A Happy Hanukkah, with Apple Fritters and Cilantro-Ginger Latkes

It’s time to reenact the Miracle of the Oil in the Temple again, by lighting the Hanukkah candles. And (the best part, surely), we get to eat fried food for eight days running, with impunity.

Well, thighs and hips may be impugned, but with the obligatory New Year diet round the corner, the sacrifice is small, necessary, and metabolism willing, easily reversed.

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December 20, 2011. Tags: , , , . Asian, Cultural Feasts, Festive, Hanukkah, Hors D'oeuvres, Jewish, Savories. 5 comments.

Ginger and Cilantro Latkes (and Troubleshooting the Batter)

The chilli latkes vanished speedily the last time I made them, even in the mouths of babes aged 2 and 4. These ginger and cilantro ones are similar, and in a second batch, I added one grated zucchini too, which made no difference to the taste but definitely helped the conscience 😉  In a food processor, add the onion, about an inch of fresh ginger, four garlic cloves, give it a whizz, then turn it into a pan and saute till fragrant. Add that to the grated potato, with or without zucchini, with a massive handful of chopped cilantro. I added a tablespoon of cornmeal for crunch, don’t forget the other ingredients. Serve with sour cream, or applesauce, or a sweet chilli sauce (the latter would have been the clear winner with the Maccabees, I assure you).

Here are some tips on how to get the latke batter just right. (more…)

December 14, 2009. Tags: , , . Asian, Cultural Feasts, Festive, Hanukkah, Herbs, Hors D'oeuvres, Jewish, Savories. 2 comments.

Malaysian Curry Puffs


I get fits of nostalgia for Southeast Asian food. Once you’ve had a whiff of those spices, it’s hard to go back! My mother used to make these at Christmas or for birthdays or sometimes when we nagged her to. While the original versions tend to be deep fried and nevertheless are exceedingly delicious, I have become a little obsessed with worries about clogged arteries, and so prefer to bake the patties. The end result is pretty much as tasty as what you’ll find on Malaysian streets, with a lot more meat content and a whole barrel less grease!

For the pastry:

  • butter, 250g of the real thing, cold and cubed
  • plain flour, 500g
  • salt, 1 to 1 1/2 tsp
  • egg yolk, 1, beaten
  • very cold water, a few tbsp

  1. In a food processor, pulse the butter, salt and flour till it resembles bread crumbs
  2. Add the egg yolk and pulse a few times
  3. Add water by the tablespoonful until the pastry comes together
  4. Remove from the processor, divide into two discs, wrap and refrigerate


For the filling:

  • minced beef or chicken, 300g
  • potatoes, 2 large
  • onions, 3 medium
  • chilli, 1 green, chopped finely
  • ginger, 1 1/2 inches worth, minced finely
  • garlic, 5 cloves, minced finely
  • ground cloves, 1/4 tsp
  • ground cummin, 1 tsp
  • ground coriander, 1 tbsp
  • ground chilli, 3/4 tsp
  • coriander leaves, 1 large handful, chopped
  • curry leaves, handful
  • mustard seeds, 3/4 tsp
  • 1 beaten egg, to brush pastries with


  1. Preheat the oven to about 200C, 400F
  2. Fry the onions, garlic, ginger, chili, along with the mustard seeds and curry leaves till fragrant
  3. Add all the ground spices, saute for about five minutes
  4. Add the minced beef or chicken, stir till everything is combined
  5. Separately, boil the potatoes till almost done, cool, skin and cube
  6. Add a little stock or water, cover and cook the meat for 10 mins, then add potatoes
  7. Cook for a further 15 minutes, add coriander leaves, stir into the meat, allow to cool
  8. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge after 20-30 mins and roll out
  9. Cut into small rounds with a pastry cutter
  10. Fill with the filling, bring the edges together and combine firmly (you may have to get creative here but you could twist the pastry in the style shown in the picture above)
  11. At this stage, the pastries may be frozen for future use
  12. Brush the top of the pastries with a mixture of beaten egg
  13. Place them on a Pam-ed baking sheet lined with aluminium foil (to save on cleaning)
  14. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!


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January 12, 2009. Tags: , , . Asian, Baked Goods, Indian, Savories. Leave a comment.