Blooming Onion-Ramadan Specials #6

  Doesn’t this look beautiful? It tastes delicious too. 

  
This is blooming onion, which is a dish with one onion cut to resemble a flower, battered and deep fried. It is surely a very impressive looking appetizer which will be loved and appreciated by all. 

   

Blooming onion is actually a very famous appetizer served at this restaurant named Outback Steakhouse. I never tried it though, but my brother has and he says that he loves it to the addiction level. That restaurant is not there in Kuwait but its there in Dubai, where my family lives. The next time I go there i will definitely visit that place. 

  
I had made this awesome dish for iftar yesterday and me and fadal loved it. I had made a nice honey mayo dipping sauce to go along with it. It was so good that we were dipping all the other appetizers in that sauce too. 

  
Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 cup Vegetable oil

  
For the flour mixture:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne/ red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

For dipping:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg

For dipping sauce:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of salt

  

NOTES:

✔️ If you dont want to fry the whole onion, you can make onion rings with the same recipe. 

✔️ Be very careful when dropping the onion into the oil. Place the onion on a round spoon and carefully drop it into the oil slowly. The oil might spill out if you use a small pan. 

✔️ Make sure to cook the onions well, otherwise it wont be easy to pull out the onion petals from the root easily. 

Method:

To slice the onions:

  

  1. Slice one inch off the top of the onion. 
  2. Remove the skin. 
  3. Then slice the roots keeping the stem intact because thats where the onion petals will stay joined. 
  4. Using a thin knife cut out a 1 inch diameter core from the center of the onion.   
  5. Using a sharp knife make four evenly spaced cuts. Make sure you keep an inch space from the root. 
  6. In between each of these four cuts make another three cuts. 
  7. Separate the petals with your fingers.   

Prepring the batter:

  

  1. In a bowl whisk together the milk and egg. 
  2. In another bowl, combine all the ingredients listed under flour mixture. 
  3. Take the onion and dip in the milk mixture.   
  4. Place it in the flour mixture making sure to spread the flour all over the onions. Separate the petals with hand and sprinkle flour in between the petals. 
  5. Double dip the onion back in the milk. 
  6. Again place in the flour mix and spread the flour all over. Shake off excess flour. 
  7. Keep in freezer for half an hour. 

Frying: 

  

  1. Heat oil in a deep heavy bottom pan in a medium high flame. There should be enough oil to cover  the onion. 
  2. Drop the onion cut side down into the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes. Then very carefully flip it over and fry for additional 8-9 minutes on medium heat till it turns golden brown and crispy. 
  3. Take out of the oil and drain cut side down ona paper towel. 

For dipping sauce:

  1. Mix in all the ingredients listed under dipping sauce

  


Shawarma Filo Rolls-Ramadan specials #5

  
I love food that give me a nostalgic and warm feeling. A feeling of great satisfaction.   

  
That feeling is exactly what shawarma gives me. Shawarma is no doubt, my comfort food. Being born and bred in the shawarma nation, Dubai, half my life i have eaten and loved this street food. 

  
I usually make homemade shawarma wrap with pita bread during Ramadan for iftar. But this time i wanted to make something different. So i came up with this idea of rolling the shawarma in filo roll and baking them. I tried it and it was really really good. The best part is that you dont have to deep fry it. Even though it is baked, the rolls are super crispy and crunchy. 

  
These are perfect as a snack for iftar and also to entertain guests during parties. Im sure both kids and adults will love it. Try it. 

  
Makes 12 rolls

Ingredients

For the shawarma:

For Marination:

  • 500 g chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp Yoghurt 
  • 1 tsp chilli powder/cayenne
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 3/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamom powder
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Other ingredients:

  • Parsley
  • Onion chopped
  • Tomatoes chopped
  • Hot sauce
  • Pickled cucumbers chopped
  • Pickled green chillies chopped

For assembling:

  • 4 Filo pastry sheets 
  • Garlic sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Melted unsalted butter

  

Notes:

✔️ If filo pastry is not available, you can use spring roll pastry instead. But with that deep frying will be better. 

✔️ Always while assembling cover the remaining filo pastry with a damp cloth once opened to avoid drying out.

✔️ You can add mozzarella, or moutabel  too in the rolls if you like. 

✔️ The amount of hot sauce added can be adjusted according to your preferred level of  spiciness. 

Method:

  

  1. Marinate the chicken pieces in the above mentioned ingredients and let rest for 1-2 hours. 
  2. Heat some olive oil in a pan and shallow fry the chicken pieces till nicely cooked and gets that char on the pieces. 
  3. Chop these chicken pieces further. 
  4. To the chicken, mix in chopped parsley, hot sauce and olive oil to make it moist. 
  5. In a bowl mix in chopped onions, tomatoes, and pickled veggies. Combine the chicken mix in this. Your shawarma mix is ready.   

Assembling:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  2. Defrost and thaw the filo pastry well without taking it out of the package. 
  3. Open the package and take out a sheet of filo. Place on a surface and brush melted butter all over it. 
  4. Place a second sheet of filo on top of this and again brush with butter all over. I forgot to take the picture of these two steps. 
  5. Cut into 6 rectangles as shown in the picture. 
  6. Take out one rectangle piece and place the shawarma mix on one end. 
  7. Add in a little bit of garlic sauce. If you want you can add mozzarella too.   
  8. Roll twice and then fold the sides and continue rolling. You can brush more butter on the sides and edges for it to stick well. 
  9. Brush butter all over the roll and then sprinkle some sesame seeds. 
  10. Place the rolls on a lined baking sheet and bake them for 25-30 minutes till golden and crispy. 

    

Cheesy Bread Sticks-Ramadan Specials #4

  
Here you go guys! The fourth ramadan post, which is that of gooey, melty, cheesy deliciousness, cheesy bread sticks. Delicious dough topped with garlic sauce, loots of cheese and butter…….what’s not to love? 

  

They are super easy to make and tastes amazing. You can either make your own pizza dough or else you can use the readymade store bought ones. I used the readymade one as i was in a hurry and didn’t have the time and energy to make it at home.

   

This is yet another recipe which was introduced to me by my sister. I think i should make a separate section for her recipes. :D She makes this particular bread sticks for her son, Amaan’s (the cookie boy in my picture above) school party most of the time. The kids love them and Amaan says that these cheese sticks vanishes as soon as he opens it in class. Now, i know why! :) it’s sooo good. Both adults and children will like this alike. 

  
These are perfect served as an appetizer or even alongside pasta. Enjoy! 

Serves 4

Recipe courtesy: Sabeena Mohamed (Sister <3 )

NOTES:

✔️ The garlic sauce i have used here is the lebanese version. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Roll premade pizza dough
  • 2-3 tbsp garlic sauce (toum sauce)
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup cheedar cheese
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • Garlic butter/ regular butter

Method:

  

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. 
  2. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or spread some cornmeal or semolina on the sheet. 
  3. Roll out the dough on the sheet. 
  4. Spread the garlic sauce on the dough.    
  5. Add cheddar cheese, then the mozzarella and then parmesan. 
  6. Place few slices of garlic butter on top. 
  7. Sprinkle chopped parsley. 
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes till the crust is done and cheese melted. 

  

Mafroukeh-Ramadan Specials #3

  
Ramadan Kareem everybody! Yaay! It’s that time of the year again….Its finally here…..I’ve been waiting for it since the beginning of the year. 

   
 I love this month mainly because there is a great feeling of peace around me and within myself during is time, the reward for every good deed done during this month is multiplied, you feel more closer to God and yeah, of course i loooove eating at the end of the long day of fasting! Who doesn’t? :)

  
For me and my family, desserts are a must on the iftar menu. And if it is Arabic sweets, we all will be super excited to break our fast, everybody’s eyes will be on that one item, hehe! Yesterday for the first iftar, i made mafroukeh. It was an instant hit among all. I have been wanting to make this sweet for long. 

  
Mafroukeh is a Lebanese dessert made of semolina, pistachios, sugar and butter infused with sugar syrup, orange blossom water and rose water. It is filled with a cream called ashta (you can replace it with ricotta cheese or mascorpone or a mix of both). I then drizzled sugar syrup over these mini mafroukeh just before serving. It was so so good. I think you all should try making this. 

  
The photos are a bit sloppy this time. Didn’t have much time to do styling and all. But, i swear it tastes ah-mazing! 

Recipe courtesy: Joumana of Taste of beirut.

Makes 16 

Ingredients:

  • 250 g of pistachios (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • A little more than half cup of fine semolina flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of orange blossom water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of rose water
  • 2 cups of mascorpone cheese/ ricotta cheese/clotted cream

NOTES:

✔️ You can make this in whatever mould you want. It would look really nice if made in tartelet mould. 

✔️ When shaping the tartlets you can dip your fingers in a mixture of rose water and orange blossom water so that the mixture wont stick to your hand. 

✔️ The left over semolina dough can be stored in the fridge for several weeks or in the freezer for several months. 

✔️ the semolina i had was not very fine, so i grinded mine in a grinder to a powder consistency. 

  

Method:

  

  1. Soak the pistachios in warm water for several hours and the peel off the skins. Set aside to dry the pistachios on a paper towel for half an hour or more. 
  2. Process the pistachios with half a cup of sugar till chopped very fine. 
  3. Place the remaining sugar, lemon juice and water in a saucepan and heat, stirring till dissolved. Simmer on low for 5 minutes.  
  4. Heat butter in a pan and then add semolina and roast the semolina on low heat for 10 minutes. Pour in the sugar syrup and stir rapidly. 
  5. Add half of this mixture to the bowl of a grinder and pulse it twice or thrice till it is all separated. Add in the pistachios and again pulse it twice or thrice till it is all combined and you can form a moist dough out of it. 
  6. Sprinkle orange blossom water and rose water on top of the dough and combine. 
  7. Cover and transfer to fridge for 2-3 hours. You can use the remaining semolina dough to make some other dessert or this one itself. 

  

Assemble:

  1. Line whatever mould you are using with a plastic wrap. 
  2. Scoop out a small ball of pistachio mafroukeh and tap gently to line the mould with it. 
  3. Fill it with some mascorpone.  
  4. Cover this with a smaller ball of mafroukeh. 
  5. Fold the ends of the plastic wrap over the sweet to cover it and refrigerate it till it is time to serve. 

For the sugar syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  1. Combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in a sauce pan and heat it. Stir until dissolved. 
  2. Simmer on low for 5 minutes till thick. 
  3. Turn off the heat and pour in orange blossom water. 

  

 

Falafel-Ramadan Specials #2

  
I have a love affair with falafels. I never get fed up with its taste even though i have them very very often. I had made many attempts at making homemade falafel, but had never got the perfect texture and taste before. I tried again yesterday and “voila”, i finally got it right. 

   
 These little guys were amazing. Seriously, it is so simple to make this, yet how packed with flavor they are. They are nicely crisp on the outside, tender on the inside and loaded with bursts of lemon, garlic and flavors from spices in each bite. 

   
 You can enjoy them as it is, or even pair them with hummus or tahini sauce. You can also enjoy them as a wrap inside pita bread, with tomatoes, cucumber, pickled veggies and tahini. 

   
 If you are trying to cut down on fried foods you can bake these too. If you have leftover falafel, i have an amazing recipe to use that up. Will be posting it in the coming days….wait for it. :)

   

   

Yields 15 falafels

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup dried uncooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 of a large onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves 
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder 
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder 
  • 1/2 tsp red chilly powder/ cayenne 
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour

NOTES:

✔️ You have to drain and dry the chickpeas really well. Otherwise the falafel will break and fall off while frying. 

✔️ For that extra crispy exterior of the falafel while making balls, dont smoothen the outer part with hands, instead drop the falafel into the oil straight from the spoon or else drop it onto a plate and then slide them into the oil.

✔️ It would be better if you chop the onions, garlic and leaves before processing it so that you get an even cutting. 

✔️ If you want more greener falafel, then add a bit more of parsley or coriander leaves. 

✔️ When grinding the falafil dough, make sure you dont make it a paste. It should have a near paste, yet a little coarse consistency. 

  

Method

  1. Soak the chickpeas in water overnight. 
  2. Drain them very well and pat dry. 
  3. In a food processor/chopper add all the above mentioned ingredients. 
  4. Give 2-3 pulse, open the lid, stir around and process it again till finely minced. 
  5. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate it for an hour. 
  6. With a tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop out  small balls of falafel mix. 
  7. Deep fry it on medium low flame till golden and crisp on outside and tender n cooked inside. 

  

Momos-Ramadan Specials #1

  
The holy month of Ramadan is fast approaching and the Muslims around the world must be getting ready for this beautiful month. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is about getting close to God (Allah swt), and prayers and good deeds. I personally love looove this holy month. Ramadan is a great month. It is the month in which God revealed the Qur’an as a guidance for the whole of mankind. It is the month which has Laylat-al-Qadr, a night which is better than a thousand months. 

   
 
The rewards for good deeds and charity are multiplied in this month. From among the righteous deeds is the feeding of the fasting person with numerous rewards for this act. We are also rewarded for our duties towards the family – be it cleaning, cooking or running any chores. With this sense of responsibility a major part of Ramadan days, evolves around food. Many types of food will be prepared in the kitchen for the pre-dawn meal(suhoor) and for breaking the fast (ifthar). 

    
Im sure, most of them must be busy searching for different ramadan recipes. So, i thought why not post such recipes from now till ramadan gets over. So, here is the first item which is momos. 

  
Momos are dumplings native to Nepal, Tibet and the Himalayan states of India. These are steamed or sometimes pan fried and served with spicy tomato or chilly garlic dipping sauce. Because most momos are steamed, they are a healthy option for those who wants to have oil free snack. The main fillings include prawns, chicken or meat mixed with onions and spices. These are made with vegetables and cheese too. I feel it tastes best with the prawn filling. So here goes the recipe. Enjoy!

     

 NOTES:

✔️ It is a little time consuming to assemble the momos. I made this for the first time, so mine looks a little sloppy.  I learnt it from this youtube video. Here is the link: http://youtu.be/gCdhgq-afDs

✔️ You can make whatever shape of the dumplings you want, a purse, cresent or half moon. Make sure you seal the edges very well because the chicken/prawn has to get cooked from inside. 

✔️ Oil the steamer rack well or place a piece of aluminium foil on top of the rack. 

✔️ You can assemble this ahead of time and freeze it, steaming whenever needed. 

  

Ingredients:
For the non-veg filling:

  • 300g ground chicken/prawns, squeezed dry
  • 2″ ginger finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • 1 cup onions chopped
  • 1/2 cup cabbage
  • 1 spring onion green and white part chopped
  • 1 tsp soya sauce
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Coriander leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2tbsp oil

  
Method:

  1. Heat oil and sauté onions, green chillies, garlic and ginger till soft. 
  2. Add in the soya sauce and vinegar and stir. 
  3. Add in the sugar and cabbage. Close lid and cook for few minutes. 
  4. Add salt and pepper and coriander leaves. 
  5. Take off the heat and mix in the prawn or chicken. 

For veg filling:

  • 1 cup cabbage finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot finely chopped
  • 1 green chilly
  • 1 spring onion greens and whites chopped
  • 1″ ginger chopped
  • 1 tsp soya sauce
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2tbsp oil

  
Method:

  1. Heat oil and sauté onions, green chillies, garlic and ginger till soft. 
  2. Add in the soya sauce and vinegar and stir. 
  3. Add in the sugar and the veggies. Close lid and cook for few minutes. 
  4. Add salt and pepper and coriander leaves. 

For the momos covering:

  • 500g flour
  • 200ml milk or water
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Stir the salt and flour together. Add in the water or milk and knead until you get a soft, flexible but not sticky dough. Let it rest covered for 30 minutes. 

  
Assembling the momos:

  1. Roll out a big ball of dough into a large circle. Using a cutter cut out small circles. Try to make the edges more thinner than the middle. Wet the edges with water. 
  2. Add a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center and then fold and pleat. 

Place in steamer and steam cook for 20 minutes. 

  
For the chutney:

Since i forgot to take the appropriate measurements while making the chutney, i will update this space as soon as i note down the actual measurement.