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Recipes with Roddy Damalis

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Local ingredients shine during Lent

This week I would like to concentrate on Mediterranean ingredients, bulgur wheat, pomegranate, aubergine, and kolokassi, which is taro root. These are all readily available and once you learn how to prepare them will become regular items on your shopping list.

 

recipes2Pourgouri, Pistachio and Pomegranate

Just substitute the butter with olive oil for the Lenten option.

This recipe can be served cold as a salad with a dollop of Greek yogurt, or hot, as an accompaniment to a main course. My suggestion is to serve it with the aubergine and coconut milk recipe to follow. To achieve a nutty flavour, it is important to toast the wheat before adding the water and vegetable stock.

The trick with the pomegranate is to slice it in half, hold it cut side down in the palm of your hand with your fingers spread open and then gently smack the fruit with a wooden spoon. The seeds will come out easily and fall through your fingers into a bowl. The pomegranate, as well as being the symbol of fertility, is delicious and packed with important nutrients that act as an anti-inflammatory agent.

 

Ingredients

 

2 cups Pourgouri (cracked/bulgar wheat)

1 large white onion (diced)

1 vegetable stock cube

3 cups water

2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup olive oil

100g pistachio nuts (coarsely cracked in a pestle and mortar)

1 pomegranate (cleaned)

Salt

Fine black pepper

 

In a sieve, rinse pourgouri under cold water; strain.

On medium heat sauté onions in olive oil until transparent and slightly browned.

Add pourgouri and pistachios, then sauté until golden brown and a nutty toasted aroma is achieved.

Add water, stock cube, butter and pepper (add salt at the end, if necessary, as the stock might contain ample salt).

Cover; reduce heat to low and allow to cook for 20 minutes (do not stir as this makes the wheat mushy and we want a loose, flaky result).

When pourgouri is soft, remove from heat.

Place on a flat platter and sprinkle with pomegranate.

 

Aubergines in Coconut Milk

Choose small to medium sized aubergines that are firm and shiny. The larger they are the more seeds they have and the more bitter they tend to be. Also avoid aubergine with a withered, leathery exterior.

I love slicing the young fresh fruit into a salad, they are porous and therefore absorb any delicious dressing. For this, peel them completely. When cooking them, partially peel them to keep their shape, colour, nutrients, and flavour.

If they are slightly bitter, coat them in salt and place into a colander and allow to sweat for 20 minutes. Rinse well under cold running water, strain and use according to your recipe. Both the red onions and the aubergine become sweet when browned before adding the coconut milk.

 

Ingredients

5 large aubergines (1.5kg)

2 large red onions (cut into thick slices)

3 bay leaves

1 vegetable stock cube

⅓ cup olive oil

200ml coconut milk

Salt

Fine black pepper

 

Partially peel and cube the aubergines.

Sprinkle liberally with salt and place in a colander.

Allow to stand for 15 minutes to sweat.

Rinse well under running water.

Brown onions and aubergines in olive oil in a large pot.

When aubergines are well browned add remaining ingredients and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.

 

recipes3Kolokassi Baked with Fennel

Taro root can be a little daunting to use at first; some golden rules… do not rinse under water. Peel quickly and pat clean with absorbent paper. Cut into pieces and immediately brown, either by coating in olive oil and placing it under a hot grill, or by placing it into a pot with olive oil. If this procedure does not get done rapidly the kolokassi will become slimy.

This recipe is a quick and easy way to create a delicious meal. The traditional Cypriot recipe is a stew, which once the kolokassi is browned, braised pork and onions are added to the pot with lots of celery, tomato paste and lemon juice. This is allowed to slow cook until the meat falls off the bone and the kokokassi almost melts.

 

Ingredients

 

1.5kg kolokassi (Cyprus taro)

2 fennel hearts (sliced lengthways)

2 large red onions (sliced)

½ cup olive oil

2 cups water

½ cup lemon juice

Salt

Cracked black pepper

 

Peel and slice kolokassi into bite size pieces; wipe with absorbent paper. Do not allow to come into contact with water, as it will become slimy. Prepare immediately; do not allow to stand.

Place the kolokassi into an ovenproof dish; coat with olive oil, salt and pepper; brown under the grill on both sides.

When browned, add the fennel, onion, lemon juice and water.

Seal and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for approximately 1 hour or until kolokassi is soft and has absorbed most of the juices (check after 40 minutes if it is cooked; if it requires more liquid, add water).

 

Roddy Damalis is the author of two books, MY CY is a photographic journey through Cyprus, with stories, commentary, culinary tips, and anecdotes that let you in on the mind behind the recipes, and MY LITTLE PLATES a guide to 100 adored recipes inspired by our beautiful island served over two decades at the beloved Ta Piatakia restaurant in Limassol. Roddy is a restaurateur, celebrity chef, food guru and consultant. He stole both local and international hearts with his infamous and highly acclaimed restaurant Ta Piatakia in downtown Limassol and now operates My View, an exclusive private dining venue in his home. For more information and to purchase the books visit www.roddydamalis.com  

 

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