The magic of coconut wraps or a healthy take on samosas

Gluten-free, Dairy-free (if not served with Greek yoghurt), can be made Vegan if filling is made with vegetables

Coconuts continue to amaze me.

Referred to as kalpa vriksha (“the tree that supplies all that is needed to live” in Sanskrit) in ancient India, the coconut palm has been recognized as a top immune booster, antifungal, antibiotic, antiviral and antibacterial remedy for thousands of years . Coconuts can help stabilise blood sugar, lower cholesterol, hydrate and heal. And they were even known to be used extensively in the Pacific during World War II as a substitute for blood plasma! As plasma supplies of which were scarce at the time, it was very common for medics to siphon pure coconut water from young coconuts to be used as emergency plasma transfusions for soldiers who were injured. And since coconut water is nearly identical to human blood, it was suitable for people of all blood types.

Coconut-derived products have been for years wrongly deemed as an unhealthy in Western world because of their high saturated fat content. However, the type of fats present in coconut meat are the so-called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length. These are metabolized differently from long-chain fatty acids, which form the biggest part of Western diets . MCTs go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, which means there is very little MCTs left to circulate and deposit in fat tissues in the body. In the liver MCTs are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies, which can have therapeutic effects, reduce hunger and function as a replacement energy substrate for the brain.

When I was growing up, desiccated coconut was the first by-product of coconut I discovered (probably as part of Raffaelo bon bons) – and this was way before I have even seen what a real coconut looks like! Nowadays we are all familiar with coconut water, coconut milk and coconut meat, but the popularity of coconut does’t end there. A variety of coconut-derived ingredients like coconut oil, coconut nectar, coconut flour and coconut sugar are increasingly becoming staples in the households that are focusing on healthy and nutritious foods and livestyles. The latest addition to the amazing suite of coconut products are the raw coconut wraps. These are made by dehydrating coconut meat, coconut water and unrefined virgin coconut oil to make thin pliable wraps that can replace your typical wheat- and corn-tortillas. While I have been loving these used as wraps for fillings like eggs-spinach-avocado or chicken-hummus-spinach, I recently discovered that they are great baked! And the below healthy take on samosas is a result of this discovery. These samosas, weather meat- or vegetable- based, never fail to impress both your taste buds and your friends.

Filling is the most time consuming part of this dish, but the assembly and baking are so quick that as long as you have the filling ready these can be made in no time and are a great snack or an appetiser for a dinner party. You can make the filling and the sauce ahead of time / a day before and on the day of serving it will be a quick 15 min job to assemble and bake these delicious triangles.

healthy samosas with mint chutney

 

The below qualities make around 16-20 samosas, depending on how heavy-handed you are with filling for each one of them

For the filling:

500gr lamb mince or diced carrots for vegetarian version

200gr frozen peas

2 medium onions, roughly diced

1 large tomato, diced

thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated

4 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 chilli (fresh or dried)

a large pinch of natural salt

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp Garam masala

a large handful of mint leaves, chopped

a large handful of coriander leaves, chopped

juice of 1 lime

coconut oil for cooking

 

For the wrappers:

8-10 packs of raw coconut wraps. I like to use Julian Bakery’s Paleo Wraps flavoured with turmeric (http://www.julianbakery.com/paleo-product/paleo-wraps-turmeric/) but any other coconut wrap brand should work

sesame seeds

coconut oil

 

Mint Sauce:

2 large handfuls of mint leaves

thumb piece of ginger, grated

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 Mejoon dates

1/2 green chilli (de-seeded if you want to tone down the heat)

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tbps olive oil

natural salt to taste

 

First make the filling. In a food processor, pulse onions, garlic, ginger, tomato and chilli into a rough paste. Heat the oil in heavy based pan and add the paste, cooking on low heat for about 10 mins until softened and the raw flavour of onion is cooked out. Next add the spices – turmeric and garam masala – and salt and cook for another minute. Increase the heat to medium and add either the lamb mince or diced carrots if you are making a vegetarian version. Quickly stir to incorporate the onion and spice mixture and then let cook without stirring until the liquid from lamb evaporates and the mince starts picking up some colour (or until carrots picked up some colour).  Stir and continue cooking until your filling is cooked through and has browned a little bit. This should take another 10-15 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time throw in the frozen peas. Turn the heat off, stir in the herb mixture (mint and coriander) and lime juice and leave to cool.

While the filling is cooling, make the mint sauce by putting all the sauce ingredients into a blender and pulsing into a smooth paste. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degreed Celsius and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Once the filling has cooled down, assemble your samosas. Cut each coconut wrapper diagonally into two triangles. Place a triangle on your palm with the longest side facing towards you. Put  a tablespoon of filling into the middle and fold the two corners nearest to you over the filling creating a cone like structure. At this stage you can top up the filling as needed so that the cones are 2/3rds filled. Fold the remaining corner into the cone to cover the filling and lay onto the covered baking sheet. Lightly brush with coconut oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake the somasas in the pre-heated oven for 5-7 minutes, keeping a close eye on them as the wraps brown very quickly. Serve hot with the mint sauce and some Greek yoghurt if desired.

 

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