Saturday, April 28, 2012

Samosas (Baked!)

Traditionally samosa is a deep fried pastry shell filled with a spicy filling.The filling is generally made of potatoes and peas and spices.You can fill these shells with almost anything.I make various types of fillings with vegetables,tofu,paneer; The list is endless.

Ingredients :
For the pastry
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup regular oats ( not the quick cooking variety)
pinch of salt
1 tea spoon carom seeds
1 tea spoon baking powder
1 and 1/2 tb spoons diced cold butter
2 tb spoons sour cream/yogurt
1/4 cup cold water.

For the filling

1 tb spoon oil
1 tea spoon mustard seeds
pinch if asafoetida
1/4 tea spoon turmeric powder
2-3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tea spoon grated ginger
1 tea spoon minced green chili
1 tea spoon dried mango powder ( Amchoor)
1 tea spoon ground fennel seeds
3 medium size cooked potatoes cut into small cubes
1 small onion
1/2 cup of peas
salt to taste

Method :
To make the pastry, combine flours, oats, salt, baking powder and carom seeds in a food processor. Pulse it a few times to mix well. Add cold diced butter and pulse until butter is well mixed into the flour. Add yogurt/sour cream and pulse again. Add tablespoon of water at a time and pulse to combine everything into a ball. Once the mixture starts to come together, transfer the mixture onto a plate and form a ball. Wrap the pastry with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
    While the pastry is resting prepare the filling. Add oil into the skillet. Add mustard seeds, asafoetida, turmeric powder, ginger, garlic and minced chili. Let it fry for couple of minutes on a medium heat. Add onion. Fry until golden brown. Add cooked cubed potatoes and peas and cook it for 2 minutes. Add amchoor powder, ground fennel seeds and salt. Mix well. The filling is done. Let it cool completely before filling the pastry dough.
    Take the chilled pastry dough and divide it into lime size balls. Roll each ball into a circle with about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut the circle into 2 halfs. Take a semi circle, place a tablespoon of mixture in the center. Fold one edge to cover half the filling, then fold the other edge to cover the rest of the filling. Seal the edges with water to avoid leakage. Fill rest of the samosas and arrange them onto a greased baking sheet. Preheat the oven on 350F.Brush samosas with the mixture of oil and milk to get golden brown color. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with coconut-cilantro chutney or tamarind chutney.


 Samosa pie anyone?! I used exactly same ingredients and same proportions to make one 7 inch pie. Bake for 30-35 minutes to get golden brown color.


Saturday, April 21, 2012


Rasmalai is one of my favorite desserts.I had never made it earlier because it is a little time consuming.It can be described as soft paneer balls soaked in cardamom flavored thickened milk .It is served chilled.
        I make paneer at home very often to make north Indian paneer based sabzis, so decided to give this a try and it worked out pretty well.You can buy can of Rasgulla's and make the 'ras' at home.But for the best taste, homemade paneer is a way to go.

Ingredients :
For 'Malai' (Paneer balls)

5 cups milk ( I used 2%)
2 tb spoons lemon juice
2 tb spoons orange juice (Freshly squeezed)
3 cups water
1/2 cup sugar

For 'Ras'

3 cups milk (2%)
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup sugar
1 tea spoon cardamom powder
pinch of saffron
2-3 tb spoon chopped cashews,almonds and pistachios

Method :
In a heavy bottom pan bring 5 cups milk to boil.Add lemon and orange juice slowly to curdle milk.You may require little less or little more juice to separate milk fat and whey.Once the milk is curdled , transfer the mixture into a  colander lined with a cheesecloth.Let all the whey drain.Run the paneer through cold tap water to remove lemon/orange flavor.Squeeze the excess water and hang the cheesecloth with paneer onto the tap for at least  30 minutes.Once the excess water is drained, transfer the paneer into the plate and knead it for 2 3 minutes until paneer becomes very soft.Take little paneer between your palms and roll it into a ball.If the ball is very soft and smooth , the paneer is ready.Divide the paneer into 20 equal parts.Roll each part into a smooth ball and flatten it slightly between your palms.In the meantime, in a heavy bottom skillet , add 3 cups water and 1/2 cup sugar and bring it to boil.Once the syrup starts to boil transfer the paneer balls into the syrup and cook for 5-7 minutes.Paneer balls absorb the syrup and become almost double the original size.Switch off the flame after 5-7 minutes and let it stand for couple of minutes.

For Ras, bring 3 cups milk to boil.Reduce the flame to medium and stir occasionally to prevent from burning at the bottom.Reduce the milk to 2 cups.This will take about 15 minutes.Add sugar and let it dissolve .Once the sugar is dissolved , switch off the flame and let it cool for a 15 minutes.Add half and half,saffron,cardamom powder and nuts.Ras is ready.

Lightly squeeze excess syrup from paneer balls and transfer these balls into the ras.Chill for at least 8 hours.Paneer balls will soak the thickened sweetened  milk and become plump.Rasmalai is ready.

1)While making panner, I normally use lemon juice.But sometimes,it overpowers the taste of paneer.So for this particular recipe I used orange juice along with the lemon juice.You can use only lemon juice as well. Don't forget to wash paneer thoroughly before going to next step.
2)When milk is reduced, there is lot of 'Saay' or milk fat that comes to the top.You want a creamy,smooth thick milk for this recipe.So sieve the reduced milk,then Add half and half and everything else.
3)I did add 1/2 cup sugar while making the syrup to cook the paneer balls.You can add more sugar if you like.Later paneer balls will soak up the sweetened milk.So for my taste, this much sugar was perfect.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Suralichi wadi

I love Suralichi wadi.Thin layers of cooked chickpea flour stuffed with the mixture of coconut and cilantro is how I will describe it.It is fairly easy to make and finishes in no time!

Ingredients :

For the outer layer
1 cup of chickpea flour ( besan)
2 and half cups of buttermilk
3/4 tea spoon turmeric powder
1 tea spoon red chili powder
1/2 tea spoon asafoetida
1/2 tea spoon granulated sugar
salt to taste
1/2 tea spoon oil

For Filling
1/2 cup of grated coconut
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

For Tempering
1 Tb Spoon oil
1 tea spoon mustard seeds
2-3 dried red chillies ( fresh green chillies would work too)
4-5 curry leaves

Method :

Mix the chickpea flour,buttermilk,sugar and spices together and make a smooth batter.Heat the skillet with a 1/2 tea spoon oil and add the prepared mixture into the skillet. Cook the mixture on medium heat, stirring every minute or so to prevent lumps. It requires about 10 minutes to cook. Pour little bit of mixture onto an non-greased  surface, spread it and let it cool for a few seconds. Try to remove the mixture in a shape of a roll. If it comes off as a roll, it is done. If it sticks to the surface, cook it for more time.
Once the mixture is cooked, divide the hot mixture onto 2 non greased plates. Spread the mixture while it is warm to form a very thin layer. Sprinkle the coconut and cilantro mixture onto the spread mixture. Cut the mixture into strips. Roll each strip into a shape of a roll and transfer it to serving plate.
   Heat the oil for tempering , add mustard seeds,curry leaves and chillis. pour the warm tempering onto the rolls.
Suralichi wadi is done!