Samosa Potatoes

December 27, 2006 at 6:36 pm (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Derek's faves, Indian, Madhur Jaffrey, Starches)

I really like samosas, but I don’t have the patience for rolling dough and deep frying. So I just make the potato filling and serve it as a side dish, or as a filling for dosas. This recipe, from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East cookbook, tastes very authentic to me–when I taste these I don’t think Indian potatoes I think samosa potatoes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rice Flour Dosas with Onions and Black Mustard Seeds

December 27, 2006 at 6:19 pm (A (4 stars, love, favorite), Derek's faves, Indian, Madhur Jaffrey, Quick weeknight recipe, Starches)

This recipe is not authentic as it is made with pre-ground rice flour, and no lentils, but it is fast and super tasty. It’s based on a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East cookbook.

Makes eight 6- to 7-inch pancakes, each using 1/3 cup of batter.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rice flour (also called rice powder)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (or just quarter it)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt (fine salt?)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (the sourer the better)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbs. veg oil (plus more for cooking)
  • 3/4 to 1 tsp. coarsely crushed or very coarsely ground black pepper
  1. Put the onion in the bowl of a food processor and chop finely. Add the white flour, rice flour, cayenne, coconut, salt, yogurt, and water. Blend until smooth and pour into a bowl.
  2. Heat 1 Tbs. of oil in a very small skillet or pot over a medium flame. When hot, put in the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop (almost immediately), pour the seeds and oil over the batter. Add the black pepper and mix thoroughly.
  3. The instructions for cooking the dosas is quite complicated and I’m not going to copy it here since I haven’t yet mastered the instructions anyhow. Jaffrey says to use a 7- to 8-inch nonstick pan, but I use my 12-inch pan since that’s the only nonstick one I have. She also says to use a spoon to spread the batter but I’m not skilled enough to make that work. Instead, I thin down my batter with water, and then just tilt the pan to get the batter to cover the bottom, as you do when making crepes. Note that you want the skillet to be hot, lightly oiled, and the dosa to be as thin as possible. Make sure to cover your skillet after placing 1/3 cup of batter in the pan, and cook until the dosas is no longer white in the center. Flip and leave uncovered when cooking the second side.
  4. To make these ahead of time you can wrap them in tin foil then reheat them later in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes (I haven’t tried this yet).

My Notes

I often add a bit more water to this recipe to thin the batter down and make it easier to spread in the pan, maybe 1 cup?  The thickness of your yogurt will affect how much water you need.  Since I add more water I usually get out more dosas, or bigger dosas, than the headnotes indicate.  Last time I made them I was able to make a total of nine 8- to 9-inch dosas in my 12-inch skillet.

Note that it’s essential to blend the batter in the food processor or blender to achieve the proper consistency. (A stick blender will work as well, but definitely don’t skip the blending step, even if you dice your onions very fine.) These dosas end up thicker than traditional dosas, but they have great flavor. The sourness and onion flavor are most noticeable. I like the onion so much I may try increasing the amount to a whole cup of onions.

I often serve these some subset of: coconut chutney, raita, samosa potatoes, garlic/ginger greens, and dal or sambar.

The recipe calls for using 6 Tbs. of vegetable oil when cooking the dosas, about 2 tsp. per dosa–1/2 tsp. in the pan before the batter, 1/2 tsp. drizzled over the pancake and 1 tsp. around the pancakes edges. I sometimes just oil the pan for the first dosa. They don’t turn out quite as crisp but they’re still very tasty.

Rating: A-
Derek: A

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Sesame sweet potato saute with hijiki

December 27, 2006 at 1:28 pm (Japanese, Root vegetables, Starches, The Vegan Gourmet, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

This recipe is from the Vegan Gourmet 2nd edition.


  • 1/3 cup dried hijiki seaweed (about 1/3 ounce)
  • 1 tsp. raw sesame seeds
  • 1 1/4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (about 2 large)
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. dark sesame oil
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cayenne
  • 2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. mirin
  • 2 green onions, minced
  1. Rinse the hijiki briefly under cold running water, then place it in 2 cups of warm water and soak for 30 minutes.  Lift the hijiki from the water, rinse it again, and drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds until lightly browned and aromatic.
  3. Peel the sweet potatoes, cut them crosswise into 1/4-inch slices, then cut the slices into 1/4-inch strips.  Heat the oils together over medium heat in a heavy bottomed skillet or wok with a tight-fitting lid.  When the oil is hot enough to sizzle a piece of sweet potato, add the sweet potato strips to the pan along with the salt and cayenne, and stir.  Saute, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.  Add the hijiki and continue to saute, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce and mirnin with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl.  Add the mixture to the pan and immediately cover.  Reduce the heat to low and cook for 4 minutes.  Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, until almost all the liquid is gone and the sweet potates are fork-tender, about 2-3 minute.  Transfer to a warmed bowl and serve hot, sprinkled evenly with the green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

My notes:

I liked the combination of the sweet potatoes and hijiki, but my sweet potatoes were undercooked. I don’t know if I cut them too thick, or if they just need to steam longer.  Also, I would have liked more toasted sesame seeds.

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Cannellini beans in mint marinade

December 27, 2006 at 1:14 pm (Beans, The Vegan Gourmet, unrated)

This recipe is from the Vegan Gourmet, expanded 2nd edition.


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh mint leaves
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans, drained

Mix the marinade together, toss in the beans, and allow to marinate at room temperature for several hours.  Serve at room temperature.

Makes 10 appetizer size servings.

My notes:

I thought this recipe made way too much dressing for the amount of beans.  It was too strong tasting for me, although the basic flavor was pleasant.  Derek liked it a lot.

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How to write a recipe

December 27, 2006 at 5:45 am (Cookbook reviews)

Everyone has their own preferences for how a recipe should be written and displayed. I know my formatting for this blog is not ideal, but I haven’t had much time to spend on it. Someday…

In the meantime, I thought the chart form at the bottom of each recipe on the
Cooking for Engineers website is quite interesting. It visually shows the dependencies between various steps.

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