I noticed a lot of people coming to read last year’s Ramadan posts and I thought it was time for a new one today. It’s the start of Ramadan and Muslim people around the world will start a month long ritual of fasting from sunrise to sunset starting tomorrow. For the first day of Ramadan I have a recipe for a universal entrée, appetizer or snack in the local cuisines of the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Southwest Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa, East Africa and North Africa. Every Muslim culture seems to know of and have samosas at the dining table. Due to cultural diffusion and emigration from these areas, samosas in today’s world are also prepared in other regions.
A samosa is a fried or baked dish with a savory filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, lentils, macaroni, noodles, or minced meat. Pine nuts can also be added. Its size and consistency may vary, but typically it is distinctly triangular or tetrahedral in shape. We think of samosas as an Indian dish, but the samosa is claimed to have originated in the Middle East prior to the 10th century, where it is known as sambosa. Sambosas were introduced to the Indian subcontinent in the 13th or 14th century by traders from Central Asia, who were various Muslim merchants, and they were patronized under various Islamic dynasties in the region.
Samosas from South Asia are now world renowned and Indian samosas are usually vegetarian, and often accompanied by a mint sauce or chutney. I’m giving my samosas an Indian twist and serving them with a mint chutney, however they are filled with spicy beef, which may be more of a Middle Eastern or Muslim Indian custom.
Mint Chutney (Sauce)
½ cup fresh coriander leaves
½ cup fresh mint leaves
4 garlic cloves
Salt to taste
1 lb. ground beef
2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground garlic
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 bay leaf
4 green chilies, chopped
1 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
25 egg wrap rolls
1 egg beaten
Oil for deep frying
In a food processor puree all the ingredients together. Use a little water if necessary and adjust salt to taste.
In a pan heat ¼ cup oil, add meat, ginger, garlic, chili powder, garam masala, bay leaf, and salt. Stir together and as meat starts to cook add ¼ cup water. Cover and simmer.
When the liquid evaporates keep stirring and add green chilies, onions, and coriander leaves. Stir fry for five minutes over low heat.
With each egg roll wrap take a teaspoon of the meat mixture and place in corner of the egg roll wrapper; fold wrapper in half so it is triangular in shape. Use the egg to seal.
Deep fry the triangle pockets until they are golden in color.
Serve beef samosas warm with the mint chutney.