Month: July 2016

Introducing The Waffalosa: A Samosa Waffle!

At my last book club meeting, I was promised a waffle iron. The conversation evolved from discussing the book’s theme of coping with grief, and ended on letting go of the unimportant, such as kitchen gadgets cluttering our cabinets. We even considered swapping unused appliances at our next annual book swap. However, my friend didn’t wait – her waffle maker was at my front door by the next morning!

Getting a new gadget inspired me to experiment with a non-traditional recipe. I made a savory waffle Indian-inspired snack. A good samosa has a crusty outer shell and is packed with a coriander-cumin seasoned mixture of cubed potatoes and peas. A samosa is usually fried in hot oil to create that crispy covering, but that can sometimes result in a greasy snack. Occasionally, the vegetables explode into the hot oil through gaps in the seams of the covering.

By using the cooked waffle as a base, there was no messy kitchen counter splattered with oil or errant vegetables. The waffle also eliminated the stress about folding and overlapping the samosa’s cone shape along the ridges. The waffle sandwiched the potato and pea filling. Every bite of the newly christened “waffalosa” featured the best parts of a samosa: crisp crust and filling that remained intact as we ate it!

For The Outer Covering

Flour – 1½ cup, sieved

Egg – 1, beaten

Milk –1 cup, warmed

Butter – 1 tbsp, at room temperature

Baking powder – 1 tsp

Carom seeds or bishop’s weed (ajwain) – 1 tsp

  • Mix together the eggs, milk, and butter.
  • Mix the flour and baking powder together.
  • Combine both the milk mixture and flour mixture together. Stir with a light touch.
  • Add the carom seeds.
  • Add just enough water to get the mixture to a pouring consistency.

For The Filling

Potato – 1, peeled, cubed, cooked

Peas – 3-4 tbsp, cooked

Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp

Onion – 1, small cubed

Green chili –2, chopped

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Coriander powder – 1 tsp

Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp

Salt – to taste

  • Heat the oil in a pan.
  • Add the onion to the hot oil. Sauté until lightly browned
  • Add the green chilies and stir-fry for a minute.
  • Add the cumin seeds and stir until it sizzles.
  • Immediately, add the cumin seeds, coriander powder, and turmeric. Stir for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the cooked potatoes and peas and mix with the spices.
  • Season with salt.


Heat the waffle iron according to the instructions.

  • When the waffle iron is ready, pour the batter into the waffle pan.
  • Cover and cook unlocked for 4 minutes.
  • Remove the waffle. Let the waffle cool for a minute.
  • Using a rolling pin, flatten the waffle out gently.
  • Cut the waffle lengthwise into two halves. Put the filling into one half and fold over. Each waffle makes two mini “samosas.” A toothpick holds the contents together, but it isn’t necessary.

Note: Don’t limit the use of your waffle iron. Use savory batters to make empanada and Cornish Pasty waffles too!


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Chard: Summer’s Crop

Growing chard for the first time in my pocket-sized yard was exciting, as the leaves came up came up quickly and without much effort. This leafy vegetable (also known as Swiss chard) has a prominent colorful red or yellow stalk that runs through its 6-inch leaves. Chard’s beet-like leaves are tender when it is in season in July and August. After the first few leaves appeared, I cut them off around 2-inches from the ground. I was pleasantly surprised by the rapid growths, which easily gave me enough chard for a meal within a few days.

As we are currently in season, chard tastes less bitter than it does later in the year. Chard has many antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients. The leaves retain a touch of earthy mineral flavor, much like its close relatives, spinach and beets.

Choosing And Using Chard

  • The stalk should be firm with no bruises.
  • The leaves should be crisp green with no brown or white marks or holes.
  • Just before cooking, rinse the leaves with fresh cool water.
  • Otherwise, store unwashed chard in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. The leaves wilt quickly in the heat.

Cooking With Chard

  • Using a sharp knife, cut away the stalks from the leaves.
  • Bring enough water to boil so as to completely cover the leaves.
  • Once the water starts to boil, put the chard into the water.
  • Cook for 2 ½ minutes, just enough time for the leaves to blanch.
  • Remove and drain in a colander.
  • Cooked chard can be substituted in recipes that use spinach or kale. My current favorite uses are adding the cooked leaves to an omelet, replacing spinach in the Indian–style spicy potatoes with spinach, and mixing chard with cooked pasta and shavings of Parmesan cheese.


Salsa Criolla And Chimichurri: Fireworks And Spicy Condiments

I was caught off guard when two familiar flavors landed at my table through an unexpected intersection of food cultures. I was instantly transported to two of my mother’s Sunday specials – a lunch featuring fried rice with an accompaniment made of raw red onions, green chili, and vinegar and dosa (rice pancake) with cilantro (coriander leaves) chutney. However, this time, I wasn’t in India, but in Peru – eating the same onion salsa-like combination paired river trout ceviche and a creamy cilantro sauce with roasted chicken.

The connections made through ancient trade routes seemed to have culminated on my table: The exchange of ingredients and preparation styles link us together more than we might expect. In both countries, the condiments combine the crisp piquancy of red onions with the heat and color from the varieties of chilies, and rounded out by the herbal notes of cilantro in almost identical ways. In Peru, I also found a new twist on the classic chimichurri from neighboring Argentina. This parsley-based condiment is a welcome addition to my list of accompaniments for the upcoming holiday weekend. Instead of its usual topping for grilled flank steaks, chimichurri can double as a dipping sauce for chunky slices of bread – exactly how it was served in Peru.

These condiments can be made ahead, and are quick and easy accompaniments to barbecue dishes. Happy July 4th!

Salsa Criolla

Red onion – ½, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Olive oil – 1 tbsp

Aji chili – 1, cut into rounds

Lime – 1, juice

Salt – ¼ tsp

  • Mix the oil, lime juice, chili, and salt together. Keep aside up to couple of hours ahead of when needed.
  • Just before serving, add the sliced onions to the mixture. Toss until the oil-lime juice mixture coats the onions well.

Note: Substitute aji with serrano or jalapeno, but use caution when handling chili. Remove the seeds to lessen the spicy heat.


Parsley (fresh) – ¾ cup, chopped

Shallot – 1, finely chopped

Serrano (jalapeno) – 1, finely sliced

Garlic cloves – 3, finely sliced

Red wine vinegar – ½ cup

Olive oil – ¼ cup

Oregano – ¼ tsp

Salt (kosher) – ¼ tsp

Pepper – ½ tsp


  • Mix together the chopped parsley, shallots, serrano chili, and garlic.
  • Shake the red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper well before adding to the parsley mixture.
  • Chimichurri can stay refrigerated for 1-2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Note: If you enjoy the flavor of cilantro, replace a ¼ cup of parsley with cilantro.