Every culture has a version of samosas – fried or baked pastry with savory fillings like potatoes, peas, or ground meats. My mom used to make samosas from scratch, and they were always served hot for the guests. Our little family would turn into a small commercial enterprise. I would roll the pastries, my little sister would put the filling in, and my mom will fry the samosas. Dad was the floor manager taking out the hot fried samosas to our beloved guests. Traditionally, samosas are deep-fried, but I think the baked version tasted even better! Guilt-free samosas? Count me in!
When the issue of obesity in the western world is discussed, the media is quick to point out restaurants as the culprit. They are serving too many fried foods, with too many bad calories. In my opinion, an even bigger issue is how dramatically homemade food has changed. In most homes, long gone are the days of starting with fresh ingredients, and preparing fresh meals. The frozen meals section at the grocery store is packed with pre-packaged meals, ready to be popped in the microwave. Hot Pockets, Frozen Pizzas, even microwave-ready French Fries are the new norm of home cooking.
Anup and I used to buy frozen samosas to be fried at home before we decided to make a change in our diet. The first thing we learned to avoid was the frozen meals section. In fact, I can’t recall the last time I bought anything in that aisle. Once we let go on the “convenience” of buying pre-packaged meals, we started learning healthy recipes which were easy to make. With minor changes to the recipes, you can turn your favorite comfort foods into healthy foods.
I have used sprouted spelt flour for the dough. Spelt has fewer calories than wheat flour and is somewhat higher in protein. Spelt is also easier to digest. Sprouted Moong is a nutrition-packed food that’s not commonly used in western kitchens. Sprouting any beans makes their proteins easily digestible and it turns their starch into natural sugars giving them a slightly sweeter taste. Sprouted Moong is also low in calories.
Samosas pair nicely with the tartness in tomato ketchup. The problem with the store-bought tomato ketchup is that the ingredient list sounds more like a chemistry experiment than food! The high fructose corn syrup used to give a longer shelf life to tomato ketchup has a number of adverse effects on our bodies. In addition to this, the standard ketchup is high in sodium and sugar content. So, I decided to make homemade tomato ketchup. You can refrigerate this ketchup for up to 1 month with a tight lead on the bottle, and no chemicals here!
Moong Bean Sprouts: Thoroughly wash the beans. Soak for 8-10 hours or overnight in a bowl of lukewarm water. After soaking, rinse them in clean water. Put beans in double folded wet cheesecloth and wrap them in the cloth loosely. Put it in the colander. Sprinkle some water on the cloth twice a day. Beans should usually sprout in 2-3 days. They are ready when the tails are 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. You can store them in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Baked Samosas with Sprouted Moong Filling
2 cups sprouted moong
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 small onion chopped
4 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 inch ginger chopped
spice mix – grind all the spices in grinder
1 tbsp cumin seeds
4 pods cardamom
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp hot paprika powder
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 tbsp salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 juice of lime
1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves – chopped
Heat coconut oil in a large non-stick pan on medium heat. Add onions and stir them frequently until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and spice mix. Cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add sprouted moong, mix them well with the spices and cook for 5-6 minutes until halfway cooked, it should still have some crunch.
Transfer mix to another bowl and let it cool for 10 minutes. Now add raisins, sesame seeds, coconut, cilantro leaves and lime juice. Mix it well. Check for seasoning.
2 cup sprouted spelt flour
2 tbsp ghee/oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold water – as needed
In a big bowl, combine flour, salt and ghee. Add water gradually while kneading the dough by hand. You might need more flour or water depending on the flour. Knead dough until it forms a ball. Let it rest for 20 minutes. You can also use a food processor to knead the dough.
Heat oven to 325°F degrees.
Now, knead the dough one more time, and divide the dough into two halves. Roll out each half out on a lightly floured surface into about 1/8 inch thick circular shape. Using a cookie cutter or edge of the bottle or glass cut out 4 inches circles. Place about 1 tbsp of filling in the center of the circle, brush the edge of the circle with water and put the other circle disk on top. Press edges using a fork to seal.
Brush the samosas with coconut oil and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. Bake until well browned and crisp, about 25-30 minutes. Serve with home made tomato ketchup.
1 can of good quality whole peeled tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp cloves powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp salt
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cinnamon stick, cloves powder, cayenne pepper and cook for 15 seconds until fragrant. Add tomatoes, bring mixture to boil and lower the heat to low and simmer. Stir occasionally until the mixture gets thick and dark, about an hour. Add honey and salt, let it cool. Remove the cinnamon stick and make a smooth puree in a blender. Pour cooled ketchup in to jar and refrigerate.