Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Easy-peasy Sopaipillas


"If you are twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel ----- as far and widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people eat and cook. Learn from them - wherever you go." ~Anthony Bourdain


Chilean sopaipillas (pro: Sopaipiya) are made from a pumpkin-dough. They are traditionally eaten on rainy days which reminds me of how Indians love pakoras and gulgulas with tea on rainy days! Of course in similar fashion, sopaipillas like pakoras are not confined to rainy days alone. Sopaipillas make a great late breakfast/brunch or tea time snack. Personally we love them with hot, sweet ginger tea con leche of course...we're desis!!
The method I have used to make sopaipilla is a bit faster and easier than the traditional way, which requires the pumpkin (with shell) to be baked or roasted over coals. I like to simplify things as far as possible without compromising flavour. I needed only a bit of pumpkin not a whole one or even half for that matter. So I used a simpler method....boiling! I also down-sized the sopaipillas. Normally they are big, about four inches in diameter and thick, mine were smaller and thinner. The verdict on flavour and quality was given by a Chilean and she liked that they were smaller and thinner, making them a better snack with tea. So I serve you sopaipillas, made my way!
Note:
This can be spiced up for Indian palates according to taste. Add a sprinkle of jeera, chilli, or whatever you like best.

Ingredients

Yellow pumpkin........................2 slices, about 200gms. Should yield 3/4 (big) tea/coffee mug of pulp
All purpose flour (maida)...............2 1/2 standard measuring cups
Baking powder.........................1 tsp
Unsalted butter........................3 tbsps, melted
Brown sugar (optional)...........1 tbsp. (I usually don't add sugar to the flour)
A pinch of salt
Water......................................abt 1/2 cup or less, left over from boiled pumpkin


For syrup (Optional)

Chancaca or Brown sugar.....1 cup. (Chancaca is very similar to 'gur')
Water......................................1 cup
Cinnamon sticks.....................2 (1" long)
Cloves.....................................6-7
Orange (optional)...................................1 small or 1/2 a big one


Cut out two pieces of the pumpkin. Boil for about 20-25 minutes or until pumpkin is cooked through, to be easily mashed by a fork.
Measure out the flour. Add baking powder and mix well. Keep 1/2 cup separate.
If butter is frozen, melt it.
When pumpkin is boiled drain out water completely. Retain 1/4 standard cup of water for use later.
Mash the pumpkin well. There should be no big lumps.


If you have opted for syrupy sopaipillas, make the syrup. Add sugar, water cinnamon, cloves and set to boil. Add quartered orange. Keep stirring from time to time. When it thickens to just about one string consistency remove and set aside. Keep it warm.


Now add the melted butter, pumpkin mash, a pinch of salt to the flour. If you have opted to use sugar in the dough, add that too. Remember the pumpkin should be slightly warm when you mix it with the flour. Use a spoon to mix all the ingredients together.



When it is all blended, use your hands to knead the dough. Add 1-2 tbsps of pumpkin water if required. If it is sticky, add the flour kept aside earlier, a bit at a time. Continue to knead with the heel of the palm. Don't use your knuckles. When it becomes a nice soft dough, it's ready for cutting.



Take a small handful of dough. Roll into a ball and dip in flour. Flatten and roll it out into a big roti/tortilla of about 1/2 centimetre thickness. Use a cookie cutter or a glass (I did!) or a lid, whatever fits the desired size, to cut out circles. With a fork prick holes into each circle. You could also make little friendly ghosts by using the tip of a spoon or table knife to make 'eyes'.



Flour each roundel lightly and keep them aside. When all are done, heat oil in a deep pan and drop in about 4-5 sopaipillas. Do not over-crowd. Turn over quickly two three times. They should not turn brown, just a hint of golden. (However, if you have added sugar to the dough, they will become a slightly golden brown) They cook fast. You can test by removing one first. Drain the sopaipillas on paper towels for a few seconds.

Dip hot sopaipillas in warm syrup and serve hot, if you are using syrup.



If not dust with powdered sugar or icing sugar, if you prefer non-sticky but sweet ones.
Otherwise just serve hot, as they are with their subtle flavour and some tea or coffee.




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