POTATOES GO BOLLYWOOD!
Since I have begun blogging about my passions, food, baking, cooking and everything that goes with it, I have tried to participate in as many food blogger challenges that I can reasonably fit into my time. And once I start one, I want to give it my all, participating weekly or monthly as the challenge goes. These events, created by and run by passionate food bloggers, push me to stretch my limits and go beyond my own personal safety boundaries, trying new ingredients and recipes that I might otherwise not have dared. They inspire me to expand my culinary horizons, extend my skills and pull myself up and out of the rut of the “same old same old”.
Now, as you may have read in earlier posts, this doesn’t always please all of the people all of the time. One son follows me around the house, arms flailing, voice raising to levels of near-hysteria, practically accusing me of parental abuse because I make new things, things it is so obvious that he will not like, refusing to stick to the 5 dishes that I am absolutely sure that he likes. The other son, happy eater though he be, spits venom each time I mention that I have baked something else, lashing out that I am an obsessed freak shoving food down their throats, practically force feeding them. Yet if he walks into the kitchen looking for something to eat and finds no home baked goodies, nothing simmering on the stove or ready to grab, he complains that there is never anything in the house to eat, insinuating that I am lax in the mothering department.
* sigh * I know we all go through this, the long-suffering parents of adolescents that we have become. I love to cook and bake, and I am often in a baking frenzy, pumping out one thing after another in quick succession, yet there are days which find me totally drained, worn out and out of ideas. All I want to do is curl up with a good book and a hot cup of coffee somewhere and forget that I have a family. Well * heh heh * you think with all the complaining they do, they would just let sleeping dogs lie, be happy with a bit of foraging. No.
Well, enough complaining. How in the world did I get to this point? Oh, well, back to potatoes….
So yesterday we were celebrating Clem’s acceptance to the National Architecture School in Nantes. This could not go uncelebrated. JP ran out and bought a beautiful bottle of Cremet de Loire (our local Champagne), the color of pink diamonds, happy father that he was! I needed to come up with something worthy of a celebration, yet something that everyone, all 4 of us, would thoroughly enjoy.
Oysters? Not likely! No more so than a gorgeous seafood platter or delicate finger foods. I settled on a platter of spicy Samosas served simply with a salad and a bowl of creamy, cool Raita for dipping.
This was also a double-pronged fork, in a manner of speaking, for me. I began this post speaking about blogger challenges and got sidetracked by the wonderful news, long anticipated, of Clem’s acceptance to the school of his choice. Yet I had originally chosen this Vegetable Samosa recipe as a delicious entry for this months’ POTATO HO DOWN, hosted by Cathy of Noble Pig.
My sons love my other savory filo triangles, spinach-feta and lamb with pine nuts and raisins, so I was hoping that they would fall on the platter of these Potato Samosas with the same ravenous delight. The filling, creamy/chunky potatoes with Spring-fresh tiny peas and a flavorful Indian-inspired spice combination, was a snap to put together, the making of the triangles themselves, though somewhat time-consuming and messy, is pretty straightforward and fairly simple once you get the hang of it, and the accompanying Raita, made from a mixture of sour cream and Greek yogurt and kicked up with an array of spices and chopped fresh coriander, is just as easy to toss together and the ideal foil for these spicy treats.
Clement, basking in the glory of his success and the holy anointment by Champagne, did indeed pile his plate high with plump, flavorful Samosas, scooping up tablespoons of the cool, tangy Raita and enjoying himself completely. Simon worked around the plate, suspicious of anything wrapped in dough, assuming the worst of me, knowing that there could very well be * gasp * vegetables hidden in those warm, heavenly-scented packets! He eventually took one, left it for a while on the edge of his plate (waiting for what?) then tentatively pulling off and tasting a bit of the crispy, buttery filo dough, then finally biting into the Samosa. Needless to say anything other than that he actually did eat 2 (2!), so you know that they were delicious! JP declared them fabulous!
So, here is to Clem! Yay! And here is my May entry for the Potato Ho Down and this Potato Ho’ will be putting on her most colorful silk sari and her best earrings and dancing a little Bollywood at that Ho Down!
Inspired by Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking and Annie Somerville’s Everyday Greens
This recipe makes 20 - 30 triangles depending on how you size them.
1 lb 10 oz (725 g) potatoes (I used all-purpose Charlotte potatoes, use something like Yukon Gold)
1 medium or large yellow onion, finely chopped
½ tsp ground ginger (or 1 Tbs peeled, grated fresh)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt + to taste
Grinding of freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon for juice
Few tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
½ cup tiny, tender, sweet peas, fresh or frozen, thawed under running water
About ½ cup water at the ready
2 packages filo dough (about 20 sheets)
4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
Peel and cube the potatoes and put them in a saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. When cooked, drain in a colander, stop the cooking by running them under cool water and drain again. Set aside.
Heat 3 Tbs vegetable oil in a skillet. Add the chopped onion and sautée until soft and golden, just browning around the edges.
Add the cooked cubes of potatoes and 3 or 4 tablespoons of water to the onions. Working quickly and adding more water if needed to keep the potatoes from burning, mash (with an old-fashioned potato masher or a fork) the potatoes to the desired consistency (smooth, chunky or some of both), stirring them well into the slightly caramelized onions.
Now, stir in the peas – if using thawed, frozen peas – and a bit more water, lower the heat and cover the pan, allowing the peas to steam until tender, about 2 or 3 minutes.
If using fresh peas, add the 3 Tbs water and the peas to the onions before adding the potatoes, lower the heat slightly, cover the pan and allow to steam until tender, about 3 minutes. Mash the potatoes on the side and then add them and stir them into the pea/onion mixture.
Over the lower heat, stir in the spices, salt and pepper, the chopped fresh coriander and the juice of half a lemon. Combine well and allow to just heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt or lemon juice as you desire.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Prepare the triangles as shown here :
On a clean work surface, place one sheet of dough, the long side running left to right. Brush lightly but completely with melted butter. Add a second sheet of dough on top, brush with butter and repeat with a third sheet.
(you can change the size of the triangles by following my recipes for Spinach-Feta or Lamb Triangles).
Using a sharp knife, slice, from top to bottom, into 5 even strips. Place a heaping tablespoon (or whatever you are comfortable working with. I tend to overstuff my triangles!) and fold up as pictured.
Seal closed with melted butter as if it was glue sealing closed a tiny package.
Repeat with the other 4 triples strips.
Repeat with more sheets of filo dough, 3 sheets at a time, sliced into 5 strips at a time, until all the potato filling is used up.
As you work, line the triangles up on parchment-lined baking sheets.
When you have a tray filled, brush each triangle with more melted butter. If not baking right away, cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
When the oven is preheated, remove the plastic wrap from the triangles and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden and puffed (mine start to split a bit).
Remove from the oven and serve hot, warm or even room temperature with the Raita dipping sauce. These are also ideal to take on picnics or serve as finger foods at a party.
RAITA DIPPING SAUCE FOR SAMOSAS
1 cup (250 ml) sour cream
½ cup (125 ml) whole Greek yogurt
1 cup grated peeled and seeded cucumber, water squeezed out
¼ tsp curry powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
¼ tsp turmeric (optional)
1 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp white pepper or freshly ground black
A large handful of chopped fresh coriander
Freshly-squeezed lemon juice to taste (optional)
Peel, seed and grate the cucumber for 1 cup. As you add it to the sour cream/yogurt, squeeze out excess water.
Blend all the ingredients together.
Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt or lemon juice as desired. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Serve with the Potato Samosas :