Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Jess' Collection: Interesting Kitchen Tools - Mamoul Moulds and Falafel Mould/Dispenser

Hello again,

While I contemplate my other writings for a future entry about the Philippines, here is a short diversion about some interesting kitchen tools that I own and use. I guess I just introduced a new series about my various collections.

In this installment I'll show you some moulds ( I prefer to use the British spelling of mould because it looks better than typing 'mold,' (also looks similar to the way I spell Mamoul too!) in my opinion anyway) from my collection.

One of the fancier types of cookies/biscuits that I make are Middle Eastern style Mamoul. Traditonally they are made out of a basic kind of shortbread dough made with semolina and filled with different types of filling (see the captions of the photos for more information).

You already know that I do not usually follow the traditional recipes for anything; so of course in my version of Mamoul, the dough and fillings are both Vegan and Gluten Free. If you've ever scrolled through my photo gallery or previous posts; you've probably already seen photos of the Mamoul cookies that I've made.

These moulds are all handcarved and are quite beautiful as they are. Even if you didn't use them for actual, Mamoul making; you could definitely have them as works of art in your collection.

I cannot tell you all about the history about Mamoul and how they started making them, but I can tell you that they are just as tasty as they are beautiful. They are wonderful with a cup of tea and good company.

You have to fill a ball of pastry with the filling before you press it into the mould and then you tap it quite jarringly to release it from the mould. It takes some practice to get the technique down, but once you get it; you never forget it. Just like riding a bike!

These are not, bowling pins.

These are wooden moulds for making Mamoul

This is the traditional design used for date filled Mamoul

This is the traditional design for  walnut filled Mamoul.

This is the traditional designed for pistachio filled Mamoul.
The cookies in the background are Mamoul using the mould for the walnut filling.
These were made using the mould for date filled Mamoul.

Falafel! I think that the first falafel that I really thought was super fantastic was from a local place where the mix was just right, the spices didn't over power the nuttiness of the chickpea/fava beans, it contained chlorophyll from chopped parsley, maybe a bit of mint, but above all it would be well cooked and super crispy. Eating falafel when it's super fresh is one of those magical gleeful experiences.

I have made my own homemade falafel before and it can be tricky if you don't have everything prepared to go. There is a lot of preparation time in order to let the falafel mixture set (especially if you are really following the traditional way of soaking and grinding the beans yourself instead of using bean flours) and getting the oil temperature right and maintaining that perfect temperature.

The raw falafel mixture is rather sticky; so you definitely cannot use your hands to form the patties. You can use two spoons in the same way you make a 'drop donut,' or cannelles, but a falafel mould/dispenser is far faster and more efficient. I always remember Alton Brown, droning on about Uni-taskers, but honestly you could use this mould for other applications (think a cookie mould or maybe to form perfect little circles of rice or any other grains etc.

The best part of all is that this tool is not very expensive. In fact, this falafel mould/dispenser came with an instant mix for falafel, I think it was less than 4 dollars all together.
This photo is from a previous post where I gave a recipe for Indian style carrot and scallion bhajis.  You can check out that post here : http://ohthehumanitea.blogspot.com/2012_03_01_archive.html   The falafel are the ones that are dark brown colored with green throughout them.

These are not the perfect falafel, but they were tasty!

This is a falafel mould.

It looks a bit like a telescope in this position.

When you press on the spring loaded lever; it slides back the flat surface. I had a small metal spatula (that you use to fill the empty mould)  that came with this mould, but it was buried in the kitchen drawer. Alas it did not make it to the photo shoot in time. 

Once you let go of the lever; it pushes the formed falafel patty out of the mould and straight into the hot oil.

So, those are just a few of my interesting kitchen tools from my collection. I hope that you found it somewhat interesting. What about you? What are some of your more interesting kitchen tools that you use in the kitchen or for culinary uses?

Until next time, peace, good eating and happy cooking! ( I know that I'm channeling Ming and Jacques again...... ;p


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