My formative years was spent growing up in India. One of my fond memories was eating samosa chaat with my friends from a local street vendor. It was fresh off the boiling oil, perfect pastry crust, crispy on the outside and spicy potato inside, then doused with 2-3 kinds of chutneys sweet tamarind, hot green and cooling yogurt. I never told my parents of this secret treat I enjoyed every now and then. The problem was street food in India is not exactly safe and hygiene standards are questionable. Mother would constantly warn me about eating from unreliable places. But I was young, felt immortal and it was so damn good. After a trip to the E.R sense dawned on me.
Fast forward to now I find other ways to enjoy my childhood foods in a healthier way. Deep fried pastry crust is not exactly the kind of food I enjoy anymore. What makes samosas so good is the spicy filling, crispy shell and sauces. To achieve the crispness substitute with fresh crunchy Bibb, Iceberg, Romaine or Boston lettuce and ditch the pastry. It’s just as good and best of all guilt free.
So next time you want to eat any deep fried treat ditch the crust and wrap it in lettuce. Spring rolls, samosa, wontons, empanadas, perogies you get the idea!
I have Amchoor in the ingredient list **amchoor is ground dried green mango powder widely used in Indian cooking to add tartness and sour flavor. Easily available at India/ middle eastern grocery stores. If you cant find it see the substitutes in the ingredients list.
- 1 pound about 500 gms potatoes I like baking potatoes if you prefer low carb substitute half the potatoes with finely chopped cauliflower or a cup of cooked lentils
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1-2 green chiles seeds and vein removed if you prefer mild, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, diced or 1/2 cup finely cut cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves chopped
- ½ cup shelled fresh or frozen peas
- 2 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoon raisin or cranberries
- 1/4 cup toasted cashew nuts
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala or (1/2 tsp garam masala +1/2 tsp **amchoor powder or 1 teaspoon garam masala and 2 tablespoon lemon juice)
- Salt, as needed
- Butter/ Bibb/ Boston/ radicchio lettuce rinsed in cool water for serving
Tamarind and Date Sauce
8-10 soft dates pitted and chopped
2 tablespoon tamarind paste (‘readily available in Indian, Asian and online stores)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
Rock salt or Himalayan pink salt
1 cup water
In a sauce pan bring all the ingredients to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes. Cool completely. You could either strain the sauce by pressing it through a mesh sieve or blend it in a food processor, thin it out with water to obtain a thin sauce. Keeps well refrigerated for a few weeks in a sterile jar.
- Boil the potatoes in their jackets. Cool and peel. They should be cooked yet firm enough to chop into dice.
- Dice the potatoes and carrot into 1/2 inch cubes.
- Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat.
- Add the cumin seeds, add chopped onion, ginger and salt, cook until the onions turn translucent.
- Add the peas, carrots and green chillies. Cook till they are soft.
- Add the potatoes, cranberries and masala powder and lemon juice. Sauté for 2 more minutes till all the spices are well coated.
- Add the chopped cilantro before serving.
- Serve in butter lettuce cups lightly drizzled with tamarind date sauce.