The winter chill that’s finally spiking the air has shifted kitchen activities to the production of warming comfort foods. By genetics, in this Slavic household that usually translates into dishes heavy (in all senses of the word) on noodles, cabbage, butter, and potatoes–pierogies if I’m feeling especially motivated. By instinct, however, I’m also given to nomadism, so wide swaths of culinary traditions tend to make regular border crossings.
It was that combination of weather and wanderlust that left me looking at my potatoes and feeling torn between knishes and samosas. The spice profile on the typical knish wasn’t packing the heat I was looking for, but even if the temperatures outside allowed for the addition of some body fat, a batch of deep-fried samosas was not how I was looking to apply the extra calories (to myself or my stove top). With years of multicultural fusion under my taste buds, a quick Brooklyn-Queens handshake seemed the obvious way to go.
To make the dough
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour
In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine water, oil, egg, and salt. Add flour and knead by hook or by hand until dough is soft yet smooth. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover, and refrigerate while you make the filling.
To make the filling
3 Idaho baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 T vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
2 tsp. hot curry powder
1 tsp. garam masala
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (adjust type and amount to your taste)
1/2 cup peas
Cayenne and/or black pepper and salt to taste
1 large egg
4 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
Additional egg for wash
Boil potatoes until fork-tender. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in large skillet. When hot, add mustard seeds and allow to sputter and pop for a few seconds. Then add curry powder, garam masala, garlic, and onion and stir to coat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened (about 10 minutes).
Pass cooked potatoes through a ricer (or mash with a fork) and add them to the skillet, as well as the jalapeno peppers, peas, and salt and pepper. Mix well and continue to cook until peas and peppers have softened. Remove from heat and set aside. When cool, adjust seasonings as needed and stir in egg and parsley.
To assemble and bake the masala knishes
When ready to assemble, line a baking sheet with parchment and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into two portions. Roll the first piece into a 20″ by 10″ rectangle. Spread half the potato mixture along the bottom edge of the dough and roll it up to the top, ending seam-side down. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the log into 10 2-inch pieces and lay them out cut-side down on the baking sheet. Using your fingers, pull the other side of the cut dough up and over the top of each knish and pinch together, pushing down slightly in the middle of each and shaping gently into a round as needed. Don’t worry if some potato filling escapes through the top or is exposed on the underside. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Beat egg with a little water and brush over top of each knish.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden. Serve with tasty chutneys, such as this much-recommended cilantro version.
Disclaimer: This recipe was created for the Idaho Potato Commission’s February “Potato Lovers Month” promotion. I was financially compensated for my participation.