Savory Pastry Triangles
These delicious little pastry packets are filled with potato and meat. Like Samosa's, they're found throughout India, Africa, and the Mid-East.
Potato filling: prepare the mashed potatoes by peeling potatoes and boiling them in water till soft. Mash, adding a bit of the cooking water to moisten. Add 1/2 tsp. each of the salt and coriander, 1/4 tsp. of the cayenne, and all the cilantro.
Meat filling: in a skillet, heat oil and sauté onion till soft. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add meat and brown. Add the remaining 1/2 tsp. each of the salt and coriander, the remaining 1/4 tsp. cayenne, and black pepper.
Assembly: combine meat and 1 C potato mixture. Let cool. Cut each 8”-square egg roll wrapper in half—into two 4 x 8 strips. Drop 1-2 T of filling on the bottom of each strip. Now you're ready to fold into pastry triangles.
Fold the egg roll strips as if you were folding a flag:
Deep frying: in a deep skillet, bring cooking oil to 350 degrees. (The oil must be hot.) Cook triangles in batches, about 4 minutes a side, till golden brown. Drain on towels. (These can be made ahead of time and heated up in a toster oven, not a microwave.)
Serve the boulani with yogurt mint dip (1 C yogurt, 1 crushed garlic clove, ¼ C chopped fresh mint).
* Buy egg roll wrappers at Asian food stores. You can also use filo dough, available in most grocery stores.
Tips & Glossary
Afghan food is similar to the Middle East's and India's, using use many of the same spices. But Afghan cuisine is milder and lighter than its Indian cousin.
Many of the ingredients used in Afghan dishes probably aren’t in your spice shelf, but you'll find them at Asian or Mid-Eastern shops.
• Deep Frying: be sure oil is hot; otherwise food will be soggy and greasy. Use a deep-fry thermometer to achieve the called-for temperature. When cool, oil can be strained, refrigerated, and re-used.
• Basmati Rice: literally “Queen of fragrance." This rice, cultivated in India, is known for its delicate flavor and fragrance.
• Besan: also known as “gram flour,” made of ground chana dal, like chickpeas, only smaller and lighter in color.
• Cardamom: related to the ginger family. Pods (green, brown, or black) are the best way to store cardamom. But high-quality ground is also available. A rule of thumb: 10 pods = 1 1/2 tsp. ground.
• Coriander: aka cilantro, Chinese, or Mexican parsley. Both fresh leaves and dried ground seeds are used in Afghan, Mid-East, Asian, Indian, and Mexican cuisines.
• Garam Masala: literally, “hot spice,” usually a mixture of cinnamon, cumin, cloves, nutmeg, and green cardamom seed or black cardamom pods. Because it loses its flavor quickly try to buy it with whole spices and grind it when you need it.
• Ghee: clarified butter. Melt 1 lb. unsalted butter over low heat for 20 minutes (careful not to burn), remove from heat and skim away solids. Strain through cheesecloth into a separate container and keep…forever. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated. If you buy commercial ghee, make sure it comes from real butter, not hydrogenated oils.
• Rosewater: distilled from rose petals and used to flavor Mid-Eastern and Asian cooking. You can make your own—but why? Buy it.
• Turmeric: a deep yellow ground spice, member of the ginger family, used in curries. It has a marvelous earthy, peppery flavor.
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