Showing posts with label raita. Show all posts
Showing posts with label raita. Show all posts

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cheater Curry Puffs

Weekends are funny things.  Until I moved to Abu Dhabi, back in 1987, to me weekends were undeniably Saturday and Sunday.  And Friday night was a great night to go out because you had two days of lounging around recovering before school or work began again on Monday.  I was surprised to learn that weekends were Thursday afternoon and all day Friday in the United Arab Emirates.  It’s not like I had led a sheltered life, and I had even lived in a Muslim majority nation before (Indonesia) but it had just never occurred to me that weekends might mean other days of the week to someone else around the world.   Years later, when I moved to Malaysia, I discovered that there many people also worked five and a half days a week, but their weekend was Saturday afternoon and Sunday.  Even my cleaning lady came in on Saturday mornings.  And she would bring me fried potato curry puffs.  With their tender flakey crust and spicy potato filling, boy, howdy, they were tasty!

After making and eating potato curry the other evening, the thought suddenly jumped into my head that what I had were not leftovers, but curry puff filling!  Rather than making pastry and frying them, I decided to use puff pastry squares and make them into little pillows of curry puff to bake.  This is hardly a recipe since it’s almost all method but here’s how I did it.   

Leftover curry – you could use beef or chicken but potato is my favorite for curry puffs
Small puff pastry squares - about 4 in or 10cm – one for every two to three tablespoons of leftover curry

Take your puff pastry squares out of the freezer and allow them time to thaw.  Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.   Line a cookie tray with parchment paper. 

Cut the potatoes in your leftover curry into much smaller pieces.  This will make it easier to wrap the puff pastry around the filling.  (If you are using a meat curry, do the same to all the chunks in your curry.)

Dampen your countertop and stick a piece of cling film down.

Place one square of puff pastry on the cling film and, using a rolling pin, gently enlarge it by at least an inch or 2cm.

Place your filling in the center of the puff pastry.  

Fold the far corner over, creating a triangle.  Press the sides of the pastry together around the filling, making sure to get all the air out. 

Using a pastry brush, dampen the pastry with water.  Fold the two sides in, then fold the bottom up. 

Pinch the corners to help make sure you have good seals.  I also just like the way that looks.

Place the finished curry puffs on a plate, which has been covered with cling film.  (The cling film helps them not stick to the plate.)  Cover the curry puffs with a dampened towel or paper towels until they are all done or until you are ready to bake them.

Place the curry puffs on your prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and puffy. 

Don't worry if they aren't so pretty now.  It won't matter when they have baked!

Serve with fresh raita, if desired.  I make mine like this.  I added chopped tomatoes this time too though.  I took these as an appetizer to a dinner party so I didn't get a photo of the curry puffs on a small plate.  Imagine one puff, with a spoon or two of raita on the side.  Pretty and delicious. 

By the way, here in Egypt, folks work a five-day week but their weekend is Friday and Saturday.  Who knew?  What days are your weekend?


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Speedy Salmon Tikka with Cucumber Raita

We were blessed in the last two locations to have our daughters attend two of the best schools in Southeast Asia.  Both ISKL – the International School of Kuala Lumpur - and SAS – Singapore American School – are part of an intercollegiate league called IASAS.  This dish brings back happy memories of hosting IASAS friends and players when we were living in Singapore.  It’s quick and so delicious.  I think the last time I served it was for a softball/baseball exchange or perhaps even tournament and we had a house full up to the rafters.  Along with a bunch of girls from JIS in Jakarta (one of them a former ISKL student whose mother also stayed with us), we had one ISKL team member’s mother, father and sister staying with us too.  So many people to feed and I was in my element.  But after working all day at the SAS Booster Hut, selling food and spirit wear with my fellow Booster Club moms, I couldn’t have a complicated meal waiting to be prepared at home.  This quick salmon tikka, adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food, was perfect.  

I made it again last night, but with homemade naan. You can find that recipe and those instructions here.  It was just as tasty as I remembered.

4 small naan breads or two big ones cut in half

For the raita:
4 medium cucumbers
1 fresh chili pepper
1 thick green onion
1 lime
2-3 heaped tablespoons natural plain yoghurt
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Small bunch of cilantro or fresh coriander

For the salmon:
2 salmon fillets – about 90-100g or oz each
1 heaped tablespoon curry paste – almost any one will do.
Olive oil
In these amounts, you can feed two.  Multiply this as many times as is necessary for your crowd.

Preheat your oven to 110°C or 225°F. 

Pop your naan into the oven to warm through.  Or, if you have time earlier in the day, make them fresh yourself.  It’s easy and homemade are so much tastier than the store bought. Again, complete instructions are right here.

First, the raita.  Halve your cucumber lengthways, and then halve it again.  Use a sharp knife to cut off the watery seedy part.  Chop the cucumber diagonally into about 1/2 inch or 1cm pieces.  Put them in a bowl with room to stir.

My helper and I share the inside seedy bits.  One for him, one for me.  Until they are gone.
Then he loses interest in helping and I get this face.
Finely chop your chili, cilantro and green onion.   Add them to the cucumber bowl.

Halve your lime and squeeze the juice from one half into the bowl.

Add a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and the cumin.  Mix well.  Now add the yogurt.  Give it a taste and if you would like the raita spicier, add some cayenne pepper and add more salt, if necessary. 

Slice each salmon fillet across lengthways into four equal slices.  Thinner is easier to accomplish if the salmon is slightly frozen.  

Jamie’s original recipe calls for skin-on salmon.  I choose to take the skin off mine by slipping a sharp knife between the skin and the flesh (skin side down on the cutting board) because 1. I find it very difficult to cut through the skin, especially when I am trying to cut thin slices and 2.  I like to fry it up crispy, sprinkle it with sea salt and eat it just like that.  Delicious. 

Spoon the heaped tablespoon of curry paste into a small dish and loosen it with a little drizzle of olive oil.  

Use a pastry brush to spread the paste all over each piece.

One side

The other side

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat.  Once hot, put the salmon into the pan and cook for about 1½ minutes on each side, until cooked through.  

Serve on the warmed or fresh naan, topped with your cucumber raita and a squeeze of juice from the other half of the lime.   We folded ours up like tacos and ate them with relish.  Do lean over your plate though, because these can get drippy.