International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Samosas

Samosas (Indian, Pakistani deep-fried potato pastries)

(Indian, Pakistani deep-fried potato pastries)

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Samosas are the perfect chaat, or Indian snack food. These tetrahedral pastry pockets are made with a variety of stuffings, both vegetarian and with meat. But a simple spiced potato and pea filling is the most popular.

Versions of the samosa are made throughout southern and central Asia. Indian immigrants have also made samosas popular in eastern Africa and in South Africa, where they are known as samoosas.

15 to 20 samosas

Ingredients

Wrapper Dough

  • Flour -- 1 1/2 cups
  • Salt -- 1 teaspoon
  • Shortening, lard or oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Water -- 6 to 7 tablespoons

Filling

  • Oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Onion, minced -- 1/2 cup
  • Gingerroot, minced -- 1 tablespoon
  • Ground coriander -- 1 tablespoon
  • Russet potatoes, peeled, cooked and cooled -- 5
  • Peas -- 1 cup
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Oil for deep frying

Method

  1. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Rub the shortening or lard into the flour with your hands until it forms crumbly mixture. If using oil, simply stir in.
  2. Pour 5 or 6 tablespoons of the cold water into the bowl and mix it in with a spoon until it forms a kneadable mass. Drip in rest of cold water if needed.
  3. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until silky smooth. Return to the bowl, cover and let rest the dough rest for about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the 1/4 cup oil in a saute pan over medium flame. Add the onions, ginger and coriander and sauté until the onions just start to brown, around 4 or 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Add the cooked potatoes to a large bowl and lightly mash with a large fork or potato masher. The potatoes should be mashed but still chunky. Stir in the sauteed onion mixture, peas and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Return the wrapper dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll it into a long rope. Divide the dough into 16 pieces and roll each piece into a 6-inch circle. Cut each circle in half.
  7. Bring the cut sides of each 1/2-circle together to form a cone. Moisten the edges with a little water and seal well with your fingers. Put about 2 tablespoons of filling into each cone. Fold down the of the wrapper dough and seal again with a little water. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling and set the samosas on a baking sheet to dry, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.
  8. Heat the oil to 360°F in a deep fryer, or about 2 inches in a deep pot. Deep fry the samosas in small batches until browned on all sides and heated through. Serve with imli chatni or lemon wedges.

Samosa Variations

  • Wrappers: Large, premade wonton wrappers or filo dough can substitute for the homemade dough for samosas.
  • Filling: Other versions of samosas contain vegetables or meat. You can cut down on the amount of potatoes and add cooked and spiced ground lamb or beef. Diced, cooked carrots or sautéed cabbage are also nice. Diced pumpkin is good too. Use your imagination and whatever you have in the fridge.
  • Seasoning: Saute some minced green chile with the onion if you would like a little heat in your samosas. Other possible seasonings include garam masala, cuminseed and amchoor (dried mango powder).
  • Baking: Many people prefer to bake their samosas (in a 350°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes) instead of frying them.