Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cooking with Reza Mahammad

Reza Mahammad is the bubbly London-born-Indian-chef that can be seen all over South African television at the moment (currently showing is a cooking show that he shot in SA called Reza's African Kitchen). My dear friend Louise and I attended a Le Creuset cooking demonstration at the PnP Good Food Studio presented by Reza – and what fun!

Upon arrival we were treated to bubbly and tasters of two of the recipes from his new cookbook, spinach koftas in tomato sauce (which I later helped him roll into balls on stage J) and sweet potato and goat’s cheese samosas (recipe below). In person Reza is just as quirky and talkative as he appears on television. Not only is he passionate about cooking (especially about spices) he is also very knowledgeable when it comes to ingredients, cooking methods and also the little back stories behind dishes and spices.

Using recipes from his book (Reza’s Indian Spice), Reza buzzed around the kitchen whipping up spinach koftas, jeweled rice, a beansprout salad with grilled asparagus & coconut and a chicken curry in cashew sauce – all cooked and served in fabulous Le Creuset cookware. We only got a tiny taster of each of the dishes (he could have done with more ingredients and more time) but the flavours were amazing! Initially I bought his book because it just looks so beautiful, but now I can’t wait to get cooking.

Next step: plan a trip to India… J

We had these as an appetiser before the demonstration and they were delicious! 
Just had to share the recipe J

Sweet potato and goat's cheese samosas (with Indo-Italian pesto)
(from is book Reza’s Indian Spice)
Makes about 24

You will need
1 tsp cumin seeds, plus 1–2 tbsp more, to sprinkle
400g sweet potato, diced small
200g soft goat’s cheese, chopped
3 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
1 whole red chilli, deseeded if you like, finely chopped
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, crushed
125g unsalted butter
270g filo pastry
rock salt, to sprinkle

How to make it
Unlike most samosas, these aren’t fried. This both makes them healthier and somehow intensifies the flavour of the filling. Cinnamon is fabulous with sweet potato. I serve these with a peppery watercress dip – a kind of Indo-Italian pesto – with coriander and lemon (once, by accident, I used orange instead and it was great, so try it). If you grow nasturtiums, use the leaves instead of watercress; it tastes unbelievable. These are smart enough to serve with drinks.
Place the 1 tsp cumin seeds in a dry frying pan and toast until golden and fragrant. Remove to a mortar and crush with a pestle. Put the sweet potato in a pan, cover with water and add salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for six to eight minutes until tender. Drain and cool. Place in a bowl and mix with the cheese, spring onions, coriander, chilli, chilli flakes, crushed cumin, cinnamon and garlic. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Melt the butter. Lay a sheet of filo on a work surface and brush with butter. Place a second sheet on top to fit over the first. Brush this with butter too. Cut into strips about 5cm wide. Spoon 1 heaped tsp of filling into one corner. Fold the right corner of the strip over to the left side to create a triangle. Continue to fold the triangle along the
strip to the end, cutting off surplus pastry. Repeat to use up all the pastry and filling. Brush liberally with butter and sprinkle with cumin seeds and rock salt. Bake for 12–15 minutes, until golden.
Serve it with

Indo-Italian pesto

You will need
20g each watercress, rocket and coriander stalks
2 garlic cloves
2 whole green chillies
70g parmesan, grated
50g pine nuts
Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and juice of 1 ½
200ml olive oil

How to make it
Put all the ingredients except the oil into the bowl of a food processor. Start the processor. And pour the oil in slowly, until everything is smooth. Add salt to taste and serve as a dipping sauce with the samosas.

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