Friday, July 30, 2010

Passage to India

Night before last (yes. I KNOW, I'm a slacker! but, sheeesh, give a gal a break. I've got three kids, a needy dog & even needier husband - both may as well be my other 2 kids!), it was dinner with an Indian flare! I was super excited! Delicious samosas & a new dish I was trying out, Mujaddara (a red lentil & rice dish) were on the menu. I opted for Mujaddara over my usual favorite Massur Dal with Carrot Soup. I was looking forward to venturing out. Uhhh, in a word, MISTAKE. Granted, the Mujaddara recipe was NOT my own & though I followed it to the letter & i have been cooking basically since before i could walk, this turned out AWFUL! I was super disappointed because I tend to love anything that has lentils & rice! But this dish was terrible! The lentils were overcooked & mushy, the rice was undercooked - not a pleasant combination! The only saving grace of it was my amazing samosas & the caramelized onions (which were supposed to go on top of the Mujaddara) were fantastic, as onions drowning in olive oil often are. Sooo, I'm providing the samosa recipe- which is really a culmination of several recipes I've tried over the years & finally came up with one great one! So I hope you enjoy it as much as we all do!!


-1 cup flour
-1 tbsp semolina flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-3 tbsp canola oil
-1/4 to 1/2 cup warm (not hot) water

1. Mix everything together in a bowl until dough starts to come together. (Start with 1/4 cup water & if you need more, add it.) 2. Knead dough for a few minutes until a nice dough forms.
3. Put the bowl with dough in a warm area (I always turn on my bottom oven & put my dough near that) & cover with a damp kitchen towel. Leave for 20 minutes to a half hour while you prep the filling!

-3 to 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, chopped, cubed (listen, Yukons are my absolute fav but if you can't get your hands on them, you can easily use Russet or geez, sweet potatoes would be different & delicious too! Let me know if you use them & how they turned out! Or I will try that next time & let you know!)
-1/2 package frozen petite peas (approx. 1/2 cup - or more if adore peas like me! Face it, I like everything!!)
-1/2 tsp ground cumin
-1/2 tsp turmeric
-sea salt to your personal taste
-cayenne pepper to your personal taste (Personally, I make the mixture without the cayenne first & put some aside for the kids samosas, then I add cayenne to the mixture for the adult samosas)
-tiny pinch of Garam Masala
-1/2 - 1 tsp fresh finely chopped parsley (or dried if you prefer)

-Vegetable (or other neutral) oil

1. Place potatoes in medium sized pot, cover with cold water & bring to a boil, turn down heat to a simmer, cover & cook until potatoes are tender but not falling apart tender, about 10 minutes.

2. Cook peas in separate small pot - cover with cold water, bring to a boil, simmer 3 minutes, remove from heat, cover & let sit 2 minutes. Drain.

3. When potatoes are done, drain then put in a mixing bowl & add spices & mash lightly, letting potatoes still have texture. Add peas & parsley & mix lightly until combined. Allow mixture to cool.

Now for the fun part.....

4. Take 2 tbsp water & 1 tbsp flour & make a paste in a small bowl OR get a small bowl of water - this is to adhere the samosas. Set next to your work space.

5. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes on a lightly floured surface.

6. Divide the dough into 8 fairly equal parts & make into balls.

7. Now cut balls in half (oh, dear, do NOT let your men see this direction!)

8. Roll out each half into flat, fairly large circles.

9. Fill each circle with a hefty spoonful of filling.

10. Take paste or water & outline the edge of the dough circle.

11. Bring sides together & push with fingers to enclose the filling, making half moons, like wontons (A couple of mine looked more like beggar's purses but I digress).

12. Heat a large amount of oil in a large, deep pan or electric skillet - check the heat by tossing in a small piece of dough. You'll be able to tell if it's ready. Then start putting in samosas, letting them cook until they are a lovely golden brown color on all sides. Or for a lower fat version, heat your oven to 425 & bake for about 20 minutes. Both versions taste AWESOME!

Yummity yum yum!!

Sidenote: Cover the samosas-in-waiting with your damp kitchen towel to keep them from drying out while they wait in line to be fried.

Here's a mixture of the mushy non-yumminess

Next Indian NIght, Massur Dal! You will praise me for THAT recipe!

Peace to all!

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