Dishoom's Cheese & Masala Sticks Recipe

The month of Ramadan may be a period of fasting but it’s equally synonymous with feasting. Iftar – the evening meal with which Muslims break their fast – is an occasion for eating favourite dishes and indulging in the naughtiness of moreish snacks after a day of abstaining.

In India, mealtimes are very much a family affair and everything is shared which makes these cheese-and-pastry twirls perfect for making together this half-term (they’re very tempting though so sharing may be optional). They’re incredibly easy to make plus you only need ready-made puff pastry and a handful of store-cupboard ingredients, which make them just right for keeping little hands happily occupied during the holidays. There’s also a cinnamon sugar variation so we recommend you and your budding chefs make both, to satisfy sweet and savoury tastes. Be sure to dip them into hot masala chai for extra enjoyment.

MAKES 16-20

Ingredients

1 sheet of ready-made puff pastry (320g), about 35 x 23cm

Flour, for dusting

1 egg white, beaten

For the topping

1¼–1½ tsp chaat masala

40g mature Cheddar, finely grated

4 tsp chopped coriander leaves

Method

  1. Take the pastry out of the fridge, remove any packaging and allow around 20 minutes for it to come to room temperature before using.
  2. Heat the oven to 210C/Fan 190C/Gas 6–7 and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
  3. Unroll the pastry and cut in half horizontally (to create two short rectangles rather than two long strips). Take one piece of pastry and lay it flat. Slice into long strips, 1.5–2cm wide, leaving the strips where they are as you go (a floured pizza slicer is best for this). You should be able to get 8–10 strips.
  4. Brush the pastry with egg white, then dust lightly with chaat masala and sprinkle over the cheese and chopped coriander (you might find it easiest to microplane the cheese directly into the pastry). Lightly run a rolling pin over the surface to secure the cheese and coriander, then dust with a little more chaat masala for luck.
  5. Trying not to dislodge the topping, lift a pastry strip by both ends, twist it around to create nice twirls in the pastry, then lay it on the lined baking sheet and give it a light press to make it stay in place. Repeat with the rest of the strips, then with the other half of the pastry sheet.
  6. Bake for 15–18 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed, golden and quite crisp. Place on a wire rack to cool. Serve the pastry twists once they have cooled, with plenty of chai.

Variation

Cinnamon sugar sticks: For the topping, mix 4 tsp white granulated sugar with 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Roll out the pastry and cut into strips as above. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar (there’s no need to press it in with a rolling pin), then twist and bake as above. 

For other Dishoom recipes, please see Dishoom: from Bombay with love, our cookery book and highly subjective guide to Bombay.

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Chef Rishi, on grilling

As a thirteen year old boy in Delhi with endless energy and appetite, I treasured Sunday mornings. I’d wake up early, jump on my rickety Hero Cycle bicycle and hurriedly pedal five miles to a park close to Shantivan and Raj Ghat. There, me and my friends would set-up makeshift stick stumps and play cricket for hours… or until our minds and bellies turned (inevitably) to food.

Eid al-Fitr

The Celebration of Breaking Fast

The festival of Eid al-Fitr (literally “the Celebration of the Breaking of the Fast”) marks the conclusion of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month where restraint and discipline must be practised.

Chand Raat

The culmination of Ramadan will bring with it Chand Raat (the night of the moon), an evening of great excitement and unity. It’s the eventide or moment the first crescent moon of the month is observed, which marks the end of the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, a period of fasting, prayer and reflection, and the start of Eid, the beginning of great festivities.

The Ritual of Zakat

Compassion. Generosity. Discipline. Honesty. Selflessness. Tolerance. These principles lie at the heart of Islam. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are bound to give, share and take care of others.