Sep 27, 2012

Vegetarian Berber Pizza - Medfouna

I am back with my "let’s try something different in dinner" bug. With a new kid, I hardly get time for an elaborate dinner anymore but this one day he decided to just sleep and sleep. Surprisingly he slept from evening 5:30 and didn’t wake up his normal one hour later (I had to wake him up at 10:00 pm to feed and then he decided to sleep back till next morning.  So I got a chance and time to dig up my notes and look for something new to try.

I had already planned couscous with vegetables in dinner, but ofcourse needed some other things to go along with. While going through some Middle East / Moroccan recipes, this is what i came through “Vegetarian Berber Pizza - Medfouna". ( Medfouna means 'buried', so it is basically stuffed bread!)

And Ofcourse as one can imagine with me being me, i had to customize it. I adjusted the ingredient and their measurements to suit our taste more. I thought that original recipe called for too much of onions (we love onions but not with its cooked texture and on its own) so i decided to replace a portion with other vegetables. Original recipe doesn't call for any dip or sauce to put on, but i had a feeling what if only with sauté vegetables it feels a bit dry! 
I became a bit innovative and decided to add a dash of Middle Eastern dip Muhammara as a very subtle thin layer. (Decided against normal pizza sauce to trying to maintain Middle Eastern flavor, if there was left any!)

Here is the recipe what i ended up with, and by the way it tasted amazing! It received a “Thumbs up” from my “hard-to-please-when-it-comes-to-food” hubby, and that is all I need to give a recipe "success" rating.

So here we go…

Let’s collect ingredients:

For the Dough

4 cups flour (i mixed all purpose flour with wheat flour 50-50%)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water

For the Filling

2 onions, chopped
1 bell pepper (any color), chopped (I mixed green and yellow)
1/2 cup sweet corn (i used tin ones)
1/2 cup tofu cut in squares (just as i wanted to get rid of it from my fridge!)
1/4 cup carrots, cut in squares
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup pitted green olives, sliced
2 handfuls of fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh (or 2 teaspoons dry) za’atar or thyme (i used dry thyme)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (or to taste)
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

Other (Optional)
Muhammara dip (optional) 
Olive oil, salt, herbs for garnish (optional)

Let’s start preparing Vegetarian Berber Pizza:

Make the Dough

Mix warm water, sugar and yeast together and leave aside for 5 minutes till it looks a little frothy. That's when the yeast has been activated and is ready to use.

Mix the flour, salt and half of oil in a bowl. Make a large well in the center of the flour mixture, and add yeast mixture.

Mix everything and knead lightly till everything comes together as dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and begin kneading the dough. If necessary, add flour or water in very small amounts to make the dough soft and pliable, but not too sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Divide the dough into two portions and shape each into a smooth circular mound. Lightly oil the dough with olive oil, cover with a towel, and leave to rise for about 40-45 minutes.

Make the Filling:

In a large skillet, sauté the onions and bell pepper in the olive oil about 2 minutes, add all other vegetables (i had added sweet corn, carrots, tofu). Keep it on flame until vegetables look crisp-tender and slightly reduced in volume.

Remove it from the heat. Stir in the olives, herbs and spices. Taste, adjust seasoning as desired, adding the sugar if the onions are slightly bitter. Set the filling aside.

Stuff the Berber Pizza:

Preheat an oven to 435°F (225°C).

Roll out a portion of the risen dough into a large circle about 14" in diameter. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled baking sheet or pizza pan. (i used pie plate, shhhh).

I spread a very thin layer of Muhammara spread on that. (Optional)

Spread the prepared filling in the center, leaving at least 1/2" of dough exposed all around. Brush the exposed edge of dough with a little water.

Roll out the remaining portion of dough into another circle. Place it over the filling, and press the edges of the dough together to seal.

Gently turn under the edges all around to complete the seal and give a nice look to the edge.

If desired, brush a little olive oil on the dough and sprinkle with dried herbs (i sprinkled dried thyme + basil) and a little coarse salt. 

Bake in the preheated oven until well colored, about 20-25 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

Sep 20, 2012

Ringan no Oro / Oloh ( Smoked Eggplant with spices )

This is one of the all time favorite dish whenever we think about comfort food, however it wasn't when i was a kid. After we moved to Netherlands and i started cooking everyday, then started the search for different and new items to cook everyday. And when no new ideas came to mind then it went back to old traditional Indian food, our own desi food.  

Good thing about it is Ashu loves it too, with rotlo, lasan (garlic) chutney and piece of jaggery... yumm. Typical of the province he comes from, so his childhood comfort food i think :)

Let’s collect Ingredients:

2 large Eggplants
1 small bunch Spring Onions, finely cut
1 large Tomato, finely cut
1 Large clove of Garlic, grated
1 tsp Ginger- green chili paste (to taste)
1 tsp Cumin seeds
A pinch Asafetida (hing)
¼ tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Coriander- cumin powder
1 tsp Chili Powder
Salt (to taste)
A pinch of sugar (to taste)

Let’s Cook Ringan no Ohroh:

1. Wash the eggplant, coat it with a thin layer of oil. 

2. Place in the oven at 200 C for around 35-40 minutes or until soft.

3. Peel the skin off and then mash it. Preferably do it manually, that will give the Eggplants a smoky traditional flavor. Me being a lazy person, I do use blender at times, but be very careful to keep it a bit course and not to blend it like a paste! Keep it aside.

4. In a pan, heat oil. Add the asafetida and the turmeric.  

5. When it sizzles, add cumin seeds and spring onions. Sauté for a minute and then add ginger-chili paste. 

6. Add finely cut tomatoes and cook until the oil starts leaving the sides of the pan.

7. Add mashed eggplants now and mix well.

8. Add grated garlic and rest of the seasonings and Cook on low heat for another 10-12 minutes.
Serve hot with Rotlo. (Recipe, will post soon if i manage not being lazy with internet)

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