Friday, April 27, 2012

Daring Baker's Challenge, April 2012- Armenian Nazook

In addition to joining the Daring Cook's I signed myself up for the Daring Baker's community. This group comprises of thousands of home bakers throughout the world who take part in a monthly common recipe challenge. Each challenge involves making the recipe, photographing the results and posting these online on a set, designated date. The recipes can be, yes, challenging, sometimes tricky, and more often than not, very interesting.This is my first Daring Baker's challenge. 
The April challenge,straight from the DB website is as follows: 

"The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake."

Challenging- of course, tricky- maybe, interesting- definitely!

Our host gave us the option of making either the nutmeg cake or the nazook, possibly both. I set out to complete both challenges, but with time constraints, due in part to a little procrastination, I ended up only making the nazook.

It seemed a little out of my comfort zone, since, I have nothing to compare by, having not made nazook or come across it ever in my life. I did find Jason's detailed method and recipe most helpful. This, in conjunction with his Aunt Aida's enlightening video tutorial took away any apprehension I had allowing me to forge ahead in making this flaky delicacy.

Nazook is a buttery, Armenian pastry. Doing a google search led me to learn that it has Russian, Ukrainian as well as Iranian roots. This culturally fortified pastry has a shortbread-like texture and it envelopes a mild, sweet filling.

I played with the filling, making two actually. The original called for a vanilla crumb core, which is standard according to Jason. I added chopped almonds and honey to this. The rest of my nazook got inlaid with sweetened, fresh coconut, touched with some crushed cardamom (endorsing the South Indian in me).

The results were delicious. The almonds and honey added a nice dimension to the vanilla center, while the combination of coconut and cardamom leaned more to a moist, tender center.  Both had my mouth swooning. My kids who never experiment much when it comes to food, asked for seconds and thirds. Of course, JZ was super impressed. He personally loves pastries, no matter the filling.

So here goes, my attempt at the lovely Armenian heritaged nazook.

(Recipe and method adapted from the Daring Baker's challenge recipe)

Equipment Needed:
  • 3 bowls ( if using stand mixer, 2 bowls)
  • cookie sheet(s)
  • pastry brush
  • rolling pin
  • crinkle cutter, or a sharp knife
(This equipment list- maybe something to consider for future recipes- was so helpful in the preparation and sorting of ingredients.)
 Pastry Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 4 oz  sour cream
  • 1 stick softened, unsalted butter 
  •  1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
 Method to make pastry:
  •  In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift in flour. ( there is the option of using your hands, I used my mixer)
  • Add the dry yeast, and combine well.
  • Mix in the sour cream, and 1 stick butter work it into a dough, about 1-2 minutes on medium speed. 
  •  Next, if using mixer, switch to a dough hook and on medium high, knead for about 8 minutes until dough pulls into form with no stickiness. (If making manually, continue to knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. If it remains very sticky, add some flour, a little at a time.)
  • Cover the dough or place in a large Ziploc bag and refrigerate for 3-5 hours.
 Vanilla nut filling:

  • 3/4  c all purpose flour
  • 3/4 c finely chopped almonds
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 6 tbsp softened unsalted butter
  • *2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
With your hands or using food processor, mix together the ingredients from flour to the vanilla, until it's texture resembles crumbly, slightly coarse breadcrumbs.
Coconut cardamom filling:
  • 2 c fresh, grated coconut (or frozen, shredded coconut unsweetened)
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 cardamom pod, powdered
Mix together the ingredients until sugars blend in evenly with coconut.
For the glaze:
I egg, beaten 

Putting it all together:
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Cut the refrigerated dough into 2 halves. 
  • Form each half into a ball. Dust your work surface with a little flour.
  • Roll out each dough ball into 2 large rectangles.The dough should be thin, but not transparent (app. 9 X13 in).
  • Spread one filling mixture for each roll out of dough, lengthwise across the rectangle in an even layer (vanilla for one and the coconut for the other rectangle).
  • From the long side of one rectangle (nearest to you), start slowly rolling the dough up and away from you . Be careful to make sure the filling stays evenly distributed. Roll all the way across until you have a long, thin,cylindrical loaf.
  • Repeat with the other rectangle.
  • Pat down the loaf with your palm and fingers so that it flattens out a bit (just a bit). 
  • Carefully put loaves onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Apply your egg wash with a pastry brush over the pieces.
  • * Use a crinkle cutter (or knife) to cut the loaf into 10 equally-sized pieces, with both loaves totalling 20 pieces.
  • Place in an oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

I went in search of a crinkle cutter so I could slice my nazook. Of course, I could've used a kitchen knife, but on seeing the original I knew the crinkle cutter left far more prettier pieces. 

Beware the house will start smelling a lot like Christmas, with a very warm intense vanilla scent wading through the air. The host mentions that it is traditionally prepared around Easter. Any which way this treat will bring in a downright festive mood..

Kudos to Jason for this super awesome and very unique challenge, in addition to formally presenting us with two delightful and very distinct Armenian sweets. 
The ones with the coconut filling turned out browner towards the bottom edges due to the sugars oozing out a bit and caramelizing


The original list called for double the ingredients, which yields 40 nazook. I halved the recipe and made necessary adjustments since I didn't need as many (or so I thought). 
One thing I must add is that the dough alone is wonderful and I think quite versatile. You could easily switch it in for a number of recipes that call for pastry dough.

The perfect tea accompaniment

After all this, am I glad I attempted nazook? Yes. Will I make it again?  Yes. Do I wish I had stuck to the original quantity of ingredients and not halved the recipe? YES, those 20 pieces disappeared way too fast! 

Now, I'll go bake that nutmeg cake.

 "Your worst day with Jesus will still be better than your best day without Him." Joyce Meyer

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies- A day of baking with my boy

My younger one was home sick from school. Nothing major, a mild cold, and an altogether under-the-weather disposition. Some mothers cuddle their kids when they're unwell, some read to them and some sit,to patiently watch the nth episode of SpongeBob (all of which I did, but, seriously, with the whole day ahead, do we need to waste away in Krusty Krab world). We decided to spend that good chunk of day baking cookies. I use the plural form "we", although you must know the "I" in "we" was major in making the decision. Between spells of non-wellness,  Z would measure out ingredients for our chocolate sandwich cookies, sifting and then cutting out, finally sandwiching them to his delight. We talked and we created. Finally some baked goodies, sugar rushes and a kitchen mess later we had a day's collection of fun memories to go with our yummy delights.

I whipped up two flavored fillings to go with these beauties. Did I mention that these sandwich cookies are the bomb, no exaggeration?! They are not only one of mine and the childrens' favorites, but JZ's as well, and that's saying a lot for a man who does not enjoy "intensely chocolate" anything.
Delicately crispy, with a sort of depthful chocolate taste, the kind that says "80% cacao and and good for you" (hypothetically, I'm saying), these are flavor packed and subtly sweet. The wafer is great on it's own , if you're not a fan of creamed centers. Though, it is MOST good,with the overfilled middle brimming with sweet cream, balancing out the overall taste.

For the cookie:  
(Cookie recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Chocolate Wafer  Cookies) 
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 c light brown sugar
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

  • Preheat oven to 350°
Z  shaped the dough and took the picture .
  • Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  • In a bowl of an electric stand mixer, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugars. 
  • Beat in butter and incorporate with the rest of the mixture. Add in the egg, then vanilla. Mix until a uniform dough forms. 
  • Turn out dough onto floured surface and divide into two.
  • Mold both pieces into flat rectangles, wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Take one shaped dough, unwrap top of the plastic wrap, keeping the bottom part of the dough on plastic and roll with a floured rolling pin until piece is about an 1/8 inch thick rectangle (be careful, it is very thin and can break).  
  • If needed use more plastic wrap to completely cover flattened dough (use baking sheet or flat surface to place the covered, flattened dough). Refrigerate for an additional 10 minutes or until firm.
  • Repeat for the other remaining rectangle.
  • Take out chilled dough.
  • Carefully cut circles using a 2 inch cookie cutter straight on the flattened dough with the plastic lining only the back of dough, careful not to cut through plastic. 
  • Slowly transfer cut-outs to the parchment lined cookie sheets.
  • Roll up excess dough, refrigerate and repeat process.
  • Bake for 6 minutes, rotate sheet (s) turning pans once for even baking, and bake an additional 6 minutes or until the cookies are set. 
  • Transfer cookies to a rack immediately to cool.
  • While the cookies cool, prepare the filling.
I try my hardest to reach the prescribed 1/8 " thickness, unfortunately some ends come out slightly thicker each time. I pacify myself saying it is in form with the rustic, homemade look ;-)

Chocolate cream filling:
  • 1/2 c milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 c heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Small pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
On low heat, over a pan of hot water, place a heatproof bowl and simmer chocolate chips, cream, and butter in the bowl. Stir till melted and smooth. Pinch in salt . Pour in vanilla, stir again and take off heat. Leave to cool.

Vanilla cream filling:
  • 1 c confectioner's sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp vegetable shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
 With an electric mixer, beat all the ingredients starting on low speed, until somewhat combined. Increase speed to medium  after all the sugar has been absorbed ( you don't want a shower of sugar all over you and the kitchen) Beat for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.
Once all the cookies are cool, spread a generous dollop of filling on flat end of one cookie. Top with another cookie and press so that the filling oozes out to the edges. Scrape off excess from sides.
Makes a little over 2 dozen cookies.
Dough that is cut and placed on baking sheet should be kept refrigerated until batch is ready to be baked.

Baking these gems today  and being able to spend time with my little guy was so worth it, a lesson learned on seizing the opportunity in unlikely moments.  A plate of cookies and some ice cold milk later, he asks, "Amma, can I watch my Spiderman movie?" To which my head quietly resounds, "And that's why you're home from school today?"

The Oreo is my most beloved chocolate sandwich cookie. Always having been my favorite, it took me through two pregnancies where the only thing I wanted and could eat was my package of Oreos. I gorged on them, polishing off whole rows of these chocolate cream- centered delights, with no shame at all. I won't be unfaithful and say mine are better, but they are a good contender, making a strong stand in their own league of captivating sandwiched delights . 
  • ******

 Don't tell  God how big the mountain is; tell that mountain how big your God is.  Do it - it works so much better.

"... Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20 (NLT)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

With Love From Swaziland ~ Malva Pudding

This sweet dish comes all the way from Swaziland. My friend, Krista Prince sent me the link which she had posted on their family blog, Our Journey In Swaziland (in short: I asked her if I could share one of her delicious recipes and she kindly obliged- thank you Krista).   

Krista, her husband Stephen, along with their three children are missionaries in Swaziland. Having left behind their home and the comforts of Midwestern life, they set out over a year ago to serve in the Swazi mission fields.

This family make themselves available as the hands and feet of Jesus with Children's Cup  " to change the world for hurting and forgotten children by giving them hope in the love of Jesus Christ." 

With their regular updates and newsletter we get glimpses of a family's awesome faith-filled journey; seeing THE hands and feet being used to spread life -giving light in the Southern African country. It is truly a blessing to have ever come into contact with such an amazing family.

Besides sharing slabs of life through generously detailed fill-ins, Krista spoils her readers by posting over-the-top, region based food posts. Malva pudding is one among her stellar recipes.

Let me tell you now, this is not your everyday smooth, one dimensional pudding. The soft, chewy cake- like base, draped in rich butter- laden sauce and amped with a cream custard is absolute posh dessert. Or it could be a very decadent breakfast, which would happen if you have enough willpower to leave a little bit of leftover. In any case, malva is luscious, but not overbearingly heavy.

The layered pudding brought back memories of the syrup soaked gateaux we consume in India, often catered by local" pudding chefs" and served at grand events. You don't need the 'chef' title prefixed to your name in order to prepare this easy, yet impressive sweet dish.

Before going to the ingredient list, I take you to Krista's introduction which reads:

"Since we've arrived in Swaziland, there are already foods and recipes that remind us of being here...things that we have never experienced up until now. One of those recipes is Malva pudding. It's a traditional south African dessert originally of Dutch origin, and it is indescribable..."

(Recipe unabashedly and heavily adapted from Krista Prince's Malva Pudding)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam (or preserves, chopped very fine)
  • *5 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 generous tbsp butter
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a stand mixer(or hand held beater) combine sugar and eggs and beat until thick and lemon colored. 
  • Mix in the apricot jam and beat.
  • In another bowl, sift  together the flour, b.soda and salt. 
  • In a smaller bowl, combine the milk, vinegar and butter. 
  • Alternate adding milk mixture and flour mixture into eggs and sugar. Beat well until combined thoroughly.
  • Pour into an 9x9 in. oven-proof dish and cover with foil (very important)
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes. 
  • In the meantime, make the sauce below.
  • *3 1/2 oz butter
  • 3/4 cup cream or milk (both work!)
  • 3 oz sugar
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Over medium heat melt butter. Mix in cream, sugar, water and take off heat.
  • Stir in vanilla.
  • Spoon over warm, baked pudding. 

It's best to weigh the flour and sugar on a kitchen scale.
3 1/2 ounces butter is approximately 7 tablespoons.

    Hot Malva pudding is usually accompanied with custard.

    • 1 c whole milk or heavy cream
    • 1/2 c sugar
    • 4 egg yolks, beaten
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • Beat egg yolks in a bowl and beat until uniform pale yellow.
    • In a saucepan over medium -high heat, whisk milk/cream and sugar continuously until it starts to bubble but does not reach the boil point. 
    • Temper the the egg yolks by slowly streaming a couple of ladles of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, being careful not to scramble the eggs. ( I take my milk off the heat during this process) Pour egg mixture back into the saucepan and again over medium heat, whisk until custard starts to reach a thick consistency, where it will be able to coat the back of a spoon (160°-170° F on heat- safe thermometer- about 8 minutes).
    • Stir in vanilla.
    • Strain custard through a fine-mesh sieve, if needed.

     "Serve warm or cool over the malva pudding. Be sure to scoop your guests off the floor after they've tried their first bites -- it is truly heavenly! "- Krista Prince
       This was Krista's picture that screamed "you must make right now".
      I cut the pudding into slices surrounded in a pool of thinned custard, for picture purposes. The photo right above best shows how it will look, on your plate - a yummy, melded mixture ready to be consumed.

      Some facts on Swaziland (Source: Wiki) :

      Swaziland is critically affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic, which is now an existential threat to its society. 

      The infection rate in the country is unprecedented and the highest in the world.

      As a result, life expectancy has halved from nearly 60 years in the 1990s to just over 30 years today. 

      In two years, 200,000 Swazi children will have been orphaned by AIDS - more than one-fifth of the current population, according to UNICEF.

      You can read more about the Princes', their journey and what they do( in addition to Krista's recipes) on their blog, Our Journey In Swaziland. 
      To find out about Children's Cup, click here.

      "God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them."~ U2 frontman Bono ( at the National Prayer breakfast In D.C.) 
      "Give freely and spontaneously. Don't have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God's blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors."Deuteronomy 15:10-11 (MSG) ~ life verse displayed on The Princes' web page

      Saturday, April 14, 2012

      The Daring Cooks' Challenge April 2012- Create Your Own Recipe

      As a newbie to food blogging I tried to search out the many hangouts where I could find fellow foodies and maybe a fun challenge or two. It did not take long to come across The Daring Kitchen. According to the website, "The Daring Kitchen is the home of The Daring Bakers and The Daring Cooks. The premise of both groups is to create one recipe each month, given to us by a monthly host. " The part  that enticed me was that we all produce the same recipe which we post on our personal blogs on a designated date. So here I am taking part in my first Daring Cook's challenge.

      Our April 2012 Daring Cooks hosts were David & Karen from Twenty-Fingered Cooking. They presented us with a very daring and unique challenge of forming our own recipes by using a set list of ingredients! 

      Providence would have that my first challenge involve creating an original recipe, as opposed to posting a predetermined one with simple variations, maybe a slight adaptation- which was what I was expecting.

      Many thanks to David  and Karen, though, who walked us through with much needed guidance and inspiration. They provided us with their own original recipes featuring the set ingredients and helped us jump start our imaginations with flavor combinations and suggestions. 

      The lists :

      List 1: Parsnips, Eggplant (aubergine), Cauliflower
      List 2: Balsamic Vinegar, Goat Cheese, Chipotle peppers
      List 3: Maple Syrup, Instant Coffee, Bananas

      So, my biggest challenge was to incorporate my ingredients from list one and two, which were more savory with an ingredient from list three, tending to lean more on the  sweeter side.

      Egg rolls were my to- do for the next recipe posting, and it dawned on me to create one suited for the DC challenge. So, I improvised my egg roll. I decided to use cauliflower for my filling along with some additional, complementing flavors. I knew immediately that balsamic vinegar and maple syrup would be a great taste pairing. I mixed together a sweet/sour dipping sauce, marrying the two ingredients.

      This whole competition made me think differently about food and how you make a dish your own by daring to try new methods and experimenting with contrasting ingredients  to create a stunning new set of flavors. It's a lesson that I will carry with me as I test out more in the kitchen and try to deliver that to you here.

      Cauliflower Egg Rolls:
      • 1 tbsp oil
      • garlic cloves, minced
      • 1 seeded and diced jalapeno
      • 2 cups cauliflower florets, chopped small
      • *1 cup coleslaw mix(tri-color blend)
      • 1 red bell pepper, diced
      • green onions, finely chopped
      • 1/4 cup finely chopped roasted cashews
      • 1 tsp sesame oil
      • 1/2 tsp salt (enough to taste)
      • 2 tsp pepper
      • 15 egg roll wraps
      • small bowl of water 
      • cooking spray

      • Heat oil in skillet.
      • On high-medium heat, saute garlic and jalapeno until tender.
      • Add cauliflower, coleslaw and saute  until wilted, but still crisp.
      • Put in bell pepper and green onion, saute another 30 seconds.
      • Remove from heat and mix in cashews, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Keep aside to cool.
      Preheat oven to 400° F.

      Assembling and baking the egg roll:
      • Place egg roll skin in front of you, so it looks like a diamond, with the lower point towards you. 
      • Place 2 tablespoons of cooled filling just below the center.
      • Fold the bottom point of the diamond over and around the filling. Next, fold the left and right corners over filling. 
      • Finish by tightly roll the egg roll like a burrito.
      • Moisten the top corner with a bit of water. Repeat for approximately 15 more skins.
      • Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place your egg rolls seam side down on greased sheet. Use cooking spray to coat the top of the egg roll lightly.
      • Bake for 10 minutes, turn sides and bake for an additional 8- 10 minutes, till sides are golden brown.
       I know, not quite tight rolls, some of these look like they're loosely jacketed,  but they hold up good in the oven, so  all is well.
      Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce:
      • 3 tbsp soy sauce
      • 3 tbsp pineapple jam
      • 1/4 cup maple syrup
      • 2 tsp minced ginger
      • 1-2 tbsp chili garlic sauce (depending on level of spice)
      • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
      Stir all the ingredients together until well blended.
      Serve your egg rolls with the dipping sauce.

      No coleslaw mix? No worries, just shred some cabbage and carrots and equally mix to replace the one cup needed in the recipe.

      Keep the egg roll skins in their wrapper or covered with a moist towel so they don't dry out.

      The look of the egg rolls, in general, will be flat and rectangular, not cylindrical, since they bake flat on a baking sheet, in the oven instead of being rolled in oil.

      Your egg rolls will have a different sort of crunch, a bit "sturdy',  as opposed to the flaky crisp that happens with deep-fried rolls. Though, when you look at the amount of oil and fat you save, especially after the  chicken wings 65, it's well worth it and I must say, very tasty too.

      And if preheating, use the oven. Attempting to nuke these in a microwave will lead to chewy and very hard egg rolls.


      "You are the light of the world. All you have to do is flip your switch." Joyce Meyer Ministries
      ( Matthew 5:14)

      Wednesday, April 11, 2012

      Chicken Wings "65"

       I love chicken wings, fried and crispy to the bone. Often coated with the requisite buffalo sauce, on occasion swaddled in a a sweet/sour melange. Though, sometimes when I want to reach that flavor crescendo that can only satisfy mine and my family's Indian taste buds, I adapt my wings to the fine tune of the legendary Chicken 65.

      Chicken 65 is a preparation in which flavored chicken pieces, usually boneless, are batter fried and topped with tempered seasonings. Critics may say that wings aren't used in this recipe ; but that's the joy of cooking- adapting recipes to accommodate your preference, your ideas and also what you have stored in your refrigerator or pantry, all without demolishing the overall structure and taste of that particular recipe.

      When I first put together a batch of my chicken wing 65, it was an instant hit, wonderfully crisp, crusted and well flavored pieces of chicken.

      Now, you may be wondering what the number  65 has to do with chicken. Chicken 65 is steeped in mystery as to how the name was sourced. The different theories surrounding it include the 65 chilis purportedly used in its making, to 65 being the age of the first chef who came up with the dish. Whether you want to assume that it had 65th place on the restaurant menu of Chennai's Hotel Buhari or if 1965 was the year it was first produced is a matter of opinion and choice. I am in favor of believing the hotel theory, as JZ regales childhood tales of visiting Buhari's on Mount Road, after many a late night movie, holding the hand of his mom just to consume the famed menu item, # 65. 

      The varying ways of making the dish are as numerous as the stories themselves. Almost always chicken pieces are dredged in a spice/flour mix, and topped with a further sizzle of seasoned ingredients.

      The chicken wings here get a supplementary squeeze of lemon and a good swathe of tomato ketchup to balance out flavor.

      So here we go, chicken wings done in my own "65" rendition :

      • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken wings
      Marinade for the chicken:
      • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
      • 2 tbsp cornstarch
      • *1/2 inch piece ginger, roughly chopped 
      • *2 tsp roughly chopped garlic
      • 1 serrano pepper (green chili), de-seeded
      • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
      • 1 tsp soy sauce
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      For frying:
      • *2  cups  oil 
      Seasoning and coating:
      • 1 tbsp cooking oil
      • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
      • 2 shallots, diced small
      • 2 sprigs curry leaves
      • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
      • 1 tbsp ketchup
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      Method :
      • Remove the tips of the wings and discard. Using a knife, separate the wings at the joint, so you have 2 pieces for each wing. 
      • In a mini processor, process ginger, garlic, and serrano until a smooth paste forms.
      • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the marinade- from the yogurt to the salt (including the ginger/garlic/serrano mixture) until smooth and blended. Evenly coat wing pieces in this. Keep aside for 30 minutes.
      • Heat 2 cups of oil in a deep sided pan or fryer. Check if oil is ready- tested either by a deep fry thermometer( 350°-365°F) or when bubbles form around the end of a wooden spoon immersed in the oil.
      • Add the wings in batches, 6-8 at a time (do not crowd pan), keeping flame medium-high. Fry till all sides are golden brown and meat is cooked through.
      • After each batch, make sure oil is at an optimum temperature before adding the next batch.
      • Continue process until all the wings are fried.
      • Drain wings on paper towels.
      • Heat oil in a small skillet, add in mustard seeds.
      • When the seeds begin to pop, add shallots and curry leaves. Fry till browned and crisp. 
      • Take off heat, mix in lemon juice and ketchup. Combine well.
      Pour over the warm chicken wings and serve.

      Use ginger/garlic paste, ready made and jarred, found in the Asian foods aisle or Indian specialty grocers. I make my own, processing larger amounts of ginger, garlic, mixed with some lemon juice or a tiny bit of vinegar. It can keep up to a week or two in the refrigerator.

      For frying, my first option is peanut oil, next would be canola.

      When serving these wings at your next gathering, you can be assured that this preparation will reel in the compliments as well as some good conversation.

      Some imaginative and well known chicken 65 speculations:

      The meat comes from 65 day old chickens.

      There were 65 different spices used in it's making.

      It was first served in a Kerala bar in 1965.

      First served in a roadside hotel on the Punjab National Highway 65.

      The flour and yogurt dredged chicken came about as a quick meal solution for Indian soldiers during the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

      65 was the age of the first waiter to have served the now illustrious dish.

      Theories abound, if you know more, do include some in your comments, I would love to hear them.

      Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:17,18,19 (NLT)