Baddie tries to make “papanasi”
There are some people out there who don’t know about “papanasi”. Sad but true. Never fear though, Baddie is here to instruct you. Sort of.
Well, in theory (and widespread Romanian restaurant practice) papanasi are a type of cottage cheese dumplings / doughnuts, fried and served with jam and sour cream. Very, very delicious. So delicious in fact, that Baddie got a certain craving yesterday and decided to experiment. Naturally, Baddie first turned to the erstwhile fount of knowledge – her mum – for a good recipe and tips. Mum proved as reliable as can be expected: “Oh… errr… yes, I’ve … err made those things … once… at home.” Baddie: “And? Recipe?!?” Mum: “Oh, just do what I did – look one up online”. Gee wee, thanks a lot trusted parent, that certainly made the international call cost worthwhile…
Right, plan B (which, let’s face it, had been plan A all along) – Google. Apparently there are about three thousand recipes for the dratted dessert out there so after a lot of careful deliberation Baddie chose the first hit. Well, duh. Before you cry out in dismay, this entry did have 661 positive reviews. You can see it here: http://www.e-retete.ro/retete/papanasi
The gist of it is that you take some white cottage cheese, some flour, an egg, baking powder and sugar and mix it together, and then you form doughnuts out of this dough and fry them. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
So, enlisting the help of her ever-willing spouse, Baddie a) goes shopping for the ingredients; b) curses and facepalms as she remembers yet again that Germans. Do. Not. Make. Romanian-Style Cheese. c) snatches something that looks like the right cheese off the supermarket’s shelf (you can tell where this is going, right?) d) goes home, asks Mr. Baddie to prep the mix, and gets the wok out. What? You can SO fry doughnuts in a wok. So anyway, ten minutes later comes the next step in the recipe :”shape dumplings the size of your fist”; after a short debate on exactly whose fist this refers to, Baddie and hubby decide that since they do not wish papanasi the size of basketballs, it will be her task to do the shaping.
Now, imagine trying to shape something which has the consistency of pancake batter. In the eternal words of Yoda: “Mudhole? Slimy? My
home dumpling this is!” So – yeah. The stuff is sticky. And viscuous. And basically evil. Because it is just gelatinous enough to make you THINK you can shape it. And then it slips through your fingers. And runs on your arms. To your elbows. So you add more flour. You stir. You try again. You add more flour. You stir again. You dig in. By this time, you can’t tell your fingers apart from your dough. It feels as if you are shaping a Golem. And still you go on, with a dogged determination. Finally, you manage to make something resembling a molehill. You laugh maniacally and count yourself lucky. You throw this into the heated oil and feel a bit like a hardened soldier: “Not victory, Obi Wan. The shroud batter of the Dark Side has fallen.”
Meanwhile, in the corner, Mr. Baddie is cramping and shaking with laughter, pointing at the wok and gasping something about chicken nuggets. The nerve! But… well … they do tend to look a bit like