Ezhiki. Source: Divya Shirodkar
I have been thinking about sharing the recipe for Ezhiki (Hedgehogs in Russian) for some time now. A hedgehog is a very common animal in Russia (don’t worry this is not a recipe that involves cooking hedgehogs; even in Russia we don’t eat them). These cute animals live in small holes in the ground and quite often come across gardens outside the cities. So what do hedgehogs have to do with cooking? The dish that you will cook will look like this animal.
The idea of this treat is quite unique. Everybody knows cutlets – where you mix meat or vegetables shaped into balls or other shapes and fry or simmer. For hedgehogs, the unusual technique is to mix raw rice with other ingredients. When it gets cooked, it expands and grains of rice form on the surface like the needles of a hedgehog.
You could use different techniques to cook the balls – simmer, steam or bake. I haven’t tried baking but simmering and steaming work well enough for me. In fact, steaming is a preferred way of cooking this dish – it is faster and the hedgehogs look neater.
This is primarily a non-vegetarian dish in Russia but I used my creativity and cooking experience to create a vegetarian version of it for respected vegetarian Indian readers. The trick is to find the sticking agent to hold the balls together. For the non-vegetarian version it is always an egg. For the vegetarian one I used mashed potato, corn flour and soaked bread.
|Source: Divya Shirodkar|
Beans – 100 g
Carrot – 1 pc medium size
Potato – 2 pc medium size
Onion – 1 pc
Raw Rice (Basmati recommended) - ½ cup
Bread – 1 slice
Corn flour – 2 tea sp
Black pepper, Salt, Ginger-Garlic paste.
1. Boil the potatoes and mash them.
2. Soak rice for 30 min.
2. Chop onion and fry to golden brown.
3. Chop carrots and beans to very small cubes, blanch in boiling water.
4. Mix all the ingredients together with drained rice and season well to your taste (it is up to you how much masala you will add to the mixture). Soak bread in milk and add to the mixture. Mix corn flour thoroughly with a little bit of water and add to the mixture. The mixture should be sticky enough to make balls slightly bigger than a table tennis ball.
5. Steam the balls for 40 min and serve them with set curd, sauce of your choice or chutney.
Minced chicken - 500 g
Raw Rice (Basmati) – 1 cup
Onion – 3 pc
Ginger-garlic Paste – 1 tb sp
Egg – 1 pc
Bread – 2 slices
Black Pepper, Salt
1. Soak rice for 30 min.
2. Mix chopped onion, egg, minced chicken together with drained rice and season well to your taste (it is up to you how much masala you will add to the mixture). Soak bread in milk and add to the mixture. Make balls the size slightly bigger than table tennis ball.
3. Steam the balls for 50 min and serve them with set curd, sauce of your choice or chutney. (If you decide to simmer this dish rather than steam, put the balls in one layer on frying pan, add milk and simmer under the lid for 1 hour).
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