Wednesday, 24 October 2007

How to cook: "Ladies fingers" with minted yoghurt sauce


Ingredients (makes about 30)

  • 1 tablespoon of Casa dei Mezzo olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 fresh red birdseye chillies, seeded and finely chopped (or use any mild chilli)
  • 500 grams minced lamb
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • 25 grams pinenuts
  • ½ cup chopped coriander
  • 15 sheets of filo pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • Sumac(h) to serve

Minted yoghurt sauce

  • 350 strained Greek yoghurt or labna (labna is available in most Middle Eastern food stores)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint
  • 1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable stock, optional

Method

Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan and cook onion, garlic and chilli over low-medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until onions are soft. Add lamb and cook over high heat, crumbling mince with a wooden spoon continuously until lightly browned. Add spices and tomato paste and cook another 2 minutes, then add chicken stock, bring to a simmer and cook for another 10-12 minutes or until stock has evaporated. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, then stir in the pinenuts and coriander and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Meanwhile, for minted yoghurt sauce, place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth and well combined, then season to taste, cover closely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required. Makes 1½ cups.

Cut filo pastry into quarters. Lay one quarter on a dry work surface, brush well with beaten egg, then top with another quarter and brush again with egg. Place about 1 table spoon lamb mixture at one end of the pastry and roll up to form a 6cm cigar shape, folding in sides as you go, then brush with beaten egg. Repeat with remaining pastry, lamb mixture and egg. Heat oil in a deep-frying or large heavy-based saucepan to 180°C, then deep-fry ladies fingers, in batches, for 1-2 minutes until golden and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper and serve with minted yoghurt sauce, sprinkled with sumac(h).

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