If I had my first hotdog as a child, I really can't recall the particular moment when. It wasn't because I was too young when it happened. More likely it was because my first hotdog experience took place when I was already in my teens, and probably over in some foreign land somewhere. Suffice to say, hotdogs didn't feature much in our diet in those days.
In the much processed world of today, that has certainly changed. Sausages, frankfurters, hotdogs, wieners... whatever you may want to call them, have become a staple in our freezers.
For this first International Incident Party of 2011, the theme is 'Hotdog'. It's fun and can be interpreted in many ways, as dessert or a savory snack. I originally thought of making a sweet a la Hotdog cupcake, but in the end, gave in to the stronger urge for something savory. My first foray into the creation of sausage-like things would begin with something vegetarian. Enter the Lentil Hotdog...
It wasn't a particularly difficult choice, as I'd been wanting to make something with the yellow lentil flour sitting in my pantry anyway. I wasn't quite sure how my recipe would pan out, whether the hotdogs would end up soft, soggy or worse, crumbly. As it turned out, the various spices worked wonders to give me a couple of flavorful hotdogs, and the lentils made them taste almost falafel-like but without any of the graininess. Without any casing, I wanted something that would hold the ingredients together once cooked and tapioca flour did the trick, it provided me a more 'cohesive' hotdog.
So many ideas floated around in my head on the type of bun to serve this veggie hotdog in. Eventually, I settled on something closer to home... the currypuff (it's the Asian version of empanada). Why not encase the hotdogs in a spiral currypuff shell (minus the curry)? I had made some chocolate currypuffs before, and the spiral shells were really fun to make. Quite addictive too, if you succumb to the visual allure of the spirals. These lentil hotdogs with the ends sticking out of the spiral shells looked like a tropical version of a regular hotdog. They go very well with a sweet and spicy chilli-garlic dip.
Thank you to Penny of Jeroxie.com for being our wonderful IIP host once again. I wonder what the rest of the party goers made? I'm going to check them out and you really should too!
Makes about 8 hotdogs
5 tablespoons ground almonds
250g/9 ounces firm (not silken) tofu
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika (or 1/4 tsp chilli powder)
1-1/2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek (or mace)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup + 1 tablespoon lentil flour
1 teaspoon tapioca flour (or arrowroot flour)
1. Crumble the tofu into the blender. Measure the soy sauce into a measuring cup and add enough water so the mixture equals 100ml (6-1/2 tablespoons). Add this to the blender.
2. Add remaining ingredients to blender except lentil and tapioca flours. Blenderise until completely smooth. Empty into a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the 2 flours and mix until evenly combined. You’ll have a soft dough.
4. Divide dough into eight pieces (depending on what sized hotdog you want). Roll each piece into a hotdog shape and ensure you don’t roll them longer than your steamer! Wrap each hotdog in parchment paper and then in aluminium foil. Lightly twist the ends together.
5. Bring water to boil in a pot that has a steamer insert. Arrange wrapped hotdogs in your steamer insert with the seam side down. There is less chance of the hotdogs bursting the foil if they are packed tightly in the steamer. You can arrange four dogs on the bottom, then another four at a 90 degree angle on top.
6. Steam for 45 minutes over gently simmering water. If you’ve arranged your hotdogs in two layers, switch their positions halfway through the cooking time (bottom ones on top and top ones on bottom). Turn heat off and let cool.
7. To cook, simmer unwrapped dogs in water for 5 minutes. These can be frozen for future use (leave them wrapped in parchment/foil, and place in a plastic freezer bag).
Spiral Puff Shells
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Extra oil, for frying
1. Put 2 cups of flour in one big bowl and 1 cup of flour in a small bowl. Water dough: In the big one add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 1 tbs sugar, 1 tsp salt. Mix thoroughly then add about less than 1/2 cup of cold water little at a time to make a smooth but firm dough. Oil dough: In the small bowl, gradually add up to 1/3 cups of vegetable oil and mix to make a dough soft enough to spread.
2. Roll the big water dough into about a foot rectangle and place the smaller oil dough on the top upper half of the bigger dough. Make sure there is a 1/2 inch border along the 3 edges of the oil dough.
3. Fold water dough in half covering the oil dough completely and seal it, making sure no air is trapped inside.
4. Shape the dough by pressing and rolling a rectangle (approx 30 x 10 inch). The dough should be thin enough to roll into a log.
5. When rolled, slice off the uneven tip of the log and slice the next one into about 1 inch thick. Flatten the spiral dough with a rolling pin and carefully roll it into a round shape. Wrap the spiral shell over the hotdog, pinching the edges flatly, then crimping to close. Leave the two ends where the hotdog stick out open.
6. Deep fry in vegetable oil until golden. Place them on paper towels to absorb excess oil and serve.