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Weiner Schnitzel

17 Apr

D (my son) and R have a favourite food for Saturday nights if we are at home or for Friday nights if its a movie night! The dish may well explain our more than generous proportions, well technically should explain their proportions since I am a vegetarian, but thsi is sympathetic expansion, since I am the one doing the cooking 🙂 

Weiner schnitzel from Germany, one of his favourites that R devoured on our travels across the Continent, and gorged himself sick on in Austria! No let me correct that, I felt sick at the end of it, R can put away a decent amount of meat when he wants to! While the dish is very popular in Germany, being a staple on all restaurant menus, the origins of the dish actually go back to the 7th century Byzantine Empire.

The story oft told is that the Kaiser Basileios I (867-886AD) preferred his meat covered with sheets / foil of gold. And what he liked soon became popular with the wealthy (sounds familiar?)! But, alas, even for the wealthy, this practice became too taxing on the wallet, so a substitute was settled upon – “yellow gold” (golden fried bread crumbs). Indigestion and gold poisoning might have been a more reasonable explanation but where’s the romance in that eh?

While technically a Weiner Schnitzel is a breaded veal cutlet, German restaurants serve other different versions depending on the meat.

Schweine-Schnitzel A breaded pork cutlet. These are usually made with thin pork loin cutlets (also known as Scaloppini).

Puten-Schnitzel A breaded slice of turkey breast. Lower in fat and a milder taste than the veal and pork schnitzels.

Hänchen-Schnitzel A breaded, boneless, skinless breast of chicken. Lower in fat and a milder taste than the veal and pork schnitzels

The family favourite is the chicken, cos it’s the least harmful (read red meat) of the three and I just can’t seem to get my veal right! Yes R, I am painfully aware that I don’t!! 🙂

Ingredients
1 large chicken breast
4 tbsp of plain flour (maida) with 1/4 tsp each  salt and pepper
1 egg beaten along with 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper
2 cups of finely crushed fresh bread crumbs
Oil for frying

3 plates

Method
Keep the chicken breast on a chopping board and using a really sharp knife slice it into 3-4 slices. If the slices are thick, pound them with a meat mallet to thin them out. The difference between fried chicken and a chicken schnitzel is essentially the thinness of the meat.

Put the three plates side by side. In one, place the flour, in the second the egg and in the third unseasoned fresh bread crumbs.

Take one sliced breast piece of chicken, dredge it in the flour so that it is completely coated.

Then dip it in the egg wash….

…. and then crumb it. Do not press the bread crumbs too hard. Once coated with crumb, lift the chicken piece and then shake a little to brush off the excess bread crumbs.

Now they are ready to fry! Keep this in the fridge till you are ready to fry. I find that the schnitzels, kept like this in the fridge keep for two days. After that you need to junk them!

Deep fry in oil, till golden brown (the chicken gets cooked anyways cos the slices are really thin.

Serve with mushrooms in a creamy sauce, mashed potatoes and a wedge of lemon!

Bon Appétit!

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Koraishuti kachori

13 Apr

Am not sure why I am starting to post with a Bengali recipe! I am not one, albiet married to one and now perhaps have imbibed more bengali food than my Bengali husband! I guess probably because I just cooked a Bengali meal for friends last Sunday and its still fresh in my mind, cos even guys / gals who stay away from fried food, happily tucked into it!

Koraishuti is the Bengali word for peas. Dont ask me why is it such a long and complicated name for such a tiny vegetable! Come to think of it, even the Hindi version is short and sweet – mutter! But long definately defines this one dish! Its a painstaking, long process but the end result well worth it!

Koraishuti kachori is essentially puffed, fried flour breads (or kachoris as we call them) that have been stuffed with a peas mixture. These are traditionally served with alu dum and a tomato chutney. 

Peas mixture

500 gms frozen peas thawed (have never made it with fresh ones)

2 green chillies

1 inch ginger chopped into small pieces

2 tsp saunf (fennel seeds)

1 tsp salt

3-4 tbsp of mustard oil

Masala for the peas mixture

2 tejpatta (bay leaves) broken,

2-3 dry red chillies

1/4 tablespoon jeera

¼ tablespoon dhania seeds

4-5 each  dalchini, laung, elaichi

Method

Put all the ingredients in a blender (yup the blender not the mixer part) of your kitchen machine and whizz till it all becomes a fine mash. This sounds a lot easier than it is cos the peas just dont seem to get minced. Add a little water, use the spatula to move the peas around.. it takes about5 minutes to get this done 😦

While you are struggling with the peas :-), put all the ingredients for the masals in a pan and dry roast them. Once roasted cool and powder in a grinder.

Heat the mustard oil in a large pan and when it starts to smoke (till its smoked the mustard oil is raw) add the whole peas mixture to it.

Keep turning the mixture and letting it cook till it starts to dry and then add 2 tbsp of the rosted spices’ powder that you have just made. Wait for 5 minutes, and then while the mixture is still hot, start to roll the mixture into small balls. Remember, if the mixture cools, then the cooked peas mixture doesn’t stick together in a ball and falls apart, so you need to work fast and live with a lil bit of heat.

Roll all the mixture into balls and keep aside to cool. Once cooled these balls can actually be frozen for about 2-3 weeks and used as desired.

The Dough

3 cups of maida (plain flour)

1 pinch of sugar

1/4 tsp of salt

3 tbsp of oil

water

Mix the sugar and salt in the dry maida and then add the oil. Mix till the mixture resembles rough crumbs. Then add as much water as is necessary to make a pliable dough.

Once the dough is ready, tear off a table tennis ball size of dough, roll it into a ball, and then flatten it into a 2-3 inch disc using your fingers. Keep one of the peas mixture ball that you had made earlier inside this disc and then fold it around the ball to enclose it

Once you get a ball of dough with a peas ball inside, flatten the ball into a disc and then roll out the disc into a larger disc, just ensure that while you are rolling you dont press to hard otherwis ethe filling will come out. Roll out to a disc about 4-4.5 inches in diameter.

 

Once these are ready, heat oil in a large open pan and deep fry these. They puff up are delicious to eat with an pottao curry and tomato chutney. in my wisdom, I have forgotten to take a photograph of the final product 😦 but that’s for another day!!