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Utsav: The United Celebrations of India
– Recipes from the HomelandIndia is the land of many cultures, many people – and many foods. Vikas Khanna’s ‘Utsav’ captures the many festivals of India and the unique dishes associated with each religion and region. Here’s a chance to experiment with different dishes and celebrate all the wonderful festivals of India!
Fried Meat Patties
Sha paley are the Sikkimese and Tibetan version of the fried hand pie, patty, turnover or pasty, that features in almost every cuisine. Usually round or crescent-shaped with crimped edges, the irresistible crisp snack is a fixture on all festive menus. Beef is the meat of choice for these crisp patties,though chicken (chasha), lamb (lugsha), pork (paksha) and vegetables—especially spinach and cheese—make for delicious fillings. Sichuan peppers (emma), the tongue-numbing berries, add a delightful zing to the filling, but use them judiciously or they will overpower the other seasonings.
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, crushed
500 grams (about 1pound) ground lamb or chicken
½ teaspoon ground Sichuan peppers
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Oil for deep-frying
- Place the flour in a bowl. Add about ¾ cup water and knead for at least 5 minutes to make a soft, smooth dough. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and leave to stand for at least 15 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a pan; add the onions, ginger and garlic and sauté until the onions soften.
- Add the minced lamb and sauté until the meat has browned. Add the ground spices, salt to taste and ½ cup water and cook until the meat is tender and the mixture is dry. Leave to cool slightly.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and roll out as thinly as possible. Cut out 10-cm (4-inch) rounds with a cookie cutter. Alternatively, roll out small portions of the dough into 10-cm (4-inch) discs.
- Place a little of the meat mixture in the center of each disc and fold over to make a half moon. Press the edges together, folding the edges over in a spiral pattern.
- Heat the oil in a wok or deep pan and fry the patties a few at a time until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with a spicy sauce.
Makes 16 sha paley