Thursday, September 24, 2015

Arepas with steamed chicken burgers



"I believe no chef becomes what he becomes without having many people influence him."
(~Jose Andres Puerta)




I totally agree with Senor Jose Andres Puerta. No person who has a passion for cooking and the imagination to boot, whether a trained chef or not, can deny the "influence" of many people on their skills. Personally, my cooking skill, though modest, has been influenced by a number of people. Starting with my mother, my in-law's home cooking, and various other encounters with different styles and flavours in friends' kitchens. Indian kitchens abound with a plethora of recipes from different regions and if one is lucky to have friends from North, South, East and West...well, you've got the best classrooms to learn how to cook. If you are a traveller, not a tourist, and a passionate cook, you have a whole lot more to experiment with.

And, if you have a fertile imagination, there's no limit to the number of ways you can innovate to create new dishes...a little tweak here and there; combining and fusing foods to make something your own. I love it. Gourmet is not what I go for, I just look for good food...it could be the most basic of foods.

Another influence has been restaurants. I hasten to add, I'm not one of those cooks who want to give their families "just like restaurant " kind of food. When we want to eat out we do just that - we go out! What I like is to try and guess the ingredients and technique with which a particular dish has been prepared and then try to make it, using my deductive skills. That's so much fun. I don't cheat...no Googling at all!

Enough of that, let's get started:

Ingredients

For the Arepas

White maize flour.......................................3 level cups (standard measure)
Butter..........................................................abt 75-80 gms
Cheese (Basiron)........................................abt 75-80 gms, grated, Basiron is a kind of Gouda cheese.
Baking pwdr...............................................1 tsp, level
Salt to taste. Keep in mind the salt in the butter & cheese
Warm water to knead the flour



For the burgers
Chicken mince..........................................500 gms
Onion (white)............................................chopped very fine, 2 n 1/2 tbsps slightly heaped. you could use purple onion instead of white. I prefer white
Garlic.......................................................2-3 cloves, crushed finely in a mortar or minced
Ginger......................................................a 1" by 1" piece finely grated or crushed finely in a mortar
Green coriander.......................................a handful chopped small
Green chilli..............................................acc to taste deseeded and chopped fine
Garam masala.........................................1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Egg white................................................1 egg
Roasted black gram or bhuna besan....1 tbsp (roasted gram should be without skin. Grind into a fine pwdr., Besan is chickpea flour)
Cabbage leaves....................................as required, abt 7-8


For the sauteed aubergine

Aubergine................................................1 - 2 medium or as req. cut into 1/2 " cubes. Soak in cold water
Onion.......................................................1 medium white onion or as req. cubed into 3/4 " cubes
Garlic.......................................................1-2 cloves chopped fine. Or as many as req. acc to taste. but don't use too much.
EVOO
Coriander pwdr.......................................1 level tsp, or as req.
Pepper.....................................................acc to taste
Salt to taste




Use plain cheese if you want. It's good too. But use Gouda cheese for the flour.







Place in a hot nonstick pan, medium heat. Turn over and brush
with some butter/oil. Allow to roast. Turn over again and brush
butter on the other side. When done (abt 12 -15 min) remove.
Test one to see if it's cooked, cook for a couple mins more if needed.


For the stuffing, if you want only cheesy arepas, use any pizza cheese.


NOTE: If you wish to have plain cheese arepas, this is where you dig in. If you want to have #Arepaburgers, the following instructions will run you through. Happy cooking.



Sauteed aubergine

Heat about 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a non-stick pan.
Add the chopped garlic. Stir for a few seconds, add the onion cubes.
Stir. Cook on medium heat, uncovered until the onions become opaque but not limp.
Add the aubergines, but first gently squeeze out excess water.
Mix to meld with the onions, then add the coriander powder. Mix again. Add salt. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring once or twice to keep from burning until the aubergine is cooked and water is dried. If not uncover and allow excess water to evaporate.
Sprinkle pepper, mix. remove from stove.



Steamed Chicken Burgers

Mix all ingredients in the chicken mince. In a steamer, I used a momo steamer, Place some washed and dried cabbage leaves at the bottom. Now, make small burgers/cutlets with the mince, dipping your hands in some water first. Shake off excess water from palms. This is because the mince mixture might be a bit sticky and loose, don't worry, it will get into shape when it starts to cook. Just make sure you get it into a flattened round.

Keep the burgers as big as you'd need for the arrepas.

Heat a nonstick pan and place each burger, not crowding. The pan should be really hot. Turn over the burger when it is seared on one side. The burgers should not cook through, only sear the outside.

Remove and transfer to the steamer.

Place each burger on the cabbage layered floor of the steamer pan.

Heat the water in the boiler pan before adding the steamer pan/pans on top.

Steam for 25 minutes. I have a three tier momo steamer and could make 16-18 burgers in one lot.

When done, remove, stuff into the arrepas along with sauteed onion-garlic-aubergines. Cheese in these burgers is purely optional. I didn't use any. It tastes better with the burger and vegetable...lighter and not complicated with too much of dairy.

Take a big bite of a delightful Steamed Chicken Burger in an Arrepa Bun.

Just look at this pic...it's yummy!


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