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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dimsum- Soft, Steamed Snack

I am always confused between dimsum and Momo. In Tibet they call it Momo, in China they call it Dimsum, it’s a snack made of dough, stuffed with filling and steamed. Momo are normally with wrapper open, exposing the filling and a cheaper variety sold in carts as a street food, sometimes served with garlic sauce and soup, Dimsum, on the other hand is the closely wrapped snack, served in fancy restaurants with garlic or soya sauce. There are hundreds of recipes on this, depending on your choice of filling.

It has been many days now since I have nursed a desire to make Dimsum. In India, we have many vendors where you can just go and enjoy this snack, eating at the street vendor seems an easy way out since it is readily available. But when you travel to other countries, where it is not so common, you begin to miss what you get so easily in your town.

Like I am here in Spain, spending some time with my family and found a good reason to try my hand on this recipe. Didn’t realize there is so much effort involved till I actually sat down to make it. It’s the wapper that takes most of the time, diligently rolling out each circle and filling it. But it is worth it, if the family appreciates and enjoys the end product.

To make wrapper:

1cup flour
1/2cup warm water
1tsp olive oil
Salt to taste

The dough is made by mixing flour, water, salt, and oil till it has elastic consistency.

Keep it the fridge for one hour.

To make filling

3-4 mushrooms
Small quantity of capsicum (red, yellow, green)
2 spring onions
4-5 finely chopped n deep fried garlic
1tsp five-spice powder
salt to taste

Mix finely chopped mushroom, carrots, red, yellow and green capsicum, spring onions, fried garlic, salt and five-spice powder. keep it aside.

Remove the dough from the fridge, knead it well, cut into small pieces, and roll into wafer thin round circles.

Stuff it with filling and steam it.

Serve with soya sauce dip

For soya sauce dip:

2tbsp soya sauce,
1tsp vinegar,
1tsp sugar
1tsp olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped green chilies.

Five Spice powder:

1 piece star aniseed
½ tsp. cloves
1” pc. Cinnamon
½ tsp. sauf  
½ tsp. peppercorns
Powder them and use as needed.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Vegetarian Cuisine in Canary Islands

When travelling abroad, eating vegetarian food is limited to just cottage cheese, mushrooms or potatoes. Mom was vegetarian for 40 years of her life; she normally starved during flights and survived mostly on bread and butter. But things have changed now since more people opt for vegetarian cuisine and I was happy to find good variety of vegetarian dishes in a typical Spanish restaurant.

 Last week I visited a Spanish restaurant in Las Palmas. The tables overflowed outside the restaurant into the walking plaza. We occupied a table to enjoy drinks while waiting for the rest of the family to arrive. While sipping, it’s interesting to watch people on the street. Women with shopping bags, children running back and forth, old men walking leisurely and above all watching what others are eating. The table that caught my attention was the one that had hot plate on coals next to plates. The family enjoyed the drinks and salad while they waited for their marinated meat to cook on the hot plate. It seemed a good option of eating the freshly roasted meat straight from pan.

What was good about this restaurant was that it had good variety of vegetarian dishes too.

White cheese is must if you dine in any restaurant at Canary Islands. The cheese is soft, firm and a bit salty in taste.

 White cheese is added in most salads, the vegetables are fresh and succulent and tastes great with herbs sprinkled on them, The dressing is made by mixing lime juice, salt, sugar, basil leaves, parsley and olive oil.

‘Pimiento Padron’ is a Spanish delight. Big large chilies (that taste like capsicum) are boiled in salty water, dried and stir fried in olive oil.

Papa arrugada is another dish that one must try. Small round potatoes are picked with fork and boiled with rock salt (in one kg of potatoes they use 250gms of rock salt). They are cooked for 45 minutes on slow flame, removed, dipped in cold water, and then roasted in a pan till they crumble.

They are served with mojo, a special sauce served with Papa Arrugada.

Recipe for mojo

1cup olive oil
20 cloves garlic
4 slices of bread
1tsp cumin powder
1 large red capsicum
10 dried red chilies
1tsp grape vinegar
2tsp salt


1.   Fry garlic with skin in good quantity of olive oil, till skin separates, remove the garlic and keep aside
2.   In the same oil, fry small pieces of bread till they brown, remove and keep aside.
3.   Transfer the garlic and fried bread in the mixer.
4.   Add cumin powder, salt, red capsicum, dried red chilies and little water
5.   Grind to a smooth paste
6.   Add grape flavor vinegar
7.   Add the reserved olive oil that was used for frying garlic and bread.
8.   Mix it well and serve with potatoes.

For main course, one normally eats Paella in Spanish restaurants. I think this restaurant had many vegetarian clients because it even served vegetarian Paella. There was wide variety of Paella dishes. We ordered veg, the moist one, which looked more like khichdi, but the taste was good, quite similar to the non-veg type with lots of vegetables and the special thick grains of rice that is used in this dish.

Great lunch at Gambrinus at Las Palmas, that’s where we spend one afternoon for vegetarian meal.

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