Greetings dear readers, and a very warm Eid Mubarak to all those who celebrate!
I mentioned earlier this month that this past Ramadan was one of the toughest yet for me, a rumination only affirmed by the unfortunate bout of pharyngitis accompanied by an admission into the ER with low blood pressure and a high fever. But alas, some antibiotics and many days of much needed rest helped me combat the fatigue and I am feeling almost as good as new.
One thing I find fascinating is that when it comes to eating while sick, old habits die hard. Take a health-nut, superfood-loving, refined-carb hating vegan like me and riddle her with a lousy old virus and what do you get? Someone who won’t eat anything but boiled potatoes with cumin powder, salt and olive oil. When I’m sick, it is by far the only thing I can stand to look at without (excuse my French) resisting the urge to hurl. What’s even more shocking? I actually craved soft drinks. I’m not proud to say it, but I washed down many a plate of potatoes with some ice cold 7UP topped off with freshly squeezed lime.
In my defense, I can’t help it. I think anyone from my generation can attest that we’ve been bred to drink 7UP in the case of a) an upset stomach b) a fever c) any state of being unwell whatsoever. There’s just something about Arab doctors and recommending 7UP!
Anyways, as per usual, I digress. Part one of today’s recipe features our friend the white potato, but in a more wholesome version of a true Ramadan classic, samosas – or as they’re referred to here in the gulf “samboosas”.
While samboosa is a staple at most any Ramadan table, it’s also a pretty popular street food that can be purchased from hole-in-the-wall type vendors along with chapathi. It typically comes in two varieties, cheese and vegetable and is served piping hot, crispy and deep fried.
Now, I’m not going to lie and say I don’t indulge in the occasional 1 (or 4) when the opportunity presents itself – I do. But hey – all the more motivation to come up with a healthier and more nutritionally dense alternative, right?
- 1 medium potato, peeled and mashed
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ½ cup peas and carrots (frozen will do)
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp organic coconut oil
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ½-1 tsp curry powder
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 3oz serving of firm tofu
- 2 tbsp of tofutti cream cheese
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 sheets of rice paper
- Start by preparing the filling - in a medium pot heat coconut oil before adding the cumin, coriander and curry powder along with the onion. Sautee until translucent before adding in the peas and carrots.
- Stir on medium heat for a few more minutes before adding in the mashed potato at turmeric. Mix well with a fork to combine and season with salt and black pepper as desired.
- For the cheese filling, combine all ingredients in a shallow bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Set aside the filling to cool and prepare the rice paper sheets - you'll need a large shallow tray with lukewarm water. Soak each sheet in the water on each side for a few seconds before transferring to a cutting board. Cut the sheet in half using a sharp knife (it's important to do this before the sheet goes completely soft).
- You should now have two half-circle sheets which will start to soften up. Spoon the filling 1-2 tsp or so into the corner of each sheet and fold in alternating directions to make a triangle, then roll the loose edges to seal.
- To cook either place in an air fryer for 6 minutes on 200 C or bake in a pre-heated oven or grill (180 C) until slightly golden and crispy. If baking, brush with a tiny bit of coconut oil to avoid sticking.
- Serve immediately, as the rice paper naturally wilts when it gets colder and loses a bit of it's crisp.
Working with rice paper is tricky at first, but it holds up extremely well in place of wheat pastry – and is deliciously light and versatile.
And thanks to my wonderful air fryer, and the result of this recipe development session, I can now have samboosa all year round – guilt free!