Sunday, September 14, 2014

680. Kubba Fetteh


Fetteh (الفتة), as seen in my chicken fettah a while back, is basically a dish consisting of fried crispy pita bread, topped with things (chicken or meat or pulses or vegetables...) and a sauce of sorts.
Given the simple concept and leniency of the dish, it is of no surprise that there are almost as many varieties as the homes who make them.
So today's fetteh is a not-so-traditional one, but more of a modern spin.
The thing with fetta is that you need to prepare all the components separately and assemble just before serving. I made mini-kubba burghul for this, but cooking regular sized kubbas and halving or quartering lengthwise would make life simpler.


Ingredients:

2 pita bread
1 large potato
2 cups oil for frying 
half batch kubba burghul
1 cup chicken stock
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup chopped coriander
3 cups yogurt
fresh pomegranate seeds, to serve


Method:

Make the kubba first. Fry in 2 cups hot oil until cooked and browned; set aside.
Slice the pita bread into thin ribbons. Fry in hot oil until golden and crispy; set aside.
Peel and cube potato (dry if damp). Fry in hot oil until golden; salt lightly and set aside.
Boil one cup chicken stock with the vinegar and crushed garlic vigorously for 3 minutes; set aside to cool a little.
Whisk the garlic stock in the yogurt with the chopped coriander.
To assemble, scatter the fried potato, pita crisps, and mini-kubba in the serving dish.
Dollop the yogurt mix over the lot.
Sprinkle with fresh pomegranate seeds and fried nuts if you wish.
Serve immediately.


 صحة و عافية

Friday, September 12, 2014

679. Pretzel Sausage Roll


Sausages wrapped in soft salty bronzed pretzel bread make for a fun snack or dinner for kids (most adults, too). This is a yeasted dough, so it will require a bit of rest, but other than the waiting, this recipe is pretty easy to make. What gives the pretzel its renown bronze color and taste is the baking soda bath it takes just before baking. The original recipe from DinersDishesAndDesserts made 8 sausage rolls for the amount of dough. I used sausages about the length and width of an average middle finger, and got 16 rolls.
If you have leftover dough, just make regular pretzels!



Ingredients:

1½ cups warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
4½ cups flour
4 Tbsp butter, melted
10 cups water
⅔ cup baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tbsp water
16 finger-length sausages
coarse salt



Method:

In a large bowl combine the warm water (1.5 cups), sugar, and salt.
Sprinkle the yeast on top, and let stand for 5 minutes until foamy.
Add flour and melted butter, using a dough hook or wooden spoon to combine. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic. If using a mixer that should be 4-5 minutes, by hand 6-7 minutes.
Remove dough and place in a well oiled bowl, turning to coat.
Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 60 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450F. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat liner.
In a large pot bring 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and separate into 16 pieces.
Roll into a long rope (about 24 inches long).
Gently wrap the rope around the sausage, pinching the ends to seal. Repeat with remaining sausage.
Place the sausage (1 or 2 at a time) in the boiling water. Cook for 30 seconds.
Remove to a wire rack, so the water can drip away. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
Brush each sausage roll with the egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with salt.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and serve with ketchup or mustard for dipping.


 صحة و عافية

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

678. Djibouti Rice Skoudehkaris


This month's MENA Cooking Club country of choice, following Algeria and Bahrain, is Djibouti, and it is hosted by Amira of Arabian Mama. I have to be honest, before this challenge I knew very little about Djibouti. Now not only do I know that it is a country in Africa just under Saudi Arabia, but it also happens to be dominantly Muslim with huge Somali and Yemeni cultural influences.
This Djiboutian Rice Skoudehkaris is as straight-forward as it is hearty. Beef or lamb (I chose lamb shank) is stewed until tender, then cooked in a lightly spiced tomato rice. Cooking  the meat in a pressure cooker is optional but makes the meat positively melt in your mouth. Below is the recipe for one very hungry person, which can easily be multiplied to accommodate more people.
Many thanks to the lovely Noor of Ya Salam Cooking for organizing this event every month.


Ingredients:

1 lamb shank
1/2 tsp ghee
1 tomato
1/2 small onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup rice


Method:

Boil or pressure cook the shank until fork-tender (2 hours boil or 30-40 minutes pressure cook).
Drain the shank, reserving the boiling liquid, and sear in hot ghee to color brown on all sides. Remove and set aside.
In the same small pot, saute the onion, garlic, and tomato until soft and reduced.
Add the cumin, cardamom, and salt. Return the shank to the pot.
Add the rinsed and drained rice, then add half a cup of the shank boiling liquid.
Bring to the boil, cover, reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes until rice had absorbed all the liquid and is fluffy and tender.
Lightly fluff the rice and place the shank on top to serve.



صحة و عافية

Monday, September 8, 2014

677.Qatari Rangina: Fresh Date Sweet


I would have thought this dessert, Rangina (رنجينة الرطب) was of the Arabian Gulf Bedouin origins, with all the fresh dates, toasted flour, and ghee. I however was quickly corrected. Apparently it originated from port-inhabited areas, specifically Qatar, UAE, Oman, and KSA where people were more exposed to trade and diversity at the time. So what it is, is pitted fresh ripe dates (Nature's toffee), topped with a toasted flour and ghee mixture. Ripe fresh dates are crucial. The dates are sweet enough, so they don't need added sweetness.
A few modern tweaks include the use of butter and some cinnamon. I diverge from the norm by using some olive oil instead of corn oil; I think it lends another layer of flavor. Do try this dish; it's humble appearance is a disguise for its epic flavor.


Ingredients:

4 cups fresh ripe dates
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup butter
1 flat tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamon powder
1/4 tsp olive oil


Method:

If needed, rinse and dry date gently.
Pull or push out the seeds (if the seeds still have their caps attached, you've got "farmers"), keeping the date intact.
Arrange the dates tightly in your serving dish; set aside.
Over medium heat, toast the flour until it browns, tossing frequently to avoid burning.
Once browned, add the cinnamon, cardamom, and butter.
Toss until a paste-like mixture is formed.
Stir in the olive oil until a smooth pourable mixture is formed.
Pour the hot mixture over the tidied dates, and let cool to room temperature before serving.


 صحة و عافية

Saturday, September 6, 2014

676. Chinese 5 Spice Chicken and Brown Fried Rice


I watched Jamie Oliver make this chicken wings dish on the TV, and the entire audience, including myself, were eager to try it out. I found the Chinese five-spice feels a bit too dessert-like for me, probably due to it's clear notes of cinnamon. Arabic cooking uses cinnamon as well, just not as prominently in savory dishes.
This is why the original recipe calls for two heaping teaspoons of Chinese five-spice whereas I only put one to balance the savoriness to our palates.
The brown fried rice was the perfect compliment to the chicken wings, and altogether it went down as a solid meal (which is not often said of chicken wings).


Ingredients:

12 Chicken wings
1 heaped tsp Chinese five-spice
1 cup brown rice
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
2 Tbsp tomato ketchup
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp runny honey
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 garlic cloves
1-2 fresh red chillies
1/2 cup peas
Sesame oil
2-3 egg


Method:

Preheat the oven to 350F. 
Stretch out the wings, cut skin in the middle, then pop out the joints, to make them straight (you can poke wooden skewers through the wings to hold them like this). 
Place the wings in a snug-fitting roasting tray, scatter over the five-spice and a good pinch of salt and toss together until evenly coated. 
Cover with foil and cook for around 50 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, cook the rice in double its volume of water and a teaspoon of salt, covered over low heat for 45 minutes. Spread out on a tray and leave to cook. 
Peel the ginger, finely grate into a small bowl and mix with the ketchup, soy sauce and honey to make a glaze. 
When the time’s up, remove the foil from the tray, then coat the chicken wings with some of the glaze and either return them to the oven for a final 30 minutes or pop them under the medium grill (and watch very carefully) until golden and super sticky.  
Evenly sprinkle over the sesame seeds from a height after adding your last bit of glaze.
When the wings are nearly ready, peel and slice the garlic with the chilli and peas, then put them in  large frying pan or wok on a medium heat with a lug of oil. 
Get them lightly golden, keeping them moving around the pan,then add the rice and let it heat through. 
Push the rice to one side of the pan and crack the egg into the gap. 
Stir it around so it starts to scramble, then toss thought the rice. Season to perfection and serve with the sticky chicken wings, right away.


 صحة و عافية

Thursday, September 4, 2014

675. Cauliflower Crispy Chicken Salad


Random ingredients laying around in the fridge was the inspiration behind this salad.
I have been loving using blitzed cauliflower in place of a carbohydrate (rice or burghul).
Some leftover cornflakes chicken, perfectly ripe avocado, herbs, a touch of onion, and a very basic dressing complete the salad.
Surprisingly, this fast became one of my favorite salads; perfect for preparing ahead and left sitting in the fridge until needed.


Ingredients:

1/2 small head cauliflower
1 cornflakes chicken breast (cooked)
1 ripe avocado
2 spring onion (or 1/2 onion)
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1 lemon, juice
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper


Method:

Blitz the clean cauliflower florettes in a food processor until resembles couscous (do not over-process).
Dump the cauliflower in a bowl.
Cut the cooked cornflakes chicken into a medium dice. Add to the bowl.
Slice the spring onion finely; dice the avocado; add with the chopped coriander to the bowl.
Sprinkle with the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
Toss and serve.
Keeps well for up to two days refrigerated.


 صحة و عافية