Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Badrijani nigvzit - Georgian aubergine rolls with walnut filling



Badrijani is the Georgian rolled eggplant dish we've been missing our whole life, wrote Lucky Peach on its Facebook page yesterday. I don't really know about rolled eggplant/rolled aubergine dishes in particular, but as far as eggplant dishes in general go, Georgian rolled aubergines are pretty wonderful. They're pictured on the top left corner above.

My recipe is pretty minimalist, as far as the seasoning goes. I've served them as part of a bigger Georgian spread (see f. ex. here), where the famous Georgian spice blend khmeli-suneli was used in various dishes. That's why I like my badrijani nigvzit (badrijani = aubergine/eggplant, nigvzit = walnuts) seasoned just with herbs, onion and vinegar. But feel free to use garlic instead of onion and to add some ground coriander or cumin seeds - or a generous spoonful of khmeli-suneli - to the walnut mixture to make it more flavoursome. Even chilli powder could be added, if you're fond of spicy dishes.

This great appetizer is low-carb, LCHF (low carb, high fat), gluten-free, vegan, Paleo etc. For more Georgian recipes, see my Georgian Flickr album or browse my Georgian recipes here.

Badrijani nigvzit aka Georgian eggplant rolls with walnut paste
(Pähklitäidisega pommurullid e. badrižani)

Serves 6 as an appetizer

2 slender eggplants/aubergines
sea salt
olive oil

Walnut filling:
250 g walnuts
2 onions
fresh dill, cilantro/coriander and parsley, chopped
3-4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To garnish:
pomegranate seeds

Cut the aubergines into long thin slices, lengthwise. Sprinkle with salt and let stand in a colander for 20-30 minutes. Drain the liquid, pat the slices dry with kitchen paper.

You can cook the aubergine either by frying or by baking. To fry them, heat some oil on a frying pan and fry on moderate heat until golden on both sides. To bake them, place into a 220C/450F oven and bake for about 20 minutes,  turning once.

To make the walnut filling, spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and roast at 180C/350F for about 10 minutes, until they're aromatic and golden. Remove from the oven and let cool.

If you dislike the taste of raw onion, fry the chopped onion in olive oil until translucent.

Place all the filling ingredients into the food processor and blend until coarse and combined. Transfer into a bowl and season to taste - the filling has to be just a wee bit vinegary.

Place a spoonful of the filling onto one end of the aubergine slice, then roll into a cigar (alternatively, spread a thin layer of the walnut paste over the whole length of the aubergine, then roll up).  Place onto a serving tray, and do the same with rest of the aubergine slices and the filling. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs.

More aubergine/eggplant recipes on Nami-Nami:
Grilled aubergine with feta, golden raisins and mint
Armenian aubergine stew
Ottolenghi's roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt
Nasu dengaku (miso-glazed aubergine)
Aubergine curry with tomatoes, coriander and Nigella seeds
Sautéed aubergine (Melanzane al funghetto)
Israeli roasted aubergine and feta spread
Moussaka, deconstructed

More badrijani recipes on food blogs:
Karen @ Rambling Spoon
Gill @ Gill Stannard
kahviaddikti (recipe in Finnish)
Christina Nichol @ Lucky Peach

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Dyeing Easter Eggs with Onion Skins, Estonian style

This was originally posted in 2011. You'll find all my Easter recipes here

Easter eggs / Lihavõttemunad

We don't really 'do' chocolate eggs for Easter here in Estonia, but real, chicken eggs. Dyeing eggs for Easter is very popular, and using onion skins is probably the most popular method. Using onion peels gives you most beautiful dyed eggs, each one unique and special. Here are some photos of the process that I took few years ago.

Pille, onion skins

Here's what you need to do:

* Few weeks before Easter start collecting onion peels. Yellow ones are better than red onion skins, as they give a nice colour.

* You need white eggs for doing this (this gives the shops a chance to sell specially packaged white eggs for a much higher price before the festivities).

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Take an egg and neatly put few onion peels around it:

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Take a piece of mesh/muslin/kitchen foil or even an old nylon stocking and wrap it around the egg to keep the onion peels on place. I used foil here:

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Boil as usual. Cool, then unwrap and unpeel.

Here's the result - each egg is unique and gorgeous:

Easter eggs / Lihavõttemunad

Natasha describes a similar, though less complicated way of dyeing eggs with onion peels that's popular in Russia and Ukraine: Russian Easter Eggs. My 91-year old grandmother uses the same method - she says she's too old to "play around" with the onion peels too much :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A recipe for gluten-free hazelnut meringue roulade aka Budapestrulle (Budapestbakelse)

ROOTSI: Budapestrulle. Budapest hazelnut meringue roulade.

I am writing this post while sitting on a really comfortable bed in a brand new hotel in Helsinki, called Indigo Hotel. I'm in town for a long weekend to enjoy the Streat Helsinki street food festival. The press trip is organised and hosted by Visit Helsinki, and we have been taken very good care of. This morning Heather of Heather's Helsinki took us for a coffee and Budapest cake at Karl Fazer Café at Kluuvikatu 3. The cake in question was a Budapest slice.

It's a popular cake from Sweden, attributed to a pastry chef Ingvar Strid who was born in 1926 in Vetlanda. It's a hazelnut meringue roulade filled with whipped cream and peeled clementine slices. Delicious! The version popularised by Fazer in Finland is slightly different - the clementines/mandarine oranges are replaced with bananas and raspberries. Different - and sweeter - but still nice.

Here's my version of Budapestrulle - I make the classic Swedish version. The recipe below uses a popular and widely available Swedish product, Marsán snabb vaniljsås, but feel free to replace it with cornflour or potato starch or even all-purpose flour (in latter case it won't be gluten-free, of course).

Since 2013, May 1st has officially been the Budapestbakelsensdag in Sweden.

Budapest slice
(Besee-pähklirull)

Serves 8 to 10

Meringue:
4 large egg whites
100 g caster sugar
150 ml (about 90 g) vanilla custard powder
100 g toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped

Filling:
200 ml whipping cream
1 tsp caster sugar
300 g canned mandarine oranges/clementines, drained

Decoration:
50 g dark chocolate
some canned mangarine oranges/clementines

Heat the oven to 200 C. Grease and line a shallow Swiss roulade tin/baking tray with a parchment paper.

Using electric mizer, whisk the egg whites until stiff but not try. Add the sugar in 2-3 installments, continue whisking until the mix is shiny and white.

Combine the hazelnuts and vanilla custard powder, then gently fold into the meringue mixture. Spread the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake in the middle of pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes, until the meringue is risen and slightly golden on edges.

Take out of the oven and cool completely. Then turn over onto a new piece of parchment paper and peel off the "baked" parchment paper.

For the filling, whisk the cream and sugar until thick and fluffy, then spread over the meringue. Put some mandarine slices aside for decoration, then scatter the rest over the cream. Roll up the roulade, starting with the long end, and using the paper underneath to help. Carefully lift onto a serving dish, leaving the "seam" underneath.

Melt the chocolate, drizzle over the meringue roulade. Garnish with mandarine orange slices. To serve, cut the cake into thick slices.

The photo above is by Juta Kübarsepp, taken for my cookbook "Nami-Nami. Maailma maitsed 1" (Varrak, 2013).