September 16, 2014

Nigerian Ojojo (Yam Fritters) | Quick Teatime snack

After Morocco, we move to Nigeria -  another African country today. I shall keep this post small and quick as the dish too is real quick and spicy and just too addictive. 

Presenting Nigerian Ojojo (or Yam fritters) - a popular street food of Nigeria. Pronounced as Or-Jor-Jor, the original recipe used grated water yam and then dipped into a flour base, deep fried. Considering that cleaning and prepping the yam is a pain, and as I had access to diced yam, I quickly made a batch of these for the evening snack and they were gone before I could click. 

Luckily I had a portion kept away for the husband, and that came handy. Kids loved it (who doesnt like deep fried food). So, if you are a fan of bhajias and pakoras, you might like these Nigerian Yam fritters (I will try the grated version next time). A perfect snack with your evening tea.


Adapted from this recipe

5 quick facts about Nigeria
Nigerian Flag
  • The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is Africa's most popular and best selling literary piece ever, translated into over 40 languages across Africa and the World (I have read this book, and its truly a class apart)
  • Nigeria is often referred to as the "Giant of Africa", due to its large population and economy.With approximately 174 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world.
  • Nigerian cuisine, like West African cuisine in general, is known for its richness and variety. Many different spices, herbs and flavourings are used in conjunction with palm oil or groundnut oil to create deeply flavoured sauces and soups often made very hot with chili peppers
  •  Nigerian feasts are colourful and lavish, while aromatic market and roadside snacks cooked on barbecues or fried in oil are plentiful and varied.
Location Map of Nigeria

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Country : Nigeria
Dish : Ojojo (Water yam fritters) – a popular street food
Spice level : Medium
Serving suggestions :  Soup or with Tomato ketchup
Prep time : 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins | Serves : 3
Adapted from Dobby’s recipe

Ingredients:

  • Water yam / yam – peeled and grated (I cubed it)  - 1 cup
  • Onion powder – 1 TBSP (or you could use pureed onion – 4 tsp)
  • Rice flour – 5 TBSP
  • Besan / gram flour – 1 TBSP (Opt. but I used it)
  • Turmeric – a dash (opt.)
  • Cornflour / Maida – 3 TBSP
  • Salt – to taste
  • Pepper powder – ½ tsp
  • Ginger garlic paste – ½ tsp
  • Oil – to deep fry
  • Garnish - spring onion (diced)  - totally optional

Method:

  1. Mix the flours, salt, ginger garlic paste, pepper, onion powder/ puree and add 1-2 TBSP of water to make a slurry mass.
  2. If the yam is grated, no need to add further water. But if using cubed yam, add 1 tsp of warm oil, and mix in the cubes.
  3. Let it rest for 3- 4 mins.
  4. Heat oil. When it reaches the right temperature, fry the fritters in batches, and drain on absorbent paper
  5. Serve hot with tomato sauce.

Lets see what the other marathoners have dished out for the World Blogging Marathon




September 15, 2014

Moroccan Harira - Lentil & Chickpea soup | Proteinicious soup...

I love chickpeas in most form - Sundal / TIkki / Chole / Oven Roasted chickpea snack etc. So picking this dish for Morocco was a breeeze, and boy did I love it ? Even mom who isnt too much into 'experimenting' had a spoonful of this and loved it.I made it almost like a thick broth, so for me it was a one pot meal - very hearty and filling. You can also make it for weekends, and have it with just toasted breads / pita . Am sure it would taste awesome ! 


Vegetable stock is used to make this, but in case you cant find it, use plain hot water instead. The only thing to note is you can pretty much tone down and up the spice factor in this soup, and that the chickpeas must be cooked through - you dont need a mushy mass, but it needs to be cooked really well to get a good consistency. I adapted the recipe from here. So, go ahead and make this - am sure it would be a winner especially on cloudy or wintery days. The original recipe called for both cooked brown lentils (whole) and chickpeas, but I used only the latter



A brief history of Morocco before today's dish. 
Moroccan Flag

  • Officially the Kingdom of Morocco, Morocco is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Geographically, Morocco is characterized by a rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert. It is one of only three countries (with Spain and France) to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. 
  • Morocco has a coast by the Atlantic Ocean that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Spain to the north (a water border through the Strait and land borders with three small Spanish-controlled exclavesCeutaMelilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera), Algeria to the east, and Western Sahara to the south. Since Morocco controls most of Western Sahara, its de facto southern boundary is with Mauritania.
  • The English name "Morocco" originates from, respectively, the Spanish and Portuguese names "Marruecos" and "Marrocos". These, in turn, derived from "Marrakesh", the medieval Latin name for the former Almoravid and Almohad capital
  • The cuisine of Morocco is mainly Berber-Moorish, European, Mediterranean cuisines. The cuisine of Morocco is essentially Berber cuisine (sometimes referred to as the Moorish cuisine). It is also Influenced by Sephardic cuisine and by the Moriscos when they took refuge in Morocco after the Spanish Reconquista. Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. 
  • The most famous Moroccan dishes are CouscousPastilla (also spelled Bsteeya or Bestilla), TajineTanjia and Harira.

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Country : Morocco
Dish : Harira – Lentil and Chickpea soup
Spice level : Medium to high
Serving suggestions :  Toasted bread or just as a broth
Prep time : 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves : 4
Adapted from here
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Ingredients:
  • Cooked chickpeas – 1 cup (if using canned, drain well and use)
  • Cooked brown lentils – ¼ cup (I skipped this)*See notes
  • Onion – 1 large – minced
  • Diced tomatoes – 2 large
  • Vegetable stock -4 cups (or use soup bullions with hot water)* See Notes
  • Olive oil – 1 TBSP
  • Garlic – 1 tsp – finely minced or about 3 pods, crushed.
  • Ginger grated – 1 tsp
  • Cayenne pepper / red spicy chilli powder – ½ tsp
  • Ground jeera / cumin – ½ tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Sugar – 1 tsp (opt.)
  • Lemon juice – 1 tsp (opt.)
  • Garnish : diced fresh red chillies, coriander.


Method:
In a large soup pot, heat oil. Saute onions, garlic and ginger for 3-4 mins. Add the tomatoes and lightly sauté (we want them chunky).
Now add salt, pepper, ground cumin, stock and bring to a simmer. Puree one handful of the boiled chickpeas without additional water. Add this puree and the cooked chickpeas and lentils (if using) to the stock and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes.
Finish with lemon juice, coriander and sliced fresh red pepper.
Serve hot with pita or any other bread !

*Notes:
1) If using bullions, go easy on the salt as it already contains salt.
2) If using brown lentils, soak them for 20 mins and parboil them, we don't want them too mushy. 

Lets see what the other marathoners have dished out for the World Blogging Marathon




September 13, 2014

Lebanese Platter

Lebanon is a foodies’ paradise- I am told food of every variety, spicy, hot and warm , comforting is available in this Country. Having influences from Mediterrranean as well as East African and Middle Eastern Cuisine, Lebanon is a melting pot of world cuisine.

Today there is a full Lebanese meal comprising of home made Pita bread, baked Falafel and Roasted Veggies. My family enjoyed it along with a Baked potato and chickpea soup. I have requests to make this again and again at home, and its a very nice feeling, dont you think :-))


Till then enjoy the spread. I have followed my co-blogger Usha’s recipe for the Baked Falafels (except that I have retained it as a roundel instead of flattening it out) – Thanks Usha for the recipe. The recipe for Baked Pita Bread came from The Fresh Loaf . Although my Pita didn’t swell up like a phulka, tastewise it was very yummy. I also used whole wheat flour and APF in the proportion 80:20, so that may be one reason it didn’t puff up.

Lets get started on a few quick facts about Lebanon before proceeding to today’s recipe:
Salads such as the tabbouleh and fattoush, together with dip such as hummus, baba ghanoush or moutabal, and kebbeh.
Some patties such as the Sambusac.
Stuffed grape leaves

So, it’s a Lebanese meal today for Alphabet L with Pita Bread, Baked Falafels & Roasted Summer Vegetables, Spicy Yoghurt dip & Baked Chickpeas Soup (not in pic) for the World Blogging Marathon. 
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Total Prep time : 1 hour
Cooking / Baking time : 45 mins
Type : Lebanese Meal

1) Course : Baked Pita Bread
Type : Bread

Recipe followed verbatim from here. Only changes I made is I used wholewheat flour & APf in 80:20 ratio. Also topped the bread with nigella seeds before baking.

2) Course : Baked Falafels.
Type : Snack / Vegetable

Followed Usha’s recipe.

3) Course: Roasted Vegetables:

Ingredients Used:
Mixed vegetables : 3 colours of peppers, Zucchini, cucumbers, onions, lettuce, spinach
Olive oil : 3 TBSP
Mixed herbs : 1 TBSP
Sea salt – ½ tsp

Method:
Preheat oven to 170 Deg C. Chop all vegetables according to the shape and size you need (just ensure they are all more or less the same size). In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, mixed herbs and salt,. Toss the veggies in this spice mixture and stand for 5-10 mins
Line a baking tray with foil and grease with cooking spray.  Place the veggies on the foil.
Bake for 12-15 mins till they are almost done but still stay crunchy
Serve with pita bread and falafel. Top with roasted sesame seeeds

4) Course : Spicy yoghurt Dip
Hung Curd – 1 cup
Salt – to taste
Fresh Cream (I used Amul) – 3 tsp
Lemon juice – ½ tsp
Paprika, red chilli flakes and oregano – 1 tsp

Whisk all ingredients together. Season with spices. Chill before serving

5) Course : Baked Potato & Chickpea Soup
Recipe from my blog :  Here

Prep time : 20 mins.
Cook time : 20 mins
Serves : 4
Ingredients:

  • Boiled Chickpeas - 1/4 cup
  • Potatoes - 2 large
  • Onion - 1 large
  • Garlic - 1 or 2 - minced fine (opt.)
  • Olive oil - 2 TBSP
  • Dry herbs : Oregano/thyme/basil - suit your palate (I used a generous pinch of each)
  • Red chilli flakes - 1/4 tsp
  • Butter - 1/4 tsp (opt.)
  • Squash - chopped fine - a handful - optional
  • Nutmeg - a teeny weeny dash
  • Cream - 1/2 TBSP - for garnish
  • Black pepper - 1/2 TBSP - for topping
  • Salt - to taste
Method:
1) In a large soup pot (I used a pressure pan), heat olive oil. Add onions,garlic.Fry well till the raw smell disappears.
2) Meanwhile,wash,clean and bake potatoes in a microwave for 8 mins or wrap in foil and bake in the oven with a little butter & soft till soft. I added a pinch of red chilli flakes & pepper to bring out the aroma.
2) In the pressure cooker, after the onions are sauteed, add the cooked chickpeas, squash, salt and 5 cups of water and bring to a boil.
3) Pressure cook for 3 whistles and cool (If using a soup pot, cook covered for 20 - 25 mins till cooked well)
4) Drain and reserve the stock.
5) Puree the mixture along with the baked potatoes and tip in the reserved stock.
6) Bring this puree to a low simmer. Add the nutmeg, dried herbs, chilli flakes and adjust salt and other spices.
7) Transfer to serving bowls and finish with cream and black pepper.

Now, that was a very satisfying meal. Lets check out what the other marathoners are upto today...




 

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