Chatkazz Indian Street Food, Harris Park, Sydney

Chatkazz

I have been hearing about those places selling authentic Indian food in Harris Park but it was only last night I actually had a chance to experience it myself. And place turned out to be Chatkazz.

Our friends Madhu and Kushal took us to Chatkazz for a night of Indian street food. Chatkazz is exclusively vegetarian with Jain options, by the way. Being Indian themselves, they know what they are doing. Naturally! And, the whole experience was truly fantastic!

Chatkazz is such an incredibly busy place. With all the hustle and bustle, it actually feels like you are in India! You have to wait for a table, though. However, they have this system: they have chairs, menus, order slips and pens outside where you wait for a table. While you are waiting, you choose what you want to have and scribble it down on the order slip. Once you have a table, you hand over your order and fantastic Indian street food starts coming.

Chatkazz

Here’s what we had at Chatkazz:

ChatkazzSabudana Vada (above), also called sago Vada is a tapioca (sago) patties which is served with spicy green chutney and a yoghurt/curd based one. It is a traditional snack from Maharashtra. In certain parts of India, sago is a very common ingredient to make foods during fasting period. You can get it from street vendors in Mumbai. So, I’m told.

Chatkazz

Dahi Puri (above) These are small crispy puffed bread mixed with boiled potato, chickpeas and topped with chilled yoghurt and various chutneys.

Chatkazz

Chole Bhatura (above) comes from Punjab. Chole and bhatura are separate dishes that are eaten together and it is absolutely divine. It is served with mango chutney, raw onions and chana masala.

Chatkazz

Pani Puri (above) is one of my old time favourites. I was introduced to these at the time we were living in Melbourne. There was a Gujarati restaurant down the road where we had enourmous amounts of chaat. I still miss Smita’s pani puri.

Chatkazz

Khaman Dhokla (above) is another old time favourite. These are savoury cakes made out of besan (chickpea flour) and are served with sweet & spicy chutney.

Chatkazz

Chinese Bhel (above) was everyone’s favourite. I must admit, I LOVE Indo-Chinese dishes. I am so determined to make this one. This morning, I tracked down a recipe. The moment I put together all the ingredients, I am so making this.

Chatkazz can be found at this address:
Shop 4-6/14-20 Station Street East,
Harris Park NSW 2150
Website

Chatkazz

Chatkazz has a separate sweet shop, by the way. We thought the colours were so inviting.

Chatkazz

We came home with a great selection of sweets.

Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Thyme

Creamy Cauliflower Salad Lemon Thyme

I have been growing some of my herbs in our outdoor area for some time. Some of them have been successful, some died and replaced and even the replacements died. It’s a process I’m learning and in the end, all this will translate into a mini eBook (hopefully) for you guys to download. I will keep you posted on VegFusion Facebook page. So, go and like the page if haven’t done so.

Lemon thyme I used in this Creamy Cauliflower Salad is the one from my own herb garden. I have always thought that buying a bunch of lemon thyme to be used just one thing was waste of money. However, you pick just the right amount if you’re growing your own and the rest of it will still live.

Mixing yoghurt and mayonnaise is a common practice where I come from. It sort of balances the creaminess of the salad dressing. And, here in this recipe, I flavoured this creaminess with Dijon mustard and added some tanginess with white wine vinegar.

Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Thyme
Ingredients:

1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets
Juice of ½ lemon

For the Creamy Dressing:
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt, thick Greek style
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (I used Plamil Egg Free Mayonnaise which is vegan)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt to taste

2 twigs fresh lemon thyme, leaves separated
Freshly ground black pepper

Method:
• Wash the cauliflower and drain. Broke into small florets.
• Boil enough water in a large pot. Once it starts boiling, add the lemon juice (you can squeeze it directly into the pot) and cauliflower florets. Cook the cauliflower for 10 minutes. Drain and immediately drop the florets into cold water to prevent further cooking. Cauliflower florets should be slightly firm. Once they are cool, drain and set aside.
• To make the creamy dressing: Mix together plain yoghurt, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar. Season to taste.
• Place the cauliflower in a salad bowl and dress it with the creamy dressing. Mix well.
• Garnish with lemon thyme and freshly ground black pepper and serve!

Product Review: Authentic Turkish Gozleme

Product Review: Authentic Turkish Gozleme
I have discovered a new product at Costco a few weeks ago: It is the Authentic Turkish Gozleme with Feta and Spinach. You know those traditional Turkish pastries filled with spinach and feta cheese? That’s them.

Gozleme

It is a big pack of Gozlemes I must admit. There are 4 Gozlemes in 1 pack, weighing 1.2 kg. altogether. However, each Gozleme is 300 gr and pretty much handkerchief size. I believe they are produced that way because you want them to fit in your frying pan, right? Traditional Gozleme is very thin and large as they are cooked on top an inverted wok like cooking implement and our frying pans we use in our home kitchen can never be that big. I used to have a very big, square, electric frying pan that I mainly used to make Gozleme. It got old in the end and I quickly realised that they do not make them that big anymore. I bought the biggest one available but it is still tricky.

Because Authentic Turkish Gozleme is quite thick, it takes longer to cook. The other problem its thickness is the moment you cut it, it spills its guts out. That is probably the only negative comment I can say about it. Other than that, Gozleme is becoming very popular in Sydney and these ones are incredibly practical.

Ingredients for Authentic Turkish Gozleme
• Wheat flour (Vitamins: Thiamine, folate)
• Feta cheese (30% milk): milk, salt rennet (non-animal), culture
• Water
• Silverbeet (16%), actually this is English spinach basically
• Iodised salt

Allergen information:
Contains gluten and milk products.

How to store Authentic Turkish Gozleme
Keep frozen. Once thawed, do not refreeze. Keep refrigerated, cook and consume within 24 hours.

Cooking instructions for Authentic Turkish Gozleme
• Remove Gozleme from its bag.
• Place it on oiled hot plate or non-stick fry pan and fry until each face is golden brown.
• Serve hot with a slice of lemon (optional).

Wine Notes: Process of Wine Making

Wine making has been around for thousands of years. It is not only an art but also a science. Wine making is a natural process that requires little human intervention, meaning if you put together the right ingredients in the right environment, the process will take care of the rest. However, they say that each wine maker guides the process through different techniques.

wine making

In general, there are five basic components of the wine making process:
1. harvesting
2. crushing and pressing
3. fermentation
4. clarification
5. aging and bottling

Wine makers typically follow these five steps but add variations and deviations along the way to make their wine unique.

Harvesting
The first step of wine making is harvesting the grapes. The time of picking the grapes determines many characteristics of the grapes and subsequently the wine which is made from them.

Although many wine makers prefer to hand-pick their grapes, the harvesting can also be done mechanically. Once the grapes are harvested, rotten and under ripe grapes are discarded.

Crushing and Pressing
Grapes are crushed with two different methods: using body part or using machinery.

The body part is the process of stomping the grapes with feet and crushing the grapes into must. Think about Aitana Sánchez-Gijón in movie called A Walk in the Clouds, crushing grapes with her feet in barrels. It is the old-fashioned way.

Nowadays, most wine makers prefer to use some kind of machinery to crush the grapes. And for that, a mechanical press is being used. This is a more hygienic way, as you can imagine.

Fermentation
After crushing and pressing, the juice of crushed grapes ferments with the help of yeasts added. Fermentation happens when sugar turns into alcohol. Grapes’ individual properties colour and flavour the wine-to-be. Winemakers can step in at this point and add oak fermentation or oak products into the process to further flavour the wine or add structure.

Clarification
Clarification is the process of removing certain substances like tannins and dead yeast cells. Wine is then transferred into an oak barrel or a stainless-steel tank. Clarification can be done by fining and filtration. During the process, wine is transferred into an oak barrel or a stainless-steel tank and certain substances are added to clarify it. For example, milk, clay, gelatine, egg white or isinglass (sturgeon bladder) are added for unwanted particles to attach to. Then to capture and eliminate the larger particles, the wine is filtered. The clarified wine is now ready to be transferred into another vessel for further aging or bottling.

Aging and Bottling
As a final stage, wine is aged in barrels and tanks to impart some much-needed integration on the various components of sugar, alcohol, grape juice, oak and yeast. Some wines are bottled straight away but some are given additional aging.

Some wine makers prefer aging their wine in oak barrels. The process produces a smoother and rounder wine. During this particular aging process, the wine will be exposed to oxygen which subsequently decrease tannin and increase fruitiness.

After that stage, we come in… as consumers. Because, wine is then ready to be served and consumed with friends and family.

Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce

Yesterday, I was tidying up my Indian recipes on my computer. All of a sudden it occurred to me that I haven’t done much Indian cooking recently. I was especially missing my Aloo Matar (potatoes and peas) and it seemed like I may have cooked it a million and a half years ago. I quickly checked the radiation levels in my fridge and for that I mean ingredients. Eventually decided to make my aloo matar and something else. That something else is below…

prawns

My Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce recipe was inspired by Meena Pathak’s Chingri malai curry from her book; Flavours of India.

Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce

Meena Pathak says that the dish is from the east coast of India. Of course, it uses real prawns but I substituted them with vegan/vegetarian prawns. The recipe also calls for bay leaves but I didn’t have any. So, I left it out completely.
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 vegan/vegetarian king prawns, thawed and cut into 2
½ cup frozen baby green beans
5 baby corns, chopped
½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic
1 piece ginger (about an inch)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves
2 green cardamom pods
2.5 cm (1 in) piece of cinnamon stick, broken into 3 (I used a very thin one)
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon plain natural yogurt
270 ml coconut milk
Salt to taste

Method:
• Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan and add vegetarian prawns, green beans, baby corn and turmeric. Fry them on high heat until they are crispy. Remove and set aside.
• Place the onions, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender and process to a fine paste.
• Wipe the pan with paper towel. Add the remaining oil to the pan (1 tablespoon) and add the cloves, green cardamom and cinnamon.
• Reduce the heat, and add the onion, garlic and ginger paste to the pan. Stir-fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
• Add 1 teaspoon turmeric and red chilli powder. Sprinkle with a little water and stir well.
• Add the yogurt and mix well. Pour in the coconut milk and return the vegetarian prawns, green beans and baby corn to the pan. Cook over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes until the sauce thickens.
• Serve with plain boiled rice.

Anah Daata Sukhi Bhaava! (Bon Appetit!)

Recipe: Aloo Matar (Potatoes and Peas)

Aloo Matar

Aloo Matar (Potatoes with Peas) is one of my favourite vegetarian Indian dishes of all time. Partly because it was the first Indian dish I ever learnt to cook.

Aloo means potato and matar means peas, by the way. It is a dry style Indian dish which can be added to other dishes like a daal or another main dish. I found the recipe in Shehzah Husain’s Vegetarian Indian cookbook many years ago. I make changes all the time like (you know me) but I have the original recipe here for you. Enjoy!

Aloo Matar (Potatoes and Peas)
Ingredients:
Tomato puree (1 large tomato)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon garlic pulp
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons corn oil
2 onions, diced
125 g (4 oz) peas (I use baby peas because they cook faster)
300 ml (1/2 pint) corn oil
3 potatoes, roughly diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
½ green pepper, deseeded and sliced
½ red pepper, deseeded and sliced

Method:
• Mix the tomato puree, ground coriander, chilli powder, garam masala, garlic, turmeric, salt and lemon juice together in a bowl and set aside.
• Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onions and fry until golden brown. Pour the tomato puree and spice mixture into pan, lower the heat and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Stir in peas and set aside.
• Heat the remaining corn oil in a karahi or deep frying pan to 180C, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds, add the potatoes and fry them until they have golden edges and are cooked through. Remove the potatoes dice from the pan and add to the peas and spice mixture.
• Finally, add the fresh coriander and sliced green and red peppers and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes. Serve the dish hot.

Anah Daata Sukhi Bhaava! (Bon Appetit!)

Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad)

I hope you guys all had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was fun and it lasted (the fun bit) until we were finally exhausted. Exhausted from eating and drinking but that’s what you do at this time of the year, right?

As promised… this is the salad we had for Christmas as a side to the main and a couscous dish. I thought it would be a good idea to keep all three Moroccan. I remember considering this particular salad for Vegan MoFo a few years ago when I had the Mediterranean theme for the whole month but never got around to it.

Recipe Notes: You might like to play around with the spices. I personally LOVE cumin and hot chilli so I use a lot more than specified in the recipes and even add more later on—which is true for cumin every time.

Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad)

Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad)
Ingredients:

5 medium sized carrots (I must admit, Olly ate some while I was preparing. So, I can’t guarantee the exact amount 🙂 )
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chilli
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
juice of ½ lemon, freshly squeezed
A few black olives, pitted and halved ( used 6 olives)

Method:
• Cut the carrots into four lengthwise, then into sticks. Steam until al dente. Drain well and set aside.
• Heat the oil in a large frying pan (I used a non-stick, stone pan which is big enough for the job).
• Add the carrot sticks and sauté on a medium heat for a few minutes, until carrots are covered in oil evenly.
• Add the crushed garlic, cumin, chilli, cinnamon, salt and pepper, and sauté until the garlic is aromatic and slightly golden.
• Drizzle the salad with lemon juice and decorate with olives. Serve cold.

Happy Holidays, Peoples!

Xmas

It’s that time of year again, Peoples. I have finally put together an Australian weather suitable Xmas dinner. And we are going Middle Eastern/Mediterranean! Well, mostly Moroccan, I should say. I will be making my famous Moroccan Faux-Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives. This is something I haven’t made for a quite some time so that’ll be great. Here’s the whole menu:

Starters
Izot
Babaganush
Hummus
All served with Turkish bread

Main Dish
Moroccan Faux-Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives

Side Dish

Harissa Flavoured Couscous with Raisins and Pine Nuts

Salad
Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad)

Dessert
Orange Cointeau and Macademia Christmas Pudding which is the only Xmas-sy thing we are having this year.

Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad) is the only one I have never made before. That’s the reason why you can access the recipes for the others but not this one. If it turns out to be a handsome looking salad, I might put it on VegFusion one day. If not, we’ll never talk about it again. OK?

Because my husband and I, we both have no family living close by in Australia, we do not get many visitors around Xmas. And, Xmas is the time for family, isn’t it? So far, we were fortunate enough to be invited to our friends’ Xmas dinners. They were nice enough to share their own families with us during holidays.

This year, we are having a friend around for Xmas dinner. So, that’ll be nice. I have just finished preparing our house for tomorrow: everything is cleaned and dusted, some of the cold items on the menu are put together, olives are soaked, I washed the tagine to be used tomorrow and our faux-chicken is thawing in the fridge. In short, I am ready to celebrate!

I hope you all have a beautiful holiday season. Try and make time for the little things, Peoples. Just relax and enjoy! Life should be celebrated.

Product Review: Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Sliders

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Gardein, you’ve done it again! Guys, I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am with Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Sliders. You know every time I see a new Gardein product at one of those places where I … Continue reading