Tag Archives: potatoes

Samosas – the quick and dirty version

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Samosas – the quick and dirty version

Growing up, having Singharas and Samosas as “tea time” snacks were really common.  Because of the British influence, having “tea” at around 6:00 p.m. everyday was the norm and then dinner would follow about 8:30 – 9:00 p.m.  Tea time would usually include all manner of foods, including seasonal fruits, home made snacks, biscuits (cookies), Nimkis (savory home made chips), Singharas or Samosas and tea, of course.  Here’s the main difference between a Singhara and a Samosa.  Singharas are usually eaten in Bangladesh and in the West Bengal area of India. They have a crispy shell and although they are triangular in shape, they can “sit” upright.  Samosas also have a crispy shell but are flat and triangular.  The fillings can be as varied as the region and depends on the cook.  Some samosas sold street side as snacks have vegetarian fillings, some are beef or chicken while others are tiny and filled with caramelized onions.  Most samosas and singharas are served with a chutney or dip of some sort.  Usually a Cilantro Chutney or a Tamarind Chutney.

I used to try to avoid making samosas because they are time-consuming. They sure are delicious though and great to have as a treat.  I figured out a quick and dirty version of making samosas.  Most of the time is taken up in making the dough, rolling it out and shaping them since the filling is pretty fast to cook.  I started using tortillas as the shell and really liked how they turned out but they had a little difficulty staying together.  Then I discovered the uncooked tortillas.  They are sold at any Costco or even in Walmart (and several other grocery stores).  Uncooked tortillas are fantastic to use as the dough for samosas, empanadas and a myriad of other dishes.  By the way, I usually make a large batch and freeze them in ziplock bags.  That way all the up front work is done and when I have guests or need a quick appetizer, I can fry up a batch while they are still frozen and serve fresh and hot with some chutney.  Just add a couple of extra minutes when frying frozen samosas.   Here’s my quick and dirty version.

Saute onions, green chilies, cumin seeds and salt

Add turmeric and coriander powder before adding potatoes and green peas

Cook a few minutes until flavors are blended and peas are tender, add chopped cilantro at the very end

Use uncooked tortillas as the samosa dough

Cut 15 tortillas in half and make a paste out of flour and water

Place the cut tortilla on a cutting board with the round side facing you. Put some filling in the top right hand corner

Fold the right corner over the filling

Put some flour “paste” in a reverse v-shape on the dough

Fold the left side over to form a triangle (pressing down over the flour paste)

Flip the samosa over and push the filling up towards the top and place some more flour paste on the bottom of the triangle

Press the bottom flap into the body of the triangle and press firmly

Completed samosas (they can be frozen at this time or cooked immediately)

Shallow fry in oil and serve hot with Tamarind chutney

Samosas – The quick and dirty version

4 medium-sized potatoes, cooked and cubed

1/2 onion, chopped

2 green chillies, split in half

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup frozen green peas

4 tbsp oil

15 uncooked tortillas

additional oil for frying

To make the paste:

1/2 cup flour

1/4- 1/8 cup water

In a medium skillet or frying pan, heat oil and saute onions, cumin seeds and chilies together until the cumin seeds begin to pop.  Add coriander powder, turmeric and salt and stir fry for a few minutes.  Add the potatoes and the green peas and cook about 4-5 minutes until peas are tender and everything well blended together.  Set aside.

In a small bowl make a paste out of the flour and water.  It should be thick and the consistency of a thick glue.  Cut tortillas in half.  Place the round side of the cut tortillas towards your body and place about 2 tbsp filling on the top right hand corner.  Fold right corner down and place flour paste in an inverted “v” on the dough.  Flip the left side of the dough over to form a triangle and press down over the paste to adhere.  Flip the triangle around and using your thumbs push in the filling towards the top tip of the triangle.  At the bottom of the triangle place some flour paste on the dough and fold it over and press to adhere.  Press your fingers along all the seams to make sure everything held together.  Place on a pan or platter.  When all the Samosas are done they can be frozen in a large zip lock bag for later use or fried immediately.  To fry, place oil in a medium size frying pan and heat to about 350 degrees.  Fry until golden brown and serve hot with Cilantro or Tamarind Chutney.  Makes 30 samosas

The Great Leftover Challenge

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Remember the movie “field of dreams” and phrase “if you build it, they will come”?  Our house is kind of like that only its “if you cook it, they will come”.  Even now that we’re technically empty nesters, it is amazing how much volume of food is produced from my kitchen.  I try to be as resourceful as possible and judge how much to cook to minimize leftovers but they still happen and sometimes they are thrust upon you!  Earlier this week I inherited 10 baked potatoes.  I teach a women’s bible study on Tuesdays and women attend from all different places (and countries) and since it starts at 6 p.m. and many of us are coming straight from work, the women take turns in groups to bring dinner.  Since there over 50 of us, nobody has dinner responsibilities more than once.  We end up enjoying food from  different parts of the world.   It’s a great way to feed our bodies and minds!  This Tuesday some of the ladies created a baked potato bar and quite a few foil wrapped baked potatoes were left over.  I somehow ended up with them.  A couple of women even said, do something fun with it and post it on your blog.

Last night I stared at the baked potatoes and about 1/2 a cup of soaked Tapioca left over from another meal I’d recently made.  Bengali people love to smash things and call it chops or boras.  Smashing foods in the kitchen, I’m in!  I also remembered The Great Leftover Challenge from Danny’s Kitchen, I went to the computer to see if I’d missed the deadline (it’s today)  Here’s what I came up with:

Leftover baked potatoes and tapioca

Shred the potatoes and dump all the ingredients in

Make little patties

Fry until golden brown

Serve with a sauce or chutney and enjoy

Potato and Tapioca Bora

3 baked potatoes, shredded

1/2 cup or so of soaked Tapioca

handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tsp approximately of cumin seeds

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp red chili powder

salt to taste

fresh ground pepper

3 green onions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, I pressed it through a garlic press to make sure there were no big chunks

Oil for frying

Peel the potatoes and grate them.  Add all the other ingredients and shape them into little patties and fry them in some vegetable oil.  Make sure the oil is hot enough to fry quickly, should take about 4-5 minutes to fry a batch.  I used a little pan with some oil so I didn’t end up with a ton of leftover oil.  I thought about baking them but I knew that it would not have that crunch.  I made some Cilantro chutney as well to use as a sauce.