Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Art of Samosa, featuring vegan burfi for dessert

My partner has been making samosas since he could walk. He has the master folding technique down and could probably make them with this eyes closed. I, however, was never even able to fold together an effective pyramid in fifth grade geometry. In fact, while in India a couple of summers ago, I took a cooking class to learn how to make momos (delicious Tibetan style dumplings). The making of the vegetables went well, the rolling out of the dough was slightly iffy (I'm of the opinion that perfect circles can be rolled out only by those with true magical powers), but the folding of the momos, which really shouldn't have been so hard, was an all-out catastrophe. My partner was folding away--the master of folding dough that he is; I, on the other hand, was crying, with my head on the table, making the poor cooking teacher feel entirely awkward. My, erm, lack of skill aside, however, I really wanted some samosas on a fine summer day about a week ago. Also, I've been toying around with the idea of making burfi for some time now (burfi is sort of like Indian-style fudge). Thus, with my cooking partner, Vegan Steven along, we decided to embark on the magical adventure of making samosas and almond burfi. I found it was not too terribly difficult and both turned out quite delicious. (Side note: my unattended dog consumed 11 out of 15 samosas in a matter of 30 seconds--so, if you have a dog, lock her away, or you will end up sad, angry, and out of samosas).

Mixed Vegetable Samosas (makes approximately 18 samosas)


For the Dough:
1 cup of all-purpose flour (I use wheat flour)
1/4 cup of chapati flour, or atta, (wheat and barley mix flour--you can find this pretty cheaply at any Indian store)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of vegetable oil (I ended up using slightly more, as my flour was still a little dry after I mixed it)
about 1/4 cup of water

For the Filling:
3-4 potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled until soft
about 1 1/2 cups of mixed vegetables of your choice (I used corn, sliced okra, peas, lima beans, and diced carrots) boiled until soft
1 green chili pepper diced
1 teaspoon each of cumin seeds, coriander powder, garam masala, mango powder, turmeric, and salt
oil for cooking

1. Prepare the dough: Mix all of the dry ingredients together, then add the oil, mix well, now add the water and knead well (you may need to add more water or oil--more water to get your dough to hold together, more oil if your dough is dry). Knead for about 2 minutes, to make sure it is smooth and pliable, now, cover and set aside for at least 15 minutes.

2. While the dough is hanging out, prepare your vegetables. Boil your potatoes, boil your vegetables. Now, heat some oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, add the chili pepper, let cook for about a minute. Now, add the mixed vegetables and spices. Stir and let cook for about 3-4 minutes. Now add the potatoes (I also add more spices here). Cook for about 3-4 more minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool.

3. Now, we are at the tricky part. Take your dough ball, separate out 9 small spheres. Take each sphere and roll it out into a nice circle (haha, yeah right--as close as you can get is fine). Cut your circle in half. You should end up with 18 half circles. Now, watch this video from Manjula's Kitchen on how to fold samosas, or what I say next will make no sense.  What you will do now is get a little bowl of water out. Lay the half circle out across your hand, using your finger (from the other hand) coat the non-circular edge of the half circle with water. Now, roll this edge towards the circular edge, forming a cone. Pinch together the rolled edge to make sure it is well sealed (if you do not seal your samosas well it will ruin your oil!!!). You should have dough resembling the shape of an ice-cream cone. Now, put about 2 teaspoons of filling into the dough, add water to the unsealed edge, and seal it tightly by pinching the dough together. Place on a plate for frying. Repeat this step for all of your dough half-circles.

4. In a frying pan (or a cast iron wok if you happen to have one), heat about 1 cup of oil on medium heat. Make sure it is hot before you begin frying! Okay, now, take each samosa (individually) and fry it until it is golden brown--turning frequently. Fry all of the samosas, and voila! you have delicious vegetable samosas.

The only picture I have of the samosas before my dog ate them

Now! Onto dessert!
Vegan Almond and Pistachio Burfi

1 1/2 cup of sliced almonds
1/2 cup of pistachios
1 1/2 cup of sugar
cardamom powder
1/4 cup of almond milk
2 tablespoons of vegan butter (Earth Balance or somesuch)

First, grind the almonds and pistachios with the almond milk in your food processor. (You may need to add more milk to make sure that the nuts are well ground--you want to end up with a paste sort of consistency).
Now, add the sugar and mix well in the food processor.
Heat the butter in a frying pan on medium heat.
Add your almond-pistachio paste to the frying pan, and stir continuously for about 10-15 minutes, until your paste starts to become thicker and more like cake batter. Add a pinch of cardamom--about 1 teaspoon--at this point. Keep stirring. The paste will solidify slightly and start to leave the edges of the pan as you stir.
Now, remove from heat and stir for about 3-4 more minutes.

stirring, stirring, stirring

Grease a pan of your choice (I used my glass baking dish) and pour your cake-batter almond pistachio paste into the pan. Let cool for about 20-30 minutes, and then garnish with chopped almonds and pistachios, and then cut into squares.


1 comment:

  1. At least we got to taste them before Kluke devoured them!!!