POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 02, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 12:49 p.m. HST, Oct 02, 2013
It's difficult to even find a Thai restaurant that doesn't serve pad Thai, a Greek restaurant that doesn't offer falafel or an Indian restaurant that lacks samosas. If these foods were simply unavailable, it might force me to order something else for once.
I dabble in international cuisine, which is how I explain the fact that most of the dishes I make are already popular in the U.S. I'm not an expert in Thai, Indian or Greek cooking, but I certainly know how to make peanut sauce, yellow curry and hummus -- at least the Americanized versions of them.
I spend a lot of time looking at English-language cookbooks due to my monolingual status, and usually it's the fact that I haven't tasted a dish that stops me from trying out a recipe.
My tongue simply has no context for whatever Shaam Savera is, no matter how delicious the author professes it to be.
Perhaps all of this explains why I'm re-imagining the samosa as a twice-baked stuffed potato. I've had plenty of samosas and twice-baked stuffed potatoes, and since I'm no different from most folks, I believe this a recipe that most of you will understand.
These kinds of clues make it easier to make something for the first time. It might be boring, but we can start somewhere.
I applaud Indian cooking for elevating vegetables and doing more than just presenting them as a side dish. That inspires me to participate in the time-honored American tradition of reinventing classics.
Mariko Jackson blogs about family and food at www.thelittlefoodie.com.
SAMOSA STUFFED SWEET POTATO
3 sweet potatoes or yams
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 small onion
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup frozen peas
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and dry potatoes. Poke several times with fork, then wrap each potato in foil. Bake 40 to 60 minutes until they become soft and are baked through.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
After cooling, cut each potato in half lengthwise, and scoop out flesh and reserve in a bowl. Leave 1/4-inch of flesh on the shell.
Mash potatoes in bowl.
Over medium-high, heat dry skillet. Add seeds and toss quickly, letting them get hot and fragrant (use a lid as needed, because mustard seeds should start popping).
Remove seeds to a mortar and smash them until crushed. (You could use ground spices if you prefer.)
Dice onion and, in same pan, heat coconut oil. Saute onions until translucent. Add ground spices back in along with salt, turmeric and garlic. When onion is golden, add peas and stir until cooked. (You may need to add a few tablespoons water.)
Add vegetable/spice mixture to mashed sweet potato. Stir in lemon. Fill potato skins and bake 15 minutes. Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving (including 1 teaspoon salt): 150 calories, 5 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, not cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 3 g protein