Thursday, 31 January 2013

Atti Pathal/Atti Pathiri/Chatti Pathiri (Chicken and Pancake Layers) - A North Malabar Special.

I guess we had our share of snow for the year. It was snowing horrendously over the past two weeks followed by the heavy rain and blustering winds. Since we dint get any snow last year, it was a sight to see the streets covered in soft fluffy snow, snow kissed trees and hills. It was a task scraping down the ice off the car numbing your fingers with the cold seeping through the gloves, clearing off the driveway and driving on the slippery roads.

The snow has all gone now, but it’s still cold with fluctuating temperature constantly hitting below zero, snowing raining, winds and all that could remind you of cold. Snow was good even though freezing, the son and the neighbourhood kids spent time playing outside until late, making snow man, sledging and throwing snow balls at each other. I just watched them through the window, sipping hot tea to keep myself warm

All you want for winter is some warming, comforting and quite a filling meal, perfect for a cold chilly weather. This recipe of mine does fit the chilly weather.  Atti-pathal, which literally means ‘layered loaf’ is a very favourite of ours and a delicious recipe which involves quite a bit of work.  It is similar to lasagne, with alternative layer of meat mix and the pasta sheets, but use egg mix instead of the cheese. This is one dish, that I would suggest everyone to try atleast once in their life time. Absolutely scrumptious!

We in kannur call it ‘Atti pathal’, but many others call it Atti pathiri/chatti pathiri etc. Whatever you call it, this is the savoury version of the chatti pathiri I posted long back. It is one of the most popular snacks that comes from North Malabar Muslim house hold, where they usually serve this for an evening snack. But this is so rich, that it would keep you full for longer so that a dinner usually would not be required.

Recipe is straight forward, make the chicken filling, make the pancakes, and layer them by dipping the pancakes into the egg mix. Sounds simple? It’s not hard to make, believe me, but it does take very long time to prepare. Chopping, sautéing and cooking; this is a labour-oriented dish, but the end result is very satisfying. These kind of labour oriented snacks are usually made during Ramadan, and is had once the fast is broken.

Since preparing atti-pathal takes quite a bit of time, cooking process can be done over couple of day’s time. Make the filling one day, and do the rest next day. Making the whole dish in a day can tire you out, and you wouldn’t want to do it again. So it would be a good idea if you could split the job. You could also use the same filling for any snack like samosa, cutlets, spring rolls etc..Over to the recipe:

750g chicken on bone
2 tsp oil
1-2  tsp black pepper powder
¼  tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt

For masala:
5 medium onions sliced, 500g, 4 cups
8 garlic 1 ½ tbsp, finely chopped
2 ”, 1 ½ tbsp finley chopped ginger
4 green chillies finely chopped, 2 tbsp
½ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
¼ tsp turmeric
¾ tsp garam masala powder

For pancakes:
2 cups plain flour
2 large eggs, 120 g
2 ¼ cups water
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp melted ghee

For egg-milk mix to coat the pancakes:
4 eggs,250g or you may use 5 if you don’t have enough eggs to coat the pancakes
¼ cup milk
pinch of salt

For the filling (Chicken masala):

1.Rub the chicken with salt, turmeric and pepper powder. Place it in a saucepan, add oil, cover and cook on medium heat until the chicken is done, turning couple of times occasionally. Once the chicken is cooked, boil off the liquid in the pan, turn off the heat.

2. Cool the chicken down, separate the chicken off the bone and shred the chicken using fingers and  discard the bones. Keep the shredded chicken pieces aside.

3. In a large frying pan or a sauce pan, throw in the sliced onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies and salt and cook on medium heat until onions are soft, wilted and translucent.

4. Add pepper powder, turmeric powder and sauté for few more seconds.

5. Add cooked minced meat and lime juice to this; mix well and simmer for about 5- 10 minutes on medium heat keeping the lid on.

7. Add chopped coriander and garam masala to this and stir well and cook for further couple of minutes until the leaves are wilted.

Egg-milk mix:

Break the eggs into a wide bowl and whisk in milk.  Add a pinch of salt and keep aside. This is used to coat the pan cakes while layering, and to keep the whole Atti pathal into one piece without splitting.

For the pancakes and final Assembling:

1. To make the batter, Mix all the ingredients well in a large bowl using a balloon whisk or Blend them in a blender until everything is blended without lumps.
2. Now, for making your pancakes, make them to the size of the saucepan or cake tin that you will be doing your final assembly. I cooked my atti pathal in a 9 inch pan, so I made my pancakes slightly bigger than the pan, about 10-11 inch, so that I can cover the base of the pan well. For making the pancake, Mix egg, flour, salt, ghee and water into a lump free batter.

3. Heat a frying pan to medium heat, pour a ladleful of batter into the centre of the pan, and with the back of the spatula, move in a gentle coil motion starting from the centre of the pan stretching out of the pan to draw the batter out to make a thin pancake. You can also swirl the pan to spread the batter to form a thin pancake.  Cook for a minute, then flip over and cook on the other side for half a minute or so until you see few brown spots sparingly on the pancake. You will get about 10-12 pancakes of this size with this amount of batter.

4. Grease the pan you are going to make your attipathal and place the first pathiri onto the base of the pan.

Note: I sometimes layer my pan with aluminium foil to avoid the pancake sticking to the pan. Not necessary, but if you are worried about your pan-cake sticking to the pan, line the pan with aluminium foil. I also cook pancakes and do the layering of the pathiri in the saucepan simultaneously, so, by the time I finish making the pancakes, I would also have finished layering the pathiri. I do it mainly because, while stacking up the pan-cakes, there is a possibility of the pancakes sticking onto each other making it difficult to separate. You may avoid this by gently smearing the cooked pancakes with oil or by placing foil or cling film between the layers OR by placing them separately on a news paper. I don’t do any of them, as I can manage assembling and pan-cake making at the same time.

5. Make a second pancake, same as above, dip it in egg-milk mix and place it on the first pancake. Scatter some masala on top sparingly and place another pancake dipped in egg-milk mix on top of the masala. Keep repeating the procedure until all the pancake batter is used up to make pancakes and layering is done. When it reaches the top-most layer, place 2 pancakes, just as how you did for the base of the attipathal.
(So, when you flip your pan cake, if in case if one pancake stick to the pan, your filling is still safe as there is another pancake beneath it. This is my tip).

6. Pour the remaining egg-milk mix onto the stacked pathiris and  tuck in the sides of the pan cakes in.

7. Cover the pan tightly with a tight fitting lid, place a simmering plate (if you have one as this prevents the pathri from burning) on the heat and place the saucepan with the Atti pathiri on the simmering plate. Let the atti pathiri cook on low heat until the egg mix on top is set and steam has started coming through, about 20-30 minutes depending on the heat and the pan used. Flip this on to a plate, and slide it back to the pan, the top side going down. Cook for 5 more minutes. 

You can cut them into squares of serve in wedges and have with ketchup if you like it that way.

Notes: Making this attipathal is not a science. You can use any size pan and make make pancakes to fit that pan.

This can also be baked in a pan. Bake it in a moderate temperature oven until the top is just golden.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Pesto and Prawn Sandwich

Sandwiches are something that I make on daily basis for the husband to take to work. He prefers sandwiches and easy-to-eat, fuss free, smell-free meals as he can have it on the go, rather than having to sit and indulge in a heavy meal during his work. Plus, he claims Indian food has strong smell, which I too agree, and the smell spreads the whole place. It is easy to whip up a sandwich in the morning with any leftover meat or prawns if you have them. And it is a better way to use up the left over meat as well.

On one of our holidays to the Lake District, we had our lunch at an Italian Restaurant. It was lovely, small restaurant and we were late for the lunch. So there were just few options from which we could choose our food from. I love pesto and pesto prawn sandwich was one they had, which we could order. I was not sure how I would like the taste and I ordered it all at my risk.  When the food arrived, it was a mount of prawns slathered in thick, creamy pesto sauce sandwiched between ciabatta breads. It was literally a heaven on plate, and tasted just great.  

Here we get shelled and cooked prawns which makes the job very easy.  Even though it comes cooked and you could mix it up straightaway with other ingredients, I usually boil it with a pinch of salt and lemon for few minutes and the wash off the prawns again. I am over obsessed when it comes to cleaning and cooking food and I need to clean them many times. But, it is not necessary. 

I usually serve pesto prawns in a seeded bread, but any kind of bread could go with it, especially ciabatta. You could toast them, or  just have them plain, which is what we prefet. You could add few rocket leaves, and play around the ingredients to suit your palette. Here is how I make it, and this is one of the several sandwiches that I made for the son’s b’day party last year and got rave reviews about.

Pesto and Prawn Sandwich
Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
Makes 2-4 Sandwiches

320g cooked prawns (2 cups)
4-5 tbsp mayonnaise, you may use low fat, or full fat
2 tbsp pesto
¼ cup sweet corn
a pinch of salt of necessary
½ tsp crushed pepper or chilli flakes (optional)
Bread to serve

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl thoroughly(To get rid of the smell from prawns, just marinate them in lemon juice for about 10 minutes and wash it off).

2. Spread the mixture heavily on one slice, and sandwich with another. If you wish, you can use toasted bread as well.

You can make upto four large sandwiches depending on how well you fill your sandwich.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Pistachio Macarons with Pistachio and White Chocolate Ganache

During December my kitchen saw many baked goodies mostly macarons, some cakes and  few desserts. Most of them were given away as gifts, some shared and some, we indulged at home when friends came over during the Christmas holidays. And my horrendous baking has started showing effects on my waistlines too. So this year, I am thinking of diverting my cooking slightly into another direction, from baking desserts and cakes, to more of curries and savoury stuffs. That’s not me, but that’s what my family need. I am not going to bake any more of those massive cakes for my men to nibble on, and leaving the whole lot for me unless there is an occasion to celebrate. That’s what I am thinking of doing this year and I have kept that deal so far. I hope it stays longer.

Pistachio macaron would probably be the first macarons that I ever wanted to try. Shelled pistachios don’t come cheap, so I thought I will wait for a special occasion to give it a shot and not on those moments where spur of macaron temptation sprouts. I was confused with what filling to go in as I thought some sort of citrusy filling or cardamom based filling would go the best. But since the gifts were going out for the son’s teachers and my neighbour friends who are all white, I dint know how they would like the flavour of cardamom as that would be something quite unusual for them. So I settled myself with some thing simple, and added ground pistachios to the white chocolate Ganache for a bite. It went down so well with all who had it and I was even told to make them again. 

The basic recipe is Ottolenghi’s. I have been wowed by my friend Finla’s amazing macarons and I thought I had to give her recipe a shot, and I am so glad I did. The recipe is perfect with all good characteristics of a perfect macaron and it tasted just awesome. I thought it was slightly less sweet than mine, but fantastic! I am so going to stick to the recipe and try different flavours using the same, which I did already around last Christmas.

When I bake macarons to give away, I always bake 3-4 flavours at the same time as I love to see the colourful combination of different macarons wrapped in a beautiful gift box. It is an eye candy and would wow anyone who haven’t had macarons before. This pistachio macaron adds to my favourite list of macarons.

Pistachio Macarons with Pistachio and White Chocolate Ganache
Makes 20-22 medium size sanwiched cookies

60g aged egg whites
30g shelled pistachios
30g almond meal or blanched almonds, you can use whole almonds as well
40g caster sugar
100g icing sugar
Few drops of bruce green colour (optional)

For pistachio-white chocolate Ganache
150 mls double cream
125 g white choc
¼ cup pistachio kernals, 30g
2 tbsp caster sugar

Preparation (shells):

**For an elaborate macaron post with my tips and links to other helpful sources, check out my first macaron post here.  
1.For ageing egg whites: Place egg whites in a clean bowl. Cover it with a cling cover and poke few holes in the film. Keep it in your kitchen counter for 24-48 hours or in fridge for up to 5 days. This ageing of egg whites helps to reduce the moisture content in the egg whites and make firmer shells. Fresh egg whites make fragile cookies which may break off as you try to lift them off the baking paper.

2. Powder the nuts and icing sugar together in a food processor or a grinder into flour-like fine powder. Transfer them to a large bowl and sieve 1-2 times to break up the lumps. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl and keep aside while you work with meringue and prepare your baking sheet and piping bag.

3. Line your baking sheets with baking paper or silpat. Fit your piping bag with a plain round tip and place it in a tall glass or a jar to make the job easier while scooping the batter in.

4. For making meringue, using an electric blender, whisk egg whites in a squeaky clean bowl (preferably metallic bowl as it is difficult to maintain a plastic/glass bowl grease free) on high until it starts to form soft peaks. Add in caster sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. It should be like a smooth, glossy shaving cream like form. If adding any colour, add once stiff peaks are formed and then beat again to stiff peaks incorporating the food colour. Make sure it is not over beaten and dry, which would result in dry shells.

5. Add the dry mixture to meringue in 2-3 portions and start folding it until everything is just combined and no more of dry mixture could be seen. Use a flexible spatula for this and mix until you get a smooth, shiny batter that ruggedly drips down the spoon once you lift it. DO NOT over mix once you have reached that thick batter stage. For testing, place a teaspoon of batter in a plate and you see it spreading flat slowly, then the batter should be ready. If it has a peak on top, give couple more folds and check again. Keep checking the batter at each stage by placing a spoon of batter in the plate to judge the consistency.

6. Pour the macaron batter into the piping bag. Once the batter is all poured in, twist the ends of piping bag tight to seal the batter in. Pipe out small rounds of about 2 cm diameter on your baking paper leaving about 2 inches in between. The macaron batter will spread and then join hands with the next one if they are piped too close, so make sure leave at least 2 inches between them. Rap the baking sheet few times on a table to remove any bubbles trapped in the batter. (To help you with the round shape, you can use this template).

7. Let the macarons sit to dry for as long as it forms a thin skin on top or is dry and leaves no indentation once touched or the batter doesn’t stick to hands once touched. It depends from place to place depending on the weather and humidity. In a humid place it will take as long as 2-3 hours whereas here it takes under 30 minutes, but I leave for a bit more.

8. Preheat the oven to 140 degress Celcius. Bake the macaron for 12-14 minutes. Do not open the oven until they are completely done. Take them out and let them cool down for
30 minutes. Peel the baking paper off the shells gently, and sort them out with same size shells. Fill them with Ganache and leave it in fridge to mature for a 2-3 days two to get maximum flavour out of it.

It is very important to mature the cookies as that filling will steep into the shells and the flavours blend well. Unfilled shells can be frozen.

For the filling:
1. Bring double cream to scalding (steaming) point in a heavy base pan or in microwave. Once you start seeing small bubbles appearing along the sides, turn the heat off and add chopped chocolates into it. Leave it for couple of minutes and then stir well until combined.

2. Grind pista into fine powder with caster sugar and mix it well into the Ganache.

3. Leave it in fridge until it the mixture is really cold. Then whip it up to form stiff peaksfirms up enough to pipe or spoon. It should not be runny and should be stiff and easy to spread. White chocolate may take few hours to harden, but if it gets too stiff, place in the microwave and warm for few seconds until spreadable. you can also whip the Ganache once the mixture is really cold.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...