Sweet Potato Masala Parathas

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Mmm, parathas. Delicious breads fried in ghee and stuffed with stuff, be it aloo (potato), gobi (cauliflower), paneer (cheese), palak (spinach)… Or in my case, leftover sweet potato masala (sweet aloo masala?).

First, the masala I used. This is a rather unorthodox method of making parathas but don’t you worry, it’ll be yummy.

Sweet Potato Masala

Adapted from VahChef

Sweet potatoes: I used 4 and they were all varying in size and length. About 500 grams, peeled and cubed.

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon garlic/ginger paste

1/2 tablespoon large black mustard seeds

2 tablespoons urad daal

1 small red onion, chopped

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 handful curry leaves

Salt to taste

Boil the sweet potatoes until fork tender. I accidentally overcooked them, making them mushy, which didn’t bode well for this masala on its own. But as parathas… it’s perfect.

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. When they sizzle, add the cumin. When that fries, add the urad daal and turmeric. Add the rest of the ingredients and saute until the onion is browned and tender.

Add the sweet potatoes and let it fry for 3 minutes ish, or until the sweet potatoes caramelize a bit.

Serve!

Parathas

I used the techniques used in this recipe from vegrecipesofindia.com

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon oil

pinch of salt

water (< 1/2 cup ish)

Dough: Combine 1 cup of whole wheat flour with a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of oil, and add enough water until a dough forms. Knead this dough and then let it ferment for 25 minutes under a dishcloth.

After 25 minutes, divide the dough into balls and roll out into small rounds.

Heap a few tablespoons of the sweet potato mixture into the center, and then take the sides of the round and bring them together on top of the stuffing, to make a little twisted dumpling.

Roll this out again, and make a bigger round.

Spread some ghee over the surface of this and, on a hot tawa, fry until it gets golden brown in places. Spread some ghee on the uncooked side and flip and cook the other side. Ta da!

Bear with me. This was my first attempt and it was a lot of fun. I don’t usually do step-by-step photos but the process was pretty cool (and messy).

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So after you make your dough, roll out a thick round about 3-4 inches in diameter. Spoon some of the prepared filling into the center.

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Do THIS! Make a little dumpling out of it. Take the sides and pinch them together.

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Then, you’re supposed to squish this and roll them out again, bigger, without actually tearing them. I didn’t really succeed at the no tearing thing.

But: browned sweet potato innards = YUM.

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This was my best paratha. Soooo good.

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Probably one of my favorite cooking adventures so far. And, a plus, because the sweet potato masala I thought I messed up got a second life as paratha stuffing!

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies

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So, uh, with eight days left until I returned home for Christmas break, I decided to go ahead and bake the bejeezus out of eight sweet potatoes. One potato per day: a perfect plan. My plan, however, was not perfectly executed, and I found myself with six baked sweet potatoes left… and just two more days til returning home to the dirty jerz.

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But, as life so happens, I found myself juggling six sweet potatoes and an invite to a cookie swap party.

Me: “I don’t know what to make… Coconut macaroons it is! Oh wait, I have… one egg… and… no coconut. Hmm…”

Friend (Elaine): “How about sweet potato cookies?”

Dingdingding.

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I laughed it off. Sweet potato cookies? What? Crazy talk!

So crazy, it just might work… (reference: The Master of Disguise.)

And work, they did. I was totally inceptioned. YUM. Other pros: One-bowl, lack-of-mixer-friendly, super easy for grad school.

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from this recipe
Two sweet potatoes, baked in the skin for 1 hour at least
Scant 3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup old-fashioned or quick cooking oats
1 cup sliced almonds (or pecans)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I cut up an 85% dark chocolate bar. I think these would also work with cacao nibs!)
Coarse sea salt, for sprinklage

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix butter and sugar together; use a pastry cutter if without a mixer. Mash in the sweet potato (without the skins). Add egg and combine.

Add dry ingredients directly to the wet, and then almonds. Drop by teaspoonfuls on parchment-paper-lined pan. Press out into flat discs slightly, then sprinkle chocolate chips on top (or alternatively, mix chocolate chips in to cookie dough first).

Bake 10-20 minutes (10-12 for original recipe; it took much longer in our defunct apartment oven). Once done, top with some sea salt while still warm.

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They were really flaky and yummy. Crispy on the outside, chewy inside, the chocolate merely a subtle accent without overpowering the sweet potato. They went over well at the cookie party (which was also super fun! And, all the delicious cookies were totally nutritionally balanced by carrot sticks and guac apps. We aren’t in the Nutrition Department for nothing)!

You can brag about the beta carotene content, flavanols from the dark chocolate, heartiness of whole wheat flour, extra minerals of the sea salt (barely enough to make a difference, but whatever)… and just neglect to mention the sugah and buttah. Well, at least, that’s what I did. Enjoy the yams. I mean, yums.

Chickpea Pot Pie (vegan)

Yes, you read that right. Chickpea pot pie!

Carrots, sweet potatoes, peas and chickpeas all kept piping hot under a delicious cornbread crust.

Chickpea Pot Pie

Adapted from Eats Well With Others

2 cups chopped sweet potatoes (I used 5 small)
1/2 cup chopped carrots (2 medium/large)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup white flour
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, rinsed)
1/2 cup frozen baby peas
1 tsp kosher salt
cracked pepper
3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsweetened soymilk
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water and allowed to soak for a few minutes (or 1 egg yolk)
Instructions

Boil the potatoes and carrots until tender, set aside. Grease 1 small casserole pan and two smaller ramekins with cooking spray or earth balance.

Heat a large nonstick saucepan and then cook onions in olive oil until soft (5 min, ish). Sprinkle in 1/4 cup of white flour and mix; slowly whisk in veggie stock (it should thicken up as you pour). Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Add the veggies, salt, and pepper and cook about 3 minutes or until nice and heated through. Spoon evenly into the dishes.

Combine the cornmeal, 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl; in a smaller bowl combine the milk, oil and flax mixture and mix with the dry ingredients until just mixed. Spoon batter on top of each filled ramekin and spread evenly. Bake until golden brown, about 22-25 minutes for a larger casserole and 10-12 minutes for the smaller ramekins.

This came out so delicious! Ultimate comfort food. The veggies were all cooked perfectly, and the cornmeal crust had a lovely crisp surface and was nutty and tender inside. The flax added both visual interest and further flavor. Cornbread complements pot pie filling so much better than pastry crust. To add to the delectability, this meal is completely vegan and whole wheat. Let’s just say the chicken (or turkey, or beef) was NOT missed. Nor was the frozen-slash-“boiling-lava-hot”-excitement of microwaveable pot pies I consumed back in the day (quote by Jim Gaffigan).

I fed this to me and two others and we devoured almost the entire recipe for dinner (along with a side of cranberry sauce, which has tartness that contrasts perfectly with the creamy sweetness of the pot pie). We scarfed it down. It’s pretty easy too–the majority of ingredients are all items that are in your pantry or freezer. All you need is an open mind and willingness to try something new.