Festive Food from Dalmatia: FRITULE

At Christmas time, upon entering my Dalmatian home, you will be greeted by a bowl of fragrant and sweet fritule. Shrug off the cold, and close the door behind you. Come in. We will exchange Christmas greetings, and have a chat over fritule, and perhaps a little brandy to warm you up. The next guest will be also greeted by fritule, and by our laughter.

 

For this year’s Festive Food Fair hosted by Anna of Morsels and Musings, I present you –  fritule, a traditional Dalmatian sweet that can be found on every Dalmatian table at Christmas! Fritule (pronounced ‘freetooleh‘) are aromatic bite-sized dough balls, flavoured with lemon zest, orange zest, grape brandy (loza in Croatian) and/or dark rum, and sprinkled with icing sugar. Everyone has a winning recipe of their own, and this one is my mum’s tried and tested version! We made these together this summer. These days, whenever I go home, I use this as an opportunity to learn a new Croatian dish or sweet from my mum, and rediscover the good old familiar dishes. :)

Fritule

 

 

SOURCE: My mum’s recipe

PREPARATION TIME: 5 – 10 min + the time the dough will take to rise

COOKING TIME: 20 – 30 min

CUISINE: Croatian – Dalmatian

SERVES: Loads!

Ingredients:

50 g of raisins, rinsed and soaked in warm water (this softens them)

1 kg of all purpose flour

3 eggs

3 tbsp sugar

2 sachets of vanilla sugar (or two tsp of vanilla essence)

1 1/2 cube of fresh yeast (40 g), or 3 sachets of dried yeast

1 dl vegetable oil for the dough + more for frying

zest of 1 – 2 lemons

zest of 1 – 2 oranges

2 tbsp dark rum (or loza, grape brandy, or why not both!)

warm water as necessary

METHOD:

1. Put the eggs, sugar, vanilla and vegetable oil in a bowl, and beat together with a wooden spoon for a little. Add lemon and orange zest, and raisins.

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2.  If you are using dried yeast, mix in the yeast in one part of the flour. Then, add this to the eggs.  OR If you are using fresh yeast, melt the yeast in 2 dl warm water. Then add the yeast to the egg mixture, and then the flour.

3. Mix with the wooden spoon. Continue mixing until the dough stops sticking to the wooden spoon.

IMG_7500  4. Leave the dough to stand, until it almost doubles in size. The mixture is going to be warm, but it mustn’t be too warm otherwise it will ruin the yeast (says mum). If your pot/bowl is cold, put it in another bowl/pot filled with warm water. IMG_7560

5.  Pour some oil in a pan – you need to have enough so that the fritule don’t touch the bottom of the pan when you add them to the oil. Heat the oil until fairly hot.

6. Dip a spoon in the oil. This will stop the dough from sticking to it. Then, take a bit of dough in your hand, squeeze it in your fist, and scoop off what comes out between the thumb and the index by using the spoon. IMG_7586

7. Put the dough ball into very hot oil. And repeat the process: dip the spoon into hot oil, then scoop the dough, then put the dough ball into hot oil. Fry until golden brown. IMG_7574 

8. Turn the dough balls over. Start taking them out when they get this (see below) nice light brown colour. IMG_7564 9. Take them out in batches and put on some tissue paper which will soak up some of the oil.

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10. Put the fritule in a pan and cover with a lid to keep them a little warm.

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11. Repeat the process until you use up all the dough. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving. Fritule don’t need to live in the fridge, and can last for a few days.

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NOTES:

Surfing the net for some background info on fritule, I came across this interesting idea: add prunes instead of raisins, and slivovitza, plum brandy instead of loza/rum! Which gave me another idea: use apricots and loza, or any apricot brandy! :) Not traditional, but I’m sure it would be tasty! As you can see,the basic dough lends itself to creativity well. Excellent!

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Christmas cake recipe!!!

Got this recipe off a friend last year. Here it is, just in time for Christmas! Enjoy!

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Christmas cake recipe!!!

 

Ingredients:

1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
Lemon juice
4 large eggs
lots of nuts
1 bottle Vodka
2 cups of dried fruit

METHOD

Sample the vodka to check quality.

Take a large bowl, check the vodka again.

To be sure it is the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.

Repeat.

Turn on the electric mixer.

Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.

Add one teaspoon of sugar.

Beat again.

At this point it’s best to make sure the vodka is shtill OK.

Try another cup …. just in case. Turn off the mixerer.

Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

Pick fruit off floor.

Mix on the turner.

If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a sdrewscriver.

Sample the vodka to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who giveshz a shit.

Check the vodka.

Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table.

Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.

Greash the oven and piss in the fridge.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

Don’t forget to beat off the turner.

Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the vodka and kick the cat.

Fall into bed.

CHERRY MISTMAS!

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:D he he – GOTCHA!!!!! :D

Hope you enjoyed the recipe!

But please, spare your pets, and concentrate on your partners/husbands! They must have deserved it, one way or another! hehe

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Think Spice… think Ginger: Guajarati aloo

Yes, I am Croatian, moreover Dalmatian (we don’t really eat spicy food), and I haven’t eaten anything memorably spicy until I was 16, but Indian food has got under my skin and into my heart! I simply adore it: the heat, the complexity of flavour, the variety! Now, I am totally mesmerized by spices, and especially their aromas. Ginger, either raw or powdered, has a special place in my Spice House of Fame! The smell of ginger is one of my favourite aromas in cooking!

Think Spice... Think Ginger!

Think Spice… is a monthly event organised by Sunita from Sunita’s World. This month, the spice in focus is Ginger, so this time, I simply had to take part!

I made this lovely Gujarati aloo a few days ago -  and loved it! Ever since I saw it over at Mallika’s, I wanted to make it! It smelled fantastic! It is incredibly light, and I felt wonderfully invigorated and energised after eating it! Of course, ginger is an important component of the dish, at least for me!

The dish is extremely easy to make, and apart from the final cooking of the potatoes, things happen fairly quickly. For this reason, I would definitely recommend preparing everything before you start, and this especially means measuring out the spices, and putting them together in a little bowl, so you can add them quickly to the dish!  

In addition, I learnt one important lesson when making this dish. This was the first time I cooked with hing, and it was a bit bitter. I either put too much, or I really shouldn’t have added some extra afterwards. I’ve read that hing needs to be cooked in hot oil/ghee before adding other ingredients.

 

Zingiber officinale Blanco1.131.png

                                         Wikipedia Commons: Zingiber officinale

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Simply spicy Guajarati aloo

 

SOURCE: Mallika from Quick Indian Cooking

PREPARATION TIME: 5 min

COOKING TIME: 20  – 30 min

CUISINE: Indian, Guajarati

SERVES: 2 (as a main course)

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 tsp ghee (Mallika’s version: 2 tbsp vegetable oil)

1/4 tsp sugar

pinch of asafoetida (hing)

1/2  inch ginger, pureed with 1 tbsp warm water (I simply grated it)  

2 tbsp tomato puree

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp chili powder

350 gm small new potatoes, washed and halved

2 tbsp natural Greek yogurt

1/2 cup hot water

Salt to taste

 

METHOD:

1. Heat the oil in a pot over a high flame. When the oil is hot, add the hing and the sugar.

2. As the sugar caramelises, add the pureed ginger and fry it stirring until its colour changes to a warm golden.

3. Then add the tomato puree and all the powders. Mix them well, frying the masala for five minutes or until you can see the oil reappearing on the sides of the pot.

4. Now add the potatoes and stir vigorously incorporating the masala into them. As the potatoes start going translucent around the edges, spoon in the yogurt. Make sure you use a very thick yogurt or it will split.

5. Fry for about two minutes, mixing the masalas together. Then add the hot water, reduce the flame to a medium heat and cook covered, stirring regularly, until you can easily insert a fork into the potatoes. This will take a good 20-30 minutes but the potatoes will taste much better than if you pre-cook them.

6. Serve them hot, with a vegetable pulao or rotis.

 

Verdict

Delicious and very easy to make. It smells absolutely amazing when cooking.

 

Notes

Be careful with hing! Make sure to add it to hot oil/ghee at the beginning of cooking.

Do prepare everything in advance, including the spices because things happen pretty quickly when making this dish!

Also, I found that the dish didn’t work served with coriander on top.

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RCI: Cuisine of Bihar

This month’s RCI is the Cuisine of Bihar, hosted by Sangeeta of Ghar ka Khana.

The Bihari cuisine is an amalgamation of simplicity of style and variations in colour. The style being handed down to the new generation by the older one, and the colours being provided by the seasonal vegetables and fruits. Bihar sees all different seasons. Fruits and vegetables are abundantly grown, consumed and also exported from Bihar, Litchi being noteworthy.

As the seasons change so does the Bihari thaali, in every 3-4 months. The constants are rice, thin round chapaatis made over tava and flame (called phulka or simply roti in Bihar), daals ( with seasonings changing with the seasons !) and milk products.”

Characteristic of this cuisine is the use of pungent mustard oil, and   the use of panchforan (Mohita’s spelling) in cooking vegetables.  Please note that this is not the panch phoron that I blogged about. This spice mixture has ajwain or carom seeds instead of cumin seed. Bihari panchforan is made by mixing together the same qunatities of fennel seeds, mustard seeds, ajwain/carom seeds and nigella/onion seeds. Furthermore, there is a lot of light frying in Bihari food, and the food is generally spicy.

(SOURCE: Mohita Prasad)

 

The dish I have chosen has the above characteristics: it uses panchforon, and the potatoes are lightly fried in the masalas. It is very simple to make, and still delicious. If you can, don’t omit the ajwain seeds because they give a distinct note to the dish. I made a mistake in beginning used my panch phoron, and corrected it by adding 1/6 tsp ajwain seeds popped in some hot oil. This made a real difference to the dish.

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Aalu Tomato Rasedaar In Panchforan

SOURCE: Bihari Cuisine by Mohita Prasad

PREPARATION TIME: 2 min

COOKING TIME: 20 – 30 min

CUISINE: Indian – Bihari

SERVES: 2 (as a main course)

Ingredients

4 medium potatoes, cubed
2 medium tomatoes*
oil – 6 tbsp
coriander leaves
panchforan ( or cumin seeds) – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Water as needed

Powdered masala:

Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 tsp
Red Chili powder- 1/2 tsp

Method:

1. Heat the oil in a pan,  and add panchforan seeds to it.

2. As soon as panchforan starts to splutter, add the potato to it.

3. Saute the potato for 2 minutes over medium heat, then add the powdered masalas to it. Saute for 3 minutes.

4. Cover the pan and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.

5. Add the chopped tomatoes, water (depending on how much sauce you want)and cover the pan again. Keep it covered till the potato gets tender and the curry starts looking red. The tomatoes will have dissolved completely, and the oil will start to float on the surface. This usually takes 10 minutes.

6. Garnish with chopped coriander leaf, and serve with chapaatis or rice.

Notes

* I am serving this with naan, and I wanted more sauce, so I added 1 can of tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes.

Don’t use more panch phoron than indicated, because the fenugreek seeds will make it rather bitter. If you like it bitter, by all means, go ahead and add more!

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Blogging event Regional Cuisines of India (RCI) was started by Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine, to celebrate the rich and diverse cuisines of India, and is hosted by a different blogger each month. I think this event is a fantastic idea, because not only does it encourage us to explore the many varieties of regional Indian food, but the round-ups also provide excellent resources of information and recipes! For this reason, I’ve decided to dedicate a page to it, so I can find it and refer to it easily!

I also took part in RCI Punjab with my post on Chana Masala.

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Food for Thought

Cooking has many functions, and only one of them is about feeding people.

 

-  NIGELLA LAWSON  -

 

What do you think? I’m curious to know how do you feel when you cook, and what does cooking mean to you? What does eating mean to you?

I look forward to hearing/reading what you think.