Anyone who knows me well could tell you that I am crazy about spicy food, especially Indian cuisine. It is the mix of flavors that I find so exquisite with Indian fare. Hot, sweet, savory all on one plate, each dish composed of distinct tasting spices and ingredients. So this week, craving my favorite Indian dishes, Palak Paneer, Sweet Potato Samosas, Chicken Tikka served with Masala sauce and freshly made Mango Chutney, I decided to pull together an Indian feast.
While there are a number of Indian restaurants that we frequent whose palak paneer I love, most of the recipes are heavily laden with fat and salt, since most restaurants use a lot of cream in their Palak and Saag Paneer recipes. I have made two versions of the Palak Paneer, one lighter version where I’ve roughly chopped the spinach, keeping the spices strong and then using a little buttermilk instead of the cream. The second option, using the same basic recipe, is to simply puree the spinach mixture in a food processor and add a 1/2 cup cream which will give you the restaurant style Palak Paneer.
With the Chicken Tikka, instead of drenching the chicken in the Masala sauce, which is traditional, we served it on the side as a condiment to drizzle on the chicken, again, to keep the overall dish on the lighter side.
Since I’ll be giving recipes for the entire meal, which would make for a very long-winded post, I’ll be posting one or two of the recipes a day, beginning with Mango Chutney and Sweet Potato Samosas. Here goes….
SWEET POTATO SAMOSAS
For the dough:
2 cups flour
7 -8 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons oil
Mix the flour, salt, oil and 6 tablespoons of water together to make a soft dough (add more water as needed). Knead the dough for about 2 to 3 minutes to make the dough smooth and pliable. Set the dough aside and cover it with damp cloth and let relax for 20-30 minutes.
For the Samosa filling:
2 small potatoes, peeled boiled until just tender and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced in 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped roughly
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
2 tablespoons shallots, chopped finely
1 green chili, minced
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup green peas (frozen)
Oil for frying (I like Canola oil for this purpose)
Toss the sweet potatoes in 1 tablespoon of oil and place on a sheet pan under a broiler and roast for a minute or so and then toss again and put under the broiler again for another minute or so, watching closely so not to burn the potatoes. Roast them until just tender. Remove and set aside.
In a dry sauté pan on medium heat, add cumin and coriander and stir for few seconds to release the oils from the spices. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to spices and stir over heat. Add green chiles and shallots and stir until shallots are translucent.
Add sweet and white potatoes and mix until spices are incorporated. Add peas and garam masala, cilantro and ginger, lightly smashing some of the potatoes while mixing.
Let the filling cool to room temperature.
To assemble the samosa:
Click here to view great video showing how to assemble a samosa.
Pull off a piece of the dough and roll into a ball ( a good size is a piece about 1-1/2 inches in diameter). Roll each ball into 6-inch diameter circles and cut each circle in half.
Spread water along the straight edge of one semicircle. Pick the semicircle up with both hands and fold it into a cone shape. Pinch the straight side of the cone together so that it is completely sealed.
Fill the cone with 2-3 tablespoons of filling. Press the filling down with your fingers. Wet the open edges with water and then close the top of the cone into a triangle shape, pinching the top edge so that it is completely sealed. Continue filling the rest of the samosas.
Heat about 1-1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan on medium heat. To check if oil is hot enough place a small piece of dough in oil and dough should sizzle and come to the surface slowly.
Place the samosas into the frying pan a few at a time, cooking until they turn a light golden-brown color on all sides.
Note: Samosas can be prepared ahead of time and frozen for a month.
After fried samosas cool to room temperature, place them in zip lock bags and freeze.
To use frozen samosas take out as many you need and bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes.
Makes 10-12 Samosas
3 cups Fresh or frozen mango
1/2 cup sweet red pepper diced fine
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup onion chopped
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup ginger
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of hot red pepper flakes
Bring the above ingredients to a high boil or 2 minutes and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
At this point you can pour into sterilized glass jars and process for long-term storage or put in the fridge.
Note: Mango Chutney is also wonderful served with grilled chicken and fish!