When recipes call for "convenience products", it sometimes can go to such hilarious extremes. Other times, though, I have to admit that short-cuts do make it possible to make meals even when life gets too hectic for all meals to be made from scratch. There certainly are many times in my life when a jar of pasta sauce or a bottle of Thai curry paste has made the difference between eating a slice of greasy pizza or chopping up some odd vegetables and eating a quick home-cooked meal.
Sometimes, a convenience product provides a means to that sweet wistfulness called nostalgia. At least, that is the feeling that crept up when I saw Meera's recipe for Short-cut Khari Biscuits. They are a one-ingredient wonder, made from store-bought puff pastry. I loved loved loved these khari biscuits ("khari" means salty) in India, as an accompaniment to afternoon chai. Nothing but melt-in-the-mouth flaky pastry. Even as they sighed over the fat content of this pastry, my parents gave in and bought khari biscuits from the local bakery every now and then. These plain khari biscuits are the ones I love best, but a new bakery that my parents frequent also makes methi khari biscuits (tinged with kasuri methi or dried fenugreek) that are simply delicious.
This is only the second time in my whole life that I bought puff pastry. With lashings of fat separating whisper-thin layers of dough, puff pastry is as sinful as it gets. In the interest of not undoing all of the huffing and puffing in the gym, I use it only for making vegetable puffs (a la Monginis) once in a blue moon. And now, khari biscuits! I used the all-butter Trader Joe's brand here. When buying puff pastry, I would suggest avoiding brands that contain hydrogenated vegetable fats (even small amounts of trans fats are extremely unhealthy).
Preheat the oven to 400F. Defrost a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Roll it gently to make it slightly thinner. Cut out rectangular shapes with a sharp knife. Twist each rectangle into a bow (that is the shape that I remember from my childhood) and lay it on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. You may have to play around with oven temperatures and baking times to be able to get the inside of the biscuit baked before the outside gets too dark.
Meera's blog is a remarkable resource for recipes, both old favorites and unusual regional ones. This khari biscuit recipe is part of a category called American Desi- these are Indian favorites made using American supermarket ingredients.
This is yet another entry for MBP: Less is More.