Monday, June 29, 2009

Pizza Fritta- the ultimate comfort food ( Mekici)


Since I was very little this is one of my favorite comfort foods.I still remember the lazy rainy mornings at my Grandma's house, full of the aroma of freshly fried pizza frittas ( or fried dough as they tell them here). Or the time when I was a student, the wither wind brushing your face with cold and the warm comfort that spreads in your frozen hands when holding the steamy hot Pizza fritta.


They are very popular in Bulgaria under the name Mekici. Mek in Bulgarian means soft, but the true Mekica has to be crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, so the name is not entirely true to the nature of Mekicas :-).

So, I've kept it as a tradition and my kids and better half are enjoying them quite often.

here is the recipe,
so you can enjoy too!
(as Dr. Seus would say)

For 2 lbs dough ( more than enough for 4 people):
3/4 tsp salt
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp active dry yeast
1-1/4 cups water
3 tbsp olive oil

* All ingredients should be at room temperature ( 70-80 F)

How to prepare them:

First mix the dry ingredients- the flower, the salt, the yeast and sift together.

In a stand mixer mix together the water and olive oil and then add the dry ingredients.

Knead together, until soft dough ( but not sticky!) is formed. If you think it's to dry or too moist, feel free to add 1 tbsp water or flour at a time, until the desired consistency.

Grease your hands with olive oil and take the dough out. Let it rest in lightly greased pot to rise for about 30 min or more ( if you don't have time to wait, technically you can use it in 10 min, but I recommend waiting).
PizzaFritta6 PizzaFritta8

When the dough is ready, take a handful of dough and spread it in lightly greased plate, almost as bit as the plate in diameter.

PizzaFritta9 PizzaFritta10

In a large frying pan place 2 cups of olive or vegetable oil ( you are going to be deep frying the pizza frittas) and set the stove on high. When the oil is hot enough, fry the first pizza fritta and then set the stove on medium-high.


Fry until golden in color, place on paper towels to drain.
Then sprinkle with some powdered sugar or spread your favorite jam ( honey, maple syrup) and enjoy.
Serve hot!

P.S: If you have dough left, do not hesitate to freeze it in a greased bag! It is perfect for pizza or for corn dogs!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps (attempt)

I can't state for certain this is the original recipe, but I do have a very good palate and I've tasted very carefully the lettuce wraps we've been served, so I dare to say if my recipe is not the same, it is very, very close to the original.

P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps

You will need:

1 iceberg lettuce ( it's very important to be this kind!)
1 package rice noodles
5 tbsp vegetable oil

1 package ( 2 lbs) ground chicken ( or you can grind chicken breast yourself if you prefer)
3 tbsp olive( or sesame) oil
1 cup chopped white button mushrooms
1/2 cup minced onion ( preferably white)
5 cloves minced garlic
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Chinese cooking wine
1 tbsp rice vinegar
4 tbsp ketchup
4 tbsp tomato paste
4 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp black pepper

* I don't usually use salt, since the soy sauce is salty, but if you don't like soy sauce you can add salt to taste.

Preparation: 40 min
Serves : 14-15 (or more, depends on the scoop you place in a wrap)

- First fry the rice noodles in deep frying pan. Be careful not to burn them! They take just couple of seconds to become puffy and crispy, do not overcook them! The color you are aiming for is white!

- Mix together the brown sugar, water, rice vinegar, ketchup, tomato paste, soy sauce, powdered ginger and black pepper. Let it stay for 15 min or until the sugar is dissolved.

- In a frying pan stir fry the chicken with 3 tbsp sesame oil. When the chicken is ready add the onion and garlic. Stir until the onion reaches golden color. Add the mushrooms, stir fry until the liquid evaporates then add the Chinese cooking wine. Let the liquid evaporate again and add the tomato paste mixture. Stir a couple of times and let sauce thicken.

- Serve over cold iceberg lettuce leaves with a garnish of fried rice noodles.

It's very easy to prepare, it doesn't take a long time at all, despite of the many ingredients you use and it's great to serve at parties or enjoy with your better half at home.

Enjoy with a glass of cold white wine!

P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps

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