Flavours of the East: Festive Canapés

It’s the holiday season- this means you may be required to cook. Even worse, your creations may be expected to look elegant and sophisticated, in manner of a festive domestic goddess/ god. Nigella has a lot to answer for…Luckily, AGI gastro whizz Sheba is on hand, with some delicious canapes and a cocktail with an eastern twist!

arm up the seasonal celebrations with some subtly spiced canapés that are guaranteed to kick off your dinner party in style.


Spicy Beef Puffs                                                                          


(Makes approximately 18 mini puffs)

 Whole spices

¼ tsp. mustard seeds

¼ tsp. fennel seeds, finely ground

 Powdered spices

¼ tsp. Kashmiri chilli powder

¼ tsp. turmeric

2 tsps. coriander powder

¼ tsp. black pepper

 Fresh leaves & herbs

2 tbsps. fresh coriander, finely chopped

 150g minced beef

2 tbsps. vegetable oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 tsps. minced garlic

1 tsp. minced ginger

½ small green chilli, finely chopped

2 tbsps. frozen peas

½ tsp. salt

2 packs of pre-rolled puff pastry

1 egg, beaten

Heat the oil in a wide non-stick pan. When hot, add the mustard seeds and fry for a few seconds until they begin to splutter. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, and green chilli and fry until soft and translucent.

Add the ground fennel seeds, Kashmiri chilli, turmeric and coriander powder to the pan and fry for one minute until the oil begins to separate. Add the minced beef and peas and fry for 5-6 minutes until the beef is cooked.

Finally, add the coriander leaves, black pepper, and salt and fry for one minute before taking off the heat. Transfer to a dry dish and set aside to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Lay the pastry sheets on a dry surface and cut into 3-inch squares. Fill each one with 1 teaspoon of the beef mixture, lightly brush the edges with the beaten egg and fold over to form a small patty. Brush the tops with the beaten egg and place onto a non-stick baking sheet. Repeat this process until all the mixture has been used up.

Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving with a tamarind or chilli sauce.

Tip: Prepare the patties ahead and keep covered in the fridge. Take out of the fridge 10 minutes before baking.


Mini Chilli Chicken pancake wraps with soy & black pepper  


(Makes approximately 18 wraps)

 Powdered Spices

½ tsp. coarse ground black pepper

½ tsp. paprika (unsmoked)

½ tsp. Kashmiri chilli

 225g chicken, cut into bite size strips

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tsp. minced ginger

1 tsp.  minced garlic

½ green chilli

1 tsp. vinegar

1 tsp. tomato ketchup

1 tsp. soy sauce

¼ tsp. salt

1 small egg white

 For the wraps

½ carrot, cut into julienne strips

2-3 spring onions cut into julienne strips

2 packs of rice flour pancakes (or white tortilla wraps)

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, ginger, garlic, green chilli, vinegar, tomato ketchup, soy sauce, salt and the powdered spices. Add the egg white and mix until thoroughly combined.  Leave to marinade in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight if possible.

Take the chicken out of the fridge approximately 20 minutes before cooking.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and when hot, add the chicken and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes until all the pieces are thoroughly cooked.

Lay the pancakes on dry surface (follow the usage instructions as on the package) and place a few strips of the carrot and spring onion in the middle followed with a few strips of chicken. Roll to form a wrap and cut in half.

Serve immediately.

 Spiced Vodka & Black Pepper Cocktail  


(Serves 2-3)

 50ml vodka

250ml cranberry juice

2 tbsps. of lime juice

A pinch of ground cinnamon

¼ – ½ tsp. coarse black pepper

6-8 fresh mint leaves, roughly torn, plus a few extra for decoration

Put the vodka, cranberry, lime juice, black pepper, mint leaves, cinnamon and a few ice cubes into a cocktail shaker. Shake to mix.

Pour into cocktail glasses and serve garnished with a mint leaf.

Tip: Heat a small pan and dry roast a cinnamon stick (in place of ground cinnamon) for approximately one minute, until it begins to release its aroma. Add this to the shaker before adding the ice and leave to infuse for a couple of hours before shaking and serving.

by Sheba Promod



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