Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Indian Latkes (Aloo Pakora) with Cilantro Coconut Chutney

I don't know about you but I get major food cravings- weirdly though, my food cravings go by international cuisines. For weeks I'll crave Mexican food and the cravings won't stop until I've had or made it a few times. Then will come Japanese and I find myself making sushi and Miso everything until the urge passes. Same for Thai, Israeli, Hungarian...and now, every since having some delicious Indian dishes a couple of weeks ago, I am constantly craving the pungent, spicy deliciousness that is Indian food. So, naturally, when I was trying to come up with another original latke idea, I immediately thought of these. Pakoras are Indian fritters, different vegetables (often potato, or Aloo) dipped in a chickpea batter that are fried until crispy and served with all sorts of relishes and chutneys and are usually served as one of the appetizers to a meal. Well, these certainly aren't your traditional latkes- but they have enough of the necessary components that I feel they are Chanukah-worthy: potatoes that are fried. Chickpea flour and rice flour are easy to find nowadays especially with the gluten-free craze and the combination of the two make a super crispy fritter. Lots of warm spices and a little chili for heat made these delicious and dunking them in the sweet, savory, and slightly tart cilantro coconut chutney makes the perfect bite. Enjoy!

2 potatoes, about 600 grams, peeled and shredded- you wan't to use the big shredder option on your box grater of food processor. This should yield about 2 1/2 cups of shredded potatoes. 
1 cup chickpea (garbanzo) flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp fennel seeds (optional, but adds great flavor)
1 1/2 tsp salt
pinch of chili flakes
3/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon water
oil for frying - 2 cups should do it (don't worry, most of it does not get absorbed)

In a bowl whisk together the flours, baking soda and spices. Add in the water and whisk well. The mixture shouldn't be too thick (thinner than pancake batter) but not too thin. Add the potatoes and mix everything well so all the potatoes are coated. Heat oil in a frying pan and drop the mixture a heaping tablespoon full at a time into the oil. Don't overcrowd the pan. Fry on each side for about a minute and a half until deep brown and crispy. Remove from oil and let drain on a paper towel. Serve with cilantro coconut chutney.

For the chutney: 
1 1/2 cups packed cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 heaping teaspoon crushed or finely chopped fresh ginger
juice of 1 small lemon
1/4 cup coconut cream
2 tsp honey
salt to taste

Blend all in a blender until you get a smooth consistency. My blender was on the fritz so I used a food processor which did not blend it as smoothly together as it should be. The texture should be creamy and you shouldn't see individual pieces of cilantro.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Silver Platter: Simple Elegance- A Review and Giveaway!

If you've ever been to my house you know that I have a little cookbook obsession. I collect them, and one of my favorite past times is to curl up on the couch with a whole bunch of them and browse, spending more time then I probably should analyzing each page. So as you can probably imagine, I was super excited to get The Silver Platter: Simple Elegance by Daniella Silver and Norene Gilletz for review. It's a big- (coffee table book size big) book and one of the best things about it is that there is a big beautiful picture that accompanies each recipe. I don't know about you, but I cannot go through a cookbook without pictures- showing how each dish is presented and garnished helps a home cook imagine making it and serving it in his/her own home. The recipes are for the most part quick and easy with a good mix of recipes that work for every day and for Shabbat/Chagim.

My husband and I took upon ourselves to eat healthier almost a year ago, so we stay away from gluten, refined sugar and and keep our carb intake low- so I love how the nutritional information for all the recipes are provided at the end of the book and that none of the salad dressings call for sugar, rather unrefined sugars like honey or maple syrup. If you are gluten free, or have to cook for someone who is gluten free- this book is for you! This book has more gluten free recipes (and for the ones that aren't, the authors thoughtfully provide gluten free substitutions) than any other kosher cookbook that I've seen. Recipes like Almond Crusted Fish Sticks and Quinoa Shnitzel among many others. I've bookmarked the Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties, the Everything Kale Salad, the Stuffed Avoados, the Black Bean Tomato Soup, the Chili Lime Fish Fillets, the Red Wine Chicken and Potatoes...the list goes on and on!

In honor of Chanukah, I'm sharing some recipes from the book for Classic Potato Latkes with assorted toppings AND I'm giving away a copy! To enter, like The Gush Gourmet on Instagram and/or Facebook and comment here when you've done so! Giveaway is only open to residents of the U.S or Israel. Winner will be randomly chosen by Tuesday, December 20, 2016 so you can get your book in time for Chanukah!

Classic Potato Latkes with Assorted Toppings
Reprinted with Permission from the Authors.
pareve passover gluten-free latkes freeze well yields about 2 dozen
Tradition! You really can’t go wrong with classic potato latkes. I’ve added four unique toppings to serve alongside, each with its own flavor. Make a different topping every night and delight your guests!
6 large potatoes
(preferably Idaho/russet), peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion,
cut into chunks
2 eggs
¼ cup potato starch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
grapeseed oil, for frying

  1. Right before serving, top latkes with avocado mixture.

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor fitted with the shredding disk, shred potatoes and onion, using medium pressure. Transfer vegetables to a large colander set in the sink or over a large bowl; press firmly to drain excess liquid.
  3. Place drained veggies into a large bowl. Add eggs, potato starch, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop large spoonfuls of batter into hot oil to form pancakes, flattening them slightly with the back of the spoon. Do not crowd the skillet. Fry for 3-4 minutes per side, or until crisp and golden.
  5. Drain well on paper towels. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; place into oven to keep warm.
Norene’s Notes
Freeze with Ease: Arrange latkes in a single layer on a baking sheet; freeze until firm. Transfer to resealable plastic bags, press out all air, and freeze. To reheat, place frozen latkes onto a large baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, at 400°F for 12-15 minutes, until hot and crisp.
Note: Do not freeze toppings!
Sour Cream Topping 2 Ways
dairy pareve option passover gluten-free yields 4-6 servings
1 cup sour cream (regular or low fat) or Tofutti sour cream
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or dill
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup pomegranate seeds, or ¼ lb/125 g fresh smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  1. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream with lemon juice, parsley (if using pomegranate seeds) or dill (if using smoked salmon), and pepper; mix well.
  2. Top latkes; add pomegranate seeds (if using parsley) or smoked salmon (if using dill).
Deli Topping
meat passover gluten-free yields 4-6 servings
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
3 Israeli pickles, diced
½ lb/250 g deli meat, diced
  1. Add topping ingredients to medium bowl; mix to combine. Use as a topping for latkes.
Avocado Topping
pareve passover gluten-free yields 4-6 servings
1 ripe avocado, peeled,
pitted, and diced
¼ cup minced red onion
1 tomato, diced
1 Tbsp lime juice,
preferably fresh
1 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
  1. Add topping ingredients to medium bowl; mix to combine. Place plastic wrap directly onto mixture to prevent darkening.