Thursday, December 26, 2013

Weekend Morning Brunch with Samosa

We grew up in a time when schools and offices in India dictated a 6-day work-week rule. To re-affirm Sunday as his day off from work, my dad did all the things that he normally wouldn’t on a week-day. He was always an early riser, but on Sundays, he made tea for mom and himself.   He also let her sleep that extra half-hour - a big concession since he was a stickler for time and schedule. My dad was also a foodie, as well as overtly conscious of hygiene. He loved eating spicy chaat and “gourmet" food; but then insisted that his digestion-related issues were because of the unhygienic conditions of the roadside stalls rather than his over-eating. In his mind, the perfect solution was to start a Sunday Brunch tradition where he insisted that we break free of the dal-roti-sabzi routine and cook something “special". My mom wasn’t too keen initially; but he promised her he would help her with getting the brunch started. And he kept his promise as far back as I can remember….

One of the first recipes I remember him bringing home is that of a Samosa. He had it on a piece of a greasy, lined notebook sheet, with step-by-step diagrams for my mom to follow. He said he’d given 10 rupees to his favorite roadside-samose-waale-panditji for the recipe. Mommy was so miffed, that she refused to make it for him. So him and I sat down with a bowl full of all-purpose flour and emptied a big jug of water to make the pastry dough. And then, we were stuck- for the recipe said to break the dough into balls while we had a river of white gooey stuff in our bowl…nowhere near a dough that you could break balls out of….The samose-waale-panditji, in all his wisdom, hadn’t bargained for complete novices trying to replicate his recipe. 

So daddy went back out on the balcony to placate mom. I’m sure he must have bribed her with something big….but a half-hour later, we had our dough and filling ready. Then, my dad and a 6-yr.old I sat down again- with mom in tow. Mom rolled and cut, dad filled and I laid the samosas out under a damp towel while watching Sunday morning TV. During one of the commercial breaks, mom would run out to heat he oil and fry them while daddy and I watched our TV and ate the ultimate comfort food ever…..


For the pastry:
All purpose flour 1.5 cups
Semolina 1/4 cup
Baking powder 1tsp
Oil 2Tbsp
Salt a pinch
Slightly warm Water to knead
For the filling:
Boiled potatoes 2
Frozen peas 1/4 cup
Onion 1 small
Jeera/cumin 1tsp
Ginger and chilli paste 1 tsp (or to taste)
Salt 3/4 Tbsp
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Amchoor powder 1/2Tbsp
Oil 1 tsp

Oil to deep fry.

  1. First make the pastry dough. Mix the first 5 ingredients together and rub between fingers to get coarse bread crumb texture. 
  2. The slowly add water to get a firm, elastic dough. Roll into a ball, cover with a damp towel and let rest for at lead 20 min.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Splutter the jeera, and sauté small diced onions in 1tsp oil.
  4. When translucent, add the ginger-chilli paste and all other spices. Give it a stir.
  5. Mix in the peas and potatoes, warm through and turn off heat. Allow to cool completely.
  6. To make samosas:  Make golf-sized balls of dough and roll them out into a tortilla as thin as possible. Since this dough is elastic, it does spring back a bit.
  7. Using a sharp knife, slice your roti into half…so you have two semi circles.
  8. Take the two ends of the flat side and bring them together. Firmly join the mid-section so you get a cone shape.
  9. Hold the cone between your thumb and forefinger and fill in as much filling as it could hold comfortably. 
  10. Slightly wet the open edge and seal the samosa tightly.
  11. While you make the rest of the samosas, make sure you cover up the older ones with a damp cloth to prevent their drying.
  12. When done, deep fry and serve hot with cilantro chutney or ketchup.
My two cents:  It seems involved, but making a samosa really isn’t. The incentives- you could have more than one or two- which is what we’d normally eat when eating in a restaurant. Plus, as my dad said- it was healthier. In my mind- you can actually personalize the samosa whichever way you want- my mom’s favorite were the ones filled with chane-ki- daal and raisins, and ones with a spicy pea mixture.

Things that can go wrong: 1) Never let your dough or samosas dry out- then the splutter and disintegrate in the oil.
2) Make sure the filling is completely cooled down before you fill the pastry. Or the steam makes the dough soggy- with the same result as above.
3) And finally, make sure you seal the samosa tight and good before frying….

Happy Brunching to you and yours!

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