East African Dinner at the Winery

This past week the winery was hosting a fundraising event to benefit a hospital clinic in Africa, and the event planners wanted an authentic menu with a lot of East African flavor. Two of the items I was tasked to make were chapati bread with roasted pepper and tomato chutney and mandazi doughnuts, both of which I cooked from scratch. I always enjoy learning new recipes, and I think these both came out great.

Fresh chapti dough ballsChapati is a flatbread that originated in India and is now consumed throughout South Asia and Africa, and it is used to eat saucy foods. I found a good recipe on AllRecipes.com and made 5 batches worth of dough. Other than a quick rest before portioning to let the flour hydrate, this was a pretty quick step. I kept the dough from drying out by keeping it covered with oil.

Rolling and cooking the chapati doughI dusted each ball with flour and rolled it out to an 8 inch circle. Once I got started, I was able to cook the rolled dough on a hot griddle as I rolled out the next ball. The chapati cooked 30 seconds on each side, so I was able to cook all 50 in an hour.

finished-chapati-breadThe format of the event was paired tasting, where each guest would have a small glass of wine with bite-sized foods to see how the flavors complimented each other. So after they had cooled, I cut the chapati into quarters for individual serving sizes.

Cooking a roasted tomato and pepepr chutney for the chapati breadMeanwhile, I prepared a roasted red pepper and tomato chutney for the filling. I was able to get a nice char on the tomatoes and peppers by roasting them in the hot pizza oven and then sauteed them with onions, garlic, salt, chili pepper flakes, and oil. Once they were soft I gave it a quick blend with an immersion blender and then cooked them down for about 2 hours until it was sweet and savory. I spread the chutney onto the quartered pieces of chapati and rolled it into a cone to make an clean individual portion.

Finished chapati roll with roasted red pepper and tomato chutney

200 finished chapati rollsThese were perfect for picking up and enjoying without fear of making a mess, plus the were absolutely delicious. The event coordinator, who had been to Africa many times herself, said they tasted exactly how she remembered. For something I have never attempted before, I was very pleased with the results.

fresh mandazi doughAnother dish that was new to me were mandazi, an East African doughnut. I have never attempted any sort of fried dough before, so I was a bit nervous, but it ended up being very fool-proof and the results were great. I found a great recipe on AllThingsKenyan.com and made 8 batches worth. Once I mixed the ingredients and rolled out the dough, I cut them into small triangles and spread them out onto a greased tray.

Mandazi doughnutsAfter that, it was a simple as frying them for a bit on each side, drying them off, and servin them with a sprinkle of sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. Very yummy and very easy.

Cooking Prime Rib for the Supper Club

I think one of the more unique things about our winery is that I’m also a chef and I get to cook delicious food to serve with the wine that I make. For our Friday Night Supper Club, I cook the main entrees and Prime Rib has been a feature from the very beginning. Here is how I like to make it.