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Showing posts with label Appetizers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Appetizers. Show all posts

Friday, 19 September 2014



Canadian Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and with it, turkey season (even though, as I've proved this year, any season can be turkey season) I am always on the look out for unusual appetizers and I love easy, make ahead canapes with my own spicy little twist added to it.

I love these little bites. The warmly spiced ground turkey, with its hints of Moroccan spice, works perfectly with filo pastry to make for the perfect snacks. Both the filo shells and the turkey filling can be made in advance, plus you can also fill these an hour or so before your guests (or family) arrive. These are incredibly addictive. When mom and I were testing this recipe, I had to swat off mom, because she just wouldn't stop eating them.

I made the shells by flipping a mini muffin tray upside down and cutting out squares of pastry, buttering them and placing them on the upside down molds. I find that it works better than tucking them into the muffin holes, but it does look prettier if you so it that way too. Just make sure to have dry hands while doing it that way, so you can tuck the pastry in without tearing it. These shells are pretty delicate, but you can very easily make a whole bunch and store them in an air tight container. I've also made mini meat pies with this filling and they're absolutely gorgeous as well. 



So what are you waiting for? Head on over to the Tasty Turkey website to download your recipe now.

Click for the recipe - Spiced Turkey Tartlets


And as usual, if you have any questions, mosey on back and I'll be more than happy to answer them for you :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


Turkey thighs lend themselves to an array of dishes, and they are one of my favourite cuts of the bird to use in my everyday cooking. Everyone loves fried chicken, so I decided to make this delicious variation using turkey instead.

I added a unique Indian twist by spicing up and frying my nuggets using rice and cornflour instead of regular breading. If you skip the plain flour in the recipe, it works well as a gluten free recipe too. This recipe worked so well, that even my notoriously finicky foodie friend Addie loved them. He was surprised at how moist the turkey nuggets were, especially as I hadn't brined them at all. The spiciness of the marinade can be adjusted to your preference, especially if you are making these for kids. You can also subsititute sliced turkey breasts, if you don't want to bone out thighs (though thighs do have better flavour and stay moister)

I serve these nuggets simply with lime wedges to squeeze over, but you can also make a yogurt dip, with plain yogurt seasoned with a little salt, cumin and garlic. This is a perfect dish to take on picnics and as a appetizer with drinks too.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Chicken 65 (South Indian Fried Chicken) 

Woohoo, I am on vacation! Finally, after a long season, we packed up our bags and headed over to the in-laws place. This time around, we decided that dad needed to experience some true Canadian culture, so we ended up camping a few nights, one in Jasper, where we managed to get eaten alive by those pesky mosquitoes... but at the same time, had a fabulously relaxing time at the hot springs. My dad, who's never been recreational camping before kept flipping constantly between being amused and amazed at everything that people brought to camp with them. It rained pretty consistently, and even though it was slightly cold and miserable, it was still a brilliant experience for dad. We were also lucky enough to spot a wolf (eating something I don't want to mention) which was pretty rare and of course, elk were everywhere.

The next night at Beaumont was much better, in terms of weather, and the sunset over Fraser Lake was pretty spectacular, as you will see for yourself! We had a pretty good evening, pushing on to the in-laws the next day. So yayyyy, on vacation now, with not much to than relax and enjoy everything in this beautiful Northern BC town.

Monday, 13 May 2013

My favourite samosa memory is from my hometown, even though I've had ├╝ber delicious ones when I've been away at university as well. My cousin Brad introduced me to this little chaat place just under a block of apartments close to home, called Vrindavan. They made some really good chaats and samosas. One of my favourite chaats from there was a 'ragda samosa' where there made and fried fresh samosas, which were then broken up and smothered in a curried pigeon pea or chickpea sauce called a ragda and sprinkled over with chopped onion, a sweet/ sour tamarind chutney, cilantro and spicy, fried chickpea noodles called sev. The whole experience is, and has always been, mindblowing to me, with all the textures and tasted melding together into an explosion of flavours. Every time I visit back home, this is one of my first foodie stops.

Of course, I would be doing the dhabas of Delhi a disservice if I didn't mention them when it comes to samosas, of course. JNU, where I was at residential university is widely considered to have some of the best dhabas or street eateries in Delhi (though I am sure other university students would disagree vehemently with me) and samosas used to be the fail safe option as we staggered out bleary eyed after pulling all-nighters at the library or in friends' rooms. Or even after a hard night's partying, haha. Samosas were my personal hangover cure at university, all that deep fried goodness and a hot, steaming cup of  masala chai... what's not to love about that cure? (OK, until I discovered the traditional British fry-up, but that's a story for another time

Friday, 4 January 2013

Crab Cakes

Happy new year, everyone... 2013, wow, another year, another beginning! I am feeling a bit weird this year, because, to be honest, I have no idea where the last year went. It feels like only yesterday life was all organised and stable and suddenly, its upside down again.

2012 has been a year of ups and downs in many ways. It was the year Aditi started kindergarten, or big girl school, as we call it, that I started working full time for Get Cooking, finally channelling my passion for food into something more tangible and a career. I made good friends in Edmonton that I feel confident that I can turn to when life gets tough, and got my life into shape. I was lucky enough to be invited to events here, and also contributed to several e-zines and recipe books. I became more confident in my cooking, and Food, Football and a Baby, a small personal blog, turned into The Tiffin Box, which is so much more reflective of my life now.

The downside was all those awful world events that took a toll on all our lives. Kay and I were really affected by the Newtown tragedy, especially as our baby girl is the same age as those beautiful kids who were senselessly killed. We cried with all the parents, and we couldn't even watch some of the coverage for fear of breaking down. I rarely talk politics on this blog, preferring to keep it simple, but this tragedy made me question a lot of things in life, and get more involved in making a difference.  

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Tandoori Prawn Pizza with Apetina Feta and Baby Arugula

I love fusion food. Its probably my interfering Indian genes, but I love playing with food, and I absolutely love it when I make a dish that started off as an idea and ends up as a beautifully harmonious blend of many different cultures. 

I got the opportunity to make one of my favourite fusion recipes when I was contacted by Arla Foods (who make Tre Stelle and Apetina Feta cheeses) and offered the opportunity to review some of their cheeses. Almost immediately I knew I was going to make pizza, I mean... cheese? Pizza of course. I don't know why I've never blogged this recipe before, to be honest. I make this particular one all the time, but at the same time, now that I think about it, it also disappears pretty quickly. At least, quicker than I can get my camera out. 

My usual toppings for this pizza are tandoori prawns, peppers, cilantro and mozzarella. This time round, I thought I would be a little different, and decided to go with feta cheese. I've been eating a fair bit of feta in recent times, and I also really like the convenience of Apetina Feta Cubes, so the choice was pretty easy to go with. So I made this recipe, and while I loved the combination of spicy tomato sauce, fresh red peppers, spicy-sweet tandoori prawns and salty, creamy feta cheese, I felt like it was lacking something. Kay then suggested that I should add something green, and of course, that was exactly the missing link I was looking for. I went with arugula, or rocket, as I call it, and it completed the pizza almost like magic. The subtly delicate pepperiness of fresh baby arugula was the perfect foil for the balance of flavours in the pizza. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

Potato Bhajias/ Pakoras

Canadian Thanksgiving has just been, and what a lovely day we had. Mum-in-law and I made a few side dishes with produce from the garden (yep, potatoes) and we all headed down to Kathryn's for a lovely meal and we joked that it was certainly pleasant to cook and actually eat all the food ourselves. The turkey was excellent, super moist and all the sides complemented it so beautifully. We had some sparkling bubbly, with some excellent red with the dinner, and for dessert, some gorgeous cheeses that Lydia from Everything Cheese brought us, and a chocolate cake, and of course, a traditional pumpkin pie made by MIL (a very old family recipe that's coming soon on this blog, perhaps just in time for American Thanksgiving!)

I certainly have a lot to be thankful for. My family, my friends, my wonderful husband and child, my dream job with Kathryn, all the people I've met here in Edmonton, and who have become such a big part of my life. Thanksgiving is certainly special, and while we don't necessarily celebrate it a huge way, we certainly had a wonderful time surrounded by family and friends. I do miss my own family back in India, but even the distance is bridged with regular phone calls and Skype meetings.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Classic Potato Salad

As summer comes to an end, I find myself scrambling around, trying to preserve the last of it... like if I hold on to it hard enough, the warmth and sunshine may just stay a little longer. Its a bit like watching your child grow up... except that in this case, summer will always come around again, but those precious childhood years won't ever be back. 

Aditi started kindergarten last week. Even though she's been going to preschool, it struck me quite hard as to the fact that my baby was no longer a baby, and that she's now independent and ready for big-girl school. We placed her in a lovely programme at a wonderful school, but there is always niggling questions... are we are doing the right thing, is she too young to start school (she's a bit on the young side), will she cope with all the kids, is it too much pressure, how can we make her life easier... all valid, legitimate concerns, but the fact remains that the years race by, and seasons pass on by and my baby grows older with each passing day. Its enough to make a mum emotional.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Home grown parsley and potato soup

Its been a weird week. I've had news that's made me hugely happy, and then we've had events that have made both Kay and I sad. Lets start with the good news. See that shiny new badge on my right sidebar?
→ 
Yes, I've been voted into Babble's Top 100 Mom Food Blogs for 2012, and I am number 24. I am so chuffed and I want to thank you all so much for putting up with my constant begging, begging, whining, guilting requests for votes from you all. Its been an incredible journey, and I am finally beginning to feel settled and happy with myself and this little space I've created. 

So thank you all from the bottom of my cooking pots and pans! I couldn't have done it with your constant support and encouragement.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Beet Greens Fugath (Spiced Beet Greens with Shredded Coconut)

I've been absolutely loving the weather in Edmonton this summer. Its been in the low plus thirties all this week and its due to last into next week, and for me-from-the-tropics, its heavenly weather. The husband and kid complain that its too hot, but I tell them both to suck it up, cause I'd rather it be plus thirty than minus thirty.

All this beautiful weather has meant that the garden has been doing extremely well. We've had some nice rainy weather on a few days, and this has helped everything grow, and the sunshine means that fruits and vegetables are ripening up beautifully. I don't have much of a berry crop this year, as we onlt just planted our strawberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants and raspberries, but my highbush cranberry bush has gazillions of berries on it, and I can't wait for them to ripen. The pin cherries only need a couple more days, and then... mmmm... pie.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Paneer Tikka

I am sure all of you have done this on many ocasions. When I am frustrated, mad, angry or just plain pissed... I cook and clean. I vent all of my woes on that poor ingredient that needs to be at the sharp end of a knife. My poor chopping board has been the recipient of many a bash and bang, and my onions and tomatoes cringe when I come at them in that mood. Copious amounts of butter/ oil/ cream get poured into the food, and nothing gets spared in the house. Floors get vigorously cleaned, bathrooms shine, furniture glistens, surfaces sparkle, carpets get beaten... damn, I should get angry more often, right?

Now that you know what I do... you might as well as know why. Its bleeding Air Canada. What other airline in the world can be so contemptuous of its customers? Not content with driving other, smaller airlines out of business, they now hold such a monopoly, that they can pretty much quote you fares out of their ass. Kay and I always got incredibly frustrated with them... for example, their local flights from one small town to another would usually end up costing us more that out entire return flight from, say, Manchester to Vancouver. Such a massive pain in the posterior that!

So basically, this means another long seventeen hour drive to the in-laws then. Argh! And don't even get me started on mobile phone prices...

Friday, 30 March 2012

Smoked Salmon Dip with Crostini

Smoked Salmon Dip with Crostini

First off, I want to share with you all that my mum's fish curry recipe was trialled by Felicity Cloake of the Guardian. Holy!!! Yes, that Guardian, of which I am an avid reader and fan. I am still recovering from the honour of having my name mentioned alongside Madhur Jaffery and Camellia Panjabi.... faints again...

You can read the article here. Mum, you rock!

... recovers from faint... and on to our feature presentation...

Sunday, 18 September 2011

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My childhood and adolescence were defined by these puffs. If you think that's a sweeping statement to be making, well, lets just say that these puffs figured in, oh, 300 out of the 365 days for the first 20 years of my life. Yes, that's a lot of puffs, wouldn't you say? In all their varieties of course, meat, vegetable and eggs.

Puffs are very popular snacks in many parts of South India, particularly Mangalore and the south coast. They consist of a spicy onion masala, with either meat, vegetables or eggs encased in a light puff pastry. I am not sure how they originated or how they came to be such a such a staple. I suspect that they may have been part of the Portuguese culture that colonised Goa, and then been adopted by the Indians in their spicy avatar. Whatever the origin, these spicy snacks are ubiquitous everywhere, and an absolute favourite of every young child, teenager and adults too.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

vegetable cutlets

With temperatures hitting -20 here in Edmonton, I figure its absolutely fine if I gorge on comfort foods. After all I have to keep up my core body temperature... at least, that's my excuse :-)

Vegetable cutlets are another of my comfort foods. They are an ubiquitous snack in India, especially on trains. Having spent loads of time on trains travelling to and from home and university, I am especially nostalgic about train food. They are usually served simply with a bit of chutney and ketchup, and are filling, fairly nutritious and delicious, with their crisp fried outsides and yummy moist, spicy, vegetabley insides!

I made these cutlets to serve as a snack with afternoon tea, and they went down extremely well with the family. You can pretty much use any mashable vegetables in these cutlets along with the potatoes. I used carrots, peas, cooked chickpeas and sweet potatoes . Skip the green chillies for a less spicy version. They also work really well as an alternative to meat burgers.

The cutlets freeze very well, fried or not. If you want to freeze them uncooked, just layer them between squares of greaseproof paper, defrost thoroughly before frying. If you're freezing fried cutlets, defrost before using, and use a oven to reheat them to regain their crisp outside.

Recipe:
(Printable Recipe)

1 small onion, chopped fine
1 large or 2 small carrots, diced
1 large potato, diced
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1/2 cup tinned, or cooked, chickpeas
2 flakes garlic, microplaned or grated into a paste
1 inch piece of ginger, microplaned or grated into a paste
1 or 2 green chillies, chopped fine
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chilli powder (increase for added spiciness)
1/2 tsp amchur (dried mango powder) (optional)
2 - 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
A few tbsps besan or gramflour (or cornflour)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup dried breadcrumbs or a coarse semolina (sooji), for coating
Oil, enough for shallow frying

Method:

Boil the carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes and peas, until cooked and tender.

In a small frying pan, fry the onion for around 2 -3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic, fry for a minute, then add the green chilly(ies). Fry for around 30 seconds, then add the ground coriander, cumin, chilli powder, amchur and garam masala. Fry together for another 2 or 3 minutes, adding a dash of water if the mixture is too dry.

In a large bowl, mash the boiled vegetables, along with the chickpeas. Tip in the fried onion/ spice mixture and mash again. Add the fresh coriander and mix in well. If this mixture is too wet, stir in a couple tbsps of besan or cornflour, until it binds together well. Season with the salt and pepper to your taste.

Shape the mixture into balls, then flatten until you have round cutlets. You can also shape them into other shapes like hearts, triangles, squares etc, according to your preference.

Gently dredge the shaped cutlets in the breadcrumbs or semolina, coating well. Put the prepared cutlets into the fridge for about 30 minutes or so. This will help them set, and not break up in the pan while cooking.

In a frying pan, add just enough oil for shallow frying. Fry the cutlets, two or three at a time, until both sides are golden brown.

Serve with coconut or mint chutney and ketchup and a hot cup of tea or coffee. Yummy!!

Friday, 12 November 2010

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Yum yum yum!! Another snack I adore from Mangalore. I can eat goli baje by the bucketful if given the opportunity. Goli baje are basically deep fried seasoned balls of flour and yoghurt, lightly spiced with some green chilli, ginger, fresh coriander and even curry leaves. The literal translation of the words means, 'round fried snack'. Its famous all around Mangalore, and many a time I have sat in a hotel in the middle of nowhere, sipping strong hot coffee and savouring these mini bites of delight with sambar and coconut chutney, sometimes even with good old ketchup.

It is another one of those snacks that is deeply associated with my memories of Mangalore, and home. There were days when my mum would come home from her teaching job absolutely exhausted, and she couldn't be bothered to make us anything for tea. My sister and I used to be sent to Gokul Vegetarian Hotel to buy snacks, and ten to one, we would end up bringing back home goli baje which we would then share with mum and a hot cup of tea. Or when we got older, we would spend hours with friends at roadside eateries just eating snacks after snacks after snacks. Its a miracle I haven't ended up weighing ten tonnes, the way we ingested all that cholestrol heavy food :-)

.

This is one of those snacks we never really bothered to make at home. I mean, why would we go to the trouble of making up the batter and spending at least an hour over a hot stove when we could just pop around to the local eatery?

However, when I moved to England, and subsequently, here to Edmonton, there are times when I crave the comforting food of my childhood and most of my adolescence. Sadly for me, I haven't found a single place in Edmonton that sells goli baje (I am sure I would keel over with a heart attack if I did, I'd be eating there so often). I have found a nice South Indian place though, more on that in a later post. So coming back to my point, if I want goli baje I have to make them myself. Bah humbug, all that work!!

So anyway, armed with a list of ingredients off my mum (I swear to God, she is so imprecise in her measurements, a bit of this and a bit of that, and yet her food somehow tastes glorious!!) I decided this afternoon was going to be my goli baje time. It gets dark early nowadays, and its so cold outside, it would be just criminal not to gorge full of comfort food! Or at least, that's my excuse.

The ingredients are fairly basic, more often that not you will have them in your pantry at any given point. You do need to get a feel for the thickness of the batter though, but that comes very quickly with some practice. And hey, you can always add more water or flour without messing with the taste.

I tinkered a bit with mum's recipe, to make sure I had some basic ideas of quantities, as normally with a recipe like this I would have eyeballed it. So here's the modified recipe. Do play around with the quantity of green chilli and ginger until you get a sense of what suits your spice tolerance level. My mum suggests letting the batter ferment for at least 6 hours, I say ha!! to that, but good on you if you have the patience to do that, 30 minutes is my limit :-)

I served the goli baje with coconut chutney, recipe here.

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Recipe:
(Printable Recipe)

1 cup plain flour (maida)
1/4 cup besan (chickpea/gram flour)
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1 tsp bicarb of soda (substitute baking powder, if you don't have the bicarb)
Around 1/4 cup water, plus maybe a little bit more.
2 tbsp sugar
1 or 2 tsp salt (go easy on the salt, add more only if you feel the batter needs it)
Around 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 green chilly, finely chopped (add more if you wish to increase the spice level)
Roughly 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander

Enough oil for deep frying

Method:

Sift together the flour, besan, bicarb of soda, sugar and salt. Mix well, then add the yoghurt, mixing well. Now slowly whisk in the water, a little at a time until the batter just very heavily slides off a spoon, the consistency of very thick clotted cream...


Stir in the ginger, chilli and fresh coriander. Let the batter sit for around 30 minutes or up to six hours. Or even overnight in a fridge.

Heat enough oil for deep frying in a pan, until it gets hot enough that if you drip in a drop of batter, its should quickly rise to the surface covered in bubbles. Turn the heat down to medium.


Drop in spoonfuls of the batter, not too much at a time, as the bajes will fluff up in the oil. Deep fry for roughly five to seven minutes, until they are a light golden brown colour. Don't worry if they are odd shapes and sizes, just adds to the fun!

Using a slotted spoon, lift them gently from the oil and drain on absorbent kitchen paper.
Repeat until the batter is all used up.


Serve hot with chutney or ketchup and a hot coffee/tea. The bajes will be crisp on the outside and almost squishy elastic on the inside!

Bliss!!!


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Thursday, 27 May 2010

French Onion Soup

This is fairly time consuming as the onions do have to be cooked till they are gorgeously caramelly and sticky. But once that's done, the rest of the soup is remarkably easy to put together and uses minimal ingredients. I tend to use the healthier olive oil instead of butter, but if you prefer, you can use butter to caramelise the onions.

This recipe is from Raymond Blanc, but I have adapted it to suit us. I still use the wine (even with a little one, as the alcohol is boiled away), but you can substitute a medium sherry instead which adds more sweetness to the finished soup. We eat this with French bread and grilled cheese and its a lovely, satisfying lunch!!

Recipe:

4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
Around 1/2 kilo of Spanish onions, sliced
2 tbsp plain flour
100 ml dry white wine (boil to get rid of the alcohol)
Around 900 ml vegetable stock
1 tsp brown sugar
Salt (adjust, as the stock can be salty)
Pepper
Slices of French Bread
Cheese

Method:

Put the olive oil and butter into a heavy pot, heat for a few minutes and toss in the onions. Cook, stirring ocasionally for about 30 - 45 minutes, don't rush this part, as the onions do need to be caramel and sticky and sweet. The colour is up to you, I like it fairly light, but if you want a dark colour keep cooking. Take care not to burn the onions. Add the sugar and flour and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the white wine and the stock, and bubble for another 10 minutes or so. Season with the salt and pepper. Grill the cheese on the French bread. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the toasted bread and cheese.

Enjoy!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

By popular demand :-)

Again, the key to spicing these fish cakes, is to add a little spice at a time and taste. The fish is poached in fish stock, however, I have, on occasion, just poached it in water (infused with 1 bay leaf, 3 peppercorns, salt and a generous handful of lemon thyme). Use small sweet cooked prawns as they really add to the taste.

Recipe:

1 fillet skinless haddock or any white fish. You can also use salmon for a stronger flavour. I use the tails and the cheap pieces of fish, rather than expensive fillets.
50g small pink prawns, cooked. If using bigger prawns, chop them up.
1 egg
1 large potato
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 green chilly
4 tbsp cornflour
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground corinader
1 (or to taste) tsp chilly powder [optional, for a spicier taste]
Small bunch fresh coriander
Fish stock
Dried bread crumbs or very coarse semolina
Salt and Pepper to taste
Oil (enough to shallow fry)

Method:

1. Gently poach the fish in the fish stock until it flakes. Do not overcook the fish.

2. Chop the potato into small chunks and boil till done.

3. Chop finely the onion and the green chilly.

4. In a mortar and pestle (or a microplane grater) grind down the garlic and ginger.

5. Chop the fresh coriander finely.

6. In a big bowl, flake in the fish, add the prawns and add to it the boiled potato, onion, chilly, ginger and garlic. Using your fingers mash them all together into a very coarse mix. To this, add the garam masala, ground coriander, ground cumin and chilly powder, if using. Mix. Add the salt and pepper and taste. Add a bit more of the spices, depending on taste. Sprinkle over the cornflour and shape into patties. Add more or less of the cornflour, depending on how wet the mixture is. If the mixture is too dry, moisten with a little fish stock or poaching water. If its too wet, add more cornflour.

7. Beat the egg lightly. Brush a tiny bit of the egg over the patties, and roll them in the breadcrumbs or semolina.

8. Once all the cakes have been made, pop them into the fridge, if you have time. This sets the cakes, and they are less likely to break apart in the pan.

9. In a shallow non-stick pan, heat a little oil. Shallow fry the fish cakes until they are a lovely golden brown. Serve warm with chilli sauce, tomato ketchup or mint chutney.