Showing posts with label flour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flour. Show all posts

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Roux - How to - with step-by-step photos

The essential start to many Cajun dishes, a good dark roux isn't hard to make, but it does take a lot of stirring and a watchful eye. Rule number one - Never turn your back on a roux!

A couple of years back, I shared this process with photos at the beginning of my chicken and sausage gumbo recipe but since a good old-copper-penny colored roux is so important to many Cajun dishes, I decided that perhaps it was time to give How to Make a Roux its own post.

1 1/2 cups or 190g plain flour
1 cup or 240ml oil (I prefer canola.)

In a heavy pot, preferably a black iron skillet or some other heavy gauge vessel, mix your flour and oil and stir until there aren't any lumps.

Cook the mixture over medium to medium high heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until roux begins to turn brown.

0 minutes

7 minutes

12 minutes

14 minutes

18 minutes

20 minutes

22 minutes

24 minutes

Depending on temperature and the thickness of your pot, you may have to stir constantly because roux has a tendency to burn. A medium heat is safer; it just takes longer. Continue cooking until the roux turns a very dark, chocolate brown. Should the roux burn (Everyone does it at least once, so don’t feel too bad.) toss it out and start again, otherwise your entire dish will have that burnt taste.

27 minutes - it looks delicious but do NOT try to taste it. It's hotter than the hinges of hell and will burn your mouth off. Also, it doesn't actually taste good. 

The roux will be VERY hot so be careful when handling it and try to stir without splashing on yourself or a nearby “helper.”

In fact, it's best if you make your helper go sit on his bed.

Remove the roux from stove and cool it down quickly by adding whatever chopped vegetables are called for in your recipe or by setting the pot in a sink partially filled with cool water.

Store unused roux in a clean jar in the refrigerator once cooled, where it will keep for months.

Recipes with roux

Gram's Cajun Rice Dressing

Crawfish Étouffée

Chicken Spaghetti

Slow Roasted Pork

Cajun Courtbouillon or Shrimp and Fish Stew

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Yogurt Olive Oil Tart Dough

Pie pastry dough made with olive oil bakes up surprisingly crispy and light, without a hint of oiliness. This one with yogurt, a variation from The French Market Cookbook, is easy to make and roll out. It sets off a vegetable tart to perfection. 

My favorite pie crust recipe is light and flakey and is made with shortening, specifically Crisco when I can get it and butter when I cannot. It can be found here but what’s the point of owning a new cookbook if you don’t try new things, right? So for the leek and zucchini tart Tatin that I will share for Sunday Supper later this morning, I decided to branch out and make one with olive oil and yogurt. Success! Still light, still flakey and probably a whole lot healthier too. Author Clotilde Dusoulier says not to use low fat yogurt but that’s all I had. In fact, mine was zero percent fat, but the crust still came out great.

1 1/2 cups or 190g flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup or 125g plain yogurt
1/3 cup or 80ml olive oil

Measure your flour and salt into a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. This helps aerate the flour so you don’t have to sift it.

Add in the yogurt and olive oil and use a pastry blender to cut them into the flour.

When the dough comes together, knead it for a few turns and then wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Could not have been quicker or easier! 

When you are ready to bake, follow the instructions for preheating your oven and baking in whatever tart recipe you are following. As mentioned, I used this to bake a vegetable tarte Tatin and you can find that recipe right here.

Meanwhile, let your furry helper clean out the yogurt pot so it can go in the recycling bin.

***This post contains affiliate links.***

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pisang Goreng or Deep Fried Bananas

Just ripe bananas dipped in a thick batter are deep-fried till golden, creating a crispy outside and a soft sweet inside – a truly delectable treat called Pisang Goreng in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. In English that translates to fried bananas.

“Pull over!” she’d cry.  It might be a fruit stand selling durian or a little roadside café or a hole-in-the-wall frying hot wontons filled with shrimp.  No matter, my mother was (and is) always game to stop and try whatever is on offer.  I get my food adventurousness from her.  When we lived in Trinidad, we ate curried who-knows-what at shacks by the side of the road.  (My favorite is goat.)  The other expat ladies thought she was crazy and that we’d get sick.  We never did.  In Venezuela Mom would buy me homemade cheese, called queso de mano, from peddlers who would dart between cars at the big roundabout near our house.  Even when we moved back to Houston, she would seek out the little local markets in the ethnic areas, driving clear across town to drink yogurt lassi and eat spicy samosas or to perhaps buy Middle Eastern sweet treats like baklava to bring in to work.

Through all the countries we’ve lived, I’ve tried to do the same.  Street food, when cooked hot and fresh, is the very best.  Get in line at the stall with the most people waiting to be served and you are guaranteed something tasty and worth waiting for.  All those people can’t be wrong, right?

My mother-in-law, me and my mom, at a hawker center in Singapore, 1 June 2009.
This is where Mom chose to go for her birthday lunch! 
This week our Sunday Supper group is celebrating global street food and I cannot tell you how long my list of possible recipes from myriad countries was.  It took me three days to settle on just one.  I don’t remember where I first tried fried bananas but I can tell you that my daughters fell in love with them in Brazil, where they are often served as the dessert at the end of a churrascaria meal.  Fried bananas are also typical market or street food all over Asia.  Turns out that the Portuguese are probably responsible for both.  If Wikipedia is to be trusted, up until 1511, Malaysians ate bananas in their natural state.  When the Portuguese arrived, they brought with them the flour necessary to make batter and their method of frying bananas, which then spread throughout the region.  So hats off to the Portuguese and let’s fry some bananas!

Many thanks to the Google+ Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia Cuisine Community, led by the talented and kind +Azlin Bloor, who generously allow me to be part of their group and who helped me settle on a recipe for the batter.  You all rock!

3/4 cup or 95g all-purpose flour
1/4 cup or 40g rice flour (not glutinous rice flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 egg
1 -1 1/4 cups water, or just enough to make the batter thick enough to stick to the bananas
Oil for deep frying – I use canola
4-5 medium-sized ripe - but not too soft - bananas

Powdered sugar – optional but not traditional – for serving
(Some fancy restaurants in Asia also serve these now, sometimes with ice cream.)

Combine your flours, baking powder and salt in a big mixing bowl.

Beat your egg with a little water to loosen it and pour it in the mixing bowl.

Keep stirring and adding water until your batter is thin enough to drip off the whisk but still thick enough to cling to a banana.

Heat oil in pan or wok over medium flame to about 365°F or 185°C.  This is the temperature on my candy/deep frying thermometer which is suggested for doughnuts.

Peel and slice bananas in half widthwise then lengthwise.

Coat bananas in batter, and deep-fry in the hot oil for just a few minutes, or until bananas are golden brown and crispy.

Drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle on a little powdered sugar, if desired.  I did because I think it looks pretty.


Be careful with that first bite.  The banana inside will be hot!

Bread on the Boulevard
  • Martabak (stuffed pancake or pan-fried bread)
from The Urban Mrs
  • Pao de Queijo
  • from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
  • Socca
  • from Curious Cuisiniere
    Hand-Held Savory Eats
    To-Go Containers
    Sweets on the Streets
    Grab a Thermos

    Wednesday, July 17, 2013

    Rough Puff Pastry

    Easy to make, rough puff pastry instructions.  So much better than store-bought!

    Do you ever go through phases where you watch the one television show you’ve just discovered, marathon style, whole seasons at a time, until you are all caught up?  Don’t try to tell me it’s just me because I don’t believe you!  Bunch of liars.  Yeah, well, now I don’t want to talk about it.

    Just kidding!  Maybe I should have started by saying I am not a fan of reality television.  So much of it seems scripted or rehearsed or, at the very least, theatrically designed to cause controversy.  And if you know me at all, you know that I can’t bear to hear or watch people fighting.  So I avoid reality TV.  But, a few months back, a friend told me about The Great British Bake Off.  A BAKE OFF!  So I found it online.  It appeared to be genuine people, real home bakers, vying for the title of best amateur British baker.  The judges were none other than the queen of baking, Mary Berry and dashing bread guru, Paul Hollywood.  Each episode meant three challenges for our bakers.  The first was a signature bake where they used a tried and tested recipe of their own devising.  The second was a technical challenge posed by the judges.  And the third and final challenge was what they called The Showstopper.  Here the home bakers pulled out all the stops to impress the judges with their knowledge, techniques and decorating abilities.

    Hooked by the drama, I watched the entire third season in just a couple of days.  It’s amazing the housekeeping chores and laundry - washing, folding and ironing - a person can get through with a good show to watch!  A few times during the season, the contestants were called upon to make something I had never heard of:  Rough puff pastry.  It is sort of like real puff pastry but you just mix the butter through the flour in cubes, instead of one big block, and there was minimal, relative speaking, rolling out of the dough.  I have been meaning to make and master real puff pastry for a very long time but had never gotten around to it.  (Read:  I was lazy but mostly chicken.)  But rough puff looked do-able. And so we commence.

    I used this recipe from Gordon Ramsey, whom I love, shouter though he is.  I just can’t watch his shows.  Give me soft-spoken, with a glint in his blue eyes, Paul Hollywood any day.  Like Kenny Rogers before he got crazy with plastic surgery, right?

    Photo credit BBC Two - Host profile

    2 cups or 250g flour
    1 teaspoon fine sea salt
    1 cup + 2 tablespoons or 250g butter, cold
    About 2/3 cup or 150ml cold water

    Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl.

    Cut the cold butter into small cubes.

    Add them to the bowl and cut in loosely with a pastry blender.

    Not too fine, though.  You want to still see bits of butter.  Gordon wanted me to use my hands but it’s hot, hot, hot here in Dubai and, even with the air conditioning on, the kitchen is really too warm for this sort of pastry.   So I used a pastry blender.

    Make a well in the bowl and pour in about two-thirds of the cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough adding extra water if needed.  (I did not.  If you are working in a colder climate, you might need it.)

    Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 minutes in the fridge.  (Longer if you are in a warm climate.)

    Turn out onto a lightly floured countertop, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle.

    Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width.  Keep the edges as straight and even as you can.  As you can see, I didn’t do so good with that step.  Never mind, it all turns out all right.  Don’t overwork the butter streaks; you should have a marbled effect.

    Fold the bottom third up to the center, then the top third down and over that.

    Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length.

    Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for at least 20 minutes before rolling to use.

    And that’s it!  It actually was very easy.  And the best part was that it puffed up most successfully in the oven.  Also, unlike store bought puff pastry, I knew exactly what had gone into that lovely crust.  Butter and flour and salt.

    Stay tuned tomorrow for when I’ll make a pretty tomato and olive tart out of my rough puff.   (That’s a sneak peek in the first photo and again here below.)

    So flakey!  So delicious! And actually very easy. 

    Get mixing and rolling, lovely people!  Meet you back here tomorrow with your rough puff chilled and ready to bake.