Sunday, April 13, 2014

Indian Chatti Pathiri

Have you ever heard about Indian Pathiri? Me too! Well, may be you have... I thought shamelessly that I knew a lot about food or at least I've heard about everything edible. But pathiri?! Anyway, take a look at my Pathiri journey...

Blog's Category: International, Indian
 


 

Intro

Farther I was into researching about Chatti Pathiri, the more I realized: wait a minute, I know this dish! There is Ukrainian traditional recipe called Kurnik, loosely translated as Chicken Crepe Pie, which resembles itself crepes layered with a pieces of cooked chicken and rice and baked in an oven into the beautiful, scrumptiously rich pie. I never made Kurnik myself but my family enjoys it every year at Easter time when my sister-in-law brings it, made by her from scratch, for our holiday feast.

Back to our subject, that is why Chatti Pathiri turned out to be very familiar to me, just with Indian style seasoning and thus distinct flavor! With a few differences, it is the same idea - savory filling is layered between crepes and baked.

Chatti Pathiri is known as South Indian specialty, Kerala area. It has a ton of variations with a savory or sweet filling, with crepes made of rice flour, whole wheat or regular flour. Speaking of flour, as making crepes out of regular flour would be too boring for me (I count myself a crepe expert :)), at first, I decided on rice crepes. Big mistake! My rice crepes were total failure (see evidence of it in pictures below). Using recipe for rice crepes, fished out somewhere from the virtual space, I literally "cracked" the recipe - crepes hopelessly cracked each time I was about to flip them over. I ended up cooking in a such manner all my rice batter and transforming the final mass into so called wide rice noodles - ha-ha-ha....Well, at least it didn't went into garbage can and, actually, was successfully consumed later as a noodle base for a stir fry :)

Undefeated, next day, I finally managed to made whole wheat crepes for my pathiri, which by the way were somewhat tricky to cook because of naturally crumbly quality of whole wheat flour. But I did it!. My advice, if you are not an expert in crepe making, your choice has to be regular flour (not a whole wheat, not a rice flour, etc.)

Ouch.. I forgot to mention that for all this fun (no sarcasm!) I have to thank this month's Daring Kitchen host Rachel who challenged us to Chatti Pathiri :) By going through wonderful world of "all over the world" cuisine we challenge and enrich ourselves, we wonder and enjoy, we assimilate and evolve as human being at the same time. Really, thank you, DK!



What is it?

Sometimes called Indian lasagna, Chatti Pathiri is a "pie", assembled from crepes, savory filling (often pieces of cooked chicken), coconut sauce, various Indian spices and then baked until crust forms on a top (if you bake it in an oven) or in a bottom (if you cook your "pie" on a stove, as I did below). This recipe uses combination of cooked lamb, frozen peas, corn and onion as a filling for Chatti Pathiri. As a  vegetarian option I have made another Chatti Pathiri with mushrooms as a replacement for a lamb.

 
Taste Description

Naturally, wherever Indian spices are present, you will get strong and powerful flavor. Here you definitely will taste well defined but soft and rounded coconut flavor. It is in perfect harmony with amazing fresh cilantro aroma. Spicy red pepper will kick your buds according to how generous you will be on it. Amount of red pepper powder used in this particular recipe will give you a gentle and loving kick, nothing too rude :). All other rich and nutritious ingredients, all together will play one symphony with a "leading solo" of lamb meat. Powerful lamb flavor will be strong and indulging (of course if you like lamb!). If you are not big fan of lamb, go with chicken :) or as I suggested below, with mushrooms (for vegetarians).


How to Serve/Store

It's best when it's still hot, right from the oven (or a stove). It keeps in a fridge for a several days.

Chatti Pathiri 


 
For about 6-8 crepes:
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 cup of whole wheat flour (or regular flour if you inexperience crepe maker)
  • 1+ cup of water (replace half of water with milk if you wish)
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • coconut oil (or vegetable oil) for cooking
 
Filling:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbs cumin seeds
  • 1 tbs mustard seeds
  • 1 tbs turmeric
  • 1 tbs ground coriander
  • 2 tbs garlic, finely minced (or garlic paste)
  • coconut oil (or vegetable oil) for cooking
  • 2 cups cooked lamb, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen (or canned) corn
  • 1 tsp salt

 

 
Coconut Sauce:
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • generous amount of fresh cilantro, chopped


Topping (optional):
  • 2 tbs curry leaves powder (recipe is here)

- Make crepe batter: using whisk, beat egg, 1 cup of water, salt and sugar just until egg is well mixed into the water. Add all flour and mix well until smooth. Now start adding more water by batches in about 1/4 cup of water each time, stirring well, until you will get smooth batter with a viscosity of a buttermilk.

- Cook crepes on a 9-inch non-stick frying pan. Each time, before pouring some batter, grease your pan with a small amount of coconut oil, no more than 1/4 of a teaspoon. Right after pouring batter on a skillet, tilt and shake your pan lightly to distribute batter evenly. Cook crepes on a medium low heat. When crepe is dry on a surface and edges start to curl, use long spatula to flip crepe over, cook for about 20 seconds and transfer cooked crepe on a plate. As you cook, pile your crepes on a top of each other.

- You can make crepes a day or two before. To store them in a fridge, let your crepes to cool down completely, then cover a plate with a plastic wrap and pop in a fridge. They will keep in a fridge up to one week.

- To prepare filling: cook onion in about 1 tbs coconut oil until onion is soft and translucent. Add all spices and garlic and cook, stirring, for about one minute. Add all remaining ingredients and continue to cook on a medium-low heat, stirring for 5-10 minutes. Set aside. Let it cool a little bit before start assembling your Chatti Pathiri.

- To assemble Chatti Pathiri: in a heavy iron frying pan, melt 2 tsp of coconut oil. Lay down the first crepe and drizzle it generously with a coconut sauce. For a coconut sauce - just stir coconut milk with a chopped cilantro. Now spoon filling over the crepe, drizzled with sauce. Cover with another crepe. Then - some coconut sauce, then filling and so on. End assembling with a last crepe. Drizzle coconut sauce on a top. Cover tightly with a lid and place pan on a stove top burner on a lowest setting. Let it cook as is for about 1 hour or so. Check occasionally to avoid burning. About 10 minutes before the end of cooking, using spatula, tuck neatly edges of chatti pathiri (it's totally optional, more for fun and to check the doneness of your pathiri, I guess :))

- When it's cooked, open the lid and let it cool down for a minute or two. Then place a large flat plate over the pan and using a towel to handle pan and plate tightly, flip it swiftly but carefully to transfer your Chattin Pathiri on a plate. You will get your wonderful crust on top!

- To serve Chatti Pathiri, sprinkle it (optionally) generously with curry leaves powder (recipe is here) and slice it in wedges as you would slice a cake. Enjoy!


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IN PICTURES

Here starts my unsuccessful try to make a rice crepes...

rice batter is so smooth and beautiful.. it's so "therapeutic" to stir it :)))))

here is where trouble started...


..and here is where it ended. Voila - homemade rice noodles (now!)

In a middle of making whole wheat flour crepes. It's before I added water by small batches to get the right consistency such as a buttermilk one.
 

Greasing the pan before making crepes..


First one...

Start on a cooking of a filling.


Lamb filling is done.

Here I'm starting to prepare my vegetarian filling for no-meat Chatti Pathiri (with a vegetarians in a house, I, sometimes mirror up vegetarian dish from a non-vegetarian model).

Mushrooms for vegetarian filling.

coconut sauce

Greasing my heavy pan with a coconut oil before assembling Chatti Pathiri. I was using wonderfully flavorful coconut oil my brother and his wife presented me when they come back from a vacation in Dominican Republic...


here is mushroom Chatti Pathiri assembling..



..almost done
 
..just a little tuck-in action with a spatula.. and it's done
 

be careful flipping it over the plate...

nice and crusty top (formerly being bottom :))

Green curry leaves powder on a top gives that extra flavor we all adore...