11/26/13 10:00am

Desify: The Thanksgiving Leftovers Edition

Baked pie crust matti. Photo by Anne Noyes Saini.

One man’s Thanksgiving leftovers are another woman’s Indian snacks in the making. Here’s how you can resurrect your Thanksgiving leftovers with some “East meets West” mash-up action. It’s easier than you may think to turn leftover mashed potato into spicy aloo tikki and pie crust trimmings into baked matti.

Matti, crisp rounds of fried dough seasoned with mild spices, are a favorite winter snack in North India. At Thanksgiving, we save the trimmings from our pie crust and use them to make a baked version of matti (shown at top). The butter-rich pie crust is fatty enough to give them a nice flakiness and rich flavor without deep frying.

Baked mashed potato tikki. Photo by Anne Noyes Saini.

Aloo tikki, made with boiled and mashed potato seasoned with onion, chilies, and spices, is a favorite appetizer at festive meals—or a hearty snack. It’s easy to substitute day-old mashed potatoes and achieve almost identical results. Tikkis are usually shallow-fried, but this recipe proposes an alternate baked option, yielding grease-free, but less crisp tikkis (shown above).

Seasoned mashed potato ready for cooking. Photo by Anne Noyes Saini.

Mashed Potato Tikki (yields 12-15)

4 cups leftover mashed potato
handful of breadcrumbs (optional)
1 onion (diced)
1 teaspoon ginger (diced)
2 green chilies (diced)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
Chopped cilantro (to taste)
Salt (to taste; or substitute MDH-brand chaat masala, if you have it)
1/2 lemon (juice only)
Canola oil (if frying)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl; then form mixture into small patties (about 2 inches in diameter; shown above).

If frying: Heat oil in a nonstick sauté pan and add the patties. Cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the bottom side is brown. Flip the patties and cook the other side until brown.

If baking: Preheat oven to 400F and arrange the patties on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bottom side is brown. Flip the patties and bake the other side until brown.

Cool tikkis on paper towels (to soak up excess oil) and eat while warm with ketchup and mint chutney (get my recipe here).

Making baked matti: Balls of pie crust, coated in carom seeds, await rolling and baking. Photo by Anne Noyes Saini.

Baked Pie Crust Matti (yields 8-12)

1 cup pie crust trimmings
Carom seeds (to taste)

Roll pie crust into small balls (about 1 inch in diameter; shown above).

Dip each ball of dough in carom seeds and then flatten with a rolling pin (until it’s about as thick as your pie crust).

Make 3 to 4 diagonal cuts in each rolled-out piece of dough; and put them on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 400F for 5 minutes, or until browned on top; flip and bake until browned on the other side.

Let mattis cool on paper towels. When cool, eat with Indian achaar (pickle) or spicy mango chutney.

Check out Anne Noyes Saini’s ongoing food + audio projects on SoundCloud.

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