Tuesday 16 August 2016

Ara’yes- Crispy Mutton mince stuffed Pita

I have been sharing so many posts on desserts and cakes that I have actually started feeling guilty for doing so. It makes me feel so unhealthy especially because I am very particular about our daily eating habits, trying to make it as healthy as possible. I exercise daily and adopt portion control to satiate my sweet desires. In fact even the desserts I make are just for 2 portions, my daughter Vaanya and my husband Vishal. 
Since Baking is my prime love, I cannot help but keep experimenting some form of it in my tiny kitchen. This time I decided to try some Savoury baking. With Kolkata Food Bloggers ongoing event 'Bake Mania', I decided to experiment with an interesting recipe I came across while going through a book called 'The middle Eastern kitchen' by Rukmini Iyer. 
As I learnt from the book, Ara’yes is a simple and traditional Levantine recipe which has a crispy meat stuffed Pita bread. The traditional recipes call for the raw mince meat to be mixed with spices and then stuffing it in the Pita bread to be baked, grilled or toasted. The book, however, suggested to cook the mince meat first and then stuffing it. I followed the idea in the book of cooking the meat first. The basic recipe of the mince meat is the one that I keep making at home, a basic and homely mutton keema recipe. I made the Pita breads at home and kept them a little thin than usual because I wanted a more crispy Ara’yes. 
Vaanya, my daughter loved it more than anyone else. In fact, while I was taking pics I thought that she will not be interested in it but when she saw me taking a bite of it, she got inquisitive and after the first bite she demanded more of it. That obviously made me super happy and we ended up making a dinner meal out of it. I paired my Ara’yes with a hung curd dip to which I added chopped onions, tomatoes and fresh coriander leaves. 
Make it more spicier to suit your taste buds and enjoy this crispy meat filled sandwich. 

Recipe Source : Adapted from Rukmini Iyer's book 'The Middle Eastern Kitchen'
Meat filling

Ingredients :

  • 300 gms Mutton mince
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tomato, grated
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp refined oil

Whole Garam masala (Khada masala)

  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole green cardamoms, slightly crushed
  • 1 whole black cardamom
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 1-2 dry red chilli (de-seeded)
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

Procedure : 
Wash the mutton mince and strain it to let the water drain out completely.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add the whole Garam masala (Khada masala). 
Now add the onions and cook on medium heat till they are brown in colour and nicely caramelized. 
Add the ginger garlic paste and cook till it leaves oil. 
Now add the mutton mince and stir it in well. 
It will leave some water. Keep cooking it on medium heat till the water evaporates. 
Cook till the mutton mince leaves oil. Now add the grated tomatoes and salt, turmeric powder and garam masala powder and cook for 5 more minutes. 
Add 1/2 cup water and close the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook for 2 whistles and then reduce the flame to low and cook for 15 minutes. 
Let steam escape naturally and if there is water in the mutton mince, reduce it on medium flame. 

Whole wheat Pita

Ingredients : Yields 4-5 pita breads
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a pinch of sugar
  • warm water for kneading (about 1/2 cup)
Procedure : 
Take flour, instant yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil in a bowl. Mix well.
Add warm water little by little and knead it to a dough using water as required. 
Take a greased bowl and put the dough in it. Cover it with a damp piece of muslin cloth and allow to rise for an hour or more or till it doubles in size. 
Heat a griddle or tawa.
Make 5-6" round pita bread from the dough and put on the griddle on low heat. Cook both sides and allow it to puff up by placing it on the heat. 
Alternately, bake the pita bread in a preheated oven (at 200 degree Celsius) for 10 minutes or till it puffs up. 
Cut them in halves. 

Ara’yes assembly : 

Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
Grease an oven tray.
Take halved pita breads and stuff them with the mutton mince mixture.
Brush with butter or olive oil and sprinkle some salt on it. 
Place these on the baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or till they become crispy. 

Serve with a dip made with hung curd, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes and chopped coriander leaves. 

This recipe is part of Kolkata Food Bloggers ongoing event called Bake Mania where our member Urmi Ghosh who blogs from Ume's Kitchen is the featured blogger of the week. 

Happy Savoury Baking

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