Monday, 3 August 2015

Wild "Thing"!

Sformato Piccante di Barbabietola Rossa, Carote, Zenzero & Curry, con Yogurt alla Menta
Hot & Spicy, Curried Beetroot, Carrot & Ginger "Thing" with Minty Yogurt


Fancy a slice of cake, anybody? Oh, please, don't let looks deceive you! Because as lovely as this little "cake" looks-and indeed tastes... It is absolutely anything but a sweet treat! It is hot and spicy and savory and delicious! And yes, it is a little bit crazy as well... Just like the person that in invented it! And that would be me! haha!

Actually, come to think of it, this is not quite that crazy after all- it's only the way that it looks that is deceiving. This is basically the same thing as a potato rosti, but made with beetroot and carrot and plenty of spicy curry in the mix... Perfect with a refreshing mix of mint and chutney on a hot summers night! And yes, as always, a change from the same-old same-old! Which is always a good thing!


When it comes to curry powder, please don't buy that horrible yellow stuff at the supermarket- you know you deserve better than that! There are so many different varieties that life is too short to not be inquisitive... And this madras curry mix that I stumbled upon at my local Asian supermarket turned out to be much hotter and spicier than I expected... And a real delight!

Go on, be brave and try out something new... I dare you!


To make my thing", which had a diameter of around 6", I needed 3 beets, 1 carrot, 1 spring onion, about 2" of fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon of fennel seed, 1 heaped tablespoon of coconut flakes, 1 tablespoon of curry, a little fresh mint and parsley, some fresh yogurt and salt and pepper for seasoning. And if you want it to be a little more Indian than usual, you can use ghee, or clarified butter, rather than regular butter or oil... Although either or all are fine! Use what you have and you will be ok... This thing kinda takes care of itself!


Being a little hard to categorize, I named this dish simply a "thing" -(funny fellow that I am!), although the Italian term of "sformato" actually fits the bill quite well... It translates as "cooked into shape" and refers to anything that can be baked or cooked in a dish or ramekin and then "turned-out" . Now, all I needed to make this was a frying pan, but at the end of the day, I did exactly he same thing.

So now... You tell me what you think I should call this thing! Other than "delicious", haha!


Simply peel and coarsely grate the beets and the carrot, finely grate or chop the ginger, finely chop the spring onion and the parsley, add the curry and fennel seeds and season with salt and pepper... And mix thoroughly... You can't get much easier than that!


Once it is nicely mixed, allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes to give it time to give off some juices... These will be important for cooking... And then get your pan nice and hot, add a pat of ghee or a dash of oil or butter... And get ready to get cooking!


Spoon the mixture into your frying pan and press it down firmly into place. Keep the heat set to a medium setting and keep an eye on it until you see the color begin to deepen and darken around the outer edges as the beets and carrot begin to cook and soften. Press into shape using a wooden spoon, pushing the mix together from the outside in. Put a lid on top of it and allow to cook and steam away for a good 5 minutes- again, on a moderate heat... Some things take time!


Gently ease a spatula underneath, all the way around, and never mind if it crumbles apart a little at this point... Simply press it back into shape. The important thing is that you have made sure to loosen it from the bottom of the pan.


Next, you guessed it, put a plate on top of the "thing" and get ready to invert it and turn it upside down, as you would a frittata, rösti or omelette... It's nerve- wracking of course... But you can do it!


Once you have flipped it, even if it breaks up a little, press it back down into placed you will be fine. Add a little more fat to the pan and then slide your little masterpiece back into the pan. Looks almost like something that has come out of a volcano, doesn't it?

Continue to cook gently, with the lid on top, for a good 10 minutes, on a gentle heat. Remove the lid every now and then and press down firmly into shape. As the beets and carrot cook down, they release juices, which turn into steam and make everything soften and cook together.

After around 10 minutes, turn off the heat and allow to sit for a further 10 minutes to "rest"... This will make it easier to remove from the pan and to serve. Repeat the same procedure with the plate, and again, if it crumbles apart a little, press it back into shape... Don't fuss! It's all about the taste! And that will be delicious!


Using a sharp knife, cut into portions and serve with a nice spoonful of plain yogurt with plenty of finely chopped fresh mint added... It's all you need to make this terrific and spicy dish even more delicious!

Hot and spicy and cool and refreshing... Who could ask for anything more!?!

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