Baked Samosas with Fresh Cilantro Coconut Chutney
I have a real soft spot for India. It is a magical place. When I was 18 years old, I traveled around India for 4 months, completely falling in love with the country. It is incredibly intense, beautiful, rich, magical and maddening all at the same time, all of the time. I felt completely at home there! And also knew from the first day that this would be a place I would keep returning to for the rest of my life. So far I have been back 4 times and after this week, it might be time to start thinking about it again. I have heard it has changed a lot, but during the 80′s and early 90′s India was pretty much completely vegetarian, even in the in the very Northern, Punjabi region. It was amazing to travel in a a country that was so vegetable oriented, especially at a time where it was not so easy to be vegetarian anywhere else.
Despite my love affair with the country and the food, I find myself rarely cooking India food now because so much of it is so… well, cooked. In a country with very little refrigeration, fresh raw vegetables are not the primary focus, (and in fact can be deadly). The flip side is the wonderful complexity of the spices, which are not only delicious, but are often anti-microbial, immune system boosting, and anti-inflammatory. But, what about FRESH?
Last week I was looking for a recipe for Sarsan Ka Saag, (Punjabi Mustard Greens) and discovered a delightfully passionate Indian chef, Sanjay Thumma, who is fantastic becuase he is so exuberant about making delicious but also healthy and fresh Indian food. If you like Indian, make sure to check him out. He is endlessly entertaining, and I spent hours on Youtube this weekend watching the Vah Chef and then playing with “freshing up” his traditional Indian recipes even more.
This recipe is adapted from Sanjay Thumma’s Samosa video. Please watch it for the samosa wrapping technique.
Samosa Dough (makes 12)
- 1 cup unbleached white flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 t salt
- 1/4 t ajwain (I left out, but would have added in if I had it!)
- 2 T oil
- 1 T lemon juice
- 6 – 7 T water
Make the samosa dough: Mix flours, salt and spices in a bowl and add oil, mix well using hands to thoroughly incorporate the fat into the flours. Sprinkle with lemon juice, and 6 T water and toss lightly just to combine. Add more water if necessary for dough to hold together in a stiff ball but do not overwork. Flatten slightly and chill for 30 minutes or more, while you prepare filling.
- 4 cups cooked potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 2 T organic grapeseed oil
- 1 t whole cumin seeds
- 1/4 c chopped cashews
- 1 t turmeric powder
- 1 whole hot green chili, finely chopped (to taste)
- 1 T whole coriander seeds, soaked in warm water at least 5 minutes
- 1 T crushed fresh garlic
- 1 T crushed fresh ginger
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 t ground cumin
- 1 t ground coriander
- 1 t cayenne pepper
- 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
- 1/2 t garam masala
- 1/8 t asafoetita
- salt to taste
- 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 t. lemon or lime juice
In heavy bottomed or cast iron frying pan, fry cumin seeds and cashews in hot oil for 30 seconds or so on medium heat. Add soaked coriander seeds, turmeric and hot green chili. Saute one minute and add ginger and garlic paste and salt. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Add coriander powder, cumin powder, cayenne and green peas, saute 1 -2 minutes to coat. Add cubed cooked potatoes, garam masala, asafoetita and probably about 1 t. more of salt. Combine well and heat through, adding a splash of water if necessary and adjusting for heat and spice (Go ahead and make it a bit spicier than you think you should – it mysteriously mellows out when wrapped in a samosa). Turn off heat and add cilantro and lemon juice. Adjust the spiciness and salt to taste and set aside to cool slightly.
Make the Samosas: Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly oil a heavy sheet-pan.
Cut the dough into 6 small balls and roll out each into a very thin oval (about 7′”x 5″ ideally). Use a well floured board to prevent sticking, and don’t be afraid of making the dough very thin or having ugly edges. Cut each oval down the middle on the short side, to create two half-rounds. Moisten around each side with a bit of water and pinch the straight edge together, forming a cone. See the Vah Chef video, to watch how to wrap these exactly.
Fill each cone with samosa filling and seal edges as shown. Place bottom side down on sheet-pan and bake for 20 – 30 minutes until bottoms are well browned and tops become lightly golden.
Serve hot with lots of Fresh Cilantro Coconut Chutney! Yumm!
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