Last night I walked to a small-scale town meeting in my neighborhood to listen and quietly participate in discussions about the upcoming election. Jennifer advised me to bring finger food, but I got home a bit later than I intended, so I didn’t get started preparing food until about 20 minutes before the event.

My intended contribution was slightly more time consuming than this allowed, and I didn’t have a backup plan, so I arrived about an hour past the official starting time. Even though I was running late, I wanted to stop and take a little photo.

Fortunately, the group had only started their planned agenda a few minutes before we arrived.

Channa gobi masala nests

Shreddedfilo-channagobimasala

This looks elaborate, but much of the preparation time is idle, waiting for something to simmer or finish baking. I needed to chop onions, cauliflower, and chickpeas, and I grated some ginger; I toasted and ground some spices, and I melted butter to coat some prepared shredded filo dough.

To form the nests, I pulled clumps of the butter-tossed shredded filo and pressed the threads into a mini-muffin form, taking care to leave a depression for the filling in each muffin cup.

For the channa masala, I used a blend of garam masala,  fenugreek, cumin, cloves, brown mustard seeds, and one or two things I’ve since forgotten, toasted and ground them, and brought them back into the pan with some ghee. I cooked down some onions, added cauliflower, then included some chickpeas and tomatoes, and a little amchur powder for a hint of acidity. I forgot that I wanted this to be a bit thicker, since it was a filling, so close to the last minute I added a little starch dissolved in water. Each vegetable is chopped very finely to make it suitable for bite-size portioning.

After the filling was ready, I spooned it into the nests and baked for roughly 20 minutes, until the bottoms of the nests were lightly browned.