For the love of Food: Edible Cigars

Pic taken from www.hookedonheat.com, visit site for recipe details.

For as long as I can remember, I have always been a muncher. You know, the kinds who can nosh through meal times over little bites of delicious finger food. Growing up in a home where tea-time was treated with the greatest pleasure must have had something to do with it, I’m sure. I clearly remember warm summer afternoons, or even cold winter ones for that matter, where we would often substitute our dinner for a platter of the most guilt-ridden snacks. Lovely fritters deep fried till crisp and drowned in a tangy chutney, smokey char-grilled tikkas and kebabs, scrumptious sandwiches with the most amazing toppings, and of course, my personal favourites of deliciously spiced street foods.As I grew older, my love for noshing grew wider, incorporating in it varied flavours, from every cuisine I ever had a go at. Friday nights for me meant junk night – wherein, strictly avoiding a proper 3-course meal for dinner, I would instead opt for a plateful of wings, fries, or on many occasions, samosas. It was the only way I knew how to have a Friday night meal. Anything else seemed totally hideous.

When I first met Hubby Dear, my excitement knew no bounds to find that like me, he too grew up in a household where good food, and especially noshing was of high priority. I’ve heard of many stories from friends on how marriage makes one change ones habits and adapt to the other’s way of life. For me, it was a matter of simply combining the two. It wasn’t hard for me to fuse my love for all things spicy with Hubby Dear’s undying addiction to all things edible. Truly, matches are made in Heaven, but I’d like to believe that ours was cooked up in a 5-star kitchen filled with all things a culinary goddess could only dream of having.

And while our friends and family could happily attest to how different we are from each other, our Friday nights would easily prove otherwise. For in a home where one finds it hard to understand how the other can own a few dozen purses, and still find the need for more, the large platter filled with bite-size crispy treats is always something the two will always look forward to.

On the very note of food, I’m glad to announce that for those living in the GTA area, you will now be able to get my Indian 101 series right at your doorstep. Yes, as crazy and wonderful as it sounds, I now have my own column in the Mississauga News’ monthly food supplement, Nosh. Unfortunately, for those of you eagerly waiting for my next installment on the series, I apologise for the delay. While I already have the next part fully planned out, I will have to restrict myself from putting it up here until it gets published in my column. But fear not, just a few more weeks, and I’ll be back with the next part. I sincerely thank all of you wonderful readers without whose support and encouragement, my work would not have gotten the recognition it has. And for those of you far away and not able to subscribe to the paper, don’t feel left out. The series will surely continue on this site as well. Thank you all again, and happy eating!

EDIBLE CIGARS /w GARLIC-YOGURT DIP
Prep time: 30 min | Cooking time: 15 min | Makes: 15 cigars

Ingredients:

1/4 lb ground chicken
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp light cooking oil
15 large spring roll wrappers
1 cup plain yogurt, beaten till smooth
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
oil for deep frying
water, as needed

Directions:

Saute chopped garlic and onion in 1 tbsp oil till tender. Add in ground chicken and stir fry till brown and cooked through. Mix in tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper and paprika, and cook for a few minutes till well blended. Mix in fresh chopped parsley, and set aside to cool.

Once the filling is cooled, begin rolling out the cigars. Start with placing a large spring roll wrapper on a cool flat working surface. Place about a teaspoon of the filling to one end of the wrapper, in a vertical line on the top half of the sheet. Fold the lower half over, sealing the edges lightly with water, and roll out into a cigar tucking in the open edge to close all sides. Seal edges with a bit of water and set the cigar aside on a cool plate. Continue to roll out remaining cigars.

Heat enough oil in a deep pan for deep frying. Deep fry cigars a few at a time till golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels and serve with garlic-yoghurt dipping sauce.

To make garlic-yogurt dip, simply mix beaten yoghurt with lemon juice, garlic salt and sprinkle with a pinch of paprika.

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