A recipe excerpted from Vij’s Indian: Our Stories, Spices and Cherished Recipes by Meeru Dhalwala and Vikram Vij.
Read the story behind the cookbook here.
At Vij’s, we offer these ricotta-filled “cookies” with curried chickpeas as an appetizer on our menu, but on their own they make a great snack to pass around at any time of the day. Just pick them up and eat them like cookies. They go well with all sorts of drinks—from beer to sparkling wine to a rich red wine. However, do not serve these cookies with milk!
Although we do a lot of cooking at home, we never make baked desserts. So when Shanik saw these on the counter one day before a dinner party, she was surprised and said: “Oh! Those are funny-looking cookies. Are they for dessert?” Vikram teased that they were the closest Meeru would ever get to making homemade cookies.
Use only sweet potatoes in this recipe because you want their texture—do not substitute yams or regular potatoes. Save the trimmed ends of the sweet potatoes for another recipe or just make tiny cookies with them instead.
If you make these filled cookies ahead of time and need to reheat them, arrange them on a baking sheet and warm them in a preheated 300°F oven (or toaster oven) for 3 to 5 minutes.
Serves: 6 (2 cookies per person)
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
1 teaspoon mild ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup + 1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
(3 to 4 medium cloves)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried green fenugreek leaves
8 ounces full-fat ricotta cheese
Using a sharp knife, cut the sweet potatoes into 24 rounds, each ¼ inch thick. Place the rounds in a large bowl and add the ancho chili powder, ½ teaspoon of cayenne, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ cup of the oil. Toss until potato rounds are evenly covered with oil and spices. Set aside.
To make the filling, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil in a small pot on medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, or until golden. Stir in the cumin and turn off the heat. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of cayenne, ½ teaspoon of salt and all of the fenu- greek leaves; stir well. Allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes. Add the ricotta and stir to mix well. Set aside.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels. In a heavy-bottomed frying pan large enough to hold 4 sweet potato rounds, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil (you will need about 1 teaspoon for every 4 rounds) on high heat for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add 4 sweet potatoes—in a single layer—to the pan. Cook on one side for 2 minutes. Using a pair of tongs or a spatula, turn the sweet potatoes over and cook them for 1 minute more. If they are tender, remove them from the heat. If not, cook them for 1 minute more. Add more oil if they begin to stick or burn.
Transfer the cooked rounds to the paper towel–lined baking sheet and allow to cool for 5 minutes before filling. Add 1 teaspoon oil to the pan and cook the next batch of sweet potatoes while the first ones are cooling.
To fill the cookies, choose 2 sweet potato rounds of similar size. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the ricotta filling onto one of the rounds. Place the other sweet potato round on top to form a sandwich “cookie”. Fill the remaining rounds until you have 24 cookies. Serve hot or warm. Leftover cookies will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
To serve, arrange the cookies on a platter and pass them around.
Find more recipes from the Vij’s Indian cookbook, here.
Excerpted from Vij’s Indian: Our Stories, Spices and Cherished Recipes by Meeru Dhalwala and Vikram Vij. Recipes Copyright © 2016 Meeru Dhalwala and Vikram Vij. Text copyright © 2016 Meeru Dhalwala. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
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