Bhel Puri

plateful

Last weekend we squeezed in another supper club get together. This one was a South Indian theme, so we had a nice spread of curries.

the spread

We served all the main dishes family style. There was rice, Goan shrimp curry, Keralan chicken, a pot of mixed vegetable curry with sweet potatoes, and our contribution, a coconut milk curry with cauliflower and fresh spinach. We also brought several chutneys, which were made for our appetizer, bhel puri, but also worked nicely with everything else. Continue reading

kibbles and wat

injera at the ready

Supper club was at our house this time, and we just had to do Ethiopian cuisine. We’ve been working on our injera recipe for a while, and wanted to show off. Of course, this meant that when we had guests over the previous week for a trial run, the injera failed miserably, sticking to the pan and coming out in half-raw, half-burnt shreds, but I guess you need a bad dress rehearsal for everything. On the day, it worked perfectly. I made a quadruple batch and all but two breads came out just right: sour, stretchy and full of bubbles.

plateful

The rest of the supper club membership came through with their usual magnificence. Here’s what our dinner plates looked like: injera piled with doro wat (chicken and egg stew), shiro (chickpea flour dip), lentil wat, cabbage-carrot curry, spicy mango cucumber salad, tomato-plum stew, ayib (spiced curds) and azifa (lentil salad). For afters there was a banana-mango-coriander frozen yogurt with chocolate chips, and date sambusas.

dabo kolo

Before all that, we had cocktails and appetizers. Jenise made a gorgeous tower of kitfo (raw beef with spices) layered with goat cheese and served with sliced jalapeños – it was spicy and delicious. Jon invented a drink for the occasion, a lemon-honey-bourbon concoction with a splash of his homemade cardamom tincture. And I tried something new, a traditional Ethiopian snack food called dabo kolo. Something like a pretzel or small, spicy cracker, it unfortunately looks exactly like a particular brand of tartar-control cat kibble that we get from our vet. Fortunately it doesn’t taste like it. It has butter, sugar, salt and berbere powder, but just enough of each to make you want another bite. They are rather addictive.

cutting dabo kolo

Dabo Kolo

Adapted from A Bread a Day and The World of Street Food by Troth Wells

  •  2 cups flour (white, wheat, teff or chickpea flour are all acceptable – I’ve only tried it with white so far)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp berbere powder (the recipe we use is here)
  • 4 Tbsp melted butter or oil
  • 1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the butter and water. Knead until smooth; the dough will be very stiff. Cover it with plastic and let it rest ten minutes or so.

Cut the dough into golf-ball-sized pieces, and roll each one out into a long rope, about 1/4″ thick. Using a knife or dough cutter, cut the rope into even 1/4″ pieces. Scatter these onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake about 25-30 minutes, until crunchy but not dark. Let cool completely.

Wells suggests serving with melted butter, like popcorn. I like them dry, but maybe with a bit more salt than this recipe calls for. These will keep in an airtight jar for at least a week, maybe longer (but they seem to disappear pretty fast).

dabo kolo

twist my arm

kale bits

Alright, alright, I finally did it. I made kale chips. But only because everyone else in the food blog world has already made them and raved about them. Well, and because I love kale and it seemed stupid to pass up a potentially fabulous way of cooking it. This post over on Use Real Butter was the last straw as far as I was concerned (her kale photos are gorgeous), so when I picked up a bunch of kale for a pot of soup, I saved out a bowlful of leaves to roast into chips to go with my sandwich at lunch.

kale chip

It was, I have to admit, very good. The leaves lost all chewiness and became, instead, ethereally crisp and delicate, dissolving on the tongue with a slight crackle. I ate something like half a bunch of kale all by myself without hardly noticing. I intend to make these chips again very soon, perhaps with a bit of cumin sprinkled over, or a little dipping sauce of garlicky yogurt. And need I point out that these would be really fun to serve with drinks?

Note: There are recipes for this all over the internet. I made the Use Real Butter version, but Deb has a good-looking one over at Smitten Kitchen – as well as a great serving suggestion. Kale popcorn? Yes, indeed.

pakora

mushroom pakoras

For a brief, interesting period, a Punjabi grocery store set up behind the outlet mall in the town just north of us. It was hard to find and only occasionally open, but they carried all sorts of things that we normally need to go to Seattle, or at least Everett, to find. It closed, of course – but we had stocked up on several ingredients first, including a bag of chickpea flour – which I inexplicably did nothing with for an embarrassingly long time.

Finally I decided it was stupid to have chickpea flour and not use it, so over the holidays we made pakoras to go with cocktails. Pakora is like Indian tempura: vegetables dipped in a batter of chickpea flour and spices, then deep fried – a bit of a production, but not at all difficult. I used a batter recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s first cookbook, but decided to use mushrooms after looking at my parents’ copy of Alford and Duguid’s Mangoes & Curry Leaves.

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