Category Archives: Food

Crazy for curry puffs

Here’s a hack of an Indian snack, the curry puff.  I learned it during my grad student days in Austin from another grad student whose aunt knew the shortcuts that kept our tummies happy even if our hearts longed for home.

curry puff ingredients

Before

Curry puffs

After

When I was growing up in Secunderabad, we got curry puffs from city bakeries. Blatantly buttery layers of pastry held assertively seasoned dry vegetable curries made of potatoes, green beans, peas and carrots.

My attempt at a potato version:

Ingredients
Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets (pkg contains 2 sheets)
Russet potatoes, 3 medium to large
Olive oil, 3 tablespoons
Medium onion, chopped
Grated ginger, 2 tablespoons
3 green chillies, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 key lime
Chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons

Turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon, heaped
Sea salt, 1.5 teaspoons or to taste
Black (rock) salt, 1/2 teaspoon (ask for kala namak at the Indian store)
Garam masala, 1 teaspoon

Filling
Can make ahead

  1. Boil potatoes until tender, but not to mash state. Cool, peel, coarse-dice.
  2. Heat oil in pan. When nice and hot, add green chillies, chopped onion, grated ginger, minced garlic, and turmeric. Saute till onions are translucent and raw garlic smell goes away.
  3. Add potatoes and sea salt. Mix it all together and cook until heated through. You’re aiming for a mass that holds together but isn’t wet.
  4. Add garam masala and cook on low to medium heat for a couple minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Add rock salt, lime juice and cilantro. Stir to combine.
  6. Allow filling to cool to at least room temperature before assembling curry puffs.

Depending on the size of the potatoes, you might end up with more filling than you’ll need for two pastry sheets’ worth of puffs, but the leftovers are good with rotis, in sandwiches, or even as dosa stuffing!

Wrapping

  1. Follow package directions to thaw pastry.
  2. Each sheet has three panels. Make cuts to separate the panels and divide each panel into thirds. You’ll have 9 squares per sheet. So the 2 sheets make 18 puffs.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Gently roll out a single pastry square on a floured surface so it becomes more of a rectangle.
  5. Place a heaped tablespoon of filling on the rectangle. Fold over and press edges together to seal. Optional: press down sealed edges with fork tines.
  6. Repeat for the remaining 17 squares. Place puffs on lightly greased baking trays.
    Currry puffs, ready for the oven
  7. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until puffs are golden-brown. I had to go longer than the 15 minutes suggested on the package, more like 20 min.
  8. Remove trays from oven and allow puffs to cool slightly.
    Curry puffs, baked

Serve with Maggi Hot and Sweet Tomato Chilli Sauce and steaming mugs of ginger chai!

PS>
If you don’t have black (rock) salt, sub with sea salt or table salt.
For the filling, use any dry curry or one of the samosa fillings found here.
Brush puffs with an egg wash before  baking for a beautiful golden sheen.

Lettuce rejoice

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I turnip at a signature Kroger and faint at the fantasticality of the produce wall. Herringboned carrots and parsnips. Carefully curated collard greens. Rowdy radishes wrangled. Bunches of spinach, white-belted soldiers in rows.

The stocking crew didn’t miss a beet. Their painterly care leaves me artichoked with emotion. Way to embrace their work endive into it with devotion.

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Thanks for being here, dear reader. Here’s to a fresh start in 2017!

Data pints

Now that summer’s over—sob—what better way to remain in denial than by indulging in Ben and Jerry’s treats, all perfect pairings of dreamy dessert within and double entendre without.

A quick survey of the Kroger freezer returned this three-item sample.

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The best things in life are FREEzed.

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Now that’s rich. Gets my vote.

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Totally t(r)opical!

In puns in the freezer section, I gushed over Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, Mission to Marzipan, and Karamel Sutra and signed off with the promise of additional data pints documenting the company’s other puntastic delights. It took me five years and change to make good on my promise, and some might even say I’m not doing anyone any flavors. But if your day just got a tad bit sweeter and the punny ice cream names made you smile, this data collection exercise was not entirely pintless.

Roll with it, baby!

For most problems in life, I like to use my noodle. But sometimes, it takes another’s noodle—or noodles, to be precise—to soften a tough situation. Enter Master Wok. This family-owned Plano restaurant at the southeast corner of Plano Parkway and Jupiter Road cranks out consistently good Chinese. Among the best I’ve had.

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I’ve tried the Vegetable Lo Mein (noodle-icious), Vegetables With Hunan Sauce (loaded with zucchini, broccoli, celery, carrots, water chestnuts, baby corn), and House Bean Curd (pictured). For just a bit more coin, I ordered extra broccoli and an egg roll to up the ooh-mph.

House Bean Curd! So damn delicious and deeply satisfying. What yin-yang technique gives the tofu its crisp exterior and pillowy interior? How is the broccoli bright green but the food blistering hot? How do the brocco trees soak up and hold just enough sauce to then rain salt and spice and other things nice on my taste buds?

I’m afraid I don’t have answers. I’m rich nevertheless. Just look at my good fortune:

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Come wok with me.

Seriously seeking stir-fry? Or stuck in a bit of a soup? Get a roll with it, baby!

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Post title inspired by this Steve Winwood hit 

Love soda-licious

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Happy Valentine’s, dear reader! Love is definitely in the air at Tom Thumb where 12-packs of Coke, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero soar in a Texas-sized display by the checkouts. I had a fizz-ical reaction to this splendid stack and its effervescent kisses in red, silver, and black.

Be still, my beating heart.