With the world cup at this final exciting home stretch, it warrants people staying late, or staying over completely to enjoy the matches. And what goes great with an exciting match and even heated arguments over who will win the cup? Great food of course! And with the timing of the matches as they are, that means it's the perfect opportunity for great dinner recipes. This world cup, share your meal with loved ones. And don't forget: healthy can be delicious;)
DOLMADES WITH AVGOLEMONO SAUCE
This is one of my personal favourites from the Greek kitchens. Dolmades are renowned for being moulded and reshaped locally for many cuisines, much like our dolmas, but in Greece they are eaten in two ways-- with or without an egg-lemon sauce. This particular kind if ideal for a dinner as it does not apply as finger food. A slight variation by the Fearless Olive's kitchen makes this all the more interesting for a Dhaka dinner table! Make with minced meat and make a broth otherwise, to add to the avgolemono, which you add slowly on the fire.
250g minced beef
1 cup rice (try to use small grain rice)
200g large cabbage or spinach leaves, for rolling
2 cups diced tomatoes
2 tbsp diced dried plums
1 cup chopped parsley and mint (or coriander and mint)
1½ cups diced onions, ¼ cup diced garlic
1 tbsp cumin powder, chilli powder and pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil
For the avgolemono sauce--
1/2 cup juice
A pinch of salt
1 cup of beef stock (boil some beef with some celery, salt, garlic and carrots then preserve the broth)
After soaking the rice for about 20 minutes, mix it with the meat, olive oil, parsley, garlic, onions, tomatoes, plums and the spices. Blanch the large cabbage leaves in boiling water for about 1 minute each. Chop off the mid vein so it will be easier to wrap the leaf up. Similarly, for spinach it will take 30 seconds for each leaf. Place these out in a large dish. Take one leaf and spoon in the rice-meat mix and start wrapping from the bottom part then reach the top. It should be wrapped like a packet and make sure the wrap is tight so it does not open in the pot. Make sure you add some moisture of the mix into the leaf as this helps cook the rice. Place the wrapped leaves in a steamer and cook for about 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile to prepare the egg-lemon sauce, whisk the eggs, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a bowl, then after about one minute, slowly add the hot broth but don't make it too watery. It needs to remain thick like a hollandaise or watery cream. The sauce is done when the whisk begins to leave a trail.
Serve the dolmades with a drizzle of the egg lemon sauce over it and preferably hot. Keep everything hot as the sauce is best savoured when still hot.
TWO TO TANGO
Chicken with green and ripe mango. Come mango season and my mind starts working up in the many ways we can use this amazingly delicious fruit. Considered as the king of fruits by many, mangoes lend that extra bit of glamour to the food and lend a depth of flavour.
1 kg chicken fillets
¼ cup green mango paste
½ tbsp garlic paste
½ tsp mustard seed paste
2 fresh red chillies, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup olive oil
Banana leaves for wrapping
For the salad-
200g black eyed beans or you can use any beans you have i.e. kidney beans
250g lettuce or cabbage, cut in bite size
100g diced onions
100g pomegranate seeds
Handful of diced radish (the white or red ones)
2 large cucumbers, diced
100g jamun or black plum (de-seeded)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large ripe mango, diced
Wash the chicken fillets then marinate them in all the ingredients including most of the oil and leave it for about 15-20 minutes. Wrap these up and make sure that some of the juices from the marinade go into each leaf wrap so it helps the chicken to cook better. Pre-heat an oven at 180 degree celsius then bring it down to 150 degree celsius and stick in the chicken. This will take about 20 minutes to cook as you turn sides. You can also alternately grill the chicken on a grill but the wrapped effect leaves it more succulent.
Meanwhile boil the black eyed beans (after soaking in water for about 4-5hrs) with some garlic and salt, rest of the olive oil and dice all the vegetables and mix with the beans. Fix the salt and pepper and check the mango for sweetness. You may add more lime to make it a blend of sweet and sour.
Serve the hot packets of wrapped chicken on a plate with the mango salad and let your guests open the packets to savour the freshness of the chicken balanced with the sweetness of the mango salad.
VEGETABLE BORA IN YOGHURT SOUP
From the Fearless Olive kitchen comes yet another mix of tastes with yoghurt and ground chickpea (beshon) soup and vegetables in a new avatar, paying homage to all our favourite flavours of yoghurt and beshon in a healthy way!
½ kg plain yoghurt
½ cup chickpea flour or beshon
½ cup of boiled carrots, cauliflower, potatoes and some blanched spinach or water spinach kalmishaak, diced
1 tsp garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp green mango shredded
1 tbsp chopped cashew or almonds
Pinch of cumin powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste and turmeric
Nigella seeds or kalo jeera for tempering
1 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
In a pot, dissolve the yoghurt with some water and heat. Just before it starts to simmer add the beshon and bay leaves, and cook for another 2-3 minutes and as soon as it boils, take it off the fire. Meanwhile, prepare some vegetable balls or bora. Mix all the ingredients together with the spices and make fist sized balls and use some egg to keep them together if you require. Add these to the yoghurt soup and leave them to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the tempering of nigella seeds or kalo jeera in ghee now.
Serve it after the fresh tempering and sprinkle some coriander on top and serve with rice or bread.