Iraqi Kebabs

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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!

Iraqi Kebabs

Ingredients

  • 2 cups diced white Onion
  • 4 cups diced Tomato
  • Salt
  • 1.4 kgs (3 lbs) ground Lamb or Beef
  • 1 tsp crushed white Pepper
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 3 tsps Cumin
  • ¼ cup Parsley
  • 2 tsps Salt
  • Extra Sumac & Salt
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/iraqi-kebabs/

Chicken Lollipop – Crispy Chicken Wings in a Lollipop shape

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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.

Chicken Lollipop – Crispy Chicken Wings in a Lollipop shape

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Chicken wings, drumettes & wingettes
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Ginger & Garlic paste
  • 1 tsp red Chilli powder
  • 2 tsps Salt
  • Batter
  • 1 cup Chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup Rice flour
  • 1 - 2 cups Water
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp red Chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger & Garlic paste
  • Red food coloring
  • 1/4 cup chopped Coriander

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Lollipops as shown in video
  2. Marinate with the lemon juice, ginger and garlic paste, chilli powder & salt and keep aside
  3. Prepare the batter by first mixing the 2 flours with water a little at a time to remove lumps, add all the other ingredients to make a batter
  4. Dip the lollipops in the batter and deep fry till the exterior is crispy and finish cooking in a hot oven.
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/chicken-lollipop-crispy-chicken-wings-lollipop-shape/

Smoked Salmon Vietnamese Rolls

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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!

Smoked Salmon Vietnamese Rolls

Ingredients

  • 25 – 30 Rice paper wraps
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • ½ cup Mint
  • ½ cup Thai Basil
  • ¼ cup Coriander
  • 1 – 2 Cucumbers cut in sticks
  • 300 gms Bean thread Noodles
  • 500 gms Smoked Salmon
  • Sauce
  • ½ cup Lime Juice
  • 5 tbps Fish Sauce
  • 2 tsps Red Curry Paste

Instructions

  1. Because the size of the wrap varies, your ingredients listed are approximate
  2. Prepare the sauce by mixing the lime juice, fish sauce and red curry paste together
  3. Prepare the bean thread by soaking it in hot water for a few minutes and then draining it completely
  4. Add 4 tbsps of the prepared sauce to the bean thread and mix it in
  5. Soak a sheet of rice paper in room temp water till soft and place on a kitchen towel
  6. Pat the front side dry
  7. Add Spinach, Salmon, Cucumber sticks, a bit of the bean noodles and finish with the herbs – Coriander, Mint & Thai Basil
  8. Fold over one side and pull it just so it makes contact, then tuck in the sides and roll
  9. Store on top of parchment paper to prevent sticking and cover with more parchment paper to prevent drying out
  10. Serve with the dipping sauce
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/smoked-salmon-vietnamese-rolls/

 

Kheema Samosas

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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.

Kheema Samosas

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Pinch of Ajwain (Caraway seeds or Bishop’s weed).
  • 4 tbsps melted Ghee or clarified butter
  • ½ - ¾ cups Water
  • 2 lbs Kheema or minced meat
  • 1 cup diced Onions
  • 2 tbsps minced green Chillies
  • 1 tsp Ginger & Garlic paste
  • 1 cup diced Tomatoes
  • 2 tsps Garam Masala
  • ½ tsp Chilli powder.
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ cup Peas

Instructions

  1. Sift the flour
  2. Add the salt & Ajwain
  3. Add the melted ghee or clarified butter or oil if you prefer
  4. 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
  5. Add anywhere between ½ - ¾ cups of water just enough to bring this to a stiff dough
  6. Cover this with some cling film and leave it to rest for a min of 30 mins
  7. Saute the diced Onions
  8. Add the minced green Chillies and Ginger & Garlic paste
  9. Give this a stir just to remove that raw Ginger & Garlic taste and mix it in with the Onions and Chillies
  10. Add the diced Tomatoes and mix this in
  11. Add the Garam Masala & Chilli powder
  12. Mix this in and add a few tbsps. of water so the spices don’t burn
  13. Add the Kheema
  14. Add ¼ cup of water so it build enough steam for the ground meat to cook
  15. Add Salt to taste and the peas
  16. Mix this well and continue breaking up the lumps if there are any
  17. Cook this for 5 – 10 mins till all the liquid had absorbed or cooked off
  18. Taste for salt again and add more salt if required.
  19. Add ¼ cup minced Coriander and mix it in
  20. Allow this mixture to cool completely. You can also make this a day ahead and use a cold filling.
  21. 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.
  22. Knead this dough divide this in half and then in quarters
  23. 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
  24. Cut the oval in half. give it a light roll again as the gluten keeps contracting and shrinking the dough as it rests
  25. Using plain water I’m just going to dampen the edges
  26. Taking the flat edge, seal the two edges together and it forms a cone
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. These make about 12 – 14 Samosas and you can either fry them right away or freeze them for later
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/kheema-samosas/

Dahi Vadas – Dahi Wadas

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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!

Dahi Vadas – Dahi Wadas

Ingredients

  • adas
  • 1 cup Urad Dhal (Vigna mungo, black gram, urad bean, minapa pappu, mungo bean or black matpe)
  • ¼ cup Wwater
  • ¾ tsp black Salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh cracked Pepper
  • ¼ tsp Mustard Seeds
  • ¼ tsp Chaat Masala
  • ¼ tsp Red Chilli powder
  • Pinch Asafoetida or Hing
  • 1 tbsp. finely diced fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced green chilli
  • 1 tbsp of chopped Coriander
  • Optional ½ tsp of Baking powder
  • Oil for frying

Instructions

  1. The first step is to soak the Urad dhal in water for about 8 hours
  2. Wash the dhal and grind to a paste with the help of a little water, leave this for 6 – 8 hours to ferment in the fridge
  3. Add all the ingredients and mix well
  4. Using an ice cream scoop drop the batter into the hot oil and allow to turn a nice golden brown while the inside cooks till it’s nice and spongy
  5. Drain them on some kitchen towels to absorb the excess oil
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/dahi-vadas-dahi-wadas/

Korean Fried Chicken

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Korean Fried Chicken

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs boneless Chicken thigh
  • 2 tbsps ground Ginger
  • 3 tbsps Shaoxing Wine
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 - 3 cups Cornstarch
  • Sauce
  • 3 tbsps Ketchup
  • 2 tbsps Gochujang or Chilli Pepper paste
  • 2 tbsps minced Garlic
  • ¼ cup Honey
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 2 tbsps light Soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garnish - Sesame seeds & Spring Onion leaves

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken into strips, 3 or 4 pieces per thigh
  2. Marinate the chicken with the Shaoxing wine, ginger, salt and pepper and leave for 30 mins
  3. Dip the pieces of chicken in cornstarch and deep fry
  4. Make a slurry with some cornstarch and water and add some pepper
  5. Dip the chicken in this slurry and deep fry for the second time
  6. Add all the sauce ingredients together and bring to the boil
  7. Pour this over the crispy chicken, garnish with sesame seeds and spring onion leaves and serve immediately
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/koreanfriedchicken/

Red Velvet Dhokla

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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!

 

Make sure you watch the video to see the process!

Red Velvet Dhokla

Ingredients

  • Bowl 1
  • 1 cup Semolina
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Yogurt
  • Water as needed
  • 1 tsp Chilli powder
  • ½ cup pureed Beets
  • 1 tsp Eno Fruit Salt
  • Bowl 1
  • 1/2 cup Semolina
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt
  • Water as needed
  • ½ cup pureed Coconut
  • ½ tsp Eno Fruit Salt
  • Tadka
  • 2 tbsps Oil
  • 2 tbsps Mustard Oil
  • 1 tsp mixed Cumin, Mustard and black Sesame Seeds
  • ¼ cup Curry leaves

Instructions

  1. Work with the two bowls simultaneously – add the semolina, salt, yogurt and mix
  2. Add enough water to stir without resistance
  3. To one bowl add the chilli powder and beet puree and mix well to incorporate
  4. To the other add the coconut puree
  5. Prepare a cake pan by oiling it and cut a circle of parchment paper for the bottom
  6. Prepare a steam bath in a pot bigger than the cake pan and when ready add the Eno fruit salt and mix well before pouring into the cake pan and spreading
  7. Move quickly to get this into the pot so it can steam cook for 10 – 15 mins
  8. Once done, remove
  9. In the second bowl add the Eno fruit salt, pour the batter over the white layer and spread gently
  10. Repeat the cooking process, cooking for 10 – 17 mins
  11. Remove and allow the Dhokla to cool
  12. In the meantime, prepare a tadka by heating the oil and adding the cumin, mustard and sesame seeds, followed by the curry leaves and take off the heat
  13. Cut the Dhokla and pour the tadka over it and serve
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/red-velvet-dhokla/

 

Manchow Soup

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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.

Manchow Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sliced Spring Onions
  • 1 tbsp finely minced Garlic
  • 1 tbsp finely minced Ginger.
  • ¼ cup diced Mushrooms
  • ¼ cup diced Cauliflower
  • I¼ cup green Pepper
  • ¼ cup sliced green Beans
  • ¼ cup Celery
  • ¼ cup Carrots
  • ¼ cup Cabbage
  • 2 tbsps fried Tofu
  • 4 cups preheated Stock
  • 1 tbsp Chilli paste or Sambal Oelek
  • 1 tbsp dark Soya
  • 1 tbsp Vinegar
  • 1 - 2 tsps Cornstarch slurry
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped Coriander
  • Fried Noodles

Instructions

  1. Heat up some oil and saute the spring onions, ginger & garlic
  2. Add the rest of the vegetables & Tofu
  3. Add the stock and allow to come to the boil
  4. Add the chilli paste, soya and vinegar
  5. Add the cornstarch and finally the chopped coriander
  6. Serve with fried noodles
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/manchow-soup/

Roasted Cauliflower & Coconut Soup

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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.

Roasted Cauliflower & Coconut Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Cauliflower florets
  • ½ tsp each Turmeric, Chilli powder & Cumin powder
  • 21/2 – 3 cups Coconut Milk
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ - 1 cup Water
  • ½ cup cooked Peas
  • ¼ cup chopped Coriander

Instructions

  1. Roast the Cauliflower in a little bit of oil in a very hot pan
  2. When it starts to color and char, add the powdered spices
  3. Add a ½ cup of Coconut Milk and cook the florets
  4. When the milk is really thick, add the water and continue to cook
  5. Remove from the heat and cool
  6. Add the cooked Cauliflower into a blender with a little bit of the Coconut milk and pulse
  7. Add the rest of the Coconut milk and puree
  8. Add to a pot, add water as required, and bring to the boil
  9. Taste for salt and add salt to taste
  10. Finish with the Peas and Coriander
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/roasted-cauliflower-coconut-soup/

Saltfish Fritters – Jamaican Stamp and Go

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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.

Saltfish Fritters – Jamaican Stamp and Go

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of cooked Saltfish
  • 1 cup of tomato chopped
  • 3 stalks of scallion finely chopped finely
  • ½ an onion chopped finely
  • 1 finely chopped scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
  • 1 red pepper chopped finely
  • 3 gloves of garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons of allspice
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen corn thawed
  • ¾ cup flour + 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 large egg beaten
  • 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
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. 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
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a medium frypan or skillet over medium-high heat
  3. 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
  4. Remove from heat and set aside to cool
  5. In a bowl mix together the eggs, milk, flour & cornstarch
  6. Fold the cool saltfish mixture again until combined- do not overmix and add more milk if too thick
  7. 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
  8. Never over crowd pan when frying
  9. Flip with a flat spatula and cook until puffed, brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more.
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/saltfish-fritters-jamaican-stamp-go/