All right folks, get out your welcome mats~! Holiday Season is fast approaching, with all its obligations, family gatherings and social shindigs in tow. What better opportunity than this to dust off some fingerfood related recipes~! Oooooor to unobtrusively hide a large-scale taste-testing of one/more of your dishes-in-development beneath the cover of a fingerfood platter… *cough*
Actually, since there haven’t been any complaints about my (not all that) sneaky testing operations, I feel quite safe mentioning them~ Anyways, back to the matter at hand. Parties, dresses, drinks and the appropriate foodstuffs! This one’s a real crowd-pleaser any time of the year, so I really hope you guys enjoy it as much as we do every time these little bites hit our table.
Just for the record: the prawns and the relish are perfect candidates to be prepped a day in advance, giving you a bit more room to breathe in case you’re hosting a shindig of larger proportions. The hash browns can be made a few hours in advance and re-heated for the gig but they loose their crisp over time.
The Grilled Mango Relish
1 Tsp Garlic-Infused Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Mango Balsamic Vinegar or Mango Aperitiv Vinegar – check for those online or in speciality stores specializing in that kind of thing. Aperitiv Vinegars are actually supposed to serve as a drink rather than a vinegar per se, so don’t be surprised about the price tag some of these wear.
Alt: 1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar and a bit of Honey
1 Spring Onion, light green and white only, finely sliced into rings
2 Small, very ripe Mangoes, peeled and sliced off of the pits in halves or large chunks
4-5 Sprigs of Coriander, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Herby Dijon Mustard
½ Tbsp Sweet or Grainy Mustard
A generous Pinch each of Salt, freshly cracked Black Pepper and ground Cayenne Pepper or Hot Chilli Flakes
Opt: Brown Sugar to balance out the zing of the mustard
Opt: Dried Mangoes as a failsafe, see below
1) Fire up your griddle on high heat. If you happen to have a BBQ going nearby for some reason, use that instead – the coals add a fantastic new layer to mangos!
2) Brush the mango halves with the oil and dust them with a bit of salt on all sides.
3) Once the pan (or coals~!) are piping hot carefully place the fruit inside and griddle-mark them up for 3-4 mins per side.
4) Transfer the fruit to a bowl large enough to hold all of your ingredients and allow them to cool off completely.
5) As they’re nearing that mark, remove about 2/3 of the pile and finely dice them with a very sharp knife.
6) Purée the remaining pieces right in the bowl, then stir in the mustard and vinegar.
7) Pop the freshly diced mango cubes back in along with the remaining ingredients and give everything a good stir.
8) Cover the bowl and pop it into the fridge for some quality Rest and Development time, 3-4 hours should do it, but as always, overnight will yield better results~
9) About an hour before it’s time to plate up, have a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
10) In case the mangoes you’ve used were on the very juicy side of things, you can “save” a sloshy relish by removing some of the excess juice, chopping up a couple of dried mangoes, stirring them into the mix and re-adjusting the seasoning after giving the dried fruit about 2-3 hours to work their magic.
The Chilli Prawns
2 Chillies of your choice, deseeded and sliced into fine strips
180g Pre-prepped/blanched and shelled King or Black Tiger Prawns
½ Bunch of Spring Onions, finely sliced
1 Lime, Juice and Zest
1 Clove of Garlic, very finely chopped
10g Ginger, freshly grated
2 Tsp Lemongrass Paste – if you don’t have any on hand, grate the white parts of 2 frozen stalks and stir in a few drops of water
2 Tsp Sriracha Chilli Sauce
1 Tsp Fish Sauce
If you’re frying them up: 1 Tsp Peanut Oil
2-3 Drops of Roasted Sesame Oil
1 heaped Tsp of My Yellow Curry Blend or HQ Hot Madras
2-3 Tbsp Peanuts, roasted, salted and finely chopped
How to put this… ah, here’s the long, detailed version:
1) Add everything apart from the prawns themselves to a mixing bowl and stir the lot until everything’s very well combined, then fold in the prawns.
2) Marinate the lot for at least 3 hours or overnight.
3.1) If you decide to serve them warm, fry them up in the peanut oil just before piling everything on top of the Swiss Hash Browns.
3.2) If not, simply take them out 30 mins before piling everything on top of the Swiss Hash Browns.
The Swiss Hash Browns a.k.a. Rösti
½ Bunch of Spring Onions, very finely chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic, very finely chopped
20g Ginger, finely grated
10g Galangal, finely grated
1 Tsp Szechuan Peppercorns, finely ground
1 Tsp Hot Chilli Flakes
1 Lime, Zest and Juice
400g Potatoes, peeled and finely grated
200g Sweet Potato, peeled and finely grated
1 Large “happy” Egg, lightly beaten
2 Tsp Lemongrass Paste or Freshly ground Lemongrass
1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
A very generous Pinch each of Salt, freshly cracked Pepper and Brown Sugar
1-2 Tsp Coconut Oil for the pan
1) Place all of your grated ingredients in a sieve or colander and sprinkle the lot with a very generous pinch of salt.
2) Lightly toss the mixture and leave it to sit for 15 mins – during which the salt will draw out a lot of the excess water.
3) Place a bowl nearby and start picking up handfuls of the potato mix and squeezing each load with all your might to remove as much of the water contained in the roots as possible.
4) Pop the “dried” lumps into the waiting bowl as you work your way through everything.
5) Once you’re done, add the remaining ingredients and spices to the mix and, working with two forks to loosen up the mix a bit as you go, combine everything until the seasoning is evenly distributed throughout.
6) Place a heavy-based pan, preferably a non-stick one, on medium heat, pop on a lid and allow it to get up to its max.
7) Add a bit of coconut oil and allow it to melt before spreading it across the bottom of the pan.
8) With the help of two spoons, pick up tight little quenelle’y heaps of the mixture and slide them into the hot pan – gently pat them down and spread them out into thin’ish disks with the back of a spoon, tucking any stray bits sticking out to the sides as you go. You can play around a bit to see how thin you’d like your Rösti to be in the end – just keep in mind that they’re supposed to carry a pile of yumtastic stuff on top~ I usually aim for ~4-5mm.
9) Move through your pile of “dough” in batches, frying them up in groups of 3-4 Rösti – depending on the size of your pan.
10) After 3 mins on the first side, flip them over and fry up the second side to crispy-golden goodness~
11) If the crisp doesn’t match your expectations, resist the urge to turn up the heat and simply flip them over again – adding more fuel to the fire would just burn the outside to a questionable crisp before the inside had enough time to cook through. And nobody, at least not to my knowledge, likes eating raw potatoes.
12) Transfer the finished hash browns out of the pan and onto paper towels to soak up any excess fat.
13) If you’re going from start to tray-shaped finish in one go, keep the hash browns warm in the oven you’re previously preheated to 60-70°C – which is also the temperature you should warm them up in prior to plating up, in case you’re prepping them in advance.
Assembling the Dish
The Swiss Hash Browns
The Grilled Mango Relish
The Chilli Prawns
½ Bunch of Coriander, Leaves only
2-3 Limes, sliced into thin wedges
1) Fold most of the coriander leaves in with the prawns – keep a few to dot the piles just before serving.
2) Spread your Rösti out on a tray or platter.
3) If the tray is going to be carried around a lot, start with a dollop of the relish on each Rösti – use the back of a spoon to build little circular prawn-stabilizing walls with the mango chunks.
4) Decoratively arrange 2-3 marinated prawns within each fence, then scatter a couple of coriander leaves on top.
5) If the piles are not in danger of toppling over all that much, start with the prawns at the base and top them off with the relish – that way the Hash Browns will keep their crisp for a longer period of time.
6) Scatter the lime wedges around your newly assembled piles of yum and…