This appetizer comes from The Scent of Orange Blossoms, a Jewish-Moroccan cookbook. Phyllo is a thin pastry most commonly known to be used to make the mediterranean dessert Baklava. In this dish it is used to make something similar to a Samosa.
My first step in making this dish was actually prepping for a week by preserving lemon rind. To make my lemon rind preserve I took two lemons and cut a small wedge out. Inside the lemon I sprinkled as much salt as possible and then placed the cut wedge back. I then put both lemons in a mason jar. Every day I pressed down on the top lemon and sprinkled a bit of salt in. I did this until the juice rose above the lemons.
In the book, they have a recipe for this, but it requires more lemons and more time. So I split the difference and I believe it turned out alright.
To actually make this dish, the first step is to cook a diced onion in two tablespoons of vegetable oil. The next step is to cook four pieces of skinless chicken thighs. To do this, you add it to the onion, along with water, turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon and let that simmer for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
Once the chicken is cooked, you sift it out and set it aside to dice later, once it’s cooled, of course. While you wait for the chicken to cool you add to your onions and spice mix, an egg, salt, and pepper. Let the egg cook by continuously stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated. Once that happens add two tablespoons of diced lemon rind, parsley, and your cut chicken.
The next step is to whip out your phyllo dough to be filled. Von’s surprisingly has their own brand in the frozen food section, by the way. I had a hard time with the phyllo dough. I wasn’t in a very patient mood and dealing with phyllo dough requires patience because it’s so thin and tends to stick real easily to the other layers. Speaking of layers, I decided to layer each “triangle” with three sheets to prevent leaking. These particular sheets are fairly wide too, so I had to cut them in half.
To make a triangle, you place a tablespoon of filling in a corner of your sheet. You then fold half of the sheet up in a 45 degree angle covering half of the filling. This step made sense to me, but for the following steps I had hard time focusing. Like I said earlier, I wasn’t feeling patient when I made these. Also my brain has a hard time processing angles and explanations of that nature. Despite this defect, I somehow managed to get A’s when I took geometry though. I’m more of a step by step visual learner when it comes to these things. To help my readers out though, I’m just going to cite the authors of The Scent of Orange Blossoms.
Place a scant tablespoon of filling about 1 3/4 inches from the bottom edge, and 1 inch from the left side of the strip. Fold the bottom right-hand corner up 45 degrees to partially cover the filling. Then fold the triangle straight up to align the left side of the triangle with the left side of the strip. Next, fold over the bottom left-hand corner to the right side of the strip. Continue folding in this manner, from side to side as you would a flag, gently pressing the filling as you work, to obtain a phyllo triangle about 3 1/2 inches on a side. Tuck in the free end to seal. – (Mamane, Danielle and Morse, Kitty, 37)
I was feeling so bleh the day I made these, that even though I’ve made triangle shaped pastries before, I was just not having it and ended up making whatever shape I wanted. I encourage you to give it a shot. It’s not really that hard, I was just being lazy.
Once you have folded and filled your phyllo shapes, the final step is to fry them in vegetable oil. As some of you might have read in my previous posts, frying has not been a pleasant experience for me. So this time around I did the dough test. The dough test is when you drop a small bit of dough into the oil to check if it’s hot enough. If the dough gets fried up right away, then it’s ready.
Since I did the test this time, my frying experience turned out much better than it has in the past. So I do recommend being patient about that.
Anyway, the final result of my multi-shaped phyllos was quite good! You get a hint of taste from the lemon rind and the combination of cinnamon with turmeric gives the chicken a kick of flavor, but not overwhelmingly so. I love the way the chicken tastes in this recipe so much that I think I might use it for a chicken and rice recipe of my own making.