The Swiss chard, lentil and mango chutney pie I made a few days ago has been shrinking happily in quantity. However, the puff pastry no longer flaky, but claggy and soft. So it was not enough to reheat and serve two hungry people an evening meal. So I decided to remove the pastry and accompany the the remains with Garam masala Swede cakes. In Urdu and Hindi, Garam means warm and masala means mixture. Garam masala is a traditional condiment used in traditional South Asian cuisines to impart a certain flavour, much in the same way salt and pepper is in Western cuisine. As a child, I used to like shaking it all over homemade (orange lentil) dal. Every South Asian (M)Ummy jee (Mama) has her own take or family recipe on garam masala, but traditionally it includes black cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cardamon, coriander, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. I'm not a huge fan of cardamon, so don't often include it in mine. But then again, I don't make my own. I always get my mother to make me some. She always manages to put in the right quantity and gets the balance right. It stores well too.
Anyway, back to this recipe. The swede has been sitting in my vegetable basket now for over two weeks. I have to admit, I had bought the Swede to make some Garam masala Swede soup, but I think a change is in order as I've eaten a number of meals in the past few days with a spoon. So instead of making the named soup, I used the same flavours, just different presentation. These Swede cakes are not firm as other vegetable cakes featured on my blog. Swede is a mushy veg, so the cakes with be soft. But that should be okay for those of you who like your mash.
Spiced Garam Masala Swede Cakes
Makes about 8
Medium Swede, peeled and chopped
200g potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon chilli falkes or 1 red chilli, sliced (remove seeds if you wish)
Salt to taste
Fresh or dried breadcrumbs for coating*
Olive or sunflower oil for shallow frying
In two separate pots, either steam or cook the swede and potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes or until soft.
While it cooks, slowly fry the garlic and shallots in the oil, until soft and caramelized – this will take about 15 minutes. Halfway through the process, add the spices and cook for a few minutes more.
Drain the swede and potatoes in a sieve. When cool enough, mash both until smooth. Then combine the mashed vegetables along with the shallot mix. Season with salt to taste, before forming into cakes.
Spread breadcrumbs into a dish and coat the cakes on both sides in the breadcrumbs. Put into fridge to firm up, until ready to cook.
Drizzle enough oil in a frying pan. Heat until quite hot and carefully add each cake. Cook until golden on each side, about 3 minutes. Make sure the sides of the cakes get browned as well.
*Optional: I have added a pinch of red chilli flakes and salt to the breadcrumbs for extra flavour and colour.