The perfect Rawa Dosa

I learn so much at CaL every day (Chef At Large, the food forum where my food love blossomed)! I had an urge to have rawa dosa the other day and tried my buddy Amruta Iyer’s fabulous recipe with perfect results. And thanks to dear Sushma Ayyalasomayajula for her oh so yum sambar recipe.
Ams and Sush- you rock girls!
Here is the link to Amsie’s perfect rawa dosas.
And here is my plate of yum!

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For the rawa dosas you need

(Makes 6-7 dosas)
A cup of coarse semolina/sooji/rawa (roasted and cooled)
3 tbsp rice flour
1/2 cup of curd
A cup and a half of water (can add more if the batter gets thick)
2 large green chillies, chopped fine
½ tsp Asafoetida/  heeng
1 medium onion, chopped fine
A small bunch or coriander, chopped fine
Salt to taste
Oil as needed for making the dosas.

Mix the rawa, rice flour,salt,curd,onions,green chillies,coriander,asafoetida and beat together with a ladle so that it blends well.
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Slowly add water to make a liquidy,runny sort of batter. Rest for 15-20 minutes.
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Heat a non stick pan.
Splash some water and let it evaporate.
Spread a ladle full of the batter from the outer periphery of the pan. Fill the larger gaps with very little batter, but let some gaps remain for the characteristic webbed effect of  rawa dosa.
Alternatively, scoop some batter in your palm and throw splashes of it on  the pan, creating the web. This needs practice and a safe distance from the hot pan and hence, for beginners the ladle method works better 😀
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Lower the heat and drizzle oil around the dosa and over the the holes/gaps.
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Cover and let cook on low heat for about 3-4 minutes.
Uncover and increase the flame to full.
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Once the edges brown,flip and cook for a couple of minutes.
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Serve hot!
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Before making the next dosa, mix the batter well so that the semolina settled at the bottom mixes well.
If the batter feels thick, add some more water.
Let the pan heat nicely before making the next dosa.
Serve it with this wonderful Andhra style tangy Sambar like I did!

Onion-Yougurt Tawa Sandwich with some Fresh Grape Juice

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Another sandwich! Can we ever enough of them? I guess not. I love desi sandwiches as much as I love the fancy ones. Remember my Desi Tawa Masala Sandwich! A sandwich with juice makes for a perfect summer meal.

This one’s a memory from my teenage years and I reckon most kids who grew up in the eighties and nineties fixed themselves this yogurt spread quick- fix-delight!  There are probably a variety of ways this sandwich is made. Here I share the way my granny made it and then my Mum. I could fix this myself when I was about 13.
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It takes five minutes to make and packs a punch.

You need
White or brown sandwich bread
Some oil to brush the pan
Some mustard seeds/rai
10-15 curry leaves

For the spread
A cup of thick yogurt/curd/dahi
A medium onion chopped fine
A large green chilly chopped fine
A small bunch of coriander chopped fine
Salt to taste
½ tsp red chilly powder
¼ tsp asafoetida
(I sometimes like to splutter some mustard seeds in a tsp of oil, add some curry leaves and asafoetida and add to the yogurt spread)

Heat a non stick pan and brush it will oil. Drizzle a few drops in the centre.
Spread the slices with the yogurt mix.
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Once the pan heats up, splutter half a tsp of mustard seeds and throw in a few curly leaves.
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Quickly place the sandwich on the mustard seeds.
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Press down with a spatula so that the sandwich browns well all over.
Brush the top lightly with oil.
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Flip the sandwich and brown the other side too.
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Serve hot. It doesn’t really need any dip, ketchup or chutney.
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Best enjoyed with a tall glass of chilled juice.
Grape Juice
I blitzed a cup of grapes with half a tsp of sugar, some rock salt,chat masala and a dash of lime and it was a fabulous meal!
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Shannu, who blogs at  Food Passion and Love ,gave me the fabulous idea of this refreshing juice. Thanks Shannu 😀

The festival of Makar Sakranti and Batata Wada/Aloo Kofta

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Makar Sakrati is big in my home town,actually Huge! There is excitement in the air almost a fortnight prior to the festival. On January 14th every year, the Jaipur sky is dotted with colourful kites and their arrival is announced by loud music from every rooftop right from 5 AM in the morning. Sunglasses clad eyes and band-aid clad fingers are seen on every roof top! It is a lovely time of the year. Miss you Jaipur!

Colloquially referred to as Sakrat, it is a day made for feasting on snacks- the fried variety. Large batches are fried and sent to the roof and empty serving plates keep coming back to the kitchen for refills along with jugs of lassi and chaach! There are pakodas/bhajiya, samosas, kachoris, and then the much loved Batata Wada/aloo kofta.

Call it Batata Wada, Aloo Bonda or Kofta, it is as yum! Garlicky and spicy potato masala dipped in gram flour batter and deep fried, what is not to love!
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To make about 20 Aloo Koftas you need

For the Filling
4 large potatoes, boiled peeled and mashed
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 tsp fine chopped green chilli
1 tsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 Tbsp oil
½ tsp heeng/asafoetida
1 tsp mustard/rai
4-5 curry leaves
1 tsp salt
½ tsp red chilli powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp mango powder/aamchoor
1 Tbsp oil

Heat the oil and add heeng and rai. Once the rai crackles, add the curry leaves,ginger,garlic,green chilli and onions.

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Add salt, chilli powder, turmeric and mango powder when the onions turn brown.
Add the mashed potatoes and mix well.

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Take off the heat and add coriander.
Let cool and make small balls.
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For the batter
Besan/chick pea flour-  1 cup
Minced garlic- 1 tbsp (or less if you find it too pungent)
Water- ¾ cup (add slowly to make a medium thick batter)
Salt- 1 tsp
Red chilli powder- ½ tsp (or less as per taste)
Turmeric  (Haldi)-  1 fat pinch
Mango Powder (Aamchoor)- ¼ tsp
Garam Masala- ¼ tsp
Green chillies,chopped fine- 1 tsp
Fresh coriander, chopped fine- 1 Tbsp

Mix all and slowly add water to make a medium thick batter.
Mix well with a balloon whisk.

Dip the potato balls in the batter and deep fry.
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Serve hot with coriander chutney.

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Stuff into pav with some chutney to enjoy Bombay style Wada Pav!

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Aloo Tikki

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I serve Aloo ki tikki in a number of ways and across occasions. As a party starter, kids get-together, evening chai or a complete meal in itself. When serving as a starter, I make tiny mini ones. To be honest I am partial to making tiny versions of snacks. I do it with kachoris as well as samosas.
Sometimes they make for a complete meal and that’s when I make them king size and serve them with chole, mint coriander chutney and  sweet tamarind chutney.The faithful tikki has never let me down.

I make them with a dal and peas stuffing when serving for a meal. This is the simple un-stuffed quick make tikki!

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This recipe makes 20-25 small tikkis

4-5 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
5-6 slices of bread, soaked, squeezed and crumbled
1 medium onion, chopped very fine
1 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped fine
1 tsp green chilli, chopped very fine
½ tsp ginger, grated very fine
1 tsp salt
½ tsp red chilli powder
¼ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp mango powder
A pinch of black pepper powder
Mix all the listed ingredients well.
Make small tikkis.
Deep fry in medium hot oil, or shallow fry in a heavy bottomed pan alternating the heat between high and medium. Keep an eye at all times. We are looking for a nice brown crust.
Serve with green coriander chutney and tomato ketchup.

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Pav Bhaji with home- made Pav Bhaji Masala

Winter brings winter veggies with it, specially lovely fresh green peas and for me, it the best season to make Bhaji. Dunk fresh home-made pav/pao into it and devour….what bliss!
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This time I made the bhaji masala at home, thanks to my friend Shreeya Roy’s recipe. Thanks hun, the aroma of freshly roasted spices takes the bhaji to a different level altogether. Sharing Shreeya’s recipe of pao bhaji masala, and then how I make my bhaji.

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The recipe for pao/pav is here on the blog. Make your own or get very fresh ones from the local bakery to enjoy this famous Bambiya street food! It is a perfect example of the beautiful culinary amalgamation of the Indian spicy bhaji and the Portugese pao.

Pao Bhaji Masala
3 black cardamoms
4 tbsp coriander seeds/sabut dhaniya
2 tbsp cumin/jeera
2 tbsp black pepper corn/sabut kali mirch
¾ tbsp fennel seeds/saunf
5 red dry chillies (Kashmiri preferably)
2 inch cinnamon/dalchini
6 cloves/laung
1 tbsp dry mango powder/aamchur
2 Tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder

Dry roast all the ingredients one after the other except amchur and red chilli powder powder.
Add dry mango powder and Kashmiri red chilli powder to the hot ingredients to release its aroma. Once cool, grind to make a fine powder. The masala good for 5-6 months in an airtight jar.
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For bhaji you need (Serves 4)

2-3 large potatoes, boiled and mashed
½  cup peas, fresh or frozen
3 carrots, boiled and mashed
1 medium cauliflower, boiled and mashed
2 large green peppers/capsicum, chopped fine
2 large onions chopped fine
2 Tbsp minced garlic
6-7 medium sized tomatoes (deep red and not very sour), pureed
2-3 green chillies, deseeded and chopped fine
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 Tbsp oil
3 heaped tsp pao bhaji masala
1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
½ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp Kashmiri lal mirch powder
2 Tbsp butter (and more to top while serving)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup fresh coriander leaves and ½ cup onions chopped very fine to garnish

Pressure cook the potatoes and carrots and mash them well. Boil the cauliflower and mash it.
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the ginger, garlic, green chillies and onions and when the onions are light brown, add the capsicum.

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Cook stirring till the onions are well browned and capsicums cooked. Add the pureed tomatoes, salt, red chilli powder and 2 tsp of pao bhaji masala.

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Cook covered on low heat, stirring in between, till the oil separates.

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If the peas are fresh and tender add them later after adding the mashed vegetables, else add them now.

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Cook for about then minutes and then add the mashed potatoes, carrots and cauliflower. Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes.

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Add butter, kasmiri red chilli powder, the remaining one tsp of pao bhaji masala.Add some water if the bhaji is too thick.

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Cover and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. Take off the heat and add lemon juice and some chopped green coriander.

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To serve, heat bhaji, serve it in a bowl, top with some fresh green coriander, fine chopped raw onions and a dollop of butter. Slit pao from the middle, brown it on the griddle in some hot butter and serve along with the bhaji immediately.
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Dal Pyaaz ki Kachori

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A crisp winter morning and khasta Kachori consorting with cutting chai, small big pleasures of life!

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I am wary of eating store-bought samosa and kachori, but biting into a home-made one makes me feel somewhat less guilty and they sit light on the tummy too! I have no clue as to what the logic is, but you end up gobbling down two at a go!
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In Rajasthan, we have daal kachoris and pyaaz kachoris. I made some daal and pyaaz kachoris. You can play around with the fillings as you wish!
You even get  delectable maawa ki kachoris, a sweet khoya-filled, syrup-dunked delight..mmmm! Well, more on that later. For now let’s make these Daal Pyaaz khasta kachoris!
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This recipe yields 12-15 large kachoris or 25 mini kachoris (I prefer the minis)

2 ½ cups of maida/all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
7-8 Tbsp ghee/butter/oil

Slightly warm water to knead the dough.

Add the salt to the flour and rub the ghee/butter/oil into the flour very well.

Slowly add water and knead well to get a medium firm poori like dough.
Cover with a damp cloth and put aside for 15 minutes while you make the filling.

Filling
1 large onion chopped very fine
½ cup dhuli moong dal (split yellow lentils), soaked for 30 minutes and ground very coarse
2 Tbsp oil
½ tsp heeng/asafoetida
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
1 tsp salt
½ tsp red chilli powder
¼ tsp haldi/turmeric powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp moti saunf/fennel and sabut dhaniya/whole coriander seeds, ground coarse
½ tsp aamchoor/mango powder

Heat the oil and add heeng and jeera. As soon as the jeera crackels, add the chopped onion.
Once the onion browns, add the coarsely ground moong dal and cook stirring for 7-10 minutes.
Add all the dry masalas- salt, lal mirch powder, haldi, coarsely ground saunf and dhaniya and aamchoor and mix well.

To assemble the kachori and fry
Divide the dough into 15 balls to make large kachoris or 25 to make minis.
Roll out each ball and put some filling in (one heaped tbsp for large ones and 1 heaped tsp for minis)
Make into a ball again sealing the joint well.
Flatten with hands into a disc.
Deep fry in medium hot oil for 15-20 minutes till they are cooked through.
Make sure the oil isn’t too hot else they will brown quickly but the insides will remain doughy and uncooked.
Serve with green coriander chutney, sweet tamarind chutney and yogurt/dahi.

– may skip onions to make dal kachoris
– can add parboiled peas after adding onions and skip the daal to make peas kachori

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Chilli Paneer

A Chinese meal is unacceptable in my house without Chilli Paneer. It is eaten as a starter and it is eaten yet again with the main meal. In fact, I need to hide the fried paneer cubes lest they get polished off before being served at the meal!!
Chilli paneer works beautifully as a starter at parties too. It can be prepped earlier on and put together just before serving.
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This recipe serves 4

Prepping the paneer cubes

500 gms of paneer cut into cubes
Oil for deep frying

Make into a thick paste like batter –
½ cup maida/all purpose flour
2 Tbsp corn flour
1 Tbsp Rice flour (skip if not available,but it adds crunch to the paneer)
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic, minced very fine

Dip each cube into the batter and fry in hot oil. It needs to be taken out pretty quick else gets burnt easily.
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To make the sauce

2 medium onions, cubed
2 green capsicums, cubed
2 green chillies, slit (optional. I skip them to keep the heat low or use the large less hot variety)
1 ½ Tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp Ginger, grated fine
Mix together 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp red chilli sauce and ½ Tbsp tomato ketchup
½ tsp vinegar (adjust as per taste for tartness)
Salt and pepper (check and add at the end only if required)
A large pinch MSG or ajinomoto (skip if not comfortable using it)
3 Tbsp Oil
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Heat oil and add ginger and garlic. After a minute add onions and capsicum.

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Cook stirring on high heat for 5-7 minutes.
Take off the flame and add the sauce mix, vinegar and ajinomoto.

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Add the paneer cubes and mix well.
Add salt or pepper if required. Do NOT add salt at the beginning as the sauces are high in salt content.
Serve hot.
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Falafel- crisp deep-fried chick pea balls

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Falafels with Hummus and Pita are a super hit Sunday brunch at my place. I make this meal often as it is really healthy and devoured with much enthusiasm by my boys.

Falafel is a deep fried ball/fritter made from chick peas. This Middle Eastern snack is often served with Pita pockets and Hummus. Quite akin to the Indian Pakoda/bhajiya, falafels are easy to make and crunchy yum to eat!

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This recipe gives 15-20 falafels

1 ½ cup chick peas/kabuli chane, soaked for 6-7 hours
2 medium sized onions, chopped into cubes
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro/hara dhaniya, chopped coarsely
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped coarsely
5-6 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
¼ cup Olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 Tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp all purpose flour/maida
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
Oil to fry

Drain the chickpeas and grind with the sesame seeds in the mixer. Pulse/grind twice.

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Add the onion, cilantro ,parsley, garlic, salt, chilli powder, cumin powder and lemon juice. Add a tbsp of olive oil and grind once.

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Do not grind very fine, keep the mixture little coarse. Try not to add water as far as possible. Add olive oil slowly in case the mixture needs to loosen a little to grind.

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Heat oil.
Add baking powder and a little flour to get a doughy consistency. Add only as much flour as required to make the falafel balls. Grease hands with a little oil and make 15-20 balls.

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Deep fry the falafels in medium hot oil. If the oil is too hot, the falafels will brown on the outside but remain uncooked inside. So keep the heat low to medium at all times.

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Drain and serve.

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To assemble a sandwich
Cut the pita into two, stuff two falafels in the pita pocket, top with Hummus and chopped cherry tomatoes/regular tomatoes slices and chopped lettuce.
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Recipe adapted from here at Epicurious.

 

 

Paneer Tikka and a Mini Barbeque

So the husband got this tiny metal box home calling it a mini barbecue. I acted the sceptical wife.

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But man! We got the perfect Paneer Tikkas and all of us loved them!
Paneer Tikka
The recipe is simplicity itself-

Paneer, cubed- 500 grams
Capsicum, cubed the same size as the paneer- 3 to 4
Tomatoes, cubed the same side as the paneer- 3 to 4 (I removed the soft fleshy part from the tomatoes to avoid the liquid dripping on the coals)
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Marinate the paneer for 2- 3 hours.
Skewer it with oil rubbed capsicum and tomatoes.
Barbeque and enjoy!
My first time with the barbecue and had a blast!

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For the marinade
Thick yogurt/curd/dahi- 1 cup
Salt- 1 tsp (to taste)
Kashmiri red chili powder- ½ tsp
Turmeric/haldi powder- ¼ tsp
Coriander/dhaniya powder- ½ tsp
Garam Masala powder- ¼ tsp
Cumin/jeera powder- ¼ tsp
Goda masala- 2 pinches (Skip if not available)
Crushed ginger-garlic- 1tbsp

Mix all of the above to form the marinade.

Cover the cubed paneer well in the marinade and leave covered for 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

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Samosa

Who can resist a well made hot and crisp Samosa! Spicy potatoes encased in a crisp pastry, yum 😀
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Okay, maybe fit only as a rare indulgence, but magical with a cup of coffee or chai. I made samosas for the first time last Diwali and realised how simple they were to make!
Now before a party or a festival, I make these mini samosas at least a day in advance, ziplock and freeze them. I fry them as and when needed. The maximum I have frozen and stored them is a week. These come in real handy as starters or snacks.
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Play around with the filling as you want. I do the traditional potato filling and sometimes a potato, onion and peas filling.

For the filling
Potatoes, peeled and chopped fine- 4/5
Oil- 1 Tbsp
Asafoetida/heeng- ½ tsp
Cumin seeds/jeera- ½ tsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Red chilli powder- ½ tsp
Green chilli, chooped fine- 1 tsp (adjust as per taste)
Ginger, grated fine- 1 tsp
Garam masala- ½ tsp
Aamchoor/mango powder- ½ tsp
Fresh coriander leaves/cilantro/hara dhaniya

Heat oil, add the asafoetida and cumin seeds. As the cumin starts to crackle, add the potatoes, green chilli, ginger, salt, red chilli powder and mix well. Cook covered till the potatoes soften. When done add the garam masala and amchoor and mix well. Mash some part of the filling mixture and mix. Add the chopped coriander and the filling is ready.

For the samosas (This recipe gives about 40 small samosas)
Maida/All purpose flour- 500 gms
Salt- 1 tsp
Oil- ½ cup ( or a little more if needed)
Carom seeds/ajwain- 1 tsp
Oil to fry the samosas
Mix all the listed ingredients. Rub the flour with finger tips till the mixture resembles bread crumbs and a fistful of the flour holds well. Add water slowly to knead firm dough. Rest for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 20 parts and make balls. Roll out to make a small circle. Cut into two halves to get two equal semi-circles.
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Bring one end to the centre of the semi-circle and seal with a dab of water. Bring the other end to form a cone.
Spoon in some filling and seal the opening after moistening the edges with some water. Make all the samosas like this. Deep fry in medium hot oil. If the oil is too hot, the insides will remain raw while the outside browns too quickly. If it is not hot enough, the samosa will soak a lot of oil! So the heat needs to be right.

To store, transfer to ziplock bags and freeze. Remove and fry as and when needed. They stay good for up to a week.
Enjoy with fresh coriander chutney and tamarind chutney!

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