Thursday, November 26, 2009

Crispy Wheat Canapé Crowned with Savory Topping

I am cooking a big 20-course dinner for 50 people tomorrow. I have uploaded an appetizer that is part of the menu for you to enjoy or make it part of your carte du jour.

1 large Yukon gold or russet potato
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt to taste
Plain yogurt, whipped
½ cup sweet chutney sauce (see recipe below)
½ cup hot chutney sauce (see recipe below)
Chaat Papdi (Indian crispy fried whole wheat rounds), available at Indian stores or substitute potato chips
½ cup or more thin chickpea flour noodles (sev), available at Indian stores

1. Cook the potato in boiling salted water until tender; drain and let cool. Peel and dice the potato, and place in a large bowl.

2. Add the onion and cilantro to the bowl; toss gently to mix. Season with salt and mix well.

3. Drizzle with yogurt, sweet and hot chutney sauces and mix very gently. To serve, spoon about a tablespoon of the mixture onto individual Indian crispy chaat rounds or chips. Sprinkle sev noodles on top. Serve immediately. Serves 4

Sweet Chutney Sauce

Use this as a dipping sauce for crudités onion rings or fritters.

½ cup raisins
2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate dissolved in ½ cup water
1 slice of ¼ -inch thick knob fresh ginger
½ tablespoon sugar
¼ cup water
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin

1. Combine the raisins and tamarind liquid in a medium saucepan. Cook over moderate heat until raisins are very soft 6 to 8 minutes. Cool and transfer to a blender or food processor.

2. Add the ginger, sugar, water, salt and cumin to the blender. Process to a smooth puree; stopping as necessary to scrape down the sides of the container. Transfer to a serving bowl. Let stand a few minutes for the flavors to meld. Cover and refrigerate the chutney sauce if not using. It keeps well for up to 1 week. Makes about 1 cup

Hot Green Chutney Sauce

Add more chiles if hotter taste is desired.

2 cups packed fresh cilantro with stems
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1 fresh green serrano or jalapeno chiles, stemmed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup water

1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Process until smoothly pureed, stopping from time to time to scrape down the sides of the container.

2. Transfer to a serving bowl. Let stand a few minutes for the flavors to meld. The chutney can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Makes about 1½ cups

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Glistening Brussels Sprouts Recipe from my Cookbook

Someone called me this morning to tell how much she enjoys the vegetarian dishes from my cooking classes as well as my cookbook, “The Dance of Spices.” I thought you too might like to cook this lighter version.

Glistening Brussels sprouts are stunning with peppercorns and sesame seeds. This dish makes a great topping for freshly cooked brown or wild rice.

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon yellow or brown mustard seeds
1 cup sliced onion
2 fresh green serrano or jalapeno chiles, stemmed and chopped
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, lightly crushed
2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed of outer leaves and quartered
1 teaspoon salt
Dried or fresh grated unsweetened coconut (optional)

1. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until the seeds are aromatic and uniformly reddish in color, for 4 minutes. Cool thoroughly. Transfer to a coffee mill or spice grinder and grind coarsely. Set aside.

2. Have a spatter screen ready before you continue. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds, immediately cover with a spatter screen, and cook until the seeds stop popping, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and chilies and cook until the onion is very soft and just beginning to turn brown at the edges, 4 minutes. Add the pepper and sesame seeds and stir for a few seconds. Add the brussels sprouts and cook, stirring, until the sprouts are coated. Sprinkle with salt and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until the sprouts are crisp-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Transfer to an attractive heated serving dish. Garnish with the coconut, if desired, and serve. Serves 6 as a side dish.