Sunday, February 23, 2014


Samosas are the quintessential Indian snack food. I have eaten them at hawker stalls in Singapore, the Oberoi Hotel in New Delhi, and the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market in Washington, D.C.

Traditionally, samosas are triangular-shaped pastries with a vegetable filling served with mint or coriander chutney. Preparing samosas is quite time consuming - rolling out and shaping the dough and filling it with the vegetable mixture takes a while. Since I was pressed for time I decided to forgo the triangular in favor of the half-moon shape.

Samosa recipes from Julie Sahni's Classical Indian Cooking and Nina Simonds Spices of Life have inspired my version below. To balance the spiciness of the filling I serve samosas with mint chutney and cucumber raita.

2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 finely chopped yellow onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 green chili, seeds removed, finely chopped
2 tsp garam masala
3/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 pound small potatoes, cooked, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 large carrots, grated
3/4 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves

  • Heat canola oil in saucepan and fry onion for a couple of minutes. Add garlic, ginger and chopped green chili and fry until onion is lightly browned. 
  • Add spices and salt and incorporate well into mixture.
  • Add vegetables and fry for a couple of minutes stirring constantly.
  • Add lemon juice and coriander leaves. Fill mixture into bowl and let come to room temperature.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp vegetable shortening
7 tbsp cold water

  • Mix flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Gradually add vegetable shortening until incorporated. Add cold water one tablespoon at a time. Form dough into a ball, coat lightly with canola oil and let rest for 30 minutes covered with plastic wrap. 
  • Divide dough in half and roll each half into a rope. Cut each rope into 6 - 7 pieces and form into balls.

Filling and frying the pastries:
Canola oil for deep frying
small bowl with cold water

  • Prepare one pastry at a time.
  • On a lightly floured surface roll out a ball into a 5-inch circle.
  • Place 2-3 tbsp of filling into the bottom half of the circle leaving about 1/2 inch at the edges. Press filling down.
  • Moisten edge of bottom half of circle with water.
  • Fold over top half of circle and press down firmly to securely seal the samosa.
  • Repeat with remaining dough balls.

Heat oil in a large pan. When hot, carefully place 3-4 samosas into oil and fry until pasty crust is golden brown. Remove from oil and place on paper towels. Fry remaining samosas.

Serve samosas warm or at room temperature with mint chutney and cucumber raita.

Serves 3 as a light meal.

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