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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Chicken Bread

Is there anything better than the aroma of freshly baked bread?
This sort of stuffed bread is easily found in all bakeries throughout Pakistan.
Needless to say its delicious and I always have so much fun making it :-)

I use a
baking stone in my oven. Its great for all types of bread, pizzas and naan!

(This will yield 2 loaves enough for 4 ppl)
(Prep time 1hr + 4-6 hrs for dough to rise)

Bread flour 6 cups
Warm water 1 1/2 cups (approx 110-130 degrees F)
Milk 1/2 cup
Vegetable oil 1/4 cup
Yeast 1 1/2 Tbs
Sugar 2/3 Tbs
Salt 1 tsp

Dissolve all of the sugar in warm water and then stir in yeast.
Allow to proof for 15-20 mins or until the yeast turns frothy.
Mix oil and salt in the yeast mixture.
Add the flour one cup at a time.
Knead dough on a floured and cold surface for 6-8 mins until smooth and elastic.
Place in a large generously oiled bowl.
Turn the dough around to coat all sides with grease.
Cover the bowl with a damp cloth.
Let the dough rise in a warm, dark, dry place (I place mine inside the oven) until doubled in size.


Skinless boneless chicken thighs 6
Key lime juice 3 Tbs
Red onion 2/3 cup diced fine
Garlic paste 1 tsp
Green chili 2 Tbs chopped fine
Pepper 2/3 tsp
Cayenne pepper 2/3 tsp
Roasted cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Melted butter 4Tbs
Oil for cooking approx 3 Tbs
(Since this is stuffed in the bread use an additional 1/2 tsp of salt to the amount normally used)

Mix all the spices and garlic together and rub over the chicken.
Let the chicken stand for 20 mins on the counter.
Heat some oil in a large non-stick pan.
Add the onions and fry for a min we don't them turning brown.
Add chilies plus the chicken and turn the heat down to med high and cook uncovered until done.
The cooking time is 25-30 mins.
Turn the chicken once in between to ensure even browning.
Sprinkle the key lime juice towards the end.
At this point the chicken would be lightly browned and there should be no liquid left in the pan.
The onions and the chilies should have disintegrated into a paste.
Let this cool down completely.
Tear the chicken into shreds. You can use a fork if you want, I simply use my hands.
Pour the melted butter over the shredded chicken.
Mix well and make sure everything is well incorporated.

Shaping the bread

Take out the dough on a floured surface.
Punch it down and knead for a min.
You would be making two loafs.
Divide the dough into two equal parts.
Take one half of the dough and roll it out close to 1/3" thick in the center.
Roll out the edges a little thinner close to 1/4" inch because they would go over each other.
You'll know what I am talking about in a while :-)
Try and maintain a rectangular shape approx 12" x 7".
Take half of the chicken mixture and spread it in a straight 3" wide and 11" long line right in the center of the rolled out dough.
Bring the left flap of the dough over to the right side and the right flap to the left side.
You can moisten the edges of the dough with a little water to ensure a perfect seal.
Also seal the upper end of the loaf and twist off any extra dough and round it up.
Do the same on the other end.
Turn the loaf over.
Make a few vent cuts for steam to escape.
Brush some egg wash over the loaf.
Make the second loaf following the same steps.
Ready to bake.

I use a baking stone. For that I pre-heat the oven to max temperature at 550 and get the stone really really hot. Then I turn the heat down to 375 and bake the bread directly on top of the stone. It takes roughly 30 mins.

If you don't have a stone you can bake the loaf on a greased cookie sheet or any other oven proof pan. Pre-heat oven to 375 and bake for 30 mins. I will not recommend a glass pyrex dish for baking because the bread will not brown and crisp up at the bottom.

Let it cool before slicing!
I love it with a little chili garlic sauce on the side!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Oh so good!
These beauties are from Bangladesh!
Delicately sweet and so completely melt in your mouth!
Its best when eaten very very chilled. Just perfect for a hot sunny summer afternoon!

(Will yield about 8-9 rasgullas)
(Prep time: 1 hr + 6 hours chilling time)


Boil 4 cups of water with 1-1/2 cup of sugar in a wide pot. About 13" diameter is good.
The pot has to be big because the paneer balls when cooked will expand to almost double in size.
Throw in a few pods of cardamom and a stick of cinnamon.
Turn the heat off and let the spices steep while you prepare the paneer.

Next make paneer.
Here is an earlier post about it. All the instructions are there.
Make it using 4 cups of milk. The paneer has to be soft so don't use any heavy weight on it and just let it hang. After the paneer has been hanging for about 30 mins take it out on a flat surface and knead it with your fingers for a good 3-4 mins.
Doing this will break any large lumps of curds and you will end up with a smooth soft dough.
Tap it with some tissue paper to remove any left over drops of water.
Take small amounts of the dough, about 1 Tbs or so and shape it into round balls.
Make sure the surface has no big cracks and is smooth.
Now, back to the water. Bring it to a roaring boil and take out all the spices.
Depending on the size of the pot you can gently drop all the balls at once or do it in batches. Just keep the unused balls covered with a moist cloth.
They should have plenty of room to expand without touching each other.
Put the lid on the pot. Reduce heat to med high.
Cook covered for 15-20 mins. Turn off heat.
Bring it room temp before chilling it in the fridge for about 6 hours.
Awesome stuff!
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Saturday, September 12, 2009


Okay... this stuff is seriously good!!
The crust is yummy and crispy and crunchy and light as air.
Feta cheese and spinach are so good together!
Very traditional Greek street food.

A note:
Working with phyllo dough is not hard at all so don't be intimidated. In fact its very forgiving and you can hide any mistakes or patch up any tears easily. The trick is to keep the pastry that you are not working with covered with a moist (not wet) kitchen towel so it doesn't dry out and become brittle, that's all.

There are many ways to make this.
Some like to make individual triangles, some like to bake it like lasagna. I happen to like it rolled up so that's what I'll explain here.

(Will make 2 loaves enough for 4 ppl)
(Prep time: 1 hr)


Chopped spinach 16 oz bag (all the water should be squeezed out)
Scallions 3-4 chopped fine
Garlic 1/2 tsp chopped fine
Egg 1 large lightly beaten
Feta cheese crumbled 1 cup
Dill 2 Tbs chopped
Parsley 2 Tbs chopped
Parmesan cheese 1 tsp (optional)
Bread crumbs1 tsp (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil or PAM olive oil
Phyllo dough
Pepper 1/4 tsp
1 egg white mixed well with 1 tsp water and maybe a pinch of salt (this will be used as egg wash later)


First step...
Defrost the phyllo according to package instructions.

I used plain old frozen phyllo pastry that you get from a grocery store, it's pretty decent. But if someone knows where to get fresh phyllo in Seattle, please let me know :-)

Sauté the scallions for a min or two in some olive oil.
Add the garlic, sauté for another 30 seconds.
Mix in the spinach and cook for 2 mins, allow this to cool down.
Take out the spinach in a large bowl and add the herbs, feta cheese, egg, salt and pepper.
The mixture should be at room temperature before assembly.

Pour some olive oil in a small bowl and keep a pastry brush handy.
Dust your work surface lightly with flour.
Peel off gently, a sheet of pastry and lay it flat on your work surface.
The single most important thing you can do here is to keep unused pastry covered at all times with a lightly moist cloth or kitchen towel.
Brush olive oil all over the phyllo with a pastry brush, be gentle.
You can also use PAM, that saves time.
Don't fret if the corners are crooked or if there is a big hole or a crack, these won't matter as you build more layers of pastry on top.
Now peel off another sheet of pastry and lay it on top of the first and brush with oil.
I like doing 6 layers at least.
This next step is optional.
When you reach halfway to the 3rd layer brush with oil and then sprinkle some Parmesan cheese and/or bread crumbs. Doing this adds an unexpected layer of flavor.Add 3 more layers.Alrighty...
So now you have 6 layers of phyllo sheets all set up.
If you want to, you can take a sharp knife and trim the corners and make it neat.
Take the spinach mixture - leave about an inch of space from the longer edge - and spread it along length of the phyllo pastry.
Tuck the sides in and roll it like a log.
Brush some egg wash on top.
Make a few cuts diagonally spaced 2 inches apart so the steam can escape while baking.
Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 35-40 mins or until the crust is all nice and goldeny.
Let it rest for 20 mins before cutting.
I like slicing it at a bias along the vent cuts.Ta da!
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Friday, September 4, 2009

Gol Gapay

Another street food.
Interesting and delish.
Called "gol gapay" in Pakistan and "pani puri" in India.

A breeze to make specially cuz I buy the shells and don't make them at home. But if you wanted to here is a good link

(The following recipe is for 40 shells. Thats enough for 2-3 people)
(Prep time: 30 mins + overnight soaking + 4 hrs chilling)

Making the tamarind water

Soak 1 cup of seedless tamarind overnight in 3 cups of drinking water.
Bring it to a good roaring boil, turn the heat off and let the water cool to room temp.
You can use an immersion blender and give the water mixture 2 to 3 pulses or you can use the back of a fork to break down the tamarind.

Run the mixture through a sieve to catch small seeds or lumps.
I don't like a complicated flavor in the tamarind water and don't use a lot of spices.
Season with,
Salt 2/3 tsp
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Pepper 1/8 tsp
Cayenne 1/4 tsp

Put the water in the fridge for about 2 hours. It should be icy chilled.

The stuffing

Very basic would be,
Boiled potato chunks 1 cup
Garbanzo beans 1 cup
I like to squeeze lime juice over these, not much about 1 tsp each.
Thats it.

The next would be the boondi raita.
No rules here just eyeball everything.
You will need,
Yogurt 1/3 cup
Red onions chopped fine 2 tsp
Green chilies chopped fine 1 tsp
Tomatoes chopped small 3 tsp
Cilantro chopped 1 tsp
Mint leaves chopped very fine (almost a paste) 2/3 tsp
Boondi 1 cup
(soak it in warm water for approx 10 mins to make it soft. Press them in your hands gently to squeeze the water out before adding to the yogurt)

Dilute the yogurt with a little water, about 3 Tbs.
Season with,
Pepper 1/4 tsp
Cayenne 1/4 tsp
Sugar 1/8 tsp
Cilantro/coriander seed powder 1/4 tsp

Add all the cut up veggies listed above and fold in the boondi gently.

How to eat this?

The shells are bite size.
Grab one and tap it on the top to make an opening.
Fill it with a few potatoes, garbanzo beans and some boondi raita or any other chutney you like.
Some people like to dunk but I like using a spoon here, fill it with tamarind water and pop the whole thing in your mouth all at once.
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009


(Serves 2)
(Prep time: 30 mins)

Got stale bread?

Make some panzanella!
I used a day old demi french baguette.
Cut it up into big 1" chunks.
Drizzle some good herb infused extra virgin olive oil over the pieces.
Spread the bread chunks on a cookie sheet or a baking dish.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 15 mins or until toasty brown.
Remember to turn the sides once in between.


English cucumbers 1 med
Zucchini 1 small
Roma tomato 1
Red onions 2-3 Tbs
Red bell peppers 1/4 cup
Dried cranberries 2 Tbs
Toasted almond flakes 1 Tbs
Italian flat leaf parsley - chopped fine 1 Tbs

No rules here just make sure the veggies are cut up the same size.
For more color you can use yellow zucchini and a combination green, orange, yellow bell peppers.
Combine all these in mixing bowl.


Whisk together the following.
Fresh orange juice 2 Tbs
Orange zest 1/2 tsp
Fresh lime juice 1/2 Tbs
Fresh pink grapefruit juice 2 Tbs
White wine vinegar 2 Tbs
Extra virgin olive oil 3-4 Tbs
Garlic crushed 1/2 tsp

Toss the bread chunks, the veggies and the dressing together.
Chill in the fridge for about 20 mins so all the flavors really come together. Sprinkle with the roasted almond flakes just before eating.
Enjoy it on its own or a side to steak or fish.

Thats it :-)
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