Guilt-Free Treats: Learn How To Make a Samosa Healthy!
 
Samosas are the most covenient to make, and they endure a stuffing of every choice

Guilt-Free Treats: Learn How To Make a Samosa Healthy!

By Swati Sanyal Tarafdar

The drizzle becomes a downpour in no time and just like that, the rains arrive. The arrival of the rains brings with it some pretty strong food cravings. For me, a lot of it brings back childhood memories.

When I was growing up, the Monsoons meant khichdi with fried eggs, fried hilsa, or any other fried fish or even, vegetable fritters for the main meals. It also meant Granny would be busy whipping up a batter or kneading the flour for those crispy onion pakoras, rich kachoris, and deep-fried samosas to go with the evening's masala chai. Sheer laziness in the kitchen meant spiced-up puffed rice instead of the deep-fried alternatives.

Modern monsoon munchies

However, these days when it pours, my cravings pose quite a bit of an internal tussel given my new found love for CrossFit. Samosa cravings on the journey to becoming a fitter you, earn scorn not just from your conscience but your entire CrossFit family. But I'm not too worried, I've got science backing these cravings.

Monsoons are when the body's immunity is at an all-time low. Have you noticed how some of the sour and hot ingredients used to spice our food, contain high amounts of Vitamin C? That's because this is a fantastic immunity booster!

The scientist Leidamarie Tirado-Lee joyfully writes in the Helix Magazine "there is some very real chemistry and neuroscience involved in that craving for spicy food... Surprisingly, their "hotness" or "spiciness" is not a taste but rather a sensation."

She goes on to explain that when you eat pepper or hot and spicy food, your brain responds by releasing two types of neurotransmitters: the endorphins, which are the body's natural way of relieving pain, and dopamine, which is responsible for a sense of reward and pleasure. Hence, I totally believe her when she writes, "In essence, for some people, eating large amounts of spicy food triggers a sense of euphoria similar to a 'runner's high.'"

The Monsoons fire our cravings for spicy, hot food. While this helps me rationalise my monsoon craving for spicy food, the fried bit is a non-negotiable for all involved. Eating healthy during the Monsoons and keeping the palate happy is not that difficult. During the monsoons though, its best to avoid eating street food given the chances of contamination or the food being hard to digest, run high.

Today, however, I chose to give my samosa craving a healthy twist.

Healthy Twist #1: Making the samosa casing

At the face of it, the process is very basic - roll out the flour into small puris, halve them, stuff the semi circles with the potato mix, and then, neatly fold the corners to make the three-dimensional samosas ready to fry. Simple, right? I'd seen my grandmother do this countless times before; but when the time came, I hopelessly struggled with the dough, the form, the neatness and the magic her fingers so easily wove. I got around it, with a little bit patience, soon though.

Instead of the standard all refined flour dough, I kneaded a dough that was half portion refined flour and the rest, a combination of gram flour, wheat flour, ragi flour, and jowar/bajra flour. This makes your base more fibre rich. The samosa dough, however, needs the elasticity the refined flour renders to the dough to roll it out thinly into a large circle or square. For now, I cover it with a kitchen towel and let it sit until the stuffing is ready.

Healthy Twist #2 : Having fun with the stuffing

For me, this is the most creative part in the whole "how to make a samosa" game. The yellow potato stuffing with loads of peas, peanuts, and cauliflowers that granny made is an all-time favourite, but I love to experiment as well. Sometimes, I skimp on the portion of simply boiled and coarsely crushed potatoes and generously add sprouted moong and beans to it, a little paneer or cottage cheese, and a spoonful of chaat masala along with coarsely ground roasted jeera.

(Snack tip: This can also be made into tikkis and shallow-fried on the pan, ready to go with some delicious coriander-mint dip.)

Today, however, I'm in the mood for some anti-oxidants and I want the vegetables raw. So I julienne the carrot, cabbage, chilies, and capsicum, use a salt and lime dressing and let them sit a bit so the flavours blend in and the vegetables release their water. I grate the paneer, roast the walnuts and almonds and coarsely grind them. Then I chop some sun-dried tomatoes and dried cranberries--but these are optional ingredients.

I squeeze out the water released and mix the julienned vegetables with the paneer, nuts, and sun-dried tomatoes. My samosa stuffing is ready. It looks colourful and inviting.

Healthy Twist #3 : Skimp on the frying

I roll the dough out as thin as possible and then, cut it up into long rectangular strips--each one an inch wide. Then, I carefully place a spoonful of the stuffing in one corner, and fold the dough on its side multiple times. This particular stuffing tends to be unruly since it doesn't have any starch to bind it, so I work slowly and try to be neat.

Finally, I brush a little oil on the samosas and bake them in the oven for 15 minutes instead of the good old-fashioned, hot oil bath for your snack. You can also use an oven-toaster-grill (OTG) or the air fryer. When they are done, pair them with some extra helpings of the roasted capsicum dip and you are set!

See?! It's not at all difficult to eat healthy during the Monsoons. Our cravings in this season are not outrageous, and we should indulge our taste buds, guilt-free. So don't be afraid to give the traditional recipes a healthy twist and relish the season. If a newbie cross-fitter and ex-junk food binge eater can figure this out, you've got this!

Disclaimer: This publication / editorial / article does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any Products. Please consult your doctor/ healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.