Punjabi Samosas

Presenting my Punjabi samosas! I didn’t intentionally make these samosas to be part of the #spiceclubstaples recipe collection but upon reflection I think they deserve a place here.

The pastry is made from plain flour, oil, salt & water = store cupboard classic. Stuffing wise, the classic is spiced potatoes & peas, but actually, you can technically stuff them with whatever you like. Sweet potato, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, paneer – feel free to mix together what you have in your fridge to create your own bespoke samosa. I’ve made chocolate and marshmallow samosas in the past so you have permission to go crazy.

There is a step by step tutorial on my Instagram Highlights which may help with giving you a better idea on things like dough texture etc. Making samosas are best shown how to be made in person but I have tried my best to jot it all down for you in this recipe!

Little tip – once the samosas have been filled and sealed, you can actually freeze the samosas. Then, when you’re craving a fresh samosa in the future, you can simply remove from freezer, defrost and then fry until golden! Also – if you have any leftover pastry, you can cut them into rounds using a cookie cutter and then fry until light golden and crisp – these are Indian savoury tea biscuits called Papdi – we eat these alongside a hot cup of chai!

Disclaimer – samosas are a labour of love to make, but they’re ABSOLUTELY worth the effort. I hope you enjoy making (and eating) them!

Punjabi Samosas

Servings 8 samosas

Ingredients
  

To make the dough:

  • 1 cup plain flour approx. 130g
  • ¼ tsp carom seeds (optional)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ cup approx water using same vessel that was used to measure flour

To make the stuffing:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds crushed
  • 1 tbsp ginger grated (optional)
  • 8 tbsp peas (frozen peas work well)
  • 4 large cooked potatoes (approx 500g in total) I cook mine in the microwave but you can also boil.
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp amchur/mango powder If you can’t source this, you can add a squeeze of lime juice
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1-2 green chillies finely chopped
  • Large handful fresh coriander finely chopped

You will also need:

  • 2 tbsp plain flour mixed together with 4 tbsp water to create a thick, smooth paste (this will be our pastry glue)
  • oilf or deep frying

Instructions
 

To make the dough:

  • To a bowl, add the plain flour, carom seeds, salt and oil. Spend a couple of minutes rubbing the oil into the flour. It should create a bread crumb type of consistency. Once the oil has completely mixed in, gradually add the water little by little. Mix continuously – you are looking to create a tight dough that is quite firm. (Note, you may need to adjust the amount of water slightly depending on your brand of flour).

  • Cover dough with damp cloth or cling film and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes.

To make the stuffing:

  • Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds. Mix. Then add the crushed coriander seeds, ginger and peas and cook for 1 minute on medium heat. When the ginger turns light golden, turn off heat and keep aside.
  • Using your hands, peel the potatoes. Then roughly mash the potatoes using your hand, into the pan. Add the salt, remaining spices and fresh coriander and mix well. Taste for salt/chilli/tartness and adjust to accordingly.

To prepare the samosas:

  • Heat a non-stick frying pan on a very low heat.
  • At the same time, pour 4-5” oil in a small sauce pan/wok and heat on a low heat. (We will be frying our samosas in this oil).
  • Divide the dough into 4 portions and roll each one into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll out a dough ball into a circle (approx. 8″ diameter).
  • Place the rolled out circle on the non-stick frying pan for 10-12 seconds and then remove and transfer to a chopping board (cooked side down, raw side up). Be careful not to overcook the dough – we cook it slightly to help firm it up so it is easier to handle. Cut the circle in half to create 2 semi-circles.
  • Spread the flour paste around all the edges of each semi circle and using both hands, fold the semi circle into a cone shape. Hold the cone and ensure that the joint of the edges creates a sealed seam in the middle of the cone. Hold this in one hand and begin to stuff with the potato mixture so the cone is 3/4 full.
  • Press the filling down with your fingers and seal the top of the cone to form a triangle shape. Pinch along the top edge to ensure it is completely sealed. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
  • Once the oil is hot, add each samosa to the wok for frying. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan (it’s best to fry in batches). Fry on low/medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Turn the samosas in the oil every couple of minutes. Once done, they should be golden brown all over and the pastry should be crisp to touch. 
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove each samosas – being mindful to drain off as much oil as possible before draining on kitchen paper. Repeat with remaining samosas and serve with your favourite chutneys.

Bread Pakoras

How are we all doing? Ready for another #spiceclubstaple? I’m sharing another favourite of mine – bread pakoras. It’s a dish that completely transforms the staple. It’s also great for using up bread that is possibly heading towards it’s best before date.

If you really want to make these but can’t source bread right now (I am sadly still seeing social media posts of empty supermarket bakery aisles), you can use slices of potatoes or aubergine or even spinach leaves instead!

This recipe uses a batter made from gram flour (a lot of us have this in the cupboard but don’t ever get round to using it!) As it’s made from chickpeas (ie. gluten free friendly), it’s deliciously nutty and is amazing when deep fried. If you don’t deep fry a lot, I suggest that you use a small sauce pan or a small wok so you don’t have to use too much oil. Also a wee tip – once you’re done frying, cool the oil and then drain into a jar. You can fry with this same oil a good 3/4 times again until it begins to change in colour/smell.

Interestingly – bread pakoras are actually a Punjabi speciality. I grew up on them (as did plenty of other Punjabi kids) and we used to dunk them in tomato ketchup and coriander & mint chutney. Crispy & spicy on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside – these are the pakoras of dreams people.

Enjoy and don’t forget to send me photos of your recreations via social media! Peep the recipe (& the video below!) to see how I made them.

Bread Pakoras

Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 4 slices white bread (you can use brown too)
  • 1 cup (approx. 90g) gram flour
  • 1 tsp salt or according to taste
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp paprika powder
  • ¼ – ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds coarsely crushed
  • ¼ tsp mango powder/amchur optional
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida powder optional
  • Handful fresh coriander finely chopped (optional)
  • You wil also need:

You will also need:

  • Water
  • Oil for deep frying sunflower/vegetable oil works well

Instructions
 

  • Place oil in a pan (a small wok or saucepan works well) until it is about 4” deep and heat on a medium heat setting. Cut the bread slices into square quarters or in triangle halves NB. The quarters are probably easier to handle compared to triangles – if this is your first time making these!).
  • Sift the gram flour into a bowl and then add the salt and all of the spices along with the fresh coriander. Gradually add the water and whisk until a smooth yet thick batter forms. It should be the consistency of a thick pancake batter and should be able to coat the back of a spoon. If the batter is too thin, it won’t create a nice layer of coating when fried. (If you do add too much water, you can fix this by adding a little more gram flour – don’t forget to add a little more seasoning if you do this).
  • Test the temperature of the oil by placing a small piece of bread /crust into the oil. It should sizzle and come up to the surface within 5 seconds. If it sits at the bottom of the pan, the oil is too cold so continue to heat the oil.
  • Keep your bowl of batter right next to the wok with oil. Now, fully dip a piece of bread in the batter ensuring it is covered evenly and carefully place into the hot oil. Repeat with a few more pieces being careful not to overcrowd the pan. (You will need to cook this in batches). 
  • Fry on medium heat until the pakora becomes golden brown on one side. Flip it over and cook the other side until golden. For extra crispy pakoras, increase temperature to high for the last 45 seconds. It should take 3-4 minutes for the pakoras to fully cook. Using a slotted spoon, remove pakoras from oil and drain well. Once the oil has stopped dripping completely, only then place on kitchen paper. Adjust the temperature of you oil so it is back to a medium heat and then repeat with the remaining bread.
  • Enjoy with you tomato ketchup or your favourite dipping sauces!
    *If you want to get fancy, you can spread your favourite chutney/sauce on one side of the bread pieces before dipping in the batter, for an extra hit of flavour*

Chicken Kathi Roll (Eggless)

The chicken kathi roll or simply “chicken roll” as it’s known as in Kolkata (the birth place of this mouth watering treat) is my favourite street food snack. Ever. When you try it, you’ll know why. The classic chicken roll combo features a soft paratha layered with a fried egg, spicy chicken pieces traditionally cooked in a tandoor and red onion slices pickled in lime. Tastegasm much? (That is a word in the dictionary by the way. Well, The Urban Dictionary – but a dictionary nonetheless). On my first trip to Kolkata I ate loads of these and dragged my family to Nizam’s – the restaurant that “invented” the Kathi Roll. I can’t verify that fact, though what is certain is that their rolls were unbelievable.

When I returned home I was itching to recreate them. The kathi roll purists may note I have made a tweak to the classic (omitting the fried egg to make it slightly lighter) but my recipe still packs a punch and leaves you wanting more. Promise! 

Chicken Kathi Roll Recipe
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 4 Lachha Parathas (Recipe: http://spicediary.com/2017/11/lachha-parataha-punjabi-layered-flatbreads/)
To make the chicken
  1. 6 skinlesss boneless thighs, (approx. 750g) cut into 1” chunks
  2. 4 heaped tbsp yoghurt
  3. 2“ ginger, grated
  4. 3 garlic cloves, grated
  5. 2 tbsp oil
  6. 1 ½ tsp salt or according to taste
  7. 1 tsp garam masala
  8. ½ tsp haldi
  9. ½ tsp paprika
  10. ½ tsp coriander powder
  11. ½ tsp cumin powder
  12. ½ tsp chilli powder or according to taste
  13. 2 tsp tandoori powder (optional)
You will also need
  1. 2 tbsp mustard oil (you can use a normal cooking oil instead)
  2. 1 large onion, finely chopped
Red Onion Salad
  1. 2 red onions, very thinly sliced
  2. 1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped
  3. Juice of 1 ½ limes
  4. ¼ tsp sugar
Instructions
  1. Turn on your grill at the highest temperature setting & line a baking tray. Place all of the “to make the chicken” ingredients in a bowl & mix well.
  2. Scatter the chicken pieces on the baking tray & place in the grill for 12-14 minutes or until fully cooked and remove from grill. (The chicken should be white all the way through).
  3. Heat mustard oil in a pan. Add the onions & cook until light golden. Then add the grilled chicken & mix. Sautee for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Check for salt and adjust accordingly.
  4. To make the salad, combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Taste for sweetness/sourness and adjust accordingly.
  5. To assemble the kathi roll, place a paratha on a plate, top with chicken and onion salad (as pictured) and roll up in foil.
Notes
  1. You can use paneer, red onions and green peppers instead of chicken to prepare vegetarian kathi rolls!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/