Kale & Corn Samosas
Turmeric has so many downsides. It's silly in its appearance. It's tough to peel. Mostly, it turns everything in your kitchen yellow, and stains your fingers for weeks. But, I don't just tolerate it...I crave it. Turmeric has ruined so many beautiful napkins, forever stained my food processor, and yet I cook with it multiple times per week. Open up a jar of ground turmeric and take a deep breath - earthy, citrusy, pungent, slightly bitter - the aroma lingers in your kitchen. Of course, as with most food, get your turmeric fresh and the earthiness, the orange, and the lemon dial up even further. A deep inhale of turmeric transports me back to Indian street markets, where I ate turmeric spiced corn from a laughing street vendor, (who was clearly so happy because of all the turmeric he consumed).
When it comes to turmeric, a little goes a long way. Try half a teaspoon in your latte for an anti-inflammatory boost. Add it to stir-fried vegetables instead of high-sodium soy sauce. Marinate chicken in a scrumptious marinade - a can of coconut milk and two teaspoons of turmeric, and then pan-fry or bake. Check out my super easy coconut quinoa recipe. Anti-inflammatory isn't just a buzzword here. Turmeric has been shown to alleviate inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, and has even been shown to improve memory in patients with Alzheimer's dementia by decreasing inflammatory plaques in the brain. It's an easy addition to your daily routine, and scientists discover more extraordinary and long-lasting health benefits all the time.
Samosas have a special place in my heart and memory. My mother and aunt would make hundreds of samosas for every event: birthday and Christmas parties, pot-luck brunches, as a congratulatory treat for new parents, or a consoling offering for families experiencing tough times. Every cuisine has their staple "dough filled with stuff" item, but to me, samosas reign supreme. As I made these, I felt incredibly nostalgic for those moments with my family. I sat on the floor on our thick Persian rug, next to my mama and auntie, and learned how to fill and fold. In the time it took my mom to make 30, I would make ONE. Furthermore, mine were misshapen, sometimes isosceles triangles or rhomboids, different from the perfect equilaterals my mom made with consistency. I would pop raw samosas into my mouth as we went, my mom laughing and telling me over and over again that I would make myself sick. I don't know why I loved the raw dough. It was so hard to wait for the moment these bad boys were fried.
Today, a healthier version of the filling awaits you. No ground beef or potatoes today. Kale and sweet corn mingle with ginger, garlic, and turmeric for a deep, earthy, savory, and citrusy taste. Feel free to make the filling alone, and it serves as a perfect and easy side dish, or even as a topping or relish for chicken, fish, or steak. I'm also going to tell you a secret: I never make samosa dough. It's a little too rich and thick for my taste, and I far prefer using egg roll wrappers. With egg roll wrappers, you get a crisp and crunchy exterior, and then most of what you get to enjoy is the filling! I love the balance between a thin crispy crunch and a juicy, savory filling.
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 5-6 corn cobs)
2 cups dino (lacinato) kale, shredded into thin strips
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp finely minced garlic
2 tsp fresh minced turmeric OR 1 1/2 tsp dried ground turmeric
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 package egg roll wrappers (large squares or individual rectangles)
Spice Mama's Bright Tangy Sweet Chili Tamarind Sauce
Slice corn kernels off the cobs and set aside. Make sure to have your shredded kale, freshly grated ginger, finely minced garlic, and turmeric ready to go.
Pour olive oil into the pan, and heat pan to medium-high heat. Add fresh corn kernels and let sit 3-4 minutes, until one side of corn is very lightly browned. Lower heat to medium. Add garlic and stir well for 1 minute. Add ginger, salt, and turmeric, and stir often for 2 minutes. Add kale and toss with the rest of the mixture until kale is wilted and incorporated, but still bright green, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, place in a bowl and let cool.
Stop here if you just want to make the filling as a side dish :)
Cut square egg roll wrappers into rectangles, approximately 2.5 in x 6 in, but doesn't need to be exact. Place the wrapper in your hand so the length of the rectangle is along the length of your palm. Fold the left bottom corner across to the right, so a triangle is created in the bottom third of the wrapper. Then fold, the right bottom corner up to the top left corner. Now you've created a triangular pocket. With a small spoon fill the pocket with filling, so it is plump but not overflowing. Before you fold the top right corner down to complete the triangle, dip your finger in water and lightly wet the inside of that corner. Fold the corner down and pinch the edges of your triangle.
Do not stack the samosas on top of each other while they are still raw, or the wrappers will stick to each other. Place them slightly separated on a plate, and cover the top with plastic wrap as you continue making the samosas.
Heat safflower oil in a wok or deep fryer over medium-high heat. You will know it is done when you throw a tiny piece of egg roll wrapper in, and it starts becoming golden in 5 seconds. Fry the samosas in batches (you'll want the samosa to either be completely submerged, or flip them when one side becomes golden). Remove from oil with a metal slotted spoon. Stack paper towel layers on a plate, and put the just fried samosas on the paper towels as they slightly cool, and the towels will absorb excess oil.
This amount of filling can make about 35-40 samosas, depending on how many you want to wrap. For my mom, that's a snap. But for the rest of us earthlings, we can probably stop at 20. Serve immediately with a drizzle of tamarind sauce.