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Indulging in samosa cravings with a pie

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

How to:

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!

Three kinds of chickpeas pulao

One reason Trader Joe’s is my happy shopping space is that they always have something new in the aisles to try, This time it was a rice made with chickpeas and lentils (in the pasta aisle) that caught my attention. It could go in dishes as rice or as a pasta like orzo. I got a pack and then got thinking about what I could make and that’s when I spotted the can of chickpeas and some crisp chickpeas in my pantry. And that’s how the idea of a three kinds of chickpeas pulao was born. Of course, you could make the same dish with regular rice and it will taste just as yum.

The list of ingredients is a bit long, but once you get everything together, it is very easy to make and the result is a delicious one pot, hearty meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil or you can use a mix of ghee and oil (I used vegetable oil and ghee)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cardamoms, open pods and use seeds only
  • 1/2 inch piece cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger, finely grated
  • 1 garlic glove, finely grated
  • 2 moderate green chilis finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped into moderate pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • A 15 ounce can of cooked chick peas, washed and drained
  • 1 cup Trader Joes chick pea/lentil rice (or you can use an equal amount of basmati rice – just wash and drain the regular rice)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp crisp chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves finely chopped

How to:

1. Heat two tbsps of oil (or the oil/ghee combo) in a pan. Add the cumin seeds, bay leaf, cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves, and star anise.

2. When the whole spices sizzle, add the chopped onions and sauté for 5-6 minutes till they turn slightly brown.

3. Now add the ginger and garlic and sauté for a minute. Add the green chilis and mix well.

4. Next add the tomato, salt, turmeric powder, and garam masala and toss this well with the onion mixture.

5. Now add the drained chickpeas, the chickpea/lentil rice (or regular basmati rice) and two cups water and mix all the ingredients well.

6. Cook uncovered for 12 minutes (check and stir once or twice)

7. Turn off stove, top with the crunchy chickpeas and mint. Leave covered for a few minutes and then serve with yogurt.

Hint: If you don’t have crispy chickpeas handy, just save a tbsp of washed and drained chickpeas from the can and fry in a pan with a tbsp of oil till it crisps up.

A little twist yields a memorable gnocchi dinner!

By Lakshmi:

Last year, I was introduced by a mutual friend to a guy who was as obsessed with creating and eating good food as I was.  So it was natural that when this guy started a food blog, I turned to it for inspiration.  Recently, the team behind this food blog breakingnaan.com wrote about their success pairing fettuccini with fenugreek leaves (a leafy vegetable widely available at Indian grocery stores).  The minute I read this, I started thinking about my favorite Indian dish on cold winter days…aaloo methi or potatoes with fenugreek leaves.  And then the light bulb went off!  I could create an Italian version of this dish by pairing gnocchi with fenugreek leaves!

Here’s how you can create this dinner in under 30 minutes.  Start with the ingredients below.

image (24)

Clean the fenugreek leaves well to remove all sand and grit and chop finely.

Cook the gnocchi according to the directions on the package.

Heat some olive oil, add a teaspoon of crushed pepper flakes and two cloves of crushed garlic.

When the garlic sizzles, add the fenugreek leaves and cook for about five minutes till the leaves are wilted.

Now add the cooked gnocchi to the fenugreek leaves and toss till the gnocchi are coated with the leaves (about a minute).

Grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the dish and serve hot!

Presto! Here’s the finished dish!  We did not have a morsel left over:)

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