When you are extremely hungry but it’s late in the night, the options are:
1. Eat food from outside
2. Pray someone cooks for you
3. Scavenge the house for whatever is there
5. Go to sleep
Last night, I cooked. I made Punjabi samosas, one of the extremely difficult things to cook. My housemate asked me what was wrong with me. Well, I like to cook. I like to cook difficult things. Especially when I am so hungry that I feel I am going to black out. No compromises, no shortcuts. In fact add some of your own twists. Take your own sweet time. It’s a test for my patience, for my tenacity. After about the first 15 minutes, I forget that I am hungry. There is no rushing.
After getting off the bus, I got some potatoes. Rest of the recipe is here:
Boil 3-4 potatoes, about a cup of peas. As they are boiling, take about 2 large cups of all-purpose flour, add about four tbs of ghee (Indian butter), some carom seeds (I had to compromise here; used fried cumin seeds instead). Add salt (enough to give it taste; it cannot be salt-less). Mix it well with hands. Keep adding water until desired consistency is reached while kneading. Once done, keep aside.
Small piece of cinnamon stick, 1-2 cardamom (peeled), 1-2 cloves, 2-3 black pepper, a spoon of cumin seeds, a spoon of dried coriander seeds (may very well replace the two with two spoons of cumin-coriander powder, easily available in Indian stores), a small spoon of dried mango powder. Dry roast the these and make sure it’s only slightly roasted. It’s easy to burn it. Grind them well in a mixer. Keep aside. (You may replace this with garam masala if you wish, but make sure you add dried mango powder to it. I wanted freshly ground masala without nutmeg and some other things.) Grind 3-4 green chillies and about half an inch of ginger in the same mixer. You may add more or less chillies, as you wish.
Peel the boiled potatoes and cut into small cubes. In a pan, heat oil, add about a spoon of cumin seeds. After it crackles, add the green chilli-ginger masala. Keep the flame low. In about a minute, add boiled peas, about a spoon of red chilli powder (more or less, as you wish), the dried masala (or garam masala). Saute for about 2 minutes. Masalas should not burn. Add salt, followed by potatoes. Mix well. It’s okay to let the potatoes mash while mixing. The more you mix, the better. Add a little bit of chaat masala. If the tang is not enough for you, squeeze a little bit of lemon. Perfecto! Set aside.
Make small rounds out of the dough, flatten them well. Make sure the center is not very thin. Roll more at the sides. Cut it in two halves with a knife, take one half and fill it with the potato filling, and close it to form triangles. Seal the triangles well using water, so that they don’t break open later while frying. Once done making them, deep-fry them till the samosas are golden brown. Serve with tamarind chutney, coriander-chilli chutney, ketchup. Worth it!
As usual, half the samosa is eaten. I was hungry. Very hungry.
As I type this, I ask my friend who is in Punjab now to get me phulkari dupatta, kada, jutti, patiyala, when he is back here in the US. Yay!