Our friends Christian and Alecks are moving back to the East Coast this summer. Alecks will be teaching at NYU and Christian is going back to grad school. Exciting times for these two boys with lots of changes happening in their lives right now! Congrats to both of you!
They are going to live on Washington Square at the end of 5th Avenue in Manhattan right, where the East and West Villages connect. How nice! I know that area well. When I moved to NYC in 2003 I lived on 8th Street at 6th Avenue in the shoe shop district. I was just a block from my beloved Balducci’s. I think that Balducci’s was the best gourmet food place I’ve ever been: small, well stocked with goods from all over, and always fresh and unique. Too bad they no longer exist. There were also other exciting places to shop around that area. I enjoyed Jefferson Market on 6th Ave; the fabulous cheese shop on Bleeker Street; and the farmer’s market on Union Square. In late summer, the Union Square Farmers Market had this scrumptious peach pie a la Martha Stewart that was just incredible. You know how peaches taste in the late summer: ultra ripe, sweet and amazing. Yumm! Sometimes I would venture south form there to Dean & De Lucca on Broadway and Spring Street or even further down, to Canal for Asian produce and fish. Downtown Manhattan kicks ass! Here I am reminiscing about the Big Apple. C&A enjoy your stay there! You’ll have a blast.
Last Saturday we held a small going away party at our place for the lucky couple. We wanted to make something different and memorable, so I suggested Ethiopian food. When I said that, I saw Christian’s eyes light up. I knew from then on that he had something brilliant in mind. He had cooked Ethiopian before; many times, actually. He wanted to prepare the meal himself. Alecs and I acted as sous chefs.
We made: pumpkin & cauliflower stew, spicy red lentils, gingered collard greens, and monk fish with Berber spice. The injeera bread came from a store in Oakland. With Christian’s supervison, I made the pumpkin and cauliflower stew which I will publish soon.
While reading about Ethipioan food, I noticed they use the spice ajwain in their cooking, which is similar to Indian cooking. With that in mind I decided to make these vegan samosas from the Ajanta cookbook as an appetizer.
Since making these samosas, I’ve fallen madly in love with ajwain seeds. The week after the Ethiopian party, I made angú with leek, fava and ajwain. Delicious!
The samosas turned out divine! I served them with a tamarind/mint/cilantro salsa which was adapted from the same book.
vegan ajwain samosas for good bye
For the dough:
2 cups flour
¾ tsp kosher salt
6 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp ajwain seeds
½ cup water (plus more)
For the filling:
5 small cooked potatoes
4 tbsp canola oil
1 cup frozen garden fresh pea
1 cup sweet corn
1 cup frozen shelled edamame that has been boiled for 4 minutes
Kosher salt to taste
4 tsp coarsely ground coriander seeds
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp dried crushed red pepper
3 tsp mango powder (amchur powder)
2 tsp turmeric
To make the dough:
Mix all ingredients together plus ½ cup of water, then knead for few minutes. Add a little more water if too thick. It should have the consistency of pizza dough. Shape dough into a ball, place on a bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let rest for about 45 minutes.
While dough rests, make the filling:
Cut potatoes into small cubes. Add oil to a non stick skillet followed by the sweet corn and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add salt, coriander, amchur powder, turmeric, black and crushed red pepper and give it a good stir. Add remaining ingredients and cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.
Assembling the samosas:
Using a rolling pin flatten the dough on your counter top to about ½ inch thick. With a knife cut the dough into 12 equal parts. Roll each part into a ping-pong ball shape and place them on a tray. Cover with a damp towel.
To form each samosa:
Place one ball on the counter and flatten it with your rolling pin to make a circle of about 7 inch wide. Cut the circle in the middle to make two ½ moon shapes. Place 1 to 1&½ tsp of the filling in the center of a half moon. Fold corners over the filling to make them into triangular samosa shapes. Transfer to a lightly greased tray. Repeat process with the other 1/2 moon and 11 balls.
Makes two dozen.
To fry samosas:
Fill a 10 inch wide pan to about 1 inch deep with canola oil. Bring temperature to medium high. Add 4 to five samosas at a time and fry them for about 4 minutes on each sides or until color becomes golden. Remove from pan and place on paper towels to drain. Repeat process with remaining samosas.
Serve hot or room temperature with tamarind, mint and cilantro salsa.