Friday, 7 August 2015

Beef Samosas, no, Chamosas, no, Chapatties, no, Beef Paranthas?

Beef Samosas, no Chamosas, no, Chapatties, no, Beef Paranthas?

I adore lamb samosas, but beautiful granddaughter won’t tolerate us eating lamb, so beef samosas, it was.  Except that they weren’t.  They have the filling of a samosa, but not the deep fried crust.  That has to be an improvement, right?  Less time, less calories, less oil in the air, less heart attacks…

These take at least a couple of hours to prepare, what with the filling, the rolling out and then the griddle, not to mention the time spent on the mint chutney, but they are worth it.  I got about twelve chamosas out of this recipe, but they’re very filling.  Two will be adequate for a main course, so these will serve six with a side dish or salad.

I was inspired by Manjula, who is not just strictly vegetarian, but a Jain as well, which means no onion, no garlic.  But she did get the brilliant idea for chamosas in the first place.  She is my hero.

The Stuffing:
Dry roast whole spices till fragrant.

1 tablespoon cumin seed
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon fenugreek seed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon black ajwain
6 cloves
2 Kashmiri chilies
1 black cardamom, husked
2 green cardamom, husked
1 cinnamon or cassia stick
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon ground pomegranate seed 

2 tablespoons olive oil (possibly a bit more, later)
Break up the meat to the smallest bits.
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 red onion, finely diced
2 inches fresh ginger, finely diced
3 Thai chilies, finely diced
5 fresh garlic cloves, finely diced
1 pound extra lean ground beef or ground lamb
2 sweet red peppers, finely diced
2 boiled potatoes, drained and diced *optional
½ cup peas  

First, dry roast the whole spices.  In the pan you will be cooking the filling in, add cumin, coriander, fenugreek, peppercorns, fennel, black ajwain, cloves, Kashmiri chilies, black cardamom and green cardamom and cinnamon or cassia. Set on medium high and brush spices around while roasting.  

Once they are just smoking and fragrant, remove the cinnamon or cassia and then brush remaining spices into a spice grinder, along with the turmeric  and ground pomegranate seed.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile put the cinnamon or cassia back into the pan, along with the oil.  Turn to high.  Add a few cumin seeds.  If oil is hot enough to make them splutter, add the rest, then the mustard seed.  Within seconds add the onion, ginger and chilies and turn the heat to medium.  Stir and cook till the onion becomes translucent and golden.  Stir in the garlic.  Grind the spices to a fine powder, and add to the pan.  At this point you may need to add more oil to cook the spices properly.
Add the ground beef, stirring and breaking up as much as possible so that it browns and is in very small bits.  After it is well browned and cooked, add the peppers.  I’m not fond of carbs within carbs, so I leave out the potatoes, but if you like them, go ahead.  I will say I prefer my beef samosas more veg and less beef, so I rather wished I’d either used less beef or more veg.  I’d planned to use fresh peas, but rain prevented my gathering them, so I used frozen.  I cooked them in the filling a few minutes, till they were thawed.  The heat was then turned off and attention paid to the dough.

The Dough:

4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon course salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 (approximately) cups warm water
Extra flour for rolling out dough

The dough isn’t an exact science.  In a large bowl, add the flour and salt. Combine with your clean fingers.  Add the yogurt and combine as well as possible.  The dough will be crumbly.  Slowly add warm water, combining all the time.  Once you get a somewhat sticky dough, start kneading, with one hand, within the bowl. The dough shouldn’t be wet or soupy, or mass onto your fingers, but it can’t be dry and stiff either.  Slightly sticky, rubbery dough is what you want.  Knead for about three minutes, then cover and set aside for about fifteen minutes.

Alas I have only a blender, which made this fussier to grind..
Mint Chutney:

1/2 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
2 inch piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
1 small red onion, diced
2 cups fresh loosely packed mint leaves
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems
2 Thai chilies (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Pinch sugar, to taste

Now is a good time to make the mint chutney!  In a blender, or better yet a food processor, combine lemon juice,  ginger and onion.  Puree to a paste.  Add mint and cilantro, along with chili. Puree to a paste.  Add salt and sugar.  Taste and adjust.  Set aside.

Putting it all together:
Add as much stuffing as you dare.

2 tablespoons olive oil or other oil in a small bowl with a brush and spoon or spatula

Heat a griddle on medium heat.

Because these are so filling, I made smaller paranthas than I normally would.  Pinch a piece of dough just smaller than a golf ball from the dough and cover the rest.  In your hands, roll that dough into a ball and set into extra flour to cover it well. Flatten then roll it out to about 1/8 inch thick.  

Pinch together

Place about 2 tablespoons of filling into the center.  Fold the dough edges up to one another and pinch shut.  As you roll it out, go very gently and add more dough if you find holes developing. It doesn’t need to be the same diameter as the original piece.  

Once it’s rolled out, put on griddle.  Work on the next bit of dough but watch the first.  After a minute or so, check its bottom.  If it’s mostly golden, flip it and brush with oil.  Continue to cook.  After another minute or two, flip it again, and brush oil onto the other side.  

Each parantha should take about three minutes on the griddle.  As they’re done, remove to a covered warming pot, or a sheet of aluminum foil to cover and keep warm.
Here it is pinched together, but roll it out to less than original size.

Because I was making smaller paranthas than usual, I sometimes had up to three going in the same griddle at one time.  I made these in two batches, as I didn’t have guests to feed, but if you have six hungry people, make them all at once.

Quarter the paranthas and serve with the chutney.  I had mine with a side of kerala, just because I adore it, but a salad would be nice too!  It’s true, they aren’t samosas, but they are delicious, and not as labour intensive or hard on your health.  Enjoy!

Not exactly beef samosas with mint chutney and a bit of kerela on the side.
Less calories, less effort, what's not to love about these beef chamosas?

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