Cooking with Ali – Vegetarian Samosas

I don’t know when it happened, but one day I started to really enjoy cooking. I began to see cooking as an activity, not as a means to an end, and on any given weekend (or time that I wasn’t rushed), enjoyed taking the time to cook as a way of entertainment, stress relief etc. This isn’t always the case – we all know that after a day of working late and then a late workout, cooking gets pushed to the side burner – but when I have the time I love to take the time to enjoy it and be adventurous.

My former “work spouse” (don’t ask, that’s what we called one another) Ali, also feels the same way. I am in awe of her instagram – she is always posting so many fun, creative and healthy recipes. That’s why when we got together for dinner before the holidays and she suggested we get together in January, in honor of my birthday, for a day of cooking, I couldn’t have been more excited!

Enter, cooking with Ali. First let me introduce you to Ali:

20140111_140911

Can’t you tell how awesome she is? Her apron even matches her comfy zip up. And it wasn’t intended!

Anyway, we started out with a trip to the West Side Market to pick up supplies. We knew we wanted to make something Indian-inspired, and Ali had found a recipe for some vegetarian samosas that looked amazing. I admittedly have been intimidated by rice paper for years, so I figured there was no time like the present to get over my fear.

So here you go – I present to you, Ali and my slight modification of My New Roots’ fully loaded samosas. If you make these, you MUST make the mint chutney. I admit that I wasn’t so sure (I’m not always a fan of the sweet/spicy combo) but it was AWESOME.

  VEGETARIAN SAMOSAS - I CRASHED THE WEB

Vegetarian Samosas (with slight modifications from  My New Roots’ fully loaded samosas)

Here’s what you need:

  • 8 round rice paper wrappers, about 8.5”
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • ¾ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ cup unsalted cashews
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 ½ cup green peas
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • cayenne pepper (to taste)

Here’s what you do:

  1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, lightly toast coconut until golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Dice onion and carrots to about the size of the peas. Roughly chop up cashews.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan. Add the onion, cumin, mustard powder and minced ginger.  Cook five minutes, then add the garlic. Cook a couple minutes, then add carrots. Stir to coat with spices, cook five minutes, add peas and chickpeas. Remove from heat and stir in spinach, coconut and cashews.
  4. Fill a large bowl about halfway with warm water. One at a time, place a rice paper wrap in the water and let soften, just until it becomes somewhat pliable (NOT soggy! – as Ali told me you should still be able to see some of the pattern from the paper on it). Remove from water and place rice paper on a clean, flat surface – like your counter. Using a pizza cutter, slice the rice paper circle in half. On both halves, place a  scoop of the filling. Fold it up! This is somewhat hard to explain and do – but the original site recommends you: “Fold the bottom corner about a third of the way up the round side of the half), followed by the top corner to meet the base of the fold you just made, creating a triangle. Fold the round edge up onto the top of the package to seal it, and flip it over. This is now the top of the samosa.”
  5. Continue and repeat steps with the remaining rice paper and filling. Place samosas on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  6. Cook for about 20 minutes, flipping about halfway through in a preheated 400°F  oven. They should be slightly brown and somewhat crispy when done. To make them even crispier, brush samosas with a little melted coconut oil before putting int he oven.
  7. Remove from oven and serve with the Sweet n’ Spicy Mint Chutney.

For the Sweet n’ Spicy Mint Chutney (DEFINITELY MAKE THIS)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup firmly packed mint leaves (no stems, washed and dried)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • 2 Medjool dates
  • 1 fresh serrano chili
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. In a food processor pulse garlic, ginger, and chili pepper until a nice paste.
  2. Add dates (you may need to remove the pits first!), mint leaves, lime juice and olive oil. Blend on high until your chutney is smooth.
  3. If it’s too chunky, add a little more olive oil.
  4. Enjoy! I dare you not to want to eat this with a spoon. Or your finger. YUM!
Some of our goodies from the West Side Market

Some of our goodies from the West Side Market. We also made stuffed portobellos.

vegetarian samosas

cooking the “meat” of the samosas. this filling was so good – i’d eat it by itself!

folding the rice paper

folding the rice paper

ready for the oven!

ready for the oven!

vegetarian samosas

ready to eat!

Three things happened after I made these:

  • I got over my fear of rice paper. Spring rolls, here I come!
  • My New Roots became one of my new favorite blogs. You must check it out. Not only because her food pictures are way better than mine, but because she has SO many good recipes I can’t wait to try – especially when I give up meat again for Lent!
  • I fell into a food coma. And was surprised that even B enjoyed these!

Oh, and this happened:

My apron clearly doesn't match

My apron clearly doesn’t match

we proceeded to take pictures of our food

we proceeded to take pictures of our food

Anyway, you MUST make these and tell me how much you love them. And how My New Roots is your new favorite blog.

Some questions for you:

  • Do you have any “work spouses”?
  • Do you wear an apron when you cook?
  • Any weird food phobias for cooking  (not eating)? Mine was rice paper, but now it may be seaweed to roll for sushi. Apparently I have a fear of things you roll?
  • Do you like cooking or find it just a necessary evil?
  • Favorite vegetarian recipes? I want them!
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4 thoughts on “Cooking with Ali – Vegetarian Samosas

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