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Appetizers
Here are 3 of my favorite appetizers.  Appetizers are really Chai/Tea time snacks in India and are served at special occasions as appetizers.   They are served with mint, cilantro, tamarind or coconut chutney.

Aloo Bonda

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Ingredients:
2 or 3 medium potatoes (boiled and peeled and loosely mashed)

1/2 tsp. of cumin and mustard seeds each
fresh green chili chopped finely - to taste
1/2 tsp. each ginger & garlic(finely chopped)
3/4th cup Chopped Onions 
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 cup. cilantro leaves (chopped)

Salt to taste
2 tbsp. Lemon juice
1 1/2 cups besan -chickpea flour available in our store
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/4 tsp. baking Soda

Oil for deep frying - use a wok for frying

Method:
1.  Heat about two tablespoons of oil. Add mustard seeds and when the seeds start to crackle, add the cumin seeds, green chili, salt, ginger and garlic. Fry for a few seconds and add onions and turmeric powder. When the onions start to turn brown add cilantro and lemon juice and the potatoes. Mix well and turn off the heat. Let this mixture cool. Shape into small balls.
2. Make a thick batter with Besan/Chickpea flour, salt, red chili powder, baking soda and water.
3. Heat the oil for 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat. When the oil is hot, Dip the potato balls into the batter and carefully drop in the oil. Turn it every four minutes and remove from oil when it turns golden brown.
4. Serve with tamarind or green chutney.

 

Pakoda - they were very popular in my home in Bombay and are also very popular with my daughter Aashika and her school friends.  I generally have the mixture ready in the refrigerator and when Aashika comes home from school I add some fresh besan to the mixture, heat oil and fry some pakoras up.  I found my kids spending too much money on fries from fast food joints and felt some home cooked fries with the protein rich batter and herbs would be better.  Aashika loves them so it works out good.
Pakoras are also street food in India and are much like the street hot dog in popularity. Pakoras come in an infinite number of varieties, made with every kind of vegetable imaginable, potatoes, eggplant, cauliflower, even green chilies.

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Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups besan (gramflour available in our store) 
1/2 tsp. red chili powder (cayenne pepper)
Salt to taste
1 cup potatoes or onions (sliced)
4 tbsp.minced cilantro
1/4 cup fresh fenugreek/methi leaves or 2 tbsp. dried (optional)
Oil for deep frying

Method:
1. Mix the onions, cayenne pepper, salt and besan (also cilantro and methi). Let it rest for about about 10 minutes to allow the vegetables to sweat. Add some water (only as much as required) to make into a very thick paste.
2. Heat the oil for about 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat. Pour a spoonful of the paste in the oil and let fry until golden brown. Stir in between. Remove from oil and strain the oil out.
3. Serve with tamarind chutney and mint chutney

Samosa

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For the pastry:
    2 cups flour
    1/2 tsp. salt
    4 Tbsp. oil
    4 Tbsp. water

For the stuffing:
    4-5 medium potatoes, boiled in their jackets and allowed to cool
    4 Tbsp. oil
    1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
    1 cup (175 g) shelled peas
    1 Tbsp. finely grated peeled fresh ginger
    1 fresh hot green chili, finely chopped
    3 Tbsp. very finely chopped fresh green coriander (cilantro)
    3 Tbsp. water
    1 1/2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. ground coriander seeds
    1 tsp. garam masala
    1 tsp. ground roasted cumin seeds
    1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
    2 Tbsp. lemon juice
    oil for deep frying

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.  Add the 4 tablespoons on oil and rub it in with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Slowly add about 4 tablespoons water -- or a tiny bit more -- and gather the dough into a stiff ball.

Empty the ball out on to clean work surface.  Knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until it is smooth.  Make a ball.  Rub the ball with about 1/4 teaspoon oil and slip it into a plastic bag.  Set aside for 30 minutes or longer.

Make the stuffing.  Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4 inch dice. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over a medium flame. When hot, put in the onion.    Stir and fry until brown at the edges. Add the peas, ginger, green chili, fresh coriander (cilantro), and 3 tablespoons water.  Cover, lower heat and simmer until peas are cooked.  Stir every now and then and add a little more water if the frying pan seems to dry out.

Add the diced potatoes, salt, coriander seeds, garam masala, roasted cumin, cayenne, and lemon juice.  Stir to mix.  Cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring gently as you do so.  Check balance of salt and lemon juice.  You may want more of both.    Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

Knead the pastry dough again and divide it into eight balls.  Keep 7 covered while you work with the eight.  Roll this ball out into a 7 inch (18 cm) round.  Cut it into half with a sharp, pointed knife. Pick up one half and form a cone, making a 1/4 inch wide (5 mm), overlapping seam.  Glue this seam together with a little water.    Fill the cone with about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the potato mixture.  Close the top of the cone by sticking the open edges together with a little water.  Again, your seam should be about 1/4 inch (5 mm) wide.  Press the top seam down with the prongs of a fork or flute it with your fingers.  Make 7 more samosas.

Heat about 1 1/2 to 2 inches (4-5 cm) of oil for deep frying over a medium-low flame.    You may use a small, deep, frying pan for this or an Indian wok.  When the oil is medium hot, put in as many samosas as the pan will hold in a single layer.    Fry slowly, turning the samosas frequently until they are golden brown and crisp.  Drain on paper towel and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Aloo Tikki

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Ingredients:
6 oiled and peeled potatoes mashed
fresh green chili chopped finely - to taste
1 tsp. ginger (finely chopped)
1/2 cup. cilantro leaves (chopped)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. corriander powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. mango powder called amchur

Oil for pan frying

Method:
1. Boil the potato. Cool. Peel the skin and mash the potato.
2. Mix all ingredients except the oil. 
3. Make small hamburger size patties but about 1/2 inch high.

4.  Pan fry in a non-stick pan with oil until both sides are golden brown.
5. Serve with tamarind or green chutney.


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