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Singapore pancakes ... to sop up curry.

Singapore pancakes Coconut cobwebs may sound like some kind of lacy filament billowing in a palm tree. But these webs are a special bread eaten with curry in Singapore.

In our kitches, Violet Oon, editor of the Food Paper in Singapore, demonstrated how to make the bread (roti jala). She pours a thin batter into a special cup with five funnels, then swirls the batter onto a hot griddle. She makes her pancakes rather soft, so they can sop up the flavorful sauce of the curry. If you prefer them firmer, cook longer or make them ahead and reheat in the oven until crisp.

Since roti jala funnels are not readily available here, you can easily fashion your own from a can, punctured with a nail.

The curry starts with a roasted blend of spices. For a short-cut, use a purchased Indian curry powder. (You can substitute rice or French bread for the pancakes.)

Begin the meal with a salad of sliced cucumbers, red onion, and pineapple, dressed with lime juice and chopped peanuts. End with icy canned litchis, served with sliced kiwi fruit.

Cobweb Pancakes (Roti Jala)

2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt About 1 1/2 tablespoons salad oil 2 large eggs 1 cup canned conconut milk mixed with 2 cups water; or 3 cups cow's milk mixed with 1 teaspoon coconut extract Roti jala cup (directions follow)

In a blender, whirl until smooth flour, salt, 1 tablspoon oil, eggs, milk mixture.

Place a griddle or 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat. Brush pan with oil. Over the hot pan, quickly fill the roti jala cup with at least 1/2 cup batter. At once, move the cup to drizzle a series of continuous overlapping circles of the batter from the center to the edge of the pan, making a large, round lacy pancake about 8 inches in diameter. (If batter spatters so much when it hits the pan that the line breaks, lower heat slightly.) Pancake should be thin and lacy; don't use excessive batter, and empty any extra back into the bowl.

Cook until pancake is lightly browned on bottom, about 1 minute; turn over with a wide spatula and lightly brown other side, about 1 minute. Remove from pan. Repeat process to cook all remaining batter. If made ahead, stack pancakes, separated by paper towels. Cool, cover, and chill up until next day. Reheat in a single layer on 12- by 15-inch baking sheets in a 350 [degrees] oven until warm, about 3 minutes; if you like them crisp, bake 2 to 3 minutes longer. Fold in eighths, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 18 to 24 pancakes, 6 servings.

Per pancake: 70 cal.; 1.8 g protein; 3.4 g fat; 8.2 g carbo.; 52 mg sodium; 18 mg chol.

Roti jala cup. With a 4d finishing nail, make 5 holes about 1 inch apart in the bottom of a clean, empty 8-ounce food can (about 3 1/2 in. tall and 2 1/2 in. wide).

Singapore Chicken Curry

8 cloves garlic 1-3/4 cups (about 10 large) chopped shallots 10 slices (about the size of a quarter) fresh ginger 1/2 cup homemade curry powder (recipe follows), or purchased 1 broiler-fryer chicken 3-1/2 lb.), cut up; or 3-1/2 pounds chicken thighs 5 tablesppons salad oil 1/2 cup coconut milk; or 1/2 cup cow's milk and 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract 2 pounds (about 4 medium size) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-by- inch chunks About 2 teaspoons sugar Salt Fresh cilantro (coriander) sprigs, optional

In a food processor or blender, combine garlic, shallots, and ginger; whirl, scraping container often, until finely ground. Mix 1/4 cup of the curry powder with 3 tablespoons water. Mix the curry paste and half the ginger mixture (if made ahead, cover and chill remaining ginger mixture up until the next day).

If desired, remove and discard skin from chicken. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Rub the curry-ginger mixture all over chicken pieces. If made ahead, cover and chill up until the next day.

Place oil in 5- to 6-quart pan over medicum-high heat. When oil is hot, add remaining ginger mixture; stir often for 3 minutes. Mix remaining curry powder with 3 tablespoons water and add to the pan. Stir often for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the marinated chicken and cook, turning often, until yellow on both sides, about 7 minutes.

Add 1 cup water and the coconut milk; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add potatoes; cover and simmer until meat is no longer pink at thigh bone (cut to test) and potatoes are tender when pierced, 30 to 40 minutes.

Add sugar and salt to taste. If made ahead, cool, cover, and chill up until next day. Reheat, covered, over low heat until hot, 10 to 15 minutes; stir often. Skim and discard fat. Spoon into dish; garnish with cilantro. Serves 6.

Per serving: 717 cal.; 39 g protein; 45 fat; 42 g carbo.; 153 mg sodium; 135 mg chol.

Homemade curry powder. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, combine 1/3 cup coriander seed, 1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns, 2 whole cloves; stir often over medium-low heat for 3 minutes.

Add 2 1/2 tablespoons cumin seed, 1 tablespoon fennel seed, 9 small dried hot red chilies, and 6 whole cardamom pods, hulled; stir just until chilies begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon ground turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg; continue stirring until spices become fragrant, about 2 minutes.

In a blender, whirl spices as fine as possible. If desired, sift mixture in fine strainer to remove coarse bits. Store airtight up to 1 month. Makes about 1/2 cup.
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Feb 1, 1990
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