This past Monday I started having a major craving for samosas so I knew that India would most likely be the location of this week’s food travels. What’s funny is that I really didn’t start eating Indian food until my senior year of college; I had just always shied away from it due to the stereotype of it being a very spicy cuisine. I’ve since then discovered that it is possible to eat Indian food without having your mouth burn off (one merely requests their dish to be a “one” on the spice level chart). Years ago on a date (with someone other than D) the guy took me to an Indian restaurant and it was from that point on that aloo gobi and I became best of friends. (Aloo gobi is a delicious dish comprised of nothing more than potatoes, cauliflowers, and a blend of spices.) I’ve never made this dish at home but it is usually the one thing you can always count on me to order when dining out at an Indian restaurant.
I started things off by making samosas. Although they are a bit time consuming (similar to the time and effort it takes when making empanadas), for my first time at making them I thought they came out pretty good.
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 medium potato-peeled, chopped, and cooked
1/2 cup peas, cooked
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
6-8 tablespoons plain yogurt
Oil for frying
1. Melt the butter in a skillet and cook the onions till tender but not brown. Stir in the ginger, coriander and cayenne pepper. Cook for a further two minutes.
2. Add the potatoes, peas, lime juice, garam masala and salt and mix well. Reduce heat to low and cook for five minutes, stirring from time to time. Remove and allow to cool.
3. Combine the flour and salt together. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub into flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add yogurt and form into a ball using your hands.
4. Divide the dough into 6-7 balls. Roll each ball out into a five inch circle on a floured surface. Cut each circle in half.
5. Place a teaspoon of the filling on each semi-circle, brush edges of dough with water and fold dough over the filling. Seal with the tines of a fork.
6. Place 4-5 inches of oil in a medium pot and heat to 375 F. Cook a few of the samosas at a time for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately, with mango chutney.
(Makes 12-14. The recipe was from an Indian cooking class I took this past winter in Pittsburgh.)
For our main course I made Green Lamb Curry from Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbook At Home with Madhur Jaffrey. She writes that it is a “most delicious curry from western India that may also be made with chicken.” The pictures aren’t the best as it was a lot greener in person. I served it on a bed of jasmine rice.
Green Lamb Curry
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 packed cups chopped cilantro
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4 good-sized cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 fresh hot green chiles (such as bird’s-eye), chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon while fennel seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/4 pounds boneless lamb, preferably from the shoulder, cut into 1-1 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup coconut milk from a well-shaken can
Put the lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, chopped cilantro, ginger, garlic, chiles, tumeric, and salt, in this order, into a blender. Blend thoroughly, scraping down the sides, if necessary, with a rubber spatula, until you have a fine paste.
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Pour the oil into an ovenproof pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the fennel seeds. Two seconds later, put in the onions. Stir and fry until the onions turn brown at the edges. Add the meat. Stir and fry on high heat 7-8 minutes or until the meat is lightly browned. Add the green sauce from the blender and bring to a simmer. Cover and place pan in the oven. Bake for 60-75 minutes, then test to see if the meat is tender; if not, return to the oven for 15 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and add the coconut milk. Stir it in. Reheat gently just before serving.