Sunday, February 27, 2011

Classic Samosa with Four Fillings - Potato, Peas'n'Corn, Spinach & Coconut

Samosa is the signature family snack in india and around the world. This appetizer is made by frying the pockets made of all purpose flour and stuffed with veggies, most commonly potatoes and spices. It is enjoyed right in the casual party to cocktails where small and cute baked versions become a food statement. 

Samosa is one of the most famous dumpling around the world, USA today. The other famous dumplings are Italian ravioli, Chinese Potstickers, Japanese gyoza, korean Mandu, Turkish manti, Polish pierogi, Russian pelmeni, Ehiopian tihlo, Ghanian Fufu.

Samosas recently were on the menu of President Obama at White House. When I came across this news clipping, I was so curious to know about making of this signature snack of Indian cuisine right at home. 

Hmmm....was sounding unbelievable in the beginning as I always used to think it is a core skill and USP of experienced cooks only.   

I criss crossed on my couch with my laptop and had reminisces of the good old school days. The memories of having fun with friends and samosa parties came flooding in my mind. I remember buying hot samosa and cute little pack of popcorns from school canteen to take away the stress of science and mathematics classes to samosa party with friends almost every week, with reason at times and without reason most of the times. Cant just believe now that samosa could be bought for just 50 paise :-).  

 Couple of days back I saw a few interesting recipes of Samosas on foodgawker and I was also tempted to try my hands on this spicy snack at home. 

The typical way of making samosa is to make stuffing of your choice, tempering it with spices, making pockets, folding it into triangular or conical shape, and then deep frying or baking. The cooking revolution and health  revolution has changed the dynamics of cooking and relishing the food as well. Now a days people opt for baked version, to cut down the calories. For baking,  lightly brush the samosas with oil and bake  at 350 C for 20-25 minutes approximately or till turns light brown.

Featured on "Foodbuzz Top 9"

In my quest to learn how to make samosa at home,  I stumbled upon this wonderful recipe of samosa on by Andrea Nguyen featured in her book Asian Dumplings. I loved the fact that this recipe calls for whole wheat flour in the crust rather than traditional all purpose flour crust. I bookmarked the recipe which had almost everything I was looking for in the samosa - whole wheat flour  plus potatoes (sweet potatoes) as filling.

 I tweaked it to the taste buds of my family and have tried different vegetarian stuffings. Besides the fillings I have made for my samosas - peas, moong bean sprouts and cauliflower also taste amazing. Just fill what ever soothes your senses.

So here is my basket of special samosas for different seasons, adding myriad flavors to your life.
 - Spicy Potato samosas
 - Peas 'n' Corn  samosas
 - Spinach and paneer samosas
 - Sweet coconut samosas.
Ingredients for Samosa Dough: - (Makes 12-14 Samosas)
Whole wheat flour: 1/2 cup
All Purpose flour: 1/2 cup ( if using only APF, double the quantity)
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Carrom seeds (Ajwain): 1/2 tsp
Coriander/Parsley flakes: 1tsp (use any dry green flakes)
Butter or Oil: 3 tsp
Water: 1/4 cup , add more if required
Method for making Samosa dough: - In a bowl, mix  the dry ingredients - whole wheat and all purpose flour, salt, ajwain, dry coriander flakes. Add butter (at room temperature) or oil into the flour and mix it well. Slowly add water to the mix and knead the flour to make a smooth but tough dough (the dough is slightly tougher than chapati dough but should be comfortable to work). Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and set aside for at least half an hour.
Dough for the Samosa

Ingredients for the filling of Potato/ Aloo Samosa:
Potatoes: 2-3 (boiled and diced)
Sweet petit peas: 1/4 cup (thawed and soaked in warm water if using frozen)
Paneer: 2tsp (cut into small cubes), optional
Olive oil: 1 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Onion: 1 (finely chopped)
Green Chillies: 2 (finely chopped)
Ginger : 2 inch piece, finely chopped
Fresh Coriander: 2 tsp

Fennel and Coriander: 1 tsp (crushed in mortar)
Salt : To taste
Cashews, Peanuts: 2 tsp (roasted)

Raisins: few
Note: Gently crushed fennel and coriander in mortar and pestle are the key taste defining ingredients in the samosa.

Method to Prepare Potato Stuffing:
Boil the potatoes, peel of the skin and dice into small cubes.
Heat oil in a nonstick pan. 
Add cumin seeds, onion and ginger julliens. 
Saute for couple of minutes, then add the potatoes and peas, followed by seasoning to taste. 
Let it cool for a while before adding to the pastries.
Ingredients For Peas'n'Corn Samosa:
Golden Corn Kernels: 1 cup (blanched in warm water)
Sweet Peas: few (thawed if using frozen)
Spring Onions: 2
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Fresh Greens: 2tsp (of onions and cilantro)
Seasoning: to taste (see top for details)

Heat oil and add cumin seeds. Saute finely chopped spring onions, corn kernels and sweet peas. Season with spices to taste, add some finely chopped onion greens and cilantro for freshness. 
Ingredients for Spinach and Paneer Samosa:
Spinach: 1 cup (finely chopped)
Paneer: 1/2 cup (diced)
Potatoes: 1(boiled and diced), optional
Onion: 1
Seasoning: to taste (see details at top)

Heat oil in a pan, saute chopped onions, spinach and paneer. 
Season the filling to taste and add to make delicious green and healthy samosas. 
                         L: Spinach and paneer filling; C: Potato filling; R: Peas/Corn filling

Method to make Samosa: 
Knead the dough again for 5 minutes before making balls. Divide the dough into equal parts. 
Take out one small ball and roll into a circular disk like chapati (as thin as you can). Make a small disk for cocktail style samosa and a big disk for standard size samosa. 
Cut the circle in half so you have two half-moons. 
Roll the dough in thin circles, Cut it open in the middle

To assemble the samosas, take one of the half moons, put  about a tablespoon or two of the desired filling (potato, peas/corn or spinach). Fold from one side towards the center and then from another side (seal by gently dabbing the edges with water). 
Take a semi-circle match end to end, this would make a cone
The cone is ready, turn it upside down and fill with stuffing. Simply press the bottom with fingers. Continue until all the samosas are assembled. See the details in picture.
Now we will get our fillings into the cone
Formula is simple - A good Samosa = A good Filling !!
Make sure you wet the sides a little to seal the ends !!!
Here our Samosa is ready for action !!!,  A few more to go though....
And now Battalion of Samosas is waiting on the kitchen island for being fried shortly...
Loved the dash of green cilantro on Samosa Skin
Frying the Samosas: - In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat heat the oil until it reaches about 220 degrees F. Drop one by one few samosas in the skillet and fry on medium heat till it turns light golden brown.

Carefully remove and place on pieces of a brown paper bag to soak up the oil. Serve immediately with coriander and tamarind chutney.

Freshly Fried Samosas with Cilantro Chutney & Tomato Ketchup

Here is the method of sweet samosas, especially made for my little one who has a sweet tooth. This filling is generally used to make gujiyas and I wanted to make some too, but didnt have the mould, so thought of filling it in samosas. The taste was heavenly. If you want it to be more sweeter, then give these samosas a quick dip in sugar syrup.

Ingredients for Sweet Coconut Filling:
Khoa (reduced milk): 1/2 cup 
Coconut powder: 1/4 cup
Sugar: 1/4 cup or to taste
Raisins: few

Method: -
Grate the khoa and lightly warm it in the microwave for less than 10 seconds. 
Add coconut powder, sugar, raisins and mix well. Stuff in the Samosa & fry as above.
Some More....
Enjoy hot and fresh samosas with Cilantro & Mint chutney.....!

Finally, I get to break-in !!!

Happy to share my first experience of making homemade samosas with you !!!

Today I'm gonna be having all these spicy and sweet samosas for lunch with a cup of hot masala chai !!! 

Thank You so much for being here. I appreciate your time, support and comments.

Have a wonderful day and take care !


Classic Samosa With Four Fillings on Foodista

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shahi Gulab Jamun with Vanilla Ice cream

Gulab Jamun are the hot favorite sweet of Indian subcontinent, liked in every season and served for any good reason. The term gulab jamun comes from persian word, gulab (rose water scented syrup) and hindustani word called jaman, a south asian fruit with a similar size and shape. (source: wikipedia).

This time I have prepared them for the festival of Shiva-ratri, coming up on 2nd of March.  Traditionally these are made of dough consisting of milk solids or  khoa (caramelized reduced milk) and rolled into a ball together with some flour and deep fried in pure desi ghee. The balls are then soaked in sugar syrup flavored with cardamom, saffron and rose water. 

For the ease of making it, I used the instant gulab jamun mix by Gits. Its preferable to use the shahi mix but if its not available, then you can do the way I did, make it shahi (Royal) at home. According to the instructions at the back of the pack, water is used to roll in to balls. But I replaced water with the milk, add chopped nuts in the center of the balls and added cardamom and saffron to the syrup. In couple of minutes the sweet carmalized dumplings were ready to be relished.

Ingredients for Gulab Jamuns :
Gulab Jamun mix : 1cup (use any brand by GITS or MTR, available on Amazon)
Warm Milk: 1/4 cup
Chopped Almonds, Pistachio: 2tsp
Cardamom powder: a pinch
Oil/Ghee: for frying

For syrup:
Water: 1cup
Sugar: 2 cup
Cardamom: 1/2tsp
Saffron: a pinch
Rose Water: 2-3 drops

Take gulab jamun mix in a bowl.
Add some warm milk instead of water to make the dough.
Gently knead the dough and set  it aside for 10 minutes.
Add finely some chopped almonds, pistachio in the dough and roll it into small balls.
Make sure there are no cracks in the balls, so fix if any by dabbing little oil on your fingers.
I prefer to make small balls, for even cooking of jamuns from inside out and kids love the size.

Prepare the syrup in a pan, by boiling  - water, sugar, saffron, rose water and cardamom for enhanced flavor.
Heat ghee/oil in a deep skillet. I used canola oil  and fry the jamuns on low heat till it turns dark brown.

Take out the jamuns on the paper towel  and soak them in sugar syrup.
Leave for a few hours, preferable overnight.
The gulab jamuns can be either served at room temperature or a little warm.
Can be warmed  in a microwave for 10 seconds just before serving.
Can't beat the feeling, warm thin caramelized crust outside & sweet and soft from  inside.

I like to top up the gulab jamuns with pistachio just before serving and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
What say ? - "Deadly Combo" and I simply love to have  hot jamuns with chilled ice cream...!

Yumm...yumm my little one is loving it and hope you love it too !!!!!!!!

Shahi Gulab Jamun With Vanilla Ice Cream on Foodista

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Feb 23, 2011

"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm,
but to add color to my sunset sky" 
- Rabindranath Tagore

This picture of Pacific Ocean, was taken at Redondo Beach Pier ~6:30PM,
Find a few more clicks from this Flickr set by Clicking Here

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spicy & Healthy - Curried Date Rolls

This recipe is very special to me as it is given to me by my mom, who makes the worlds best "Bharwan Karela" (or Stuffed bitter gourd). I have improvised a bit by adding a few things making it more oriental & healthy.

I had a few concepts in mind in what to roll in along with the dates  and gave a caramelized onion filling with shot of wasabi filling a go. You can also try julliens of red and yellow bell peppers. To make it wholesome some finely chopped tofu goes in as well. 

Cabbage serves as a nice base & so does Spinach

Use Pizza Cutter to cut Uniform strips from your greens.
Cabbage & Spinach are my greens. You can choose lettuce as an alternative.
A thinly chopped Tofu fare gives a mouthfeel to the rolls & compliments the flavors.
If you don't have tofu ready paneer can go in.

Finely chop your Tofu into cubes of 1/4" X 1/4"
So here's how it we do it ...

Tomatoes: 1
Onion: 1 (Finely Chopped)
Ginger Garlic paste : 1/2 tsp
Salt: To Taste
Turmeric Powder: Pinch
Garam Masala: 1/4 tsp
Olive Oil : 2 tsp
Cabbage: 1-2 Firm Leaves
Spinach: 3-4 Firm Leaves
Dates: 4
Tofu Cubes : 1/4 Cup

First thing you do is wash the dates & keep them aside to dry.
Use paper towel to take excess moisture off.
In a pan stir fry your chopped onion til it turns golden brown (i prefer to use red onions as they caramelize better)
Add seasoning of garam masala, salt, turmeric powder & tomatoes (again finely chopped).
Roast till the mixture becomes consistent. 
Take out this mixture in a bowl.
Take a nonstick pan, drizzle few drops of olive oil. 
Gently heat your Cabbage/Spinach leaves for few seconds, dont overheat, else they will become soggy & fall off.
Take the leaves out spread them on a plate.
Layer the curried mixture on the leaves
Add a few small cubes of tofu.
Add a dash of Wasabi sauce.
Throw in a 1 full date on to each curried leaf & roll it up, and heat the rolls in the non-stick pan again for 30 seconds.

A Healthy Mix of ingredients creates great flavors...

The wonderful curried rolled dates are ready to be served with a herb tomatoes & soy sauce. 

Heavenly looking Platter !!!

I also tried & liked dipping my rolls in Pudina Yogurt Dip !!!!!!

Just couldn't stop taking pictures...
Nice & Fresh, very Appetizing !!!

Hope you can give these a try & Let me know how you like them.

Sending this post to - Simple Lives Thursday event, 32nd Edition hosted by Little bit of Spain in Iowa.

Spicy & Healthy - Curried Date Rolls on Foodista

Date & Walnut Birthday Cake!!!

Parenting is indeed a learning journey! Each day is a new day, learning and exploring the wonders of our little bundle of joy! This anecdote...