Chaat is an Indian street food. It literally means to lick – meaning the dish is so good that you will be left licking your fingers. There are umpteen varieties of chaat, and an upcoming cookbook by the Food Network judge Maneet Chauhan is dedicated to this genre. In my case, it was the solitary sweet potato staring at me that led me to create this easy chaat that was gobsmacking, lip smacking good. Here’s how I made it.
1 sweet potato, peeled, cut into small cubes and washed
2 tsp cooking oil (I used vegetable oil)
1 tsp chaat masala (available at Indian stores, but you can use curry powder in a pinch)
1/2 tsp salt
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1 green chili, finely chopped
1/4 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp tamarind chutney (available at Indian stores, but you can add pomegranate or date molasses)
1 tbsps sev (chick pea sticks – available at Indian stores, but you can use a few potato chips crushed for crunch)
Slice of lemon (adds visual interest/additional tartness if needed)
1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the cubed sweet potatoes and fry till the sweet potatoes are fried nicely and turn dark. Keep tossing frequently to prevent it from burning. This took about ten minutes on a medium flame for me. Turn off the stove.
2. Sprinkle the salt and chaat masala on the cooked sweet potatoes and toss.
3. Take a platter and scatter the sweet potatoes on it. Now drizzle the tamarind chutney on top. Layer the rest of the vegetables on top of the sweet potatoes. Finish with a flourish of sev on top and a lemon slice on the side.
4. Finish eating and of course do tell me if it was lip smacking good:)
I read a recipe for a Strawberry- Raspberry Cake in the latest issue of Food and Wine magazine. It is a delicious cake that is served in the Friuli region of Italy. It sounded so good, except given the time we are living in, I did not have the required ingredients at hand. So here is my version, a delicious blackberry cake inspired by the original. It is sooooooo delicious!
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp packed orange zest
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 heaped cup fresh blackberries
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Baking spray to prepare baking tins
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper and spray the bottom and sides liberally with baking spray.
2. Wash and dry the blackberries. Take a few of them and slice in half. Leave the rest whole.
2. Fit the paddle blade to the stand mixer and combine the sugar, butter, and salt at medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Add in the vanilla extract and orange zest and give it a whirl.
5. Add both the flours and beat a few times till the mixture is smooth.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and even it out.
7. Arrange the blackberries all over the top.
8. Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes or till the top is golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
9. Cool the cake completely. Sprinkle with a dusting of confectioners sugar. Slice into 12 pieces and serve with a cup of coffee.
Of course it had to hit when there was no easy way to fix it. I’m talking about the intense craving I had yesterday for samosas. All I wanted was the crisp crust and the melt in your mouth filling ASAP. But, I did not have the patience to order takeout or to make samosas from scratch. Staring at my freezer to see if I had any frozen samosas, I discovered a solitary roll of puff pastry waiting to be used. I also found half a cauliflower in my vegetable drawer. On went the oven and in less than an hour, I had a delicious fix that looked nothing like a samosa, but delighted the taste buds with mimicking the flavors.
One sheet of frozen puff pastry roll, left on the counter to thaw for 40 minutes (I used one roll from a two pack of 17.3 oz dough from Pepperidge Farm)
One large onion, finely chopped
2 green chilis, finely chopped
2 cups small cauliflower florets (about half a cauliflower for me)
1 small potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 tbsps oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
.5 tsp turmeric powder
1.5 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cilantro, finely chopped for garnishing (optional)
1 green chili, finely chopped, for garnishing (optional)
1 small cube of paneer, finely chopped, for garnishing (optional)
1 springform pan (I used a 9 inch one) or a tray for baking the samosa
Parchment paper to prevent the base from sticking when baking
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds. When they sizzle, add the onions and green chilis and sauté, stirring occasionally till the onions start turning brown. This took about ten minutes.
3. Add the cauliflower, potato, salt, and turmeric powder to the onions, give the mixture a good toss and cook covered (give it a stir once or twice) till the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked and dry. The veggies should not turn mushy. This took about ten minutes for me on a medium flame.
4. Add the garam masala, mix well and set the mixture aside to cool a bit. It should feel warm to the touch.
5. Grease the springform pan or tray and line it with parchment paper.
6.Unroll the puff pastry dough and plop it on the pan or tray.
7. Mound the filling at the centre of the dough, and bring the dough from each side towards the centre leaving the filling exposed (see picture). It is okay to not have perfection here. All you want is the samosa filling to be encased partially in some yummy puff pastry filling.
8. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for about 30-40 minutes, till the puff pastry is a golden brown. Mine took 30 minutes.
9. Wait for ten minutes (this is the hardest part). Remove the base from the springform pan if using. Sprinkle the chili, cilantro, paneer, garnishing (if using) on the samosa pie. Slice into wedges and enjoy!