Tuesday, March 31, 2009

CSA week 17 - Hindbeh bil zayt and mooli paratha

No surprise here; This is just what I said I'd make--Lebanese sautéed dandelion greens and Punjabi daikon-stuffed flatbread. To complete the pan-nationality, I ate them with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Dandelion greens first. If you followed the link I posted in the week start-up post you saw a lot of variations on a simple recipe. What I did fell in that zone.

100 grams (one share) dandelion greens
1 handful mixed parsley and cilantro leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, slivered
1/4 red onion, sliced thin
olive oil
baking soda
lemon juice

1. Wash the dandelion greens and chop however you'd like. Or don't. I chopped them in thirds. Boil water in a medium pot. Add a pinch of baking soda and the dandelion greens. Simmer 5 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water and squeeze dry.

2. Fry onion and garlic over medium low heat in a judicious amount of olive oil until they just start to turn golden. Remove half. Add dandelion greens, herbs and salt to pan and cook five minutes. [Some recipes call for cooking the dandelion for 15 minutes before adding the herbs, but I found that they were already fully cooked after the simmering so I didn't see any point.] Remove to bowl and keep warm.

3. Return reserved onion and garlic to pan and either turn heat up to get them crisp or turn it down to get them deeply caramelized. Either way, top the dandelion with them and a squeeze of lemon.

As you can probably tell from the picture, this is spectacularly flavorful, but I'm really not sure if the dandelion has anything to do with it. Yes, you can taste greens in the mix, and they're particularly yummy greens, but I don't know if that's natural to the dandelion or due to the cooking method. Only way to tell is to cook up every green in the house this way and compare the results which sounds like a pretty good plan to me.

Fair warning, the dandelion cooks down to not a whole lot and you won't want to share.

And now the daikon.

I used this recipe from recipezaar:

Daikon Radish Stuffed Flatbread/Mooli Paratha Recipe #105155

Delicious stuffed parathas make a wonderful heavy breakfast or brunch. These are good make aheads which you can wrap in some foil wrap and take to a picnic.Good to eat in the car as well no mess. Rather than drink soda or juice with this, you can have lassi which is yogurt thinned with water or milk(blend them well to make thickish smoothie type mix) to which you add sugar or honey to taste. Totally delish.
by ladyinred

55 min | 30 min prep


* 2 cups wheat flour, add to this
* salt
* 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
* 1/2 teaspoon jeera powder (cuminseed)
* 2 tablespoons oil
* water, from the grated radish,for kneading the dough (will be explained below) [I got about a quarter cup from the daikon and added a bit more than quarter cup more to get a nicely kneadable dough.]


* 1 medium diakon radish, grated (after grating squeeze out the water/juice, use it for kneading dough)
* 1/2 teaspoon ajwain (available from indian stores) (optional) [This, according to indianfood.about.com, tastes like thyme. I used za'atar instead.]
* 1/4 turmeric powder
* 1/2 teaspoon jeera powder
* 1/2 onion, grated,juice squeezed out discard this [I used the bottom of the spring onion]
* salt
* 1/4 chili powder
* 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped [I increased the amount and used half parsley]
[ * 1 hot pepper, seeded and finely diced]
* oil (for frying)

1. Make up the dough using the water (as much as you need from the radish) Discard any left over water.
2. Leave the dough covered in a warm place to rest for half an hour.
3. Add salt to the grated radish.
4. After 15 mins squeeze out more water and discard this.
5. Then to the dry grated radish add the rest of the filling mix.
6. now make small balls of the dough a little bigger than an egg.
7. Flatten them out, dip in dry flour and roll them out using a rolling pin to a teacup saucer size.
8. Make smaller balls of the filling mix about the size of an egg yolk and place each filling ball in the center of the dough saucer.
9. Gather the rest of the dough around it so that the dough completely covers the filling.
10. Dip it in dry flour and roll it out again this time bigger than a saucer.
11. Heat a tsp of oil in the frying pan.
12. Add the bread and shallow fry on each side until brown spots appear.

I found the initial rolling and filling rather easy, although the envelope fold I used made the paratha turn out rectangular. Rolling the filled dough out was a little trickier to do without creating small tears and squishing a little filling out. Although the filling when I scooped it was dry, some liquid appeared from nowhere to squirt out onto the cutting board. The final size was a little smaller and a little thicker than I expected.

I fried the bread two minutes on the first side, poured a little olive oil on it before the flip, and then a minute or two on the other. I had some trouble keeping the pan temperature steady as I fried one at a time so I had some mixed results. I think my very first one turned out the best. Probably a good idea to brush off the extra flour better than I did.

As for the flavor, yeah, this tastes like the stuffed bread you get in Indian restaurants so not bad at all. I was afraid that with the chili, cumin and cilantro it would end up tasting Southwestern, but you can kind of get that, but the flavor of the daikon brings it back to Asia. It isn't strong and it isn't readily recognizable, but it's definitely there.

The paratha wasn't a bad match with the dandelion, but that was so good I just wanted to eat it straight. It would be pretty good with the Indian callaloo dish I made last week, I think, or chicken tikka.


kat said...

Hmmm perhaps I should save all the millions of dandelions that grow in my yard & cook them up

billjac said...

No reason why not. If you've got millions you're probably not putting down weed-killer so they're likely safe to eat.

From what I've read, there are a few different species of dandelions so you should try a leaf or two to see how the particular ones in your yard taste. And remember that they get more bitter as they age (don't we all?) so pick the younger leaves. If all the leaves you try are nasty, see what boiling them with baking soda does. It's a common preparation to make them more palatable.

Oh, the yellow flowers are edible too so don't forget them!

LaDivaCucina said...

Did the daikon's slightly bitter taste mellow with the spices? (besides, EVERYTHING is better when you fry it in dough, right?!)

I've been trying to utilize the darn things but they always add a bitter taste to the entire dish....me no likey but I'm trying.

billjac said...

The bitterness wasn't really noticeable through all the other flavors, particularly since you got more bread than daikon in every bite. Daikon's a problem whenever you try to put it at the front of a dish; a little on the side or buried in the center and it works better.