I'm back with another #readcookeat recipe - I did warn you that I'd be using my holidays to get through a backlog of bookmarked ones ! Today's offering comes from Fractured by Clár Ní Chonghaile (click through to read my review). It is based around a hostage situation so there weren't a great deal of foodie references, but I did spot a few, particularly in the flashback sections.
I can tell I do a lot of cooking because lots of the dishes that I come across are things that I've already made and featured on the blog. That was the case for the first dish that got a mention :
p9 My dreams are more real than the nothingness around me. I have eaten butter chicken again with Michelle in that poky restuarant in Paris, where the sweat-seared, hand-wringing manager served us lemony liquor in china thimbles with pornographic pictures inside.
I actually made a low calorie version of butter chicken for another #readcookeat recipe after reading Fanny Blake's With A Friend Like You. Very tasty it was too, but I wanted something different this time.
The next dish had me pricking up my ears because I love globecooking and discovering exotic dishes that I've never heard of, let alone tasted before.
p115 We had eaten thick palava sauce and fufu at a little roadside café not far from the beach where waves ended their long journey from another world by crashing exhausted on this new shore.
I love the name palava sauce because it reminds me of the saying "what a palava/palaver" so I went to investigate. Wikipedia has a totally crazy description of the sauce, which sounds unlikely to me but it still made me laugh : "Palaver sauce or Palava sauce or Plasas is a type of stew widely eaten in West Africa, including Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The word palaver comes from the Portuguese language and means a talk, lengthy debate or quarrel. It is unclear how this led to the name of the stew. One theory is that when the stew was first made, with long, ropey greens, people would start quarrels by slapping each other with the greens from their stew. Another is that the spices used in the stew mingle together like raised voices in an argument. It has been thought of as having the power to calm tensions, or to cause them. Other names for the dish include Kontonmire, Kentumere, Nkontommire and pla'sas." I have mad visions of a spinach fight now !
Palava sauce apparently has many regional variations and can contain beef, fish, shrimp, pepitas, cassava, taro (cocoyam) leaves, and palm oil. Outside of Africa, spinach is often used as a substitute for other greens and in Liberia, the leaves are called Molokhia or Mulukhiyah. I have a tub of molokheya powder (presumably the same thing) from an Egyptian-themed Kitchen Trotter box so I may well come back to this recipe, although I wasn't keen on the taste (or the colour) last time. Fufu is apparently a sticky doughy accompaniment made by pounding boiled cassava, so that would be pretty hard to recreate.
I decided to go for something easier but still slightly exotic this time around :
p89 That evening, we sat in the hotel bar, bantering the day away over beers and greasy samosas.
Samosas it is then ! After a couple of failed attempts to get neat triangular samosas, I gave up and just went for randomly shaped parcels. They still tasted fab though !
Curried Minced Beef & Pea Samosas
sheets of filo pastry or brick
a pack of minced beef
a cupful of frozen peas
2tbsp Kingston curry powder (or regular curry powder)
2tsp Mapuche chilli (or regular chilli powder)
1tbsp tomato puree
salt, garlic pepper, garlic granules
Fry the onions in a drizzle of oil for one minute, then add the minced beef. Cook until it has gone totally brown then add the spices.
I was using up some of the spices from previous Kitchen Trotter boxes but you could use whatever you have in your spice rack - cumin, coriander, curry powder, chilli, paprika, ...
Add the peas, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic granules and tomato puree. Cook until you have a fairly dry mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning (salt/chilli/sugar), if necessary.
Fold each sheet of filo/brick into a semi-circle or rectangle, place a dollop of the meat mixture in the centre and fold until you have a perfectly formed triangle (or not !).
They're traditionally fried, but I decided to bake them for a healthier option. Pop in the oven for about 20 minutes until the pastry is crisp and flaky.
Serve with salad and eat with your fingers !
Fancy cooking the books?! Join in with the #readcookeat challenge at Chez Maximka.