Monday, September 28, 2009

Diddle Diddle Dumpling

Ever since my brother went to Vancouver, B.C., and had dinner at Vij's, he's been on a tear through Indian cuisine, aided and abetted by their cookbook, "Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine."

Packaged in a (relatively) plain brown wrapper, he's already dog-eared several recipes and is reveling in the richly aromatic and delicious recipes it contains. Since we're equally enamored of the cuisine, we were thrilled when he invited us over recently for dinner. Being the polite person I am, I asked what we could bring with us. That's when he said something about bringing an appetizer to go with the theme of the meal.

Sensing my mind going blank…I'm not really experienced with Indian apps…I headed to the cookbooks to see what I could find that wouldn't require a trip to the store. When I stumbled across a recipe for corn dumplings that called for fresh corn, initially I was excited since I've managed to squirrel away a fair amount of the stuff in the freezer to use this winter. Then I saw that it required deep frying. Damn!

I'm one of those people that shies away from deep frying for several reasons. First off, the mess. Followed by b) the smell, c) the amount of oil it requires and d) what to do with that (now unusable) leftover oil. Oh, and did I mention the mess? And the waste?

But since I had very little time and a quart of canola in the pantry, I jumped in and was quite pleased with the resulting dumplings. Slightly corny, nicely onion-y with a hint of spice, they were quite lovely and had the desired effect on the other guests. That is, causing their eyes to roll back in their heads and moaning to issue forth. Perfect.

Next time I'm going to form them into tiny fritters and fry them in a pan, requiring less oil and less of that mess (but without losing the aforementioned effect). Oh, and I've heard that sticking the oil in the freezer and letting it solidify makes it possible to throw it away and not end up going down the drain and into the river, a much better outcome.

Corn Dumplings (Bhutte Ke Pakore)
Adapted from From Bengal to Punjab: The Cuisines of Indiaby Smita Chandra

1 1/2 c. whole corn kernels (fresh, canned or frozen)
1 c. water
1 med. onion, chopped very fine (the processor works great for this)
1/4" piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. fresh coriander leaves, chopped fine (optional)
2 Tbsp. flour
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. garam masala
Vegetable oil to reach 1" depth in saucepan

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan and cook the corn in the water for a couple of minutes over high heat. Drain, let cool slightly and grind finely in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. Add onion and ginger to ground corn along with coriander, flour, salt , cumin and garam masala. Mix well.

Warm the oil for deep-frying over medium-high heat to 365°. Lightly wet your hands whenever necessary to shape small balls (I made them approx. 1" in diameter) from the corn mixture. Drop gently into the hot oil, about three at a time, and fry the dumplings until golden brown on all sides. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve hot or room temperature with chutney or other dipping sauce.


Ivy said...

Nice! I feel the same about the oil thing... Martha Stewart says to fill a coffee can with crumbled paper towels and pour the oil into the can, then discard the oily paper towels. Who the hell buys coffee in a CAN anymore? I just keep the used oil for a really long time and feel guilty about it. I think I might have to soon, these look DIVINE.

Anonymous said...

In Corvallis, Allied Waste takes cooking oil at its facility. I have a yogurt tub full of some but I haven't yet bothered to drop it off.

Kathleen Bauer said...

I like the cooking oil recycling…anyone know if there's a place in the Portland area that does it? Metro?