Unravelling Ravioli on the Path to Pkhali Pierogi

1 March 2018

This time round on Knidos Cookery Club we’ll be unravelling ravioli, one of the many forms of filled pasta pockets found around the world – from Turkey’s manti, Uzbekistan’s chuchvara and Kazakhstan’s tushpara to Russia’s pelmeni, Ukraine’s varenyky and Poland’s pierogi – the list is endless.

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KCC’s beetroot-filled pkhali pierogi

These pasta pockets, which are boiled rather than steamed, can come in a variety of shapes and sizes with a wide range of fillings such as pumpkin, potato, spinach and ricotta cheese, or different types of fruit.

We’ve opted for a semi-circular shaped pierogi which we’ve filled with beetroot and walnut pkhaliclick here for our feature on this classic Georgian dish from last year.

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Three steps to a perfect pierogi!

Ingredients (Makes 16-24 depending on how big you make the pierogi)

For the pasta:

200 g flour

3 teaspoons olive oil

100 ml water

pinch of salt

Method

Make the pasta by sifting the flour into a large mixing bowl and then add the oil, a pinch of salt and half of the water in a well in the middle of the flour. Mix inwards from the outside with a wooden spoon and then add the rest of the water until the dough has absorbed all the flour.

Knead for ten minutes or so and then leave the pasta dough to rest in the fridge for at least one hour. After resting, roll the pasta out onto a lightly-floured surface to a thickness between 0.5 and 1.0 mm.

Use a glass to cut out round shapes from the dough, add a teaspoon of cooled beetroot pkhali in the bottom half of the circle and moisten the inside edge around the filling with a little water and then fold the top over. Use a fork to seal the pasta pocket.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and then add the pierogi to the water and keep boiling over a low heat until the pierogi float to the surface. Remove the pierogi with a slotted spoon and serve hot – they’re good served with sour cream or melted butter or just plain.

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Cutting Edge Noodles

1 December 2016

This week on Knidos Cookery Club we’re looking to Central Asia for inspiration in the form of the noodle, which, Marco Polo legends aside, is thought by some to have originated in this part of the world.

While the question of who first came up with the idea of combining wheat flour, water, egg and salt to make pasta is still being debated, one thing is certain – the dish (most likely) came from somewhere in Asia!

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Noodles from Kazakhstan – where they’re called kespe

The noodle probably came into Turkey with the nomadic tribes who swept across the Eurasian steppe, located between China and Eastern Europe, in the wake the Mongol invasions of Anatolia from the 13th century onwards. Pasta dishes in Turkey include manti, small meat-filled dumplings and erişte, thin strips of pasta dressed with cream and walnuts or added to soups and stews to add body.

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Chick pea, pumpkin and noodle soup

Another name for erişte is kesme  – this caused some confusion when researching this article as kesme can be a negative (do not cut) or the ‘-me‘ ending can turn the word into a noun – in this case it’s the latter as the name refers to a large sheet of pasta cut into strips. Erişte, by the way, is from the Persian reshteh, which means string or thread.

We’ve decided to stick with the Persian vibe – a popular dish in Iran is ash reshteh, a vegetable and noodle soup, and make a version of this hearty soup cum stew with chickpeas, pumpkin, tomato and noodle strips.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

For the noodles: 

If you have time and want to make your own  noodles, follow this link, otherwise use about 100 g of shop-bought dried egg noodles, broken up into 2 cm strips.

For the stew:

100 g egg noodles, broken into 2 cm strips

400 g pumpkin

200g dried chick peas, soaked overnight and cooked for an hour or so until tender but not mushy

25 ml olive oil

one medium-sized onion

three medium-sized tomatoes

500 ml vegetable stock or reserved cooking water form the chick peas

one clove of garlic

one teaspoon coriander seeds

one teaspoon red chili flakes

one teaspoon cumin seeds

salt and black pepper to taste

dollop of sour cream

Method

Cut the pumpkin into 2 cm chunks and roast in a baking dish in an oven pre-heated to  220 c /gas mark 7 for 30 minutes or so. If you have any seeds from the pumpkin, place these on tin foil and roast alongside the pumpkin until turning brown.

Chop up the onion and fry in the olive oil in a heavy-based pan with the garlic and spices on a medium heat until beginning to brown. Turn down the heat, add the chopped up tomatoes and stir.

Cook for five minutes and then add the chick peas and 200 ml of the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes. Add the roasted pumpkin and the rest of the stock and bring to the boil again. Add the broken-up noodles and cook for five minutes until the noodle pieces are cooked.

Serve in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and sprinkle some roasted pumpkin seeds over the top.

 

 

 

Steampunk Dumpling

28 July 2016

This week in Knidos Cookery Club we’re cooking with steam. A few years back the Knidos Cookery Club kitchen inherited a dumpling steamer which has remained unused as expertise from the East was awaited.

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This week, two guest chefs have landed in the Knidos kitchen to provide a masterclass in steam dumplingology. The dumpling has taken many forms in its journey westwards for China, but the basic combo of filled dough and boiling water has remained constant.

In Central Asia, manti are steamed in a special pan, as in China. In Russia,Ukraine and Georgia, pelmeni, vareniki and khinkali are cooked in boiling water, like their Italian cousin ravioli and Turkey’s scaled-down take on manti.

Sticking with our vegetarian vibe, our guest chefs prepared some veggie-friendly versions of this usually meat-heavy treat. The version they cooked up was a large rolled dumpling known as orama in Uzbek and Kazakh (orama means ‘roll’).

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The first step was to make the dough and, while this was resting, the veggies were chopped up. The filling is cooked by steam so there’s no need to pre-cook the veggies. for the meaty version, use chopped mince (meat according to your taste and desire), sliced onions and grated potato as a filling.

Ingredients (for around 10 orama)

For the dough:

500 g flour (we used wholemeal for a thicker dough)

200 ml water

One egg

25 ml olive oil

For the filling:

Two medium-sized potatoes grated

Two medium-sized carrots grated

One onion finely sliced

One medium-sized aubergine cubed

100 g mixed fresh herbs (parsley, mint, basil, dill)

100 g spinach or rocket

Pinches of salt and pepper for seasoning

Method 

For the dough: Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and crack the egg in. Slowly add the water and mix thoroughly. knead the dough until it goes spongy. Allow it to rest for 30 minutes or so.

For the filling: Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Ready to roll: Now take a golf-ball sized lump of dough and roll it out on a floured surface with a rolling pin. Keep on rolling it as thin as you can (until it starts to break up). Brush the inside with olive oil, pile filling on top and roll into a crescent shape. Place on the steamer tray, which has been greased with olive oil to prevent the dumplings from sticking.

Ready to steam: Fill the bottom of the dumpling steamer around one-third full with water and bring to the boil. Place the steamer trays on top of each other, put the lid on and steam over a low to medium heat, maintaining a rolling boil, for 45 minutes or so.