Con-fusion Cuisine: Samosa-dillas
What do you get when you cross a Samosa with a Quesadilla? A Samosa-dilla! Fusion cuisine is cuisine that combines elements of different culinary traditions. Asian fusion might combine elements from East, South-East and Southern Asia. Tex-Mex in a fusion of Mexican and Southwestern United States cuisines. Sounds like an identity crisis to me. Perhaps, it should be called Con-fusion Cuisine. The trend has been around since the 1970’s, so I figured I better explore some fusion dishes before the concept is cleared off the table.
Within the past year, I’ve become a fan of Indian food, especially Samosas. A Samosa is a fried pastry that’s filled with a savory filling, usually potatoes and peas. So, there are reasons I haven’t ventured into Samosa production. While the act of making and rolling out dough (and cleaning up the post-frying mess) is a labor of love, it’s still labor. And after three years of striving to follow a whole-food, plant-based diet, my system does not process fried foods very efficiently. I wanted to figure out a way to get around these two obstacles. I remembered that I had a package of frozen Indian Roti bread in the freezer. I buy them in the Indian section of an ethnic produce market. The Roti look like raw flour tortillas and brown up nicely when cooked in a skillet or on an electric griddle. (This is the “-dilla” part of the recipe’s name.) I was optimistic that the Roti would be the time-saving and fat-eliminating solution I was looking for. For the filling, I cooked up some potatoes, onions, peas, jalapeno and Indian spices. After the griddle was up to temperature, I threw on a frozen Roti and grilled it just enough to cook but not brown the one side so that the filling would have a sticky surface to settle into. After I turned it over, I spooned the filling onto one half and folded the other side on top, pressing down with a spatula. When the one side of the Samosa-dilla was browned, I turned it over and browned the other side. A few peas and pieces of potato were able to sneak out, but I was surprised that my Samosa-dilla was a neat little package. And that’s when the wheels kept turning. I wanted to make them just a little neater and decided to wrap the filling into pockets and bake them. To do this, I simply let the Roti defrost just enough to cut them in half, filled them and pinched the edges together to form a triangular bundle. When they came out of the oven, they had a golden-brown color and a crispy texture. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. And that’s when the wheels started turning again. Now I’m planning a plant-based cocktail party in my head . . . Samosas, knishes, mushroom bundles. When will it end? I hope it never does. Back to reality . . . if you’re pressed for time, just make the Samosa-dillas and serve with your favorite chutney. You can make the filling a day early and fill and grill them the next day. So I wonder . . . since I used an Indian flat bread and not a Mexican tortilla, is this really Fusion Cuisine? Perhaps not, but it sure tastes good! Make yourself a Samosa-dilla and make it a Vegi-curious day!
- 1-1/2 lbs. white potatoes, peeled & cut into ½” chop
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 jalapeno or other green chile, minced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- 1 cup cooked peas
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Frozen Roti, as needed
Boil potatoes until tender. Drain and let cool.
In a non-stick skillet, toast mustard, cumin and coriander seeds until aromatic. Place in spice mill to grind. If you don’t have seeds, use ground mustard, cumin and coriander. Adjust quantity to your taste.
Heat 2 tablespoons of water in sauce pot or the same non-stick skillet. Add onions and saute until golden, adding more water to prevent sticking. Add jalapeno, spices and cilantro and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in potatoes and peas.
Heat electric griddle or non-stick skillet on high. Place Roti on griddle and grill until the dough “sets” but does not brown. This should take about 1 minute. Turn Roti over and spread some of the potato filling on one half. Fold over and press down with spatula. When brown on one side, turn over and brown the other side. Remove to cutting board and cut into three wedges.
Serve with your choice of chutney.
To make Pocket Samosas:
Let Roti defrost enough to be able to fold. (This takes only a minute or two.) Cut Roti in half and place filling on one half of the semi-circle. Fold the dough over the filling and press edges together to seal. Bake in 450F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, turning over once.
Number of servings: depending on how much filling you use per Samosa-dilla, you will get about 8 to 10. If you’re making the baked pockets, you’ll get about 16 to 20.