How to Soak Fruit for Christmas Cake

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A slice of Rum or Brandy infused fruitcake heralds the warmth of Christmas. If a bite of boozy doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies, I don’t know what will! All over the world fuit cakes of different sizes and colours make their way over to the holiday table with great fanfare. Recipes are passed down from generation to generation and are guarded with pride.

 

In India, this cake is also served at weddings, perhaps because it’s very popular to marry in the Holiday season. This cake is slathered with royal icing and is decorated to perfection. The hard royal exterior icing, protects the juiciness of the cake within and makes a perfect slice.

 

Although my Mom was an amazing cook, she wasn’t too fond of baking and never made this cake, at least not to my knowledge. My grandmother and aunts did make a cake, but I never did ask for the recipe.

 

When I first immigrated to Canada and we bought our first house after Adam was born, I had this strong urge to learn how to make traditional Christmas sweets. My good friend Marianne came over an helped me make them. This was in 1998. Since then I have made so many sweets and some of them are online like my Kul Kuls, Rose Cookies & Marzipan. What I’ve never made till this year was a fruitcake and there’s always a first time.

 

I poured over many recipes on the internet, even though I never made it before, I’ve tasted plenty a fruitcake and I had a very clear vision of how this should turn out. I was lucky that my friend and co admin on the facebook group Traditional Goan Foodies, shared her Mom, Annie Mascarenhas’s recipe with me. I tweaked this ever so slightly to suit my taste and this cake exceeded my expectations – thank you aunty.

 

This post will include the process to soak the fruits and on Dec 15, I will update this with the process to make the cake. Some people soak their fruits for months upto a year. To each his own, INMHO, 20 – 30 days is plentiful to soak your fruit. I like to taste the rum in the fruit and maintain the texture as well. I’ve used a combination of black raisins, cranberries, mixed citrus peel and prunes but you can use any dry ruit of your choice. Instead of just using Rum, I’ve used a combination of Rum and Brandy.

Click here for the cake recipe!

How to Soak Fruit for Christmas Cake

Ingredients

  • Soaked Fruit
  • 50 gms black Raisins
  • 50 gms Cranberries
  • 50 gms mixed Citrus Peel
  • 50 gms Prunes
  • 1 tbsp Orange Peel
  • 50 ml Rum
  • 25 ml Brandy

Instructions

  1. Layer the fruit starting with the ones that would need the most soaking - raisins, cranberries, mixed peel and prunes
  2. Add the rum and brandy
  3. Top with the orange peel
  4. Store in a cool dark place
  5. Do not shake for 2 days to allow the bottom fruit to soak
  6. After 2 days shake periodically
  7. Soak for 20 - 30 days
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/boozyfruitcake/

Rissois – Shrimp & Cheese Rissole

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Rissois is a Portuguese deep fried favourite snack, traditionally stuffed with a shrimp and cheese filling although you can now get it with many other types of filling. Call me a traditionalist, but I love the combination of Shrimp & Cheese the best. When I first tried these at a friend’s potluck, they looked like it took a lot of work to make them and although it was on my bucket list, I prolonged learning how to make it.

When I got a chance to learn how to make this at Audra’s cooking school, I jumped at the chance. She went through the process step by step and although it is a lot of work, it does yield a large batch and these beauties can be frozen and fried up at the last minute to perfection.

The exterior is crispy and a perfect contrast to the silken cheese shrimp mixture inside. I also love the unique texture of the dough as it’s partially cooked before it’s rolled and gives the Rissois it’s pillowy texture.

The holiday season is upon us and this is when I get into holiday prep and survival mode. This year I’m going to be making a bunch of freezer safe goodies that I can rely on for last minute guests, potlucks and holiday parties. Besides these delicious Rissois, I will be making some Samosa Pinwheels & a large batch of meatballs.

While Shrimp and Cheese is a great combination, I’m also excited to try this recipe with Crab. Watch the full process here.

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Ingredients

  • Dough (made in 2 batches)
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups all purpose Flour
  • 4 tbsps Butter
  • 2 tsps Salt
  • Filling
  • 7 oz, 200 gms shelled and deveined raw Shrimp
  • 4 tbsps Butter
  • 2 tbsps Olive Oil
  • 1 cup diced white Onion
  • 2 tbsps minced Garlic
  • 2 tbsps milk
  • 1 tsp Shrimp stock or whatever is left from cooking the Shrimp
  • 2 tbsps Corn Starch
  • 1 tsp Parsley
  • 1 cup grated cheese (mix white & regular cheddar)
  • Salt to taste
  • Breading
  • 1 – 2 Eggs beaten
  • ½ cup Semolina
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Melt 2 tbps butter and saute the Shrimp till just pink
  2. Remove and cool and finely mince the Shrimp and keep aside
  3. Heat up the rest of the butter and the Olive oil and saute the onion followed by the garlic
  4. Add the Shrimp and saute in the onion and garlic
  5. Add the milk and the stock if you were able to save any after sauteeing the shrimp
  6. Add the corn starch to thicken the mixture
  7. Turn off the heat and add the parsley and when just warm, fold in the cheese
  8. Taste for salt and add salt to taste
  9. Allow the mixture to chill
  10. In a saute pan, add half the water, butter and salt and allow to simmer
  11. Add half the flour an stir vigorously
  12. Tip the mixture out onto a board and using some saran wrap to protect your hands, knead till smooth
  13. Divide into half, and add one half back into the pot to stay warm
  14. Flour your working surface and roll out the dough without flipping over
  15. If your dough gets sticky add a bit of flour
  16. Using a cookie cutter, cut out rounds and keep them aside
  17. Keep rolling and cutting and repeat this process with the other half of the dough
  18. Cook the second batch of dough and repeat the process
  19. Lay out about 8 at a time and add about ½ a tsp of filling in the center of each one
  20. Use a brush to wet the edges and then pinch each one at the top and two ends first, and then continue to seal the whole rissois
  21. Repeat this process till you have all the rissois filled
  22. Set up two bowls, one with the beaten egg and one with the breadcrumbs & Semolina
  23. Use one hand to dip in the egg and the other to dip in the dry mixture
  24. Lay all the completed Rissois in a single layer and add to the freezer
  25. Layer these on parchment paper and bag once they are frozen all the way through
  26. To cook, just defrost them on a kitchen towel for 15 – 30 mins
  27. Deep fry these on a medium flame so the filling gets heated through the center
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/rissois/

Buttermilk brined Mustard Turkey

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Every year come Thanksgiving or Christmas, I plan on making a bird with a different flavor twist – I’ve done Spiced, Tandoori & Middle Eastern and this year I decided to give into one of my favorite things … good ol’ Mustard. Whether I use fresh or frozen Turkey, I have always brined my bird in 4 liters of a simple brining liquid and the result is a delicious and moist bird.

 

If you’ve never brined a bird, I highly recommend you try it. Without trying to get too scientific, the flavored brine a combination of salt, sugar and spices penetrates through the otherwise bland flesh through the process of Osmosis.

 

This year I decided to soak my 16 lb bird in a lighly spiced Buttermilk. Bay leaves, powdered Mustard & Paprika will spice the  delicate Buttermilk and marinate the bird for 24 hours. The next day I slather it with Mustard and bake it in my hot oven.

 

If you’re confused about the cooking and defrosting times, canadianturkey.ca has an incredible selection of tools for you – https://www.canadianturkey.ca/whole-bird-turkey-calculator/

 

#Shoutout

As most YouTube creators and Bloggers do, I had to tape and photograph this Turkey way before Thanksgiving. I couldn’t get a frozen bird as there wasn’t enough time to defrost it before I had to shoot. After calling several stores including all the major players Garden Basket in Markham were the only store that was able to rustle up a Turkey for me. Special thanks to Daniel from the meat department for making this happen.

http://www.thegardenbasket.ca/

Buttermilk brined Mustard Turkey

Ingredients

  • 16 lb – 7.2 kgs Turkey fresh or defrosted
  • Brine
  • 4 tbsps Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tsps Paprika
  • 3 liters Buttermilk
  • 1 litre water
  • 6 Bay leaves
  • 4 tsps Salt
  • Marinade
  • 4 tbsps Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tbsps whole grain Mustard
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 2 tbsps Olive Oil
  • ½ tsp dried Parsley
  • 1 Onion cut in quarters
  • 1 Bell pepper cut in a large dice
  • 2 cups assorted Mushrooms
  • 1 lime cut in halves
  • 3 – 4 cloves of Garlic

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Turkey by removing all of the Offal and the neck from the cavity
  2. Prepare the brine by mixing everything together and pour over the Turkey
  3. Marinate this for 24 hours
  4. After 24 hrs, drain the brine and pat the Turkey dry
  5. Prepare the Marinade and rub all over the Turkey
  6. Add the lime halves and the garlic and place the Turkey in a roasting pan
  7. Add the Onions, Green Peppers and Mushrooms
  8. Add the Turkey Neck and Offal
  9. Cover and cook for 1-2 hours and then open and allow to brown
  10. Cover dark spots with tin foil
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/buttermilk-brined-mustard-turkey/

Meatball Curry

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This is my Mom’s Meatball Curry recipe from one of her many many recipe books. Spiced meatballs are simmered in a special blend of ground spices like red Kashmiri Chillies, Cumin, Coriander, Pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, with Ginger, Garlic & Vinegar and finished off with some creamy Coconut milk. Whenever I miss my Mom, which is pretty much always, I find comfort in being surrounded by her things. She penned many many recipe books and I love pouring through them to find a new recipe to try.

This recipe is very special, the balance of spices are amazing and I love that it yields a lot gravy that can be poured over rice.

Like I do with any recipe, this is Kravings tested. This means I’ve made sure the recipe can be replicated in the most efficient way by streamlining the process and removing redundancies – the results are delicious, I’m sure my Mommy in heaven would agree!

Meatball Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 lb, 500 gms ground Beef, Mutton or Lamb
  • 2 tbsps Gram or Chana Dhal
  • 10 red Kashmiri Chillies
  • 2 tbps of Coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Peppercorns
  • 8 Cardamoms
  • ½ tsp Cloves
  • 1 inch stick Cinnamon
  • 8 cloves Garlic
  • 1 inch stick Ginger
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 1 cup + extra Water
  • 1 cup finely diced Onions
  • 1 cup finely sliced Onions
  • 2 tsps diced green Chillies
  • 400 ml Coconut Milk
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Roast the gram dhal, cool and process OR substitute gram flour
  2. In a food processor grind the dry spices first followed by the ginger and garlic and the vinegar and enough water to make a smooth paste
  3. Add salt to the ground meat and half the spice blend together with the diced onions, chillies and the ground gram and mix well
  4. Test a small piece to make sure the spices and salt are in balance
  5. Make into meatballs
  6. In a saute pan melt the ghee and add the other half of the spice paste
  7. Add the water to the food processor and add that water to the saute pan and bring to the boil
  8. Add the coconut milk and salt to taste
  9. Immerse the meatballs in batches and cook and remove
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/meatball-curry/

Chicken Vindalho or Vindaloo

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I’m so excited to bring you this recipe from my Goan heritage. Vidaloo, yes that is the correct pronounciation, is derived from the Portuguese Vin and alho. When the Portuguese made their long ship journeys to India and other countries, they preserved their pork in a combination of Wine Vinegar & Garlic. Over time the Goans added their own spices and Vindalho was born. This recipe is near and dear to my heart as it is my mother’s recipe. The main ingredients are Kashmiri Chillies, Vinegar & Garlic.

Red Kashmiri Chillies are king in my masala, but many Goans use a mix of Kashmiri for flavour and color and other spicier red dried chillies for heat. We also use whole spices like Cumin & mustard seeds, peppercorns, turmeric, cinnamon and cloves and grind this together with gresh Ginger and garlic and Vinegar. Once this is ground to a smooth paste this is bottled and stored or used on the meat as a spice and gravy paste.

Traditionally this is made with pork but, I’m going to recreate this with Chicken.. I’ve chosen to use chicken thigh bone in cut into small pieces and I’m using a combination of bone in meat and chicken boneless thigh. I now avoid using chicken breast as it gets very dry, the whole purpose to this is to cook this low as slow, just like you would cook chunks of pork. Vindaloo is also made with other protein like mutton, beef, shrimp and fish.

This Chicken needs to be marinated and left in the fridge for 24 hours. Once cooked it needs to be left for another 24 hrs for optimum results.

Vindaloo is very popular in Britain and it’s presumed that the aloo means potato and is often served with potatoes. Although potatoes are good in everything, it’s not traditional in a Vindaloo. Please also note that the consistency when you cook Chicken vs Pork is different. Pork releases a lot more water and fat hence the gravy is more runny and you will always see a film of red oil on the surface.

Chicken Vindalho or Vindaloo

Ingredients

  • 20 Red dried Kashmiri Chillies
  • 1 inch stick of cinnamon
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch stick of ginger
  • Add
  • 1/4 cup Goa vinegar sub Red Wine Vinegar or Malt Vinegar
  • Water
  • 1 kg 2.2 pounds bone in and boneless Chicken thigh meat
  • 1 cup red onion diced

Instructions

  1. Clean, destem and deseed all of the Kashmiri Chillies and grind it to a coarse powder
  2. Add the Cinnamon, Cloves, Cumin see & Mustard seeds, Peppercorns and Turmeric and process till to a powder
  3. Add the Ginger & Garlic and the Vinegar in two additions
  4. Add some water to make the consistency of the paste smooth
  5. Add the masala to the Chicken and this needs to be marinated and left in the fridge for 24 hours
  6. Puree one cup of red onion in the same food processor and store this in the fridge as well
  7. After 24 hours, heat some oil and saute the onion paste and cook this for a few minutes to cook off all the raw onion taste
  8. Add the Chicken and and all the red masala marinade
  9. Give it a really good stir, cover and allow to cook
  10. Add water to prevent burning
  11. Add salt to taste, cover and cook on low for 30 – 40 minutes till the Chicken is done
  12. Add more water as the gravy starts to thicken
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/chicken-vindalho/

Pot Roast or Roast Beef

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Pot Roast or Roast Beef

Ingredients

  • Beef Chunk 1 kg, 2.2 lbs
  • Juice of 1.5 limes
  • 1 tsp each Chilli powder, Turmeric & ground Cumin powder
  • 30 crushed black Peppercorns
  • ½ cup Oil
  • 1 cup sliced red Onions
  • 6 Kashmiri Chillies
  • ¼ cup(4 tbsps) each Ginger & Garlic paste
  • 3- 4 tbsps Vinegar
  • 2 inch stick Cinnamon
  • 20 – 30 cloves
  • 2 potatoes sliced and fried
  • ¼ cup chopped Coriander

Instructions

  1. Cut the beef into 4 pieces and marinate with the lime juice, salt, cumin, turmeric & chilli powder and the peppercorns
  2. Add the Ginger & Garlic paste and the Vinegar
  3. Add the cinnamon and pierce the meat with the cloves
  4. Marinate overnight
  5. Heat oil and saute the onions
  6. Break the Kashmiri chillies into smaller pieces and add to the onions
  7. Either move the onions to one side or remove them and brown the beef chunks
  8. Add 1 cup of water and pressure cook for 3 whistles
  9. Remove the chunks and cool
  10. Cook the gravy till it thickens up
  11. Slice the beef and return it to the gravy, adding the precooked potatoes and extra pepper
  12. Garnish with chopper coriander
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/pot-roast-roast-beef/

Battenberg – British Royal Cake

Click here to see my step-by-step video

This recipe has been on my bucket list for a long long time. My love affair with the Battenberg started on a trip to London when I was 18 years old. Years later a friend of mine made the Battenburg on the popular TV show Recipe to Riches. I was obsessed with this cake. Now I’m not much of a baker, I can cook with my eyes closed, but baking requires a lot of precision but I was determined to learn this cake and make it easy for you to make yourself.

 

The cake was named in honour of the marriage of Princess Victoria, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. Battenburg is the name of a town in Germany. This cake is very technical but remarkably easy when you get the hang of it and delicious. Two colors of Sponge cake are cut into equal rectangles, sandwiched together with apricot jam and wrapped into a neat parcel with almond marzipan! When you cut a slice, you see a Checkerboard pattern encased with a strip of marzipan, this is truly a slice of heaven.

 

I also looooove theme parties, so when my friend Ruby(also my husband’s cousin) broke the news about her pregnancy, I was determined to throw her a posh high tea themed shower. And of course, what’s more posh than the Battenberg? Be sure to check out the video as this is a technical cake and it’s really helpful to see the process. There’s also some footage from the party that you can check out.

 

Some things to remember before you go on to watch the video and download the recipe. Baking is a science so use the ingredients exactly as stated. Also make sure to adhere to temperatures suggested, the butter should be at room temp, as well as the eggs. Prepare your marzipan the same day for the best results. It’s most pliable when freshly made. And do not be afraid to fail. Baking disasters happen to the best of us … if that happens, just try again. This recipe is very traditional using a plain almond sponge with apricot jam. I’m really itching to make a Black Forest inspired Battenberg – stay tuned for that one

 

The Brits love their Battenburg, this cake is also referred to as a church window. The combination of apricot jam, almond sponge and marzipan is delicious and the look is fit for a queen!. Won’t you join us for a spot of tea & slice of Battenberg darling?

 

Check out my Black Forest Battenberg!

 

Battenberg – British Royal Cake

Ingredients

  • 175 gms/6 oz. room temperature unsalted Butter
  • 175 gms of Super fine or Caster Sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 175 gms sifted self raising Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tbsps ground Almonds
  • 2 tbsps Vanilla
  • Food coloring
  • 200 gms/ 7 oz powdered almonds
  • 400 gms/ 14 oz Icing Sugar
  • 2 Egg whites
  • ½ tsp Almond Extract
  • 1 cup Apricot jam

Instructions

  1. Add the room temperature butter to the processor bowl and process till nice and fluffy
  2. Add 175 gms of super fine or caster sugar and cream together
  3. Once the butter and sugar are well creamed together, add 3 eggs one at a time, scraping after each addition
  4. Sift 175 gms of Self raising flour and add a tablespoon of thee flour in between beating the eggs to prevent the butter from looking like it’s curdled
  5. Add 1 tsp of Baking Powder and the rest of the self raising flour and 2 tbsps of ground almonds
  6. Add 2 tbsps Vanilla extract
  7. Equally divide the batter into two parts color one half pink
  8. Divide the pan in half(see video for full instructions) and add the batter to the pan
  9. Add this into your preheated oven for 35 mins
  10. After 35 mins, check with a cake pin or skewer and allow it to cool completely
  11. If your cakes have a bump, just level them off with a knife
  12. Once the cakes are cool cut them into strips
  13. Prepare the marzipan mix 200 gms of powdered almonds together with 400 gms of icing sugar and process it
  14. Add 2 egg whites, one at a time and a ½ tsp of almond extract
  15. Add the marzipan to a microwave safe platter and cover with cling film
  16. Zap it in the microwave for 10 seconds and do this 3 times
  17. The dough will be warm and the egg would have cooked. Leave this aside to cool
  18. Lay out a piece of parchment paper and roll out the marzipan
  19. Sandwich the cakes together using the classic ingredient apricot jam
  20. Make sure you alternate the colors so it looks like a chequered pattern
  21. Lay this over the marzipan and make sure you’ve rolled one side long enough to completely cover the cake
  22. Trim off any excess marzipan and this can be stored in a Ziploc bag and reused
  23. Remove the cake and brush the inside of the marzipan with jam
  24. Lay the cake over the marzipan and using the help of the parchment paper, lift the marzipan and cover the cake
  25. Uing cling film wrap the cake for an hour so everything holds together well
  26. Trim the edges with a sharp knife and clean the knife in between to cut neat and clean slices
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/battenberg/

Smorgastorta – SWEDISH SANDWICH Cake

 View my step-by-step video

The Swedes have given us a few great things Abba, Ikea to name a few. This Swedish sandwich cake Smorgastarta or Smorgastorta is so fantastic to serve at a party or potluck and best of all is so customizable. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and find it really hard to resist this delectable savory Swedish Sandwich cake.

This may not be a 100% traditional recipe, but it’s only because this recipe allows for so much creativity that it can be made so many different ways.

 

Typically it’s a hodge podge of cold meats and cream cheese, mayo, eggs and seafood sandwiched between layers of bread. You can bake a batch in a cake pan and cut it in layers, use pre sliced sheets of bread used to make Italian sandwiches or the simplest way is to get regular square sandwich bread and cut the crusts off to build your cake. You can lay the cake out in any shape, but using just regular sandwich bread, I’m going to create a square masterpiece. My version of Smorgastorta is pretty simple, I’m going to stick to Seafood like shrimp and smoked salmon and enhance it with  some eggs, cucumber, radish slices, dill & parsley. It’s also going to be topped with some beautiful Masago caviar jewels as a finishing touch.

 

The first thing I’m going to do is stir into my light Cream cheese – this needs be just warmed up slightly in the microwave so it gets creamy and the consistency of a frosting. Only microwave this for 10 seconds at a time to avoid burning. . I’m going to fold in some light sour cream 4 tbsps per 8 oz brick. The amount of cream cheese you need will depend on the size of cake your making. My square cake took a little over 16 oz of cheese and about 10 tbsps of sour cream. A traditional Smorgastorta uses Mayonnaise, but I like to keep it light with light Cheese & Sour Cream. Just like frosting a regular cake, I will secure the first layer with a dollop of cheese.

 

My cake consists of 4 distinct layers and each one will be spread with the cream cheese mixture on both sides of the bread to keep the filling secure. I will start with Poached Shrimp that I just poached my deveined shell on in 4 cups of water with an Onion & herbs parsley & dill lime juice and salt.  I let the poaching liquid come to a boil and then turn it off, add the let the shrimp cook in the hot liquid for 10 mins, shell on. After 10 mins, allow it to cool and then remove the shell. Ofcourse you can just buy precooked Shrimp, but the flavor in the shrimp doing it this way is way better that the bland rubbery frozen shrimp available in the grocery stores. Reserve a few Shrimp for the garnish and because my Shrimp are a good size, just slice the rest of the shrimp horizontally, with a sprinkle of dill, Cucumber & Radish, Smoked Salmon & Parsley & the final layer is sliced boiled eggs.

 

The most fun is decorating the, and it’s a good idea to use every element in your filling on top of the cake, so guests know exactly what’s in it. There’s no right or wrong way to do this just make it pretty and consider that you also need to slice thorough this and serve it. Also smooth out the sides. I like to line the edge with half cucumber rounds to make it look neat and add some whole Parsley as a decoration. This recipe is just a guideline, I hope this inspires you to create your own Smorgatorta of your favorite things!

There are no weights and measurements in this recipe as it’s relative to the size of cake and amount of layers you wish to create

Smorgastorta – SWEDISH SANDWICH Cake

Ingredients

  • Poached Shrimp – whole for garnish and slit horizontally for filling
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Boiled Eggs sliced
  • Cucumber sliced
  • Radish slices
  • Parsley chopped and whole
  • Dill chopped and whole
  • Cream cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Sliced white bread
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/smorgastorta-swedish-sandwich-cake/

Edible HUMMUS HOLIDAY wreath

Watch my step-by-step video

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You know the holidays are a crazy time with attending and planning parties, wrapping gifts, decorating and spending a lot more quality time in your kitchen and then you get invited to a potluck. You’re either going to run out and pick up another boring veggie tray or think of something easy and spectacular to impress. I’m going to my channel networks Holiday party. This party is going to be filled with YouTube creators and network staff that have helped and supported me and my channel so I really want to make this special. Instead of reinventing the wheel, or in this case the wreath, I’m going to use my Chicken Shawarma Hummus recipe and turn this into a beautiful and tasty edible wreath.

 

Since, I’m going to be transporting this to another location, I decided to use a disposable platter. This is really the best choice, you can just leave it behind if you have to leave early, it won’t break enroute and the host can just toss it after. I’ve chosen to use a thick round cake board, it looks festive and it’s easy to make the inner and outer circle indentation with a blunt knife so I can follow the lines of the wreath. I’m going to line the inside circle with half rounds of cucumbers. This is going to form a dam on the inside so the hummus does not leak out. I’m going to line the outside ring with the Chicken Shawarma pieces. This is not really necessary, but I just wanted to create a rough surface so the hummus would have something to hold onto and not slide off enroute.

 

You can make this vegetarian and just leave the Chicken out. I like to make the hummus a bit thicker that I usually do so it holds together.

 

The hummus is piped onto the board and decorated with Rosemary sprigs, Parsley, red Olives, green olives, pickled Onions, Pomegranate Jewels and toasted pine nuts. The piece de resistance is an edible bow I cut out of pita bread. It’s sprinkled with fairy dust aka some Sumac, dried Mint and Aleppo chillies and drizzled with my favorite ingredient – Pomegranate Molasses.

 

When I thought about this idea, I honestly had no idea it was going to turn out so good or it would be appreciated so much. I can’t wait to try this idea with Goat cheese next year!

Edible HUMMUS HOLIDAY wreath

Ingredients

  • 6 – 10 half Cucumber slices
  • 2 cups approx. prepared Hummus
  • 6 – 8 oz Chicken Shawarma meat prepared and cooked
  • Rosemary sprigs for garnish
  • Parsley sprigs for garnish
  • 1 cup approx. finely chopped Parsley
  • Red & Green Olives
  • Pickled Onions
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Toasted Pine nuts
  • Sprinkling of Sumac, dried Mint and Aleppo chillies
  • Drizzle of Pomegranate Molasses
  • Pita bread bow(see video)
  • Extra pita chips for dipping

Instructions

  1. Line up the Cucumber slices on the inside circle
  2. Add some Chicken pieces to the outside circle
  3. Using a piping bag with a large tip, I’m going to pipe my hummus all over the Chicken in a wreath shape. Just smooth it out a little bit with a spoon
  4. Line the outside with rosemary sprigs
  5. Cover with very finely chopped Parsley. It’s best to wash and completely dry your parsley before chopping it up very very fine.
  6. Add some more rosemary & parsley sprigs to one side and top with the piece the resistance - an Arabic pita that I’m going to separate and cut into the shape of a ribbon
  7. Add more Chicken - you want the Chicken to be visible so if you have Vegetarians in the group, it’s visibly clear
  8. Add red Olives, green olives, pickled Onions, Pomegranate Jewels and toasted pine nuts
  9. Sprinkle this with fairy dust aka some Sumac, dried Mint and Aleppo chillies
  10. Drizzle with Pomegranate Molasses.
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/edible-hummus-holiday-wreath/

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SORPOTEL – GOAN Deep Red Sour & Spicy CURRY

Watch my step-by-step video

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My mom is one of the most amazing cooks that I will ever know. If I had to pick just one favorite, it has to be her Sorpotel. My Virgo Mom, was as meticulous as they come, she would take the time to cut her meat into perfect little cubes that danced in a fiery sour and spicy gravy.

 

Sorpotel spelled with an o or an a is one of the most traditional and beloved curry dishes served on celebratory occasions. This is rumoured to have originated from the Alentejo region of Portugal, and was carried with Portuguese colonists and settlers to the countries of their conquests. The Portuguese set up their colonies in Goa and the Goans quickly adopted this dish and christened it Sorpotel – Soro meaning alcohol. I would imagine that the original recipe may have contained alcohol. There are so many variations to this recipe out there, the East Indians and Mangaloreans all make their own version of this. In my mind, Sorpotel should be exactly as my mother made it, she followed a typical Goan recipe with perfectly small cubes of meat in a delicious deep red sour and spicy gravy. Versions that are brown and with large chunks of meat just don’t cut it for me.

 

Sorpotel is traditionally made with Pork and Offal being organs like Liver, Kidney & Gizzards. Because my family does not eat Pork, I was toying with the idea of making a Chicken Sorpotel for years. I think I may have asked my mom to email me the same recipe multiple times. Last year, just before Christmas, I found an old email print out from my mom, she was kinda annoyed that I was asking for it so many times. This is dated 2002!

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Last year, December 2015, I replicated her recipe originally intended for Pork using Chicken Thigh and Beef liver and the results were outstanding, if you have a really good recipe, you can’t go wrong. Many people cannot eat Pork for religious or dietary reasons, so Chicken is a great alternative but if you would like to make this using the traditional protein, pork shoulder is a good cut but the belly is the fattiest and probably the most popular cut used in this preparation. I know you will probably ask – ‘what if I don’t eat liver?’ Leave it out, be warned though without this you’re pretty much going to get a delicious curry, but not a Sorpotel.

 

I follow a 2:1 ratio, 2 parts Chicken to one part liver. For the Ofal I prefer to only use liver. I find that if you use other organs the textures are all so varied, it just gets too confusing. I’m using Beef liver since it does resembles Pork liver in texture and color. It’s also convenient because of it’s size, but if you don’t eat Beef, Goat or Lamb liver can easily be substituted. You cannot use Chicken Liver as it’s too soft. To replicate the fatty Pork meat, I’ve used Boneless Chicken Thigh and I’ve got this uncleaned as you can see all the fat still on the meat.

 

Every good Sorpotel starts with a great spice blend. My mother used a lot of Kashmiri Chillies in her masala blend for intense red color without too much heat. Many people add animal blood to their Sorpotel – quite frankly I find that gross, so the Kashmiri chillies are going to have to paint my Sorpotel red for me. This recipe also uses some traditional Goa vinegar. If you cannot find Goa vinegar, you can substitute Red Wine Vinegar.

 

Please practice food safety, don’t use the same utensils, boards etc for raw and cooked meat and be sure to wash your hands.

 

And I’ll sign off with a joke – My friend Succorine from Soglechem Succorine said to me ‘Karen bai, did you know Sorpotel was named after a Gujju? I said what? They don’t even eat meat … then she said yes, the man was ‘Sor’ Patel’ … I can’t believe I fell for that one and if you’re laughing, I can’t believe you fell for it too!

SORPOTEL – GOAN Deep Red Sour & Spicy CURRY

Ingredients

  • Masala
  • 25 Red Kashmiri Chillies
  • 6 cloves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1” piece of Ginger
  • 1 small ball of tamarind soaked in 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 2 lbs Boneless Chicken Thigh – untrimmed with fat is better
  • 1 lbs Beef or Goat liver
  • 8 cloves
  • 4 sticks of cinnamon
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp Garlic cloves julienne
  • 1”piece Ginger julienne
  • 2 green chillies slit horizontally

Instructions

  1. Grind the cleaned Red Chillies, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, cumin seeds and turmeric to a powder and then add the wet ingredients garlic & ginger and grind them with have the tamarind water
  2. Add 1/2 a cup of the Vinegar. Grind and keep scrapping. Add the other ½ cup of the vinegar water and grind again
  3. Heat some oil and add some cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns. Render the fat of the Chicken thigh
  4. Flip the Chicken over, and cook it in batches so you don’t over crowd the pan
  5. Add a little bit of salt and 2 cups of water
  6. Cover and bring to the boil and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning the chicken in between
  7. Once the Chicken is cooked, remove this and leave aside to cool and save the stock.
  8. Wipe down the saute pan, add more oil, more cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns and saute the liver. Just be careful with the heat because the liver can blacken quite quickly, turn it over
  9. Add salt, 2 cups of water to the pan, cover and cook for about 15 – 20 minutes, remove and cool. Reserve this stock as well
  10. Using a sharp knife, cut the cooked and cooled Chicken into small cubes
  11. Do the same with the Liver. Don’t be worried if you notice some pinkness in the middle, just slice it and zap it for 30 secs in the microwave
  12. Wipe down my saute pan again and to add some julienne of ginger and garlic followed by 2 green slit chillies, just keep these aside as we will use it as a garnish later
  13. Add more oil followed by I cup of finely diced red onions as soon as they turn color a little bit, add the Chicken and Liver cubes and saute them together
  14. Add all the Sorpotel Masala and let it cook. Mix it together with the meat cubes and mix well
  15. Add 1 cup of water to your food processor and add this into your pan. You don’t want to waste any of that masala
  16. Add the final ½ cup of Tamarind water and mix well.
  17. Add the stock of the Chicken, but discard any of the fat that’s floating at the top.
  18. Also going to add about a ½ cup of the Liver stock. I’m not using all of it as I want to preserve that nice red color
  19. Taste for salt and add as much as needed. Cover and cook on a slow flame, stirring frequently so the gravy does not burn at the bottom
  20. Garnish your Sorpotel with julienne of Ginger and Garlic and the green chillies
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/sorpotel-goan-deep-red-sour-spicy-curry/