Great Vegetarian Dishes

(Part Four) Savories and Grain Dishes

SAVOURIES

Here's a mouth-watering selection of vegetable puffs, savory pastries, crispy snacks, and rich extravaganzas. There's a savory here for every occasion, breadfast or brunch, picnic or patio, snack or banquet.

KCB 8.1: Baked Stuffed Cheesy Corn Breads (Enchiladas)

Baked Stuffed Cheesy Corn Breads (Enchiladas)

Enchiladas are a Mexican dish made of soft, flat tortillas that are dipped in sauce and rolled around a filling, then topped with more sauce, sprinkled with cheese, baked, and served with sour cream. Richly indulgent and delicious, they're great for party catering.

PREPARATION TIME: 1 hour
BAKING TIME: 15 minutes
YIELD: 1 dozen large or 2 dozen small enchiladas

Sauce

3 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil
1 small hot green chili, minced
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
4 teaspoons (20 ml) ground cumin
1 tablespoon (20 ml) ground coriander
3 cups (750 ml) tomato puree
1 cup (250 ml) tomato paste
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
2 teaspoons (10 ml) sugar

Filling

3 cups (750 ml) ricotta cheese
3 cups (750 ml) grated mozzarella cheese
1 medium bunch spinach, chopped, steamed until tender, and drained
2 cups (500 ml) cooked corn kernels
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) black pepper
2 teaspoons (10 ml) brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
oil or ghee for deep frying
1 dozen large or 2 dozen small tortillas
1 cup (250 ml) sour cream

To prepare the sauce

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Saute the minced chili in the hot oil for a few seconds. Add the asafoetida, cumin, and coriander; then add the tomato puree and tomato paste. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the salt and sugar and remove the sauce from the heat. Set aside.

To prepare the filling

1. Combine the ricotta cheese, 2 cups (500 ml) of grated cheese, spinach, corn, asafoetida, pepper, sugar, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl and mix well.

To assemble the enchiladas

1. Heat the oil or ghee in a frying pan over high heat. When the ghee is hot 185C/365F, fry the tortillas individually for about 10 seconds on each side. Use smooth-tipped tongs to flip the tortillas in the oil. Remove and drain them on paper towels. The tortillas should be pliable.
2. Spread enough sauce on each tortilla to cover. If small tortillas are being used, spoon 1 heaped tablespoon of filling into the centre of each tortilla and fold in half. If large tortillas are being used, spoon 2 heaped tablespoons of filling into the center of each tortilla, spread into a strip and roll up the tortilla.
3. When all the tortillas are stuffed and laid out, pour over all the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese, place in a preheated moderate oven 180C/355F, and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
Serve each enchilada hot with a spoonful of sour cream.

KCB 8.2: Eggplant Parmigiana

Eggplant Parmigiana

Eggplants lend a certain richness to this classic Mediterranean baked savoury dish: layers of crumbed and battered eggplant fillets baked with herbed tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. Degorge the eggplants before using them; that is, the eggplants are treated with salt to remove excess bitterness, also allowing them to soak up less oil when they are fried. Try serving Eggplant Parmigiana with Mediterranean Salad, Minestrone soup, and Bread rolls  for a delightful summer luncheon.

DEGORGING TIME: 30 minutes (optional)
PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 40 minutes
BAKING TIME: 40 minutes
YIELD: enough for 8 - 10 persons

Sauce

1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
3/4 teaspoon (7 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
2 medium red peppers, finely diced
1/2 stalk celery, finely diced
6 cups (1.5 litres) tomato puree
2 teaspoons (10 ml) dried oregano
1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried marjoram
2 tablespoons (40 ml) fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) ground cloves
2 tablespoons (40 ml) brown sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
2 cups (500 ml) grated parmesan cheese

For fried eggplant

ghee or oil for deep-frying
2 cups (500 ml) wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) black pepper
water for batter
3 large eggplants, sliced into 11/4 cm (1/2-inch) fillets (approximately 12 slices)
1 cup (250 ml) cultured buttermilk
2 cups (500 ml) bread crumbs

To degorge the eggplants (optional)

1. Rub salt on the eggplant slices and let them sit for half an hour. Rinse the eggplant slices thoroughly with cold water and dry them with paper towels.

To make the sauce

1. Heat the olive oil over high heat in a heavy saucepan. Saute the asafoetida; then add the minced red peppers and celery. Stir-Fry for a few minutes. Add the tomato puree, herbs, spices, sugar, and salt. Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

To batter and fry the eggplant

1. Heat the ghee or oil for deepfrying until it reaches about 185C/365F. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and cold water to form a medium-thick batter. Dip a few slices of eggplant in the buttermilk, roll them in bread crumbs, and dip them into the batter. Fry them in the hot ghee or oil until golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain. Repeat this procedure until all the eggplants are cooked.

To assemble the casserole

1. Preheat the oven to 180/355F. Spread one-third of the tomato sauce in a deep casserole dish (about 25 cm x 30 cm [10 inches x 12 inches]). Place half of the eggplant slices on top. Carefully pour and spread another one third of the tomato sauce on top and sprinkle on half the parmesan cheese. Layer the rest of the eggplant in the dish; then pour on the rest of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Note: As an alternative, serve the fried, crumbed, and battered eggplant fillets hot, on individual platters, with a generous spoonful of sauce and parmesan cheese.

KCB 8.3: Eggplant Rings with Cheese

Eggplant Rings with Cheese

Rings of eggplant are sandwiched together with a ring of mozzarella cheese and fried in a herbed batter for these tasty, cheesy savouries. They're ideal served piping hot for special party catering.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minute
BATTER STANDING TIME: 30 minutes
COOKING TIME: 10 minutes
YIELD: 6 - 8 pieces

1 medium eggplant 125 g (41/2 ounces) mozzarella cheese.
1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil
oil for deep frying

 

Batter

1 cup (250 ml) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) dried yeast
1 cup (250 ml) and 1 tablespoon (20 ml) lukewarm water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) dried basil
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
salt for sprinkling

1. To make the batter: Sift the flour and yeast into a bowl, make a well in the centre, and add lukewarm water. Add salt, pepper, basil, and asafoetida, mix well, and allow to stand for 1/2 hour.
2. Slice the eggplant into 1/2 cm (1/4-inch) rings. Cut the mozzarella cheese into half as many rings as there are eggplant rings. Heat 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant rings until golden but still firm. Remove and drain carefully on paper towels.
3. Heat the oil for deep frying to 180C/355F. Place one piece of mozzarella cheese between 2 slices of eggplants, lift with the tongs, and dip into the batter. Repeat and deep-fry a few pieces at a time until they are golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the eggplant rings are fried. Season the eggplant rings with the extra salt and serve hot.

KCB 8.4: Vegetable Fritters (Pakoras)

Vegetable Fritters (Pakoras)

Pakoras are popular spiced, batter-dipped, deep-fried, vegetables that make perfect snacks or hors d'oeuvres. Ghee is the preferred medium for frying pakoras, although you can use nut or vegetable oil. Serve hot pakoras with you favourite chutney or dip.
Try batter-frying various types of vegetables. Cauliflower pakoras are probably the most popular, but equally delicious are potato rings, zucchini chunks, spinach leaves, pumpkin slices, eggplant rings, baby tomatoes, sweet potatoes, red or green pepper slices, asparagus tips, and artichoke hearts.
Cook pakoras slowly to ensure that the batter and the vegetables cook simultaneously. You needn't precook the vegetables.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
BATTER SITTING TIME: 10 - 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: 2 dozen large or 3 dozen medium pakoras

2/3 cup (165 ml) chickpea flour
2/3 cup (165 ml) plain flour
2/3 cup (165 ml) self-raising flour
21/2 teaspoons (12 ml) salt
2 teaspoons (10 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) turmeric
2 teaspoons (10 ml) cayenne pepper
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) ground coriander
2 teaspoons (10 ml) green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
about 21/2 cups (625 ml) cold water, or enough to make a smooth batter
bite-sized vegetable pieces of your choice ghee or oil for deep-frying

1. Combine the flours, salt, powdered spices, and green chilies in a bowl. Mix well with a wire whisk.
2. Slowly add cold water while whisking the batter until it achieves the consistency of medium-light cream. When you dip the vegetable in the batter, it should be completely coated but neither thick and heavy nor runny and thin. Have extra flour and water on hand to adjust the consistency as required. Let the batter sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Heat fresh ghee or oil, to the depth of 61/2 - 71/2 cm (21/2 - 3 inches, in a wok or deep-frying vessel until the temperature reaches about 180C/355F. Dip 5 or 6 pieces of vegetable in the batter and, one at a time, carefully slip them into the hot oil.
4. The temperature will fall, but try to maintain it between 173C - 180C/345F - 355F throughout the frying. Fry until the pakoras are golden brown, turning to cook them evenly on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Continue cooking until all the pakoras are done. Serve immediately or keep warm, uncovered, in a preheated cool oven for up to 1/2 hour.

KCB 8.5: Tofu Steaks

Tofu Steaks

Tofu "steaks" will vary in size according to the shape of the block of tofu. Generally, a 450 g (1-pound) block of tofu will make 4 good-sized tofu "steaks". Serve accompanied by Boiled Rice, vegetable dishes, and salad.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 10 minutes
MARINATING TIME: 2 hours
BAKING TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

2 tablespoons (40 ml) vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
450 g (1 pound) firm tofu, sliced into 4 rectangles
4 tablespoons (80 ml) Japanese tamari (if unavailable, substitute with high quality soy sauce)
1/2 cup (125 ml) apple juice
1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white grape juice
1 tablespoon (20 ml) ginger juice (shredded ginger squeezed through a cloth)
1 tablespoon (20 ml) lemon juice
1 tablespoon (20 ml) raw sugar

1. Heat the vegetable oil over moderately low heat in a frying pan large enough to fit all 4 "steaks" at a time. Saute the asafoetida in the hot oil and add the tofu. Saute the tofu until golden brown on both sides, turning when required. Remove from the heat. Transfer the tofu, along with any remaining oil, into an ovenproof dish, laying the tofu "steaks" out flat.
2. Combine the tamari, apple juice, grape juice, ginger juice, lemon juice, and raw sugar in a bowl, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Pour this mixture over the warm tofu "steaks". Leave to marinate for 2 hours.
3. Place the ovenproof dish in a preheated 200C/390F oven and bake for 20 minutes, uncovered. Serve hot.

KCB 8.6: Mashed Potato Puffs (Alu Vadas)

Mashed Potato Puffs (Alu Vadas)

These are a favourite savoury item from Gujarat state on India's west coast. They're a good example of simple, tasty vegetarian "finger food". Most of the time spent to prepare these puffs lies in mashing and spicing the potatoes. The frying time is very quick because, even though they're cooked in a 'pakoralike' batter, the filling is already precooked, the wafer-thin crust cooking in only minutes. Serve Alu Vadas with Coconut Chutney for a tasty treat.

PREPARATION AND FRYING TIME: 1/2 hour
YIELD: enough for 6 persons (18 balls)

Potato Filling

21/2 cups (625 ml) mashed potatoes, cooled
2 hot green chilies, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
1 tablespoon (20 ml) minced raisins
1 tablespoon (20 ml) minced fresh coconut or desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon (20 ml) chopped fresh coriander leaves

Batter

1/4 cup (60 ml) chickpea flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) plain flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) self-raising flour
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) ground ajowan seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
about 1 cup (250 ml) cold water
ghee or oil for deep-frying

1. Mix the mashed potatoes with the other potato filling ingredients and roll into 18 balls.
2. Combine the 3 flours, spices, and salt in a mixing bowl. Adding water, whisk the batter to make a smooth, slightly thick pouring-consistency batter.
3. Heat ghee or oil, to the depth of 61/2 - 71/2 cm (21/2 - 3 inches), in a wok or deep-frying pan over moderately high heat until it reaches 180C/355F. Dip 5 or 6 balls in the batter and carefully slip them into the hot oil. Deep-fry, turning gently after they float to the surface, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the puffs turn golden brown and crisp. Remove and drain them on paper towels. Serve immediately.

KCB 8.7: Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

This popular savoury pie features the delicious orange-fleshed kumeras, native New Zealand sweet potatoes. This recipe is from the lunch menu at Gopal's Restaurant in Auckland.

PREPARATION TIME: 1/2 hour
PASTRY RESTING TIME: 1/2 hour
TOTAL BAKING TIME: 25 to 35 minutes
YIELD: one 20 cm (8-inch) pie

Pie crust

1 cup (250 ml) unbleached plain flour
1 cup (250 ml) wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/2 cup (125 ml) butter
up to 3/4 cup (185 ml) iced water

Filling

3 cups (750 ml) kameras, peeled, steamed, and mashed
1/4 cup (60 ml) each of the following vegetables (all lightly steamed and drained): cauliflower pieces, french beans cut into 21/2 cm (1-inch) lengths, corn, chopped spinach, carrot cubes, and broccoli flowerets
1/4 cup (60 ml) butter
1 tablespoon (20 ml) grated ginger, lightly sauteed
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons (15 ml) soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
2 tablespoons (40 ml) brown sugar

1. To prepare the crust: sift the 2 flours and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add enough chilled water to hold the dough together. Knead briefly, working quickly to avoid over-handling. Cover the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
2. Pinch off two-thirds of the pastry and roll it into a smooth ball; then, with a rolling pin, roll it into a circle that comfortably fits inside and up the sides of one 20 cm (8-inch) buttered pie tin. Prick with a fork and bake in a preheated oven at 200C/390F for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown.
3. Thoroughly combine all the ingredients for the filling. Spoon the filling into the pie base. Roll the remaining pastry to the required size, place it on top of the pie, and crimp the edges of the top over the pie base. Prick with a fork and place in the oven. Bake at 190C/375F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Variation: Place 1 cup (250 ml) grated cheese on top of the pie halfway through the baking.

KCB 8.8: Cauliflower and Pea Samosas

Cauliflower and Pea Samosas

These triangular deep-fried stuffed savoury pastries are becoming world famous. The Gopal's Restaurants world-wide all feature samosas on their menu. Potato-and-peas, mixed vegetables, or cauliflower-and-potato fillings can be substituted for cauliflower and peas. Fresh curd cheese can also be successfully added to samosa filling.
When you bite into a warm samosa, you'll notice it's wonderfully tender, thin pastry crust, golden brown from deep-frying in ghee, and the harmony of flavours of the vegetable filling.
Serve samosas with Date and Tamarind Sauce, Peach Chutney,  or Mint Chutney. Samosas should be served warm or at room temperature and make a great travelling snackfood.

PREPARATION TIME: about 1 hour
FRYING TIME: 20 to 30 minutes
YIELD: 20 samosas

Filling

2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil
1 tablespoon (20 ml) cumin seeds
2 teaspoons (10 ml) minced fresh ginger
2 or 3 hot green chilies, seeded and minced
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 small cauliflower (about 14 ounces, or 400 g), cored, trimmed, diced, and steamed until tender
11/3 cups (335 ml) green peas, steamed
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cinnamon powder
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
1 tablespoon (20 ml) minced fresh coriander leaves or parsley
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) lemon juice
ghee or oil for deep frying

Pastry

13/4 cups (435 ml) unbleached plain flour
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) salt
4 tablespoons (80 ml) melted butter or ghee
between 1/2 and 3/4 cup (125 ml - 185 ml) warm water

To make the filling

1. Heat 2 tablespoons (40 ml) of ghee or oil in a large frying pan over moderate heat. Saute the cumin seeds in the hot oil until they turn golden brown. Add the ginger and chilies and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the asafoetida and stir momentarily; then add the cauliflower and peas. Add the turmeric, cinnamon, and salt.
2. Reduce the heat to low, stir all the ingredients, and partially cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and quite dry. Add the fresh coriander leaves and lemon juice. Remove from the heat and coarsely mash the vegetables. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Divide the filling into 20 even portions.

To make the pastry

1. Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the melted butter or ghee and rub it between your fingertips until it resembles a coarse meal.
2. Make a depression in the centre of the mixture, add most of the water, and quickly mix and gather it into a ball. If the dough is too dry to cohere, add warm water to make a medium-soft pastry dough.
3. Knead the dough on a smooth surface for 8 to 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Cover with a cloth until the filling is cool.

To assemble the samosas

1. Roll the dough into a rope about 25 cm (10-inches) long and cut the rope into 10 equal-sized pieces. Cover with a moist cloth.
2. Take one piece of dough and press it into a smooth patty. Lightly oil a smooth working surface. With a rolling pin, flatten the patty into a round, thin disk about 16.5 cm (61/2 inches) across. Cut the disk in half with a sharp knife.
3. Dip your finger into a bowl of water and moisten the straight edge of one semi-circle of pastry. Pick up the semi-circle and fold it in half, forming a cone. Gently but firmly press the moistened edges together, slightly overlapping them to ensure the seal.
4. Carefully spoon one portion of the vegetable stuffing into the pastry cone, leaving a 0.5 cm (1/4-inch) border on top. Dip your finger into the bowl of water and moisten the inside edge of the cone. Firmly press the moistened edges together, thoroughly sealing the filling inside the triangular pastry casing. The top edge can be left plain, crimped with a fork or plaited with your fingers. Place the samosa on a tray and finish rolling, filling, and shaping the remaining samosas.
5. Place ghee or oil to a level of 6.5 - 7.5 cm (21/2 - 3 inches) in a wok or deep-frying pan over moderate heat. When the temperature reaches 145C/290F, slowly fry 8 to 10 samosas at a time for about 10 minutes or until they're flaky and pale golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve warm or at room temperature.

KCB 8.9: Vegetarian Spring Rolls

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

Serve Spring Rolls hot with sweet chili sauce for a delicious snack as part of a multi-course banquet.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 20 minutes
FRYING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: about 30 spring rolls

2 tablespoons (40 ml) Chinese sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 tablespoon (20 ml) minced fresh ginger
4 or 5 medium carrots cut match stick size (about 2 cups, 500 ml)
1 small cabbage or Chinese cabbage cut into fine strips (about 6 cups, 1.5 litres)
2 cups (500 ml) mung bean shoots
100 g (31/2 ounces) firm tofu, crumbled
1 tablespoon (20 ml) Chinese chili oil
2 tablespoons (40 ml) soy sauce
1 tablespoon (20 ml) brown sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) freshly ground black pepper
pinch of Chinese 5-spice
2 teaspoons (10 ml) cornflour
1 packet of 30 frozen, eggless spring roll wrappers (small size)
oil for deep-frying

1. To prepare the filling: heat the sesame oil in a wok over moderate-to-high heat until the oil is almost smoking. Saute the asafoetida momentarily in the hot oil. Add the minced ginger and saute for 1/2 minute; then add the carrots and, increasing the heat, saute for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and fry partially covered, stirring often. When the cabbage becomes soft, add the bean shoots, crumbled tofu, chili oil, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and Chinese 5-spice. Stir-fry for another minute. Mix half the cornflour with cold water to form a paste and stir it into the mixture. Remove the filling from the heat, transfer to a tray, and allow it to cool.
2. Heat the oil in a wok over moderate heat until it reaches 185C/365F.
3. To prepare the rolls: unwrap the pastry and separate the sheets. Place 2 tablespoons (40 ml) of the filling in the corner of each sheet. Roll the sheet over the filling, tuck in the sides and continue rolling, sealing with a paste made from the remaining cornflour and a little cold water.
4. Place a few sealed rolls at a time in the oil. Deep-fry them, turning once, for about 45 seconds each side or until they are reddish brown. Drain them. Continue frying until all the rolls are cooked and serve them hot with an accompanying sauce.

KCB 8.10: Sweet-and-Sour Walnuts

Sweet-and-Sour Walnuts

This exotic dish from Shanghai features crispy walnuts in a delicious sweet-and-sour sauce. Serve with hot rice as an accompaniment to a main meal.

PREPARATION TIME: 25 minutes
BATTER RISING TIME: 45 minutes
COOKING TIME: 35 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 to 8 persons

150 g (5 ounces) shelled walnut-halves
3 cups (750 ml) water
4 cups (1-litre) corn oil for deep-frying

Sauce

3 tablespoons (60 ml) corn oil
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cups (500 ml) ripe pineapple pieces
2 small green peppers, finely chopped
2 small green chilies, finely chopped
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
1 tablespoon (20 ml) brown sugar
4 tablespoons (80 ml) fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons (80 ml) tomato puree
4 tablespoons (80 ml) sweet soy sauce

Batter

1 cup (250 ml) plain flour
1 tablespoon (20 ml) cornflour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) baking powder
3/4 cup (185 ml) water
1 tablespoon (20 ml) corn oil

Thickening Paste

2 teaspoons (10 ml) cornflour
2 tablespoon (40 ml) water
2 teaspoons (10 ml) Chinese
sesame oil

1. Bring water to the boil. Add walnuts, remove from heat and allow to soak for 30 minutes. Drain, pat dry, and place on a baking sheet. Toast in a preheated oven 120C/250F for 20 minutes or until the walnuts are crisp.
2. Sift the plain flour, corn flour, and baking powder into a bowl. Add the water and set aside for 1/2 hour. Blend with the 1 tablespoon (20 ml) corn oil and leave for another 15 minutes.
3. Heat 4 cups (1 litre) corn oil in a wok to 180C/355F, and, dipping the walnuts in the batter, deep-fry until golden; then drain.
4. To make the sauce: heat 3 tablespoons (60 ml) corn oil in a wok over moderate heat. Saute the asafoetida in the hot oil. Add the celery, pine apple, pepper, and chilies and cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until the celery and peppers become soft. Add the salt, brown sugar, lemon juice, tomato puree, and sweet soy sauce and heat until boiling. Combine the ingredients for the thickening paste and add to the sauce. Stir well and remove from the heat. Add the walnuts to the sauce, mix well, and serve

KCB 8.11: Spicy Tofu Rolls

Spicy Tofu Rolls

This tasty savoury is made from beancurd sheets, or "tofu skin", a dried tofu product, and stuffed with vegetables, such as choko. Choko is a green pear-shaped gourd that is sometimes called chayote. If choko is not available, substitute peeled, seeded, and shredded cucumber.
When purchasing the tofu skin, select the soft variety made especially for wrapping. All the Chinese ingredients are available at Asian grocers.

PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes
COOKING TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: 12 rolls

Filling

2 tablespoons (40 ml) corn oil
1 tablespoon (20 ml) shredded fresh ginger
11/2 cups (375 ml) choko or cucumber, peeled and finely shredded
11/2 cups (375 ml) carrots, peeled and shredded
11/2 cups (375 ml) shredded Chinese bok choy leaves
1 tablespoon (20 ml) minced preserved turnip (choyboh)
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons (60 ml) Chinese
Vegetable Stock (or water)
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper
1 cup (250 ml) mung bean shoots
1 large packet soft beancurd sheet
corn oil for shallow-frying

For thickening paste

1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) cornflour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) water
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) Chinese sesame oil

Sauce

2 tablespoons (40 ml) brown sugar
2 tablespoons (40 ml) light soy sauce
2 tablespoons (40 ml) Chinese Vegetable Stock (or water)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) Chinese sesame paste
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sesame oil
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon (5 ml) chili oil
tiny pinch Chinese 5-spice powder
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh red chili chopped for garnish
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh parsley for garnish

1. Heat 2 tablespoons (40 ml) corn oil in a wok. Stir-fry the ginger, choko, and carrots in the hot oil over moderate heat for about 2 minutes. Add the shredded bok choy leaves and the preserved turnip, cover the vegetables, and cook until tender.
2. Combine thickening-paste ingredients. Remove lid and increase the heat; then add the salt, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons (60 ml) stock or water, brown sugar, black pepper, and the thickening paste. Add the bean shoots and stir. Spread the preparation on a plate to cool. Divide into 12 portions.
3. Unwrap the beancurd sheet and cut it into 30 cm (12-inch) squares. Dip a sheet momentarily into a bowl of cold water. Place it on a flat surface and pat dry. Place a portion of filling near the corner of the sheet and roll it over, tucking in the edges as you go until you make a tight roll. Repeat for all 12 rolls.
4. Place the corn oil in a shallow pan and, a batch at a time, shallow-fry the rolls over moderate heat 180C/355F until they are golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain.
5. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small pan (except the chilies and parsley). Cook over low heat until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat.
6. Pour the sauce over the rolls, garnish with parsley and chili, and serve immediately.

KCB 8.12: Potato and Pea Croquettes

Potato and Pea Croquettes

These pan-fried delights are easy to make and are great served hot with sour cream or Date and Tamarind Sauce.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 30 to 40 minutes
YIELD: 1 dozen croquettes

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5 cm (1-inch) cubes
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 cup (250 ml) green peas
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250 ml) bread crumbs
1/4 cup (60 ml) minced fresh coriander leaves or parsley
1/4 cup (60 ml) ghee or oil for pan frying

1. Boil the potato cubes in a saucepan of lightly salted water until very tender. Drain, mash, and set aside.
2. Steam the peas until tender. Drain and set aside.
3. Combine the salt, pepper, asafoetida, bread crumbs, fresh herbs, and mashed potatoes in a bowl. Add the peas and mix well. Divide the mixture into 1 dozen even-sized balls. Flatten each ball into a 7.5 cm (3-inch) patty with the palms of your hand.
4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over moderate heat. Add half the ghee or oil and Fry 6 of the patties on both sides until golden and crusted (about 3 or 4 minutes on each side). Remove and drain on paper towels.
5. Add the remaining ghee or oil to the pan and pan-fry the remaining croquettes. Serve hot.

KCB 8.13: Curd Pakoras

Curd Pakoras

Home-made curd cheese is easy to make and is irresistible when batter-fried crispy on the outside and smooth and creamy on the inside.
Serve hot Curd Pakoras with a wedge of lemon or lime and a spoonful of Tartare Sauce.
 The curd cheese, or panir, should be home-made, pressed under a heavy weight, cut up while still hot and slightly moist, cooked in batter immediately, and served hot.

CURD MAKING TIME: about 15 minutes
PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 to 8 persons

8 cups (2-litres) milk
2 - 3 tablespoons (40 - 60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup (85 ml) chickpea flour
1/3 cup (85 ml) plain flour
1/3 cup (85 ml) self-raising flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) turmeric
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) green chilies, minced
1 cup (250 ml) cold water, or as required
ghee or oil for deep-frying

1. Boil the milk in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, a little at a time. When the curd has separated from the whey, place the pan of curds and whey aside.
2. Combine the flours, salt, spices, and chilies in a bowl and add cold water to form a thick batter. Leave for 10 minutes.
3. Drain the curd cheese and press it for 10 minutes under a heavy weight. Remove the weight and cut the cheese into 1.5 cm (3/4-inch) cubes or 3.75 cm (11/2-inch) long stripe while the curd is still hot.
4. Pour 6.5 - 7.5 cm (21/2 - 3 inches) ghee or oil into a wok or deep-frying pan and heat to 180C/355F. Dip 6 or 7 pieces of curd cheese in the batter and carefully drop them into the hot oil one at a time. The temperature will fall but should be maintained at the frying temperature by adjusting the heat. Cook the pakoras, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown all over (about 4 to 5 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Cook all the pakoras in the same manner and serve hot.

KCB 8.14: Crispy Flat-Rice and Cashews (Gujarati Chidwa)

Crispy Flat-Rice and Cashews (Gujarati Chidwa)

Chidwa is a deep fried snack famous throughout India. This recipe from Gujarat combines nuts, dried fruits, fried potato straws, crispy flatrice, and spices. Ajowan seeds, with a flavour reminiscent of oregano, give chidwa its authentic flavour. They are available from any Indian grocer.

PREPARATION AND SOAKING TIME: 1 hour
FRYING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 10 persons

1 large baking potato, peeled, and coarsely shredded
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
11/4 teaspoons (6 ml) salt
1 tablespoon (20 ml) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) ajowan seeds
1 - 2 hot green chilies, seeded and cut into long, wafer-thin strips
1 tablespoon (20 ml) fennel seeds vegetable oil for deep-frying
11/4 cups (310 ml) flat-rice (the thick variety, called poha)
1/2 cup (125 ml) raw cashews
1/2 cup (125 ml) raisins

1. Rinse the shredded potato in batches of cold water until the water remains clear. Soak the shredded potato in cold water for 1/2 hour. Drain and pat dry.
2. Combine the cayenne, turmeric, salt, sugar, ajowan, and green chilies in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Dry-roast the fennel seeds in a small frying pan over moderate heat until the seeds darken a few shades. Set aside.
4. Heat 5 cm (2 inches) oil in a deep pan or wok over high heat. When the temperature reaches 190C/375F, add a handful of the shredded potato and deep-fry until golden brown, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon. Remove and drain in a colander lined with paper towels. Repeat until all the potato is fried.
5. Allow the oil temperature to fall to about 180C/355F. Place a small handful of flat-rice in a metal strainer and carefully lower it into the hot oil. The oil will froth initially. After one minute, the flat-rice will be crisp. Do not allow it to darken. Remove the strainer, drain, and transfer the flatrice onto paper towels. Repeat until all the flat-rice is fried.
6. Deep-fry the cashew nuts in the same manner as the flat-rice until golden brown.
7. Allow all the fried ingredients to cool to room temperature. Combine them in a bowl with the spices and raisins, mixing well. Store in an airtight container.
For a more colourful variety of chidwa try the following: divide the shredded potatoes into 3 and soak in 3 separate small bowls of cold water, to which has been added 1 teaspoon (5 ml) each of edible red, blue, and green food dye. Soak the shredded potatoes, drain them, pat dry, and proceed as per the recipe.

KCB 8.15: Asparagus and Tomato Quiche

Asparagus and Tomato Quiche

A quiche is an open faced tart with a savoury filling and is the perfect luncheon or supper dish accompanied by a green salad and French bread. It also makes a good first course for dinner. Quiche lends itself to advance preparation; the crust or base of the quiche should be cooked beforehand. A cold quiche is great for picnic fare or makes a quick, satisfying snack.

CRUST BAKING TIME: 15 minutes
FILLING PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
BAKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: one 20 cm (8-inch) quiche

Pastry

1/2 cup (125 ml) melted butter
11/2 cups (375 ml) wholemeal flour
3 tablespoons (60 ml) water, or as required
1/4 cup (60 ml) grated parmesan cheese

Quiche filling

2 tablespoons (40 ml) sour cream
2 tablespoons (40 ml) softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons (40 ml) tomato paste
2 tablespoons (40 ml) cornflour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) ground white pepper
11/2 cups (375 ml) grated cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) dried basil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
31/2 cups (875 ml) fresh asparagus, diced and steamed
2 medium tomatoes, sliced into rings

1. Combine the butter and flour, rubbing well until it reaches a coarse meal consistency. Add the water and parmesan cheese to the mixture and mix to form a firm pastry . Press the mixture into a buttered 20 cm (8-inch) quiche or flan tin, being careful that the crust mixture is evenly distributed throughout the tin.
2. Bake the quiche crust in a hot oven 200C/390F until light golden brown. Allow to cool.
3. Combine the sour cream, softened cream cheese, tomato paste, cornflour, salt, pepper, 1 cup (250 ml) cheese, herbs, and spices and mix well. Add the asparagus. Spoon the mixture into the cooled quiche crust, smooth out, press the slices of tomato on top, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and bake in a preheated oven set on 190C/375F for about 20 minutes or until the filling is set and the top is golden. Allow to cool before serving.

KCB 8.16: Spinach Filo Tianes (Spanakopita)

Spinach Filo Tianes (Spanakopita)

Spinach Filo Triangles feature the salty white Greek sheep's cheese called feta and wafer-thin continental filo pastry (both available at delicatessens and large stores). If you are not partial to the rather strong taste of feta, substitute ricotta cheese or home-made curd cheese (panir) or a combination of both. Include the optional cheddar cheese if you're using a substitute for feta. I have omitted salt from the recipe because feta cheese and spinach are both naturally salty. Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt if you are not using feta. These crisp, savoury, baked pastries are great for party catering.

PREPARATION TIME: 1 - 11/2 hours
BAKING TIME: 15 to 20 minutes
YIELD: about 24 triangles

2 large bunches spinach, washed and coarsely chopped 5 tablespoons (100 ml) butter
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground black pepper
1 teaspoon (5 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) nutmeg
2 tablespoons (40 ml) plain flour
3/4 cup (185 ml) milk
250 g (9 ounces) chopped feta cheese (or ricotta or curd cheese plus 11/2 cups (375 ml) tasty cheddar cheese, grated)
375 g (13 ounces) filo pastry
2 tablespoons (40 ml) bread crumbs (optional)
1 cup (250 ml) melted butter (for brushing on the pastry layers)

1. Place the spinach in a large, heavy saucepan over moderately high heat with 3 tablespoons (60 ml) of butter, salt, and pepper. Bring the spinach to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook uncovered until the spinach is tender and the liquid has evaporated.
2. Melt another 2 tablespoons (40 ml) butter in a separate pan, add asafoetida, and saute for a few moments. Add the nutmeg and flour and saute for about 1 minute. Add the milk and stir carefully until the sauce boils and thickens. Remove from the heat. Combine the spinach, cheese, and sauce. Place the mixture in a bowl and allow to cool. If the mixture is too moist, add the optional bread crumbs.
3. Cut all the pastry sheets into long, 9 cm (4-inch) wide strips. Using a pastry brush, brush 2 strips with melted butter. Layer one buttered strip on top of another.
4. Place 1 heaped tablespoon of filling on the end of each double pastry strip and fold over to form a triangle, covering the filling. Lifting the triangle up and over to form a second triangle, continue folding until you reach the end of the pastry strip. Adhere the last edge of the pastry with butter.
5. Fill all the triangles in this manner, brush the tops with butter, and bake on unbuttered baking sheets in a preheated oven 180C/355F for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

KCB 8.17: Ricotta Cheese-filled Pastries (Calzone)

Ricotta Cheese-filled Pastries (Calzone)

Calzone  are popular half-moon shaped stuffed savoury-or-sweet pastries from Italy. This is my version of the savoury variety eaten in the southern region of Campania, Basilicata, and Puglia. Serve calzone as part of a traditional Italian vegetarian meal or as an entree or snack, either hot or cold.

PREPARATION TIME: 50 minutes
DOUGH RISING TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes
DRYING TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: about 18 calzone

Pastry

3 teaspoons (15 ml) fresh yeast
1/2 cup (125 ml) warm water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
4 cups (1-litre) plain flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
3 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil

Filling

1 tablespoon (20 ml) olive oil
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
2 tablespoons (40 ml) red or green peppers, finely diced
1/2 cup (125 ml) black olives, chopped
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper
2 cups (500 ml) ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese or fresh curd, crumbled)
1/2 cup (125 ml) grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup (85 ml) grated cheddar cheese,
1/2 cup (125 ml) spinach leaves, chopped and lightly-blanched
1/3 cup (85 ml) chopped fresh parsley
oil or ghee for deep frying

1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, add the sugar, mix well, and leave covered in a warm place for 10 minutes or until the mixture froths.
2. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast, oil, and enough lukewarm water to make a smooth dough. Knead well for 5 minutes. Rub oil inside the bowl and over the dough. Place the dough in the bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
3. To prepare the pastry filling: heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over moderate heat. Saute the asafoetida in the hot oil for a few seconds; then add the diced peppers and saute for one minute. Add the chopped black olives, salt, and pepper and stir to mix; then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
4. Combine the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, cooled olives and pepper mixture, spinach, and parsley in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.
5. After the dough has risen the first time, punch it down with your fist, remove it from the bowl onto a floured bench top, and knead again for one minute. Roll the dough out with your hands into a long tube and cut into 18 portions. Roll each portion into a smooth ball and, with a rolling pin, roll out each ball into a 13 cm (5-inch) disk.
6. Divide the filling into 18 portions. Place a portion in the centre of each disk. Fold over and seal around the edge either with a fork or by pressure from your fingertips to make small semicircular pastries. Place all the pastries on a oiled tray and leave them covered with a cloth in a warm place for 30 minutes.
7. Heat the ghee or oil for deep-frying in a wok or large pan over moderate heat; 180C/355F and fry 6 pastries, turning when required, until they are golden brown. Remove and drain. Repeat until all the pastries are fried. Serve calzone either hot, warm, or cold.

KCB 8.18: Grated Cauliflower Balls in Tomato Sauce (Gobi Kofta)

Grated Cauliflower Balls in Tomato Sauce (Gobi Kofta)

Kofta are Indian-style vegetable balls of many varieties that are served with gravies and sauces. The most suitable vegetables for making Kofta are potato, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, and white radish. These traditional cauliflower Koftas are served with tomato sauce. Try them with other sauces and serve them either as part of a main meal or as an accompanying savoury. Kofta balls are great served over hot rice or in your favourite spaghetti sauce over pasta.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 1 hour
YIELD: about 2 dozen kofta balls.

Tomato sauce

8 medium tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup (60 ml) minced fresh coriander leaves
1 teaspoon (5 ml) minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon (5 ml) hot green chilies, minced
1 tablespoon (20 ml) ground coriander
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon (20 ml) brown sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

For cauliflower balls

3 cups (750 ml) cauliflower, finely minced (a food processor does an excellent job)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon (5 ml) hot green chilies, minced
3 tablespoons (60 ml) chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 teaspoon (5 ml) turmeric
1 tablespoon (20 ml) ground coriander
1 tablespoon (20 ml) dry-roasted cumin seeds, coarsely crushed
1 cup (250 ml) chickpea flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) salt
ghee or oil for deep-frying

1. To prepare the sauce: boil the tomatoes in 1 cup (250 ml) water in a 2-litre/quart saucepan. Simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and cool for 10 minutes; then pour the sauce through a sieve until all of the tomato puree is separated from the seeds and skins. Set aside the puree while preparing the spices for the sauce.
2. Place the fresh coriander, minced ginger, chilies, ground coriander, cumin, and 1/2 cup (125 ml) water in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth.
3. Heat the olive oil in a 3-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. Saute the mustard seeds in the hot oil until they crackle. Add the spice paste and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato puree, brown sugar, and salt. Bring to the boil and simmer the sauce over a low heat while you prepare the kofta balls. When the sauce thickens, remove it from the heat.
4. To prepare the kofta balls: combine the grated cauliflower, ginger, chilies, fresh coriander, turmeric, ground coriander, and cumin in a mixing bowl and knead until well-mixed. In a smaller bowl, mix the chickpea flour, baking powder, and salt.
5. Heat the ghee in a wok or deep pan over moderate heat until it reaches 180C/355F. Combine the cauliflower and spices with the flour and salt. Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls.
6. Slip 6 to 8 balls simultaneously into the hot oil, and after they rise to the surface reduce the heat to low and fry the kofta for 8 to 10 minutes or until they turn reddish gold. Remove and drain. When the oil reaches 180C/355F, fry the second batch of kofta. Remove and drain. Repeat until all koftas are fried. Before serving, place the koftas in a warmed, shallow serving dish and cover with the tomato sauce.

KCB 8.19: Potato and Cottage Cheese Rolls with Cranberry Sauce

Potato and Cottage Cheese Rolls with Cranberry Sauce

This is my adaptation of a rich and unusual savoury dish from Lithuania. Large baking potatoes are mashed, mixed with fresh cottage cheese, rolled with rich pastry, baked, and served hot with a spoonful of sour cream and cranberry sauce. Present this stunning dish for a special dinner party.

PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes
BAKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: 8 rolls

2 to 3 medium baking potatoes, boiled and peeled to make 2 cups (500 ml) mashed potatoes
1 cup (250 ml) full-cream cottage cheese
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) black pepper
11/2 cups (375 ml) plain flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder
70 g (21/2 ounces) butter, cut into little pieces
2 cups (500 ml) sour cream
1 tablespoon (20 ml) butter, reserved
11/2 cups (375 ml) cranberry sauce

1. Mix the mashed potatoes with the cottage cheese, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt, and black pepper. Set aside.
2. Combine the flour, remaining salt, and baking powder and sieve into another large bowl.
3. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles a coarse meal. Add half the sour cream to this flour mixture and work into a soft but not sticky dough you may need to add more flour. Knead the dough on a lightly floured board for a few minutes.
4. Gather the dough into a smooth ball and, with a rolling pin, roll it on the floured board into a 20 cm x 30 cm (8-inch x 12-inch) rectangle.
5. Spread the potato and cottage cheese mixture in a smooth even layer over the pastry. Roll the pastry to form a 30 cm (12-inch) long roll. Cut it into 8 sections.
6. Place the 8 swirls of pastry on a buttered baking tray. Melt the reserved butter and brush it over the pastries. Place the tray in the centre of a preheated 200C/390F oven and bake for about 1/2 hour or until the pastry rolls are golden brown.
7. Remove the rolls from the oven and place on individual serving plates topped with liberal spoonfuls of sour cream and cranberry sauce. Serve hot.

KCB 8.20: Potato Pancake (Rosti)

Potato Pancake (Rosti)

Almost a national dish in Switzerland, Rosti makes an elegant accompaniment to almost any main dish. Serve it hot and fresh with a small bowl of sour cream.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 to 6

1 kg (about 2 pounds) small potatoes, peeled and steamed until barely cooked (not soft)
2 tablespoons (40 ml) butter
2 tablespoons (40 ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) coarsely ground black pepper

1. Grate the potatoes coarsely and set them aside.
2. Heat the butter with the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over moderate heat. When the butter melts and the foam subsides, place the grated potatoes in the pan and spread them out into a large pancake, taking care not to press it down too much. Season the potatoes with the salt and pepper.
3. Cover the pan and reduce the heat, cooking for 8 to 10 minutes or until the underside of the potato pancake begins to brown. Shake the pan occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn't stick.
4. Gently turn the potato pancake. Fry another 5 or 6 minutes or until the other side turns golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and slide the potato pancake out of the pan onto a warmed serving dish. Slice and serve immediately.

KCB 9: PASTA AND GRAIN DISHES

PASTA AND GRAIN DISHES

Here's a wholesome collection of vegetarian pasta, noodle, and grain dishes from Greece, Japan, Italy, Morocco, India, and Malaysia.

KCB 9.1: Vegetarian Lasagna

Vegetarian Lasagna

Tender pasta sandwiched between layers of tasty bechamel sauce, cheese, spinach, and herbed tomato sauce, topped with more cheese and baked until firm whenever we serve Vegetarian Lasagna at Gopal's Restaurant our clientele become practically ecstatic. "Could you possibly give us the recipe? " they ask. So here it is. This recipe calls for good quality imported Italian instant lasagna noodles. I like to use "Verde Ondine" instant lasagna. Otherwise, if you choose to use the non-instant variety, precook it according to the directions on the packet.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 11/2 hours
BAKING TIME: 45 minutes
YIELD: 1 tray of lasagna, 30 cm x 20 cm x 8 cm (12 inches x 8 inches x 3 inches)

This lasagna has five distinct ingredients: pasta, tomato sauce, bechamel sauce, spinach, and cheese.

Pasta

About fifteen 17 cm x 17 cm (7-inch x 7-inch) sheets of instant lasagna (400 g, or about 14 ounces)

 

Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 cup (250 ml) chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried oregano
1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried marjoram
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 medium eggplant, diced into 0.5 cm (1/4-inch) cubes
3 medium peppers diced into 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) squares
24 medium tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and chopped, or six 250 g (9-ounce) tins Italian tomatoes, cut into 2.5 cm (1-inch) cubes (keep the juice)
1/2 cup (125 ml) black olives, chopped
2 tablespoons (40 ml) tomato paste
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh parsley

 

Bechamel Sauce

1/2 cup (125 ml) melted butter
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (125 ml) sifted plain flour
4 cups (1 litre) warm milk

 

Spinach

1 large bunch of spinach leaves, separated, stalks removed, washed, blanched in boiling water, and drained

 

Cheese

375 g (13 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
250 g (9 ounces) grated mozzarella cheese
60 g (2 ounces) grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon (20 ml) grated parmesan cheese, reserved for garnish.

 

To cook the tomato sauce

1. Heat the olive oil over moderate heat in a large, heavy-based saucepan. When hot, add the asafoetida. Saute momentarily; then add the fresh basil, oregano, marjoram, bay leaves, and black pepper and saute for another few seconds.
2. Add the eggplant cubes and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the peppers and, stirring occasionally, cook them along with the eggplant pieces until both are softened (about 3 or 4 minutes).
3. Add the tomatoes and olives and stir well. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat slightly, and cook uncovered, stirring often, for about 1/2 hour or until it reduces and thickens. Add tomato paste, salt, sugar, and parsley, mix well, and remove from the heat.

To cook the Bechamel Sauce

1. Place the melted butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat and stir in the nutmeg, black pepper, and flour and saute until the mixture darkens slightly (about 1/2 minute). Remove from the heat.
2. Gradually pour in the warm milk, stirring with a whisk until the sauce is smooth. Return to moderate heat and stir until it boils. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens to a thick-custard consistency (about 5 minutes).

To assemble the lasagna

1. Combine all 3 cheeses (except the reserved parmesan) in a bowl. Divide the tomato sauce and bechamel sauce into 3. Divide the cheese and spinach into 2. Divide the pasta into 5.
2. Spread one-third of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking tray. Place one-fifth of the pasta sheets on top. Spread on one-third of the bechamel sauce then another one-fifth of the pasta. Spread one-half of the spinach leaves; then sprinkle half the grated cheese on top.
3. Repeat this process twice more and you should end up with the bechamel sauce on top. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Place the lasagna in the top of a pre-heated 200C/390F oven and cook for 30 - 45 minutes or until the top is slightly golden and the pasta "gives" when you stick a knife in it. It's best to let the lasagna set for at least another hour before serving, as this "plumps" the pasta. Cut into squares and serve.

KCB 9.2: Potato Dumplings with Tomato Sauce (Gnocchi)

Potato Dumplings with Tomato Sauce (Gnocchi)

Although not a true pasta, homemade gnocchi can replace pasta in a meal. These tasty and substantial dumplings originate in the style of the Molise region of Central Italy and are thus known as Gnocchi alla Molisana.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 40 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 persons

Sauce

3 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
31/2 cups (875 ml) tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and pureed
1 teaspoon ( 5 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon ( 1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh basil
grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh parsley

 

Dumplings

500 g (171/2 ounces) old potatoes
11/2 cups (375 ml) self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) nutmeg
1 tablespoon (20 ml) milk

1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Saute the asafoetida in the hot oil. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and basil; stirring occasionally, simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes or until reduced somewhat. Remove from the heat, cover, and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, peel and quarter the potatoes and boil them in a saucepan of slightly salted water until very tender. Drain well and push the potatoes through a fine sieve into a bowl. Add the sifted flour, salt, nutmeg, and milk. Mix well. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes.
3. Take one-quarter of the mixture and form it into a roll on a floured surface. The roll should be 2.5 cm (1-inch) in diameter. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cut the rolls into 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) gnocchi lengths.
4. With two fingers, press each gnocchi  against a cheese grater (medium holes) to roughen the surface on one side, at the same time making a dent in the other side where the fingers press. This gives the traditional gnocchi shape. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
5. Place one-quarter of the gnocchi into a large saucepan of boiling salted water over full heat. The gnocchi will go straight to the bottom of the pan and then start to float to the top. When the last dumpling rises to the top, boil for 1 minute; then remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi in batches. Add the gnocchi to the prepared tomato sauce and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes over low heat. Place the gnocchi in a serving bowl and spoon over half the sauce. Serve the remaining sauce and grated parmesan cheese separately. Garnish with chopped parsley.

KCB 9.3: Baked Rigatoni with Vegetables (Rigatoni al Forno)

Baked Rigatoni with Vegetables (Rigatoni al Forno)

This is a vegetarian version of the famous Calabrian "Rigatoni al Forno".

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 45 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 to 6 persons

1/4 cup (60 ml) grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) grated nutmeg
2/3 cup (165 ml) ricotta or cottage cheese
1/2 cup (125 ml) bread crumbs
300 g (10 ounces) rigatoni pasta
1 cup (250 ml) grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup (250 ml) heavy sour cream
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/4 cup (60 ml) red peppers, diced
3 cups (750 ml) tomato puree
1 cup (250 ml) tiny broccoli flowerets
1 cup (250 ml) tiny cauliflower flowerets
1/4 cup (60 ml) cooked green peas
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon (20 ml) fresh chopped parsley

1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4-litre/quart saucepan over moderately high heat. Saute the asafoetida and diced red peppers for two minutes. Add the tomato puree, broccoli, cauliflower, green peas, salt, pepper, basil, and nutmeg. Simmer covered for 15 - 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft. Add the sour cream, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, and bread crumbs. Remove from the heat and cover.
2. Cook the pasta in boiling salted
water until cooked but still firm (aldente). Drain thoroughly.
3. Combine the pasta and the vegetable sauce. Empty the mixture into a large casserole dish, smooth over, sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese, and bake in a preheated oven 200C/390F for 10 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley.

KCB 9.4: Couscous with Vegetable Sauce

Couscous with Vegetable Sauce

Couscous is the most common and well-known of all north African Arab dishes. Couscous is a grain product made from semolina, and it is also the name of the famous dish of which couscous is the main ingredient. Imported couscous can be obtained in some specialty supermarkets, although it can sometimes be a little costly. I have found it is much more economical to purchase a kilo or two from a well-stocked Middle Eastern grocer who has couscous in bulk, usually in huge sacks.
Traditionally, couscous is cooked in a couscousier a special pot where the grains are steamed on top, the steam being generated from the sauce simultaneously cooking underneath. But if you don't have a couscousier, you will find this recipe from Morocco quick and easy. The couscous is cooked the "quick" method.
Couscous is always served in a mound with the sauce poured on top, the extra juice from the vegetables sometimes being served separately in little bowls on the side. Serve couscous as a filling main course with a spoonful of North African Hot Pepper Sauce (Harissa) added to the bowl of extra juice.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 1 hour
YIELD: enough for 8 to 10 persons

Sauce

3 tablespoons (60 ml) butter
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
6 small zucchinis, cut into 2.5 cm (1-inch) sections
2 medium green peppers, seeded, cored, and cut into thick strips
2 cups (500 ml) pumpkin, cubed
1 large potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 small turnips, cut in half and sliced lengthwise
at least 4 cups (1 litre) water
2 cups (500 ml) chickpeas, cooked and drained
8 medium tomatoes, diced
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) ground coriander
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) ground cumin
2 teaspoons (10 ml) turmeric
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) cayenne pepper
2 small hot green chilies, chopped
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) freshly ground black pepper

 

Coucous

2 cups (500 ml) water
1 tablespoon (20 ml) oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
500 g (171/2 ounces) couscous
2 tablespoons (40 ml) butter

To make the sauce

1. Melt the 3 tablespoons (60 ml) of butter over moderate heat in a heavy saucepan or in the bottom of a couscousier. Add the asafoetida, zucchinis, peppers, pumpkin, potato, and turnips and saute for 10 minutes. Add half the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, chilies, salt, pepper, and the rest of the water, (adding more if needed). Stir well and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for another 15 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time for the sauce, prepare the couscous.

To prepare the coucous

1. Pour 2 cups (500 ml) water into a large saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon (20 ml) oil and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.
2. Stirring constantly, add the couscous. Allow the grains to swell for 2 minutes. Add 2 - 3 tablespoons (40 - 60 ml) butter and heat the grains over low heat for 3 minutes whilst stirring with a fork.

To assemble the dish

Pile the couscous on a large prewarmed serving dish. Drain some of the liquid from the vegetables (reserving it in little bowls to serve as an accompaniment), pour the vegetable sauce over the couscous, and serve immediately.

KCB 9.5: Spaghetti alla Napoletana

Spaghetti alla Napoletana

The famous city of Naples in Campania, Italy, produces the majority of commercially made pasta. Here is my version of the simple but famous Napolese spaghetti. Serve with a generous sprinkle of your favourite cheese.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 40 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1.2 kg (3 pounds) ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and chopped; or three 400 g (14-ounce) tins Italian peeled tomatoes, chopped (save liquid)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
400 g (14 ounces) spaghetti cheese for serving

1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Saute the asafoetida in the hot oil. Add the tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper and cook gently for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water until cooked but still a little firm (al dense). Drain thoroughly and pile into a warmed serving dish. Pour the sauce over the top, sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

KCB 9.6: Pasta Pesto

Pasta Pesto

Genoa, Northern Italy, is the home of the famous "Pasta Pesto alla Genovese" pasta with a pungent sauce called "pesto", made primarily of fresh basil leaves, parmesan cheese, and toasted pine nuts. Traditionally, ribbon-shaped pasta such as trenette or linguine are used.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 persons

11/2 cups (375 ml) chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil (reserve 1 tablespoon, 20 ml)
3 tablespoons (60 ml) pinenuts lightly toasted and chopped
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
125 g (4 ounces) grated parmesan cheese
575 g (17/4 pounds) pasta trenette or pasta linguine

1. Crush the basil with the salt and half the olive oil in a large pestle and mortar, or in a food processor. Add the rest of the oil and the pine nuts and three-quarters of the cheese. Blend until smooth. Add a little water if too thick.
2. Place one tablespoon (20 ml) olive oil in a small pan and place over moderate heat. Saute the asafoetida powder in the hot oil. Add this mixture to the mortar or food processor.
3. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until cooked but still a little firm (al dente). Drain thoroughly. Serve the pasta with the pesto sauce. Serve immediately.

Note: Be sure to choose fresh pine nuts. Old ones become rancid and taste bitter.

KCB 9.7: Stuffed Vine Leaves (Dolmades)

Stuffed Vine Leaves (Dolmades)

There are many versions of this stuffed appetizer, found in Armenia, Turkey, Greece, and the Middle East. A dolma  is actually any dish prepared by stuffing a vine, fig, cabbage, or other edible leaf with a savoury filling. Here is a Greek version of vine leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts, and currants and flavoured with dill and oregano. They can be served cold as an appetizer with salad, bread, and dips or heated in the oven with tomato sauce.

PREPARATION TIME: 45 minutes
COOKING TIME: 1 - 11/2 hours
YIELD: 30 or 40 dolmades

2 cups (500 ml) boiling water
2 tablespoons (40 ml) olive oil
1/3 cup (85 ml) pine nuts
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 cup (250 nl) long-grain rice
1/3 cup (85 ml) currants
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) dried oregano
1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried dill
1 teaspoon (5 nl) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (20 ml) tomato paste
two 250 g (9-ounce) packets of vine leaves
juice of 2 lemons

1. Boil the water in a small pan over moderate heat.
2. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick 2-litre/quart pot over moderate heat. Stir-fry the pine nuts in the hot oil until they turn golden. Saute the asafoetida; then add the rice and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the boiling water, the currants, oregano, dill, salt, and pepper. Boil, stir, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the rice covered without stirring for 20 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Empty the rice into a bowl and allow to cool.
3. Place the vine leaves in a bowl and scald them with boiling water. Leave them to soak for 10 minutes; then drain and rinse under cold water.
4. Open up each leaf, placing between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon of the filling (depending on the size of the leaf), rolled into a short tubular shape, into the centre of each leaf. Roll up the leaf, tucking in the sides as you go.
5. Place some damaged or unused leaves on the bottom of a large, heavy pot and layer the stuffed leaves on top. If you have more than one layer, place some leaves in between.
6. Place an inverted plate or saucer on top of the stuffed leaves, add enough hot water just to cover them, add the lemon juice, and cover the pot. Simmer for one hour over low heat. After they are cooked, allow them to cool in the pot and carefully remove them.

KCB 9.8: Malaysian Hot Noodles with Tofu (Mie Goreng)

Malaysian Hot Noodles with Tofu (Mie Goreng)

The basis of this chili-hot noodle dish is dried Chinese-style wheat noodles. They can be obtained in any Asian grocery or most good supermarkets. The soft, moist varieties of noodle found in the refrigerated display of Asian grocer shops are unsuitable for strict vegetarians since, like most fresh pasta in Italian shops, they contain eggs.
The chili-hot taste of this wellknown Malaysian Chinese dish comes from sambal oelek, an Indonesian condiment made from minced fresh red chilies and salt. Be sure to obtain plain sambal oelek, as other varieties are loaded with garlic and onions. Alternatively make your own. The dried tofu that I use comes in the form of thick sheets about 5 cm x 10 cm (2 inches x 4 inches) and is called "Dry Sliced Bean Curd". Choy sum is a delicate Chinese green vegetable available at Chinese grocers. Select young, thin-stalked choysum, cut off 2.5 cm (1-inch) from the base and use the rest.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 20 - 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 10 to 12 persons

375 g (13 ounces) "Dry Sliced Bean Curd"
250 g (9 ounces) Chinese dried wheat noodles
oil for deep frying
400 g (14 ounces) firm tofu cut into 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
3 tablespoons (60 ml) Chinese sesame oil
3 tablespoons (60 ml) minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 bunch choy sum, chopped into 2.5 cm (1-inch) sections (leaves and stalk)
3 tablespoons (60 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (40 ml) plain sambal oelek (or more if you want hotter noodles)
3 tablespoons (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 cups (500 ml) mung bean shoots

1. Soak the dried tofu slices in hot water for 15 minutes. When softened, cut into 2.5 cm (1-inch) squares, drain, and pat dry.
2. Cook the wheat noodles in a 5-litre/quar
t saucepan of boiling water until they are still a little firm (al dense). Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.
3. Heat the oil in a wok or pan over high heat. Deep-fry the tofu cubes until they turn golden brown, remove, and drain. Repeat for all the tofu. Next, deep-fry the squares of dried tofu until golden and slightly blistered. Remove and drain. Put aside.
4. Heat the sesame oil in another wok over full heat. Saute the minced ginger for 1 minute. Add the asafoetida and choysum and stir-fry until the vegetables become soft.
5. Add the soy sauce, sambal oelek, lemon juice, fried dry tofu, fried fresh tofu, and bean shoots and stir well. Increase the heat and add the drained wheat noodles. Stir-fry for another 2 minutes or until the noodles are hot. Serve immediately.

KCB 9.9: Japanese Rice-Balls (Onigiri)

Japanese Rice-Balls (Onigiri)

These traditional stuffed rice-balls, or onigiri, are quick and easy to prepare. They are served, as with all Japanese dishes, with great attention to colour and presentation. They are, in fact, not balls, but rather flattened triangular shapes. You will require two special ingredients to make onigiri, both available from Japanese or Asian specialty grocers: Japanese pickled plums (umeboshi) and yellow pickled daikon radish (takuwan).
Serve onigiri as a snack, or as part of a special picnic lunch, accompanied by yellow pickled radish, on a plate decorated with fresh green leaves. Allow 2 balls per person.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
YIELD: 8 balls

1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
5 cups (1.25 litres) unsalted short grain white rice, cooked to sticky consistency, and cooled
8 Japanese pickled plums (umeboshi)
2 tablespoons (40 ml) dry-roasted sesame seeds
yellow pickled daikon radish (takuwan) as accompaniment

1. Mix the salt thoroughly with the sticky rice. Roll into 8 even-sized balls and flatten each ball into a wheel shape with a flattened perimeter.
2. Make a slight indent in the side of each wheel with the thumb. Press one umeboshi into each hollow, allowing the plum to be visible on one face. Form the wheel of rice into a triangle with two flattened paralled faces. The plum should be visible on one of the faces. Press toasted sesame seeds around the plum on the flat face where the plum is visible and stand the savouries up on one of their three sides. Serve with yellow daikon radish pickles, allowing 2 or 3 small pieces of pickle per person. Onigiri  with pickled plum will last 2 - 3 days without refrigeration.

KCB 9.10: Vegetable and Semolina Pudding (Upma)

Vegetable and Semolina Pudding (Upma)

Upma is a traditional grain dish much loved all over India. It consists of roasted semolina and sauteed spices, with added vegetables and nuts combined with water to form a moist, savoury pudding. Though upma's texture resembles Italian polenta  or North African couscous, its flavour is unique. Served with fresh lemon juice and a little yogurt, it makes a delicious breakfast.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: about 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 to 8 persons

11/2 cups (375 ml) coarse-grain semolina
1/4 cup (60 ml) ghee or oil
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons (10 ml) split urad dal
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) cumin seeds
2 hot green chilies, seeded and minced
2 cups (500 ml) cabbage, finely shredded
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup (250 ml) diced zucchini
1 cup (250 ml) peeled potatoes, cubed
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
3 cups (750 ml) hot water
1 cup (250 ml) green peas, cooked if fresh, thawed if frozen
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
1 cup (250 ml) roasted cashew pieces
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 tablespoons (40 ml) fresh lemon juice

1. Stir-fry the semolina in a large, heavy frying pan over moderate heat for 6 - 8 minutes or until the grains darken a few shades. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
2. Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy 4 or 5-litre/quart saucepan over moderately high heat. Saute the black mustard seeds in the hot oil until they crackle. Add the urad dal and cumin seeds and saute them until they darken; add the chilies and, stirring, add the cabbage, peppers, zucchini, potatoes, and turmeric. Stir-fry for 2 or 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate and continue to cook for another 4 or 5 minutes or until the vegetables are limp and partly cooked.
3. Carefully add the hot water and bring to the boil. Add the cooked fresh peas or thawed frozen peas. Add the semolina, stirring continuously. Add the salt, reduce the heat to very low, and half-cover with a lid, stirring often until the upma becomes a light, fluffy pudding (about 10 minutes). If the upma appears too dry, add a little warm water.
4. Remove the upma from the heat, stir in the cashew nuts and fresh coriander leaves, and serve hot with a sprinkle of lemon juice.

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