Appetizer Recipes

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How to Make Mirchi Bhaji (Mirchi Pakora Recipe) Recipe

My father-in-law really loves spicy food, so I thought I would surprise him with stuffed mirchi pakora, which are whole green chile fritters. Before getting started, I had to estimate the level of spiciness of the chiles. It turned out the green chiles we bought from the Indian market this week were painfully spicy. So I made an incision in each chile and removed all the seeds.

The preparation method I learned from Lulu’s grandmother involves stuffing the chiles with tamarind paste, then dipping them in (besan) chickpea batter before deep-frying them until golden brown.

I have to admit I didn't try any, but in my defense, even Lulu, Daddy and the girls found the peppers really spicy. Don’t get me wrong; they really enjoyed them even though the girls ended up chugging milk to help offset the spiciness. I’m just saying, you’ve been warned!


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Roasted Creamer Potatoes Recipe

Roasted Creamer Potatoes

07.21.10 by Jackie

Creamer potatoes are potatoes that are harvested while they're still young. I recently bought these apricot-sized potatoes at the farmers' market. They were so cute, I couldn't resist!

I roasted them whole with skins on and rubbed them in butter flavored with oregano flowers from our garden. The potatoes have a crisp-skin on the outside, while the inside is tender and moist. If you can't find creamer potatoes, you can use Yukons that have been cut into quarters, but it's not the same as having each bite wrapped in crispy potato skin. Mmmmmm.


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Pan Fried King Bananas Recipe

Pan Fried King Bananas

07.13.10 by Jackie

Chuối ngự are Vietnamese bananas that look similar to small plantains. They have a starchy texture and a subtle sweetness. If you look for this particular banana in Asian markets, they're called King, Raja or emperor bananas.

King bananas can be prepared in a lot of ways. Today, I twice cooked them. First, I parboiled them, then I pan-fried the bananas in oil until golden brown. They make great appetizers if you top them with cheese and other condiments, or they also make a wonderful side dish. In this case, I paired them with baked fish.


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Shrimp Spring Rolls (Vietnamese Roll Recipe) Recipe

Shrimp spring rolls (gỏi cuốn in Vietnamese) are the perfect finger food when we have a party. Not only are they healthy, but they're very tasty as well. I usually serve them sliced in half with a peanut and hoisin sauce on the side.

For this dish, I prefer to wrap the rolls with tapioca sheets, called bánh tráng mỏng in Vietnamese, which literally translates to "thin paper disks". They are thinner than rice paper, and as a result the shrimp are still visible once wrapped. The other plus of using tapioca sheets is that they look fresh longer, once they're made, versus the ones with rice paper. Tapioca rounds are stickier than rice paper when wet though, so it's a little more difficult to wrap them.

In these particular fresh rolls, I added the basic ingredients such as shrimp, rice noodles, bean sprouts, cucumber, lettuce and Vietnamese herbs. Meat could be added but I like them very simple. It's a fairly fast dish; the only long step is wrapping the rolls, but with our large family, the work was quite easy.

And for the vegetarians in the house, we wrapped bì cuốn chay, so everyone could share the same meal for dinner.


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Mustard Deviled Quail Eggs with Smoked Salmon (Oeuf Mimosa Recipe) Recipe

Oeuf mimosa ("deviled egg" in English) is a first course (or appetizer) made of hard cooked eggs from which the egg yolks have been removed and mixed with mayonnaise and herbs and then filled back into the egg white.

Deviled eggs are a very common French bistro dish but instead of using large chicken eggs, I used quail eggs. There are simple rules on how to boil quail eggs. The freshness of the eggs is very important. Remove the eggs from the refrigerator 15 minutes prior to cooking to bring them back to room temperature, then cover them with cold salted water and add a hint of vinegar. Egg shells are porous and by salting the water, the eggs will already be seasoned; the vinegar helps the egg whites coagulate in case they break while boiling.

The eggs are usually dressed with anchovies rolled into a ring with a caper or olive on top. Today I wanted to glam them up though, so I served the deviled eggs with smoked salmon and dill. Our guests love the mini appetizers and so will you if you give this recipe a try!


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