From Kheema ravioli to chettinad crepes

Sep 02, 2012, 09:07 IST | Sonal Ved

We challenged four chefs to pick up a classic stuffed preparation of their choice and infuse it with a touch of India. Sonal Ved watches crepes, ravioli, sambousek and quesadilla don a desi avatar

With the magic wand called creativity, dishes belonging to one part of the world can be transformed into something else all together. This technique of experimenting with food and cooking techniques, applies well to dishes that are traditionally served in a stuffed form. For preparations such as crepes, ravioli, sambousek and quesadilla are easy to manipulate. 

F Lounge. Diner. Bar Chef Rakesh Talwar’s Kheema Mutter Ravioli. Pics/Satyajit Desai

According to food blogger Shivani Tolia from The Yellow Butterfly, “A good way to bring some change to the food on the dining table, is to create new flavours every now and then. I love changing the stuffing of classic dishes and turning them into contemporary master dishes.”

Italian Ravioli turns into
Kheema mutter ravioli

150g refined flour
1 egg
20g olive oil
10g onions, finely chopped
10g tomatoes, finely chopped
10g ginger, grated
10g garlic, grated
10g red chilli paste
90g mutton
1tsp turmeric powder
10g green peas, boiled
1tsp salt
2tsp black pepper powder
2tsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
¼cup fresh cream
10g blue cheese
10g walnut
Salt and pepper to taste

Knead the flour, egg and oil to form a soft dough. Cover it in a muslin cloth and leave aside for a few minutes
In a pan, heat oil and sauté ginger, garlic, red chillies and cook it for three to
four minutes
Add mutton, tomatoes and green peas and mix well. Tip all the spices into this and add salt
Cook the mixture until the vegetable and meat are tender and pasty. Allow it to cool
Roll the dough into two thin sheets. Place a spoonful of stuffing in a line, leaving one-finger space in the
Cover this sheet with another thin sheet of dough on top and press it gently around the filling
With the help of a pizza slicer, cut the large sheet into several small squares and plunge each into boiling water
Cook the pasta until the ravioli pieces begin floating on top and drain well
Prepare the ravioli sauce by heating cream in a thick-bottomed pan
Add chopped walnuts and blue cheese and season with salt and pepper
Serve hot with cooked ravioli pieces

French Crepes turn into
Chettinad Crepe with Curried Veggies
Ingredients For crepe batter:

½ cup milk
2/3 cup water
¼ cup melted butter,
1tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1tbsp white sugar
¼tsp salt
1tbsp vegetable oil
1tsp cinnamon powder
1 pinch baking soda
Ingredients for filling: 2tbsp poppy seeds
6-8 garlic cloves, grated
1tbsp cashew nuts
1tbsp cumin seeds
1tsp fennel seeds
1tsp coriander seeds
2 dry red chillies
3 cloves
2 cups mixed vegetables, boiled
1 onion, finely chopped
½ cup grated coconut
Chopped green chillies and grated coconut for garnish

Co-owner of Choco Kisses bakery, Jayshree Mehta’s Chettinad Crepe with Curried Veggies. Pic/Anita Anand

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients mentioned under crepe batter and whisk well
Cover the batter and refrigerate for two hours before use
To make crepes, heat a non-stick griddle — a flat cooking surface — and pour the batter with the help of a ladle
Swirl the back of the ladle in circular motion to make thin dosas. Cook the crepe on both sides until golden and crispy
To make the filling, mix poppy seeds with cashewnut and soak it in warm water for 10 minutes
Drain and grind it into a smooth paste
In a pan, heat oil and add cumin and fennel seeds, add coriander seeds, red chillies, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and coconut once they begin to crackle
Mix and sauté the mixture on medium flame for 3-4 minutes
To this, add onions and cook until they appear translucent
Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, cashew paste and boiled vegetables to the filling and mix well
Season the dish with salt.
Once cool, place it at the centre of the crepe and sprinkle green chillies and grated coconut
Serve hot with tamarind chutney

Mexican Quesadillas turn into
Murg Makhni with Chevre Quesadillas
Ingredients For murg:
1 chicken breast
50g hung curd
½tsp kasuri methi
¼tsp turmeric
¼tsp garam masala
1tsp mustard oil
½tsp ginger-garlic paste

Escobar Chef Rajesh Ratna’s Murg Makhni with Chevre Quesadillasa. Pics/Sunil Tiwari

Ingredients For makhani sauce:
1tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 green chillies, chopped
1tbsp melted butter
1 green cardamom
1 small stick of cinnamon
2 cloves
¼tsp fenugreek seeds
2tbsp tomato puree
¼tsp red chilli powder
5 almonds, peeled and pureed
½tsp garam masala
¼tsp kasuri methi
½tsp sugar
2tsp heavy cream
ingredients For quesadillas:
2 tortillas
75g chevre cheese
1tbsp butter

In a bowl, marinate chicken in hung curd, red chilli powder, salt, ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice, garam masala powder and mustard oil. Let it rest for three to four hours
Thread the chicken on a skewer and grill in an oven or directly on the stove for 15-20 minutes or until the meat is tender
Baste the cooked piece with butter and shred it into tiny pieces
In a thick-bottomed pan, heat butter and sauté green cardamom, cloves and cinnamon in it
Add fenugreek seeds, ginger-garlic paste and slit green chillies to this and cook for five to eight minutes
Add tomato puree, red chilli powder and salt and cook on a medium flame for 15 to 20 minutes
Once the butter begins to separate from the pan, add ½ cup of hot water and almond paste to it
Simmer the makhani gravy for 15 minutes and add sugar and kasuri methi to it
Add the shredded chicken pieces to this and stir well
Let the gravy simmer for eight to 10 minutes
Finish the dish by adding heavy cream and garam masala
Place one sheet of tortilla on a kitchen surface and top it with a couple of spoons of murg makhani
Sprinkle some chevre cheese on top and cover it with another tortilla
Baste the sheets with butter and grill on both the sides on a hot griddle until brown
Cut the quesadillas with a pizza slicer and serve hot

Lebanese Sambousek turns into
Spicy aloo-stuffed sambousek with Harrisa sauce
Ingredients For the Harissa sauce

1tsp cumin seeds
1tsp coriander seeds
½tsp caraway seeds
100g red bell peppers, roasted
3 red chillies, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2tbsp tomato puree
1tsp salt
½tsp black pepper powder
Handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
ingredients For Sambousek wrapper:
225g flour
4tbsp olive oil
¼tsp salt
1tsp kalonji and ajwain seeds, pounded
110ml warm water
ingredients For the filling:
5 potatoes, boiled and cubed
1tsp coriander seeds
1tsp fennel seeds
1½ tsp cumin seeds
½tsp pomegranate seeds
½tsp garam masala
1tsp dry mango powder
2-3 dry red chillies
Handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
1½tbsp ginger and chilli paste
½tsp asafetida
2tbsp oil
½cup frozen peas, boiled Lemon juice as per taste Salt to taste

Food blogger Shivani Tolia’s Spicy aloo-stuffed sambousek with Harrisa sauce. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi

For the harissa sauce, roast cumin, coriander and caraway seeds in a skillet over medium heat until they generate an aroma
Transfer it in a grinder and blitz into a fine powder
Throw roasted red peppers, chillies, garlic and olive oil in this blender and blitz it once again to form a smooth paste
Season and serve cold after garnishing with parsley leaves. For the sambousek wrapper, sieve flour and salt together and transfer them into a large bowl
Add the seeds and olive oil and mix well to form a
crumbly mixture
Add water and knead it into soft dough
Wrap the dough in a plastic cling film and let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour
Remove from the fridge and roll it into a thin sheet
Cut 3-inch circles from this sheet with the help of a cookie cutter. The dough will yield about 16 circles.
For the filling, blitz dry roasted coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and pomegranate seeds in a food processor to make a roasted spice mix and leave aside
In a large bowl, marinate the potatoes in the roasted spice mix along with salt, garam masala, dry mango powder, mint leaves, ginger-chilli paste, lemon juice and mix well
In a pan, heat oil and add a pinch of cumin seeds, asafoetida and green peas and cook for two minutes
Add spiced potatoes to this and mix well. Remove the mixture from fire and cool to room temperature
To assemble the dish, fill the circular sambousek wrapper with a spoonful of the potato mixture and pinch-seal with a wet finger to form a semi-circle
In a pre-heated oven bake the parcels for 20-25 minutes at 180 degree Celsius
Serve hot with Harrisa sauce 

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