Gnocchi, known as the thick, soft pasta is a delicate fresh pasta dish. The word ‘Gnocchi’ is derived from the Italian word ” nocchio” meaning knots in the wood. For me though, it means “small, soft, gentle and comforting potato pillows”
While scanning through a couple of cook books in a book store recently, i happen to stumble upon the word gnocchi. I had heard the word before but had absolutely no idea what the dish really was. I guess i had just presumed that the dish was not vegetarian. This time, i saw a recipe for homemade gnocchi and it got me all excited to give it a go in my kitchen. When i came home, i searched some more to get a deeper understanding of the “fresh pasta making” process and realized that most of the recipes called for egg yolks. Surprisingly, that did not demotivate me and i went ahead with the trial anyway. The result was yummy !
The dough was prepared and cut into small bits. I just made the bits into ball shape and then put them into a large pot of boiling water. It was an absolute delight to see the gnocchi bits popping out one by one on the surface of the water as they got ready to be introduced into the delicate and beautiful blend of herbs and spices. For the tempering, i wanted to stir fry the gnocchi. When i think of stir frying, i am thinking soy sauce and hot sauce. Gnocchi being an Italian origin dish called for a very different set of spices but i wanted to try the fusion and make myself some “Oriental Gnocchi”. The dish turned out to be lip smacking, spicy and tangy. The pasta had soaked up some of the soy sauce and spices nicely and it formed a nice crunch on the top while remaining soft and tender on the inside.
STIR FRIED GNOCCHI
Preparation time : 30 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes
Makes : 4 servings
For Gnocchi Dough
- 2 large potatoes with high starch content – Boiled and skin removed (russet potatoes preferred. Starch helps in binding the dough) - It is important that you use fresh boiled potatoes so that they are soft. You may also boil the potatoes in the microwave to reduce the water content.
- About 1 cup all purpose flour (the quantity depends on the starch content of potatoes)
- Salt to taste (sea salt preferred)
- Black ground pepper to taste
- 1 tsp fresh thyme – chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil/ butter
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil/ butter
- 1 medium sized onion – Cut lengthwise
- 1/4 cup cabbage – Cut into thin long strips
- 1 tsp sriracha sauce/ hot sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light soya sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste/ ketchup
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Take the boiled potatoes. Now using a grater, grate the potatoes into thin fine strands. The potatoes should not be gooey otherwise forming the dough will be tough.
- Now add in the salt, pepper and chopped thyme and gently combine into the potato shreds using a fork.
- Now slowly add flour (1 tablespoon at a time) into the potato mixture and with a soft hand start kneading the dough. Add only enough flour that a soft but firm dough is prepared.
- Divide the dough into 4 portions. Take each portion and using both hands, roll the dough a thin long rope (about 1/2 inch dia). Using a sharp knife, cut the rope into 1/2 inch pieces and roll each piece between your palms to form ball shape. Repeat the process with all the dough. Sprinkle some flour over the formed balls to prevent them from sticking with each other.
- Now, take a big pot and add a lot of water into it. Put to high flame and let it boil. Once the water starts to boil, add in 1 tsp of olive oil and gentle introduce some gnocchi dough balls into the water. Let it boil. Depending on the size of the balls, it would take about 4-5 minutes before the balls pop up on the surface of the water.
- While the gnocchi balls are cooking, take a separate pan. Add in the Olive oil/butter and let it heat up. Now add in the chopped onion and cabbage and saute on medium high flame. Keep tossing to avoid the vegetables from burning. Once the vegetables are slightly brownish on the edges, bring down the flame to low heat.
- Now, check for the gnocchi balls and as they pop up on the surface of water, gently remove them from water and straight away add them into the tempering. Bring the heat to medium high for stir fry.
- Once all the balls are in the tempering, sprinkle in salt and pepper and let the gnocchi balls stir fry to get a little crunch on the surface.
- Add in the sriracha sauce, soy sauce, tomato paste and vinegar and gently toss with the gnocchi to combine. Let it saute for about 2 minutes. Stir fried gnocchi is ready to be served !! Serve hot
The stir fry and oriental spices worked very well with the gnocchi and it was like having small packets of big flavours. It was truly a great tasting and gnocchi made for a filling and comforting dish.