Samosas, Cilantro Chutney, and Aromatic Yellow Rice

Total Time: A little over 4 hours, none of which was down time

Source: Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

Servings: Samosas & Chutney: 5-6 (probably more if you made more dough), Rice: 10+

There comes a point, about half an hour before I finish making anything that takes over two hours, when I seriously question what led me to that moment. I wonder why I ever thought making these dishes was a good idea, and consider giving up and just going out to eat. Tonight, it was while looking at this:

Several things had gone wrong and I had 12 exploded samosas in a Dutch oven. I was watching peas and potatoes fry to a crisp in between crowded, undercooked pastry dough. Normally I question my decisions just because I have spent so much of my day cooking, but at this point I was wondering if we would need to go out for dinner. Fortunately, I had already finished filling the remaining four samosas and knew there was a ton of extra filling (read: about as much as I had put in the samosas in the first place) and the rice had finished cooking and was delicious, so I decided we would eat the filling and rice if it came down to it.

As it turned out, I was able to remedy my mistakes with the remaining four samosas (I sealed them more effectively and only had four in the Dutch oven at once) so most of the family got pretty good ones and the pastry shells from the exploded ones fried up pretty nicely so I still got the flaky deliciousness I had wanted. I am still super happy with what I just ate and very full. I know how to make the whole process more successful next time, but it does make me appreciate America’s Test Kitchen recipes even more because the clarity leads to less troubleshooting. That’s really why I’m able to make new recipes all the time, because I don’t have to hone the process like I do with other recipes.

But enough about how I feel about America’s Test Kitchen. I had lots of thoughts on this meal because I was thinking about it for four hours, so here are my main points in no particular order: 1. I love the Microplane rasp grater. We bought it because ATK was having a sale on it the one we had was one Sean bought before we met, so it was time to buy a new one. Today I used it for ginger (which was the most efficient ginger grating I’ve ever done), but I’ve been thrilled with it while grating Parmesan and lemon zest, too. Highly recommended. 2. It took me 5 potatoes before I really figured out how to dice them using the mandolin effectively, but I did it. It’s amazing for raw potatoes, but with some finesse it’s great for boiled (but not super mushy) potatoes too. I’m still not sure the best way to peel boiled potatoes, though. I used some combination of a peeler (which got gunky), a paring knife (which always took off too much potato with the skin, possibly because my precision knife skills aren’t fantastic) and just peeling the peels off by hand (which only worked if the skins loosened enough while cooking). 3. The cilantro chutney was actually good. I’m generally not a fan of cilantro (though it has been growing on me) but this had just enough spice and some really good flavors. 4. Roasting cumin seeds and then grinding them adds something really great to the flavor. Also highly recommend. 5. I used garam masala made by a former coworker of mine (current coworker of Sean’s) and am always so happy when I use it. Homemade spice blends are much better than store bought. 6. Fried peas are not a thing. They turn into hollow rocks. Not recommended. 7. I am amazed at how thin I had to roll the dough and then how much it puffed up in the oil. Also, rubbing together vegetable oil and flour to make the dough is super fun and my arms were totally not ready for 10 minutes of kneading dough without a break, but I love making dough.

After four hours of cooking, you all get my rambly thoughts. There they are. Happy cooking!

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