No Fry Zone
Recently I made an Indian feast of basmati rice, rogan josh, vegetable curry, onion sambal and raita. While refreshing my spice stocks at the local Indian grocery store I also bought some papadums to complete the spread. On checking how best to deep fry them I discovered that you don’t have to; you can cook them perfectly well in the microwave for approximately 40 seconds without any oil at all. Much like popping corn, the microwaving aerates the flat discs and after removing them they continue to expand for a few seconds more and crisp up really nicely. The only thing you have to do is make sure you spread them out on the tray with minimal overlapping or better still use a dedicated microwave papadum rack. Believe it or not there is such a thing. It looks a bit like a re-purposed CD rack, accommodating ten at the same time (available online from Papadum Express).
While in the no fry zone I also made some samosa and baked them in the oven for 15 minutes and they turned out beautifully crispy and golden. While I don’t object to eating some fried food, if I can avoid it and get the same results it is a much healthier option. What I dislike about deep frying is the mess and having to dispose of the used oil. Try these samosas, they really are simple to make and can be re-heated to crispy deliciousness in a sandwich press at work with the lid locked to stop it closing completely.
For the pastry you can use what you like, for example, filo or brik pastry, puff pastry or a traditional Greek spanakopita pastry. If store bought pastry is not on hand make this traditional Indian version.
Potato and Pea Samosa. Makes 36 small triangles
- 11/2 cups plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbs ghee or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup warm water
Mix the flour with salt and then rub in the ghee. Add the warm water and mix with your hand until the dough comes together. Knead for 10 minutes and then let it rest covered with cling film for about an hour.
- 500 g potatoes such as Dutch creams
- 2 handfuls frozen peas
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- small onion, diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 fresh green or red chilli, deseeded and chopped
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 2 tbs lemon juice
Peel and dice the potato and steam for 5 minutes. Fry the mustard seeds until they pop, then fry onion with salt until translucent. Add the cumin and coriander and mix for a minute. Add the potatoes, peas, chilli and garam masala, mix well, crushing just a few of the cubes of potatoes to help bring it all together. Add the lemon juice and mix. Let the mix cool.
Roll out store bought pastry thinly and cut out 12 cm diameter circles. Place a dessert spoon of filling on one side, fold over the pastry and press the edges together with your fingers and then crimp the edges with the tines of a fork. If using filo you will have to cut the pastry into a long 5 cm wide strip, place the filling at one end and fold over to form a triangle, continuing to fold it over in alternating directions. With the hand made pastry pinch off a ball and roll out circles. You can make a traditional triangular shaped samosa by cutting the circle in half and filling each half by folding the pastry over to form a triangle or just make bigger semi circular pastries. Bake in a 180ºC oven for 15 minutes.