Sunday, April 12, 2009

Strange Loops and Samosas (Step-By-Step)

I've been thinking about Douglas Hofstadter and his twenty-seven-year-old Pulitzer-Prize-winning treatise on recursive mathematical properties and their paradoxes. And it's thinking like that that makes my jumbled pile of person think that I should be working on my seminal work... whatever that may be.

But... I sat down and considered for a moment that it took me ten years of writing half-finished, short-sheeted novels before my consciousness generated the story that would, in fact, become a novel; ten years after that and I haven't been able to recreate the experience. (Lots of short sheets, though.)

So I sat for a while with my book this afternoon and puzzled how I could possibly ever get it revised and published, or if I even wanted to, or if I should use the power of the internet to push my characters off into the cloud for viral consumption. (It doesn't help that the only copy of said book is in paper; it was written on way-too-old technology and before it can go anywhere will need to be all-three-hundred-pages retyped.)

I even read the first chapter aloud, into my audio recording software, to hear how it sounded.

And then I got discouraged.

And then I made samosas. ^__^

1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 4 tablespoons ghee/oil. Mix with your fingers until it looks like "thick breadcrumbs."

Add one tablespoon of water at a time and slowly knead until the dough forms a ball. (You'll need between 4-6 tablespoons.) This is the hard part because you've got both hands in the dough and you've got to stop, turn on the sink, stick the tablespoon under the water, turn off the sink, dump the tablespoon of water into the dough, and try not to notice how covered with flour your kitchen is getting. ^__^

(Probably next time should fill up measuring cup with 1/4 cup water beforehand and pour it on the dough in increments.)

Here's the dough after it has sat, covered, for the requisite 1/2 hour. In honor of Douglas Hofstadter I added the recursive feedback loop in the background. ^__^

I am still not sure what happens to the dough in that mysterious half hour between kneading and rolling out. For all intents and purposes it appears exactly the same. Is it a science thing?

Here's the leftover aloo paratha stuffing from this weekend, to which I have added the necessary peas.

I guess I skipped the photo of the step where I cut the ball of dough into eight pieces and roll each piece out into a circle. At this point I've cut the slit in the circle of samosa dough and folded over on itself to make the "cone." That's not exactly a cone, as you can see. The dough is pretty limp, so I have to help it out.

I have no idea how this picture turned out so interesting. Didn't know my camera could do that. ^__^

As you can see, they are closed before I put them into the oven. I don't know why some of them choose not to stay that way.

Also, I think I need to work on my samosa-shaping. Proper samosas are shaped like tetrahedrons, equilateral on all sides, and they have that ridge down the one side. Like this:


Nine happy samosas, after baking. They really are delicious, even if they aren't perfectly tetrahedral.

This samosa is ready for its closeup. It is also ready for some constructive criticism. I know that using white flour and deep-frying would make a difference, but... is there a way to make better samosas even when baking them?

And here they are on the plate, along with yogurt, the chutney powder that I seem to be putting on everything these days, and the mattar black beans. What's that stuff on the beans, you ask? It's the cheddar cheese that melted in the frying pan yesterday. I let it sit on my cutting board until it chilled and then I cut it into smaller pieces and put it back in the refrigerator. IN THIS HOUSE WE DO NOT WASTE FOOD. ^__^ (Especially expensive Farmers' Market cheddar from happy cows.)

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