Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Potato Parathas ... Aloo Parathas

My husband and I used to eat Parathas all the time, in fact they are a favorite in our home. Our local Halal store *Halalco* used to sell them in packs and sometimes we would eat them with soup and salad for dinner or lunch, or with Chorba Frik instead of Boureks during Ramadan. Sometimes we would just eat them with a cup of cold milk and slathered butter on top... yummmmm! Try for tea time in the afternoons too! For all the Algerian food lovers out there this is truly an Indian version of Mhadjubs.

After moving here to the South of Algeria we no longer have access to them, store bought anyway. I did travel to the North before Ramadan to visit some friends and my husband found a very nice Indian Restaurant, although we didn't actually eat Parathas I am sure they have them since it's a very popular dish. This pregnancy seems to be all about eating hot and spicy foods, so of course I have to make spicy Parathas.

The follow recipe is for 6 Parathas but can easily be doubled or tripled depending on how many you will serve.

1 cup whole wheat flour which doesn't exist in Algeria so I am using white flour + more for rolling
1/2 cup water
2 tbs oil, separated
salt to taste

3 medium potatoes
3 medium carrots
1 tbs chili pepper
1/2 ts cumin powder or to taste
salt to taste


I like to make the filling first so it's room temperature when the dough is ready to be rolled out. I have heard that you can make the filling uncooked, but I prefer to cook mine I don't really care for uncooked spices or potatoes.
Boil the potatoes and carrots then mash them together with the spices. Taste and adjust. Set aside to cool.

For the dough:

In a food processor or by hand mix all the flour, water, 1 tbs of oil and salt. Knead well, then add the last tbs of oil and let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes. Break into equal portions.

Dust your work surface with flour.

Using your fingers/palm of your hand or a rolling pin make a small circle, the edges should be thinner than the middle to hold the stuffing. Place a ball of stuffing and close up like a dumpling, making sure to seal the edges well. Finish with remaining dough.

Making sure your work surface is floured, start with the first dough ball. Gently and evenly press out, this is a very easy to get a nice circle. Finish by a rolling pin until the size desired is achieved.

The thinner the better in my opinion, but it's all about personal preference. Also consider how much stuffing you have used. If you get any air pockets, prick the dough with a knife and continue.
Dust off any access flour and place on a hot griddle or frying pan. Flip when it's evenly browned.

These are traditionaly served as a breakfast food with Chutney and or Yogurt.
In our home we brush on some butter and serve warm!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pita Bread

7 cups flour, plus more for sprinkling while kneading & rolling out dough
2 tbs salt
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs yeast
6 tbs olive oil
2 1/4 cup warm water

Put everything together in a large bowl and knead until it's soft a elastic. Cover and let rest until doubled.

Break into even balls, this recipe is rather large, it makes 16 pitas. If you are not a large family you can cut this recipe into half.
Dust where you will roll the dough and even sprinkle a bit on the ball to help with sticking. Roll out the dough until pretty thin. I found that letting each ball rest a few minutes before popping them into the oven helped with the puffing up they are supposed to do. Don't worry, they don't always puff, but they do however ALWAYS taste great!

Cook in a very hot oven, either on a hot stone, back of a baking sheet or like me on a cooling rack.
Each side should be slightly golden.



Hummus or Chickpea Dip

I love Hummus, from the first time I ever tried it I was hooked. It's simple, wholesome and fulfilling... if you haven't tried it, it's a must!

3 cups Chickpeas
Garlic Cloves (4 for me, we love garlic)
Salt to taste
Lime or Lemon Juice to taste, I used 2
1/2 - 1 cup of Olive Oil
2-4 tbs Sesame Seed Paste also known as Tahini

Add everything accept the olive oil together and blend until it's smooth. I like to use my food processor, however a blender hand held or stationary will work well too. Add the olive oil slowly until it's a dip consistency.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle paprika or dress it up with veggies and serve with warm pita bread. Hummus is great on everything try meat, salads, instead of using mayo.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Basic Yellow Cake

2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 ts baking powder
1-teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
Vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter (not margarine), softened
1 tbs vanilla
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°
Cut wax paper to fit the bottom of either (3) 9 x 1 1/2-inch round pans or one large baking dish. Butter, then place wax paper in the pan(s) and then butter the paper.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, mixing well.
Measure the 1-1/4 cups of milk in a 2 cup measuring cup….then add enough vegetable oil to bring the liquid up to 1-1/3 cups. Add the milk/vegetable oil mixture, butter and vanilla to the flour mixture and whisk until well combines. Add the eggs and continue whisking until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near center of cake comes out clean, or until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center.
Cool cakes on wire racks for 15 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely.
Frost as desired. I'm a chocoholic so, of course ... I used chocolate frosting.
2-5 tbs corn starch
7 tbs butter
1 chocolate bar
pinch of salt
pinch of vanilla
powdered sugar to taste
milk to make desired consistency
Melt the chocolate and butter together. Add milk, vanilla, salt and sugar, continue stirring until it comes together, a few seconds. Keep the heat very low! 
Add the cornstarch, 1 tbs at a time until you have the perfect frosting.

This is a really soft and easy yellow cake. It does fall apart quite easily though, but that doesn't effect it's yummy taste, I'm sure you will agree once you have tried it!