It’s Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Light, The Festival of Cholesterol, and the Festival of There-Goes-My-Diet. As with any Jewish holiday, there are traditional foods associated with it and enjoyed by the community. Such treats for Chanukah include potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly-filled doughnuts (sufganiyot). But where food is involved, why limit yourself to one tradition when there is a world of suitable and delicious food out there?
The main theme uniting the traditional Chanukah foods is oil. The festival has come to revolve around a story of the miracle of one day’s worth of oil burning in the sacred menorah for eight days. Latkes are fried in oil, as are sufganiyot. And so are…. samosas! Over the past several years, we have made and enjoyed samosas every year at Chanukah, and for my family, the holiday is just not the same without them. It’s a new tradition, and one we are in no hurry to abandon anytime soon.
So, without further ado, let’s celebrate the Festival of Deep Fried Food with these totally amazing Indian treats.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup soft butter or other shortening (solid coconut oil works nicely for pareve or vegan)
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and rub with your hands until it reaches a bread-crumb texture. Add warm water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, till the dough gathers into a ball. You’ll need somewhere above ½ cup. When it’s a nice pliable texture, knead for 10 – 15 minutes and then cover in plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for about an hour. The kneading attachment in a food processor does a terrific job at this, taking only a minute or so.
- 4 medium potatoes, boiled unpeeled and cooled
- 4 TBSP veggie oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 cup peas (frozen are fine)
- 1 TBSP peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1 fresh hot chili, minced (or less if you don’t like heat)
- 3 TBSP cilantro, finely minced
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 TBSP lemon juice OR 1 TBSP lemon juice and 1 TBSP amchoor powder
Peel the potatoes and dice small. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions until they are light brown. Add the peas, ginger, chili, cilantro and 3 TBSP water. Cover, lower heat, and simmer gently until peas are cooked, adding water if needed to stop it sticking. Add the potatoes, salt, coriander, garam masala, cumin, cayenne and lemon juice. Mix well and continue cooking for 3 – 4 minutes. Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.
Take dough from fridge and divide into 24 equal balls. One at a time, roll each one out till it’s about 6 inches in diameter, and then cut through the centre to make two half-disks. Place a small amount of the filling on each half (you’ll figure out how much through trial and error), and then pinch the dough together to make triangles, with the top coming over the sides to seal it.
When they’re all done, deep fry in hot oil until they are golden brown. Drain on paper towels or the like. Serve hot or room temperature with tamarind dip or chutney.
- 1/4 cup tamarind paste
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 TBSP sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 TBSP corn starch
- 1/4 cup water
In a heat-proof dish, soak the tamarind paste in the boiling water until the water is cold. Press through a sieve or pea straining, retaining the liquid and any of the fruit that squishes through the mesh, but discarding the fibrous pulp and skin that remains in the strainer.
Transfer to a small pot. Add the sugar, salt and cumin and heat. While this is getting warm, mix the corn starch and 1/4 cup water, whisking well, and pour into the pot. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. This should thicken the sauce slightly so it’s a nice consistency for dipping.
No, this is not a traditional Indian recipe, but it’s mine and it works. Feel free to find something more authentic and enjoy!!!!!