Posts Tagged ‘Swedish food’

Spicing up Swedish food /2 – Köttbullar dopiaza

May 17, 2017

Start with half a kg of your favourite frozen, Swedish meat balls (köttbullar) to feed 2 people.

Though meat balls are now quintessentially Swedish, their origin lies in meat koftas from Turkey going back to around 1750 after King Charles XII’s adventures in the Ottoman Empire. Indian koftas also derive from the Middle East but have accumulated spices and changes of ingredients along the way. Today lamb or mutton or chicken mince is used to make koftas in India but not beef or pork. Spices are used generously and even all vegetarian koftas are used. Frozen meatballs in Sweden usually consist of minced beef or pork or a beef/pork mix  or chicken. They also contain, in various quantities, onions, milk, egg, breadcrumbs, and flour. They are usually seasoned with just salt and pepper and sometimes a little cinnamon.

In an Indian kofta curry, the koftas themselves would be spiced as would the curry. Do-piaza means two onions and any dopiaza dish uses a large quantity of onions added in two separate steps (hence two onions). In this dish the relatively bland köttbullar are marinaded in spices prior to cooking the dopiaza.

Ingredients: 500 g frozen köttbullar, 5 medium onions. 100 g crushed tomatoes, 2 teaspoons chillie powder, (one teaspoon chillie powder can be replaced by 2 green chillies if available), 3 cloves garlic,  2 cm ginger, 2 teaspoons coriander powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, seeds from 3 cardamom pods, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, ½ teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 100 ml plain yoghurt, fresh parsley or dill if coriander is not available.

Mix a marinade of the yoghurt with the coriander powder, cumin powder, cardamom seeds and 1 teaspoon chillie powder. Add in the defrosted köttbullar and make sure that they are all well coated in the marinade. Leave in a fridge for at least 3 hours (overnight is fine).

Chop two onions coarsely and 3 onions very finely. Ginger and garlic should be peeled and crushed (a ginger garlic paste being ideal).

Use a heavy skillet pan with a closely fitting lid.

Heat some oil in the skillet and saute the coarsely chopped onions till they are just softened and translucent. Put aside into a bowl.
Heat some more oil and at high heat fry the cumin seeds and black peppercorns till they spit. Reduce to medium heat and add the rest of the chillie powder and allow to fry for 10-15 seconds. Add the finely sliced onions the ginger, the garlic and the green chillies (if any). Saute together on medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes.

Add the köttbullar together with all the marinade. Add the crushed tomatoes. Braise for 5 -8 minutes on medium heat. Now add the turmeric and stir well. Reduce to very low heat, cover the skillet and cook/simmer for 15 minutes. 

Add the coarsely chopped onions and garam masala. Stir gently and cover again. Leave on low hear for a further 10 minutes.

Garnish with fresh coriander (or dill or parsley).

Serve hot with a long-grain rice.


Spicing up Swedish food /1 – Pyttipanna a la Madras

May 16, 2017

I quite like traditional Swedish food (which is pretty bland but not quite as tasteless as some people imagine). That includes such dishes as isterband, kåldolmar, stekt lever med lök, Janssons frestele, köttbullar. köttgryta, ärtsoppa, pannbiff, pyttipanna, gravad lax, fattiga riddare and gubbröra. 

However, to suit my palate, I tend to tweak most traditional recipes when I am in control of the kitchen. Quite simple modifications can elevate traditional Swedish, everyday dishes (husmanskost) from the merely mundane to the seriously delicious.

Here is number 1.

Pyttipanna a la Madras

The recipe is based on a half-kg bag of frozen pyttipanna (feeds two). A wok (or large frying pan) is most suitable for preparation.

(Of the various frozen brands available, I find the finely diced  – finhackad – versions to be the most suitable for absorbing additional flavours).

Ingredients : half-kg bag of frozen pyttipanna; o.5 tsp cummin seeds; 1 -2 tsp chillie powder (or 4 – 8 large, crushed, dried red chillies); 2 cloves garlic (crushed); half can of crushed tomatoes; 1tsp garam masala;  0.5 tsp black peppercorns, chopped parsley, 2 rashers of bacon, crushed potato chips.

Heat 2 tblsp of cooking oil (olive oil. does not get get hot enough). When hot enough (2 mins) add the peppercorns and cummin till the seeds spit and pop, add and stir fry the red chillies not more than a minute), add the crushed tomatoes. Stir 2 minutes. Add the frozen pytt (which can be pre-cooked in the microwave to save time). Stir fry till done (6 -8 minutes from frozen or 3 minutes with pre-cooked pytt). Sprinkle with crushed potato chips and garam masala.

Top with a fried egg and two crispy bacon rashers for each serving with sliced beetroot or preferably, cucumber, on the side. Garnish with the parsley. Salt to taste.

Options: Frozen prawns can be added together with the frozen pytt. Half a ttsp of mustard seeds can be added and fried with the cummin for extra flavour and texture.


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