Sunday, February 27, 2005

Experiment: Baked Wonton Samosas

Baked Wonton Samosas
Originally uploaded by one hot stove.
I had a packet of wonton wrappers sitting in my freezer for months ( bought on an enthusiastic trip to Chinatown). Today I had a friend dropping in for chai and a good cup of chai needs a samosa to go with it!

So I decided to use the wonton wrappers as a time-saving samosa covering, and decided to bake them because I'm feeling pious today :)

Here's the recipe for the Potato-Pea filling:

1. Saute onions and ginger-garlic paste in a pan.
2. Add salt, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala, chili powder (feel free to use whichever spices you have on hand) and stir for a minute.
3. Add frozen peas and cubes of boiled potato and stir till peas are cooked (this takes very little time). There, the filling is ready.

My wonton wrappers were little squares so I just folded them on the diagonal with a bit of filling tucked inside. Not very authentic-looking but oh well...

Finally, spray oil onto a baking sheet and bake these for about 15 minutes (turning once half-way through the cooking time) at 375 deg F. Play it by ear; the baking time is approximate.

The results were not bad for an experiment. I give it one thumbs up!

Friday, February 04, 2005

Indian Grocery Store 101

One of my favorite activities is going into ethnic grocery stores and picking up new and weird foods and figuring out how to use them. I treat it as a cheap holiday, being transported to another culture for the price of a Metrocard ticket. It always helps to know what to look for though!

So if you ever want to head into an Indian grocery store and try some goodies (in NYC, try going to Jackson Heights, Queens), here is a list of foods you might enjoy:

1. Paneer: This mild cheese is very versatile and sold in blocks or cubes in the refrigerated or frozen sections. I find that Nanak brand paneer from Canada is very rich and flavorful, but it might not be available everywhere. Paneer can be used in all kinds of recipes, like wraps and pilafs and curries.

2. Chai: Indian black tea is very intense and flavorful. Buy it loose or in tea bags, and spice it up with cloves/ginger/cardamom/lemongrass to make masala chai.

3. Mango puree: This is sold in cans and is very convenient when you want to make smoothies, mango lassi, homemade ice cream and even margaritas.

4. Spices: The spice rack is dazzling in Indian stores, and spices are very reasonably priced. You will get whole spices and a lot of spice mixtures.

5. Flours: Indian stores are a good source for a variety of flours, including rice flour, gram flour (chickpea flour), millet flour, whole wheat flour (atta) etc.

6. Dried beans: You will find dozens of varieties of dried legumes in Indian stores, including kidney beans, mung beans and lentils. They are a cheap source of protein and very versatile.

7. Basmati rice: This fragrant highly polished rice is something I love to use for special occasions. Indian stores carry a number of rice varieties, including medium grain rice like Sona masoori and brown rice.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Thursday Night Dinner Rush

Certainly, my idea of a good time is to slave over a stove, but Thursday nights don't leave one much time to cook! I threw together a supersonic noodle stir-fry:

Supersonic Noodle Stir-fry

1 8 oz. packet Egg Noodles
2 cups hastily shredded veggies: any combo of mushrooms, green onions, carrots, red peppers, green peppers, cabbage
1 Vegetarian bouillon cube
2 T Soy sauce
2 t dark Sesame oil
1 T Peanut or Vegetable oil
Pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Boil noodles as you chop the veggies. Drain the noodles into a colander. Heat oil and toss in the vegetables at high heat. Crumble in the bouillon cube and soy sauce and stir. Toss in the rest of the ingredients...the veggies should stay crispy and barely cooked. Season with pepper and red pepper flakes.
There you are...I told you it was Supersonic!