Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Samosas with potatoes and peas


There is something magical about the combination of samosas and chai. Especially after it rains and the air has a fresh cool scent. When it would rain at home, my mom loved making samosas and chai.

I first read a recipe about samosas from The Bombay Cafe cookbook when I was in college. I was intrigued by the generosity of the spices in the filling as the samosas at restaurants tend to be lack luster. Over the years my recipe has evolved, and if I may say, my family goes nuts over my samosas: my father always asks me to make my samosas when he visits or I visit.

Needless to say, these samosas are very dear to my heart. It's been a few years since I last did this but there was a time in my life when frying up a batch of samosas made a bad day seem a million times better. I have been known to stay up until the wee hours of the night preparing a batch of samosas for a loved one flying in from out-of-town, visiting family, or a Diwali dinner party. There's something wonderful about sharing samosas with others; in fact, a dear old friend used to jokingly refer to "samosa socials", social events often organized by South Asian student groups in college, whenever I would make a batch of samosas in grad school.

Before I share my recipe with you, I have a confession. I know I push using fresh ingredients and even encourage use of homemade doughs for galettes and pizza, but I cheat when I make samosas. I don't make the wrappers myself... I use flour tortillas, you know the fajita size ones. It is so delicious! The multigrain fajita sized tortillas work great too. For a healthier alternative, Kathy Gori's blog, the colors of Indian cooking, suggests using phyllo dough and baking  the samosas.

Given the multiple steps involved in making the samosas, I will walk you through the process with step by step photos. The entire recipe is at the very end of the post if you prefer to read it without the photos. And as a special treat, I also provided my recipes for green chutney, made with fresh coriander and garlic, and tamarind (or brown) chutney, a sweet and sour sauce essential for balancing the spicy kick from the chiles.

Microwave or boil two baking potatoes until tender. Let cool and peel. In a large mixing bowl, mash potatoes.


In a medium sauté pan, heat 2.4 tbsp canola oil until shimmery over medium heat. Add 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 yellow onion diced, 1" ginger shredded, and 1 jalapeno or green chili thinly sliced. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add a pinch of asofetida.

Add 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp red cayenne pepper, 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander, and 1 tsp ground cumin. Stir well. Add 1/4 cup cashews and 2 tbsp fresh coriander. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.


Transfer mix to mixing bowl with mashed potatoes. Stir to mix well. Season well with salt and fresh lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. I often add additional ground cumin and ground coriander, and then taste, and add more salt and lemon juice.


The stuffing can be made up to two days in advance, refrigerate covered. Bring to room temperature before using.

For the shells, I use fajita size flour tortillas, sliced in half. Microwave one half wrapped in a paper towel for 12 seconds until soft and pliable.

Step 1: Place stuffing in center of warmed tortilla in a compact mound.


Step 2: Line edges with paste. Fold over, pressing to seal the bottom edge.


Step 3: Fold left side over. Press firmly for ten seconds to seal.


Place on a cookie sheet and cover with a clean kitchen towel until ready to fry.

In a wok or small saucepan for frying, add canola oil until about 1.5 inch thick. Heat on medium heat. Once bubbles form around a small tortilla piece, the oil is hot enough for frying. The temperature of the oil should be around 350 degrees.

Carefully add samosas to the oil. Do not over crowd. Fry until deep golden brown on one side, about 2-3 minutes. Flip to other side, frying until golden brown. They should be crunchy, not soggy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set upright in a pie pan lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining samosas.

Serve hot with green (or coriander and garlic) chutney and tamarind (or brown) chutney (see recipes below).




Samosas with potatoes and peas (Inspired by The Bombay Cafe cookbook)
Filling
2 baking potatoes, scrubbed
2.5 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
pinch of asofetida (hing)
1/4 tsp red cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 cup cashews, raw or salted
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste

Shell
1 package flour tortillas, fajita size
2 tbsp flour
water

Microwave or boil potatoes until tender. Let cool and peel. In a large mixing bowl, mash potatoes.

In a medium sauté pan, heat oil until shimmery over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, onion, ginger, and jalapeno. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add a pinch of asofetida.

Add turmeric, red cayenne pepper, ground coriander, and ground cumin. Stir well. Add cashews and fresh coriander. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Transfer mix to mixing bowl with mashed potatoes. Stir to mix well. Season with salt and lemon juice, to taste.

The stuffing can be made up to two days in advance, refrigerate covered. Bring to room temperature before using.

For the shells, I use fajita size flour tortillas, sliced in half. Microwave one half wrapped in a paper towel for 12 seconds until soft and pliable.

Step 1: Place stuffing in center of tortilla in a compact mound.
Step 2: Line edges with paste. Fold over, pressing to seal the bottom edge.
Step 3: Fold left side over. Press firmly for ten seconds to seal.

Place on a cookie sheet and cover with a clean kitchen towel until ready to fry. In a wok or small saucepan for frying, add canola oil until about 1.5 inch thick. Heat on medium heat. Once bubbles form around a small tortilla piece, the oil is hot enough for frying. The temperature of the oil should be around 350 degrees.

Carefully add samosas to the oil. Do not over crowd. Fry until deep golden brown on one side, about 2-3 minutes. Flip to other side, frying until golden brown. They should be crunchy, not soggy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set upright in a pie pan lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining samosas.

Serve hot with green chutney and tamarind chutney.

Green chutney (Coriander and Garlic chutney)
1 bunch coriander, soaked and washed thoroughly, thick stems and yellow leaves removed
2 cloves garlic
1/4 onion
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 jalapeno, stem removed and seeded
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
pinch of sugar

Blend onion, garlic, jalapeno, and coriander into a thick paste, add a tiny bit of water as needed to help blend. Add salt and lemon juice. Add a pinch of sugar. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer to a bowl and chill until 20 minutes before serving.

If you are going to make a larger quantity and freeze, avoid adding garlic as the color of the chutney will darken if not used immediately.

Tamarind chutney (or Brown chutney)
1/2 package of solid tamarind
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp red cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

Place tamarind in a medium saucepan and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Stir until tamarind becomes soft. Add both sugars and salt, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring often.

Using a colander, strain tamarind liquid into a bowl. You will need to use your hands to break up the pieces in the strainer.

Add ground coriander, ground cumin, and red cayenne pepper. Let cool and refrigerate until 20 minutes before serving. Keeps in the freezer for up to 3 months.

4 comments:

  1. Can we please add this to our list?? Xxoo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Those vegetarian samosas look really tempting! I would go for the green chutney!

    ReplyDelete
  3. AnonymousJuly 21, 2011

    I love samosas and this short cut recipe is brilliant:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love Indian food and whenever we eat it out, we always order samosas. Now I have a good recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete

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