I can’t believe at myself, I’m posting like I’m running a marathon. This is my fourth post in the last four days which also happens to be my fourth consecutive post on plums and it is yet again a savoury preparation in which I’ve used plums in two ways; stuffed and prepared a sauce. I’m trying hard to avoid the sugar but I might land up posting something sweet..temptations are bad!! As you must have guessed this post is again for Kitchen Aid Contest for IFBMeet, where I’m trying to win a Kitchen Aid Chopper.
I’m not sure whether I would win the kitchen aid chopper or not, as there are so many talented bloggers participating in the contest, who have put up amazing recipes but what I’m happy about is that, through this contest I’ve self explored myself in terms of culinary skills. One stoned fruit and I’ve tried to use it in so many ways in the last few days, which I would not have attempted that easily, if it weren’t for this contest. I’m extremely thankful to Kitchen Aid for throwing this challenge, as they have provided us an opportunity to push ourselves and try to show the best of our creative side in terms of creating simple recipes with Plums.
I love the mild flavour of five spice which is largely used in the Chinese cuisine but is also used in some Arabic preparations. I thought of using it in making an appetizer. Since the five spice is mild and fragrant and the appetizer made using it would be mild too, I decided to make a sweet, spicy, sour sauce to go with it. I had been wanting to make the Chinese Plum Sauce since a long time, so decided to make that as it compliments the Chinese flavours. The bold flavours of the sauce matched well with the mild flavour of the cottage cheese ball.
The Chinese Plum sauce is a very quick to make, low calorie dip which is dairy free and gluten free. It has the goodness of Plums and for the Chinese flavours, there’s ginger, garlic, chillies and Chinese sesame oil. All put together it makes a sweet, spicy, tangy sauce. The sauce usually has onion in it but I had not added in mine. It is very popularly served with potstickers in China. I’m sending the Chinese Plum Sauce to my event ‘ONLY’ Gluten Free cooking, hosted here through this month.
The cottage cheese balls as I said are mildly fragrant and spiced. The cottage cheese has a sweet taste and is creamy. The five spice powder makes it fragrant and aromatic. It compliments well with the more strong flavoured plum sauce. The cheese balls need a little patience and practice to make them neatly. Also, one has to check on the consistency of the dough for the cheese balls. The cheese balls should have enough binding that they do not open on frying and stay soft inside but if the binding agent added is lot, then the balls turn out hard.
I’ve posted my first post on food presentation ideas earlier in this month in which I have shown how the salad could be served in cabbage cups for more artistic look. In this post I’m showing how bite size starters/appetizers can be served as individual portions. It is always easy to serve the starters on a platter but for a better presentation and also for the ease of eating, they can be served as individual portions along with the dip in small disposable glasses of various shapes which are easily available in the market these days or they can be served in shot glasses. Using disposable glasses reduces the risk of breakage as these are easy to handle. While buying the disposable glasses check that the base is broad enough to hold the starter along with the dip. To hold the starter toothpick or a small fork can be used.
Here are few pictures to see how the starters can be served beautifully and neatly..
Five Spice Flavoured Cottage Cheese Balls
Stuffed With Plums With Chinese Plum Sauce
Preparation Time For Balls:5mins| For shaping & Stuffing: 10mins| For Frying: 1min per batch| Makes:15-16| Difficulty Level:Moderate
Preparation Time For Sauce:5mins | Cooking Time:5-6mins| Makes: a cup | Difficulty Level: Easy
Ingredients For Chinese Plum Sauce
1tsp Chinese Sesame Oil
5plums, seeded and sliced
1/2inch piece ginger
1-2tsp red chilli powder
salt to taste
2-3tsp brown sugar (the quantity depends on how sour the plums are)
1tsp sweet chilli sauce
2tbsp light soy sauce
Method For Plum sauce
Mix all ingredients in a pan and cook till they soften. Cool and blend using a hand mixer or chutney grinder.
Ingredients For Stuffed Cottage Cheese Balls
250gms Cottage Cheese/paneer, grated or hand crumbled
1plum, finely chopped
1tsp crushed black pepper
1/2inch ginger, grated
salt to taste
3/4tsp five spice powder
2-3tbsp bread crumbs and more for rolling
2-3tsp corn starch
1cup of water
Oil for deep frying
Method For Cottage Cheese Balls
In the cottage cheese add salt to taste, ginger, five spice powder and mix. Add bread crumbs and mix. Take a small piece of the mixed dough and put in hot oil to check the consistency of the cottage cheese dough. If the ball doesn’t break or open up the consistency is right.
Divide the cheese dough into15 equal portions. Flatten each of them. Place 7-8pieces of chopped plum in the centre of the disc.
Pull the sides of the disc and close to form a ball. Smoothen the ball.
Roll the ball in corn starch and then dip in water. This forms a light coat of starch on the ball which helps in low absorption of oil also prevents breaking of the ball.
Finally roll the wet ball in bread crumbs.
Deep fry in oil. Keep the flame on high as nothing needs to be cooked here, what’s required is a crunchy crust which the bread crumbs provide. Low flame will cause the balls to soak oil and even break too.
Remove on a kitchen towel and serve hot with the Chinese Plum sauce.