Masala Popcorn

Masala Popcorn

Masala Popcorn on a Friday night!  Friday night, often  a movie night in many families happened to be a movie night for me also today!  Masala Popcorn also became my dinner, as many a times when one is alone for a meal, the motivation to cook just vanishes. This interesting recipe  by Vikram Sunderam, the celebrity chef of Rasika tempted me to try it out. Rasika is known for its super quality contemporary Indian cuisine. I have over several occasions had celebration meals at the variety of restaurants under the Rasika group management, and never have we been disappointed!

Popcorn is something I have always enjoyed. Some years back I tasted jalapeño flavored popcorn at Potomac Mills. After tasting this salty and spicy flavor in popcorn, chance of this flavor being on the top flavors are quite likely. 

The recipe was created with the desire to bring the flavor of Chevda, the Indian quintessential snack. As an Indian, we always look for the comfort of the spices and  recreate the taste at the first chance we have. This recipe is truly a creative idea by Vikram, and no wonder this is a popular accompaniment at Rasika Bar. If I get a chance to meet him, I would probably get his autograph on the Recipe book that Rasika has just released it, and which I had the chance to get it on my anniversary. What more can a foodie ask for! 

I enjoyed this uniquely flavored Masala Popcorn while watching a Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma starrer When Harry Met Sejal! Movie review- A plus to Anushka for doing an amazing task of imitating a Gujjuben, and SRK is always at his best for his diehard fan! The masala in the movie was equivalent to  the masala in the popcorn, with  the use of cumin, coriander, curry leaves, chillies and spice level further raised by some red chili powder. 

Masala Popcorn has a nice kick in its flavor, while providing a comfort meal.  A two minute dinner that has all the spices, fiber and is low fat, is an interesting combination for sure. Enjoy your favorite movie, accompanied by Masala Popcorn!

Print Recipe
Masala Popcorn
Popcorn wit Indian Spices
Masala Popcorn
Course Appetizers
Cook Time 5 min
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Appetizers
Cook Time 5 min
Servings
people
Ingredients
Masala Popcorn
Instructions
  1. Create the garnish for the popcorn first. Heat the oil in a small saucepan, Once the oil heats, add coriander seeds and asafetida. Lower the flame so that garnish does not over cook.
  2. Once coriander seeds crackle, add cumin seeds. As the cumin seeds brown, add fennel seeds. After few seconds, add the remaining ingredients and remove from flame.
  3. If cooking on gas I suggest creating the garnish first, and then mixing the garnish in the popcorn and then popping it over the stove.
  4. Otherwise, follow the microwave instructions for making the popcorn. Once the popcorn is cooked, add the masala garnish and toss it thoroughly so that the flavor is well integrated in the popcorn.
  5. Enjoy a nice family evening with Masala Popcorn and interesting movie at home!
Recipe Notes

Tips

Recently I came across this Masala flavored Popcorn by Swad having the spices of red chili powder, which might be a good alternative, though I have not tried it.

Instinct Factor

Taste of home is the main instinct factor for most of chefs!

Feel Factor

Masala Popcorn gives a great kick to the flavor of popcorn, For the really  high spice lovers, some finely chopped jalapeño will coat the popcorn well. Low fat tasty alternative to the buttery popcorn, and also possible to have more, as its not so high in calories! I had two servings and enjoyed the fennel, cumin , green chillies and curry flavor in the popcorn. Masala Popcorn while watching movie, made the movie  more enjoyable and memorable!

 

Aloo Gobi Singara Layered Bengali Samosa

Aloo Gobi Singara Layered Bengali Samosa is traditionally known as Aloo Phulkopir Singara in Bengali. When I saw this image on the web, I was fully mesmerized by the flowing layer look atop one of the most famous Indian Snack- Samosas! It just made the samosas climb a new height in my eyes. I had been craving for Samosas and it being Diwali time, in most homes, the best and the most creative dishes are being cooked so was looking for a recipe that satisfied my creativity as well as craving for samosas.

Cauliflower stuffing mixed with the traditional potatoes, gives it a whole new taste and the traditional recipe even mixes in raisins and cashews which I avoided, as did not want a sweet taste in the singara. My exposure to Bengali samosas came from Tewari Brothers near Opera House in Mumbai, whose samosas are just simply amazing and different as they had Chhole filling in their samosas and were fried in ghee. Now interesting point to google would be did Singara came first or the Persian Sambosag

So while searching for that recipe, I came across the Aloo Gobi Singara which was definitely different in taste with an interesting look, so thought why not start the Diwali festivities with a new take on an all time favorite Samosas!! Addition of whole spices of fennel seeds, coriander seeds and cumin seeds as well as a good amount of aamchur and roasted cumin gives it a good depth and blends the cauliflower and potatoes into a nice tangy, spicy mix, and when fried in ghee, everything just becomes fragrant, My house reminded me of the aroma at Tewari Bros! In West Bengal, singara and samosas are two different items, primarily different in shape as the samosa are more triangular/flatter  and can be filled with many other stuffings, but singara has to have potatoes and cauliflower in their stuffing and are more rounder with greater amount of stuffing inside it. 

Singaras are popular tea time snacks or journey snacks and they were introduced in 13th or 14 century by central Asian traders who brought them along with them to eat and they often originally had meat and other stuffings in it. The Persians called them as Sanbosag, and the Bengalis nicknamed them as singara as it had close resemblance to the Shingoras(Chestnuts). Well that makes the Aloo Gobi Singara Layered Bengali Samosa  an even more apt fall delicacy as it is named after Chestnuts! The taste was great and the shape, texture and crispiness even greater!! The recipe below is a mix of various recipes on Singara on the web, modified to suit my personal taste. It does take some time to take, but then no Diwali/Festivity recipe is without some effort! 

As a Jain I am happy to share this, as its a recipe that only uses half the amount of potatoes, and which easily can be substituted by Green Bananas. The time to cook is slightly more than normal samosas, and one can even try this using pastry dough too!

Happy to share Aloo Gobi Singara Layered Bengali Samosa with you all and wishing everyone a Prosperous Dhan Teras!!

 

 

 

 

Print Recipe
Aloo Gobi Singara Layered Bengali Samosa
Aloo Gobi Singara Layered Bengali Samosa
Course Appetizers
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 7 min
Cook Time 1 hour
Passive Time 30 min
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
For the Stuffing
Course Appetizers
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 7 min
Cook Time 1 hour
Passive Time 30 min
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
For the Stuffing
Instructions
Preparing the Dough
  1. Mix in the flour, salt, carom seeds and oil thoroughly for about five minutes, till you see small lumps can form.
  2. After that add about half the water and combine thoroughly, then add the remaining water and knead the dough into a firm yet pliable consistency, slightly smoother than a pie dough.
  3. Cover with a wet cloth for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Check for the gluten formation, by pressing fingers into the dough. If the dough bounces back, the gluten has formed.
  5. Divide the dough into twelve parts and make round balls.
Preparing of the stuffing
  1. Heat the oil and add the coarsely grounded spices to it. Stir for a minute and then add the minced ginger and green chillies and stir further.
  2. Add cubed potatoes, mix and cover for 3 minutes to cook.
  3. Add cauliflower florets, turmeric powder and cover for 3 minutes and cook further
  4. Add salt , whisk the vegetables and cover and cook for another 5 minutes
  5. Add all the remaining spices and mix in two tbsp coriander, cook for 1 minute and remove from flame and let it cool.
Making Singara
  1. Roll one round ball into oval shape about 6 inches long.
  2. Lightly fold the rolled dough into half and open again.
  3. Cut the oval into half, at the indicated half line present due to light folding.
  4. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife make horizontal cuts across one half of the oval, about 1/2 inch apart, and also leaving a 1/4 inch border. Moisten with water all over the surface of this half
  5. Place the non-serrated/ plain half over the moistened cut/serrated half and align all the edges well.
  6. Bring the flat edged side on the top, curved side on the bottom, and also the cut side should be below, and plain half on the top. This way the cut side will become outer covering and plain side will be the inner side, when you fold the singara.
  7. Moisten the top flat edge with water.
  8. Lift from both the sides to make a V shape and pull one side over the other to close it in a cone shape.
  9. Press firmly where the two sides meet to ensure that it will be a tight bottom cone.
  10. Take 1 tbsp of stuffing and fill the inside of the cone.
  11. Moisten the top open edge of the cone and bring it down horizontally to the lower side in order to close the cone. Make the rest of Singaras in the above manner.
  12. Heat about 3/4 cup ghee in a flat pan.
  13. Once its hot, reduce it to slow flame. Add 4-5 Singaras to fry at a time on a low flame. Because you are frying in ghee, it will take time.
  14. Turn over and fry till they are evenly cooked and have an almond color texture. Remove from flame on to a paper towel to remove excess ghee.
  15. Garnish it with some chat masala and serve hot with tamarind chutney/ green chutney or sauce.
Recipe Notes

Tips

Ensure that the water for the dough is cold, and oil is warmed up. This is crucial to the dough. The consistency of dough is key to having a crispy texture to singara.

If frying in oil, the color of singaras, will be more golden as compared to when frying in ghee. The taste is much better when fried in ghee for sure. Make sure that the strip layer as well as the inside layer are well fried. Frying in ghee will take a little longer then frying in ghee.

Add 1/2 cup of peas for more flavor.

The simpler non layered version will be a much faster version of this!

Instinct Factor

Frying in ghee was an instinct based response, as I remember clearly that Tiwari Bros had an aroma of ghee at their shop and they are known to make everything in pure ghee. Having ghee also reduces acidity!

Feel Factor

Welcoming Diwali with something new, tasty, and as interesting as Aloo Gobi Singara Layered Bengali Samosa is a great way to feel happy about the festive joyous occasion! The tangy taste of the Aloo Gobi and the crispy and crunchy texture with the buttery feel due to frying in ghee, makes it a great festival recipe! It makes it unique and definitely an item when you want to impress someone with your culinary skills, and can be done in the more or less the same amount as when making the traditional samosas! Layered look gives it gourmet look so definitely a recipe to go for when you need some surprise element in your menu and a recipe that delivers!

 

 

 

Guava Ice Cream

An ice cream with Guava flavor? This was the question on my mind as I was presented this highly unique and refreshing flavor in Mumbai on my recent visit to India. Today I salute the spirit of Mumbai by posting this recipe of Guava Ice Cream made famous in Mumbai, by Apsara Ice Creams. Apsara is a chain that has been in existence for the past 50 years or more, and surprisingly I never encountered it during my younger days. Its first location was in Walkeshwar and it is believed that all the ice creams at Apsara are made in hand ice cream machine and hence has a rich texture and flavor. I am not too sure of this fact, but if it is true, it is truly worthy of respect for ensuring that the quality has not been compromised,

Mumbai is a town which really comes together in the face of disaster and shows what a humane spirit it has. Right from 1993 blasts to various calamities, it is the spirit of Mumbai that is indescribable, but one has to live there for a few months, to fall in love with the madness and chaos along with its gutsy, warm community.

Back to the Guava Ice cream, I had the privilege of having this on none other than the 75th birthday of my mother who is a BIG ice cream fan. The reason why this ice cream holds a special place in my heart, is because of its topping of red chili powder and salt. That combination, gives you the feeling of earring raw guavas topped with salt and red chili powder! Kind of like the Mexican chocolates which has cayenne peppers in it! That is true creativity at heart and a big salute to Apsara for retaining this flavor with its true taste.

When you eat this ice cream, you get the kick from not only the guava itself, but also from the spicy flavor on the top mixed with the sweetness of the cream and sugar. The challenge to a great flavor is having the guava ripened to the correct level. My initial try had been made with somewhat raw guavas that were more greener, and hence the taste did not compare with the one at Apsara. On later modifying it to more yellowish guava, I was able to recreate the taste to the one I had in Mumbai. Matching this to Apsara flavor brought big smiles on my daughter’s face!

A Guava ice cream treat for my readers,who have really been engaging with the blog and coming back to it, even when there were no new posts for some time. Hope you enjoy this Guava Ice cream, as much as I fell in love with its sweetness and spicy tinge! My apologies to the readers for being quiet for almost three months, as got busy with high school graduation, summer break and college preparations, but now I look forward to sharing many interesting recipes with you all. Bon Appetit!

 

Print Recipe
Guava Ice Cream
Eggless Guava Ice Cream
Prep Time 45 min
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
Quart
Ingredients
For the Topping
Prep Time 45 min
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
Quart
Ingredients
For the Topping
Instructions
  1. Chill the ice cream making container for at least 24 hours before making the ice cream.
  2. Skin the Guavas, and de seed them. Chop them into small pieces.
  3. Mix the sugar with chopped Guava and blend it into pulp.
  4. Set the ice cream container into ice cream maker, and start the ice cream maker. Once it starts, pour the whole milk, essence, heavy cream, a pinch of salt, balance sugar and guava pulp. Let it mix for about 25-30 minutes, till it binds into a lump.
  5. Remove the soft ice cream into a freezer container and let it set for about 10 hours minimum before serving.
  6. Prepare the topping by mixing salt and red chili powder thoroughly, till no white salt crystals are visible.
  7. Sprinkle this topping before serving and enjoy the multi flavored sweet and spicy Guava Ice Cream,
Recipe Notes

Tips

Ensure that the container is pre chilled for a long period of time, otherwise the ice cream will not bind well.Also ensure that the Guavas are ripe enough.

You can even try this with Pink Guavas, which apparently is a famous Italian Ice cream, where they also use some spicy toppings on it!

Instinct Factor

Re creating this flavor was possibly only as I relied on my tastebuds, memory and instinct! And the beauty of making ice cream is that even if you mess it up, you can adjust the quantities of sugar, essence, fruit pulp by thawing the original, mixing the added ingredients and re setting it in the freezer. It does not required to be churned again!

Feel Factor

Second time lucky in getting the right flavor and right blend of spices to recreate the famous Guava Ice cream of Apsara at home! Partially it also depends on the freshness and in season guavas. I am grateful to the Indian Grocery stores for carrying this tropical fruit that reminds me of my days in India. Next season I will definitely try the pink guava ice cream! One has to taste this just once and I guarantee, the chances are very high, you will fall in love with this unique flavor of ice cream!