By Kanika Aggarwal
‘Eid is a time to rejoice and celebrate by wearing new clothes, attending the ‘Eid prayer and wishing each other “’Eid Mubarak”.
‘Eid is a sweet time for Muslims, quite literally! While numerous meat dishes are prepared for the main feast, there is no compromise when it comes to desserts.
Carrot halwa (some call it gajrela or carrot pudding) is one of the traditional Indian/Pakistani desserts that are prepared on the day of ‘Eid. The Arabic root Halwā literally means “sweet”. It is a sweet and creamy South Asian dish, made by boiling carrots with milk, sugar, fat, dry fruits, saffron and cardamom.
This dessert can be enjoyed warm (with milk/tea) or cold (with vanilla ice-cream).
Makes: 4 Portions
• 250g carrots
• 120g sugar
• 500ml milk
• 50g ghee (clarified butter)
• 30g dried raisins & cashew nuts
• A few cardamom pods
• ¼ tsp saffron threads
1. Grate carrots and keep aside.
2. Heat up the milk and add grated carrots to the milk and cook.
3. When the milk dries up, add the ghee and fry.
4. Add sugar, cardamom pods, saffron threads and half the raisins and cashew nuts.
5. Mix well and cook for a few more minutes.
6. Fry the rest of the nuts.
7. Garnish with the fried cashew nuts and raisins.
Here’s to wishing you a sweet and prosperous ‘Eid! May your life be filled with sweetness and the company of your loved ones, ameen!
Aloo kay Samosay – Potato Stuffed Triangular Pastries
By Mona Hussain
Chai shops, bakeries, mithaiwala shops, cart vendors, chat bhandars along the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent – all sell these magical pastries. Having travelled to India, possibly from the Middle East, Samosas are triangular pastries, a popular street food, usually stuffed with minced meat, or a potato mixture. They are the usual appetisers that make their presence at weddings, ‘Eid, iftar, or even a simple meal with the family! They are enjoyed throughout India and all over the world.
Canola oil to deep fry
• 2 tbsp canola oil
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 1 tsp black mustard seeds
• 1 tbsp, finely grated fresh ginger
• 4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
• 1 cup carrot, peeled and chopped
• 1 tsp red chilli powder
• 3∕4 tsp dry roasted coriander powder
• ¼ tsp dry roasted cumin seed powder
• 3 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 cup frozen green peas (or) dried green peas, soaked in surplus water overnight and pressure cooked until soft the next day, drained and set aside to use
• 4 tbsp lemon juice
• ½ tsp garam masala
• 2 tbsp coriander leaves – finely chopped
• 1 cup all-purpose flour/Maida
• 1 cup whole wheat flour/durum flour
• 1 tsp carom seeds
• ½ tsp nigella seeds
• 2 tbsp canola oil
• Salt to taste
1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. As soon as it warms up, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and ginger and let them splutter. After a few seconds, add the chopped potatoes and carrots. Add water to cover the vegetables and add red chilli powder, salt, cumin seed powder and the dried fenugreek leaves. Cover with a lid. As soon as the potatoes are done, uncover and add the frozen peas or cooked dried peas, garam masala, chopped coriander leaves and lemon juice. Cook while stirring until the mixture is dry. Keep aside.
2. Now prepare the dough. Add the all-purpose flour, carom seeds, nigella seeds and salt in a mixing bowl and mix. Add canola oil and mix well using your fingers. Gradually add water, and knead to form a smooth and pliable dough. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead until elastic. Cover with a towel and keep aside for 30 minutes for the dough to rest. Later, shape the dough into 8 balls and cover them with a towel.
3. One by one roll the balls into thin ovals. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, cut each oval into two halves, thus a total of 16 half-ovals. Cover the rest with a towel while filling others. Take a half-oval and brush half of each straight edge with water, using your fingertip. Fold the second half of the straight edge over the first half to form a cone. Pinch to close the seam. Hold the cone with the open end up and fill the cone with some of the filling. Cut off any excess dough and use it later. Brush one side of the open end with water. Pinch to seal the top edges, enclosing the filling. Prepare all the samosas the same way, and keep them covered under a towel.
4. Once all are ready, heat the oil in a deep saucepan. To test if the oil is ready to be used, drop a pinch of dough into the hot oil, the dough should come up within a few seconds. Deep fry the samosas a few at a time, until golden. Using a slotted spoon remove them into a strainer. Serve warm along with tamarind chutney or ketchup. Once cool, they can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and reheated in the oven.
To bake the samosa
After step 4, place the samosas in a greased or non-stick baking tray. Bake in a 220° C preheated oven for 20 minutes or until light brown in colour. Serve immediately
Note: If you are finding it difficult to close the filling in the dough, please head over to http://zaiqa.net/2007/08/a-hectic-day/ where I have explained an easier way to assemble samosas.
Mona shares her Hyderabadi culinary creations on zaiqa.net, and sells her handmade gifts for mums and babies at www.etsy.com/shop/OmeesBoutique
Kanika has a diploma in Indian Cooking and offers classes in Indian Cuisine in the Greater Toronto Area. Through her cooking classes, she teaches women the secrets of using Indian spices and techniques to cook all their (or their families’) Indian restaurant favourites. Get in touch with her through her website www.learnindiancooking.com to schedule a cooking class with her soon!