Back when I was away at college in India, evening coffees were something of a ritual. My flatmates and I would get back around 4 pm and on our way home we would pick up samosas, vada pav (buns stuffed with spicy chutney and potato fritters), chaat, or some biscuits and a pack of fresh milk. Tea and coffee ready and the snacks laid out, we would park ourselves in front of the TV watching Fabulous Cakes reruns or repeat telecasts of travel shows. Rainy days were the best. We would sit out on the balcony and watch as the rain poured over Manipal while we guzzled something piping hot and sipped on our coffees. Ahh, life’s simply pleasures! (How I wish I could rewind time!)
In India, come rain, hail or sunshine, there will always be little clusters of people gathered around street food kiosks, munching on savoury delicacies. And that’s one of things I loved most about living in India. Street food! Easy on the wallet, yet delicious! 🙂
When I first decided to make Potato Chops (the Indian version of Croquettes) as part of my ‘Masterclass with Winola Peris’ series in The Woman magazine, I couldn’t help wishing I had known how to make them back when I was in college. How awesome it would have been! 😀 Potato Chops are a street food classic much loved in Goa and Maharashtra; and I recently found out that they are a savoury favourite among the people across the border in Pakistan as well!
Without further ado, here’s what you need to make these lip-smacking Potato Chops!
- Potatoes – 1 kg, boiled and mashed
- Beef Mince – 500 g
- Onion – 1, finely diced
- Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
- A handful of coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
- Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
- Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
- Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Chilli Powder – 1 tsp (plus more if you prefer spicy food)
- Salt, to taste
- Oil – 5 tbsp for frying
- Egg – 1, roughly beaten
- Bread Crumbs – 300 g
This is how you whip up a batch of these delicious munchies.
Step 1: In a shallow pan placed on low flame, sauté onion, beef mince, ginger-garlic paste and coriander leaves until the mince is cooked through and the mixture becomes dry. Add salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli powders and sauté for five minutes. Then take it off the heat and keep aside.
Step 2: Roll the mashed potatoes into little rounds with the palms of your hand. Make a hollow in the round with your thumb and fill it with the minced meat mixture. Then with a small amount of mashed potato, make a flap to cover the hollow, set it in place and lightly press it to seal it. Make sure that the edges of the Potato Chops are not cracked.
Step 3: Heat oil in a shallow skillet. Dip each Potato Chop into the beaten egg, coating it well; then roll it in the bread crumbs to coat it further. Place it in the hot oil and fry on each side for about 30 seconds or until golden brown. Serve hot.
These Potato Chops are little fried pockets of yumminess – mashed potatoes filled with spicy minced meat and fried until just golden brown and crispy on the outside. The many textures and flavours that you experience when you take a bite will leave you craving for more!
Everyone at home thoroughly enjoyed these little pouches of deliciousness. Mom and Dad gorged on them happily. And the boyfriend, though he prefers not to eat beef, gobbled up a Potato Chop with a huge smile plastered across his face! If you ask me what I thought, I would have to say that Potato Chops are my favourite among the many Indian snacks that I enjoy and I eagerly await the next rainy day to cook up a batch and indulge in these beauties! 😀
Trust me, once these Potato Chops make their way to your plate, it won’t be long before they disappear and you end up with a happy tummy! Happy Cooking! 🙂
Tips: Potato Chops are normally deep fried, but I prefer this shallow fried version because the bread crumbs soak in a lot less oil compared to the deep fried version. Also, Potato Chops can be filled with just about anything you prefer. Crumbled paneer (cottage cheese), mint chutney, crushed peas and shredded chicken make for delicious fillings.
For about a year now, I’ve been trying to stick to a healthy kind-of diet. I wouldn’t call it a complete diet because, errr… well, I cheat a LOT! But nevertheless, I’m trying. (You probably don’t believe me considering the many recipes for baked goodies I post on the site, but I’m trying okay! Trying is important.)
I try to exercise every day, whenever I don’t get too lazy (though I must admit, I could do better). Dinners are usually salads, bowls of fruit or yogurt and honey and I try to cut back on dairy, carbonated drinks and sweet treats as much as possible; though I do indulge in a nice cheat session every once in a while (and then feel incredibly guilty about it! Grrrr )
I’m a huge fan of all things healthy. A burst of fresh, light flavours in my mouth is always welcome. Thus, when I was to do a red themed ‘Masterclass with Winola Peris’ column for the Red issue of The Woman magazine back in February, I decided to take a step back from the idea of doing a column on Red Velvet Cupcakes or Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies and do a healthy recipe instead. Also, back then I was having a real moment with feta cheese. No matter what salad I made or if I was having toasted chicken mortadella or nuggets, a slice or two of feta cheese always accompanied it.
Hence, I came up with this recipe for delicious Baked Red Bell Peppers stuffed with Feta Cheese and Cherry Tomatoes 😀
Here’s what you need.
- Large Red Bell Peppers – 1
- Cherry Tomatoes – 250 g
- Feta cheese – 150 g, cubed or crumbled
- A bunch of fresh coriander leaves, chopped finely
- Dried Basil – 2 tsp
- Paprika – 1 tsp
- Roasted Black Pepper – 1 and 1/3 tsp
- Olive Oil – 1 tsp, plus extra for drizzling before baking
Here’s how you make them.
- In a bowl, toss cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, coriander, basil, paprika and roasted black pepper until well combined. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and give the mixture one final mix.
- Halve the red bell peppers and clean out the insides. Fill each bell pepper with the cherry tomato and feta cheese filling.
- Place the filled red bell peppers in a baking tin and drizzle olive oil over them. Cover the dish with foil and place on the baking rack fitted in the top third of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. Once done, take off the foil and bake for another five minutes at 150 degrees Celsius. Serve immediately.
These Baked Stuffed Red Bell Peppers are the kind of snack you can indulge in without feeling the slightest bit guilty. Crunchy, mushy and nourishing, this dish is an extraordinary amalgamation of the unique piquancy of the bell peppers, the juicy tang of cherry tomatoes and the creamy sourness of feta cheese with refreshing hits of roasted black pepper, coriander, basil and paprika. They make for the perfect appetizer or snack-time treat. What’s best, they’re ready to eat in just under 20 minutes!
Tip: I like for my bell peppers to maintain that amazing balance between crisp and mushy, but if you would like your bell peppers to be mushier and soft, covering the dish with foil and baking for an added 10 to 15 minutes should do the trick.
For the past couple of months, I’ve been writing a food column titled ‘Masterclass with Winola Peris’ for The Woman magazine, Oman. Every month, the column includes a step-by-step tutorial of an easy recipe that is in-tune with the theme of the edition. The April issue of The Woman is all about health and when it came to writing a healthy recipe, I was stuck. That’s because, well…I’m a baker! (It’s kind of hard to come up with something healthy when you’re in love with turning loads of butter, eggs and sugar into cake!)
A little research on and having put my mind to cracking this challenge, I decided to come up with a wholesome healthy meal that would be both supremely nutritious and lip-smackingly delicious at the same time! Hence, I made Pulled Chicken Sandwiches! 😀
These chicken sandwiches are fascinating. Combining an array of flavours and textures, they are sure to take your palate on an endearing journey – with every bite you will fall more in love with this delectable sandwich. And you know that feeling when you eat something super yummy that you just wish it would never get over? Yes, that feeling is a given!
If you’re a fan of chicken and you love a good sandwich, you ought to try this recipe!
Here’s what you need:
For the sauce:
- Vegetable Oil – 2 tbsp
- Onions – 1/2 cup, finely chopped
- Dark Brown Sugar – 1 tbsp
- Garlic Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Red Chili Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Roasted Black Pepper Powder – 1 tsp
- Ketchup – 1 cup
- Vinegar – 2 tbsp
- A dash of salt
For the Chicken:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – 4
- Dark Brown Sugar – 2 tbsp
- Paprika – 1 tsp
- Ground Cumin – 3/4 tsp
- Ground Ginger – 1/4 tsp
- Salt – 1/4 tsp
- Vegetable Oil – 1 tsp
For the Sandwich:
- Cheese – 4 slices
- Ciabatta Bread – 8 slices
- Lettuce leaves – a bunch, coarsely chopped
Here’s how you make these Pulled Chicken Sandwiches:
- The Sauce: In a skillet, heat the oil and fry the onions until translucent. Add in the brown sugar, chili powder, roasted black pepper powder and garlic powder; stir until the spices are well incorporated. Mix in the ketchup and vinegar and stir. When it comes to a boil, take it off the heat.
- The Chicken: Marinate the chicken with brown sugar, paprika, ground cumin, ginger and salt. Heat oil in a pan and cook the chicken until tender and well done, about six minutes on each side. Take the chicken off the heat and while still hot, shred it with two forks.
- Assemble the sandwich: Place a slice of cheese on one slice of bread and pop into the oven for a few seconds. Top the cheese with chopped lettuce and a good helping of pulled chicken. Lightly drizzle the sauce over the chicken and finish it off with the other slice of bread
Take a bite of this sandwich and here’s what you’ll experience – the soft melt-in-the-mouth bread, the creamy cheese lending its perfect sourness. Then there’s the sweet and spicy pulled chicken with a golden crust that is incredibly scrumptious, complimented by the crunch and freshness of the lettuce and the sweetly enveloping sauce that makes the whole sandwich come together beautifully. It is just glorious! Also, the different textures coming through are a real treat.
I loved this sandwich and it sure is part of my rather long list of go-to comfort foods. And what do I like about it best, you may ask? Well, I don’t have to feel a single bit guilty if I do happen to binge on these! (Yayyy me!) Now that you know how to eat healthy without giving up on all the food you love, I trust you’re going to treat yourself with these absolutely YUMMM Pulled Chicken Sandwiches! Go on, get cooking! 🙂
PS. For those of you who live alone and don’t have much time to put something elaborate together for a meal, this is the recipe for you! Quick, easy and delicious! 😀
Check out my column in the April issue of The Woman magazine, Oman! 🙂