Or what happens when the sister comes to town
I’ve said this before: the world is a nicer place when you have sisters around. And I believe this with all my heart. It’s been a fun-filled and very special May because I was lucky to have my sister stay with me for close to a month. She arrived on my birthday and stayed on with the husband and me, and as always quickly became a neat little part of my life here.
If you think I am a foodie at heart, you need to meet my sister. And when the both of us get together, food related excitement and indulgence is through the roof. As we always do upon her arrival, a neat little list of all the food related activities that we wanted to accomplish in her stay here, was drawn up. This included new places to take her to and a few exciting things to make at home. As we roamed the streets, combed the beaches and visited the list of eateries one by one, it felt like we were on a mission, ticking off one thing after another!
I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of sliders, because it seems like a tastier, neater more manageable take on the burger. And this recipe had a nice Eastern feel to it too, which is a sure win in my books. I’m a little apprehensive and skeptical about frying nuggets/cutlets/pakodas because my experience has taught me that they always disintegrate and break. But I decided to put those fears aside and I gave it a go a few weeks ago. I made a few adjustments and referred to PK’s blog for some suggestions on ensuring that they do not disintegrate. Voila! Attempt 1 was a roaring success. I did not make Shayma’s mint aioli, instead made a curd and mint chutney which is the perfect marriage of flavours when brought together with minced chicken.
I knew I had to repeat this when the sister was around, so last night, we did. The recipe is not time intensive. Essentially the first part involves no cooking and is all about putting the ingredients for the mince together, shaping out the little sliders and leaving them to rest in the refrigerator. The second part involves frying them up, while you toast your buns simultaneously, simply assemble and enjoy!
Here’s what we used
500 gms minced chicken
1 thumb ginger, minced finely
3-4 pods of garlic, minced finely
1 medium onion, chopped very finely
A handful of coriander, chopped finely
1 green chilli, sliced finely
3 small slices of bread
Salt to taste
Here’s what we did
First I drained the minced chicken and let it rest for a while. Next I chopped up finely the onion, ginger, garlic, green chilli and coriander.
Then I put in the salt and masalas.
I added the crumbs to the mince, a little bit at a time, so as to judge how much I actually need. The crumbs essentially bind the mince together and keep it from falling apart. But adding too much would dry out the meat and give me sliders that taste like clay (I think).
Then I began to mould the sliders by taking golf-ball segments, flattening them between my palms and shaping the sides evenly. I tried to keep them average sized to ensure that they cooked through when shallow fried. 500 gms of meat + the breadcumbs and other ingredients gave me 22 sliders and fed 5 hungry people.
Next, I laid them out on a tray, and popped them in the fridge, a trick I learned from PK. This helps them set and firm up a little, further ensuring that they stay intact when fried. I let them rest for over an hour (because I had time to spare, but I think an hour should do just fine).
When we were ready to eat, I shallow fried them gently, on a non stick pan, over a low flame. This part takes patience, and when you have five ravenous people to feed, it might seem a little time consuming, but it is worth it. Because doing them in advance would mean they run cold by the time they’re eaten. And that’s never any fun!
Simultaneously I roasted some Goan pao’s on my tava, and toasted some bread too. I served these with an assortment of spreads including a hung-curd dip, tahini, mayo, chopped black olives and good old ketchup.
What was fun about this dinner was the options for everyone to choose from, and assemble their own slider sandwiches the way they pleased, making it a good plan for quick dinner parties for 5-7 people. Needless to say, the sister was pleased. And I was too!
Of all the loves we share in common, from weird eclectic music, strange clothes, compulsively observe people around, to eavesdropping on arbit conversations, noticing the strangest things about people and photographing lovely places, I think the love for good food is here to stay, for many years to come.