Sunday, November 16, 2008

1001 Samosas ( Stuffed & Fried Indian pastries)

Click on the image at the left to view the cookbook.
This cookbook lists 1000 simplified samosas (deep fried Indian stuffed pastries).Ten different bases are paired with ten different additives and ten stuffings to create a thousand different samosas. These recipes are graded from easy to tough, with 000 being the easiest and 999 being the toughest. 

The base:
Though refined wheat flour (maida) account for most samosas cooked across India, we can make samosas from a variety of flours. As many of these flours cannot be kneaded easily into a dough, they are mixed with wheat flour to make kneading easier. Each flour will change the flavour and texture of the samosa. Rice flour would make it crispy, gram flour would make it chewy, semolina would make it gritty and so on. Try experimenting with various flours.

The additives:
A variety of spices or herbs as listed in column 2 can be kneaded into the dough.

The stuffing:
Anything without too much moisture can be used to stuff a samosa. Potatoes, paneer and dal make easy stuffing whereas cauliflower or radishes take time to master, because they have more moisture. Though non-veg stuffings are not as common, they can be cooked into delicious samosas.

Combining a variety of stuffing with a variety of bases and additives would give you an endless list of samosas. Experiment and fave fun !

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"It is extraordinary to me that the idea of creating thousands of recipes by mixing building blocks takes immediately to people or it doesn’t take at all. .... If it doesn’t grab a person right away, ... you can talk to him for years and show him demos, and it doesn’t make any difference. They just don’t seem able to grasp the concept, simple as it is". ( Thanks Warren Buffett !)

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Okay, let me start from the very beginning. 1500 crore years ago, with a Big Bang, the Universe is born. It expands dramatically. Hydrogen forms, contracts under gravity and lights up, forming stars. Some stars explode, dusting space with the building blocks of life. These condense into planets, one of which is Earth. Over time, self replicating molecules appear, multiply and become more complex. They create elaborate survival machines (cells, plants, animals). A variety of lifeforms evolve. Soon, humans arise, discover fire, invent language, agriculture and religion. Civilisations rise and fall. Alexander marches into India. Moguls establish an empire. Britain follows. Independence. Partition. Bloodshed. The license raj is in full sway. I'm born. India struggles to find its place. Liberalisation. The Internet arrives! I move from Tirupur to Chennai. Start a company. Expand into Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East. Poof! Dot com bust. Funding dries up. Struggle. Retire. Discover the joy of cooking, giving, friendships and the pleasures of a simple life. Life seems less complicated. Pizza Republic, Pita Bite and Bhojan Express bloom !

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