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Celebrate the rains with some crispy, crunchy, spicy goodness

From cheese tempuras and fried banana flower cutlets to chilli tempe and quinoa arancini, here are some inventive dishes for a comforting rainy day meal

Brie tempura. Courtesy: The Fatty Bao

By Team Lounge

LAST PUBLISHED 05.07.2022  |  04:30 PM IST

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Nothing spells like rains than a fried snack. However, why go down the regular pakora and chaat routine, when you can opt for something fun and quirky. Lounge speaks to five chefs, who delve into their most cherished memories to create inventive dishes for the perfect monsoon snack.

Brie tempura

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Soft, creamy brie, fried to perfection in tempura batter and served with plum sauce, pickled beetroot and orange segments—what’s not to like! “Monsoons are the perfect time to indulge in this crunchy dish. Popping with flavour, the brie tempura makes for a fun snack or appetiser. The dish is a great pairing of a distinct cooking style with a wholly unexpected ingredient like brie cheese," says Chef Steven Haung of The Fatty Bao. Served with toasted almonds and shichimi togarashi, this is an inventive Asian dish, which is comforting and delicious at the same time.

Recipe

Ingredients

200 gm brie

100 gm flour

1 egg

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1 beetroot

6-8 orange segments

1 tbsp plum sauce

10 gm toasted almond flakes

Shichimi togarashi, to sprinkle

200 ml cold water

50 gm rock salt

Method

To make the tempura batter, mix flour, egg and ice cold water together. Keep aside. Wash beetroot and wrap it in a silver foil along with rock salt and bake for an hour at 150* C. Take it out of the oven and let it cool. Then peel off the skin, dice and keep aside. Cut a wheel of brie into eight equal small triangles. Heat oil in a frying pan at a moderate temperature. Dip the brie into the tempura batter, removing excess liquid, and fry in hot oil until light brown. Drain and keep aside. Assemble on a plate with roasted beetroot, orange segments and a drizzle of plum sauce. Sprinkle almond flakes and Shichimi togarashi powder.

Also read: 3 healthy one-pot meals for busy weeknights

Vazhapoo cutlet. Courtesy: Kappa Chakka Kandhari

Vazhapoo cutlet

For Chef Regi Mathew, culinary director and co-owner, Kappa Chakka Kandhari (Bengaluru and Chennai), monsoons evoke memories from childhood. While growing up in Kerala, rain and lightning would bring with them an army of mushrooms. His mother would make a variety of dishes such as the mushroom peera with ground coconut, mild spices and the Malabar tamarind. At his restaurant, Mathew has recreated the dish in the form of mushroom kizhi, which is wrapped in banana leaf pouches and steamed. This is part of the set menu at the restaurant.

Another dish that is inspired from his growing up years is the vazhapoo cutlet, made of banana flowers, which is a hugely popular vegetarian dish in Kerala. “On the plantation, where I grew up, heavy downpour would bring down the trees, as a result of which every household had an excess of banana flowers. Also, during the rains, when other vegetables were scarce, the vazhapoo were in abundance," reminisces Mathew. Banana flower and boiled potato forms the base of the dish, which has a colonial influence. “It features prominently in the elaborate course-style meals served at Syrian Christian weddings," he says.

Recipe

Ingredients

100 gms vazhapoo, finely chopped

25 gms chopped onions

15 gms chopped ginger

15 gms chopped garlic

10 gms chopped green chilli

1 strip curry leaves

50 gms potato

50 gms bread crumbs

2 grams refined flour

10 gms pepper powder

10 gms garam masala

5 gms turmeric powder

Salt to taste

15 ml coconut oil

30 gms refined flour for the batter

400 ml oil to fry

Method

Boil chopped banana flowers in water till they turn soft. Strain the mixture and keep aside. Heat coconut oil, add to it chopped ginger, garlic, onion, green chilli and whole curry leaves. Sauté well for 5 minutes. Add turmeric powder and the boiled banana flower mixture. Sauté well so that the mixture dries up. Now sprinkle pepper powder, garam masala and salt and mix well. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a pressure cooker (with three whistles) so that they are evenly cooked. Mash while still hot. Add the finely mashed boiled potato to the boiled banana flower mixture and mix well. Shape into small cutlets. Make a thin batter with refined flour. Dip the cutlets into the flour batter, coat lightly and then roll in the bread crumbs. Heat oil in a pan. Shallow fry both the sides until golden. Remove the excess oil with a tissue paper and serve hot with home- made beetroot chutney.

Tip: The banana blossoms need to be cleaned well before they can be cooked. The black sap that comes from the florets may leave stained fingers and clothes. Apply oil thoroughly to your hands before cleaning.

Also read: 4 delicious snacks to make during the monsoons

Tangra-style chilli tempayy. Courtesy: Hello Tempayy

Tangra-style chilli tempayy

Who doesn’t love a hot Indian-Chinese stir-fry on a gloomy rainy day! This Tangra-style dish by Chef BM Deepak, head (culinary), Hello Tempayy, adds a healthy twist to this comforting dish. “This flavour-packed, spicy, protein-rich vegetarian dish can be eaten as a snack at any time of the day. It can also be added to your main meal along with a portion of wok-tossed rice or noodles," he says. The mild nutty flavour of the tempe blends perfectly with the red chilli paste, spices, peppers and spring onion. This 100 per cent vegetarian ingredient, made by fermenting non-GMO soybeans, is not just high on the taste quotient but is also healthy for your gut. “It is the perfect substitute for paneer and a whole lot more nutritious," adds Deepak.

Recipe

Ingredients

200 gms tempe cubes

1 tsp corn flour

2 tsp red chilli sauce

2 tsp green chilli sauce

2 tsp soy sauce

1 onion, cubed

¼ each red, green and yellow capsicum, cubed

2 green chillies

Salt to taste

2 tsp tomato ketchup

3 tsp oil

¼ tsp white vinegar

¼ tsp sugar

2 chopped spring onions

1 tsp ginger-garlic, finely chopped

Method

One can use Hello Tempayy natural cubes or the Szechuan Chilli Cubes. Marinate them with soy sauce and salt. Skip step two if using marinated ones. Heat oil in a pan and sauté the cubes in the pan for 6-7 minutes and keep aside. Make a slurry with corn flour and water. Slit green chillies, cut peppers in cubes and finely chop spring onions. Also, finely chop ginger and garlic and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan, add to this chopped ginger-garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Tip in the onions, green chillies and pepper cubes. Sauté for 5 minutes. Pour in the sauces (green chilli sauce, red chilli sauce, soy sauce and tomato ketchup) and sauté for 2 minutes. Add vinegar, spring onions and sugar. Toss in the sauteed tempe and the corn flour slurry, stir for 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Also read: 3 things to make with wood apples

Quinoa and purple potato arancini. Courtesy: St Regis, Mumbai

Quinoa and purple potato arancini

The pandemic has brought the focus front and centre on immunity. And this snack, featuring quinoa, brings together crunchy goodness with nutrition. “When paired with the perfect dip, it is a go-to monsoon dish for those looking to enjoy something crisp and flavourful," says Mohammed Hussain, assistant chef de cuisine, The St. Regis Mumbai.

Recipe

Ingredients

100 gms quinoa

50 gms purple potato

50 gms enoki mushroom

20 gms chopped raisin

100 gms avocado

Salt to taste

50 gms chopped onion

20 gms chopped green chillies

10 gms chopped ginger

5 gms turmeric powder

20 ml ghee

5 ml garlic juice

20 gms red chilli powder

1 litre oil

20 ml lemon juice

10 gms chopped coriander

15 gms cumin powder

15 gms chaat powder

50 gms corn flour

50 gms refined flour

100 gms bread crumbs

10 gms green chilli paste

Method

Boil the quinoa and keep aside. Boil the purple potatoes, mash and keep aside. Heat ghee in a pan, tip in chopped onions and cook for 2 minutes. Now add chopped chilies, ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Further add chopped enoki mushrooms, raisins and cook for 3 minutes. Now it’s time for the cumin powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder to go in. Cook for 1 minute. Add chopped coriander and keep aside. Mix boiled quinoa and mashed potatoes, add salt, cumin powder, chaat masala, chopped ginger, chopped chilies and lemon juice. Divide the mixture into 6 equal roundels and keep aside. Stuff each roundels with mushroom stuffing and keep aside. Make a batter with equal quantity of refined flour and corn flour to a coating consistency. Dip the quinoa roundels in the batter and coat with bread crumbs. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Deep fry the quinoa roundels till light golden colour.

For relish: Mash the avocado, add garlic juice, cumin powder, chaat masala and lemon juice. Add green chilli paste and adjust the seasoning.

Also read: New ways to make chaat and chutney fashionable

  • FIRST PUBLISHED
    05.07.2022 | 04:30 PM IST