Saturday, July 25, 2015

Semi-Homemade Samosas

If you are watching a movie for 3 hours, a break is very important. 
A Bollywood Masala movie, involving drama (Nirupa Roy with tears cascading down her cheeks and sobs echoing between heart rending dialogues), to action ( Amitabh or Dharmendra transforming into super humans and single handedly fighting off hordes of villains, who fall unconscious after one punch, but our valiant heroes just bounce back after repeated blows to the head), romance (and I mean the old type romance, you know, the two flowers colliding against each other, conveying the meaning and leaving the actual to imagination, unlike today, when the on screen romance that makes you wonder, really? Making one squint in cross eyed fascination, that?) and the running around trees singing songs, which if you try ( running and singing and smiling and flirting at the same time) will leave you gasping like a fish out of water. So much for filmi romance ;)

So when you get 3 hours of Bollywood Masala, you need a 10 minute break. Those 10 minutes are for rushing to the rest room, if needed, but most importantly for scrambling to the concession stand to grab a paper bag containing 2 (or more) greasy, piping hot Samosas ( the ice cream bar or soft drink bottle are next, but you cannot really do without the Samosa). Heading back into the semi dark theater with the precious package and finding your seat before the movie starts. 

The satisfaction of biting into a crisp, hot samosa while watching the drama unfold on screen is happiness unlike any other.  
I would eat the base ( the crispiest part) last. Save the best for last.

Li'll S does not get to experience this. The movies (kids animated) are shorter now, we buy a bag of popcorn and head into the dark cinema hall, by the time the movie starts, we are almost done eating the popcorn ( I mean, you cannot resist the smell of popcorn and cannot stop at one, you start taking the popcorn on top, carefully and then just grab it by the fistful). All that is fine, but it isn't the same as greasy Samosas.
Potato peas samosa filling
Samosa Filling

The little one has lately developed a liking for Samosas and demands them every now and then. The store brought samosas are tasty, no doubt, but the spice levels vary and sometimes he cannot tolerate the heat, in which case, M and I are given the stuffing as he finishes the outer cover.

shortcut samosa, tortilla samosa
Uncooked Flour Tortillas 

Making samosas at home is the best solution. If making everything from scratch is intimidating, or you are pressed for time, I have the solution for you. 

Making the stuffing is easy, and can be made ahead of time. The outer cover is made using store bought 'uncooked' Flour Tortillas. These are found in the Refrigerated section (near the cheese, butter, bagels etc.)

The stuffing is simple with most ingredients found in the pantry. I make a little extra stuffing, the left overs can be slathered on to sliced bread and grilled on the skillet or Panini grill, making a hearty sandwich. If you like, use the filling to make Samosa-Paratha.

For the stuffing:

Boil, cool, peel and mash ( leave it a bit chunky) 4 Russet Potatoes.

Thaw about 1/2 cup Green Peas.

In a small saute pan, add about 1 Tbsp. Coriander Seeds ( Sabut Dhania). When toasted, cool and make a coarse powder. I use my mortar and pestle, you could put these in the coffee mill and give it a quick 5 second whirl. Alternatively, crush them using a rolling pin.

Mince 2-3 Green Chilies and grate 1 tsp. Ginger. (or you could add the chilies and ginger knob to the mixer /blender with a pinch of salt and blitz it to a paste, like I do)

Finely chop Cilantro and set aside.

Heat about 2 Tbsp. Oil in a kadhai/ wok.

Add 1 heaped tsp. Cumin/ Jeera to the hot oil, as it sizzles, add the green chilies and ginger paste  and a dash of Asafetida/ Hing followed by the crushed coriander seeds and 3/4- 1 tsp. Turmeric powder.

Saute briefly, you do not want the spices to burn.

Add the mashed potatoes, 1/2 - 3/4  tsp. Kashmiri red chilies powder, 1 tsp. Amchur Powder ( add a bit more if you like tart taste, I added a dash more). Season with Salt to taste. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes. 

Before switching off the heat, add 1- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala( I eyeballed the amount, I use Badhsah Rajwadi Garam Masala, which is a bit different than the regular Garam Masala and has a strong flavor). Mix well, switch off the heat and sprinkle with finely chopped Cilantro

Taste and adjust the seasoning. I keep it mild, so my son can enjoy the samosas. 
This spice level is kid-approved, Li'll S loved then as did D, who cannot tolerate heat. 

Once the Filling has cooled, Open the tortilla packet and using a Pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut the tortilla in half. The D shaped semi-circles can be shaped like cones and stuffed. 

To seal the edges, I made a thick-ish paste of All Purpose Flour + Water.
I found this pictorial on folding the Samosa.
Its fairly simple, Fold the sides onto one another forming a triangle,making sure that the tip is closed - check the picture above ( or the oil seeps in and no one wants to eat THAT).
I apply the 'gum' paste on the outer line ( the D part) and then seal it, leaving the curved end free to fill.
Scoop up the filling and fill the cone, do not over fill, you still have to seal it.
Carefully and gently press the filling down and proceed to seal the samosa.

Fill and seal all the samosas.

At this stage, you can deep fry them or freeze them for future use.

If deep frying, fill a wok with oil (half way)  and heat it on medium-high. Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat. For crisp Samosas, you need to deep fry them on a medium-low flame/ heat setting to a golden brown.

Slide in 2-4 samosas ( depending on the size of your kadhai /wok) and deep fry.

deep fried tortilla samosa
Deep fry to a golden brown on medium heat only

Remove from the oil and place on paper towels to drain the excess oil. At this point, the samosa as ready to be devoured. Serve with Cilantro-Mint Chutney and Date and Tamarind sauce

To make it a meal, make Samosa-Chaat using Choley  or Ragda (I used Ragda).

Add some Ragda in a bowl, crush and place a Samosa on top, Garnish the ragda-samosa with chutneys and finely chopped Onions and minced Cilantro.

Serve immediately.

ragda samosa chaat
Ragda Samosa Chaat

- While making these samosas is very easy, keep in mind that they need to be served immediately

- Keeping these samosas aside will soften the outer cover, since these are made using ready Tortillas and make it chewy. 

That's it for now, enjoy your weekend, folks! 
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sol Kadhi

It was in the 90's I remember, we went to Goa, with my Ajji (Grandmother). Her best friend ( Kolwalkar Maushi, as we called her) lived very close to Calangute beach, in an old, traditional home.
The lifestyle was so very different from the busy life of Bombay. 
The old sprawling hose with the red stone floor which was cool to the feet even on the hottest day, with many rooms and old fashioned locks, a massive kitchen with a big sized mortar and pestle set in the floor. Though they had a mixie/ blender, this mortar and pestle were used, to lend food and authentic flavor. 

The two things that I absolutely loved in that old house, the kitchen, everything so traditional, so quaint and the old but sturdy rocking chair that we all took turns sitting in. 
When our hostess and my ajji were cooking, I'd stroll around the garden which had many trees, full of sweet smelling flowers or fruit, I remember plucking chikoo / sapota, washing it under the tap near the garden and eating it, so sweet! 
There was a fresh supply of coconuts and one evening, we were treated to Sol Kadhi. Now this was something I had never tasted in my life. So as it grew dark I sauntered into the kitchen and watched K Maushi sit on the floor with a mound of freshly shredded coconut, she was making coconut milk. It seemed a lengthy process, grinding the coconut in the stone mortar pestle, looked like fun. She let all of us take turns, my mom too, using something like this was a novelty in Bombay (Mumbai) and as a working woman, my mom rarely did something like this. 
I did some grinding, then my hands were tired, I relaxed in the rocking chair until called to dinner.
This is the one meal I remember, we all drank copious bowls of Sol Kadhi. It was so cooling and refreshing! 
All the hard work of an hour or more and gone in minutes! 

Years later, I made this in my kitchen in Los Angeles, with shortcuts. It was easy.
This summer, I introduced the same to my 7 year old. He was not so blown away, but the husband and I finished every drop.

Here is a tutorial if you want to make coconut milk from scratch.
I use a can.

The other shortcut is using Kokum Agal. This is easily available in Maharashtra ( and probably other states) but is difficult to get hold of, in the USA.
Picture from Google search option.
Here is how I made Sol Kadhi

Soak about 5-6 Kokum in warm water, if you can, do this over night, otherwise and hour.
Squeeze the kokum and extract the juice, discard the solids.

Shake thoroughly and open a can of coconut milk

Mix the coconut milk and kokum extract. Add salt and sugar to taste.

Grind 1 ( or to taste) Green Chili and 1 small clove of Garlic. Add it to the kadhi.

Heat 1 -2 tsp of Ghee.

Add 1 tsp of Cumin seeds. As the cumin sizzles and browns slightly, add 1/4 tsp of Asafetida and a few Curry leaves. Some people like to add a halved dry Red Chili, if you want, add it in at this stage. 
Pour the sizzling tempering / tadka on the kadhi, Mix well, Garnish with finely chopped Cilantro.

Typically, Sol Kadhi is pink in color, mine was pale, I believe it is because of the kokum I used.
When I made this Kokum Kadhi, I used superior quality Kokum ( given to me by a fellow blogger). However, with packaged ones from the store, one cannot really tell, I suppose.
The taste was perfect, but if you are a stickler for details, good quality kokum is a must.

Enjoy this easy to make and very tasty kadhi on a hot summer day!

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