Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Samosa Lettuce Wraps with Simple Yogurt Sauce

I like to play with flavors and concepts when I cook, taking two things I like and melding them together like in this recipe which combines the flavors of an Indian samosa with the idea of a lettuce wrap. I love samosas, those great little deep-fried pastry triangles of peas, potatoes and Indian spices but I don't love what deep fried pastry does to my bottom half. I thought if I put them in lettuce, I could still get the flavors but make it much healthier. In addition to being a great lunch to take to work or easy dinner, they work great as a pupu/appetizer. This recipe is made to be "tinkered" with--use whatever ground meat and curry or spices you like--the way I usually make it is below. I switch out the lettuce; green leaf lettuce, iceberg lettuce cups or sometimes baby lettuce leaves (as shown in the picture above) which are great for appetizers. Samosa Lettuce Wraps
2 medium waxy potatoes (about 1 cup when diced)
2 Tbsp olive or canola oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 gloves garlic
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 lb ground turkey breast
3/4 cup frozen green peas
1 Tbsp Nigella seeds* (optional)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Lettuce leaves or lettuce cups for serving
Simple Yogurt Sauce (recipe below)
Cilantro, mint and cucumber slices for garnish

Either boil potatoes until tender (10-15 minutes), let cool slightly peel and crush into small lumps with your hands or peel and dice raw potato into small cubes and cook in microwave about 5 minutes until tender. Set potatoes aside. Heat oil in a medium non-stick pan and saute onion about 5 minutes, add garlic, curry powder, cumin, turmeric and cayenne and mix with onion. Add ground turkey, mix into onion, spice mixture and cook turkey until lightly brown and done through. Mix in potatoes and frozen peas and cook mixture about 5 minutes until heated through. Add in Nigella seeds and cilantro. Serve in lettuce leaves or cups with Simple Yogurt Sauce, cilantro, mint and cucumber slices to garnish.

*Nigella seeds, if you aren't familiar, are black seeds that are frequently used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. The seeds taste like oregano and have a bitterness to them like mustard-seeds. You can omit them or substitute black mustard seeds. I put them in because I like the way they look and taste and I had a whole tin of them that came in an Indian spice set to use up!

Simple Yogurt Sauce
1 cup Greek yogurt, drained
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp mint or cilantro, finely chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and season to taste with salt & pepper. Let sit at least an hour, preferably overnight for flavors to meld. *The sauce stays mixed better if you drain the yogurt first using either a coffee filter or cheesecloth in a colander or a yogurt strainer. You can also add grated or chopped cucumbers to this sauce--just salt cucumbers, place in colander,drain off excess juices and pat dry with paper towel before adding to yogurt.

Other things to do with samosa mixture:
  • put it in a pita or tortilla style wrap
  • eat it on top of a salad
  • eliminate the potato in the recipe and use it to top a baked potato or
  • bake potatoes, halve and scoop out insides, (use this for potato in recipe) put the mixture back in potato shells for an Indian twice-baked potato
  • eat on top of rice or cous-cous

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