Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ustipak called Mrs Hen

Milou loves fried doughs. When you wake up on a snowy Sunday morning in Sarajevo, fried doughs are one of the best weekend treats you can ever think of here.  My mom didn't use to fry them as often as my mother-in-law does, though. Some mornings she knocks on the door and steps in with a big bowl of 'ustipak' as they call fried doughs here. Hers are always  fluffy light inside and  we devour them when they are still warm. Ustipci (plural of ustipak) are little basically fried yeasty dough balls. We, as the custom says so, take those little crunchy balls and smear them with sour cream. They really go well with jam and honey as well.  Some bakery shops also sell them until noon here in Sarajevo. Well, the last time I made ustipak for Milou I couldn't believe my eyes because one teaspoon of yeasty dough I dropped into hot oil turned into a brooding hen. Here is the photo I took immeadiately. Have a look please, the similarity is amazing, isn't it? Look at the tail feathers, vent, comb, wattle, beak, and even the wings.

Mrs Hen
Then I remembered an animated short, At Home with Mrs Hen, by Tali which is actually a comical tale. It pokes fun at motherhood while depicting the temper tantrums of a child and the efforts a mother makes to set her son on the right path. You don't need to be chicken to relate. You can own it on DVD here: on Here it goes.

And here is a recipe I've found on the Internet but I haven't given it a try yet. 

 3 3 1/2 unsifted flour
1 tsp salt
1 pkg dry active yeast

Mix together. Add to above mixture immediately:

1 c warm milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c warm water
2 tbsp margarine or butter
dash of oil
Sour cream
Mix well. Add two eggs and mix in thorougly. Cover and let rise until double in bulk. 
In the meantime, have the vegetable (canola might serve well) oil heating to reach 350-360 degrees. Shake the mixture down slightly. Do not beat down. Drop by teaspoons into hot oil, cook until done. Try one first to judge the right timing. Drain on paper towels. Dip in sour cream.
Classic Porcelain Chicken Hen Sculptural Statue Collection - Kitchen Décor - Set of 3