Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Samosa weekend


Holy moly, it’s only the Monday after the samosa weekend and I’m tired thinking about it, everyone was right, it’s hard work and a full day of it too. I didn’t want to agree or hear that advise. It was too negative, I didn’t want the time or dedication to deter me from my mission: S-A-M-O-S-A-S! And while I was at it, I had to recreate the two amazingly delicious dipping sauces, a tamarind-date chutney and a mint-cilantro dipping sauce. When the day was complete, and I bit into that brown and green sauce covered hot crispy pocket of potato masala goodness, I was in heaven. I officially made yet another restaurant like Indian dish. I couldn’t help but smile. After all, it was a process to get there…

My week began scouring the internet for various recipes for samosas, pastry and chutney/dipping sauces. I wanted to compare techniques and ingredients. An old friend in the UK sent me his samosa recipe. I mean where else would I get a recipe for samosas except from Steve from Bristol, England?  I have an entire crew of Indians to contact for some great samosa recipes but no, I’ll take the one from the white British guy. Once he sent the email, I knew I’d be making his version, which is so similar to many of the others, in essence, the spices and potato/peas. Plus or minus a couple of things it’s the same across the board. And this way, I can keep my old friend in mind while I create something new.

Next was a trip to the ABC market about 30 minutes west of our home to pick up things like Amchur (mango powder) and some tamarind. I gathered up a couple of other ingredients for future use like cardamom seeds, ghee (clarified butter) and dried hot red chillies.  Upon checking out, the proprietor asked what I was planning on doing with all of these ingredients, to which I replied, “I’m making samosas this weekend, with the tamarind chutney.” He was impressed so I blabbered on a little more and another woman commented that it was nice to hear words like “Aloo gobi” come out of my mouth. I took that as a compliment. (Though from a totally white perspective, words like 'aloo gobi' don't sound so complimentary... ).

Tamarind chutney is a 24-hour process. I guess you can speed things up if you add the tamarind to boiling water but I did no such thing. Tamarind comes in a jar or in a sticky bar (like a Power Bar) or in a sticky brick. I bought the brick form, which apparently is IMPOSSIBLE to cut. I managed to break off a quarter of it and let it soak overnight in a bowl of water. I also let a whole lot of dates soak too, in a separate bowl.  I had to call my mother-in-law regarding this tamarind process as I was curious to know if I was doing any of this correctly or just royally fouling up the process. She informed me about the dates.

Saturday morning I awoke and mashed the heck out of the tamarind and the dates, mushing them up. The two mashes were added together in the blender, blended and poured into a bowl. I then added sugar, salt, pepper, ground toasted cumin seeds and chili powder. I have a sweet tooth, I added more sugar as the day went on because the chutney was a little to bitter/sour for me.

And as the day continued, so did I, though I was definitely draggin' arse towards the end. The potato masala came out fine though it wasn't as spicy hot as it should be and I did forget to add cilantro, D'OH! The dough to wrap the masala was the tricky part. My first recipe didn't elaborate in the wrapping technique so a video from youtube assisted me:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnvKRdNhx64 . My very patient husband pushed me to watch this as I was losing my cool in the kitchen. My first batch of dough ended up with two TABLESPOONS of salt. I was bleary eyed and mixed up the recipe. But the next two batches of dough were done without measuring, thankfully, I was able to acquire a little bit of skill... And my cone shaping and stuffing process began. Man oh man is that tiring. Even though 25 samosas were made in all, it felt like 50: grab a ball of dough, roll it out, cut it in half, line the edges with water, fold it, make a cone, stuff it and wrap it, VOILA'! I guess it all sounds much more easy going than it was at the time. Though I do admit, the folding part is fun, it was a long day. From 8 a.m. with the tamarind-date chutney to 6:30 p.m. with the frying of the samosas, I was definitely ready to get out of the kitchen. Except, oh yeah, we don't have a dish washer...UGH! When the money is saved up, when the renovations begin on a new kitchen, Sarav and I will have a special christening ceremony for the dish washer. Oh how we loathe washing dishes and yet we seem to constantly wash them, over and over and over again. C'est la vie, it's just how it is.

I believe dahl will be the next dish to fill our bellies and our sink.

Tamarind Chutney ( I added a 1/4 cup of dates to this recipe) http://recipeland.com/recipe/v/Tamarind_Sauce_19875
1/4 cup tamarind pulp ripe and seedless
1 1/4 cups water
1 x salt to taste
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds white, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon mint leaves chopped


Soak tamarind pulp in water overnight.
The next day, mash the pulp into the water and blend throughly.
Strain liquid in a sieve or through some cheesecloth and discard the fibres.
Stir in the remaining ingredients except the mint leaves.
Whisk thoroughly until the sugar has dissolved.

Mint- Cilantro dipping sauce
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 one-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, leaves removed from stems
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves removed from stems
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and stem removed
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Place garlic and ginger in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the mint, cilantro, jalapeño, sugar, salt and lime juice, and puree until ground. Add water and EVOO, pulse to combine. 

(recipe courtesy of Mr. Steve Cooke of Bristol, England)

Veggie samosas
450g/1lb potatoes
2 tbsps Cooking Oil,
½ tso cumin seeds
2 Dried red Chillies
1 Medium Onion
1-2 fresh green chillies
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves – or cilantro as you yanks call it!
Boiled potatoes, drained, cooled, diced.
Heat oil in pan, add mustard and cumin seeds until they pop. Add chopped dried red chillies, onion and 2 chopped green chillies. Add tumeric, ground cumin, ground coriander and season to taste. Add potatoes and frozen peas. Mix together well. Taste. Add more of any above spices/seasoning if desired. Remove pan from heat, let cool to room temp before added into dough pockets.

I have figured out for 25 samosas, which is pretty much what the above recipe makes, you need 3 cups of flour, a pinch or two of salt, some oil and water. Add these two slowly oil first, then water. If you are a measurement kinda person, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, add some water. Mix. Add a little more oil and a little more water, mix. You'll notice how the dough changes, you don't want it super sticky, if that happens add more flour. Roll it into a ball and let it sit for 15-30 min wrapped in saran wrap at room temperature.

1 comment:

  1. As a lucky recipient of a couple of the coveted samosas, I can say with no reservations.... Well done White Girl!... they were as good as any samosa I have ever had.