Filo parcels with tomato, lemon & cumin

I made these last night because I had some spare filo pastry and some leftover rice from something else I was making – and they worked really well so I thought I’d post the recipe.

The size and the ingredients could easily be adjusted depending on your taste. I made them quite large as we ate them as our main course with salad but you could easily make them much smaller if you wanted to.


Ingredients

  • 1 packet of filo pastry sheets
  • 150g butter, melted
  • 200g Basmati rice
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves or 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 lemon (zest only)
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

This mixture is enough to make about 8 large filo parcels. You can make smaller parcels by cutting the filo sheets lengthways into 4 strips instead of 3 and use just a teaspoonful or two of the mixture in each parcel instead of a tablespoon.

  • - Cook the rice until tender then drain, cover and set aside
  • - Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic and cumin seeds
  • - Cook gently until the onion is soft but not coloured
  • - Add the oregano, tomato and lemon zest and cook for a further 2 minutes
  • - Add the rice and stir thoroughly until all the ingredients are mixed together well
  • - Season to taste
  • - Lay the filo pastry out on a large board and cut into thirds lengthways
  • - Work progressively with the pastry as it dries out very easily – you can always cover it with a damp tea towel if you need to
  • - Take one strip of filo pastry, brush the surface with melted butter, lay another strip of filo on top and again brush with butter (the filo pastry is extremely thin and one layer on its own would tear quite easily)
  • - Take a heaped tablespoon of the rice mixture and place at one end of the filo strip (2cm from the edge) shaping into a rough triangle
  • - Fold the small end edge of the filo over the filling then keep going, across and over repeating the folds until you have a triangular parcel
  • - Brush all over with melted butter and place, seam side down, on a baking sheet
  • - Repeat the process with additional parcels until you have used up all the filling
  • - Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas mark 4 and bake the filo parcels for 20-25 minutes until golden and crispy on the outside
  • - Serve hot with a simple green salad and a dipping sauce of your choice*

*I made a smoky tomato sauce to which I added a couple of big spoonfuls of creme fraiche and it was a very good accompaniment to the flavours in the filo parcels. Here’s the recipe for the sauce that I made…

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • a knob of butter
  • 150ml water
  • 2 heaped tbsp creme fraiche

Gently cook the onions in the butter for 10 minutes until soft then add the tomato puree and keep cooking for another couple of minutes. In a separate bowl, mix the vinegar, mustard powder, Spanish paprika, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning, stir in the water then add to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Transfer to a food processor and blitz until smooth (or use a stick blender in the saucepan) before stirring in the creme fraiche to taste.

 

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