Friday, February 27, 2015

Galician Empanada Vegetariana | Baking Partners Spanish Feb Challenge

Originally from Galicia in Spain, Empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried. Popular in several Spanish speaking countries, its name comes from the word "Empanar" which means to wrap or coat in bread in Galician, Portugues and Spanish languages.

Its consists of  thin bread dough made of wheat and corn flour (makkai ka aatta, not cornstarch) and stuffed with seafood, meat or even a mixture of vegetables called "zaragallada". It is a part of Galician identity though it is baked all over Spain. 

This time for Baking Partners Challenge by Swathi, Empanada was the chosen one by Marisa of ThermoFan. We were given the options of meat and vegetable fillings and obviously I went for vegetarian one. But I didn't go for zaragallada filling but just sauteed curried vegetables.

Luke warm water: 100 ml + 75 ml
Sugar: 1/2 tsp
Instant yeast: 1 tsp
All Purpose Flour: 250 g
Olive oil: 1 tbsp
Salt: 1 tsp

Zaragallada Filling:
Olive oil
Sweet onions, leek
Garlic cloves
tomatoes red pepper 'zucchini
salt & pepper : to taste

Dissolve yeast and sugar into 100ml water mix well and let it stand until frothy.

In a big bowl, sift flour and salt together. Make a well and add in the ueast mix, 1 tbsp of oil and remaining water a little at a  time until we get a little sticky but elastic dough (dough starts to get sticky and is moist but not wet)

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently and increse the kneading to get a smooth and elastic dough. let it rest halfway through and then knead faster.

I unknowingly added all the water and ended up with a sticky dough. I had to add another 6-8 tbsp of flour to get a smooth and elastic dough. Make sure you add remaining water in tablespoons only if needed.

Form a ball and place in a floured bowl, cover with a wrap and let it ferment for 30 to 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile keep the filling ready. You can make the zaragallada filling previous night and drain out the liquid overnight. I had prepared the filling in the morning and made sure it was dry. I just sauteed veggies adding curry powder.

When ready, gently deflate the dough- mine was sticky -, turn onto a floured counter, divide into half and  roll out each piece into a long rectangle within butter paper or transparent sheets sprinkled with flour- as it might get stuck to the paper or sheet.

You can roll out as thin as possible and if the dough shrinks while rolling out, rest it for 10 minutes or so before continuing the process.

Carefully transfer one rectangle onto the baking dish or tray. You can go for any shape though its traditionally rectangular.

Once a dough rectangle is on the baking sheet, fill it up with the filling prepared leaving an inch at the edges. Cover it with the other rectangle and seal the edges. You can use your fingers or even fork tines to seal the edges.You can nicely shape the rectangle or circle and decorate it with leftover dough pieces. You can go for smaller portions and even crescent shape.

The dough is not good in freezing and its better to use it up.

Once the empanada is ready brush it with egg wash(I went for milk )  and bake it in a preheated oven at 350F/180C for 30-35 minutes until the edges are brown and the top starts browning.

Take out and serve warm or at room temperature when it tastes best.

The bread turned out excellent and was filling. You can experiment with different fillings and turn it out differently each time. You can even use half wheat flour and make it more healthy.

Lets see how others made their empanadas!. Hop over to Swathi's post.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dhansak Dal | Healthy Parsi Style Lentils & Veggies

Since last post was Parsi Brown rice obviously this post will be its partner in gourmet crime - Dhansak dal. The word dhansak literally transaltes into grains & vegetables. Coming the Persia, the Parsis /Zoroastrian community settled along the Indian coast mainly Gujarat and developed a unique cuisine combining both the cuisines. Normally it is made of mutton,lentil and vegetables along with brown rice for a hearty Sunday lunch.  A heavy dish with long prep time it is a traditional Parsi Sunday lunch. Dhansak is also cooked during funeral or sad occasions, so you will not find it during weddings. 

I have tried the vegetarian version from Madhur Jaffrey's World vegetarian and it turned out quiet hearty and heavy but easier than expected.

Masoor Dal: 4 tbsp
Toor /Arhal Dal (Split Pigeon Peas) : 4 tbsp
Mung Dal: 4 tbsp

Aubergine/Eggplant: 1 small peeled and cut into chunks almost 3/4 cup
Pumpkin: 1/2 cup peeled and cubed 

Fresh Mint Leaves: few 
Fresh Coriander/Cilantro: few

Cumin Seeds: 2 tsp
Coriander Seeds: 1.5 tbsp
Cinnamon: 1 " piece broken into smaller pieces
Cardamom Sees: 1/4 tsp
Dried Red Chillies: 3-6 or as per taste
Black peppercorns: 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds: a big pinch

Turmeric powder: 1 tsp

Vegetable oil: 2-4 tbsp 
Onion: 1 medium finely chopped

Garlic: 2 cloves ground + Ginger: 1 inch piece peeled and ground 
simply Ginger garlic paste: 1 tsp 

Tomatoes : 1.5 cups peeled and chopped 

Salt: 2 tsp or as per taste
Tamarind pulp/paste 1 tbsp or lemon juice :2-3 tsp
Dark soft Brown sugar /Jaggery: 1 tsp 

Garnish: (Optional) 
 Browned onions, Fresh cilantro or green chilli sliced into fine rounds

Cook together on stovetop  or pressure cooker, the lentils, herbs and veggies and keep aside. 

Dry roast the cumin, coriander, cinnamon,cardamom dried red chillies, peppercorns and fenugreek seeds in a small pan until they start browning and become aromatic. Cool slightly and grind into a fine powder in the mixer or coffee grinder.

Heat oil in a deep pan and saute onions till they turn brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and stir until the raw smell goes. Add the spice powder and then the tomatoes. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add 1 ccup of water ad bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and let it cook until the tomatoes are softened. 

Pour the tomato mix into the lentil mixture along with enough salt, tamarind pulp and sugar/jaggery. Stir gently and let it cook for 15-20 minutes covered but the lid slightly ajar so that it does boil over. This will let the flavours mingle well. Mix all the ingredients well even mashing them up with the back of the spoon/ladle. 

Serve warm garnished with browned onions,cilantro or green chilli rounds. As usual I skipped this part and just consumed it hungrily with brown rice.

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