Two days ago we showed how to give international flair to poke, the Hawaiian spin on sashimi salad.
Today, our colleague Hannah Kaminsky transforms one of the blandest foods in America (via Italy): gnocchi.
Here, she makes a fusion dish of potato gnocchi and Indian spices (photo #1), to create “samosa* gnocchi,” inspired by the spicy Indian fried potato dumplings.
She illustrates how you can take any bland food, from noodles to tofu to chicken breasts to tilapia, and turn them into fab food with the right spices.
“Fix up the gnocchi with a pinch of curry powder, for example” says Hannah, “and you could consider each starchy sphere as a naked samosa, stripped of its deep-fried pastry shell.”
Hannah, who specializes in making flavorful food in under 10 minutes (see her new book in photo #3), notes that packaged gnocchi make fast work of this preparation.
In addition to a main dish, she suggests serving them “as a brilliantly spiced side dish that could complement a wide range of proteins or simple stews.”
1. BRING a medium pot of water to a boil and add the gnocchi, using a spatula to gently break them apart. Cook just shy of al dente, as the dumplings will continue to soften in the curry sauce. In some cases, this might amount to only 1 or 2 minutes in the water, so keep a close eye on the process and test frequently by poking the pieces with a fork. Drain and rinse with cold water to immediately stop the cooking process.
2. MELT the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and add the par-boiled gnocchi. Spread out the gnocchi to cover the bottom of the pan as evenly as possible. Resist the urge to stir for about two minutes, allowing the gnocchi to dry and very lightly toast. Separately…
3. WHISK together the coconut milk, both spice mixtures, and salt before pouring them into the pan. Turn down the heat to medium-low, stir thoroughly, and simmer for 1 or 2 minutes longer, until the sauce coats the gnocchi nicely. Toss in the thawed peas and serve with mango chutney on the side, if desired.
Chutney is a spiced condiment of Indian origin (chatni is the Hindi word for strongly spiced) made of fruit or vegetables. It is typically served as an accompaniment to food, not as a spread.
The spice level can range from mild to hot, and the consistency from a fine relish to a preserve or conserve. Fruit chutney consists of chopped fruit, vinegar, spices and sugar cooked into a chunky sweet-tart-spicy mix. According to one explanation, it “blurs the Western distinction between preserves and pickles.”
“There are more types of chutney on the market than there are days in the year,” says Hannah, “from creamy coconut to fiery habanero varieties. One of my favorites is made from mango. You can pick up a jar of it at most grocery stores, but you can also throw together a quick version at home.”
This recipe makes 2 cups (3 – 4 servings).
1. PLACE the mango and all ingredients in a microwave safe dish, stir well, and heat on full power for 4 to 7 minutes. The fruit should be softened, syrupy, and well-seasoned. This chutney will keep well for up to a week if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Hannah is a food photographer, recipe developer, and specialist in vegan cooking and baking. She is the author of five books, most recently, Real Food, Really Fast.
Follow her on BittersweetBlog.com.
*Samosas are individual fried or baked triangles, often eaten as an appetizer or snack food. It has a savory filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas and lentils, minced lamb or minced beef. They can also include macaroni/noodles and cheese. Here’s more about them.