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My apologies if this blog is turning more into a cooking blog than as baking one [as the name leads you to believe]. While it’s true that I dnt bake every single day, my excuse is that I also feel like sharing these everyday dishes with you.

It’s just as important to know how to put a simple meal together as to whip up a fancy dessert. Bouillon is one of my fave things to make if I need to get lunch/dinner ready within 1/2 hour.  Something I call a genuine comfort food, bouillon can be as versatile as you care to make it.

Throw in carrots, mushrooms and bits of shredded chicken to make a wholesome meal. Or combine your fave mine apollo with bouillon cresson.  Whatever you chose to do, bouillon remains a light healthy and flavourful dish that I bet you’ll make over and over again.

BOUILLON CRESSON – WATERCRESS BROTH

Ingredients:

2 bunches watercress/ brède cresson

2 cups rice water

2 cups water

1 tsp salt

1 small red onion, sliced

1 medium tomato, sliced

1 tbs vegetable oil

Method:

  • Clean watercress to remove grubs and dirt. Shred into 2 inch pieces.
  • Wash several times in a colander to remove impurities. Drain.
  • Cnt find brède cresson? Substitute with any available brède.
  • Heat oil in a large pan and sauté onion and tomato over medium heat until onions become transluscent for about a minute.

  • Pour rice water slowly into pan and dilute with an equal amount of plain water. To collect rice water, you should obviously cook rice and drain before you start with your bouillon.
  • If you dnt have rice water, dnt fret. Simply use plain water or substitute with water + 1tbs thickening agent like cornflour.
  • Season with salt and bring to a boil. Do not cover pan.

  • Dump watercress in bouillon and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot in small soup bowls as entrée or part of a main dish.

I recommend bouillon with along with boiled rice, rougaille poisson salé [salted fish rougaille] and satini pistas

. This is often featured as part of the menu in restaurants boasting of a cuisine creole but you can very well customise it according to taste and budget.

Health Considerations: The rice water content of bouillion makes it a choice source of nutrients and fluids especially for children. 

 SATINI PISTAS – PEANUT CHUTNEY

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted peanuts, shelled

3 garlic cloves

2 dried red chillies

3 tsp fresh mint leaves

1 tsp tamarind paste

1/2 tsp salt

1 -2 tbs water

Method:

  • Place garlic, chillies, mint leaves and tamarind paste in the bowl of mixer/grinder. Add 1/2 tbs water and grind to a paste.

  • Add peanuts and another 1/2 tbs water. Grind coarsely for a minute or two if you like bits of peanuts in your satini.

  • If not, continue grinding until you have a smooth paste. You may need to add a lil more water for this.
  • Dnt forget to stir in salt before you serve.
  • Can be stored in fridge for a few days.

Sorry for the poor quality of pics in this post. It was a bad ‘camera’ day 😦

I did not plan to do another semolina recipe right after my last one. It just happened. One of the reasons is that I got many requests for posting a traditional semolina halwa recipe. That also came up among the top searches listing on my WordPress dashboard. And the last but not least reason is that I was actually making the halwa this afternoon on mum’s special request.

The preparation of semolina halwa or sooji/ greo is a quick & easy stove top recipe. It’s even better if you have the semolina roasted beforehand. You can always roast the whole 500g packet [2 1/2 cup] and store in an airtight container for weeks. I had exactly 1 cup left from my lemon semolina cake which was what I needed for 4 hungry people.

SEMOLINA HALWA

Ingredients:

1 cup semolina

3 cups whole milk

3-4 tbs caster sugar

1 tbs butter/margarine/ghee

1/4 cup raisins

5 cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 cup chopped almonds

Method:

  • Roast semolina over medium heat till it turns a few shades darker. This will take around 15-20 minutes.
  • Stir occasionally to give it a uniform colour.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Sift roasted semolina to remove any impurities.
  • In a pan, melt butter/ghee over low heat.
  • Add raisins and wait for them to become nice and plump.
  • Add cardamom and cinnamon and let cook for 1 minute.
  • Add milk and bring to the boil over medium heat. Stir in sugar and almonds.

  • Slowly add roasted semolina to boiling milk.
  • Be very careful at this point as the mixture will start to splatter uncontrollably. Switch off heat and stir vigorously to prevent lumps from forming in halwa.
  • Some ppl add another tbs of butter/ghee at this point.
  • Keep stirring mixture till semolina is well incorporated and not sticking to the botton of the pan.
  • The amount of semolina you add depends on the halwa consistency you wish to achieve. Add more if you prefer the dry lumpy type. I like mine moist but not runny.
  • You can shape it into balls or place in moulds for a fancy presentation. Serve warm or cold along with a cup of tea.

Someday I will post the recipe for the ISKCON [Hare Rama] style Sooji Halwa. A nice [long haired] guy from the local ISKCON group shared it with me when I was in high school. For now I have another recipe I’d like to share – Touffé de Brèdes, which translates as steamed leaf vegetables. I made it for lunch today as mum harvested young shoots of brède violette from our kitchen garden.

TOUFFé de BRèDES

Method:

  • Protect yourself by wearing a pair of disposable gloves if possible. Working with the leaves and stems make cause moderate to severe itching.
  • Select young shoots and wash well under tap water.
  • Shred the leaves and cut the stems into 1″ pieces.
  • In a pan, heat 1 tbs of vegetable oil under moderate heat.
  • Stir-fry a red onion and dried red chillies for 1 minute.
  • Add leaves and stems. Cover pan with a tight fitting lid.

  • Simmer for 10-15 min until it has turned into yucky dark glob. Add salt 1/2 to 1 tsp, according to taste.
  • Mash the stems as much as you can with a fork.
  • Add a chopped tomato to the steamed leaf vegetable.
  • Cover and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve as a side dish along with hot faratas.

The basic method for touffé is the same for most types of leaf vegetables like brède songe, brède chouchou or chou. The word touffé is French for suffocating, with reference to the fact that food is cooked by smothering it with a tight fitting lid. I forgot to mention that the root or tuber is the other edible part of brède violette. The best way is to steam it and serve with a spicy chutney.

And yea, one last thing. What do you think?

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