Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chile Pea Puffs

I ended up buying wonton wrappers before my "no-spend/clean out the pantry" month in total honor of this appetizer on Heidi Swanson's site 101 Cookbooks. One of the reasons why this recipe really appealed to me (other than the fact that peas are probably my favorite vegetable on earth) is that when I was in college and living in Malta, I became addicted to the native pea cakes that you can buy from any mom & pop grocery store, pizza shops and at the college's cafeteria. And the best part? Well, other than the fact that they were flaky and stuffed with mashed peas, they were probably 50 cents a pop and were substantial for a late breakfast and made for a bracing snack.

So readers - if any of you guys happen to have random Maltese recipes in your collections and happen to know how to make pea cakes, please tell me.

Anyway ... I made these Chile pea puffs using the wonton wrappers and what I had in my fridge. So instead of paneer, I was able to substitute some low-fat ricotta. And although this was one of those recipes where I tried the finished product and wasn't sure if I liked it or not, I damn near ate the whole cookie sheet while I was fixing another dish that I was making that night. And they were fabulous the next morning for breakfast.

Pea Puffs
adapted from who adapted this from Monica Bhide's book "Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen"

1 cup cooked green peas, lightly mashed
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt to start
1/4 teaspoon red chile powder or red chile flakes (less to reduce heat)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
32 wonton wrappers

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a bowl combine the peas, ricotta, salt, chile powder, and garlic. Mix well.

Place one teaspoon of the mixture into a center of a wonton wrapper. To make the package stick, I dipped my finger in a cup of water that I had drawn for the occasion and brushed it on the edges. I ended up shaping mine into little envelopes.

Place the puffs in a single layer on the baking sheet. Brush them with a bit of olive oil. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until they are crisp and the skin changes to a lovely golden brown.

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