Baking | Lamb & Purslane Pide … Turkish cuisine with British flavour

” You should eat delicious things while you can still eat them,
go to wonderful places while you still can…”
Nora Ephron

Lamb & Purslane PideChomp, chomp, chomp.Ooooh, this is good“, declared Mr PAB between bites. Then gesturing wildly he said, “This MUST go on the blog. It’s GOOD!” So with recommendation, hot off the press oven, here are Lamb and Purslane Pides, or simply put Turkish Flatbread Pizza!Lamb & Purslane Pides What is purslane? It is an annual succulent, found in North India in the hot summer months, is funnily considered a weed in America {LOL}, and cooked extensively through much of Europe, Middle East, Asia and Mexico! It is known as kulfa saag here, and was the only green other than spinach that I could find to replace the chard! It worked a charm …  and went undetected by the ‘green hating‘ terrible teens!Lamb & Purslane Pides It’s been ages since I cooked lamb mince. By healthy choice I’ve switched over th chicken mince but the lamb murmur has been growing stronger of late. My SIL is a great lamb lover and mentioned that she prefers lamb to chicken any day. I was listening. Then the other day, a meeting with someone from BBC GF and she mentioned her undying love for lamb too. Now I was all ears!Lamb & Purslane Pides “Next kebabs will be have to be lamb“, I thought as I got mince from the butcher. However, this morning I lost my inclination to make kebabs. I wanted something on dough, something baked, something quick! I recollected the Turkish pides with sumac I had made long ago and googling got me to a Lamb & Chard Pide recipe on BBC GF!

Pides, local pita bread, are delicious flatbread pizzas topped with different ingredients from Turkeys rich cuisine. You have specialty Turkish pide restaurants across Turkey which sell different avatars of this flatbread. It is popular street food there as well. Regional variations in the shape, baking technique, and topped materials create distinctive styles for each region which include chicken, beef, cheese, potatoes, garlic and many other ingredients.

Lamb & Purslane Pides It came together fairly quickly. I did a quick rise dough, and by the time the dough was rising, the lamb was ready. Baked quick, crisp and nice, the lamb pides were wolfed down faster than the time I took to make them… not a crumb remained!Lamb & Purslane PidesThe recipe suggestion was to drizzle pom molasses over it. I didn’t have any but I did have a fresh plum prune sauce I developed for Del Monte. To that, I added some red harissa that I had made last week. It was H O T! 10 red chilies, more fresh red chilies = fiery HOT! That said, it’s almost gone and I am ready to make my next jar! Lamb & Purslane Pides Red Harissa The lamb offered subtle, gentle flavours, lilted further by the cottage cheese and bell pepper. The pickled peppers added some zest, and a drizzle of plum chili sauce brought out a delicious complexity of flavours … all pairing beautifully together!Lamb & Purslane Pides I loved how quickly and beautifully the meal came together. Of course we had the much dreaded power cut halfway through, so I baked a couple on a heavy griddle pan covered with a lid over low heat …. and there was no reason to complain {pictured above}. So there you, if it’s too hot to turn on the oven OR you suffer power cuts like we have all summer, these cook up crisp beautiful on the stove top too!Lamb & Purslane Pides

Lamb & Purslane PidesI had some dough left over, so made some chicken, red harissa and plum sauce pides the next afternoon for the kids. Gone in minutes! They are filling yet light enough for a summer meal. Pair with a green salad, maybechilled summer cooler … and you have a meal!Summer CoolerBon appetit! Afiyet olsun!

And as I leave I wish to thank Lifezing for interviewing me. It was an honour and I loved doing it.
Catch it, with a whole lot of colour here

In conversation with Deeba Rajpal From Passionate About Baking

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking|Papdi Chaat & Bhel Puri … Indian Street Food & Guest Posting!

“Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.”
Mark Kurlansky

North Indian Street Food Talk street food and it throws up a myriad of colourful pictures in my head. It’s an amazing food group, one that goes deep into culinary cultures and is fast becoming haute cuisine, upmarket and constantly evolving. Yet, hit the streets and you find good old rustic appeal, preserved from the past, especially in the old city areas. You are instantly hit by a culture that time hangs on to. North India is no different; the streets are painted with colour and flavour, heat and dust.North India, Old Delhi Monkeys wander above while cattle languish below, spice sellers plonk themselves under umbrellas sheltered from the sweltering sun, pan walas sit in rows with an engaged clientele. Across the street, chicken tikkas sizzle over red hot coals! The camera works overtime, how much can you possibly capture and, then again,  how much can you blog? As you see, Indian streets are ‘happening’, and Old Delhi holds that eternal charm. North India, Old DelhiThe camera feeds hungrily at as you get transported to a different age. I feel compelled to share some street culture before I go further! A few more pictures … all taken on a day when Mr PAB and I decide to take a train ride into Old Delhi. Didn’t shop, just wandered around clicking, caught up in mixed emotions … North India, Old Delhi We found a water carrier opposite Jama Masjid selling chilled water in engraved silver handmade bowls, the water stored in a stitched and sealed whole goatskin {top left}. Handcarts piled high with plates and plates of neatly sliced pineapple {painstaking job that}… all open air but plenty of takers, dry fruits sold in small sacks, chocolate too{top right}. AMAZING!North Indian & Street Food {Jama Masjid} In North India street food is a quintessential part of our tradition, not always healthy {read nice and deep fried delicious}, and holds eternal appeal. If you literally eat it off streets, with all the heat and dust thrown in, you are bound to be awarded with a Delhi belly, but there are ways of beating that!North Indian Street Food Papdi ChaatWhen Asha, the Fork Spoon Knife gal wrote to me wondering if I would write her a street food themed guest post for her 3rd blogiversary, she heard a resounding YES! After much dithering, I decided on something I could bake, reflective of PABs central theme, and so made the most delicious Papdi / Whole wheat Crackers {if I may say so myself}. I also made some Bhel Puri from a trail mix of sorts! The crackers would make great bases for canapes too, and the trail mix is easily munched on its own.

North Indian Street FoodDo get across to Street Food Month on Fork Spoon Knife for the rest of the post and recipes! Happy 3rd Blogiversary Asha!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


Indian Snack| Chicken Mince Cocktail Samosas

“This is a 230-calorie snack you know. See? I’ve worked hard.”
Fernando Vargas

How often do you rant because you decide to make something that takes up hours of work, leaves you in throws of misery, & yet plants a BIG smile on your face afterwards? After so much of a sugar high, a savoury platter does feel good. I wanted to try making savoury tuiles too for the Daring Bakers challenge for January ’09, but somehow, it never ‘happened‘. All I managed were the sweet version here. Happily though, these crisp, yummy pastry bites called SAMOSAShappened’ a short while ago though. These are wonderful, crisp, deep-fried, YES deep-fried, Chicken Mince Cocktail Samosas. Samosas are typically Indian street food, & you will find fresh samosas being fried at every corner you go around, or at a ‘Halwai’ - an Indian sweet-maker, baker & deep-fryer! LOL. Usually stuffed with a mixture of boiled potatoes, peas, raisins, cashew nuts & cottage-cheese, given a mighty kick with Indian masalas/spices & some green chilies thrown in, samosas are deep-fried Indian pastry. They are very enjoyable indeed on a cold winter day, even better on a rainy day. As most street food in India is usually vegetarian, it isn’t often that you will find non-vegetarian fare on the street. Yet, chicken mince is a popular & much loved filling in this Indian pastry, often served as cocktail snacks at parties, especially weddings. The normal accompaniment is a Green Chutney, or a Tamarind Chutney. My kids devour these absolutely delicious bites with a Yogurt-Coriander-Garlic Dip! Aaaaaah, the flavours of Asia! This recipe is a wonderful one, that comes from my dear friend who is knee deep in snow in Ukraine at the moment. We were chatting some time back, & she was groaning under the weight of having to make 40 samosas (regular big sized ones) for a school fund-raiser. She volunteered (stupidly) to make them, & then she saw herself rolling pastry till kingdom came. I told her she was a fool to get talked into doing all the dirty work… blah blah blah blah blah… Pretty soon, one fine day, madness struck me, & I decided to make them. Lunacy hit me in greater proportions though, because I talked myself into making small mini samosas, or ‘cocktail samosas’ as they are called. Mini samosas = Much more work! Roll, baby, roll…O woebegone me. I cursed myself, cursed her, cursed whichever poor soul crossed my path that day. It ain’t no easy task to roll so many small ones out, & then try & stuff the blighters…but HEY, I did it! What satisfaction once I was all done. Be forewarned that it is a load of hard-work, & you can use spring roll wrappers to make life easier for you. But once done, & a batch fried, it was well worth every bit of effort. Scrumptious treat in every bite. The mince was delicately flavoured; no spices/masalas; just right! These are best served hot, just like French fries…CHICKEN COCKTAIL SAMOSAS

You can even make these into bigger, regular sized ones if you like.
Ingredients:
Pastry (I eyeball the amounts, so what I’ve written below is an approximation)
Flour – 1 1/2 cups
Clarified butter – 1-2 tbsps
Water to knead this to a firm, smooth dough

Filling

Chicken mince – 250 gms
Garlic – 5-6 cloves; chopped fine
Onion – 1 small; chopped fine
Fresh coriander – 1 bunch; chopped fine
Green chili – 1-2; chopped fine
Salt to taste
Method:
Pastry
  • Rub the clarified butter into the plain flour with your fingertips to distribute it evenly. Gradually add water & bring the dough together. Knead it till its firm & smooth, & leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
  • A firm dough is important to get a crisp, thin, almost translucent pastry.
Filling
  • Heat 2-3 tbsps of oil in a pan. Sweat the onion & garlic for 2-3 minutes, till translucent.
  • Add the mince & saute on high heat till cooked through & dry.
  • Add the coriander + green chilies + salt to taste. Make sure the water is completely dry or the samosas will get soggy.
  • Once done, cool the filling completely. (The filling can be made a day in advance)
Making them…
  • Pinch a small piece of dough, make a ball & roll it out as thin as you can (dust with as little dry flour as possible).
  • Cut out circles with a 3″ cookie cutter. To make triangles, half the circles. To make semi-circles or small balls, leave them uncut.
  • Place a teaspoon of filling in the centre of each & fold as desired, sealing the edges firmly with a little water. Make sure you seal them well, or the filling will spill out while frying.
  • Heat the oil in a deep heavy bottom pan/wok/kadhai to almost smoking (just like you do for doughnuts), & fry in small batches till light brown. At this stage you can remove from oil, cool & freeze for later use, or continue to fry till golden brown. Once golden brown, place on paper towels for 5-10 seconds for extra oil to be absorbed. Serve HOT with a chutney, green or tamarind, or with a Cilantro-yogurt dip.
  • Recipe for Green Coriander-Mint Chutney here
  • Recipe for Yogurt-Coriander-Garlic Dip here
  • Note: The recipe makes a largish batch of almost 60-80 small samosas, so you can use half, & freeze half for later.

Alternate filling suggestions: Crumbled cottage cheese; boiled/mashed & spiced potatoes, any other mince; cooked/sauteed/mashed lentils. Maybe even a sweet filling like marzipan & poppy seed, dehydrated berries, raisins & firm cheese.

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