Phyllo potato pea samosas

Posted: March 9, 2014 in vegan recipes
Tags: , ,

I’ve been making these while watching consecutive episodes Carl Sagan’s Cosmos…on the same channel that’s going to have Neil Tyson deGrasse’s version tonight.  Listening to Sagan’s loopy and melodious voice is very soothing.

It also makes me think about a time when more people watched this show, because there were only three choices of shows on television at any given time.  Maybe more people were exposed to science then.  I might be getting old, and therefore, cranky, but it seems to me that I knew a good amount of this stuff about science in my twenties….astronomy, chemistry, physics, math…and I hated the sciences at the time.  And I see a lot of young adult patients now, and they want more of drug X than drug Y because drug X “has more milligrams.”  (Even though narcotic Y is more than fourteen times stronger.)  I’m not sure that it’s simply a matter of my patients coming from disadvantaged school systems….there is some of that.  But accidents happen to any person, and it has nothing to do with socioeconomic class….more to do with relatively younger age, and being male than anything else.

I had a college-educated young man who stopped taking antibiotics because he wanted to “heal naturally.”  I told him that his amoxicillin originated from mold, and unless he wanted his infection to worsen and risk his foot getting full-blown gangrene….take his damn antibiotics.  I didn’t say the “, you moron”, but I’m sure he heard it.  Gangrene and sepsis are very natural ways to die.  Stupid.

I’m glad this show, Cosmos, is being rebooted.  Our national dialogue allows Fox News commentators at the table….people who do not “believe” in global warming.  It’s as if the opinion of any of us minimally-haired primates had anything to do with facts, weather patterns, the density of our atmosphere…  It’s not just the radical right, either.  The radical left can be just as bad….as the college kid who wants his infection cured by….I don’t know…aromatherapy and meditation…shows.  I’m not sure when we saw “science” as “optional.”

I blame two things:  the religious right’s money forced the Republicans to take them seriously.  Second, the furthest liberal left told us that we are a multicultural society, and the straight white man’s point of view is no better than the black lesbian woman’s (and every other iteration of difference).  Which is incredibly well-meaning, and is near and dear to many Americans that we are a democracy.  However, that became toxic.  When everyone is equal, and no point of view is better than the other….that means no point of view is better than the other.  It is true that my neighbor, who might be a moron, casts one vote, just like I do.  But at an extreme, it also means that we can’t say that Carl Sagan is better prepared to design a high school science curriculum than Jerry Falwell.  The religious right used this extension of the left’s ideas to get a louder place at the table of national dialogue.

And years later, Fox News was spat out unto the world.

It’s intuitive to us that a 14 year old has a voice that needs to be valued, and respected….for the voice that it is, for the potential that it has, for his unique point of view, which is often be fresh and creative.  I love my stepson and his interesting view of the world.  And he should not be running the country.  He is growing, and changing, and has not incorporated lessons into his life yet.  And he will. But while he is able to make responsible decisions about some things, he is not yet able to be responsible in other ways.  We know this.

But we don’t apply that to the conversation on global warming, on stewardship of the planet, or our responsibilities to other countries, or a million other things.  Because we treat the commentators on Fox News, or some of the yahoos we pay to go to DC as if their points of view belong in adult decision-making.

Yup, I’m saying that the opinions of the creationists and naysayers of global warming are not grown up.  Because they cannot incorporate and integrate ideas of mysticism, feelings and belief into the facts of science in front of them and come to a whole.  Not one sane person in this country is telling them not to have their religion. Go worship.  But unless you have solid math skills, you should not be calculating taxes of the citizenry.  Or allocating that money to state schools, or choosing what textbooks those schools are allowed to have.  And partly because of this….my patients come to me saying they’re not taking prescribed antibiotics, and taking pills that have more milligrams in them.

So I’m glad we’ve got Carl Sagan back on television, and Neil Tyson deGrasse.  Because American culture’s gotten goofy and stupid.

Rant over.

Here’s the recipe:

The Meat-Free Monday Cookbok, by the McCartneys


  • 1 lb potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch diceImage
  • 1 cup frozen peas, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds (seeds from 4 pods….my Indian grocery was out of pods, so I did 1/2 tsp instead)
  • 1/2 tsp black onion seeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (I left this out)
  • 1 fat garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp freshly grated ginger (I went light on the ginger for Mark’s Wisconsin palette)
  • 1 large green chile, seeded & chopped (I used two anaheims to make up for the onion)
  • 1/s tsp tumeric powder (oops, I actually forgot this)
  • 1/4 tsp chile powder (this, too)
  • 1 heaping tbsp mango chutney (left out because I’m serving with tamarind, which I like way better)
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro (which I didn’t have)
  • 10 oz filo pastry
  • melted butter, to brush (I used ghee, to try and get a more authentic flavor)

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender.  Add peas and cook for a further 30 seconds.  Drain and set aside.  Tip cumin, coriander, cardamom into a frying pan and toast over medium heat for 1 minute.  Coarsely grind onion seeds using mortar and pestle.

ImageHeat oil in a large frying pan, and add onion and cook until soft.  Add the garlic, ginger and chile and cook for 30 seconds then add the spices.  Continue to cook for 1 minute, then add the diced potatoes and peas.  Mix well and cook for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from the heat, add the chutney and chopped cilantro, and season well.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Lay a sheet of phyllo pastry on the work surface and brush with butter/ghee.  Lay another pastry sheet on top and cut into strips 3 inches wide, then brush with butter/ghee.  Put a spoonful of the potato mixture onto the top corner of each strip.  Fold over to make a triangle and continue folding down the length of the strip to completely encase the filling.  Repeat with the remaining filling and pastry.  Arrange on baking sheets and bake for 25 minutes until golden and crisp.  Serve with chutney.

These are lighter than your typical samosas because of the phyllo.  Really tasty.  Not sure if I’d do this recipe often, because it is a lot of work.  I doubt I’d try freezing these, because they’re so delicate.  Of course, to make a meal, you might have to eat twenty of them.  Good stuff.  Not WOW, but good.  I flavored these somewhat for Wisconsin palette…and maybe if I hadn’t, my palette would be WOW.  But they are light, and good.  Very much an appetizer.


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