Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Vegetable Lollipops

Have you ever had one of those strange cravings when you really want to smell deep fried stuff, hear crackle, bite with a crunch that you can’t resist? Yeah this would be the perfect remedy for such cravings.
This has all regular ingredients that you will be having in your pantry except for the bread sticks which of course can be replaced. I have given the replacements for bread sticks in notes. This idea of using bread sticks was shared by my sis-in-law (what are gal talks for?) who tasted one such item in a wedding meal. She came home and was excited about the dish and guessed the ingredients and asked me to try it. But I have to say this was 2 years back and the lazy me can come up and blog about it only now even though I have made it a number of times earlier. It’s truly lip smacking and one recipe you must try!

Paneer-1 cup
Potato-1 large
Green beans-10
Green chilies-2, finely chopped
Onion-1, finely chopped
Garlic-2 flakes, grated or finely chopped
Ginger-1 inch stick, grated or finely chopped
Coriander leaves-2 tbsp, finely chopped
Red chili powder-1 & ¼ tsp
Garam Masala powder-3/4 tsp
Lemon- 1, squeeze the juice
Salt-as needed
Bread Sticks/Soup Sticks-10
For Binding & Frying:
Bread crumbs- 1 cup
Italian Seasoning-1 tsp (optional)
All-Purpose Flour- 3 tbsp
Oil-For deep frying
How It Happened:
1. Wash, peel and chop the potato along with other veggies and pressure cook them for 1 whistle. Let it rest until pressure is released.
2. Take the veggies in a wide bowl. Using a masher, mash them well. Then crumble the paneer well and add it to the mashed veggies.
3. Add in chopped garlic, ginger and coriander leaves and mix well.
4. Now add the bread slices, red chili powder, salt and garam masala and mix well. See to that the bread is completely mashed and blended well with the mix.
5. Squeeze in the lemon juice, check for salt and mix all the ingredients well to make thick dough like mixture and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then divide it into equal sized portions and make smooth balls. I got around 12 medium sized balls from the above given measurement.
6. If the bread sticks are very long, break them into approx. 5 inches in length and set aside. In a plate add the bread crumbs and seasoning and mix well and spread evenly.
7. In a bowl add all-purpose flour and ¼ cup water to make paste. Break any lumps formed.
8. Take a bread stick, take a ball of the potato mixture push in the brad stick through the centre of the ball and wrap the mixture tightly around the breadstick to form a shape.

9. Now dip this into the all-purpose flour paste to coat well. Then remove and gently tap off any excess paste and roll it in the bread crumbs, gently shake off any excess bread crumbs. (See notes)
10. Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying and when it’s hot, add one or two of these pieces and fry in medium flame. After a minute turn to the other side.  When the sides are cooked and when it turns golden brown remove from oil and drain in a kitchen towel.
11. Similarly fry all the pieces, and serve hot with ketchup.
* The green chilies which I used were really mild and flavorful. But if you are using spicy ones adjust as per taste.
* If you don’t like to bite into ginger and garlic you can use ginger-garlic paste instead.
* You can use green peas, cauliflower or any veggies of your choice. Drain any water after pressure cooking the veggies else the mixture will become watery and when you deep fry they will absorb more oil and become soggy.
* Do not add water at any point in the mixture as the pressure cooked veggies in themselves have enough water. If the dough/mixture is soft and if doesn’t hold the shape, add 1 more slice of bread or a tbsp of corn flour and knead, then try shaping it again.
* If you are using frozen paneer then add them in boiling water for 15 minutes and let it sit for 30 minutes until they are soft enough to crumble.
* You can add any seasoning of your choice to the bread crumbs. I have tried Mexican seasoning too. You can also totally skip the seasonings and just use plain bread crumbs as well.
* If you want you can add grated parmesan to the bread crumbs. I love them. But while preparing I didn’t have stock. I have used Panko. But regular breadcrumbs work fine.
* You can stuff a small cube of mozzarella in the center of the veggie mixture and then plaster it around the bread stick. That gives a cheesy, oozy, gooey crumble..

* When you wrap the potato mixture around the bread stick see to that the mixture holds well to the bread stick, else while frying the bread stick may fall out of the veggie mix.
* Instead of bread crumbs you can also use crushed corn flakes.
* Shake off any excess bread crumbs else they will fall in the oil and will be burnt which will stick on to the next batches of sticks while frying. Of course even after you shake off some will fall but then the amount can be greatly reduced that it doesn’t get cloud the oil.
* The oil shouldn’t be too hot, else the bread crumbs will immediately get burnt and the inside would be uncooked. Always regulate the heat and maintain the flame in medium.

* Do not crowd the oil by dropping too many pieces to cook at a time else the oil temperature will drop rapidly resulting in oily soggy rolls.
* Do not keep the prepared lollipops for long before frying then the breadsticks will turn soggy and the outer piece which is not coated with the mixture will fall apart when you try to lift them. So just do 3or 4 and then heat the oil and fry them, while a batch is getting cooked you can prepare 2 or 3. As you are adding only one or 2 per batch you will have enough time for preparing the rest.
* If you can’t get bread sticks then you can use the wooden ice cream sticks or if you want the whole thing to be edible then you can also use halved baby corn or even thick juliennes of carrot instead of bread sticks.
* You can easily make it vegan by skipping paneer or using tofu instead.

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