I love any kind of Arabic kebabs. Growing up in the Middle East, I am no stranger to all kinds of Arabian delights. We lived across the street from an Automatic Restaurant( a chain of restaurants popular all over Abu Dhabi & Dubai) My Dad would order a bunch of kebabs and creamy hummus and garlicky Toum every Friday and we would hungrily devour them. Middle Eastern flavors are mild yet delicious, simple with layers of complex flavours.
I learned how to make these by watching a few YouTube videos online. I love the little flecks of tomato and onion in these kebabs and wanted to learn how to make them. The first try was a little bit of a disaster. I loaded on way too much meat and it literally fell off the stick and succumbed to the flames of my BBQ.
These can be made of Lamb or Beef and is lightly spiced with garlic, onion, tomato, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, white pepper & parsley.
I’ve tried this recipe a few times now and if you watch the video, I will highlight some easy steps to take to get successful results. I can now make 16 kebabs at a time for a fraction of the cost of take out – sweet!
Chicken Lollipops are Chicken wings turned into a lollipop shape by scraping all the meat from one side to another. It’s marinated in spices and then deep fried in a crispy gluten free batter. This snack, starter or appetizer is very popular in Mumbai, former Bombay, India and all over the world.
I first tried Vietnamese Spring Rolls more than 10 years ago when one of my Asian co-workers brought in a large platter for a potluck. It was a very traditional filling with Shrimp and it was love at first bite. Since that day. I always have rice paper wraps in my pantry. They are inexpensive and can be so easily customized. I’ve made the traditional Shrimp version so many times but for a change I wanted to try Smoked Salmon. This one is a winner. Not only is it big on taste with the Salmon and fresh herbs but it’s also a NO COOK recipe, something I so very rarely do.
These Vietnamese Spring rolls are packed with Spinach, Smoked Salmon, Cucumber sticks, spiced Bean noodles and topped with fresh Mint, Coriander & Thai Basil. It’s served with a spicy & tart dipping sauce.
Follow my YouTube video for tips and tricks to making these and you’re off to the races!
These rolls are filling and also healthy. I recently took a batch with me to a friend’s house to enjoy after a brisk walk. They loved the rolls and absolutely adored the dipping sauce as well!
Do I even need to explain why Samosas are a phenomenon? Crispy flaky pastry encases a delicious filling in a triangle shape. In other cultures it’s also known as a Sambusa or Samboska, different names for a similar concept. The early history of this delight can be traced to Arabia, Africa and India.
But of course no samosas are created equal. In India, most Samosas are made with a potato filling, but the non vegetarian filling is more popular with Christians and Muslims and are made with a crispier, spring roll like pastry. The sturdier Punjabi Samosas are made with a thicker batter and can stand upright. In this recipe we are combining different types of Samosas to make this delicious Kheema Samosa.
Add the melted ghee or clarified butter or oil if you prefer
Work the dough till all of the ghee is coated with flour. Take your time with this, the flour mixture should feel like soft breadcrumbs. The fat in this dough will create the crispiness in the wrapper
Add anywhere between ½ - ¾ cups of water just enough to bring this to a stiff dough
Cover this with some cling film and leave it to rest for a min of 30 mins
Saute the diced Onions
Add the minced green Chillies and Ginger & Garlic paste
Give this a stir just to remove that raw Ginger & Garlic taste and mix it in with the Onions and Chillies
Add the diced Tomatoes and mix this in
Add the Garam Masala & Chilli powder
Mix this in and add a few tbsps. of water so the spices don’t burn
Add the Kheema
Add ¼ cup of water so it build enough steam for the ground meat to cook
Add Salt to taste and the peas
Mix this well and continue breaking up the lumps if there are any
Cook this for 5 – 10 mins till all the liquid had absorbed or cooked off
Taste for salt again and add more salt if required.
Add ¼ cup minced Coriander and mix it in
Allow this mixture to cool completely. You can also make this a day ahead and use a cold filling.
To create the wrapper I’ve created a template. I took an oval object, gave it a bit more height free hand on a piece of card and just cut it. This template will ensure that I get the same size samosas.
Knead this dough divide this in half and then in quarters
Working on the first quarter, oil the surface and then roll the dough out till it’s a few mm thick. Cut out the oval using a template. Save these scraps for later
Cut the oval in half. give it a light roll again as the gluten keeps contracting and shrinking the dough as it rests
Using plain water I’m just going to dampen the edges
Taking the flat edge, seal the two edges together and it forms a cone
Add the filling using a small spoon. My samosas take about 2 tsps and it will depend on the size of the samosa you want to make
Press the filling down using the spoon. Press down right in the middle where the dough wrapper is the longest and then seal the entire samosa well. Press it down and it should be able to stand up like a soldier
These make about 12 – 14 Samosas and you can either fry them right away or freeze them for later
This is a pretty incredible concept … we take all the trouble to make a crispy vada and then we soak it in water and douse it with Yogurt! While it sounds strange, the results are stunning. Vadas are a crispy lentil dumpling deep fried and eaten with chutney or served dunked into a Sambhar or Vegetable curry. Typically a Medhu vada resembles a donut. It’s make with a hole in the center and this enables the Vada to properly cook right through the center. These Vadas in my recipe are a miniature version that are just scooped and dropped into hot oil. This smaller size is a much more practical size especially in something like Dahi Vada where you don’t have the space to eat a big portion. This size is also great for parties and potlucks!
The crispy vadas are soaked in a mildly flavoured beaten yogurt and then topped with spices, coriander, pomegranate seeds, crispy fried lentils and curry leaves. The results are delicious and every bite is a taste of heaven you get a bit of sweet, salty, spicy all at the same time. The bursts of sweetness from the pomegranate is a perfect contrast to the chaat masala and chilli and is made luxurious with the creaminess of the yogurt. Dahi wadas can be eaten as a snack, served as an appetizer and also as a side. Enjoy!
A Dhokla to put it simply if you’re never had it before is a savory cake. This is a typical Indian snack and is also eaten as a quick breakfast or with other meals and originated in Gujarat in India. The most common type of Dhokla is the Khaman Dhokla with is made from a gram flour paste. Typically a Dhokla is made with a mixture of rice and lentils and requires some fermentation. This recipe is a much quicker version using Semolina and is leavened with fruit salt. I love using this recipe as it’s so easy to personalize and is pretty fool proof as long as you follow the rules.
This month I’m celebrating my 5th birthday on YouTube and I was looking for a special recipe to commemorate. I’m not terribly fond of sweets so decided to replicate the look of a Red Velvet cake in the form of a Dhokla. I’ve divided the batter, coloured half with pureed Beets and Chilly powder and the other half I left white but enhanced it with Coconut puree.
Dhoklas are always steamed and they rise up as they cook. I’ve cooked the two layers one after another and once done it’s drizzled with a tempering or tadka – Cumin, Mustard & Sesame Seeds & Curry leaves, cooked in hot Mustard oil. It’s light and delicious and disappears quickly!
Raise your hand if you’re a big fan of Manchow soup – I certainly am. Rumour is that this soup originated in Meghalaya(watch till the end of the video to see how we struggled to pronounce it). This recipe spread all over India and around the world. I spent a lot of time in Indo Chinese restaurants in India while I was in college and this was definitely one of my favourites.
This soup is not just served in the finest of restaurants but also on street stalls all over India. In this recipe all the ingredients are finely chopped and are simmered in a spicy, salty and sour soup base and topped with deep fried noodles – what’s not to love? This recipe is vegetarian, but you can easily make this non veg by using Chicken stock and adding in diced Chicken. Or, you can just add cooked chicken to the veg soup, the choice is up to you. I have plenty of Vegetarian friends with Non Vegetarian family members, so this is a great option.
When I bought ingredients for this soup, I realized that I had a lot more produce than I needed. The simplest thing was to meal prep the ingredients so the next batch of soup can make it’s way to my dining table a lot faster. It’s a great ace to pull out of your freezer when you’re sick or you need a quick weeknight meal. And if you have a kid away at University like I do, he or she can whip up a healthy bowl of soup with little pre planning.
Even though the weather is warming up, it’s still pretty chilly and I’m always in the mood for a nice bowl of comfort in a bowl soup. Cauliflower is a perfect ingredient for a soup, once cooked it blends into a velvety creaminess. This version is so much better. The Cauliflower is roasted, spiced and then cooked in Coconut milk before turning into a luscious soup studded with Peas and fresh Coriander.
There’s something about my friend Mary Rocto. Years ago her name surfaced on Twitter at the time of the Recipe to Riches auditions. Mary is loud and passionate about food and her presence was felt on social media. I found myself saying ‘who on earth is Mary Rocto?’ I didn’t make that season, but Mary did and went all the way to the finals. I started following her and she followed me back. We became social media friends and I went on to the Recipe to Riches finals the following year. We finally met at an audition on the sets of Pressure Cooker and Mary was as fun in person as her larger than life persona on social media. Because we live on opposite ends of the city it’s hard to catch up but we keep in touch.
When I was looking for an authentic Jerk sauce recipe to adopt, Mary went the whole 9 yards and then some to deliver this recipe. She also filmed a video so I could see what it should look like. In her words she said ‘you use as many scotch bonnie peppers as you want baby, it’s your sauce and you da boss’ That stuck with me forever.
If you follow my channel, you know that I publish two videos a week. This is an incredible amount of work considering I work full time and can only film on weekends! This year I started to think about opening up my format to include guests and one of the first people I thought of was Mary.
This recipe for Saltfish fritters is incredible and not something I would have ever imagined on my own. It’s also extra special that I am a ‘saltfish virgin’ as in I’d never cooked with it before and was happy to learn how to cook it the right way. These fritters are called Stamp & Go. The story is that these fritters were considered fast food and impatient Jamaicans used to stamp their feet as they waited for their order.
Mary has added her own something something to this recipe, watch the video to see what that is.
¼ cup of fresh cilantro -you can use mint, or parsley minced
½ cup 2% milk (have extra milk on hand) if batter is too thick
For Salt cod: Soak the dried salted cod in cold water for 24 hours, changing the water several times or boil it changing the water 2 0 3 times and drain completely
Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a medium frypan or skillet over medium-high heat
Once the oil is hot add the onion, scallion, tomatoes, hot pepper and cook for a few minutes then add garlic, fresh thyme, allspice, red pepper, corn and the saltfish and continue to cook for 5 minutes
Remove from heat and set aside to cool
In a bowl mix together the eggs, milk, flour & cornstarch
Fold the cool saltfish mixture again until combined- do not overmix and add more milk if too thick
Place fry pan on heat and fill halfway with oil when oil is hot and ready for fritters then drop 1 tablespoon portions, if you like them thin just flatten with back of spoon
Never over crowd pan when frying
Flip with a flat spatula and cook until puffed, brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more.