It’s been ages since I have invited guests over for a dinner party. I think I was ahead of my time. People in their early twenties aren’t usually looking to go over to someone’s house and have a nice quiet evening filled with fantastic food. Usually (now of course there are always exceptions) they would rather go for drinks and dancing or a house party. You know, something a little livelier.
I used to invite friends over for dinner, that I would spend all day cooking. Everyone always commented on how good my food tasted, but as time went on less people would show up. My trusty friend Abel would always come, but I could never find times when everyone was available and I just started to feel sorry for myself when I invited 10 plus people to a curry dinner and only 2 showed up. It would have been all right if anyone had RSVP’d but no one ever did. So I had cooked for the number of people I invited. Needless to say there was a lot of leftovers and I ate curry dinner for the rest of the week.
So after that experience I started to back off the dinner parties. Then of course being diagnosed with Celiac and having to change my diet affected me a great deal. I could barely cope with feeding myself, never mind others. My how things have changed. I’m now fully comfortable cooking gluten free and experimenting with various flours and starches to make what I want. I’ve had enough successes to know that if I fail, it’s not the end of the world. So I’m back to being able to cook for others and now my friends have caught up to me in the idea of a nice dinner party as a great way to spend the evening. My favourite dinner party so far is when I hosted a Julie and Julia party for my girlfriends. We had a blast stuffing our faces, drinking tasty virgin drinks and watching the movie.
Recently I decided to try a big curry dinner again, drawing inspiration from an Indian Cooking class that I took in Ladysmith at The Worldly Gourmet. I love this store. It’s a kitchen store that offers cooking classes in the evenings. In December they offered a gluten free Christmas class that was fantastic and of course safe to eat everything. A few weeks ago they had an Indian cooking class. I love Indian cooking and most Indian cooking is gluten free. Unfortunately there was too much cross contamination during the class to try the food, but I could smell that it was delicious and everyone else’s comments confirmed it. I knew that was a good possibility going into the class, so wasn’t upset about it. As a result of all the delicious smells, I decided to make the same recipes at home and invite some friends over that had mentioned never really trying Indian cooking before.
Once again I was spending the day in the kitchen, cooking up a storm and enjoying every minute of it. I stuck to the recipes I learned in class that included steamed rice cakes, chicken curry, dhal, and coconut cumin rice. I also made papadoms that are like an Indian chip, made of chickpea flour. Those were store bought, I must admit. Then I went outside the recipes learned in class and made something that I really miss. I made Samosa’s. Traditionally samosa’s are made with wheat flour, but I know that many other Indian breads are made with chickpea flour, so I thought I would see what I could do with a combination of pea, rice and teff flour. Miracle of miracles it worked! Now of course, it’s a bit of a process, but I loved every minute of it. Think of it as your meditation for the day. These were darn tasty and worth all the effort. I will gladly make these again.
Fried Vegetable Samosa
1 cup pea flour
¼ cup teff flour
¼ cup rice flour
(Or 225g of gluten free flours)
2 tsp salt
2 tblsp vegetable oil
80 ml water
2 potatoes peeled and quartered
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
1 medium yellow or white onion
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 green chili, deseeded and finely chopped
Vegetable oil for frying
Start by mixing flours and salt together in a bowl with a whisk to ensure even distribution. Then add oil and water. Mix well. If it is too dry add more water a tablespoon at a time until the dough is moist enough to stick together. Form dough into a ball in the bowl, cover with hot moist towel and set aside for one hour.
While the dough is rising, boil potatoes and fry onions. Heat oil in a wok or pot and add cumin seeds. When they crackle, add potatoes and mash them. Next add green peas. Stir for a minute. Add salt, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and green chilies. Mix well and cook a few minutes until the vegetables are done. Keep the filling aside to cool.
Now back to the dough. Roll the dough into one long log. Then divide the dough equally into golf ball sized balls. Flatten each ball and roll out on plastic wrap sprinkled with pea flour to make a thin disc. Repeat with the remaining balls. Slice each disc in half. Then put a spoonful of the filling in half of the slice. Fold the other half over enclosing the filling, pressing the edges firmly to seal. Dab the edges with water to help them stick if needed.
Now heat the vegetable oil in a wok and deep-fry the patties until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.