Vegetable Puffs

Around 4 O'clock trays of freshly baked puff's and samosas used to arrive at a popular bakery in Chennai. It was hard to resist the temptation. They flew off the shelf like hot cakes. Well, they had yummy pastries too, difficult choice!

I never realized it is such a simple procedure to make them and all we needed is an oven to bake them. So, you can imagine my state when I was baking my first batch of puff's. Now, it has become a common thing as my son enjoys them more than his mom.
I use Pepperidge Farm pastry sheets. They are available in the freezer section of regular grocery stores.
Pastry sheets
5 Potatoes
2 Onions
1 tsp Chili Ginger paste
Few Curry Leaves
Lemon Juice

Boil potatoes with salt and turmeric, peel and mash them well.

Take 4 tsp of oil in a skillet and make tadka (poppu) with ½ tsp mustard seeds, ½ tsp jerra and then add chopped onions, chili ginger paste and curry leaves. When onion turns translucent, add the mashed potatoes and mix well.

Check for salt and seasonings remove from flame. Add lemon juice and chopped coriander and mix well.

Keep the pastry sheets outside for sometime. Cut them in desired size, bite size or medium serving size. Place 2 spoon fulls of the curry on one half of the pastry sheet and fold it. Repeat the process for all. Wet your fingers and bring the edges together.
Spray PAM or grease a baking tray, place the stuffed pastry sheets and bake in a preheated (350 degrees) over for 20- 25 minutes or till the layers are crispy on the outside.

Serve warm with ketchup. Perfect as a starter or as a snack. Easier to prepare for a large group. Prepare the curry in advance and bake the puffs just in time for a starter. Do not re-heat puffs in micro oven, use a toaster oven for better quality.

The curry in puffs should be a dry variety with potato as a base. It can be tweaked to suit personal taste, by adding garam masala, certain vegetables like peas, peppers etc.

Majjiga mirapakayelu - Dried chilies

Sun dried green chilies that are soaked in sour curd are called majjiga mirapakayelu. These are the regular type without any stuffing. The whole procedure takes about 6 days, 3 days to soak and 3 good sunny days for drying. Prepare in bulk to last a whole year. A speciality side item, usually served with dal and rice as an accompaniment.

5 lbs Long Green chilies
1 Gallon Yogurt - curd
2 tsp Vammu

Make fresh curd and leave it outside for a day to make it sour. Add salt, turmeric and vammu and beat it well. Do not add water.

Wash and wipe green chilies and sun dry them till they are dry. Using a knife or a pin make small holes/slit on the green chilies at 2 places if they are very long.

Gently place the green chilies in a container with a lid. Add the beaten curd on top of the chilies and gently press on so all of them are immersed well in the curd. Set aside for 3- 4 days in cool dry place and gently turn the chilies once a day so that all of them are covered evenly.

On the 4th day, separate the chilies and the curd. Transfer the curd from the container into an aluminum tray and place the chilies on a polythene cover and sun dry them. At night place the chilies back in the curd in the aluminum tray. Repeat this process till the curd dries or for 2 days. Then discard the remand curd and sun dry the chilies till they are light and completely dried which will take about 2 - 3 good sunny days.

Use a napkin and wipe the curd that dried on the outside of the chili, by doing this the oil will remain clear after frying them. Discard any seeds that are loose. Store in an airtight container. They have good shelf life.

Heat couple of tsp of oil in a kadai and fry the chilies or medium/low heat till they are nicely done, be careful not to burn them. Drain on a paper napkin to absorb the excess oil. They are a good side dish with dal and rice.