Vegetable, Herb And Parmesan Muffins

These muffins are tasty and full of goodness.With how good they taste,  you will be wondering why savoury muffins aren’t as popular as their sweet counterparts..

You will need: (makes 12)

2 cups self raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 large eggs

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup oil (can add up to 1/2 cup)

2 cups grated zuccini

1 cup grated carrot

1/2 cup finely sliced green parts of spring onions

1/4 cup chopped herbs (dill or corriander) – i used corriander

extra sharp grated parmesan cheese – about 1/2 a cup

To make:

Whisk together eggs, milk and oil. Add carrotts, zuccini and salt. Mix well. Add flour and baking powder. Mix well, but do not mix too much. Just enough to bring the mix together.

Place in a lined muffin tray, filling to about 3/4 of the way up. Bake in a preheated oven (180 deg) for about 15-30 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of a muffin.

About half way through baking (when they have risen and firmed up) sprnkle each muffin with about 1/2 tablespoon of parmesan, and return to the bake until cooked and golden on the top.

Chicken and Potato Pakora

This recipe is for very delicious pakoras. They are a deep fried indian/pakistani apetiser.

You will need (makes approx 12 pakoras)

2 cups besan flour (chickpea flour)

approx 2/3 cup water

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 medium chicken breast – chopped into  1.5 cm cubes (skin and fat removed)

1 large potato (boiled until just cooked) and chopped into 1.5 cm cubes

1 large onion- thinly sliced after cutting in half

1 teaspoon whole corriander seeds- crushed

2 tablespoons madras curry powder (yellow all purposes curry powder)

salt and pepper to taste

oil

To make:

Saute onions in some oil until soft. Add chicken pieces and fry until just cooked. Add spices fry off for a minute until fragrant but not burnt. Add potato pieces and stire until well combined. Season well.

 

Add the besan flour, baking powder and enough water to make a thick paste. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Heat oil in a deep pan for deep frying. Do not have the oil too hot or else they will burn on the outside and remain raw on the inside.

Deep fry heaped tablespoons of the batter for a few minutes, rotating if necessary until deep golden in colour and cooked all through.

Serve with some chutney or chaat masala and enjoy!

 

Tips:

  • Make sure your oil temperature is ok by doing an initial test batch. If it changes colour too quickly and remains raw on the inside you need to reduce the heat. If it takes very long to sizzle the the heat must be turned up.
  • It is ok if some of the chicken and potatos become mashed while mixing.
  • You can add freshly chopped corriander and chilli to the batter for a different flavour.

Home made dim-sims

I love steamed fresh dim-sims.. not the frozen stuff..

They are fairly simple to make and much healthier than those in store..

(pic is of raw dim-sims)

You will need:

Chicken/veg filling (for recipe)

Wonton wrappers

To make:

Fill each wonton wrapper with about 1-2 tablespoons of filling (depending on the size of the wrapper)

Place on a steaming rack and allow to steam covered for about 15 mins or until filling and wrappers are fully cooked.

Serve with your favourite dipping sauce!

Tip:

Wrapping dimsims requires a bit of practice, there are many videos on youtube demonstrating this. Find a technique that works for you, or develop your own!

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.

Vegetable Pakoras

Last night we had potato and chicken pakoras at a pakistani restaurant and I just had to make some today for lunch (without chicken).

They are quite simple to make, I made them by taste, so if the recipe doesnt sound 100% authentic, it is because I am not pakistani 😀

You will need:

400 gms potatos (boiled until firmly cooked). Divide into 2 batches

One medium onion. Thinly sliced

2 cups of chickpea flour (called Bessan at indian groceries)

3/4 tsp corriander powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Chilli powder or fresh chilli to taste

1 tsp salt

1/2 level teaspoon of baking powder

1 small garlic clove. Minced

approx 1/2 cup of water

To make:

Roughly chop half of the cooked potatoes (pieces should roughly be 3/4 cm in size). Mash the remaining potatoes.

Add a little bit of oil to a pan with the onions, spices, and chopped potatoes and fry for a couple of minutes until the rawness of the onions is slightly removed. Do not fry for longer than 2 minutes.

Mix in remaning ingredients, adding water a little bit at a time to form a thick paste. You may not need all the water.

Once mixed, deep fry approx 2 tablespoons at time in medium hot oil, making sure to stir regularly so that it doesnt stick to the bottom of the fry pan. Once golden remove from oil and drain on absorbent paper.

Eat alone, with some chutney dip (i used pattu’s samosa chutney), or sprinkled with some chaat masala.

Tips:

Always test a bit of the batter in the oil before starting to fry to make sure you have the right consistency, salt level and heat of oil.

Chopped fresh corriander makes a lovely addition to this mix.

You can add a couple of tablespoons of cornflour for extra crunch.


Spicy Coconut Dust

My husband asked me if  i could make what he referred to as ”your version of sambal”.. so i made some today.

I was trying to figure out though how my version ended up having hardly anything to do with the original. Has anyone ever heard of sambal with coconut?

At any rate, i would like to call this spicy coconut dust. It is delicious sprinkled ontop of spicy rice, boiled eggs or anything else. And super easy to make.

You will need:

1- medium onion (grated finely)

2 large birds eye chillis (more or less to taste)- finely chopped

Approx 1 tablespoon minced ginger

2 large garlic cloves (minced finely)

3-4 teaspoons fish sauce (normally I use a bit of prawn paste but today I didnt have any)

2.5 teaspoons of white sugar

approx 1.75 tsp salt (to taste)

1/3 cup dessicated (fine) coconut

4 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice

To make:

Gently sautee the onions in a few tablespoons of oil, add garlic, ginger and chilli halfway and continue stirring until fragrant and the rawness of the ingredients is gone.

Add the coconut and continue stirring on medium heat until the coconut is golden brown (do not burn). Once toasted, add salt, sugar, fish-sauce,  and lime or lemon juice. Taste to balance flavours. If excess oil remains, strain out gently before serving.

Enjoy!

On a roll..

It seems I have been ”on a roll” of late.. I like most of my meals rolled up. Sushi.. and of course rice paper rolls! One of my all time favs!!

They are super easy to make and delicious. I even got my husband to try and enjoy a few..

I usually make them with tuna/mayo, avocados and grated carrots. But this time I made them with stir-fried chicken breast, vermicilli noodles, bean shoots, carrots and some roasted peanuts.

You will need:

For the chicken:

Approx 1/2 a large chicken breast (sliced)

One clove of minced garlic

1/3 tablespoon fresh minced ginger

One tablespoon of oil.

Small dash of fish sauce (or salt) and some black pepper.

For dipping sauce:

3 Tablespoons Fish sauce

4 Tablespoons Lime juice (more or less to taste)

2 Tablespoons White sugar (can add more or less depending on preference)

2 bird-eye red chillis (less for less spicy). Chopped really finely.

1/4 small clove minced garlic

Mix together and allow to rest for at least an hour to infuse flavours. But you can use straight up if in a hurry.

For the rolls:


any veg filling you want, cucumbers, carrots (julliened), bean sprouts, roasted peanuts, cooked vermicilli noodles, chicken/prawn etc..

Rice papers.
Directions

Dip one side of the paper roll in water for approx 2 seconds.. flip over and repeat.

Remove from water, shaking off excess and laying out on a clean flat surface. Wait about 10 seconds until it becomes plyable but not too soft (it will soften more after they are rolled so it is important not to soak for too long)

Lay out your fillings. A little bit goes a long way. So dont be tempted to over-fill your roll.

Fold the edge that is closest to you inwards on top of the filling.. Followed by the side edges inwards.. then just roll into a cylinder (packets usually have diagrams to follow).

Repeat the process until you have as many as you want. Serve with your favourite dipping sauce.(soy, hot chilli etc)

The humble sausage roll..

Who doesnt like sausage rolls?

These were made for my husband’s lunch. I only took a small bite : )

Quick, easy, delicious and cheaper than pre-made.

Takes about 5 mins to make and about 15 mins baking.

You will need:

Approx 3  sausages (remove skin)

2-3 sheets of puff pastry (I love pampas brand)

One egg and a few tablespoons of milk for an egg wash (optional)

Some sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Method:

Lay approx 1.5 sausages (depending on the size you want) to half a sheet of pastry.

Roll over and seal edges well by pressing together.

A tip for dealing with puff pastry is to never thaw it too much. Once it is out of the fridge and no longer feels cold, you will have to work quikly, otherwise it becomes very sticky and soft. If this happens return to the fridge for a few mins.

To make the eggwash: beat one egg with about 3 tablespoons of milk. Brush onto rolls and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

You can brush with egg wash twice. Cut rolls into desired size

Bake in a preheated 180-200 C oven until sausages and pastry is cooked. Make sure oven temp isnt too hot otherwise the pastry will burn before the meat is cooked.

Enjoy with your favourite sauce!