Samosa Soup

Samosa Soup

I like Indian food. Samosas, Indian pastries filled with savory ingredients, are a favorite of mine. I have made Samosas filled with spiced potatoes and green peas on numerous occasions. They are a bit time-consuming to make so I do not make them often. I took ingredients found in Samosa filling and turned them into a delicious and easy soup.  This soup is quick enough to make on a weeknight. Served with warm naan bread, this soup is sure to satisfy a Samosas craving.

Samosa Soup

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon curry powder (store-bought or homemade – recipe at bottom)
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup dried green split peas, picked over and rinsed
8 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup frozen green peas
salt, to taste
1/4 fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat the canola oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, and jalapenos, and saute one minute more. Add the curry powder, cayenne (if using), green split peas, and vegetable broth. Cook 10 minutes. Add the diced potatoes and continue to cook until the green split peas and potatoes are tender, about 20 more minutes. Add the frozen green pea and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Take off the heat, add the cilantro, and serve.

Quick and Easy Salt-Free Madras Curry Powder

3 tablespoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all of the spices and store in a glass Mason jar.


Chana Aloo (Chickpeas and Potatoes)

Chana Aloo
This was one of the first Indian dishes I ever learned to cook. I scribbled the recipe in a composition notebook over 15 years ago. I have made it countless times over the years. It is easy to prepare and super tasty. A nice introduction dish for someone who hasn’t eaten and/or cooked Indian food.

Serve the chana aloo with hot rice (I prefer Basmati) for a quick weeknight meal or as part of a more elaborate Indian meal.

Chana Aloo 2

Chana Aloo (Chickpeas and Potatoes)

2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed (I use Russet potatoes)
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes & their juices
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 15.5 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
fresh cilantro, chopped

Boil the cubed potatoes in water until tender but not mushy, about 8 – 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion until it starts to brown. Add the garlic and sauté one minute more. Add the tomatoes, spices, salt, and chickpeas and cook until heated through. Add the potatoes and continue to cook until the potatoes are heated through. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary, to suit your tastes. Sprinkle the fresh cilantro over the chana aloo and serve with hot Basmati rice.


Curried Collard Greens and Beans

I’m making Indian food for Thanksgiving this year. I hate turkey and am happy I don’t have to deal with it.  Hoping our guests enjoy the non-traditional meal.

This is the menu I made:

Coconut Shrimp Curry
Gobhi Musallam (whole roasted cauliflower)
Chana Aloo (chickpeas and potatoes)
Masoor Masala (spicy lentils with spinach)
Curried Collard Greens and Beans
Basmati rice
Samosas (store-bought)
Tamarind Chutney
Cilantro Chutney
Naan bread (plain and garlic, store-bought)
Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake

Tea, Westbrook Brewing Co.’s White Thai beer, and an assortment of wine

Here is a picture of the savory dishes:

Indian Thanksgiving Meal

Originally, I had not planned on making the curried collard greens and kidney beans dish. I had a bunch of collard greens that I got in my CSA box and wanted to use them. I thought I would make the curried collard greens and beans the day before and reheat them. The flavors will have had time to meld and they should be delicious. I think they were yummy.

Curried Collard Greens and Beans

Curried Collard Greens and Beans

1 large bunch collard greens, cleaned well, tough stems removed, and chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 serrano, seeded and minced
1 15.5 ounce can kidney beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the collard greens and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the greens.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until the they start to brown. Add the garlic, ginger, and serrano and sauté a minute more. Add the drained greens, drained kidney beans, and all the spices. Cook until the beans are heated through. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and serve.


Cilantro Chutney

Cilantro Chutney

This is an excellent Indian condiment.  I like it with samosas or pakoras. This chutney is versatile too. Mix it with some sour cream to make a yummy chip and veggie dip. Mix it with oil and a splash of vinegar to make a salad dressing. You can also use it as you would a pesto. Toss it with hot pasta or use it instead of tomato sauce for a pizza topping. I like making cilantro chutney the day before I want to serve it so that the flavors have time to meld and intensify.

Cilantro Chutney

1 bunch cilantro, washed and dried, most of the bottom stems removed
1 or 2 small green chiles, seeded and cut into chunks
juice of one lemon (or lime)
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 pinch of black pepper
salt to taste (not more than 1/2 teaspoon)

Put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree into a paste. Add water, a teaspoon at a time until you get the consistency you want (not too thick, not too thin).


Tamarind Chutney

Tamarind Chutney

Tamarind Chutney is a delicious sweet and sour Indian condiment. I especially like it with samosas. It is also a nice accompaniment to a cheese plate. The tamarind chutney keeps well too. Store it in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Tamarind comes in many forms. Sometimes  you can find the dry pods in Mexican or Indian markets. I have also seen tamarind concentrate. I get “wet” tamarind (from Thailand) at the Asian market. It comes in a solid block. It’s sticky and full of seeds and pod pieces. I use about 1/4 of the package for this recipe (a little over 4 ounces). I cut up the tamarind block so more surface area can be exposed to the hot water.

Wet Tamarind

Tamarind Chutney

4 ounces of wet tamarind, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
pinch of salt

In a bowl, soak the tamarind in the hot water for 15 minutes. Using a spoon or your hands, break up the tamarind and work as much of the pulp off the seeds and pods as possible. It doesn’t look pretty.

IMG_3082 (640x480)

Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer set over another bowl or measuring cup Work the tamarind through the strainer with a spoon or spatula.

Tamarind Sieve

Discard the seeds and pods left in the strainer. You will have about 1 cup of a somewhat thick tamarind liquid.

In a saucepan, combine the tamarind liquid, sugar, spices, and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. The chutney will still be fairly thin, but will thicken slightly when it cools.

Tamarind Chutney II


Garam Masala

Garam Masala

This is a garam masala spice mix that I use in Indian dishes. It is easily doubled and keeps well in a glass jar. I love mixing these spices together. They smell amazing! Use this spice mix in any Indian dish that calls for garam masala.

Garam Masala

2 tsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine spices. Store in glass jar.


Bundgobhi Lobhiyewali (Cabbage with Black-Eyed Peas) & Masoor Masala (Spicy Lentils)

From September 28, 2004:  I made this incredibly delicious Indian meal last week.  I made bundgobhi lobhiyewali (cabbage and black-eyed peas) and masoor masala (spicy lentils).  I served these dishes with basmati rice, potato and green pea samosas ( I cheated and got some premade frozen samosas and fried them at home…. I do make my own most of the time, but they are time-consuming),  popadoms (fried Indian crackers imbedded with spices), and tamarind chutney (from a jar….Sashi Indian Magic brand).  Check out the recipes below.  

Bundgobhi Lobhiyewali (Cabbage with Black-Eyed Peas)

I liked this dish. The cabbage was sweet and its flavor melded well with the black-eyed peas. It was great reheated because the flavors had time to intensify, which is good because this recipe made a rather large batch.

Bundgobhi Lobhiyewali (Cabbage with Black-Eyed Peas)

1 medium cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
2 medium onions, sliced in thin half rounds
½ -inch piece fresh ginger, grated
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
salt, to taste
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup cooked black-eyed peas, drained (Iused 1 can)
½ teaspoon garam masala

In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. add the cumin. When it darkens (1 to 2 seconds), add the grated ginger. Cook for 1 minute, then add the sliced onions and sauté until lightly browned (about 8 minutes). Add the cabbage, salt, cayenne, and turmeric. Stir, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the cabbage is just done (about 20 minutes). Add the black-eyed peas, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes. Mix in the garam masala and serve.

Recipe source: From Bengal to Punjab: The Cuisines of India by Smita Chandra (The Crossing Press, 1991).

Masoor Masala (Spicy Lentils)

Masoor masala was the star of our Indian meal.  The addition of the spinach really made it incredible.  I’m assuming you could add other kinds of vegetables with good results….zucchini or cauliflower would probably be good additions to the lentils.  This dish is nutritious and incredibly inexpensive to prepare.  It is also awesome the next day because the flavors have had time to intensify. 

Masoor Masala (Spicy Lentils)

1 cup whole brown lentils
4 cups water
salt, to taste
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 medium onions, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
tiny pinch crushed asafetida (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large tomato, chopped
5 to 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach (defrosted)

Wash the lentils, removing any broken pieces and debris. Place the lentils and the water in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, and let soak for 1 hour. Add the salt and turmeric, and cook covered over low heat until tender (about 30 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a small heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the asafetida (if used) and cumin. when the spices darken (1 to 2 seconds), add the chopped onions and garlic and cook until browned (8 to 10 minutes). add the coriander, cayenne, and tomato; cook until the tomato is soft (about 5 minutes).

When the lentils are cooked, add the onion-tomato mixture and frozen spinach, stir, and cook for another 5 minutes (or until spinach is warm through).

Recipe adapted from: From Bengal toPunjab: The Cuisines of India by Smita Chandra (The Crossing Press, 1991).