There are a couple of things that can instantly make you feel better- like a cup of tea with a hot savory snack.The best part in growing up in a big family,surrounded by near and dear ones is, whenever you cook, you atleast make enough to feed 10 people. I often think of the times when the kitchen is full of activity with friends stepping in and out and dishes being handed out from the kitchen by my mom and aunts during weekends and evenings.
With little R’s arrival,it is not only our friends, but also our neighbors kids dropping in to see him and to play with him. This gives me a good excuse to bake cookies, muffins,rolls,puffs and savory snacks. Baked savory snacks carry many similarities and you can make the same snack in so many different ways. Take for example,Spanakopita – I can relate it to the Indian version of Samosa in many ways. Both are street foods, very popular, the filling can be made according to what you have in the pantry and no one can resisit eating just one.
Like this version I made last week, which is not a traditional one, but it has flavors of both countries,India that I know and Greece, the origin of this dish.I believe in not learning a recipe, but a technique that you can use in many recipes depending on the occasion and not sticking to the same method.
(Makes 6 baskets and 2 rolls)
Baby Spinach- Tightly packed leaves- 2 cups
Canned Chickpeas-4 tbsp
Frozen Peas-4 tbsp
Cottage Cheese or Feta Cheese- 3 tbsp
Paprika- 1/2 tsp
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Light olive oil- 1 tbsp
Dough Sheet/Puff Pastry/Phyllo sheets-(I used one full dough sheet)
Boil and peel the skin of potatoes. Chop and wash the spinach leaves. Heat oil in a pan, add chopped onions,salt and green chilies, stir fry till onions are about to turn translucent, now add boiled potatoes, spinach, paprika, frozen peas and chickpeas. Stir fry well to mix and keep mashing with the back of the ladle so that potatoes and spinach are well cooked as well as mashed.
Let the filling cool down to room temperature.Pre heat the oven to 375 F.
Lightly apply butter in the muffin pan.
Spread the dough sheet. Depending on how you want to serve, you can either make triangles, squares, baskets(muffins) or rolls. I made a roll, so that I could cut it and serve as finger food. I also made some like baskets in a muffin pan.
For muffins cut a 10 cm square of the dough sheet,press it inside the muffin pan,add 2 tbsp of filling, top it with some crumbled cottage cheese and bring together the edges of the sheet so that you can seal the sides and finish with a knot on top.I usually try to make some design on top by just rolling the sheet into a shape or by keeping a handle like basket.If you want to make a roll, spread some filling on to a 10 cm square sheet, sprinkle some cheese on top, roll it tightly and seal the edges by pressing it together.
Bake for 15 minutes till the outer layer is golden brown in color. Serve hot or at room temperature with any of your favorite dips. Tastes great with plain ketchup too.
The dip that I make for savory snack is to blend half a red chili(seeds removed), 1 tsp of dried raisins(about 6-7 raisins),1/4 tsp of tamarind paste, 2 seedless dates with 1/4 cup of water. Then depending on how thick or thin I need the dip, I simmer it as it is or with another 1/4 cup of water till it thickens(5-7 minutes). It is spicy,tangy,sweet and goes with all savory snacks. You can even add it to yogurt to make it a cool and refreshing dip.
As part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I have been entered for the chance to win a trip to Greece courtesy of FAGE. You too can enter to win one of three trips to Greece by entering the FAGE Plain Extraordinary Greek Getaway here http://www.fageusa.com/community/fage-greek-getaway.