We Indians love to eat. We have a good breakfast early morning, followed by maybe a snack around mid-day, then lunch around , an evening chai with some snacks and then dinner between . There are some key points to be noted. All meals have to be cooked fresh. We Indians do not believe in eating leftover food!':(
Another important component of the Indian culture is the "evening chai". I don't know if the British started this trend or it existed before the British rule, but drinking Chai in the evening with some snacks is quite important. Now most often these evening snacks comprise of fried food like samosas, pakoras( fritters), bhajias ( deep fried veggie pieces), chakuli, Chivda ( mixture) etc. Well, you see where I am going with this right?? A. Do we need this evening tea?? Well yes, even though physiologically, our body might not need the additional calories, habits and traditions are hard to break. Also, health wise, it is better to eat frequent small meals than large infrequent meals. So, what is the solution?? Of course, make the unhealthy, healthy! With this objective in mind team DFT brings to you " Unfrying the fried Snacks!" The dedicated members of team DFT have discovered/ invented ways to make the same delicious snacks without deep frying them!
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As part of this effort, I am bringing to you the most popular of all Indian snacks: Samosas. Samosas can be eaten as snacks/ appetizer. It is basically like a pattie/ empanada with an outer flour layer that is stuffed with some kind of egg/meat/chicken/vegetable filling and then deep fried. There are very few people who don't love this. I have made a healthy version of it by bringing to you vegetables samosas that have been baked instead of being fried. Traditionally, the filling inside the vegetable samosas is made up of seasoned potatoes. To make it low in calories and starch and therefore diabetes friendly, I have swapped the potatoes with carrots cauliflower and cabbage. I have also used whole wheat for the outer layer( cover) instead of using maida ( all purpose flour). It is still just as tasty and delicious!! If you are worried about making the triangle shape, I have a super-easy method for you. It also does not take too much time to make. Do try it and let me know your views on the same!
Servings: makes around 25 small ( mini) samosas.( serving size: 2-3 samosas per person ).
For the outer cover:
Whole wheat flour: 1 cup
Fine sooji ( rava/cream of wheat): 1/4 cup
Coconut oil: 1 tsp+ 1 tsp ( any cooking oil can be used)
Lukewarm water: 1 cup ( may not need all)
Salt: to taste
Milk: 2 tbsp for brushing ( use almond milk for vegan option)
For the filling:
Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Chopped onion: 1 cup
Grated carrot: 1 cup
Finely shredded cabbage: 1 cup
Cauliflower florets: 1 cup
Green chilli: 1 medium, finely chopped
Garam masala: 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice: 1 tbsp
Salt: to taste
For the outer cover:
Add the flour, sooji, salt, 1 tsp oil to a bowl. Adding water little at a time, make a soft pliable dough. Knead it well and shape it to a ball. When done, apply oil to the outside of the ball. Cover with a damp cloth/ paper towel and keep aside for 10-15 mins. In the mean time, prepare the filling.
For the filling:
Heat oil in a sauté pan/wok. Add the chopped onions and sauté until the onion turns slightly golden brown. Add the cauliflower florets , choppe chilli bits and cook on low flame until it is 3/4 done. Now add the chopped carrots and cabbage, salt, garam masala powder and cook until it is just tender. Do not overcook. Turn off the flame and add the lemon juice. Mix well and keep aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.
Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and keep ready.
Putting the Samosa together:
Pinch a lemon sized dough and shape it into a ball.
Then roll it into a 5-6 inch diameter circle.
Now using a sharp knife cut it into two equal semicircles.
Do the same with all the dough that is left. You should be able to make approximately 25 bite-sized samosas or 10-12 big samosas. You will definitely have left over filling. Use it as a filling for chapati wraps or as a side dish for chapatis.
Brush both sides with milk/almond milk and line them on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Bake at 350 deg F.for 35-45 mins or until light golden brown, turning it over once in between and brushing it again with milk.
Serve hot with cilantro/mint chutney or ketchup.I was out of cilantro chutney and had to use ketchup. Be wary of how much ketchup you use. Do not use more than 1/4 tsp ketchup for 3 samosas.
Tastes best when consumed immediately. I am bringing this to Fiesta Friday! I bet they love samosas too..
Cooking made easy:
Any kind of healthy vegetable with low starch content can be use as a filling.
The seasoning for the filling and the spice level can be varied based on individual preferences.
If you have issues rolling out a perfect circle, you can use a big plate with slightly sharp edges and cut out a perfect circle. You can also use a big cookie cutter ( if you happen to own a cookie cutter that big!).
Foot notes (Tip for healthy living):
Whenever possible use whole wheat flour as opposed to all purpose flour ( APF)/white flour or maida. At times, you may have certain issues with taste but remember, whole wheat flour is way healthier than the much processed all purpose flour that has been stripped of all it nutrients. All purpose flour or maida is made from heavily refined and processed wheat grains , while whole-wheat flour is made from wheat grains that are not that processed. One of the main differences between APF and whole wheat flour is the fiber content. The white flour is made by separating the fiber-rich bran from the wheat grains so much so that a 1/2 cup of white flour contains 1.3 grams of fiber while the whole wheat flour contains 6.4 grams. The recommended daily intake of dietary fiber is 28 grams a great percentage of which can be acquired by using whole grains in our meals.
We know that when it comes to diabetes, carbohydrates per se spike the blood sugar levels. While it is hard to stay away from all carbohydrates, it is always wise to choose carbohydrates with a lower glycemic index ( GI) which means that these food groups are absorbed more slowly into the blood stream thereby preventing the spiking and crashing of the blood sugar levels. Bread made with whole wheat flour was found to have a GI of 51 whereas that from white wheat flour has a GI of 71. Every little bit matters when it comes to regulating blood sugar levels.
Whole wheat flour also has a higher vitamin content which includes folate, riboflavin, vitamins B1,B3 and B5. All purpose flour or maida is stripped of all these vitamins making it nutrient-poor. It has been found that 1/3 cup of whole wheat flour has 3 milligrams of niacin while 1/2 cup of APF or maida has only 0.8 milligrams!!
I am not a nutritionist or dietitian. My knowledge and information is based on my research and reading from different resources. Please consult your doctor or dietitian before making any changes to your diet.
Do try these other "Unfrying the fried snacks" from team DFT!
1. Sonal's Lauki Palak Pakoda
2. Shailja's mixed vegetable cutlets
3. Anu's green gram bonda
4. Chahat's Veggie bread rolls.
5. Prachi's pan-fried bread pakora
6. Paro's baked ribbon
7. Apsara's baked sweet potato chips.
8. Swati's whole wheat moong dal samosas.
Food for thought:
When a thing is done, it's done. Don't look back. Look forward to your next objective. George C. Marshalla