Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I was talking with my yoga instructor a few  weeks back. She was trying to adopt the Ayurvedic diet. I had told her I had lived in India for a time and spent much of my twenties in an ashram. My main service was to cook the meals for the Deities and other members of the ashram. I have rolled out many chapatis and fried many samosas in my time. It is a very opulent way of cooking and we rarely eat this way at home these days. I save these time consuming tasks for special occasions, birthdays, parties, feast days, etc. 

She asked if I could teach her to cook this way. I am not an expert in Indian cooking, nor am I skilled in cooking for the Ayurvedic doshas. However, I can cook Indian food and I love to show people how easy it is. It really is something you have to see. So we made a plan for her to come over and I would show her a few tricks and some of the basics.

The first day we made a fancy basmati rice, cauliflower and potato subji, a chick pea and green pepper subji and chapatis. This week, I asked her to do much of the preparation so that she could really learn how to do it. She asked if we could make samosas. These are my family's favorite, but they take a lot of time and are fried, so it is not something you would want to eat every day! We also made a coconut/coriander chutney to eat with the samosas.



Two -three potatoes
1 cup cauliflower broken into small florets
1 cup peas

Steam potatoes and cauliflower. Drain. In a large pot heat three tablespoons ghee or other oil.
Add whole cumin seeds, some fresh ginger, ground coriander, salt, pepper, teaspoon turmeric.
Fry spices until they are a well toasted. Add peas and cauliflower and potatoes and coat with the spices. Mash it a little bit and let cool.

2-3 cups whole wheat flour
teaspoon ghee
teaspoon salt
1/4 cup yogurt

Mix ingredients together and slowly add warm water until you have a firm, but not dry, dough. I like to let the dough rest under the bowl I mixed it in for a bit. It kind of sweats the dough a little and makes it nice to work with.


I make a long snake out of the dough, I do it with my hands in a rough manner, not perfect. I cut small pieces of dough to work with-a little bigger than a quarter, but fat.

I put a small amount of ghee on the work surface and on the rolling pin. Roll out the dough until it is the size of a small pancake. With a deep tablespoon, add a dollop of filling and close all the edges. It will be a crescent shape. I like to make a fancy edge, like a pie edge. You can also just seal it with a plain edge. Just make sure it is sealed and there are no tears in the dough.  You can repair tears with bits of dough. I place finished samosas on a greased cookie sheet for easy removal.


As ghee is expensive to buy pre-made and I no longer make my own, I use Grapeseed Oil. It has a high flash point, so it is good for frying.
Once the oil is good and hot, gently place the samosas in the oil. I use a big wok and put five or six in at a time. I watch them carefully and turn them over one or twice, until both sides are a golden brown.
I place them in a large pan with paper towels to drain the excess oil.

Serve with coconut chutney. This recipe made a lot of samosas. So adjust as needed. You can always refrigerate extra dough or eat the left over filling as a vegetable dish with rice.

Coconut Chutney

So Easy!
In a food processor or blender add two serrano chilis, teaspoon whole cumin, tablespoon ground coriander, teaspoon fresh ginger, salt, pepper, 1/4 cup raw sugar, a bunch of cilantro and enough shredded coconut or dried coconut powder to thicken. I also add a bit of water to help everything blend together well. If it is too wet, add more coconut. I prefer coconut powder from the Indian spice store, but I have successfully used shredded, sweetened coconut from the grocery store with good results. You can make the chutney as thick or watery as you like. When we were traveling from northern India to South India, the coconut chutney changed in consistency with every stop. For using with pakoras or samosas, I like it a bit thick, so you can grab it up with the samosa.


Frank said...

Oh my god! These are so delicious! Thanks for making them!