I am lucky enough to work with a great group of women from all backgrounds. In fact I have already been 'adopted' into the crowd of amazing Filipina girls who tell me I'm actually a 'half cast'. Boy oh boy do those girls know their food and I know they have a lot of respect for those people who can cook and like to feed people. I really love this attitude towards food from this and other cultures...the way people come together around food, share what food they have and enjoy feeding other people. I think that even though I'm a garden variety Pakeha I really hold those food values close too (and I know quite a few others who are just the same). Anyway I often talk to my work friends about what they cook, how they make it and where they buy their ingredients from. I'm so lucky as the Filipina girls bring me all sorts of treats like the totally delicious and moreish Pansit and Chicken Adobo (if you never try any Filipino dishes try these!), and one of them makes incredible Baklava and these delicious biscuits made only at Ramadan which are like a shortbread type thing with a pistachio and rosewater filling. So thanks my new family especially Ning, Jonette, Rose, Angeline and Jen- you are truly wonderful people and amazing cooks...and thanks for feeding me on nightshift!
Another woman I work with called Herra is a lovely Fijian Indian woman who is also an amazing cook. A few weeks ago she brought me a big jar of her own masala mix which she had made and ground up herself. OMG this is a revelation! She also told me how to make a couple of different curries with it and also how to make Roti. Although the curry I made tonight isn't a traditional Fijian Indian (sorry Herra), but was one that I made up after looking online for some ideas. I wanted something with a gravy so thought this would fit the bill. It's onion, garlic, ginger, Herra's masala (a good couple of tablespoons worth), chicken, salt and pepper, a can of chopped tomatoes and a can of coconut milk. It simmered for a couple of hours and even though I didn't add chilli as I was feeding my boys with it, it was still very tasty.
To go with the curry I made Roti Herra's way. I have made this in the past and been disappointed with it. However since Herra told me how to make it I have never looked back. It is basically:
1/2 c wholemeal flour (you can use all plain)
1 1/2 c plain flour
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil (not measured but thereabouts)
Boiling water to make a soft dough (this is the key to a soft Roti)
Knead a few minutes until smooth. The dough will feel light and warm. Rest about 10 mins then break off golf ball sized bits. Roll out on a floured surface until they are a bit like a thin pancake (not a crepe), and cook in a dry heated frying pan. They should puff up in the middle and only take about 2-3 mins on the first side and only briefly on the second side to get colour on them. Totally delicious and well worth it. They are actually very easy to make and don't take all that much time either. So thanks Herra for your cooking tips!
|Stack of Roti- even though they might look it they aren't burnt!|