Spinach & Artichoke Puff Pastry Braid

spinach puff pastry braid

Hello my lovely readers! We are days away from Eid (woohoo!) and that means it is time for Eid Eats, that delicious roundup of Eid recipes. This year it is hosted by My Ninja Naan & Chocolate & Chillies. Do hop over on to their page to check out whats cooking! I have had a bit of a history of bringing desserts to the table. There were the Chocolate Covered Ice Cream Stars, the Coconut Barfi, and the Eid classic of Sheer Khurma. This year I decided to break from tradition and share something that I make for all kinds of parties, not just Eid. This Spinach & Artichoke Puff Pastry Braid is filled with a creamy bechamel filling that has some spice from green chillies, the sweet nubbiness of corn and fantastic flavor all around. It is a cinch to put together with store bought puff pastry dough and looks so pretty on the table. It also meets my two main requirements for a party. One is that the filling can be prepped ahead of time, the second that it reheats beautifully. The Spinach & Artichoke Puff Pastry Braid is versatile in that it’s perfect for tea, brunch or even lunch depending on what you serve it with. 

spinach and artichoke puff pastry braid

spinach puff pastry braid

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Asian Inspired Corn Fritters

For Muslims across the world this is the month of Ramadan, a month where we fast from sunrise to sunset with the intent of gaining greater empathy with those less fortunate, being more grateful for our blessings and learning to subsume our physical desires in favour of spiritual ones. It is perhaps somewhat ironic that during this month there is a strong culture of food traditions. Be it the lentil soup of  some Arabs, or the pakoras of us Pakistanis aside from the proscribed opening of the fast with a date there is a great deal of variation across the board. In Pakistan if you open your windows in the hour before iftar then you will smell the delicious smells of crispy fried goodness – samosas, jalebis, pakoras – they’re an almost staple at an iftar table.

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Today I am sharing with you – and more accurately the readers at My Ninja Naan – my recipe for Asian Inspired Corn Fritters, a fun change from the usual. These are simple corn fritters (yes, corn is my new nutella) that come together in a jiffy, you can put the batter in the fridge and fry them up at iftar time. They are best when fresh and a spicy condiment is not optional. I love the slight crunch of these tender fritters with their sweet corn and fiery chillies. Skip the chillies and they are immensely child friendly. Want to add a desi touch? Skip the soy sauce and generously season with the desi trifecta of salt, cayenne, and cumin. 

To learn how to make this happen head over to my lovely friend Henna’s blog and read more! Henna is also amping up her posts for this Ramadan so subscribe to her blog so that you don’t miss out – I am already SO intrigued by her creative Mango Chickpea Salad.

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Crunchy Corn and Green Chilli Aaloo Cutlets / Potato Cakes

Aaloo Cutlets

One of my brothers likes to tell the story of how when he was back in Karachi during one of his college breaks he walked into the kitchen to find a girl he had not seen before with her head submerged in our deep freezer, furtively foraging for something to eat. When he asked her who she was she responded by asking him who he was to which he said “I live here” to which she exasperatingly replied “I’ve never seen you before”. My poor brother then retorted with “well I haven’t seen you either” Once they has resolved their impasse and she had told him she was one of my friends he asked where I was and she said “not home” and continued to rummage through the deep freezer until she found these Corn and Green Chilli Aaloo Cutlets. Moral of the story:  food first, all else later.

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With their crunchy exterior and creamy spicy interior nubbed with corn these are one of my mothers trademark cutlets/kababs. The friend above was not the only one who would drop in after school to snack on these babies. They were pretty much a hands down favorite of most of my friends. Some of my happiest memories from those days are the ones that were made in my sweltering kitchen, friends sitting around the table, plates with cutlets and ketchup smears and lots of the unrestrained laughter that is the hallmark of teenage years. 

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As an adult, one who is forever ‘behind’ in the things that need to be done I can really appreciate how much work it would have taken for my mother to keep that freezer stocked for the hungry teens that were always welcome in our house – whether we were home or not. My hope is that by the time my girls are older they too can have that same experience. I don’t think it’s ‘cool’ for kids to hang out at each others houses when Starbucks is an option, but I would like to think that if you cook it they will come 🙂

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A Small(er) batch of Oreo Rice Krispie Treats

A Small(er) batch of Oreo Rice Krispie Treats

When Oreos meet Rice Krispies magic happens. Okay so maybe that is a little dramatic, but I am happy to say deliciousness definitely does. This riff on a childhood classic is more delicious than you remembered it and with only 5-ingredients it isn’t so hard to convince yourself to make them. The fact that this recipes makes half the ‘usual’ amount of Rice Krispie treats is also a bit of a blessing.

A Small(er) batch of Oreo Rice Krispie Treats

This is also a kid friendly treat that is easy for kids to make. My 5 year old can measure the ingredients out, melt the marshmallows (with supervision) and help get the mixture in the pan. The pressing in is the only persnickety part where an adult will need to do most of the work. I like to get a mini oreo snack cup for these, that way I am not ‘forced’ to eat the better part of a box of oreos 😉

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Corn Dogs with Mina Halal Chicken Wieners & a Spicy Cajun Honey Mustard Sauce + a Giveaway!

I had never thought that I would ever try making corn dogs at home. They seem like such a classic fair food and I am not usually one for deep frying things. However, recently at the Halal Food Fest my older daughter wanted to try one and was unable to because they weren’t ready in time. She did however sample and really enjoy Mina Halal Chicken Wieners so when the opportunity presented itself it only made sense to put the two together.

Corndogs with a Spicy Cajun Honey Mustard Sauc

These Chicken Wieners are part of Mina Halals new line of products and are available at Fresh Co locations in Ontario. The other products are Chicken Bologna and Chicken Strips. Mina Halal sent us the wieners and strips to sample and the Chicken Strips were also a big hit at one of our recent breakfast for dinners i.e. ‘brinners’. This new line of products is currently available in FreshCo locations in Ontario.

Mina Halal Products

Mina Halal, certified by the Halal Monitoring Authority (H.M.A), practices the ‘zabeehah by hand’ approach and their chickens are individually blessed then air chilled. If you want to know more about them click here, and for other delicious recipe ideas look here. Mina Halal is also giving away 20 dollars in coupons and a bonus. To qualify you just have to be over the age of 18 and in Ontario. To enter simply go to:-

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To say these were a hit would be an understatement, my daughter wanted to know if she could have them for every meal for the rest of her life. You can probably guess what my response was 😉

Corndogs with a Spicy Cajun Honey Mustard Sauc

I loved the idea of having something more interesting than ketchup to dip these babies into and the Cajun Honey Mustard Sauce totally hit the spot. The Serious Eats piece where the recipe comes from mentioned the idea of serving these for brunch and I think if I were to do that this is how – drizzled with some sauce, sprinkled with minced chives. Yum yum.

Disclaimer: I received free product samples along with a gift card. However,  the views and opinions expressed are my own.

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Chocolate Drizzled Stovetop Kettle Corn w Oreos and Sprinkles

And that folks is what a tray of happy looks like when you’re four years old 🙂

Stovetop Kettle Corn with a Chocolate Drizzle, Oreos and Sprinkles

When Salma over at The Write Balance posted her perfect stovetop popcorn recipe I realized  how long it had been since I had made any myself. Kettle corn with it’s sweet salty twist is my personal favorite so that was a no-brainer. The Oreos and sprinkles I had on hand and mixed them in. Mix in whatever you have handy or nothing at all. Because there is such little ‘cooking’ required, once the popcorn has popped this is such a fun thing to do with kids. They love to suggest mix ins, help you take pictures (lol), and of course – taste test.

Stovetop Kettle Corn with a Chocolate Drizzle, Oreos and Sprinkles

Have a bright, happy, colorful weekend. This also brings to an end my ten posts over two weeks challenge courtesy the South Asian Bloggers Network. Thank you for coming back every day. If I could figure out how I would insert a bunch of heart emoticons here 😉

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Crunchy Coconut Shrimp

I love 5 ingredient dishes and this is one of them – add something on the side and you’ve got a main. Serve on it’s own and you’ve got a delicious satisfying snack and all you need is lime, coconut, panko, egg, and shrimp. Shoot – and flour, but that’s optional so let’s call it a 5.5 ingredient dish shall we?

I love coconut shrimp, that slightly sweet ever so crunchy upgrade on classic fried shrimp. What makes these extra fun is the addition of panko and the zest of a lime.The panko bread crumbs add another airy yet crunchy element to the shrimp and the hint of lime heightens the coconut flavor.

Coconut Shrimp

The flour like I said is optional, but here is why I use it: I dislike naked shrimp. You know when you fry shrimp and only portions of it have crunch because despite your best effort the rest of it just won’t stay on? Once the shrimp goes into it’s egg bath the flour helps the crunchier elements adhere to the egg and covers the gaps between said crunchy elements to give you a shrimp that is evenly goldenly beautiful.

Coconut Shrimp

You are welcome to season as much as you like, but having made these a few time I must say I like it best when the subtle natural sweetness of the coconut shines through so a sprinkle of salt & pepper or a dash of fish sauce in the egg mixture is perfect for me.

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Hara Bhara Kababs – a Guest Post from Aruna of Aharam

Hey guys – remember Aruna?  She was good enough to have me over at her blog Aharam and has now been kind enough to share a recipe from her impressive repertoire with you guys.

If you haven’t been over to her blog yet then be sure to check it out – it literally blows my mind that she knows how to make the number of things she does. And by blows my mind I mean inspires me to push myself a little harder 🙂

Thanks Aruna for sharing a yummy nutritious recipe with my readers and now with further ado here she goes…

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Hara Bhara Kabab is one of those omnipresent items on Mumbai restaurant menus. It is a simple
pan-fried patty of mashed potato mixed with spinach-coriander puree and boiled peas spiced up
with some green chilli and ginger paste.

I love Hara Bhara Kabab because it is rather versatile. You can munch on it by itself, spice it up some
mint or coriander chutney, or then have as a side with dal tadka and rice. A perfect Hara Bhara
Kabab is golden brown and crisp on the outside and melt-in-the mouth soft on the inside.

I chose it as the guest post recipe for Sarah because she has children and Hara Bhara Kabab is quite a
nutritious and delicious snack for children. It is also perfect as a starter for dinner parties in the
holiday season as it suits most palates.

Enjoy! 

Makes: 16-20 Servings
Preparation Time: 60 Minutes
Cooking Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients
1. Potatoes – 6 Large
2. Spinach Leaves – 2 Packed Cups (1 Large Bunch)
3. Coriander Leaves – 1 Packed Cup
4. Peas – 1/2 Cup
5. Cashews – 8 to 10 (Split in halves vertically)
6. Green Chillies – 6 to 8
7. Ginger – 1.5” Piece
8. Black Salt – 1 tsp
9. Besan or Gram Flour – 1 tbsp (optional)
10. Salt to Taste
11. Oil for Shallow Frying
The Prep Work

1. Boil the potatoes till they just start to soften and are mashable.
2. Wash with cold water and drain all water from the potatoes.
3. Set the potatoes aside to dry and cool to room temperature.
4. Blanch the spinach leaves in boiling water.
5. Drain all the water from the spinach leaves and set aside to cool.
6. Boil the peas and drain all water.
7. Set the peas aside to cool.
8. Grind the blanched spinach, coriander leaves, ginger and green chillies to a smooth paste. Avoid using any water; if you do need to add any water just add a teaspoon at a time.
9. Peel and mash the boiled potatoes.
10. Add the spinach puree and black salt to the mashed potato.
11. Mix well.
12. Add the boiled peas and mix with a gentle hand.
13. Taste and add regular salt as required. The salt should be a tad lesser than required. Remember all fried items taste saltier after frying.
14. Take a small portion and for a ball.
15. Pat down to form a patty.
16. If it does not hold the shape, add 1 tbsp besan/gram flour to the mashed potato and mix
well.
17. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Making the Hara Bhara Kabab
1. Divide the potato mix into 16 to 20 equal portions.
2. Roll each portion into a ball and then pat down to form a patty.
3. Heat a tava or a griddle.
4. Spread about 1 tbsp of oil on the surface of the pan.
5. Plan a few Hara Bhara Kababs on the pan.
6. Over medium heat, let the kababs cook.
7. Lift each kabab to see if the side touching the pan is golden brown.
8. Flip the kababs over and cook the other side. If required, drizzle a few drops of oil around the
edges of the kababs.
9. While the second side is cooking, press half a cashew into the side that has been cooked.
10. Flip over and cook for a few seconds.
11. Repeat the process till all kababs are cooked.
12. Serve warm with Pudina/Mint Chutney or Coriander Chutney.

Tips
 Be careful not to overcook the potatoes. If you do, then the potato mash will become soggy.
 Drain the potatoes, spinach and peas completely. I usually leave them in separate colanders
for about 20 minutes. This ensures that there is no excess water.
 If your potato mix is soggy, add more besan. The raw mix does taste of besan but as you
cook the kababs, this taste will disappear.
 Do not make the potato mix very hard either. I find that the kababs harden a bit after they
are cooked.
 You can make these kababs well in advance and heat them up just before serving.

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Baked Samosas and Eid Party Details!

I’m  backkkkk …. guys isn’t it a little ridiculous how much something as well… common…as the common cold can really get you down? I usually escape these sorts of things, but this time round it got the best of me for a few days – throw teething and the usual sleep deprivation into the mix and well… it hasn’t been pretty round here.

On to happier things – and we have two of them today. One is Eid Eats, the virtual Eid party Asiya at Chocolate & Chillies and I are hosting and the other is a lovely baked samosa recipe that is from Asiya’s blog.

Eid-ul-Fitr has always had a soft spot in my heart – and not just because of the money/’fitri’ we got as kids from all of our relatives 😉  This is the Eid where my family would host an ‘open house’, a way for everyone to get together to celebrate this wonderful occasion. While the traditional sivaiyan and samosas would usually be present at these occasions there would also be some things that I had never made before. This is where I got to experiment and have fun.

final eid eats

In the spirit of those good times I would like to ask you all to join our virtual Eid party, Eid Eats. Here is how it would work:-

1.) Make any dish of your choosing that you would make for Eid – something new, something old, either goes – write a post and have it ready for the 25th of July 2014.

2.) Link back to both our blogs i.e. Flour & Spice and Chocolate & Chillies and use the button above in all of your posts (pretty cute isn’t it!)

3.) On July 25th, Asiya and I will have our posts up – do remember to add your post to the link up.

4.) Remember to visit and leave comments on participating blogs – who doesn’t like a little bit of love 🙂

Also some of you may recall that Henna at My Ninja Naan was originally supposed to be my co-host, but has had to bow out owing to personal circumstances. Hopefully next year 🙂

Now on to the yumminess at hand.

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A Samosa needs no introduction; this rendition escapes the deep fryer and instead gets a crispy baked exterior with the added flavour punch of ajwain or carom seeds.  I intended to use Asiya’s exact recipe for the filling, but was out of peas and threw in cilantro for some freshness. Folks this one is a keeper. And I am not just saying that because standing over a deep fryer in summer is no fun. The exterior is flaky and flavorful and the spicy filling is simple, but oh-so-good.

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Crunchy Chocolate Chip Coconut Granola Bars

As it warms up we are out and about a lot more and I like to have snacks on hand that don’t have an unpronounceable list of ingredients. My last granola bar attempt was a total disaster and I ended up with a sickly sweet mess. Now thanks to Ninja Naan I have a recipe that works! It has a few ingredients and is so quick to make. The coconut flavour is subtle- it basically adds a wholesome chewiness to an otherwise crunchy bar. If you want to amp it up then use coconut extract instead of the vanilla. I halved the original recipe to make them in a 9*9 pan. Not sure why I keep doing that since I have made it twice in the last week!

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