Oktoberfest comes around the hood the first week of every October. Spirits are always high in Colorado but more so now, what with the Rockies surprising everyone by doing well and making it a Rockotober, too. Never mind that each year, I have to ask what game the Rockies play, only to forget it as soon as someone mentions the Broncos. Maybe if I mention it here, I won't forget? Bear with me while I get this straightened out for myself:
Rockies play baseball.
Broncos play football.
At least now I have somewhere to go to get this info from one place. Blogs are beautiful things, I tell you! They serve many a great purpose.
Oktoberfest sneaks up on me each year and I never have the time to research German cuisine, step out of my comfort zone and cook a German dish. The event is hosted by the same family each year and the hostess always makes a mean sauerbraten. This year, I had several excuses. We had closed ourselves up in our home as Medha was sick with suspected swine flu, or the flu, or a flu-like virus. She was never tested so we don't know what she had. Two of her friends were tested and it was the swine. The virus is still sweeping through the schools but it is much milder than the regular flu at this time. I heard the vaccine finally came out this week. It is always stressful when she gets sick but, this time it was worse because the news of the death of an otherwise healthy Texas teen came at a time when her fever was showing signs of breaking but by nightfall would spike again. By the end of the week, she was rearing to go but I was totally beat. I begged for a quiet birthday and along with my wish, received a free bottle of Taj beer from my favorite local Indian restaurant. I had one more chilling in the fridge and so, like an Indian, I took two big bottles of Taj beer to Oktoberfest instead of trying to find good German beer at the liquor mart.
Since my theme was an Indian Oktoberfest, I figured I might as well do it full justice and decided to make tuna tikkis. You can call them fish cakes, if you like.
- 3 cans of tuna
- 4.5 cups mashed potatoes
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp grated garlic
- 2 Thai chillies, pound into a coarse paste
- 1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped fine
- 1-2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 cup farina or Malt-O-Meal or semolina
- 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
- salt to taste
- Oil to shallow fry
- Drain the canned tuna and pull apart.
- Add grated ginger, grated garlic, chilli paste, cilantro, lime juice and salt, and mix well.
- Add mashed potatoes and mix well again. Taste for salt and add more, if required.
- Roll into small balls, the size that would readily fit in an one eighth cup and then press down lightly to flatten into tikkis.
- In a separate bowl, add chilli powder and salt to the farina. Roll the tikkis in this mixture until they are well-coated.
- Place a large saucepan on medium-high heat and add 1-2 tbsp of oil in the middle. When the oil is hot, place a tikki in that oil, watch it sizzle and absorb some of the oil and immediately move it to the outer edge.
- Repeat with remaining tikkis, adding more oil as needed to the center of the saucepan. Add as many tikkis as will fit in your saucepan without crowding.
- Let the tikkis cook till the bottom gets crispy. Then flip each tikki over and repeat the process by bringing each to the center to "drink" more oil. Or you could drizzle oil along the edge of the saucepan. I prefer the former as the oil has a chance to heat and the tikkis absorb less oil this way.
- Once the other side of the tikki has become crisp, drain on paper towels and serve hot with a condiment of your choice. This recipe makes about 40-45 small tuna tikkis.
I love to dip my tuna tikkis in organic tomato ketchup while my husband prefers stone ground mustard. Medha's preference is by far the strangest. She likes to eat the tikkis uncooked - before they are dipped in farina and fried. Go figure!
No-one at the party really cared that these weren't German and those who don't think tuna is very fishy, found them delicious. If you up the heat by adding more green chillies, they make for a perfect appetizer, especially when the beer is flowing.
- Do not shallow fry these in more oil. If you do, they will absorb the oil and disntegrate in the pan. It's worse if you use new potatoes. We fry fish and shrimp this way and it works really well for these tuna tikkis, too.
- I used new potatoes of varying sizes to make the mashed potatoes. I used about 7 mostly medium potatoes.
- I don't use any binder although some folks add an egg to the mixture or even cornflour.
- Instead of tuna, you can use fresh or canned chicken or any veggies, for that matter.
- Traditionally, the fish is steamed and the meat picked off the bones to make these.
- These could be baked, too but I think they are better fried.
- You could reduce the amount of mashed potatoes but with tuna, the fishy odor tends to get a little overpowering so I erred on the side of caution.
- Use more Thai chillies to up the heat. I used only two so that more people would be open to trying these.