In May I began working as a kitchen helper at an Indian restaurant called Karma located in downtown Edmonton on 99th Ave. between 105th st. and 106th st.. Usually my day includes washing dishes, cleaning, and prep cooking. And by prep cooking I mean chopping, grating, and peeling veggies. Mostly it is just potatoes.
Anyway, while I am doing these things I am also watching to see how the pros cook and bake, how they do it and what they use. I ask question like, “What is in this?” or “How do you get it to turn out like that?” I am quite sure they know I am interested in cooking and baking and really appreciate my presence in the kitchen; they know that I am more than just a dishwasher. Lately I have been asked to do more advanced prep work and also helping with catering functions outside the kitchen. Who knows? maybe one day I will move out of the dish pit entirely.
But I think it will be very challenging for me to be a cook at Karma because of the language barrier. They all speak English, but it is hard for me to understand them and I always need things repeated to me. Sometimes I wonder if they are talking about me, joking about me, in Indian. Maybe I am just paranoid.
Over the past few weeks I have been observing the work my co-worker Karan who is the baker in the restaurant. He makes all the dough for the na’an bread and the samosas, he also most often bakes the bread and meats in the tandoor (a cylindrical clay oven). I have watched and asked questions about his samosas so that I could try it out at home. The following recipe is my own twist on this most loved of Indian foods. Unfourtunately, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product :( But the picture of the two above are the ones that turned out great. I took a bunch to a potluck and people liked them.
3 Large Yams; boiled, peeled and grated
2 C. whole corn kernels
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
4 C. white flour
1 C. water
¼ C. oil
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp Oregano
1. Boil yams in water till you are able to pierce them with a fork. Remove them from the water and let them cool. Peel the yams and then grate them; if they are too mushy to grate they may be mashed instead. 3 large yams should make about 3 cups.
2. Boil the whole corn kernels till they are done.
3. Mix together grated yams, corn, butter and brown sugar.
4. In a large bowl mix flour, oil, sugar, salt, and oregano.
5. Add water gradually till you are able to form a ball of dough. Add additional flour or water as needed to make the dough workable.
6. Shape the dough into a cylinder roughly 3” in diameter and about 14” long. At this point the dough may be wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge for later use.
7. Cut a 1 1/2” section off of the dough cylinder and roll it out into a thin circle. Cut the circle in half making two half circles. (NOTE: the samosas in these pictures used a 2” section which was too large. I suggest 1 1/2” or maybe even 1” sections).
8. Shape the half circle into a cone and fill it with the filling, leaving enough space to close the wrapping. After the first fold moisten the edge with some water so that the second fold sticks to the edge.
9. Place each samosa on a well floured tray spaced evenly apart from the other samosas (It gets messy if they start to stick to each other). Repeat till all of the filling or dough is used up.