When I spied a can of poppy-seed filling, I bought it -- before I had a use for it. It’s a thick, sticky mix of poppy seeds, sugar, and water. It was enticingly familiar to me, as a component of “ethnic desserts,” yet an ingredient that I had never personally cooked with before. Eventually, I discovered the recipe for “Chickpea Butternut Pumpkin Patties,” on angiesrecipes.blogspot.com, and knew I needed to finally apply my can of poppy-seed filling. Many challenges were ahead of me, however. First, I needed to convert this recipe from the metric system. And next, I had to discern the world of “glutinous rice flour.”

Instead of using butternut-squash purée, I used actual pumpkin purée -- an interchangeable ingredient, really. I also pureed some canned chickpeas in my food processor. Glutinous rice flour is a type of flour made from short-grained sticky rice, commonly used in Asia as a sauce thickener or as a binding agent in baked goods. The powdery flour is unparalleled in absorption. The chewy, elastic quality of the dough makes it a popular base for the creation of pastries and sweets throughout Asia, but alas, I did not pursue this glutinous rice flour with any real diligence. Instead, I ran with the brave idea of combining an equal mix of white rice flour (for its riceness) and vital wheat gluten flour (for its elasticity).

As soon as I put these ingredients together and plunged my hands in to knead the dough, I could feel the very odd, rubbery texture. That wheat gluten flour, I realized, is powerful stuff. I needn’t have used as much as I did for this dough. And I didn’t need my whole can of poppy-seed filling after all. I filled each of my 34 patties (roughly 2 Tbsp. of dough each) with a bit of the paste, fried them in a pan of grapeseed oil, then enjoyed their sweet addictiveness, getting beyond the chewiness.

PRICES
Poppy Seed Filling (11oz. can) = $2.64

RECIPE: be adventurous with sweet paste and glutinous flour
PREP TIME:
the elastic dough comes together immediately; the patties quickly fry
TASTE: sweetened by only a bit of honey, the sweet poppy-seed filling is the star-filled center of this treat

Next time, I’ll give Asia another chance(!). I’ll try the “Chicken with Lee Kum Kee Plum Sauce,” once again from angiesrecipes.blogspot.com, but I’ll make my own “Plum Sauce,” from allrecipes.com. I’ll also cook the “Baked Zucchini Chips,” from allrecipes.com. Come back to my site to witness my meal on Tuesday, October 19.