At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


One of the things I wish we had in the downtown is a decent Indian food shop. Yes, there are some Indian restaurants - bahut mahenga! I am not made of money (meaning that I'm actually a typical Dutch cheapskate), and lunch should not cost more than a good cigar. Nor should it be worse than a good cigar.

I really wish I could buy some samosas nearby.

And so do you. You remember them from when you were still in Central Asia (sambusa), or Turkey (borek), or from a female relative who spoke Ladino (borekas, borekitas; empanadas, empanaditas). You remember them right out of the deep fat, smelling luscious and burning your lips.

You remember them, so you might as well make them.


4 large potatoes, boiled, peeled, and mashed.
1/2 cup cooked and drained green peas.
1/2 TBS cumin seeds.
1 tsp ground coriander.
1 tsp amchoor(mango powder).
1 tsp cayenne.
1/2 tsp ground fennel.
1/2 tsp garam masala powder.
Squeeze from half a lemon, more or less.
A little minced cilantro or parsley.
Pinch ground cinnamon.
Pinch salt.

3 cups all purpose flour.
1/2 cup flour, for rolling out and flouring your hands.
4 - 6 TBS heated ghee (or oil).
Cold water.
Pinch salt.

Making the filling
Heat a little ghee in a skillet and add the cumin seeds.
When the seeds splutter, add the various spices, stir, and add the mashed potatoes, green peas, minced herbs - mix well.
Add salt to taste.
Cook on a low flame for about 10 minutes and remove from heat. Squeeze the half lemon over for little moisture.

Making the dough
Prepare the dough for the samosa by combining the flour, warm ghee (or oil) and a pinch of salt. Add water, in drabs, to make a pliable dough.
Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for about 20 minutes.

Putting the samosas together
Roll the dough into ten rounds. Divide each round into two halves. Flour your hands, so the dough does not stick. Wetten the long edge of a half round, and fold to form a cone, bringing together and sealing the wet edge (allow for an overlap). Fill with the potato stuffing, wetten the edges and fold over the remaining flap of dough (allow for an overlap), seal.

Deep fry the samosas in oil at medium heat till golden and crisped, drain, and serve with fresh green chutney.
[Or you could place them on a greased cookie sheet, brushed with a little oil, and bake them at 375 degrees for half an hour. Not as good, but you're the one trying to cut fat out of your diet, not me.]

Obviously this is a basic recipe - cooked chicken or ground lamb (keema) can be added. Let your tongue be a guide.

Note regarding green chutney: Many restaurants call this mint chutney, but that is an over-simplification - have you seen the price of a bunch of fresh mint?

It is easy to make, though. Dump a generous quantity of cilantro, parsley, basil, and mint, along with a few fresh green chilies, into your blender. Add enough lime juice to keep the machine from burning out, plus a pinch of salt. Osterize. Use within a day or two. Can be frozen, but there will be some loss of zip.

A tangy apricot chutney is also good. Not traditional. But good.


So what did I actually have for lunch today? Such a pity you asked. Some kind of sausage made from chicken meat, in a bun of a spongy consistency. The downtown is not good for eating. No Burmese restaurants. No decent Chinese restaurants. No Jewish delis. No Mexican restaurants that don't serve muck. Mediocre pizza. Uninspired Japanese food. Six of one sandwiches and half a dozen of the other junkfood. We are desolate.

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  • At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The texture of the wrapper after frying is much like a chimichanga. It is the inclusion of ghee which makes it so. Baking will not produce anything similar. Deepfry it.

    ---Grant Patel

  • At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Deep fried sushi. Yumm.

  • At 1:28 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Okay, that does it - time for lunch. Now what will I have today? Mmmm, let's see what's in the neighborhood.
    Kearny Street? Treif.
    Montgomery Street? Treif.
    Bush Street? Treif.
    Sansome Street? Treif?
    Pine Street? Treif.
    Market Street? Treif.
    Battery Street? Treif.

    Treif, treif, treif, treif, treiffity treif. Treif squared. Treif to the eleventh setting. Treif in the ten sefiros. Treiffity, treiffity, treif treif treif!

    I know! I think I'll have some.....

  • At 4:54 PM, Blogger Tzipporah said…

    Some of us have other reasons for wanting to make them at home.

  • At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Fill it with cheese and call it a blintzedikker borekitta.

    Or sumpin'.


  • At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think that what you've described is a spicy knish!


  • At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That could also be a cheesy poof, Mr. Eric Cartman.

    Dammit, we want our cheesy poofs!


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