Monday, February 20, 2006

Time to Turnover

I spent last Friday evening out on the town with my Opera-Loving Friends, enjoying good Ethiopian food and, of course, opera.

As we enjoyed our savory appetizers, one Friend commented on the tasty lentil turnovers in crisp dough known as sambussas. She noted that many cultures around the world have these little "pockets" of dough-wrapped savory foods, and while there are some with names such as "pasties" or "calzones," many of the names have similar sounds and origins.

For instance, at the Indian restauarant the night before, Phoenix and Mr. Nice Guy and I shared an order of vegetable samosas.

And this evening for dinner, I assembled filling and dough for an Uzbek recipe for spicy squash turnovers found in The Vegetarian Hearth. The name of these turnovers? Somsas.

Since I had one last butternut squash remaining from the farmers' market, I decided to try this recipe but lacked the motivation to get it all made yesterday, settling instead for making and refrigerating the dough, and then shredding the squash and sauteing it with onions, salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne.

When I got home from work today, I checked on the curry in the slow cooker and then prepared the somsas, pretty much exactly as I normally make samosas, and baked them while the rice started to cook with the vegetables.

A short while later, I had eight beautiful golden turnovers, bursting with flavor.


Though the curry had a little longer to cook, I simply couldn't resist sampling the first somsa:


Savory, a little salty, full of squash flavor and just the right hint of spice... oh so good! And so irresistible...

So that when dinner was ready, I simply had to have another one with my beet and green pea curry:


Color, flavor, texture... all the perfect ingredients of a meal.

So if my Friend does indeed decide to make a more extensive survey of the intersections between different ethnic cuisines, I stand ready to help her sample all the possibilities.

And we'll turn over every ethnic kitchen and cookbook to find them all.

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