CHINESE STYLE MEATBALLS IN A SWEET AND SPICY ORANGE SESAME SAUCE WITH WILTED GREENS
CHINESE STYLE MEATBALLS IN A SWEET AND SPICY ORANGE SESAME SAUCE
YOU CAN SERVE THESE MEATBALLS WITH ALMOST ANY KIND OF NOODLE. YOU CAN ALSO USE A WIDE VARIETY OF GREENS. THE MORE TENDER THEY ARE THE FASTER THEY WILT. THIS IS A HOME STYLE DISH SO ADAPT IT TO WHATS AVAILABLE IN YOUR PANTRY. I ALSO USE LEFTOVER SAUCES FROM CHINESE TAKE OUT- THE CHILLI VINEGAR, SOY SAUCE AND RED CHILLI PASTES YOU OFTEN GET.
FOR 8-9 MEATBALLS COMBINE IN A MIXING BOWL
- 1/2 KG FINELY MINCED CHICKEN
- 2 TBSP FINELY CHOPPED GREEN OR REGULAR WHITE ONION
- 1 TBSP MINCED GARLIC
- 1 TSP FERMENTED RED CHILLI PASTE
- 1 TSP CHILLI VINEGAR
- 1/2 TSP SALT
- 1 TBSP FINELY CHOPPED PARSLEY OR CHIVES OR USE FRESH CORIANDER IF IN A JAM
TO ROLL MEATBALLS
- 1/4 CUP WHITE SESAME SEEDS
- 1 CUP CORNFLOUR
- VEGETABLE OIL FOR FRYING
FOR SAUCE WHISK IN A BOWL
2 CUPS PACKAGED ORANGE JUICE
- 1/2 CUP SOY SAUCE
- 1-1.5 TEASPOON FERMENTED RED CHILLI PASTE OR TO TASTE (THE KIND TAKE OUT GIVES YOU!)
- 1 TSP DARK HONEY OR TO TASTE
- 1 TBSPN FRESH GARLIC PASTE
- 1 TBSPNS FRESH GINGER PASTE
- ZEST OF ONE ORANGE PLUS USE THE JUICE ALSO
- 1 TSP WHITE PEPPER POWDER
- 1 TBSP OYSTER SUACE OR USE MORE SOY SAUCE
- 2 TBSPNS TOASTED SESAME OIL (REGULAR SESAME OIL IS FINE TOO)
- 2 TBSPNS CHILLI VINEGAR
- 1 TBSPN CORNSTARCH
- 2 GREEN ONION STALKS AND BULBS FINELY SLICED
- 1 TSP VEGETABLE OR PEANUT OIL
- 2-3 HEADS OF TENDER BABY BOK CHOY/ 1.5 CUPS OF WATERCRESS/MIZUNA/ROCKET
- LIGHTLY SAUCE GREEN ONIONS IN A SKILLET WITH OIL. SWITCH OFF FLAME AND ADD THE SESAME ORANGE SAUCE, RESERVE.
- ROLL CHICKEN MEATBALLS AND PLACE ON A TRAY OR PLATE.
- IN SMALL BOWL COMBINE SESAME SEEDS AND CORN FLOUR
- SET A SKILLET WITH ATLEAST 1 INCH OIL TO HEAT.
- ROLL MEATBALLS IN SESAME AND CORNSTARCH AND FRY UNTIL GOLDEN IN HOT OIL. DRAIN AND PUT INTO THE SESAME ORANGE SAUCE.
- START THE FLAME ON MEDIUM AND SIMMER THE MEATBALLS UNTIL THE SUACE IS REDUCE TO HALF ITS VOLUME. ADD A LITTLE CORNSTARCH TO THICKEN THE SAUCE.
- PLACE THE GREENS IN A WIDE SERVING DISH. POUR THE PIPING HOT SAUCE AND MEATBALLS OVER THE GREENS. THE HEAT WILL WILT THE GREENS. IF YOU PLAN TO USE LARGER BOK CHOY THEY TEND TO TAKE LONGER TO COOK SO PARTIALLY BLANC THEM IN HOT WATER. MORE TENDER GREENS LIKE WATERCRESS, ROCKET AND MIZUNA WILT QUICKLY.
- SERVE WITH NOODLES OF YOUR CHOICE.
CHILI CON CARNE- Kidney Bean and Corn Stew
If you like Rajma you will love this dish. Its spicy sweet and robust. A one pot classic that will feed you for a couple of days.
A complete meal, this nutritious dish is of Mexican origin and a part of South Western cuisine in the United States. You can use a variety of kidney beans for it. It can be made entirely vegan with sweet potato instead of meat. If you use sweet potato add less brown sugar.
INGREDIENTS FOR 6
- 250 grams red or speckled kidney beans (you can use pinto or black beans or a mix as well)
- 1-2 large red onion finely chopped (about 1.5 cups)
- 2 bell peppers red and yellow
- 6 garlic cloves finely sliced
- 4 tbsp veg or olive oil
- 500 gram minced chicken/beef or uses peeled and chopped sweet potato (about 1/2 inch dice)
- 400g can tinned chopped tomatoes
- 200 ml tomato puree
- 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
- 1 cup fresh shelled corn
- 1 tsp dried oregano (optional)
- 2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2-1 tsp paprika or red chilli powder
- Hot sauce of your choice I used chipotle but habanero jalapeño is also fine
- Salt to taste
- TO SERVE (optional)
- sour cream and or grated cheddar, to serve
- cilantro or fresh coriander leaves to garnish
- Tacos, gutLI pao, cornbread as an accompaniment
Wash and soak kidney beans in excess water 4-5 hours or overnight. Wash drain and reserve.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker pan on a high flame. Saute onions and garlic till soft but do not brown them. Add bell peppers and cook until soft and water evaporates. Add carrots and saute one minute. Add tomatoes and tomato puree and saute 2-3 minutes. Add corn and kidney beans and combine. Add all spices and a teaspoon of salt. Stir well. Add some water if required and pressure cooker on medium heat for 2 whistles.
This stew is thick and juicy but not not runny. The meat when added will release a fair bit of water so add any extra liquid with care.
Open cooker and add meat. Stir well and pressure cooker for 2 whistles. Open and check for doneness. Add water salt, chilli powder and sugar as required.
This dish can also be prepared in a slow cooker. If using a large biryani or Dutch oven style pot you will need to add 2-3 cups of excess water for the kidney beans.
MUMBAI PAO BHAJI
PAO MEANS BREAD AND BHAJI IS A MIX OF VEGETABLES. A classic mumbai street food this isn’t difficult to make at home. packed with nutritious vegetables its a complete meal.a variety of store brought pao bhaji masalas are available to choose from. you can also make ladi or gutli pao at home or substitute with soft dinner rolls, portuguese rolls, potato buns and brioche buns. COMMERCIAL PAO BHAJI MAKERS OFTEN ADD FOOD COLOUR TO THE MIX FOR IT BRIGHT RED FOOD COLOR. I PREFER NOT TO. YOU CAN ADD BEETROOT IF YOU LIKE.
- 1 tbsp oil for tempering
- 1 dried bay leaf/tejpata
- 1 badi elaichi/large black cardamom
- 4 tbsp butter and 4 tbsp vegetable oil for frying onions
- 5 Roma or red cooking tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 cup peas / matar fresh or frozen but pre-cooked
- 1 cup finely diced carrots
- 1 cup small cauliflower florets
- 6 cooking potatoes, boiled until very tender, peeled & mashed with a ricer
- 1/4 tsp turmeric / haldi
- 1/4 cup pav bhaji masala (your favourite brand adjust quantity to suit taste)
- 1 tsp + 1 tsp kasuri methi / dry fenugreek leaves (if your masala has this already omit)
- 3 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 cup peeled and finely diced red onion
- Juice of ½ lime
- water if required
- red chilli salt and jaggery or sugar to taste
- 4 tbsp chopped coriander leaves or cilantro
FOR PAO OR BUNS:
- 12 pav / gutli/ladi pao/soft rolls/buns
- 1.5 tsp butter per bun
- lime wedges
- 4 tsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped raw onions
Heat oil on a high flame. Add whole spices black cardamom and bay leaf and stir until golden and fragrant about 1 minute.
Add and saute onions until soft, then add garlic ginger paste and cook till fragrant.
- Remove the bad leach and tejpatta and discard.
- Add tomatoes and cook until sides release oil about 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add carrots, cauliflower pao bhaji masala, turmeric, kasuri methi (if using) and saute. Then pressure cooker until soft and mushy or cook on a slow flame . Add more water if required.
- Now add mashed potatoes and peas and mash all the vegetables with a potato masher until soft and squishy. Add water only if required. The bhaji should be thick and should not ooze liquid.
Add salt and sugar or jaggery to taste. If required add red chilli powder. Add coriander leaves and stir well.
Stir well and cook until thoroughly combined and soft.
Stir in lime juice.
- To prepare the buns slice them open. Apply butter to all sides of the buns and grill under a salamander or over a grill. You can also do this in a cast iron pan on a slow flame until the buns are golden brown but soft.
Garnish with butter, coriander leaves and serve with a side of lime wedges and chopped onions. Serve with toasted or griddled bread rolls.
CHEESY SPINACH FLAN
A FLAN IS REALLY A QUICHE WITHOUT A CRUST. THIS DISH IS VERY SIMPLE AND A CROWD PLEASER. ENSURE YOU REMOVE THE STALKS OF YOUR SPINACH AND SAUTE IT UNTIL DRY.
USE A SINGLE CHEESE OR A COMBINATION BUT THGESE CHEESE SHOULD HAVE A LOW MOISTURE CONTENT AND SHOULD BE A CHEESE THAT MELTS WELL. ADD SALT WITH CARE AS SOME CHEESES ARE HIGH IN SALT CONTENT.
INGREDIENTS FOR 6
180-190 GRAMS FRESH SPINACH, BOILED AND SAUTEED UNTIL DRY (APPROXIMATELY 700 GRAMS OR TWO BUNDLES OF RAW FRESH SPINACH)
400 GRAMS GRATED CHEESE (CHEDDAR, GOUDA, EMMENTHALER, GRUYERE, FONTINA)
5 EGGS WHISKED
1 CUP HEAVY CREAM
1 CUP WHOLE MILK
1 TSP FRESHLY CRACKED PEPPER
SALT TO TASTE
YOUR SPINACH MUST BE DRY. IF IT CONTAINS TOO MUCH WATER IT WILL LEAK INTO THE FLAN.
CHOP THE SPINACH. WHISK WITH THE CREAM AND MILK. ADD PEPPER AD STIR AGAIN.
STIR IN THE CHEESE. TASTE FOR SALT AND ADJUST.
ADD WHISKED EGGS AND MIX WELL.
POUR INTO A BAKING DISH 8 BY 10 AND BAKE IN THE MIDDLE RACK OF OVEN FOR 25 MINUTES UNTIL THE TOP HAS SET AND CORNERS ARE GOLDEN.
REMOVE LET REST 10 MINUTES. SERVE WARM.
BUN MASCA CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING
THIS IS AN EASY DISH THAT EVERYONE LOVES. BUN MASCA (MASCA MEANS BUTTER )IS AVAILABLE AT ANY IRANI BAKERY. IT COMES PARTIALLY SLICED AND BUTTERED. IT IS COMFORT HOME COOKING. IF YOU DONT LIKE CHOCOLATE LAYER THE BREAD WITH A GOOD JAM, ALMONDS, CARAMEL SAUCE, EVEN LEMON CURD.
- 2 BUN MASCA FROM IRANI BAKERY
- 1 CUP CHOCOLATE CHIPS SEMI SWEET
- 1 TEASPOON BUTTER
- FOR CUSTARD
- 5 EGGS CRACKED AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
- 1.5 TEASPOONS VANILLA EXTRACT
- 1/2 CUP LIGHT CREAM (TETRAPAK) WARMED
- 2 CUPS WHOLE MILK HOT
- 1 CUP SUGAR CASTOR OR GRANULATED
BAKING TRAY TO FIT BOTH BUNS SNUGLY (ATLEAST 1.5 INCHES DEEP)
TO ASSEMBLE BREAD
BUTTER YOUR BAKING PAN.
OPEN THE FIRST BUN UP (WATCH MY VIDEO ON IGTV) AND LAY EACH HALF ACROSS THE BAKING PAN OF YOUR CHOICE SO THE BREAD IS SPREAD EVENLY ACROSS THE PAN OF YOUR CHOICE. SCATTER CHOCOLATE CHIPS ALL OVER. OPEN UYP THE SECOND BUN MASCA AND LAY IT OVER THE STOP. PRESS DOWN SO IT FITS SNUGLY INTOT HE PAN. THEN USE A KNIFE AND CUT THE BREAD ACROSS ALLTHE WAY THROUGH IN TWO PLACES LENGTHWISE.
PREHEAT OVEN TO 325 AND PREPARE LOWER RUNG WITH BAKING RACK.
FOR THE CUSTARD
WHISK EGGS AND VANILLA WITH SUGAR UNTIL WELL INCORPORATED IN A MIXING BOWL. SLOWLY ADD WARM CREAM AND WHISK CONTINUOUSLY. ADD HOT MILK AND WHISK AGAIN. USING A SIEVE, STRAIN HALF THE MIXTURE OVER THE LAYERED BUNS. PRESS THE BUNS DOWN SO THE CUSTARD CAN SEEP INTO IT EVENLY. LET IT SIT 15 MINUTES.
SIEVE THE REMAINING MIXTURE OVER THE BUNS AND LET SIT 15 MINUTES.
BAKE 30-35 MINUTES UNTIL GOLDEN BROWN. WHEN YOU PRESS DOWN WITH A SPOON THE CUSTARD SHOULD NOT OOZE OUT BUT YOUR PUDDING SHOULD BE SOFT AND CUSTARDY INSIDE.
PUFF PASTRY IN INDIA
Puff Pastry- Where to Buy It in Mumbai and What to Make with It
Before the chicken puff came puff pastry. In India Pattice and savory Khara biscuits available at Irani cafes are the most commonly eaten snack made from puff pastry.
Puff Pastry also known as butter paste and puff paste originated in France where it is called pâte feuilletée or feuilletage. Feuille is the French word for leaf.
Puff pastry, unlike pâte brisée is a laminated dough where layers of dough are repeatedly rolled and rested with layers of butter to produce a very flaky, fine and crisp dough. In some early, medieval recipes eggs were also added to the dough.
The process is far more time consuming than short crust or the choux pastry (pate a choux) so many home cooks buy it frozen or readymade at a bakery.
The first published recipe for puff pastry appeared in François Pierre La Varenne‘s “Pastissier Francois” in 1653.
But it was invented some years before this in 1645 by a French pastry cook’s apprentice, Claudius Gele who accidentally stumbled upon the technique for puff pastry while trying to make a loaf of bread for his bed ridden father.
Claudius later went to work for the Brothers Mosca’s pastry shop in Florence, Italy where he continued to produce the puff pastry for his employers all the while keeping the recipe secret. He made his employers a fortune.
While many food historians agree puff paste was a logical outcome of short crust pastry others believe that it was influenced by Middle Eastern Phyllo and werqa dough made with olive oil and fine sheets of dough.
My 1765 edition of The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by a Lady has an early recipe for ‘Puff-pafte’. By the early 1800’s Puff Pastry become the standard term used in English cookbooks.
In Mumbai you can buy Puff Pastry to order at Worli’s City Bakery. They sell it by the kilogram and must be ordered with 24 hour notice. It is also available refrigerated in 250 gram sheets at American Bakery in Byculla. Both are vegan. Check with the local Irani cafés in your city –if they make khara biscuits and pattice, chances are they will sell you the readymade dough. You can also buy it in the frozen section in supermarkets and some club shops.
I would advise you keep the fresh puff pastry refrigerated (not frozen) at all times and use it within 24 hours.
For me puff pastry is the go to when I don’t have time to make leavened dough or a short crust pastry.
Here are some of the easy, elegant and delicious recipes I make. You can also make chicken pot pies, cheese straws, vol au vents, poisson en croute (whole fish wrapped in pastry.
NO HUFF PUFF PIZZA
Perfect for large groups, you can add on almost any filling. While this recipe calls for a red sauce you can also do a Pizza Bianco or a sweet dessert pizza with fruit compote and almonds.
This classic layered dessert should be served plated as individual portions. They are impressive and elegant but easy to make.
MUSHROOM AND GOAT’S CHEESE BEGGARS PURSES
Knotted with chives these delicate purses can be stuffed with meat, prawns, tofu or turn them into a dessert.
APPLE, HONEY AND CINNAMON TURNOVERS photo Bini Bharucha
Turnovers are so easy. I bake them just before the dessert course and serve them warm with vanilla ice cream and some honey drizzled over the top. A winner!
Poisson En Croute
A classic French preparation this is a complex dish but makes a spectacular main course.
THE CHICKEN PATTICE STORY IN INDIA
FROM PASTY TO PATTICE
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CHICKEN PUFF IN INDIA
Some of my debut film ‘Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin’ was filmed in south Mumbai. A film about one eventful night we began shoots at 7 p.m. and invariably director Sudhir Mishra and some of the crew ended up at Kayani’s Café early the following morning. Fortified by cups of sweet Irani chai and flaky chicken pattice that came straight out of Kayani’s dinosaur ovens, I’d race off to St Xavier’s College for economics class.
Everyone in Mumbai has an Irani café story and pattice are an integral part of the menu.
It is suggested that Indian chicken and Mutton Pattice also called Chicken Pattie and puffs is a ‘desi’ variant of the Cornish Pasty introduced to the colonies by the British. While a typical Cornish Pasty in England is a crimped, stuffed D shaped savory made with short crust pastry or rough puff (flour and fat), most Chicken Pattice at Irani bakeries and private English era clubs are a version of the layered French puff pastry or pâte feuilleté.
Pasties, patties and pattice fall into the ‘portable pies’ category that includes turnovers, calzones, empanadas, pop tarts, Natchitoches and Stromboli. There are numerous references, entire cookbooks even dedicated to these stuffed pies throughout medieval history. They were cheap to make, easy to carry and very satisfying. It is no wonder they have been adapted the world over.
In my 1765 edition of Hannah Glasse’s ‘The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy’ the author provides a recipe for puff paste and for patties and pasties. Curiously some of the recipes like this one for Beef Patties require the pastry to be fried.
This is unusual because while the fillings, shape and size of Patties and pasties have varied during its evolution they are almost always baked.
Food historian Clifford Wright alludes to the Middle East for the origins of these pocket pies. In 9th century Baghdad Sanbusaks or Samosa, a stuffed fried triangular pastry faintly resemble the calzone.
The Persians made Baghlava Esfhani, a sweet D shaped pastel and Boreks, fine yufka dough stuffed with meat originated in the Ottoman Empire.
Larousse Gastronomique links Pasty to Bastilla or Bestila, the national dish of Morocco. Some suggest Pastilla has Arab Andalusian origins from the time of the Caliphates in the 8th century. Pastilla in Spanish means ‘small pastry’ and employs a fine werqa dough. The B in Arabic replaced the ‘P’. The King of Spain Philip II had a fondness for Bastilla.
In cookbooks dating 1129 to 1200 the French were making a kind of stuffed pie called pastilles.
Pastis (not to be confused with anise flavored liqueur) is derived from the French word pâte meaning pie. Pastis Landais, Gascon and bourrit are all made with different kinds of dough but are often served as individual pies.
Author Claudia Roden refers to Turkish Pasteles de Carnes made by Sephardic Jews from Greece. The Syrians also make a pie called Pastelis.
Kolumna in Russia claims to have invented a sweet Pastilla with egg whites and has a museum dedicated to this pie. Corsicans still make Bastella, a meat and vegetable filled pie pastry.
I also found mentions of patties, pastie and puffs in Rundell’s ‘A New System of Domestic Cookery’ (1814). Interestingly the terms are used interchangeably but they all employ puff pastry, are individual pies, stuffed and baked.
Cornish pasty can be traced back to 1300 A.D. in Cornwall when it was a miner’s food and contained only potatoes. Meat was added later. It is said that King William the Lion (1143 A.D.) served wastelli dominici to Richard the Lion-Hearted.
The Cornish pasty has a PGI – Protected Geographical status now and the Cornish Pasty Association (yes there is one!) insists it be made with beef, must contain no other vegetables besides turnip (swede, also called Rutabaga in the U.S.A), onion and potato. It also lays out specifications for the kind of dough (not too flaky but hearty and robust enough to survive a trip down a mine shaft in someone’s pocket). Some traditionalists suggest the addition of bread flour to the dough. In order to be sold as a Cornish pasty the savory must be made in Cornwall.
Cornish Pasty is believed to have travelled to America in the 1830’s when 37000 miners immigrated to the USA. Their coal mining expertise was in great demand and its possible with them went the food they loved the most.
In parts of the USA like Michigan and Pennsylvania where the Pasty continues to be popular the dough is sometimes made like choux pastry by boiling butter, water and flour over a stove. The Cornish pasty evolved a little differently in Jamaica where the traditional patty is dough seasoned with turmeric and is often served vada pao style with a coconut bread bun. The journey this culinary delight took through the colonies transformed the plain vegetable and meat fillings into more flavorful versions spiced with scotch bonnets, garlic and curry spices.
On the other hand in the USA and UK a patty is also a breaded cutlet like a cutlet or tikki in India, (the Ragda Pattice is a curried potato cutlet) though the term is also used to describe burger patties in school canteens. An empanada or Brazilian pastel would best describe a pasty in the USA, while a turnover made with puff pastry would most closely resemble an Indian chicken patty. rectangles, even round.
My favorite chicken pattice came from Bastani near Metro cinema before it closed. In Mumbai Jimmy Boy’s make a delicious caramelized onion and paneer puff that closely resembles the shape of the Cornish pasty. You can also buy a spicy chicken puff from Café Excelsior Fort. Wengers in New Delhi and Nimrah in Hyderabad, Flurys and Nahoum’s in Kolkata.
EGG SALAD WITH VINEGARED ONIONS AND TOMATOES
Egg Salads can be spiced and flavoured in many ways. This is a recipe I make at home when I want a quick lunch.
INGREDIENTS FOR 4
8 SLICES GOOD QUALITY SANDWICH BREAD THICKLY SLICED OR CRACKERS OF YOUR CHOICE
SOFTENED UNSALTED BUTTER (OPTIONAL)
LETTUCE LEAVE SOF YOUR CHOICE
1 CUP HOME-MADE MAYONNAISE (REFER RECIPE) OR GOOD QUALITY STORE BROUGHT EGG BASED MAYO
8 SOFT BOILED EGGS PEELED AND QUARTERED (REFER HOW TO BOIL AN EGG)
1/2 CUP RED ONION FINELY CHOPPED AND SOAK IN A TEASPOON OF WHITE VINEGAR
7-8 FIRM CHERRY TOMATOES QUARTERED OR 2 SMALL FIRM PLUM TOMATO CHOPPED FINELY, LIQUIDS DISCARDED
1 TSP TOMATO PASTE OR KETCHUP
CAYENNE PEPPER OR RED CHILLI POWDER
1/4 CUP FINELY CHOPPED CURLY PARSLEY OR FRESH CORIANDER LEAVES
COMBINE THE MAYONNAISE, TOMATO PASTE OR KETCHUP, 1/2 TSP CAYENNE PEPPER, 1 TEASPOON SALT, CORIANDER OR PARSLEY, TOMATOES AND ONIONS AND STIR WELL. ADD THE EGGS AND MASH CORASELY.
ADJUST FOR SEASONINGS.
BUTTER BREAD OF YOUR CHOICE. PLACE THE SALAD LEAVES OVER THE BREAD AND THEN SPREAD THE EGG SALAD OVER IT. GARNISH WITH CORIANDER OR PARSLEY LEAVES AND SPRINKLE LIGHTLY WITH CAYENNE.
SPANAKOPITA OR GREEK SPINACH PIE