Fruit in Root Dumpling

In my various trips to Eastern Europe, I had noted the fruit dumpling where a whole fruit forms the kernel of a tennis ball sized dumpling. Latvia to Croatia, each has its own unique take– sometimes served as a side dish and sometimes as a dessert.

Here is my take. You can slap this together without sweating- yet the taste is surprisingly decadent. Enjoy!


SPECIAL TOOLS:

Potato masher, steamer.

INGREDIENTS

Makes 4

  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, nuked in their jackets (4-5 mins) till soft
  • 3/4 cup almond flour + 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder + a dash of salt
  • 1 pluot, pitted and quartered and dusted with sugar to taste
  • To top: cinnamon sugar

METHOD

Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher and mix in the flavored flour and knead till very soft (1-2 mins). Let rest for 10 mins. Make four equal sized balls. Flatten the ball, place a quarter of fruit in the center and encase it in the flour mix and smoothen the ball. Steam for 7-8 minutes. Dust with cinnamon sugar.

NOTES, HINTS, TIPS:

  1. In fact, the balls can also be simply microwaved for 1-2 mins, instead of even steaming.
  2. You can use plums or any other fruit of your liking.
  3. Sweet potato sizes may vary– as a rule of thumb, use the same volume of flour as the mashed sweet potato.
  4. The traditional method is to poach the dumplings– but the casing usually has white flour, eggs etc which I am not using. Hence steaming or microwaving is a very effective, easy, and foolproof alternative.

Root Cakes: Three Ways

Want to take your mind off the pandemic for a few hours ? The produce sections of the groceries are still bursting. Perhaps not the canned and frozen sections, but we don’t much care about those, do we ? Here is something good for your body, that is even better to your palate! These root vegetable cakes are so delicious that you will forget you are sheltering-in-place.

There are enough cakes to even feed your neighbors. But at this time of physical distancing you can only wave to them; so simply freeze the excess.

SPECIAL TOOLS:

Food processor, waffle maker (optional).

INGREDIENTS

  • Peel and shred in the coarse blade of your food processor:
    1/2 celeriac root + 1 large beet + 1/2 fennel bulb + 1 sweet potato
  • Aromatics and seasonings: 2 medium onions sliced + 1 large jalapeno thinly sliced + 1/4 cup ponzu sauce + 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • Tignum (to hold together): 1/4 cup oil + 1 cup besan

METHOD

You may have to cut each into chunks that your processor can ingest. Add all ingredients and combine gently till the mixture holds together lightly. Taste and adjust seasonings. This results in roughly 8 cups of mixture which gives about 20 patties. Here are 3 different ways to cook the patties.

On skillet in medium heat: Lightly oil the the skillet and heat. Make 3 large lemon sized balls and place on the skillet. After about 1 minute, gently flatten the balls with a spatula (till they take the shape of crab cakes). After about 3 minutes –when bottom is browned– flip and cook on the other side for about 2 minutes or so.

At 375 F in oven: Line a baking tray with silicone mat. Place lemon sized balls, well-space, on the mat. Then gently flatten them and tuck in the shreds that stick out. Bake for 15-20 mins. Flip each and bake for another 5 mins.

Waffle maker: Follow instructions on your waffle maker. Use about 3/4 cup in the center of the waffle plate.

NOTES, HINTS, TIPS:

  1. You can use a melange of your favorite vegetables (such as turnips, parsnips, carrots, kohlrabi and such). For cabbage, check out the cabbage rolls.
  2. You can use a mixture of soy sauce and lime/lemon juice instead of Ponzu sauce. Just soy sauce is fine too.
  3. Needless to specify, garlic salt can be substituted with 1 tsp garlic powder and salt to taste.
  4. Make sure that it binds lightly with the besan and doesn’t get too doughy.