Category Archives: Appetizer

Sweet and Spicy Pecans

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These spiced nuts disappear like magic at parties

These spiced nuts disappear like magic at parties

Whip the egg whites to be nice and fluffy

Whip the egg whites to be nice and fluffy

My mom first found this one.  If you have been to a party at my house, you have probably had these.  I love them.  They are the perfect sweet/spicy mix, they use no oil to make them (just egg whites!!), can be made ahead of time and store well.  Great for this time of year when you need to bring something with you to a party.  And they disappear immediately.  Maybe because they are as addictive as crack.  I always double the recipe.  Always.

1 large egg white (2 tablespoons)
½ c sugar
2 T sweet paprika
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 to 2 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste (I go light on this one)
½ tsp kosher salt
2 c raw pecan halves

Add spices and seasonings

Add spices and seasonings

Preheat oven to 250*.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the egg white in a large stainless steel

Whip up to keep eggs somewhat fluffy

Whip up to keep eggs somewhat fluffy

bowl and whisk until frothy.  Whisk in the sugar, paprika, Worcestershire, cayenne and salt.  Add the pecans and toss until completely coated.

Transfer the pecans to the prepared sheet and arrange in a single layer.  Place in the oven & cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until lightly colored and dried out, about 1-1.25 hours.

Remove from the over, while it is still very

Stir in nuts

Stir in nuts

warm, loosen the nuts with a metal spatula (if not, when it is cool, you’ll have to crack them apart), and set aside to cool before serving.  Picture from after baking.

Before they go in the oven

Before they go in the oven

Prep pictures shows a double-batch.  I can’t recommend strongly enough doubling the recipe.

Single batch makes 2 cups.

After they come out of the oven

After they come out of the oven

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bengali Egg Rolls

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Egg roll before it is rolled - parathas, egg, keema and sauce, yum!

Egg roll before it is rolled – parathas, egg, keema and sauce, yum!

This is part 3 in a 3 part series of recipes that go together – parathas, keema and Bengali egg rolls.  They are called egg rolls because they actually have eggs in them, so forget Chinese egg rolls and give these a try. This is one of Arvind’s all-time favorite dishes.  You can tell, he stopped taking picture once they were almost assembled.  It is a snack, but if you make enough of them, they can become a meal.

The filling is extremely flexible and is nearly begging for you to add your own fusion style here.  For this recipe, I’m going with keema (see recipe in meat section), but you can put any leftovers you have in there that is not too liquidy.  The recipe is for 4 egg rolls, but you can see how to easily move it up or down to fit any quantity you want.  Also, prepare to be hooked on parathas, the most wonderful Indian bread ever.  The directions are in excruciating detail, so don’t worry, it sounds like more work than it is.  They are actually super quick once you get everything assembled.

Get all your ingredients laid out ahead of time - it goes quickly

Get all your ingredients laid out ahead of time – it goes quickly

Ingredients
4 eggs
½ of an onion, finely chopped (if you have onions in your meat, you can skip this)
1 c keema, (but see notes below)*
Maggie Hot and Sweet Sauce**
Cilantro for garnish
4 parathas, still frozen***
toothpicks

Notes
*  You just want finely chopped meat (or nice veggie) here for contrasting flavors.  I like keema (here’s a link to the recipe), but you could used chopped up cooked chicken (like leftover from rotisserie chicken), cooked hamburger, leftover Indian dishes that aren’t too saucy, etc.  Or go fusion and come up with something entirely different!

Heat up parathas and then start the first egg when they are almost done

Heat up parathas and then start the first egg when they are almost done

**Maggie Hot and Sweet sauce is sort of an Indian ketchup. Their tagline is “It’s Different!” and it is.  It is also great on scrambled eggs, potatoes, etc.   It has a little heat and is a little sweet
*** For paratha directions, see the blog on how to make parathas (click here).

Directions
Crack eggs into a bowl with a lip (like a measuring cup).  Scramble them.  Set aside.  If you like raw onions, set those aside.  If you don’t, brown the onions and set aside.  Heat up the meat.  Have the Hot and Sweet sauce and cilantro ready to go. (You may want to taste the sauce to make sure you like it before adding it to the food.  Arvind does not like it, I love it.)  Get your toothpicks handy.

Put the cooked paratha on the egg as it cooks

Put the cooked paratha on the egg as it cooks

 

Heat up a paratha according to my previous post.

Meanwhile heat up a second non-stick pan over medium heat.  When the paratha is almost done, put some oil in the second pan and pour in about 1 egg’s worth into the center of the pan and do not touch it.  You’ll see the egg start to set. When that happens, put the cooked paratha on top of it.  Use a spatula to push the paratha down into the egg.  Then use the spatula to get under the egg and paratha in one go and flip it over (they’ll go together).  Then transfer the paratha, egg-up onto a work area.

Take the paratha/egg off the heat and add the filling.  (There is a litte too much egg on this one)

Take the paratha/egg off the heat and add the filling. (There is a litte too much egg on this one)

Top the paratha with meat, onions, sauce and cilantro.  Roll it up and secure it with some toothpicks.   Set that one aside and continue on making the rest of them the same way.  Arvind and I create an assembly line – he makes the parathas.  I do the egg and fill them.  It goes really fast, so that is why you want have everything all ready to go before you start.

The basic thing is paratha and egg with a little something else mixed in.  Have fun experimenting with flavors you like or leftovers you don’t know what to do with.  Think of it like I’m giving you the recipe for burritos.  Sure, this combo is good, but really, you can mix and match up stuff you like.

Post combinations below that you like so other people can enjoy your combinations.

Herbed Butter and Sliced Radishes

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We are still not getting spring here and it is making me a little stir crazy.  So I thought I’d post this springy/summery recipe.  I served this at book club and the butter was mistaken for cheese because it is just that tasty. Here is a picture of this with a couple of cheeses as an appetizer platter.  You could also use some nice thinly sliced whole-wheat bread to make open-faced sandwiches for lunch.  You’ll want to use the butter on everything,  and should.  It would be great if you steamed or roasted veggies and then tossed a little of this on it to finish them off.

Herbed butter (center), sliced radishes and sliced baguettes along with some cheeses

Herbed butter (center), sliced radishes and sliced baguettes along with some cheeses

1 stick of unsalted butter (really, unsalted, it makes a huge difference in this one!)
1 tsp kosher salt (the larger grains make a difference here)
2-4 T Chopped fresh herbs – like chives, thyme, rosemary, dill, tarragon, parsley.  Whatever is fresh and you can get your hands on.  You can do just one or any mix that smells good to you.  I like chives and dill, but pick out what you like.  Altogether, you’ll need at least a couple of tablespoons.
1 bunch radishes, as fresh and beautiful as you can get
Baguette

Soften the butter by leaving it on the counter for about an hour.  Using a mixer, whip the butter until it is fluffy.  Mix in the salt.  Mix in the herbs.  Taste the butter and see if it tastes good to you.  If not, add more salt and/or herbs.  Put the butter in a serving bowl.  You can use it right away or put it in the fridge.  It will harden in the fridge, but if you want it fluffy later on, just make sure you take it out of the fridge in time to resoften before using.

Slice the radishes thinly.  Slice the baguette.  Arrange the butter, radishes and bread on a platter.  Guests butter and top the baguette slices themselves.  If you want this to be a passed appetizer, you could do that ahead of time and serve all ready on a platter.

Chaat/Fuchka

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Fuchka for 2! Our meal of fuchka, potato/veggie filling, chaat masala water, various chutneys and toppings and then samosa and polish sausage on the side

Fuchka for 2! Our meal of fuchka, potato/veggie filling, chaat masala water, various chutneys and toppings and then samosa and polish sausage on the side

I am putting out a teaser recipe to get the blog rolling.  This is an Indian street food that I think is almost hearty enough to make  a meal.  In our usual fusion sort of way, we enjoy this with Polish sausage or kielbasa.  For some reason, Arvind says that it wasn’t a common partner to this dish on the streets of Calcutta!

The dish is made of three parts: a crunchy “fuchka” which is a hollow, fried ball, mashed potatoes with veggies mixed in and a room-temperature broth.  You make a hole in the fuchka, fill it with the mashed potatoes, dip it all in the broth and eat.

This will require a trip to the Indian grocery store.  There are no 2 ways around it.  But to take the terror out of that process, I have taken pictures of all the things you need to buy.  You can even show the pictures from this blog on your phone to the shopkeeper if you don’t see them.  Since this is a really common dish, they’ll have it on hand.  I promise.

Fuchka come in clear packages or in a boxed set with some extra sauces and little crunchies. I prefer the box.

Fuchka come in clear packages or in a boxed set with some extra sauces and little crunchies. I prefer the box.

Fuchka/Pani Puri*
2 tsp (or more to taste) + 1 tsp per person chaat masala *(see picture)
3 medium potatoes
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1.5 c frozen mixed vegetables

Wash the potatoes and stab them with a fork.  Microwave them until they are soft.

Meanwhile sauté the onion in a little oil.  Once the onion starts to soften, clear a spot in the pan make sure there is little oil there.  Add in 1 tsp of chaat masala.  Let it sit for a few seconds until you can smell the spices heating up.  Once you start smelling them, mix it in with the onions.  Then add  in the frozen veggies.  If they are still frozen, cover and let them cook through.

Mash the potatoes in a mixing bowl.  Add in a little chaat masala and a little oil.  Keep mashing until almost the consistency of regular mashed potatoes.  Mix in the onion and veggies.  Taste it.  Does it need more chaat masala?  Add more if needed  Put in a serving bowl.

Chaat Masala is in the aisle with all the boxes that look like this

Chaat Masala is in the aisle with all the boxes that look like this

Fill a bowl for each person with water and add 1 tsp of chaat masala to the water and stir until mixed. If you got the kit with all the little sauces put those in little bowls.  Put the pani puri in a bowl as well.

To eat, take a pani puri.  Push with your thumb on one side.  One of side will give easily, the other will not.  Break a hole with your thumb.  Take some potato mixture and fill the pani puri.  If you have the extras, top the potato filling with those.  Give

the chaat masala water a little stir, then dip the whole thing in the water and eat immediately.  If you got the set set with the extra sauces and fried chickpeas, you can add those in different combos.  Warning – I’m not a fan of their “broth mix”, steer clear – spicy and odd tasting.

It makes for a fun, interactive dinner.  I would think if you could get it to the table without kids noticing they don’t recognize it, they would like it (or maybe make them some without the spices to be more palatable to them).  The fun of stuffing and dipping makes it a very happy meal!