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!
Not too long ago, I tried to make a decadent Rasmalai cake that was created by the very talented Melissa Clark. It was a work of labor and love. More recently, looking at the aisles of Rosogolla in the Indian store sparked an interesting thought. What would happen if I somehow weaved store brought Rosogollas into a tres leches style cake batter with some rasmalai flavors infused in?
That is the experiment that went down in my kitchen tonight. I started with making a tres leches cake base, swapping in cardamom for the vanilla. When the cake batter was ready, I folded in sliced Rosogollas (I squeezed out their sugar syrup first), baked the cake and gave the final touch – a soak in a tres leches (three milks) concoction flavored with saffron, cardamom and crushed pistachios.
My parents were over the moon happy, their neighbors delighted with this unexpected gift and me? I was just beaming because yet another idea came to life beautifully! Here’s how this cake came together.
- 1.5 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tsps cardamom
- 12 small store bought Rosogollas (I bought a can of Bikaner mini Rosogollas)
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 1 can condensed milk
- 4 strands of saffron, crushed
- 1/8 cup shelled pistachios, toasted and crushed
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1 tbsp ghee or butter for prepping pan
- 1 tbsp flour for prepping pan
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush a 9×13 inch pan with one tbsp of ghee or butter and dust it with the tbsp of flour.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and cardamom (two tsps) in a bowl.
3. Slice the Rosogollas in half, gently squeeze out the sugar syrup and set it aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together until nice and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat till blended.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, and mix till the ingredients are blended.
5. Fold in the Rosogolla slices into the cake batter.
6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or till the top of the cake is light brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
7. Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes all over the cake with a wooden skewer or toothpick and set aside to cool.
8. Prepare the tres leches mixture by mixing the half and half, 2% milk, condensed milk, saffron, pistachios, and 1/2 tsp cardamom in a bowl.
9. Pour the tres leches mixture over the cake.
Enjoy every milk infused crumb and be transported to flavor nirvana!
I absolutely love the flavors of rose water, honey, pistachio and saffron. They are present in abundant doses in one of my all time favorite desserts, Baklava. But it was the spotting of Gulkand or rose jam, the omnipresent ingredient in the mouth refresher paan, that triggered the thought of creating this recipe. It is a muffin that has all these flavors, except it can be eating at breakfast and tea time with some soothing mint tea.
I started with one of my favorite jam muffin recipes from @seriouseats and modified it to its middle eastern/Indian relative. The original recipe can be found here. https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/03/bread-baking-jam-muffins-recipe.html
Here’s my variation.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 heaped tsp cardamom powder
- 3/4 cup 2% milk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup gulkand or rose jam (I used Super Tower Gulkand from the Indian store)
- 2 tbsps toasted pistachio nuts
- 3 strands of saffron
- 1 heaped tbsp granulated sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a 12 muffin pan with paper liners.
2. Toast the pistachio nuts and crush with saffron and granulated sugar in a mortar and pestle till it is a coarse mixture. Set aside.
3. Whisk the flours, baking powder, salt, and cardamom and set aside.
4. Mix the milk, oil, egg, and honey well and pour this into the flour mixture, folding gently till the ingredients are combined.
5. Swirl the gulkand into this mixture with a fork.
6. Divide the batter into the muffin cups.
7. Top with the pistachio nut mix and tap down slightly.
8. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees and continue baking (without opening the door or taking out the muffins) for another 8 minutes. The muffins are done when the tops are brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
9. Enjoy with hot mint tea!