Monday, November 25, 2013

Macedonia - Tavče Gravče

This recipe seemed like a good winter comfort food choice seeing as it's freezing here today! Also it's a variety of beans I haven't tried before so I get to try a new food too :)


2 cans of cannellini beans
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
salt & pepper
ground cumin
smoked paprika
chilli flakes

 Open the cans and place lovingly in a pan. Cook on a medium to hot heat.

 Chop up an onion.

 Cook the onion in a bit of oil until soft.

 Add the onion to the beans and continue to cook to reduce the liquid.

 Next you need to make the zaprška which is spices fried in oil to make the flavours mix together. Add all the spices, salt and pepper to a tablespoon of hot oil and mix it well. It smells fantastic as the spices heat up and combine.

 The beans should be quite thick by now (about 20 minutes).

 Stir in the spice oil and serve.

Once the spiced oil is mixed into the beans they turn a lovely yellow/orange colour and look shiny from the oil. The beans were creamy and thick, I really enjoyed the texture of the whole dish. The spices all tasted delicious together, quite hot and spicy which is perfect with creamy soft beans. I enjoyed this dish more than I thought I would. It's a simple food and easy to make. I can see myself making it again for my husband JD to try as he loves beans of all kinds.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bangladesh - Fuchka

I love street foods so I decided to try Fuchka for my foray into Bangladeshi foods. Well technically stuffed fuchka as the dough part is called fuchka on it's own. They're meant to be crispy hollow balls with different stuffings. This recipe is for fuchka stuffed with potato and dipped in a tamarind sauce. I've never tried using tamarind before so I'm curious to try it.


200g of wheat flour
100g of potatoes
1 pinch of baking powder
10g tamarind
1 green chilli
2 tsp of coriander powder

 I'm so ashamed. I thought I had potatoes but I didn't. So I'm using good old Smash instead. I'm not much of a posh foodie type, am I?

Put the flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl.

 Add warm water until a dough is formed. Knead for a few minutes.

Form the dough into balls. They're meant to be bite-sized and in hindsight I over-estimated the size of my mouth a bit.

 Heat up some oil in a pan and fry the balls until crispy on the outside.

 Now to start the filling. I didn't have coriander powder so I crushed up some coriander seeds instead.

 I made up the Smash then added, a pinch of salt, the chopped green chilli and the coriander powder.

 Stir until the stuffing ingredients are all combined.

 Soak the tamarind in some hot water.

Drain the dough balls and make a slit (hehe it looks like a mouth) in the side of each with a knife. Stuff with the potato mixture.

Sieve the tamarind, pushing through as much of the pulp as you can. This should make a thick sauce to dip the fuchkas in. I served mine on a bed of lettuce and cucumber.

I don't think I made a very good job of making my fuchkas. They weren't hollow but doughy inside although I was able to push the soft dough to the sides and fill them with the stuffing. The potato filling was delicious even though it seems weird to fill a dough with another carbohydrate. Like eating a mashed potato sandwich in fact! JD will be jealous, haha. The flavours all went well together but I wasn't keen on the tamarind sauce, it was too sweet. I'd love to try some properly made Bangladeshi fuchkas someday :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Iran - Tah-Chin

Looking around for recipes, I've noticed that most countries have some kind of dish that includes rice and meat. In Italy it's Risotto, in Uzbekistan it's Plov and in Iran it's Tah-Chin. The difference being, in Iran the dish is baked in the oven into a kind of rice cake.


2 small onions
1 tsp turmeric
2 chicken breasts
2 cups of basmati rice
1 cup of yoghurt
Salt & pepper
1 egg

 Slice up the onions.

 Saute the onions in a pan with a bit of oil and the turmeric.

 Cook until the onions are soft and a nice yellow colour.

 Boil the rice in some water until it's cooked but not too soft. I cooked mine too long until it was very soft, oops!

 Mix together the yoghurt, egg, salt and pepper.

 Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and add it to the onion until it's cooked through and yellow.

 Put a sprinkling of oil in an oven dish. Then put the yoghurt mixture in making a layer to cover the bottom of the dish.

 Add half the cooked rice to cover the yoghurt.

 Now put the chicken and onions in to cover the rice.

 Then the rest of the rice to finish it off.

 Cover the whole thing with a sheet of foil or a lid and bake in the oven for 2 hours at 176 C

 I felt worried that my Tah-Chin would be all sloppy due to the softness of the rice but when I got it out of the oven it was perfect. The sides were all crispy and it came straight out of the dish when I tipped it up. Result :)

 I served it with pitta breads, carrot sticks and hummus.

It was great, a very delicate flavour. The kids both ate it and we demolished the whole thing in about 15 minutes. The turmeric had turned half the rice yellow inside and the yoghurt kept the other half white so it had a lovely layered appearance. The outside skin of the rice (which is called the Tah Dig) was solid enough to pick up and eat in your hand and had a really pleasing texture. The chicken was tender due to being steamed inside the rice and it went well with the almost crunchy Tah Dig. It's a simple dish to make with only a few ingredients so I can see us having it again.

Note: The recipe I used included using saffron in with the rice while it cooks to add flavour and colour. I decided not to use saffron just based on how pricy it is to buy.
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