary to make it easier to work with.

Dust your work surface with flour and flatten the ball out either by hand or using a rolling pin. Make sure chapatti is evenly flat.

roll out to about 2 mm thickness. Dust off excess flour and place on a preheated hotplate on medium heat. I use mark 4 out of 6 on my electric stove top. Cook on one side for about 40 seconds then flip over. Some light colouring should be seen. Repeat this.

Get a clean paper towel and press down on the chapatti so it an puff up. Press on the formed airbubble so it can spread throughout. Once fully puffed up and all the rawness is gone, it is ready.

To make a layered paratha, add about a tablespoon of oil and spread well on the surface.

Make a slit up to the centre of the dough.

Roll the dough over it self, stretching as you roll, untill you have a long roll.

Twist this roll to form a coil and tuck in one of the loose ends under this coil.

Roll out again to form a circle.

Cook as before, but instead of puffing  up the bread, brush each surface with oil in the final stages of cooking. Cook to desired crispness, then remove.

Tips:

Coming soon!

Keema Naan- Mince Filled Flat-breads

I first tried keema naan at a Pakistani restaurant a few months back. Now thanks to my dough series experiment I have a dough recipe that works perfectly for naans and general pastries/pizza… So yesterday I made some keema naans!

The filling is fairly simple. Once you have experience with making the dough (which is also fairly simple), the only part thar requires practice is rolling out the naans. Some people recommend making it using two ”rounds” of dough and sandwiching the filling in between, but after two attempts I have managed to do it the proper way. So practice. The odd attempts still taste good 🙂

For the filling:

500 gms lean lamb mince

one and a half medium onions finely chopped

one tablespoon minced ginger

2 cloves of garlic-minced

one tablespoon curry powder (I used Baba’s meat curry brand  because it is mild)

Handful of corriander leaves- finely chopped (optional)

one tablespoon ground corriander

One tomato- finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

For the dough:

1 kg plain flour (take out 2 cups or so for kneading)

3 teaspoons instant yeast

3 teasp each salt and sugar

1/2 cup oil (sunflower or corn or any other mild tasting oil)

1 cup plain yogurt

2 cup of warm water
Dissolve yeast with sugar and salt in water, then  add yogurt and oil and a couple of cups of flour. Mix well to form a batter. Then gradually add more flour, mix well to from a dough, adding only as much flour as needed to bring the dough together. It is ok if it seems sticky.

Knead lightly adding a bit more flour if necessary (dont add too much as this will make the dough heavy and not soft). Cover well and allow to rise to about 30% before kneading again lightly to make a smooth dough. I only knead for a few seconds, enough for the dough to take shape, and I end up with perfectly stretchy and soft dough.

To make:

Brown the meat lightly in few tablespoons of oil. Add onions, ginger and garlic and cook off for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add spices and stir for a minute or so until fragrant. Add tomatos if you are using some.

Add about one cup of water and cover the meat and allow to cook for about 30 minutes or until the water is completely evaporated. Add chopped corriander and season well.

Allow the mixture to completely cool before using. Make sure the mixture is dry and has no liquid.

At this point you can prepare the dough or you can use one you prepared earlier. Once the dough is ready, divide into 10 pieces.

Roll into balls and set aside (you can place in the fridge if the kitchen gets too warm and you arent working fast enough).

Flour a clean surface with plenty of flour and sprinkle some ontop of the dough ball. Roll out with a rolling until about 3/4 cm thick. Add a few tablespoons of filling in the centre. You can estimate how much you need by dividing your filling into 10 portions. Close the edges of the dough to form a ball. Seal well and pinch off any excess. Roll in  your hand to form a smooth ball.This ensures even distribution of the filling in the naan.

Now flour again if necessary, and roll out with a rolling pin and roll out to approx 0.5 cm thickness.

Heat an iron skillet or any non-stick pan and place your naan to cook. Do not add any oil. Once it starts to puff up and the bottom part is cooked (you want it to pick up a bit of colour) flip over to the other side and cook. You want to do this on a medium-high heat. I use mark 4 on my electric stove top (highest setting being 6).

Once out, you can brush with butter or  ghee.

These are best eaten with some tamarind chutney, chaat masala or some nice yogurt raita.. but I actually like mine with kraft cheese singles 🙂

Tips:

  • To see how I fill the naans, you can watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUisXzanwVM , I do not roll it out as thin, nor do I stretch it after rolling out.
  • Adjust your stove-top heat to cook the naans properly. If too hot, they will brown faster than they puff up, if too low they will take too long to cook and turn out dry and colourless. Each naan should take about 5 minutes to cook.
  • Dont roll out the naans too thin, as this can make the filling show out of the dough.
  • Make sure you dust off the excess flour off the naans before cooking.
  • For a professional glossy look, you need to brush with butter or ghee when warm. I dont do though because I dont want the excess fat.
  • I make 1 kg batch at a time because that way I have some in my fridge and freezer, which makes for an awesome snack.

Spinach and Cheese Triangles

Spinach and cheese pies are an all-time favourite. I dont know anyone who doesnt like them.

Fresh spinach is all over the markets these days.. so best to make use of them because these pies are much nicer with fresh spinach compared to frozen.

You will need (makes about 12)

1 bunch of fresh spinach (English variety)- washed very well to remove all grit and chopped roughly into about 1 cm pieces.

One large onion (to taste and depending on the size of your bunch)- chopped

Sprinkle of pepper (not too much as it may overpower the delicate flavour of the spinach)

Puff pastry (can also use filo pastry)- about 3 sheets

Fetta cheese or ricotta, or a combination of the two

Mozarella cheese (optional)

Egg wash (one egg whisked with 2 tablespoons milk)

To make:

Saute the onions a few tablespoons of oil until half cooked, add the spinach and saute for around 2 minutes, or until wilted and juices have run out of the spinach. Do not overcook.

Allow to stand and you can strain in a collander to remove excess juice.

Place in a bowl with a sprinkling of pepper. Now time to add the cheese. How much cheese you use is up to you. For around 2 cups of cooked spinach you will need about 3/4 cup of fetta cheese (if you like a salty version) or you can use a 50/50 mixture of fetta and rictotta.

Mix everything together and make sure the filling is cool before you fill the pastry so it doesnt go soggy.

Cut your puff pastry sheets into the desired shape (i just cut into 4 squares) and fill with about 2 tablespoons of the filling Make sure not to overfill your pastry, otherwise they will pop and leak.

Seal pastries well and you can brush with some egg wash if desired

Bake in a moderate preheated oven (180 deg) until golden from top and bottom and puffed up.

Can be eated warm or cold. Enjoy!

Tips:

  • Make sure you wash your spinach really well.. you would be surprised at how much dirt can remain even after washing several times.
  • Sweet corn can be added to the filling (saute with the onions). They compliment the cheese and spinach perfectly.
  • I sometimes like to add a handful of mozarella cheese for some stretch as well as an egg for extra richness.
  • Be sure not to thaw your pastry for too long or else they will become too floppy to work with. If it gets to warm, place it again in the fridge to firm up.

Maamool Inspired Date Cookies

A month ago my parents gave a lovely box of maamool (date , fruit or nut filled middle easter cookies) and I have been hooked ever since.

I decided to make some at home since I couldnt find the same brand here in Melbourne (most of the ones in store have palm sugar and too many preservatives) and I had a box of fresh dates in my fridge.. so today I got baking!

You will need:

  • For the filling

250 gms dates (pitted and chopped)

2 tablespoons of butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/2 tablespoon vanilla sugar (optional)

Fry off the dates on a gentle heat with the butter until softened and fragrant. The dates should pick up some colour but not burn. Add the flavourings at the end and mash very well until a smooth paste is formed.

  • For the cookie dough:

3 cups plain flour

200 gms butter (unsalted)- softened

1/2 cup pure icing sugar (add more if you like it sweeter next time)

1 tablespoon vanilla sugar

Mix flour, icing sugar and vanilla together until well combined. Mix in butter and mix with finger tips until smooth crumbs form. Do not work the dough too much

To make:

This is up to your imagination. Today I used a muffin tray to give a nice shape to the cookies. I used approximately 3/4 tablespoons of date paste to 2.5 tablespoons cookie dough. I made a  ball of each and flattened each one individually. Then i placed the date filling in the larger dough circle and sealed together to form the cookie, then placing it into the muffin tray to take a nice round shape.

You can also roll the dough flat and fill with a ”snake shape” roll of dough. Then seal the edges, and cut into individual portions. Takes you back to playing with playdough 😀

Bake in a moderate preheated oven (180 deg) until golden and cooked through.

Perfect with milky tea or a strong coffee. But i usually have mine with a glass of milk 🙂
Enjoy

  • Add more date filling/less cookie dough than is shown in the pic if you like the cookies sweeter/with more dates.

Beef and Veggie Pie

The cold weather has well and truly hit Melbourne.. weather like this loves pies.. and so do I.

For the filling you will need: (makes 5 individual pies)

500 gms beef (chuck beef is best but I used topside)

3 medium onions

One medium carrot  (chopped)

2 medium garlic cloves (crushed)

One medium potato (chopped)

Celery stalk (chopped-optional)

Corn and peas (approx 1 cup)

2 bayleaves (optional)

3 teaspoons sage or other dry herbs

Half a teaspoon of kecap manis (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Few tablespoons of flour

Puff pastry

One egg + one tablespoon of milk, whisked together for an egg wash.

To make:

Coat the beef pieces in flour and fry off in some oil until they pic up a brown colour.

Add onions and saute for a few minutes. Add a few cups of water and allow the beef to cook until tender (mine took about 1 hr).Scrape off all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and add the garlic and other seasonings. When almost done, add all your vegetables and cook.

If too thin, add a tablespoon or so extra flour until desired gravy thickness is achieved, or reduce uncovered for a few minutes. You want to have a consistency like shown below.

Place cooled filling in a baking dish (i made individual ones in small ramikens) and cover with a double layer of puff pastry which you have stuck together using the egg wash. Glaze the surface with egg wash and seal the edges well with extra puff pastry. Cut some holes into the top of the pastry to allow the pie to ” breathe” and not pop open.

Bake in a medium heat oven until golden and puffed.

Dig in and enjoy!

Tips:

  • The browning process of the meat is very important in building the flavour for this pie. If your pan isnt  large enough, fry the beef in batches so they pick  up colour and do not stew.
  • You can add any herbs you like to this: thyme, marjoram, parsely etc.
  • Mushrooms work great with beef in pies, so use them if you want.

A feast from the Middle-East

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by the Middle-East: Meat pizzas, hummus dip and tabouli salad.

For the meat pizzas (lahm bi-ajeen) topping: (makes approx 2-4 large pizzas)

250 gms lean lamb mince

2 medium onions

2 medium tomatos (can add more)

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped flat-leaf parsely- Handful (optional)

half small capsicum -chopped (optional)

Paprika or chilli powder and lemon wedges for serving

For the dough:

1/2 kg plain flour (take out one cup or so for kneading)

one sachet instant yeast (8gms)

1.5 teasp each salt and sugar

1/4 cup oil (sunflower or corn or any other mild tasting oil)

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 cup of warm water
Dissolve yeast with sugar and salt in water, then mix everything else except the flour until smooth. Add the flour little by little untill you form a dough.

Knead lightly adding a bit more flour if necessary (dont add too much as this will make the dough heavy and not soft). It is ok if it is sticky, it will become easier to handle later. Cover well and allow to rise to about double before kneading again lightly to make a smooth dough.

To make:

Blend all ingredients (except the parsely and capsicum) in a food processor until smooth.

Grease a tray with some oil and lay flat the dough, patting down to desired thickness. Grease your hands with oil if too sticky to work with.  Add a layer of meat mix. Bear in mind that the meat will shrink, so push it further out to the edge than you normally would. Allow to rise again for about 15mins while hte oven is heating. This makes your dough light and airy, and happens naturally if you prepare all your trays at once.

Bake in a very hot preheated (200-250 deg) oven on middle shelf (if you have a fan forced oven) until cooked through and crispy on the bottom. I sometimes bake on bottom shelf then lift to the top shelf.

Hummus:

3 cups cooked chickpeas (cooking water reserved)

1/2 cup of cooking water (approx)

1/3 cup tahini paste

One medium clove garlic

Juice of one lemon (approx 1/2 cup. more or less to taste)

2 teaspoons cumin powder (more or less to taste)

2 tablespoons of vingear

Chilli powder (optional)

Blend everything together in a food processor until smooth. You may need to add more or less of the cooking water, so add a bit at a time until desired texture is achieved.

Tabouli Salad:

2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsely

1/2 cup fine burgul (soaked in about 1.5 cups of water)

Two Tablespoons finely chopped onions

One tomato (chopped finely)

Juice of one lemon (more or less to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together. You may add some olive oil if you like

Tips:

  • The dough recipe yields a beatiful dough when cooked. It is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. The key is to keep the dough moist and sticky, not adding too much flour when kneading. Only knead enough to form a workable dough.
  • Once you  get started working on the dough, you may find that the remaining amount starts rising (more than you want). If you are not working fast enough, just place the dough in the fridge until you are ready to use it again. This will stop it from rising too much and spoiling the taste (it will become very yeasty)
  • The capsicum/parsley combination is used in turkish style pizzas. For lebanese or arab style, you can add a pinch of ground cinnamon and not add the capsicum/parsely.

Aloo Paratha- Potato filled Indian bread.

This is my first attempt at making parathas.. I nailed the dough and the filling components but the rolling out part may take a bit more practice.

Today’s experiment was inspired by my trip to our local  Indian restaurant. My  poor husband returned home hungry last night after being told they couldnt make any parathas (we did go pretty late). So i decided to make him some today : )

For the dough this is what you need: (makes approx 4 medium parathas)

1.5 cups plain flour (use a good quality one) – you can also use chapatti flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1.5 tablespoons oil

3/4 cups warm water

Mix the oil and the flour with fingers to form a course mixture. Add salt and water and knead to form a smooth dough.

Allow to rest  for about 30mins after wrapping in some cling wrap (this makes rolling out easier).

For the stuffing:

One large potato (chopped finely)

One medium onion (finely chopped)

one large clove of garlic (minced)

Half a tablespoon ginger (minced)

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or powder

1/2 teaspoon corriander powder

1/8 teaspoon tumeric powder

Some corriander leaves (chopped)- I didnt have any today, but the flavour would be very nice with the potato mix.

chilli powder to taste

Some oil for frying

Saute onions in a couple of tablespoons of oil until soft, add ginger/garlic and spices. Fry off until fragrant. Add potatos with enough water to cook on a gentle heat. Once fully cooked make sure all water is reduced, then mash to a fine paste. Allow to cool fully before using.

To make the parathas:

Divide the dough into 5 or so pieces, roll out into a ball, then flatten with a rolling pin into a circle. Place a few tablespoons of stuffing into the centre, then pinch over the edges of the dough to form a ball that contains the stuffing. Pinch the ends and remove any excess dough to form an even ball.

Gently roll out with a rolling pin to desired thickness (should be a few mm in thickness). Pop any bubbles with a knife as this can make your paratha tear.

Cook in a medium hot pan (preheated) on the stove top until each side picks up colour (you want some mild colouring  but not burning). Brush one side with butter, oil or ghee whilst hot.

Serve alone or with some chaat masala!

Tips:

  • Mixing the oil with the flour first makes for a flaky pastry.
  • Kneading the dough until smooth is essential to making a nice stretchy dough.
  • A smooth filling ensures your parahtas do not tear while rolling



Baby Pumpkin Pies

I’m back! We moved house last month and I have finally got back to taking pics and recording my recipes.

Pumpkins are one of my favourite winter veggies, but last week I had two halves and really didnt want to make roast pumpkin, so decided to make some pie.

This is really easy if you follow the recipe and a delcious way to use up pumpkins, which are really cheap these days too.

So here it is:

For filling: (enough for about 20 mini pies)

2 cups of cooked mashed pumpkin (i cook with a little bit of water after chopping and with some spices: allspice, ground ginger, cloves and vanilla)

1/2 cup of brown sugar (more or less to taste)

1/2 cup of thickened cream

3 eggs

Mix all ingredients together (after pumpkin puree has cooled) and set aside while you make the pastry

For pastry: (enough for about 8 mini pies)

1 cup of plain flour

75 gms salted butter ( a bit cooler than room temp)

1/4 cup castor sugar

Vanilla sugar or ground ginger to taste

less than 1/4 cup of cold water

Mix butter, sugar and flour with your fingers until you form bread crumbs. Slowly add some water until you form a round ball. You might not need all of the water. You can also do this in the food processor but i dont like the washing up!

You now have a choice of either using a pie shell or muffin tray (for individual pies). I chose to make small ones. You may also need double the pastry amount if you chose to do pies with less filling (personally i would double the amount of pastry)

Spray your trays with oil and roll out your dough, shaping into the tray. Make sure they are a little bit  higher than you want them because they will shrink in your oven. Blind bake for about 10 mins in a 180 preheated oven until lightly golden.
Fill with your filling bake again until filling is set (around 15-20 mins). You may want to watch the heat and adjust so it doesnt burn (i lowered mine to 150C)

Serve with whipped cream or ice-cream.

Enjoy!