Crab cakes

Heres a really nice crab cake recipe , but you have to be using real crab meat.Doesnt matter if its frozen , but not that awful stuff called crab sticks they have about 1% crabmeat and flavour and is cheap and nasty.

crabmeat- 250 gms / canned or frozen claw meat( lump is nice but thats for eating in salads and stuff for cooking claw meat is more economic and makes more sense to use.
mayonnaise- 25 gms +50 gms the 1st bit gets mixed in and the remainders for the dipping sauce
breadcrumbs- 50 gms – or just enough to bind the crab, we want the cakes to be moist and juicy not like a lump of cement.
egg- 1 nos
salt and pepper – to taste
chopped red onion- 50 gms
garlic- 2cloves chopped
parsley- small sprig
thyme
oil to shallow fry
chipotle chillies- 1/4 of dry chilli/can use the canned ones too.

method

heat about 10 gms of oil and lightly saute the onion ,garlic ,thyme and crab meat.  cool down
add mayonnaise, egg, bread , seasoning and shape into 30 gm flat round cakes
heat oil and shallow fry on both sides till crisp
for the sauce, whizz chipotle chillies with mayonnaise add some lime juice and zest.

 

Dosa -pour Gerard Mouille

for the uninitiated this is the south Indian version of a crepe which is bloody delicious.its made from a fermented batter comprising rice and split and de husked black lentils, which have an off white centre which is called urad dal in Hindi.it was a long standing thing, for me to have made some for my friend Gerard Mouille who was owner /operator of La bastille, one of my favourite french restaurants in Trinidad.

now the method.

1 part by volume of urad dal
3 to 4 parts by volume of cheapest rice. since you are going to be grinding it to a paste, you dont need specifically some extra special one.
1-2 gms of fenugreek seeds-called methi in Hindi.
15-20 gms of split peas/chana dal
Salt and sugar to taste

Soak every thing together , execpt the seasoning ingredients for about half an hour. grind to a coarse paste, add salt and sugar and leave overnight to ferment and rise naturally.

How to cook them is another thing altogether and needs much practice. the idea is to spread the batter thin over a cast iron/ cast aluminium griddle plate called a tawa and cook it on one side only really. there are many important factors, the batter should be the right consistency , the griddle plate the right temperature.and should start to separate from the griddle really before you sprinkle a few drops of oil or butter or ghee and can be eaten with coconut chutney or tomato chutney or sambar , which are a few different lessons altogether.

For practical lessons pls contact me !!

Oriental rice.

This is the one served with ouzi or the arabic styled roasted lamb.its really aromatic and flavourful.

Our lebanese chef Ibrahim Hadla, would make this really well and i learnt how to do it by watching him.After that i would usually make this for 900 odd people on New years eve buffet.!! in a huge 300 ltrs tilting braising pan.Now i know you might not have that at home  so this is modified to suit your home kitchen.

you will need

  1. lamb mince- 200 gms

  2. onion chopped- 1 no / 150 gms

  3. garlic- 2-3 cloves chopped

  4. bayleaf-1 no

  5. baharat powder- 1/2 teaspoon ( you can make this one at home and use for shawarma etc, needs cinnamon, cloves, some green cardamom  and some pepper, quite strong on the cloves)

  6. cinnamon powder as well again -1//4 tsp

  7. black pepper powder-1/4 tsp

  8. Gum arabic/ gundar/ gond/mistika – 1/4 tsp- pounded with some rock salt to a fine powder

  9. Basmati rice- 250 gms soaked in cold water and washed well.

  10. Saffron strands- 1/4 gm or less- toast in microwave for 15 seconds and soak with water first

  11. oil+Butter mix-25 ml

Process

  • heat oil and add onions and garlic, lightly brown and then add the mince, which has to be really well browned and caramelised.

  • then add the spice powders and stir fry even more. add bayleaf and the rice and continue to stir fry till the rice is well coated with the mince and the oil . that will make the rice grains quite separate and nice when the mix has cooked.add in the gum arabic powder.

  • Add in enough hot stock or water (you can add some chicken stock powder to cheat) to cover the rice and a little more still.

  • Top with the saffron which you must have soaked in a little water.(what you dint know that?.Then get out of here).

  • cover with a lid for about 10-12 minutes on a low heat .

  • Serve with roasted lamb as an accompaniment.you can top the rice with fried almonds, cashew, pistachio ..

 

maa bahen sauce- name inspired by Chris francis

Adapted from the Trini hot pepper sauce, which was more important than the salt and pepper for every dinner function that we did , when in trinidad, this sauce has the potential to blow the top of your mouth off. learned how to make tonnes of it by watching Wendy forde, Heston morreira and Sophia ghany, each one  had a slightly different version to it.

the english name for this sauce has been inspired because of the fiery heat of this sauce, which im sure when you taste for the first time , is like one step closer to suicide.

For the hindi name , i must owe homage to my good friend Christopher Francis, De bloody bugger from Bandra..that and the fact that there was a silly sounding sona chandi chywanprash at some point in the indian market. we transmogrified the name to maa bahen chywanprash and from there onwards, a few years later, when i was struck by a bizzarre idea to call it by this name.

there is no fixed recipe really, because every time in the name of creative spirit, or inspired genius.. i make new version. so far i have not decide to market the product for commercial gain,but instead give away free samples to friends.

 

the purpose of this is to add heat,  zest..life to all things which are duller..

Please wash hands after making and before  visiting the toilet or rubbing your eyes.

Too much will cause acidity/ heartburn/ reflux..and the need to call the fire service the next morning.

Update on this, i did sell quite a bit of this on neighbourly.co.nz…

Hummus – by Petit Fleur De liban Ibrahim hadla

For this delicious and sometimes gassy levantine dip you need chick peas, tahina(sesame seed paste),garlic, lemon juice or citric acid.and olive oil to top it off.

  • chick peas-
  • Tahina –
  • garlic-
  • lemon juice
  • soda bicarb
  • salt- to taste.

method.

  1. soak the chickpeas overnight with soda bicarb and plenty of water. the next day the soaking and soda will have softened the skins of the chickpeas.
  2. These then should be drained and washed very thoroughly. Put it with some fresh water and cook, for really very long. Chef ibrahim hadla, would famously take one chickpea and throw it on the wall. it should be cooked so much that it will stick to the wall.
  3. after they are cooked till really soft and mushy. drain and wash these very well in water.let them soak in a bowl of cold water and let the skins float on top.take these skins off and discard.
  4. Then you need a good food processor.like a food chopper, moulinex or any similar ones. at work we used one called robot coupe, which is the Mercedes Benz of food processors. start to blend .also add a few crushed ice cubes to the mix or really chilled water about 20 mls or so..
  5. this will make the mixture very light and airy and fluffy.add in the tahina and garlic,salt and lemon juice.it should be slightly garlickly , and lemony, but most importantly very very creamy and smooth.
  6. arrange in a flat- ish sort of dish nd then top it with some fruity good quality olive oil, and enjoy with pita bread.
  7. this can be topped with toasted pine nuts or small cubes of lamb/ beef sauteed with onions garlic and some lemon juice as well.
  8. Sahten as they say in arabic, or Bon appetit.
  9. Dedicated to le petit fleur de liban!!!! god how much we laughed when chef ibrahim used to say that.

stories of foods from the world over, laced with a hint of sarcasm and some black humour, its not for everyone, but then never was meant to be..