Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mutton Cocktail Kebabs - A Katy's Kitchen Classic

One of the most popular party snacks on the Katy's Kitchen menu is the mutton cocktail kebab. Little morsels of spicy mutton mince deep fried to perfection, these nibbles are perfect for parties or even for a not so quiet evening watching the T20 matches at home. Make ahead if you like (just zap in the microwave before you serve) or serve them hot out of the wok - either way these are just delicious!

Mutton Cocktail Kebabs

1/4 kilo mutton kheema
5 slices bread
2 eggs
2 large onions, chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped fine
5 green chillies, chopped fine
1 heaped tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
oil for frying

Mix all the ingredients barring the sliced bread in a clean bowl. Mix well to blend everything nicely.
Soak bread slices in water for a couple of minutes and then squeeze out as much water as possible with your palms. Crumble this soaked and squeezed bread into the kheema mix. Knead everything together. You need to get a slightly wet mix so if it's too dry add another egg.

Heat plenty of oil (enough to deep fry) in a wok or kadai till it smokes. Quickly spoon in the mix, a teaspoon at a time and fry for three or four minutes, turning gently till the kebabs are cooked through. You can also take a large portion of the mix in your hand and drop in small gobbets of the mix into the hot oil. Either way, be very careful as the hot oil can cause accidents. Do this in small batches so you have better control and the kebabs don't get over cooked.

Remove the kebabs onto a tissue lined plate to get rid of excess oil, and then serve with a mint chutney or with good old ketchup. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto and Grana Padano Pull Apart Rolls

If there's one thing that cheers up the hubby it's the smell of bread baking. He'd been bugging me to make bread at home for quite some time but for one reason or the other it just wasn't happening. This morning I decided nothing was going to get in the way - I was going to bake some bread no matter what. Something simple, comforting, and easy to put together with whatever I had in the fridge and pantry. 

After rooting around I found a jar of sun dried tomato pesto and a wedge of Grana Padano cheese among a whole lot of other things and thought of using the two in pull apart rolls. Pull aparts are among the easiest breads you can make at home, and if you're a beginner with breads, these rolls will boost your confidence for sure. Simply make the basic dough, knead for a bit, let it rise, roll out, slather with filling, roll up, slice into portions, place in baking tin, let rise again, and bake. That's it. It's just the initial kneading that requires some attention, and once that's done it's a matter of following a simple procedure step by step.

I've made pull aparts with many different fillings - some sweet, some savoury - and there's no end to the variety of possibilities. Tomato and cheese is a classic combination and it works very well in breads too. In these rolls I used Grana Padano, a hard cheese from Italy that is similar to Parmesan. In fact, you can use Parmesan instead if you prefer. 

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto and Grana Padano Pull Apart Rolls

200 gms all purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp sugar
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp butter, softened
1 tsp salt
3-4 tsp sun dried tomato pesto

1/2 cup Grana Padano, grated
extra butter for brushing

Mix the sugar and yeast in a bowl and then pour the luke warm water over both. 

Take flour in a clean mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast-sugar mix. Bring it all together with a pastry cutter (it's less messy) or simply mix with your fingers. You will have a sticky dough. Remove from the bowl to your floured work surface. 

On the side of your work surface mix the butter and salt with your fingers, rubbing in a light circular motion, fingers parallel to the surface. Once the butter looks pale and foamy mix it into the dough. Now knead gently till you have a soft pliable dough, stretching and folding as you go. Dust with dry flour as required if the dough is too sticky. Knead for 10 to 12 minutes. 

Roll the dough into a ball and place it in a clean bowl to rise. Cover with a damp cloth and leave it to double. This should take around 20 to 30 minutes depending on the weather. 

Once the dough has doubled remove it onto your floured work surface. Deflate it gently and knead it for a minute. 

Roll out the dough into a largeish rectangle. Try to get a uniform shape or you will have lop-sided rolls. Spread a generous few dollops of the sun dried tomato pesto going to the edges of the rectangle. Try to drain out as much of the oil as possible from the pesto (when baking, the oil will settle to the bottom of your baking tin and you will end up with 'fried' bits). Grate the cheese over the pesto uniformly. 

Now carefully roll the rectangle Swiss-roll style. Do this gently or your roll will be lumpy and loose. Tighten the roll as you go. You will have a long roll of dough. Cut into rolls with a sharp non serrated knife or a dough scraper. Arrange the rolls loosely in a baking tin, cut sides horizontal, leaving enough room for the rolls to prove and swell till they are double, or just squashed up closely with each other. Use more than one tin if they don't all fit into one, but don't crowd them. 

Once they have proved pop them into a preheated oven at 200C and bake for around 20 minutes till the tops are a nice golden brown. Brush with a bit of butter as soon as you take them out of the oven. 

Serve them warm or enjoy them at leisure with a bowl of soup.