Do I hear you ask what is Makai Paka? Makai Paka is an African curry dish made with fresh corn on the cob cooked in delicious coconut milk and spices. It is extremely rich in flavour and creamy in texture but a curry that surely tantalises your taste buds. I count myself very lucky that I am a mixture of three different cultures: Born in a Gujarati family where I get my respectful Indian Culture, spent most of my childhood and upbringing in Mombasa Kenya where my East African Culture comes in and now living in the UK so the British Culture. Like me, there are many people who have a mixture of cultures which definitely transpires through their cooking, quite a few who have East African roots. Hors d’oeuvres are pretty little foods usually served to guests prior to a meal, Makai Paka Hors d’oeuvres is one of those dishes that will start off a striking conversation to any gatherings purely because a few simple store cupboard ingredients turn into such sensational little delights. Makai Paka curry literally uses four to five ingredients and is served with hot rotis or naan bread, it is a versatile curry that can be adapted by adding various ingredients. I concocted this Hors d’oeuvres recipe to serve my guests for a dinner party I hosted. Rather than using pastry as a base I opted for a healthier option of baking bread into cups, this gives a delicious crunch when you bite into these individual bites. What is great about this starter is every thing can be prepared in advance and put together just as the guests arrive. They are cute, appealing and bursting with flavour.
Makai Paka Hors d’oeuvre
Preparation time: 20-30 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
1 800g Medium sliced wholemeal bread loaf
400ml Tin coconut milk
1 Large onion finely chopped
1 Medium size tomato finely chopped
400g Sweetcorn tin or frozen
2 green chillies finely chopped
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 Tsp Turmeric powder
1 Tsp mustard seeds
2 Tsp oil
Fresh chopped coriander for garnish
Salt to taste
Milk to glaze
1. Prepare your muffin trays by greasing them. Find a round cutter that is slightly bigger than the opening of each muffin cup. Preheat the oven to 220 degree C or 200 for fan assisted.
2. First start by making the bread cups, cut off sides of bread slices, take one slice at a time and roll it out thin using a rolling-pin. Using the cutter, cut out circle shapes and place in muffin tray. Fill the tray. Using a pastry brush, brush bread cups with a bit of milk before placing in the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes, they should be golden all over.
3. Once all the bread cups are made, leave them aside to cool.
4. In a pan, heat the oil, add mustard seeds, onions, chilli,garlic,ginger and turmeric powder, sauté for 2-3 minutes until onions have softened.
5. Add the tomato and let it cook for another 1-2 minutes before adding sweetcorn, coconut milk and salt. Allow this mixture to cook for 15-20 minutes until the gravy starts to thicken.
6. Stir in some fresh chopped coriander.
7. Filling and bread cups are ready for assembley when required. Prior to assembling just re heat the filling.