mint and peach lassi


peach with mint lassi drink

There it was, this little produce stand that we almost drove past by on our way back from Sonoma. Quaint with its worn out thatched roof that seemed weakly held together by long wooden beams on the side of the road with the pretty backdrop of wine valley. We were out of eggs and I figured it might be worth our while to see if we could pick some up here because by the time we'd reach home, I knew neither of us would be in the mood to deal with a busy supermarket. 

peaches for lassi

My eyes were to hunt for the presence of eggs in this little stall but they failed their purpose and wandered towards the end of one of the tables that housed a stack of wooden crates filled with large golden orbs that enticed with promises of juicy sweetness. They drew me closer and I went ahead and grabbed one of those big golden balls of sunshine. I held one close to inhale its sweet fragrance and that peach reminded me that this is one of the very reasons that makes summer so special. 

peach and mint lassi drink

Lassis are probably one of my favorite drinks and in India we'd drink fresh lassis every hot summer day in tall glasses filled with the chilled sweet liquid. With my fresh ripe peaches a sweet and cool lassi that would serve to cool and refresh was definitely in order! Lassis should be thin and not heavy and thick so avoid using Greek yogurt and use either non-fat or regular plain unsweetened yogurt and then adjust the consistency with water. There is really no need to add sugar to the drink because these peaches were crazy sweet and I love when I don't have to add extra sweeteners! But feel free to adjust the sweetness as needed.

peach and mint lassi
peach lassi with mint

mint and peach lassi

yields: 2 servings

ingredients

1 1/2 cups unsweetened plain yogurt (non-fat or regular) 
1 1/2 cups ripe peaches, peeled and diced + a few pieces to garnish
3/4 cup water, chilled (you can add more or less depending on how thin you like the consistency)
3-4 fresh mint leaves + a few sprigs to garnish

1. Place the yogurt, 1 1/2 cups peaches, water and 3-4 mint leaves in a blender. Pulse until smooth and completely combined.
2. Serve in chilled classes and garnish with extra peach fruit pieces and a sprig of fresh mint.

Note: Traditionally lassi is made with regular yogurt and the lassi should be thin. Do not use Greek yogurt here or it will be too thick. Indian lassis should be refreshing and light and not heavy.

spicy calamari

spicy calamari

There's something calming that accompanies the sound of the ocean water splashing against the rocks while the breeze caresses your face. Sticking your wet toes in the sand while you stare across into the horizon and forget everything that's on your mind. At least that what's we anticipated when we took a quick day trip to the beach in Santa Cruz. 

Amusingly enough, it was quite the opposite. The winds were very chilly and wild! So was Snoopy, the thought of sitting down calmly was not something he was in the mood for. He wanted to play with the other dogs and eat sea weed. The two of us struggled with our packed lunches which kept getting stuffed with sand. Finally we looked at each other after spending two hours of frustration trying to battle the cold winds and sand and decided that perhaps this would have been a calmer day if we stayed at home. We walked back to the car, more annoyed than ever and began our drive back home. After a few minutes in the car driving, we looked at each other and smiles started to form which turned into laughter. While the dog was being crazy at the beach he had now sunk into a deep state of slumber in the back seat of the car while the two of us were exhausted from all the craziness of those two hours at the beach. I really feel these crazy things happen only to us but then again we might not remember these moments years from now! I'm sure we will go back to the beach and definitely be better prepared than our first visit! 

mise en prep calamari

What would life not be without a little bit of craziness or spice for that matter! Calamari is one of my favorite seafood appetizers to eat in summer and I'm sharing one of my favorite ways to make calamari at home. I've added several ingredients that are commonly used in Goan cuisine that give these guys a delicious flavorful kick. Cornmeal gives these squid a super crispy crust that with will make you want to eat more with every crunch bite. I'm not a big fan of dipping sauces when it comes to eating calamari, I prefer a splash of fresh lemon juice over them but feel free to pair this with your favorite dipping sauces. 

spicy calamari goan indian style

spicy calamari

yields: 4 servings

ingredients 

2 lbs squid, cleaned
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon chili powder (I used freshly ground dried Kashmiri chilies but if Cayenne also works great here)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds, freshly ground
1 clove (approximately one teaspoon) of garlic , minced 
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cornflour
vegetable for frying
2 cups cornmeal
a few fresh lemon wedges and a few fresh cilantro/parsley leaves for garnishing

1. Wipe any excess liquid from the squid using clean paper towels. Using a sharp knife cut the head off and the body into rings, place on a clean paper towel. (Food52 has a great tutorial on how to clean and cut squid).
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg. Add all the ingredients from the sea salt to the cornflour and whisk until completely combined. Fold in the cut squid until coated evenly. Allow to sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. 
3. Heat 2 inches of the oil in a wok on a medium-high flame. In the meantime, place the cornmeal in a medium-sized tray. Using a fork pick up the marinating pieces of squid and toss them in the cornmeal until completely coated. Place the coated pieces on a sheet of parchment paper. 
4. As soon as the oil gets hot at around 375F,  fry about 1/4th of the cornmeal-coated squid until golden brown (don't overcrowd the wok or they won't cook evenly). The squid will cook within 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, immediately transfer with a slotted spoon onto a clean sheet of absorbent paper towels to drain the excess oil. Repeat with the rest of the squid. Serve hot with fresh lemon wedges and garnish with a little fresh cilantro or parsley leaves.

bombay lemonade

bombay lemonade 

Summer days were hot in Bombay (Mumbai) but I eagerly awaited for their arrival because it meant the end of the school year. The days would be marked by pool time, trips, and reading a whole lot of comics (my mother would only let us read comics during the holidays, they'd go up otherwise so we could focus on the school year, though I don't think it did any good!). There was also one particular portion of the day that I really looked forward to, my moment to indulge in street snacks. I'd get a little pocket money, every day from my mother which I would diligently invest in some sort of snack. The choices were many and my desires generally larger than my actual ability to consume so I'd have to plan my week out such that I'd be able to taste almost everything summer had to offer.

mint and lemons

Since the weather got pretty hot, it was necessary to cool down with something cold. My cooling agents were generally tall glasses of freshly squeezed sugarcane juice , limeades or lemonades, each of these babies would be flavored with a combination of spices and fresh herbs making the the perfect thirst quencher and refresher. 

squeezed lemons and ginger 

I've made my version of my favorite lemonade that reminds me of those happy summer days spent in Bombay. Fresh is the key here, fresh lemons and ginger with mint are infused into chilled water while  lightly crushed toasted cumin gives a hint of earthiness to the drink. If you aren't a fan of fresh ginger, skip it. I also used molasses as the sweetener because M's mom makes her own on the farm from her sugarcane crop every year and it is the best and she keeps me stocked. 

This lemonade is best drunk as soon as it is made as I've noticed the flavors of the cumin and ginger are lost within a few hours. Also, fresh mint tends to darken after several hours. I tend to make this drink less sweet but feel free to play around. Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Here are some of my favorite reads from this week;

bombay style lemonade

bombay lemonade

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 cup lemon juice (two large lemons), freshly squeezed
3 inch piece ginger root, freshly peeled
900ml chilled water 
3-4 tablespoons light molasses
8-10 mint leaves, fresh
8 thin lemon slices, freshly cut
ice cubes and a few thin slices of fresh lemons

1. Toast the cumin seeds on medium high flame in a small saucepan for about 15 seconds until they just begin to turn brown. The cumin seeds are ready as soon as you can smell their aroma. Immediately transfer them into a mortar and crush them gently once with the pestle. Don't over crush them. If the cumin seeds burn during the toasting and turn black, discard and start again.
2. Add the toasted cumin seeds along with the lemon juice into a large pitcher. 
3. Place the ginger root in the mortar and crush it with 1/4 cup of the chilled water to form a slurry and extract the ginger flavor. Pass the slurry through a tea strainer or small sieve over a small bowl and press the pulp with a spoon to get all the juice out. Transfer the extracted juice to the pitcher along with the molasses.
4. Stack the mint leaves over each other and then slice them into thin strips with sharp knife. Put the mint leaves in the pitcher and add the rest of the chilled water. Stir to combine the ingredients, taste to make sure the lemonade is sweet enough, if not add more molasses. Add the slices of lemon and stir. To serve, stir the contents of the pitcher and then pour into chilled glasses containing ice cubes.

sour eggplant curry

spicy sour eggplant curry

Off late, I've been craving everything that tastes sour, especially anything with a citrusy taste or flavor. Cravings are like the insane beast and my relationship with this creature sometimes involves, feeding and nurturing it. I probably unconsciously knew this going in when I picked up these gorgeous baby eggplants that I would indulge in a session of souring things up with the hope that it would entail future moments where I would slurp sour spicy goodness from a big bowl while sitting outside in the sun.

baby eggplants

So I spent my morning with my precious wok, sautéing onions and ginger in hot coconut oil flavored with the heat of dried whole red chilies and fragrant cumin. Then came those cherubic eggplants that sizzled and sputtered as soon as their dark purple skins met the heat of the pan. Finally, I stirred in the coconut milk and lime juice and once the yellow broth came together, I inhaled the scent of the fresh lime juice and knew it was all worth it in the end.

eggplants
hot spicy sour eggplant curry

This sour curry should be served hot with rice or bread or eaten directly. 

sour eggplant curry

sour eggplant curry

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

1lb baby eggplants
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoon coconut oil
4 dried red chili peppers, whole (I used Kashmiri chili peppers)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/2 cups red onion thinly sliced
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 inch ginger root, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 can/13.66 fluid ounces/403mL light coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
fresh mint leaves to garnish

1. Cut the eggplants crosswise from the bottom but leave the stems attached. Immerse the eggplants in a bowl containing cold water and vinegar to prevent blackening. Keep aside until ready to use
2. Heat the coconut oil in a large wok or saucepan with a lid on medium high for about 30 seconds. Add the chili and cumin to the wok and cook for 15 seconds. Immediately add the onions, turmeric powder and ginger root, stir occasionally and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the onions turn translucent. At this point, drain the eggplants and add them to the wok, sauté on medium high for about 3 minutes, stir occasionally. The eggplants should have their skins slightly seared.
3. Add the coconut milk, water and salt. Bring the contents to a boil on a medium high flame and the reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook for another 20 minutes or until the eggplants are tender enough that a fork can easily pass through the flesh. Once the eggplant is cooked, fold in the fresh lemon juice. Cook for another minute and remove from the stove. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve hot with rice or flat bread.

spicy artichoke quinoa pilaf

spicy artichoke and tri colored quinoa pilaf

We finally made it to California after a very, very long drive but the drive was definitely worth it! The week long road trip across the country was so much fun and at some point I will share those photographs with you in a separate post. Between unpacking and getting the place set up, I've realized I've missed having a kitchen and the ability to cook.  Eating out is fun but not everyday for a few weeks and on the road your options are really limited! By the way, when our stuff finally arrived to our new home, I was in shock, when did I collect so much stuff!!!

tricolored quinoa

I've started to take advantage of the numerous farmer's markets and stalls that are all over this gorgeous state and what better way to kick it off my first post from the new place, than with some fresh baby artichokes, that we picked up on one of our trips to the beach last Memorial day weekend and bundle that up with a giveaway from the wonderful folks at Bob's Red Mill.

Pilaf/Pulavs are Indian rice dishes flavored with spices and loaded with vegetables, meat or both and remain one of my favorite and easy ways to cook a single tasty meal at home. Pilafs are versatile, simple and yet bold with complex flavors that make them stand out. My mother made and still makes delicious pilafs on weekends and we would eat them with a side of plain yogurt or a salad. It's also my little way of "cheating" to save time and impress people when they come over.

artichokes

I've replaced the rice in this pilaf with Bob's Red Mill's tricolored quinoa (which by the way is simply gorgeous with different little colored pearls) which is an excellent rice substitute. I've thrown in a generous handful of fresh, little baby artichokes and seasoned the pilaf with black cardamom, ginger, garlic and a bunch of other aromatics.  

Bob's Red Mill is giving away a bag of their delicious tricolored quinoa and a $20 gift card to their store. To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is follow the instructions in the widget and enter. This giveaway is open only to legal residents of the United States. This contest will run from May 30th through May 6th, 2014. Good luck, share the post and have fun!

Disclaimer: I did not receive any financial compensation from Bob's Red Mill for this post and all opinions here are solely mine, unless stated otherwise.

spicy artichoke and quinoa pilaf

spicy artichoke quinoa pilaf

yields: 2-4 servings

ingredients

1 cup (6 1/4 ounces) tricolored quinoa (Bob's Red Mill)
6 1/2 cups water 
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
32 ounces baby artichokes
1 tablespoon vinegar/lemon juice
1 cup diced red/white onion
10 black peppercorns, whole
4 cloves
4 thai chili peppers, stalks removed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 large garlic cloves, peeled 
1 inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 black cardamom pods, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 large lemon
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1. Place the quinoa in sieve and wash thoroughly under running cold tap water for about 2 minutes. I like to massage the quinoa with my fingers to remove any bitter saponins that might be present. Leave the quinoa in the sieve to drain and then transfer to a medium sized saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the saucepan, bring the contents to a boil on a medium-high flame and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook until the water is completely evaporated for about 12-15 minutes and the quinoa is completely cooked. (The colorless quinoa should be completely translucent without any white uncooked spots).  Cover with a lid and keep aside until ready to use.
2. Clean the artichokes by peeling of the harder outer green leaves until you reach the inner soft and tender yellow parts. Trim the bottom and the tops of each artichoke and place the artichoke in a bowl containing 4 cups of water and the vinegar to prevent them from browning. Discard the trimmed bottoms and tops.
3. Add the diced onion, peppercorns, cloves, chili, turmeric, garlic, and ginger in a blender/immersion blender or food processor with the remaining 1/2 cup of water. Pulse until the ingredients are completely ground to a smooth pulp. 
4. Heat the olive oil in a large wok or saucepan with a lid on medium-high flame. When the oil is hot, add the cardamom and bay leaves. Stir the spices for about 15 seconds and then add the thinly sliced red onions to the pan. Sauté the onions until they begin to get golden brown for about 4-5 minutes. Add the ground spice mixture and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the wok and cook for 1 minute. Drain the artichokes and add them to the wok. Fold gently and cover the wok with its lid and cook until the artichokes are completely tender, this will take approximately 15-20 minutes. Once the artichokes are cooked, fold in the quinoa and slice the lemon and squeeze the lemon juice over the pilaf. Stir the contents and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the wok from the stove and garnish with the fresh cilantro leaves before serving. Serve hot with plain yogurt.
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raw ginger strawberry smoothie

raw ginger strawberry smoothie

Moving is clearly insane, the last time I did a huge move was almost eight years ago and it was just me. This time round, it's the two of us and the dog and I can't just toss things out (I'm a big fan of decluttering, I get anxious otherwise) I need to think about everyone involved, what they love and what they don't. But now all of that is done with and I am focussed on our week cross country ride which is going to be the trip of a lifetime! There's new states to visit, places to see, foods to try out, and I'm a little excited that Snoopy gets to share in this big road trip adventure. I know, I sound crazy but I guess it's what dog (pet) parents get excited about.

strawberries

My kitchen is packed and gone but before it left, I made this delicious berry flavored coconut milk smoothie that packs the sweetness of ripe chubby strawberries and the goodness of raw ginger. There's also a reason behind this drink, I started to feel a raw uneasiness in my throat as the temperatures kept fluctuating in the weather and with the impending move and all other crazy things going on right now, I couldn't afford to be sick. Raw ginger is used as a common ailment in Indian herbal medicine so I figured why not use it to create a spring-themed immune boosting drink. There's fresh coconut milk (I used the So Delicious brand because I personally like the flavor a lot but fresh coconut milk would work well here too) and the strawberries, I used were a bit sweet so I ended up not using any sweeteners (I've listed a suggested amount but feel free to add as much or as little as you like). This smoothie turned out to be great for my throat but it's tasty enough to be served as a drink, especially as the heat waves begin to kick in.

floating strawberries on coconut milk

I did this fun interview with the very sweet Amina of The Paper Plates Blog, check it out if you have a moment to spare. I talk about a lot of things beyond food and maybe, my obsession with the Game of Thrones books. 

Also,  here are some of my favorites links that I'm drooling over;
  • Linda of Call Me Cupcake made a sour cream rhubarb cupcakes (there's a ginger cream frosting that has poached rhubarb on it!!!!).
  • Climbing Grier's Mountain's Lauren, made this hummus shrimp loaded naan pizza that is simply amazing!
  • Lindsey of Dolly and Oatmeal made this gorgeous sauté that's sits on a bed of chickpea and chive mash. This is one, to see and believe, eat!
  • This pickled chard by Love and Lemons is what's spring should be about.

strawberry coconut milk smoothie with raw ginger

raw ginger strawberry smoothie

yields: 2 generous servings

ingredients

1 1/2 cups coconut milk, chilled, unsweetened, low-fat (I used the So Delicious brand)
1/2 cup strawberries, fresh, diced in half
1/2 teaspoon ginger root, peeled and freshly minced (minced as tiny as possible)
2-3 teaspoons palm sugar (optional; I didn't use add any)

1. Add all the ingredients to a blender (you can also use an immersion blender) and mix until all the ingredients are completely combined. The sugar is optional, I didn't add any as the strawberries were very sweet to begin with). 
2. Pour in chilled drinking glasses over ice cubes or crushed ice, serve immediately. (This best drunk fresh as soon as it is prepared).

Disclaimer: I didn't receive any financial compensation or products from So Delicious and all opinions stated are solely mine. 

red mustard green pakoras

red mustard green pakoras

You have no idea how much stuff you can amass over time until you move. I prided myself on not collecting too much but clearly I've been entertaining an imaginary notion. I also felt satisfied with the thought that perhaps, I had done a superb job of tossing stuff out before the movers came by the house to pack and move our stuff. Clearly, I've been wrong on both fronts as it took them several rounds to get everything packed, wrapped and loaded onto their truck. Not everything and could go with them and they had to leave behind some liquids, aerosols and my beloved plants. Yes, my plants were the hardest to part with, I decided to give them away to friends and family and I will miss my fig trees and raspberry bush and will settle with the thought, that I might be able to grow some variety of citrus out in California and perhaps get another fig tree. I also ended up with a bottle of oil that I couldn't ship and really didn't want to drive across the country with. So this recipe that I'm sharing with you today was clearly borne out of necessity and is a tasty way to clean out your pantry.

red mustard greens

Let's see, I got rid of a little leftover unused chickpea flour and some spices and some vegetable oil but I also got an excuse to use up these beautiful red mustard greens that I picked up last week. Red mustard greens actually have very little red in them, just a few dark streaks here and there but they are simple gorgeous and they look like big, fat elephant ears or fans that can hold their texture rather well during heating. 

Pakoras are a favorite Indian snack that I grew up eating for breakfast. To put it simply, a pakora can be made with almost any type of vegetable that's coated in a chickpea batter and then deep fried to get a delicious crispy cover. Since, I rarely make anything that's deep fried this was a welcome change for both of us (and the moving excuse made me feel better), it's always nice to indulge your tastebuds, a little bit sometimes. So go ahead make these guys and enjoy them with my sweet tamarind chaat chutney and a hot cup of tea/chai. 


red mustard green leaf pakoras

red mustard green pakoras

yields: 4-6 servings

ingredients

1 bunch fresh red mustard greens
1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
1 cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon grated ginger root, fresh
3 cups vegetable oil for deep frying

1. Wash the mustard greens, drain the excess water and pat the leaves dry using a clean kitchen towel.  Remove and discard the midrib of the leaves. Rip the leaves into large pieces and keep aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients from the chickpea flour to the ginger root. Whisk until completely smooth and there are no visible flecks of flour in the batter. 
3. Add the leaves into the chickpea batter and fold until the leaves are completely coated.
4. Heat the oil in a large wok on medium high heat. The oil needs to be hot when frying the leaves, to test this take one leaf that is coated with the batter and drop it into the hot oil. It should immediately rise to the surface and cook until golden brown. Add 5 to 6 leaves at a time to the hot oil, cook until the chickpea batter coating turns golden brown, flip the leaves using a slotted spoon and cook on the other side. The entire cooking process should take less than a minute for each leaf. Using the slotted spoon, lift the pakoras and drain any excess oil, transfer the pakoras to a dish lined with clean paper towels to absorb the excess oil. The mustard green pakoras should be crisp. Repeat and cook the rest of the pakoras in batches. Serve immediately while hot. 
Note: If you cook the pakoras too long the leaves will acquire a bitter taste, so remove them as soon as they start to change color. 

breakfast samosas

breakfast samosa

A couple of weeks ago, we went out for Indian food at one of our favorite restaurants

Rasika

, in D.C. I'm trying to tick things off my bucket list, some new places to try and some old spots that I know I will miss a lot, this is definitely on my list. Their menu is always delicious and every item on it bursting with flavors, we ended up trying several different dishes and by the end of the meal we struggled to with our desserts (honestly, we could have skipped it but they sounded and were incredible). Strangely enough, we never ordered any samosas which then led me to remedy the situation with these guys!

sweet potatoes

I did something very different this time, I infused the pastry dough with fresh rosemary (though dried will work as well here) and also used coconut oil to create the dough's flakiness. The filling for this breakfast-themed pastry includes a mix of sweet potatoes, leeks, spinach, boiled eggs and a little more rosemary that spiced to create a delicious flavorful mix. 

leeks

There are step-by-step photographs that M took while I prepared the pastries to cook which hopefully make things easier. This is also the way, I prefer to cook my samosas, I don't like to deep fry but simply baking them takes away from the texture of the pastry. So, I do a two-step cooking process where I lightly pan-sear the samosas on each side in a little oil and then bake them till they are cooked.

You can do what I do, prepare these for brunch and/or save the rest and reheat them in the mornings.

breakfast samosas

breakfast samosas

yields:

14 samosas

ingredients

filling 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, fresh or dried

1 cup leek, chopped

2 cups sweet potatoes, diced

4 cups packed spinach leaves, fresh

2 thai green/red chili peppers, thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt

2 large hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped

1/2 teaspoon garam masala 

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan on medium-high for about 30-40 seconds. As soon as the oil gets hot, add the rosemary and stir for 10 seconds. Stir in the leeks and sauté for 2 minutes. 

2. Add the sweet potatoes and coat them with the oil. Cook for another 5 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are just tender. Add the spinach leaves along with the chili and salt, stir and continue to cook until the sweet potatoes are completely cooked. This will take about 4-5 minutes. If the spinach releases a large amount of water, continue to cook until the liquid evaporates. Fold in the eggs and the garam masala. Remove from stove and keep the filling aside, until ready to use.

samosa pastry

ingredients 

1 cup (5 ounces) durum / whole-wheat flour

1 cup (4 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour + a little more flour for rolling out the pastry

2 tablespoons rosemary, fresh/dried 

1 teaspoon sea salt

4 tablespoons melted coconut oil

6-7 tablespoons chilled water*** (you might need more)

1. Add all the ingredients from the flour to the salt in a food processor. Pulse a 2-3 times for 5 second intervals to evenly mix all the ingredients. 

2. Add the coconut oil to the dry ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Sprinkle the 6 tablespoons of water over the flour and pulse the ingredients until they combine to form a ball dough. You may need to add more water to bring the ingredients together. Once the dough is formed, remove from the processor and wrap with cling film. Allow to rest for at least 60 minutes until ready to use.

Assembly

ingredients

a cup of water for sealing the pastry

step by step samosa prep work

See the step-by-step photographs photographs above (from top left to right and then bottom left to right).

1. Dust a clean pastry board or smooth kitchen surface with a little flour. Unwrap the dough and divide the dough into 14 equal parts. Mold each part into a ball, cover the balls with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out while you are preparing the pastries.

2. Take one ball of dough and roll it out into a 5-6 inch circle, dusting with a little flour to prevent sticking.  The edges of the circle do not need to be perfect as you will fold them over.

3. Divide the circle into two semicircles with a sharp knife or pastry cutter. Take one semicircle of the pastry in your hand, using your fingers bring the straight ends of the semicircle together and brush the straight edges with a little water and gently press to seal to form a cone. 

4. Fill the cone with a generous tablespoon of the sweet potato filling prepared earlier. 

5. Brush the open ends of the cone with water and then press gently to seal the mouth. Brush this sealed edge with a little water and then fold this edge once over itself to form a tight seal.

6. Prepare the rest of the samosas similarly and keep aside covered with a damp cloth until ready to cook.

cooking the samosas

ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil for pan searing (you may need a little more or less)

1. Center a wire rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium sized non-stick pan, heat two tablespoons of the oil on medium high. As soon as the oil is hot add 3 samosas and lightly cook them on each side until they are lightly seared and become lightly golden brown. You may need to add a little more oil for searing the other side. 

Transfer the samosas to the prepared baking sheets. Bake 7 samosas at a time for about 20 minutes or until they are completely golden brown. Repeat this for the rest of the samosas.

3. Serve hot with ketchup or sweet tamarind chutney. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can reheat the samosas in a microwave or toaster oven before eating.

semolina halva

semolina halva

Thank you so much for all your kind words and support. To be honest, things have definitely become a little crazy here but we're trying to tackle the madness together and that's what makes it fun! I've chalked out my bucket list of places I've wanted to eat at or want to eat at again, sights I want to see; but how much of this I will get to accomplish, I'm not sure but I'm going to give this my best shot.

semolina and golden raisins

Have you ever tried a semolina halva? It's probably my favorite halva because of its simplicity and  the toasted aroma of semolina can be pretty delicious and comforting. This halva is wickedly two-faced and satisfying, you can eat it for breakfast or serve it as dessert, either way it never disappoints!

Semolina is the tinier cousin of bulgur and it resembles a fine sand. You need to lightly toast the semolina but be careful while doing this as it can burn fast, the photograph below shows how deep I let it brown and should give you a rough idea of what the semolina must look like. You can also use ghee instead of coconut oil (stick to the same amounts) in this recipe. The semolina itself is lightly sweetened but the golden raisins impart a pop of sweetness with every bite you take. The rose water is completely optional and I don't like nuts with this halva so I didn't add any but feel free to add a few mixed nuts with the raisins if you prefer to.

toasted semolina for halva

Here are some of my fellow blogger peeps that made me very hungry this week!
  • What's for Breakfast, Today? by Marta is a spectacular collection of food and travel photographs that if you haven't come across already, you need to check it out! Her work is inspiring and tasty!
  • Molly of My Name is Yeh whipped up a batch of pretzel shortbread cookies and then drizzled them with chocolate. I want to eat each and every cookie she baked.
  • I'm on a breakfast kick these days and Kelly of The Gouda Life is responsible for this, reason being her blackberry sour cream muffins.
I'm also super thankful to the wonderful folks at The Kitchn for mentioning my Fennel Roasted Strawberry Frozen Yogurt as part of their Delicious Links series, last week!


semolina halva with golden raisins

semolina halva

yields: 2-4 servings

ingredients

1 cup semolina
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup green cardamom, freshly ground 
3-4 tablespoons sugar
2 cups water
1 tablespoons rose water (optional)

1. Take a large non-stick wok or large saucepan (you need a pan with large surface area to evenly brown the semolina) with a lid and heat the wok on a medium-high flame. Pour the semolina into the wok and toast the semolina until the granules just begin to turn golden brown. Stir the semolina while toasting to prevent any burning. As soon as the the semolina starts to turns golden brown remove from the wok from the stove and add the coconut oil, raisins and cardamom. Place back on the stove and cook for one 45 seconds with constant stirring.
2. Add the sugar and water, stir the contents. Cover the wok with a lid and reduce the flame to medium-low. Cook the contents for about 5 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated. Remove the lid and stir the contents, all the liquid should be completely evaporated at this point and the semolina should be soft and fluffy. Remove the wok from the stove and sprinkle the rose water over the halva. You can serve the halva as is or use a mold to shape it. Serve this halva warm, store in airtight container and refrigerate excess, reheat before serving.

Note: You can also garnish the halva with toasted nuts or sweetened shredded coconut. I haven't done that here but feel free to do so if you like.

cilantro coconut chutney

cilantro coconut chutney

I have big and exciting news to share with you today;

1. We're moving to the Bay Area.
2. We got engaged! I can't believe, I get to marry my best friend and now we are on our way to start and share an exciting new chapter in our lives! We've known each other for six years, been through the ups and downs that life has to offer, laughed, argued, and cried together, traveled to places, and once narrowly escaped a bear on a hike. Yep, the usual things that all couples do, but above all we're happy and home is where the two of us are together.
3. Finally, I am also super excited to have my first post up at Food52 today where I talk about my love for this bright green chutney aka the Green Goddess, with so many fresh and bright flavors, it will surely brighten up your day. So head over to Food52 to get the recipe.

coconut chutney