September 27, 2012 by Meg G.
When I was in high school, my closest friends decided they wanted to widen their culinary palates. Every so often they would pick a different type of cuisine and try a new restaurant. I always declined. “Thanks, but no thanks,” I thought to myself. “I’ll stick to my beloved Italian roots.” Once, I did get invited to my friend Latha’s home for a big Indian feast. I remember feeling totally out of my element, but sampling some really delicious dishes. Still, I wasn’t swayed. It wasn’t until I decided to eliminate meat from my diet that I stepped out of my culinary comfort zone – and that was largely due to sheer necessity!
I can’t imagine going back to my old boring ways. Don’t get me wrong – I still eat plenty of pizza and pasta and I love to make it from scratch. But I can’t imagine never eating another plate of curry, Thai noodles, or falafel. I love so many different types of food, so why not start making more of them at home? Enter homemade Samosas.
Samosas are usually deep-fried deliciousness packed with potatoes, peas, and some Indian spices. I took my cues for this baked version almost verbatim from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen (one of our faves). They are time-consuming (about 1 1/2 hours of prep, plus 25 minutes of baking), but they are VERY worth it, especially for a special occasion. Our friend Carrie was coming over for dinner, so that was a good enough excuse for me! This is my second time making these and I think they will become a regular menu item for special occasions or lazy Sunday afternoons. Here goes!
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk or yogurt (I made my own buttermilk by taking a cue from Alana Chernila’s quick fix – add 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon to 1 cup of milk; stir and let sit for 5 minutes)
- extra flour, as needed
Mix flour and salt and place in a medium-sized bowl. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk or yogurt. Mix with a spoon, then with your hands, to make a smooth dough.
Add extra flour, as needed, to keep the dough from getting sticky. Knead in the bowl for about 5 minutes, then cover tightly and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the pastries. (But bring it back to room temperature first.)
- 2 large potatoes (the size of a large fist)
- 1 Tbs butter or oil
- 1 cup finely minced onion
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbs freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp coriander if available (just realized that I left this out by accident – no harm, no foul)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked green peas (we used frozen peas that had been thawed)
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- cayenne, to taste
Peel the potatoes and chop them into 1-inch pieces.
Place potatoes in a sauce pan, cover with water, and boil until very soft. Keep an eye on them while you do other things, but remember that the starchy potatoes like to create a lot of foam while they cook. (I’m not speaking from experience here or anything. I definitely didn’t almost have a massive mess on the stovetop.) Drain and transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Mash and set aside.
Add this to the mashed potatoes, along with the peas, lemon juice, and cayenne. I actually opted to add a little Balti seasoning, which is another Penzeys Indian spice mixture. Mix well, but try not to smush (that’s a word) the peas. Cool for at least 15 minutes before filling the pastries.
To assemble and bake:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Generously oil a large baking sheet (or two smaller ones).
Keep a small container of flour, a fork, a small bowl of water, and a pastry brush close at hand. Flour a clean surface and, one by one, roll 1-inch balls of dough into 5-inch circles, using a rolling pin.
Place approximately 1 1/2 Tbs filling in the center of each circle and fold over like a turnover. Brush the inside edges of each circle with a little water and fold together to seal. (I used my fingers here, but keep the pastry brush out for later.) Crimp the edges firmly with the fork.
Place the Samosas on the oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with oil. This helps to soak up the dry flour and gives them a nice, golden color.
Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn over and brush the other sides with oil.
Drop the temperature to 375 degrees and cook for the remaining 10 minutes.
While the Samosas are baking, you can whip up this simple dipping sauce.
For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 Tbs brown sugar
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Heat to boiling, then let simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. It will reduce slightly.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with hot Samosas.
Serve your hot Samosas within 15 minutes of baking. This is a direct quote from Mollie, which I love: “A nice way to serve the sauce is in individual saucers or tiny bowls, so each person can hold both Samosa and sauce directly under his or her face while eating, and the sauce bowl can catch the drips. (It does drip, but that’s one of the charms of this ritual.)”