Category Archives: Cooking international

Sour dough -oil poached bread fritters

Actually we are cheating a bit by saying oil poached . I did that just to make it sound healthy. Well it’s great for your mental health when the little monsters you make it for say yummy can we have some more ….but it’s not really poached more like deep fried ..good bye right artery of the heart .

The dough does have oats inside so supposed to reduce your bad cholesterol.But if you truly want to be healthy then you will be and won’t be trolling the internet for ways for heart health.

The good bit is you can say no..Ahh who are you kidding , when u dip one of these puppies in the chipotle tamarind sauce all resolve melts away..

Without much ado..

  • Sourdough starter approximately 200 g
  • Water – 75 ml
  • Oats – 50 g
  • Flour to make into a soft dough- 300 g( can use a mix of wholewheat and white)
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar- 5 g/ 1 t
  • Basil and parsley to flavour or you can add your favorite herbs or even kimchi..
  • Olive oil- 20 ml
  • Oil to gently poach…😆😆😆

The method is to simply mix everything and keep it till it’s very bubbly , then shape into small balls and deep fry poach in oil 😛

Pescado Verracruzana / How Arturo tamed the mighty fish beastie

When i started working in Dubai 20 years back, my immediate boss was a wonderful guy called Arturo Cristiane, from Mexico. He was the man behind the menu at most of our restaurants at the time , till after he left and we made some changes . I remeber in our Latin American restaurant “Pachanga”, we had a brazilian churrasco(vertical spit),a mexican section and the Argentinian grill and a Cuban cigar bar.

On the menu or before rather we got from our Fish supplier Gerard Vouyoukas, a huge snapper one day and Arturo cooked it for lunch with an amazing sauce with onions, tomatoes, peppers and capers.

To a gringo from outside all south america seems the same..Mexico and half baked understanding of nacho chips and not much else. Luckily since id worked for Oberoi Hotels, where we had Casa Mexicana, i was exposed a little bit to Sabores Latinos( or the Flavours of Latin america), some of what Arturo would say made some sense.

so in essence we are making a spicy tomato sauce(not with chilli as such ) but peppers and capers and baking the fish with this sauce so it stays nice and moist.

  1. Fish either whole or fillets -500 g marinade with some lime juice salt and pepper.. How much you ask.well how long is a piece of string..u need approximately 10 g of salt per kg of meat or fish and 1 g of pepper but that is approximate.. some need more some less. Cooking is not an exact science its more about tinkering with combinations and sometimes experimenting till you find the next best thing.
  2. Olive oil-25 ml
  3. onion brown- 1 approximatley 125 g.. a little more or less wont make a huge diffenece
  4. garlic cloves peeled- 3-4 chopped
  5. canned diced tomato- approximately 250 g
  6. capers drained- 1 tsp/ 3 g
  7. olives- 2 tsp / 5 g
  8. capsicum/ peppers- 1 sliced thick approximately 75 g
  9. bayleaf
  10. oregano
  11. epazoate

Method-

clean and wash fish with cool water. marinade with half the olive oil, salt, pepper and lime juice. if you are using whole fish we cook it like that.

For the fillets its probably ood to just pan fry and then bake for a few minutes with the sauce/ sofrito

Heat the remaining oil and sauted onion , garlic, bayleaf and add the tomato. simmer for 15-20 minutes. then add oregano, epazoate , peppers, capers and can also add optionally some paprika or chile serrano.

The sauce is savory and tangy and just right for snapper or for that matter any sort of white fish.

Then with the whole fish you can score it and put the sauce on top and bake fr about 15-20 minutes .Serve with some arroz con tomate and you have a wonderful lunch or dinner ready..Have a glass of chardonnay or maybe some dry-ish pinot gris/grigio alongside .

If it was a fillet then after you pan fry you top with the sauce too and bake also its just that you woould bakke for lesser time to make sure the fish does not dry out.

The Cully puff / Vhejetable petties

The name is just me being cheeky and calling it like how the Thai Chef i trained under would call a curry and how the Marathi peoples (i am half marathi) call this artery blocking snack!!

I first ate this at this hole on the wall bakery called ” Santosh bakery” on Apte Road, where one of my close friends Gautam “gotya” kotwal used to stay. They would have a line of people waiting to get them and would invariably be sold out since they made it only 1-2 times a week.

What made it better was that Santosh bakery packed up their shop and moved to 100 mtrs from our house in Pune .Unfortunately by then, i was away in Dubai i think oor could be Chennai then Dubai..

They used t make this by hand and bake them in a puff pastry / flaky pastry and filled with a spicy mix of potatoes and peas and so on. There are more refined versions available all over the world and in different forms( could be a turnover or a sausage roll or something else wrapped in pastry )

My version is something that anyone of you can make at home, pretty easily. There are more complex versions where you make the puff pastry at home and while i can do it quite easily(or train you to make it too).

Not on this post though we are going to keep this succint and short and easy to accomplish.

The recipe below makes about 20 generous sized ones …

Puff/ Flaky pastry- 1kg—ready made one , look for one made without animal fats.

For the filling

oil-25 ml

onion chopped- 1/ 200 g

cumin- 1/2 t- 2 g

turmeric – 1/4 t- 1g

green chilli chopped- 1-2 or more, if you like to live dangerously like my friend Jatin Nandrajog used to at one point of time.

Ginger and garlic- 20 g

chopped vegetables- 100g(carrot, cauli, beans or whatever you fancy really)

green peas-50 g / 2T

cooked and peeled potato-250 g

coriander chopped-as much as you like usually i add abput 2 sprigs of my favourite flavouring herb…stems and all, just make sure you wash it well

So you heat upthe oil and add cumin and saute the onion and add the chilli, turmeric, ginger and garlic. Also add in your chopped vegetables and peas. Make sure the vegetables are cooked and then add in the potato. Check seasoning( is there any salt written there, no because i was checking to see, if you do read everything)

Cool down your mixture and then add in the coriander . then you make the sheets into triangles or rectangles. Seal the edges well and then refriegrate for 15-20 mins. You need to keep these cool, because the pastry gets very soft otherwise.

Preheat your oven to about 180C/ 400 F and brush these with beaten egg or milk if you dont eat egg.

Bake for about 18-20 ,minutes turning midway through to make sure they get coloured evenly.

You can replace the filling with spinach and ricotta or cooked chicken , or mince and will still be very nice.

Enjoy with some spicy suicide sauce or tomato ketchup or dipping sauce of your choice…ill put down some dip and sauce recipes soon too

Just like el Pollo Rico but my way

So there was this one time I visited my cousin ,Dharam in Washington DC . At that point of time I was working in Trinidad and Tobago at the Hilton and while trying to play tennis had fractured my wrist in two spots .

There wasn’t much point of continuing to work or trying to so for once in my hospo career I had time off for xmas.

So what could I do..i was bored stiff living on the island since it had limited things on offer…so I called Dharam and said I’m stuck here ..he very kindly said come on over . The adventure had just begun with the world worst airline possible American and me landing in Miami late after refusing to eat a damn turkey sandwich or cookie as a main meal.

Delayed arrival meant I would have to run really hard between international arrivals and domestic departure in Miami . Since it was my first arrival and I was handicapped with a cast ..the airport security took extra special care to ensure that I don’t leave on time .

Finally after the finger printing and all the rest was over I run over to Dulles departure and boom I’m late by 1 min and 90 seconds and the pende…wont give me the time of the day.

The next 3 hrs I tried to see if I can take another flight to Dulles but not a chance..so I’m stuck with hardly any money no luggage and no clothes apart from what I was wearing and no clue what to do.

Anyhow I made my own way to the Miami Hilton paid for the room myself and blasted the American Airlines who sent me a stupid letter and voucher which I never used .( I never used the airline either)

So Dharam so a gourmand and knew the way to the best places for the food and took me to the best damn charcoal roasted chicken ever…they would only sell chicken fried with salsa verde and alfajores with dulce de leche . Nothing else nada.but the chicken was finger licking good that I still salivate at the thought of it.

With all the story my Pollo is still crudo.

So you need a chicken whole is better skin on too doesn’t have to be free range unless you get really deep pockets.

It’s better to have one split in half unless you got a rotisserie and a fancy pants oven , which most of us might not have. If you do..then by all means use it

So we marinde the chicken with salt pepper and some olive oil inside and out..

Then make a paste with

Garlic cloves -5-6 smash them first

Chipotle chilli in adobo -1 or more if you lie it hotter..

Chicken stock powder- 1/2 tsp.

Olive oil – 20 ml/ 1 Tb

Lime/ lemon juice- 1-2 Tb depending on how acidic these are.

Mariande the chicken under the skin and over it too.. and keep for minimum of 12 hrs , over night s even better.

Next you can fire up your bbq / charcoal oven or your regular home oven. Heat it to about 220 C first to get it nice and hot.- abot 20 mins on mine, I dont know yours , but you could invite me to yours with some nice warm beers and ill cook it for you.

keep your chicken skin side up , on a griddle/ trivet so the excess fat drains off and you use that to baste over your chook.

After the initial high heat, drop the temperature to 150-160 C, and keep on low and slow till done.

How to check that it is done, well you can use a meat thermometer or use a small paring knife and pierce near the thigh, if the clear juice runs out will be done. Takes about 35-40 mins.

During the roasting process, take the juice which is dripping down and use that to pour over your chicken and keep it moist and flavourfull

Serve your chicken with some thick cut french fries dusted with toasted cumin powder mixed with smoky paprika , salt and a bit of pepper.

Some green salsa or a Salsa rojo will go well too..How do we make those…Well thats another story for another time…

Wonton/ Hun tun

Will write about one of my fav appetizers here coming soon as soon as I finish walking many kms.

I learnt how to make these not in some random little tea shop in Canton like some of them famous people claim.

Nah that’s not for me I instead had to make these as per order(8 ) for every portion and sometimes for banquets at the Krishna Oberoi a luxury hotel in Hyderabad. For banqueting they were ordered in dozens so the chef would tell out to me.” Hey bamboklat in the break just make 125 dozen wontons”. What the *#”@’:&_&–..

So I had to get pretty fast at it or would get no break at all….This was when I was a trainee from the Oberoi school of hotel management..and we were treated like the lowest of the low by all. The staff hated us cos at some point of time we would become their bosses / supervisors and the supervisors would think yeah right , let’s see if this young fella can take as much torture as I think he can…no how about 24 hr shifts..yeah just have a nap on the oil drum in the dry store .

Ok before we go far far away in the tales of the enchanted forest..lets go back to these delectable morsels.

You will need to find a good source of wonton/ hun tun wrappers somewhere in your town.too hard to make from scratch and they are reasonably cheap to buy ready made .1.9$ at local supermarket in Sydney and can be used also to make teeny tiny spring rolls ( also make a 85 dozens of those Yash) and Shu Mai/ sui Mai .

For the filling we need

  • Chicken mince – 250 ( can use a mix of chicken and prawns )
  • Chinese rice wine ( Hua Tia chiew)-5 ml
  • Chicken stock powder/ Ji Jin – pinch
  • Light soy sauce- 2 ml or so
  • Celery chopped fine- 5 g
  • Coriander stems -2 g
  • Cracked pepper- pinch
  • Sesame oil – 2 ml
  • For the outer we will use store bought wrappers ..we’ve already said why before in the rambling stuff written above.
  • so you fold the wrapper in half and then twist it amd stick them behind each other to form that funky shape.(hmm you probably are going to need a video or so to get it right).
  • but once i do that you can poach or fry these beauties and sing happy songs!!