Monday, April 10, 2006

Aloo Samosas

Hey, we're back to school! I hope everyone (who got one) enjoyed their Spring Break. It was a cold & rainy one here, but we still had fun with soccer camp, play dates, and spring cleaning.
Today I made aloo samosas -- Indian pastries filled with potatoes, peas, and spices. They are normally deep fried, but I bake mine instead (I'll say it's to cut down on the fat content, but it's because I'm lazy). In the thermos alongside is a hot serving of mung dal -- split, husked mung beans cooked and seasoned with lemon, black mustard seed, and fresh cilantro. And for fruit and dessert today, a fresh honey mango sliced and mixed with drained, canned mandarin orange segments. I love the way the orange colors look together.
Verdict: Once again, food stuffed in pie dough reigns supreme! Every bite of aloo samosa was gone, along with all the fruit (mango and orange are a great combination). He only ate about half the mung dal. If only it had been wrapped in pastry... 4 stars.

53 comments:

primaryconsumer said...

Yay! Your back! I think I can speak for everybody when I say we all missed your lunches very much.

midge said...

i think i was going into some serious withdrawal!

Jane M said...

Oh, I missed you soooooo muuucccchhhh!!!!! Hug little shmoo for me, please.

Oh, and the food looks really good too. Putting the samosas in the book?

Ana said...

Do you just use a regular pie dough?

Anonymous said...

Yay, I'm glad to see you're back, too!

Would you mind posting the recipe for aloo samosa? Thanks! :)

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Putting the samosas in the book?

Yes!

>>Do you just use a regular pie dough?

Yes, it's my tried-and-true easy pie dough. I use it for several recipes in the cookbook.

VeggieAndie said...

Wow! I've been having mad samosa cravings all week.

I just wanted to tell you that I've been steering towards veganisme after having been a vegetarian for 5 years. I don't know if you did it cold tofurkey. If so, I admire you, because I'm going by few days at a time.

Also, were you vegan while pregnant? If so, how did you manage?

miroitement said...

hello!

i really enjoy the recipies and fresh ideas of this blog. it helps a new, vegan, college student find fast and fun things to eat (after all, my tastes are similar to the ones i had in 1st grade).

your blog has become a serious obsession of mine these past few days. i see myself adding this to a website to things i check daily! i love seeing what shmoo has for lunch. thanks!

Anonymous said...

Almost anything in almost any kind of dough. Mmmmm. Every culture seems to have their own version. I have a hard time getting the texture right without wheat. (Can't have it) Wheat has some amazing properties if you can eat it.

Anonymous said...

yippeeee! i'm so excited that you're back (and that's shmoo has school again ;))! keep up the GREAT work...

you truly put a smile on my face, and can only imagine how many more smiles are produced the world over by your terrific work :)

Anonymous said...

Firstly, fantastic blog! :-) who knew a boys school lunch would be the source of such fasination!
I just wanted to know, has shmoo always tasted the food before you send it for his school lunch? or do you sometimes send him with a brand new taste sensation and await his reaction?

Carrie™ said...

I'm also craving Indian food and samosas are one of my favorite things. I think the soup sounds great, even if Shmoo didn't seem to be too keen on it. Yum! Yum! Yum!

michellejoe said...

mmmm...samosas! I'm lazy too, so I also bake mine. However, I am reallllly lazy, so I also don't use a crust. Instead I use IndianLife spinach wrap bread (which I find with the tortillas at my local PCC). I fill them up, spread a little margerine on top, and bake for 20 minutes. They come out crisy and delicious!

marisa said...

Just wanted to comment on what veggieandy asked about being vegan and pregant. Having gone through two pregnancies now as a vegan, I have to say I didn't find it difficult at all. I just made sure I was taking a prenatal vitamin that had b-12 in it. I did end up a little low on iron (which is common even in pregnant meat-eaters) and took an additional suppliment. Everything I craved, even the sausage pizza, can be made vegan! The key was finding a doctor that was educated on the subject.

Thanks for letting me ramble! Love the blog and are SOOOO glad you are back! I can't wait for my little ones to go to school so I can pack lunches.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I just wanted to know, has shmoo always tasted the food before you send it for his school lunch? or do you sometimes send him with a brand new taste sensation and await his reaction?

Sometimes I'll send him with something brand new if I'm almost 100% certain he'll like it (desserts are usually a sure-thing!). But yes, usually he comes in and does a "taste check" in the morning before I close up the box, and most things are familiar from having them at home. Of course, that's no guarantee he'll still like them at lunchtime!!

Sarah said...

Glad your back!! I had a question similar to one above. I know little schmoo has been vegan only about a year but how long for you Jennifer? Were you vegan when you were pregnant? Just wondering because my cousin had such strong meat cravings when she was pregnant, she went back to eating meat! Her doctor said that this is a common problem because a pregnant body needs the nutrients in meat. Confused!!

neesha said...

Hi Jennifer. I wanted to share a samosa short cut that my mom uses (we're Gujarati). Actually, I don't think I know any Indian ladies who don't use this short cut. My mom makes hers with flour tortillas cut in half as the wrappers. She makes a cone with the tortilla half and folds it so that half of the straight edge is sealed with the other half of the straight edge and the curved side is the one that gets sealed after the filling is inserted. I hope that made sense. They are delicious this way deep fried in canola oil. You can also bake them with oil brushed on them.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I know little schmoo has been vegan only about a year but how long for you Jennifer? Were you vegan when you were pregnant?

I've been vegetarian off-and-on for 20 years, vegan off-and-on for several years now (gosh, now I feel old!). I managed to avoid the whole pregnancy/giving birth thing myself (adoption rocks). I do know vegans who stayed vegan during their pregnancies, and others who didn't. There's some great information on vegan nutrition during pregnancy in "Becoming Vegan" by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina. I imagine having a knowledgeable, veg-friendly midwife or doctor would help a lot.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're back! I enjoyed what you posted during break, but I missed the lunches. What do you do during summer vacation?!

ShadowCat said...

Hmm...a suggestion for the mung dal...maybe adding one drop (yes, one DROP) of liquid hickory smoke per bowl and stir in a few crushed tomatoes and diced carrots? Maybe even leave out the tomatoes and substitute a little onion?

Anyway, I need your advice.

I'm hypoglycemic. My job is very physical. When my blood sugar plummets (which it usually does on days when I'm overworked), vegetable protein (from what I've tried, at any rate) usually doesn't absorb fast enough to stabilize my blood sugar levels, even if I add a bit of candy or something to "jump start" it. So, unfortunately, I have been relying on my old standby - a package of deli meat (Carl Buddig or something like that).

What would you recommend as an alternate to this (other than closely monitoring my blood sugar levels which, I'm sorry to say, I don't really have the luxury of doing - my job is very physical and very fast-paced and in the heat of a Texas summer, this can and usually does spell an oops at least 3 times a season)?

Any help that you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Please note, though, that I have an allergy to an enzyme that is common to melons, avocados, bananas and certain tree nuts.

Thanks in advance, and I LOVE your recipes!!!

BOOK! WE WANT BOOK!!!! :-)

Claire said...

yay! Glad the lunchbox is back in use!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I wasn't the only one suffering from lunchbox withdrawal -- I really missed you. It's samosas for lunch tomorrow.

amey said...

Hoorah for Vegan Lunch Box!
Hoorah for Adoption! That's great to hear that little schmoo is adopted. So is my brother, and a lot of other people that I know and love.
:)

Tapati said...

Try cauliflower in place of potato in your samosas sometime. That's another authentic version and the one most used in Hare Krishna temples. (I joined as a teen in the mid 70s and still cook some of the recipes, though I left years ago.) Cauliflower and peas have much more flavor than the potato versions I've had. Potato and cauliflower also work well as curried veggies, with or without peas.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for a while now and it has been fundamental in my decision to go vegan after being a vege for 9 years.
Been vegan for 3 days now and am loving it! Got myself some containers and have been making soups and salads and all sorts of things.
I am bit young for kids of my own but admire the example you and a number of the other people who comment here are setting for their children. They are obviously healthy young people (you feed them super well) who know they are loved (you don;t soend hours cooking each day for any other reason I imagine) and are confident of their own decisions (when you said little schmoo gets asked if he wants ceratin foods by others and says 'no'.

R2K said...

I love samosas! But I bet half of that is because they are fried.

Get these snakes off my plane

Patchie said...

I was vegan for my first pregnancy. (The second, i craved eggs, and was ovo-vegetarian.) I did have a weird craving once for chicken, but after giving in and getting very ill, I realized sometimes, cravings are not all they're cracked up to be.

I was very healthy and gave birth to a 10 pound kiddo. I ate tofu, beans (i was addicted to taco salads with refried beans, no cheese or sour cream, for the last trimester), and made sure to get enough calcium through orange juice or calcium-fortified tofu. Vegans can have healthy babies. :) I am pregnant with my third and this time will go vegan for the whole pregnancy. I haven't had any morning sickness yet *knock on wood* and make sure to get extra soy milk (mmm, hazelnut soy steamers are a tasty calcium source). I take a multivitamin with B12 and extra folic acid.

Wide Lawns Subservient Worker said...

Welcome Back! I am so happy to have your bright, pretty pictures to look at while at work.

I too share the love of all things wrapped in crust. I was wondering what crust you use? Do you make it yourself? I am usually too lazy, and am always looking for a shortcut because I dont have a big enough kitchen to roll out dough. Any ideas?

Bananahead said...

I too would love to see your dough recipe .... I love the ideas on your blog. Thanks!

Anniemay said...

A couple comments and a question...

We love using mung dal in a variety of soups (mushroom barley, vegetable, etc) -- it thickens the broth and adds protein at the same time which is great for the kids.

I had two vegan pregnancies and now have two healthy vegetarian boys (we started using free range DHA eggs at my husbands request about 6 months ago -- neither child will eat walnuts daily, and we had run out of things to stir ground flax into). Oddly enough, I craved fake meat with the first but thankfully the thought of real meat still disgusted me.

Now for the question for Jennifer. If the book will be a while, would you consider posting the ranch bean dip recipe? My younger son is obsessed with dip and I don't like using the commercial mix since it has MSG in it. I'll definitely buy the book. Your blog has improved my lunchmaking quite a lot.

Anniemay said...

A couple comments and a question...

We love using mung dal in a variety of soups (mushroom barley, vegetable, etc) -- it thickens the broth and adds protein at the same time which is great for the kids.

I had two vegan pregnancies and now have two healthy vegetarian boys (we started using free range DHA eggs at my husbands request about 6 months ago -- neither child will eat walnuts daily, and we had run out of things to stir ground flax into). Oddly enough, I craved fake meat with the first but thankfully the thought of real meat still disgusted me.

Now for the question for Jennifer. If the book will be a while, would you consider posting the ranch bean dip recipe? My younger son is obsessed with dip and I don't like using the commercial mix since it has MSG in it. I'll definitely buy the book. Your blog has improved my lunchmaking quite a lot.

Anniemay said...

Sorry for the double post -- this was the first time I've commented to a blog, and I was expecting a response when I hit the "publish" option the first time.

VeganCyclist said...

what is this book i keep hearing about? i NEED another book, really. NO, I just want YOUR book!
VeganCyclist (Kari)

Anonymous said...

Re: pregnancy...I am pregnant now as a vegan, my first pregnancy I was not. I am so much healthier over all during this one! And that despite being in my forties :)

Make sure you take prenatal vitimins, eat plenty of grains, beans, nuts, fruits & veggies (especially dark green leafies) and you should be fine.

In fact I just got a whole bunch of generic preggy info from the doc with a ton of warnings against eating things like certain deli meat, certain cheeses, seafood etc. Makes me glad to be a vegan!

Meghan said...

ShadowCat -
What kinds of veggie protein have you tried? I am also hypoglycemic, though not vegan. I am vegetarian though. If you're trying to head that way but having problems with the protein thing, you might want to try starting out vegetarian and then worrying about the next transition. When I have blood sugar problems, I generally find that cheese is the best cure. Not vegan, but still better than Carl Buddig!

La Tea Dah said...

Where would one fine black mustard seed? Is it available in health food stores or in the health food section of a store like Fred Meyers? Maybe it's in the main spice section of all grocers and I've just never discovered it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

i used to make samosas using the traditional dough that is rolled into thin, alternating layers with oil spread between them and then baked and peeled apart. but this was so time consuming. so i figured out that a great shortcut is to use spring roll pastry. it's light and crispy (i don't really like thick-pastry samosas) and works well eiher baked or fried.

Jennifershmoo said...

I couldn't find brown/black mustard seeds anywhere around here. I think you could find them in Indian markets. I ordered mine online:

http://www.frontiercoop.com/dspCmnPrd.php?p=p&cn=Mustard,%20Brown&ct=spicesaz

Tempest Khalidah said...

I'm not a big soup fan, but that looks delicious! What's the website with the recipes again?

veggiegirl said...

Shadowcat-- I am also hypoglycemic. In order to feel good, I am vegetarian and not vegan. Cheese helps, so does cottage cheese and eggs which both have a lot of protein. I also eat beans, soy, nut, and nut butters which help some, but not as much. Hope that helps. (Please, no lectures from the vegans about my choices... everyone has their lines they draw. For me, being hypoglycemic sucks, and I know it would improve greatly if I ate meat, but I won't do it. Eating ovo-lacto works for me,especially for my severe low-blood sugar issues, and I'm okay with it. Thanks!)

Essie said...

I've been reading your blog for awhile and ordered my own desktop lunchbox last week. Today I took it to campus for the first time. I can report even for grown-ups this box is great!
Thanks for the inspiriration!!
I'm working toward 100% vegetarian. I still fish/seafood a lot and eat that sometimes (sushi!!!) But the rest of my family still eat meat. I tried to convince to switch to legumes and tofu, but no.

Essie said...

sorry, had to ask...
how much time do you spend preparing schmoo's lunch? Do you use left-overs from dinner? Cook everything fresh?
I have 3 kids ranging from 8, 7 and 5. I cook at night, I don't want to cook another time for their lunch if possible. I have homework to do at night!

Krista Park said...

When you write the book. Please give detailed instructions for shaping your samosas along w/ the recipe. I made the samosas from Vegan w/ a Vengeance yesterday and found the instructions really useful. Now, I've come to the conclusion that I still did something wrong, but I would have been hopeless w/o the instructions.

Anonymous said...

To the hypoglycemics out there: I'm a hypoglycemic vegan, and I've had far fewer blood sugar problems as a vegan than I ever had being omni or vegetarian. This isn't a judgment. I'm just saying it *can* be done without sacrificing health if: 1) that's what you really want to do and 2) you're willing to give it time to figure out what works best for you. Ultimately, that's your choice to make and you'll hear no condemnation for me. If your dietary choices as an omni or ovo-lacto help you more than the vegan choices you make, then you need to go with what works.

Hummus is my magic cure if I feel jittery, something that works far better for me than cheese did. I suppose the lemon juice-chickpea-tahini combo gives me all of what I need to recover. I have to be very careful about when and how much fruit I eat--always later in the day after a substantial meal. But that was the case even when I ate meat every day. I did find that I took about a week to adjust, but I had no *significant* problems during that adjustment period or since. Eating fewer refined foods has made a big difference, I think.

kristie said...

So hey, long long time reader, first time commenter. Without a blogger i never felt comfortable commenting but i have a question. What does mung dal taste like? I've always wondered but never had the guts to taste it.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>What does mung dal taste like?

There are many different ways of making it. The closest thing I can think of would be split pea soup.

Anonymous said...

congrats for adopting! makes me love the blog even more!

ShadowCat said...

Meghan - I've tried tofu snacks, grabbing a "tofu pup" or other veggie hot dog, Morningstar Farms veggie bacon strips, even some peanut butter and apricot preserves, and while it tended to shoot my blood sugar back up, I was always on a roller-coaster - nothing really seemed to stabilize. Then again, I went vegan rather suddenly before the roller-coaster hit, so maybe a transition via ovo-lacto vegetarian? I'll give it a try.

Veggiegirl - while I love cottage cheese, I can't tolerate the milkfat anymore :-( Eggs and cheese though might be a good option to consider.

Anonymous - I've actually never tried hummus (I guess I was always put off by the way the name rings in my own ears, even though I am well aware of what it's made out of, and I love chickpeas in salad!) - I'll have to pick some up and give it a try, now that my store here in Texas actually carries it (and a variety as well!).

Thank you all for your suggestions - I'll have to give it a try!

Anonymous said...

I am a type 1 (insulin-dependant) diabetic, so I know hypoglycemia all too well, and I am a little confused by people bringing their sugars up with protein foods and needing those proteins to be animal-based... I am not 100% vegan, so no judgement here, just not sure why animal foods are needed. At the time your sugar is low, you need something sweet to bring you up right away (i always carry a juice with me... even something with fibre will slow the absorption of sugar and it will take you longer to feel better). Overall, you do need a balance of fibre, protein and carbs to keep your sugars stable, but it is the balance, not the foods that make up the balance, that is important. If you eat a lot of carbs your body will produce a lot of insulin, leading to a crash later. However, if you have high fibre foods, incorporate legumes, other healthy proteins and healthy fats like avocado, along with moderate amounts of complex carbs (oatmeal, brown rice, etc... vs the white stuff) your sugars should stabilize. My husband was just pointing out the other day that the more vegan I go, the better my blood sugar control. Also, for those prone to hypolycemia (I was before becoming diabetic too) you should eat regularly. Maybe none of this is new to any of you, but thought I would summarize just in case it is helpful to anyone!

Suzanne said...

You can find black mustard seeds at Indian groceries, East and Southeast Asian groceries, and at Penzey's.

Anonymous said...

It's also true that the more low-carb people go the better their control over blood sugars. We need protein, fat, fiber and minimal sugars/starches--and all the stuff in fruits and vegetables
(There are no "essential carbohydrates" like there are essential fatty acids and proteins)So whole wheat is better than white, but not necessary. We vegs and vegans can get by with more carbs if we're low fat and plenty of fiber, but a low-carb lifestyle is another very good alternative for diabetics. It is also possible to be low-carb and vegetarian and possibly even vegan, but it's complicated.

Ruthie said...

I know we've gone way off topic for Jennifer's comments, but I just wanted to say that exercise, eating at the same time every day, eating fiber (veggies and whole grains), a small amount of protein (1/2 c beans or 1 c soymilk) at each meal, and NOT snacking (most snack foods are refined flours and sugars) has helped me with my wacko blood sugar. :-D I can now eat sugar every once and awhile and not go crazy.


Sorry, Jennifer. Let me say your samosas look great!! I love homemade samosas. I love restaraunt samosas as well but all that fat, yeeck! :-D There is a recipe in Vegan Planet that uses tortillas as wraps around peas and sweet potato. I'm now craving it!

red said...

thank you








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