Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Baked Samosas, Take Two! Or Three or Four.....

    I love fried foods (who doesn't?) and I also love being able to fit into my pants occasionally. Yes, I could enjoy fried foods endlessly and live in yoga pants which have the added plus of actually giving  me the feeling of doing a good hour or two of yoga without going anywhere near a mat. I've noticed a similar effect with my running shoes, and my bike shorts. I feel so much better just wearing them! I mean, why can't I get my ass into my jeans anymore? I'm wearing my yoga pants for two hours everyday!!!
   Sure. I can rationalize. But occasionally I have to leave Sonoma and go to a meeting at a studio in LA. I have to put on real pants (I refuse to go near pajama jeans!) and real shoes. I know myself and I know if I go there, the next step is walking around in a Snuggie. Then comes the clapper and fried everything. I have to draw the line somewhere.

  This is the main reason that no matter how much I love the taste of fried anything, I seem to be on an endless search for the ultimate baked anything. One of the main anythings on my list are samosas.
  For my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to serve an array of Indian snack/street food. I was planning on serving vadai, those delicious, fried, savory doughnuts. Since I was going over the falls in a deep fryer with one dish, I figured I'd better be on my best behavior when it came to the samosas I'd planned on serving.
  I'd attempted baked samosas at my birthday last year, and while they certainly worked using regular samosa dough, they lacked the necessary crunch which is required of a true samosa. Not wanting to give up, I started looking around for something that would crisp up when I shoved it into the oven. I found my answer pretty quickly. Phyllo dough! Yes, phyllo dough is not just for spanakopita anymore!
   I bought myself a box of organic phyllo dough (3 bucks and change at Whole Foods for a pound of the stuff) and set out to make baked samosas.

Baked Samosas

Here's what to do:

  Make your samosa filling. Now, there are many fillings for samosas. I used a basic potato and pea filling. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Just bring it to room temperature before making the samosas.
  Boil 1and 1/2  pound of boiling potatoes until tender. About  20 to 30 minutes.
   If you plan on making the samosas later, refrigerate the potatoes without peeling them.

Putting The Filling Together:
 Mash the potatoes and set them aside.
 In a skillet or kadhai heat 2 Tbs of vegetable oil.
 When the oil is hot, toss in:
  1 tsp of mustard seeds
  1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
 When the mustard seeds start to pop add in:
2 shallots thinly sliced
2 finely chopped green chilies
 1 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of green peas (fresh or defrosted)
Stir the peas around for a bit, cooking them.
 Then add in the mashed potatoes.
Stir the mashed potatoes around and mix them together with the other spices and ingredients for about 4 minutes or so. Then add in:
 1/4 tsp of garam masala
 1 tsp of amchur (dried mango) powder. If you don't have amchur powder, a great substitute for this is lemon juice.
 Check the potato mix for seasoning and get ready to wrap the samosas and bake them.

The Samosa Wrappers:
Here is where the Phyllo dough comes in. First, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Defrost the phyllo dough.
Melt 1 stick of butter. This is going to be used to brush the phyllo dough  and make it crisp up nicely.
It important to  keep the dough protected from the air while you're working with it.
Unroll the phyllo dough and place a sheet of it on whatever surface you're working on.
Cover the dough you're not using, with a damp towel.
Brush the sheet of phyllo dough with some melted butter
Lay a second sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first and brush that with melted butter also.
Slice the phyllo dough the long way into 2 and 1/2 inch strips.
Take a sheet of waxed paper and lay it lightly over the strips you are not working with to keep them moist and pliable.
Take 1 tsp of potato filling and place it in the corner of one of the strip s filling the corner.
Now here's the trick! Fold the corner over into a triangle shape. Just like you were folding a flag. You remember that from Scouts right?!
Keep folding just like that right up the strip until you have a puffy little triangle.
 Lay the little triangle onto a greased cookie sheet and brush it with a bit of melted butter.
Each sheet should give you about 3 or 4 little triangles, and  all together the entire recipe should give you perhaps 35 or 40 samosas!
 Bake the samosas for 8 minutes, then turn them and bake them for 10 minutes on the other side.
 When the samosas are nice and light brown and crispy, take them out and serve them.
 They will have a nice light crispy texture. Not as crunchy as fried, but not a gob of half-baked dough either. Phyllo dough is a terrific medium for samosa wrappers if you don't want to get all fried up in there.
  So, there are your baked samosas. They work. All of them were eaten lickty split and even hard core fried fan, Alan said they were great. Eating those baked samosas will enable me to wriggle into my skinny black jeans and prance around the film festival this weekend where I'm hoping to have another brief encounter with Harveys' Gourmet Mini Donuts in a cone. Harvey already sent me a text that he'll be vending his wares at the Film Festival. Take a look at these. How can I  resist?
 Harvey is the Devil!
    I'll be filing all sorts of reports about the doings at the Sonoma International Film Festival this weekend. What's to see and what's to eat. It starts today. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


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