Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Honey-Walnut Wontons

I'm a big fan of traditions, passed down from one generation to another, from mom to daughter, from the past to the future - tradition serves as a memory of a different time and of people and is much more than a just a sequence of actions - it is a bridge to the future.


Every time the skies open and rain pours down my window, and the air is fragrant with the scent of the earth, I do one of a few things - Stand at my window celebrating the rain, or sit down with a large cup of something warm. The rain helps me slow my pace down, no more lists to make, no more worries to harbor - just follow the gentle pitter-patter of the raindrops and let everything else go, at least for a bit.


Allowing ourselves to indulge every once in a while is a luxury that we sometimes don't let ourselves enjoy often enough. Being focussed on the present, on this very moment - however sane it may sound, sometimes doesn't feed the soul, it can be rejuvenating to not be in the present - to be in a different time and place, to enjoy a guilt-free slice of time is pure bliss!

Honey-Walnut Wontons

My interpretation of Baklava with an asian twist that is perfectly crunchy and sweet and very addictive and so very indulgent. This is my entry to Sugar High Friday 23 - Surprise Inside!

Mix chopped walnuts (3/4 cup) with honey (1 Tbsp.)and 1 Tsp. Cinnamon. Brush the edges of the wonton wrapper with water, place 1 tsp. of the walnut mixture in the center of the wrapper and fold into a triangle. Seal the edges. Now, curl the other side of the wonton and overlap the edges and seal, making sure that the walnut mixture doesm't seep out of the wonton.
Heat oil and deep fry wontons till golden brown, drizzle with honey and melted chocolate, if desired. 

Monday, September 04, 2006

Samosas with Mint Raita

Fast food doesn't always have to be a bad thing, the popular connotation for fast food now has come to be what is served at chain drive-throughs or something that is fixed in a jiffy at a grease-spoon. Traditionally, food-on-the-go was something that took forever for the cook to prepare but was easy for the consumer to handle in a rush. Empanadas, Spanakopitas or Samosas are something that take time and patience but the end result is delicious and easy to handle - hence, good fast food!


Anybody who knows anything about comfort food knows that Potatoes are satisfying- what else could explain the warmth that envelopes a person indulging in a fork full of Mashed Potatoes or Shepherd's Pie, the potato is unitimidating, safe and not to mention gratifying.

Samosas are little pastries made with a simple filling of potatoes and spices, variations in the filling of this versatile snack food are endless ranging from lamb to spinach to beets. Sold at bakeries and snack shops, at fancy restaurants and little tea-stalls, all over India and the world they range from mild to spicy and are an usual accompaniment to afternoon tea. They are served with chutneys or raitas that are perfect for dunking the samosa - this is usually followed by a engaging debate about politics, cricket or whatever is the flavour of the day !


The pastry for the samosas vary from being buttery and flaky to crisp and crunchy. This recipe for the pastry calls for semolina which is ground grain - wheat, rice or corn, which gives the pastry its crumbly texture that melts in the mouth. Mint raita which is served with snacks as well as rice dishes is refreshing and mitigates the heat in the food. Made from fresh mint leaves - it is a delicious relish and can hold well on its own.


For the pastry - Flour(3/4 cup), Semolina(1/4 cup -fine ground), a pinch of salt and Baking Powder (1/4 tsp.) are sifted together. Cut in Butter (2 Tbsp.) with a pastry blender and knead adding few drops of cold water to form a flexible dough. Cover with a damp cloth and keep aside.

For the filling - Heat oil and add finely-chopped ginger(1 inch), green chillies(2), turmeric(1/2 tsp),cumin powder(1/2 tsp) and red chilli powder(1 tsp). Add peeled and chopped potatoes(2). Add salt to taste and cook till the potatoes are done. Take off the heat, mash the potatoes and add 1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice.

Roll out the lemon-sized balls of the pastry, cut into semi-circles and make a cone, place the filling inside and crimp the edges to form a triangle shaped samosa. Make sure that the filling doesn't spill out of the pastry. Heat oil and deep-fry the samosas till golden brown. Serve hot or cold.

Mint Raita

Blend 1 cup plain yogurt with chopped mint leaves (3/4 cup), chopped onion(1/4 cup) and salt to taste. Refrigerate and serve cold with the samosas.

'Samosas with Mint Raita' is my entry to the very timely - La Festa al Fresco.