Thursday, May 1, 2014

Vegetable Samosas

A good friend of mine was unwrapping some frozen Samosas to bake for her partner's lunch one afternoon, and casually asked if I had ever made them.

A simple question requires a simple answer.


However, as is the way with all simple questions, the repercussions are often like icebergs, 80% unseen.

I started to think of why I had not made these before, as they are one of my favorite Indian snacks, and not coming up with any good reason, I started to look for a good dough recipe. Without that, it doesn't even matter what you put inside.
I found one that did not include fat, and as I am theoretically trying to reduce my fat intake, seemed a reasonable proposition. I made the dough, set it aside as requested and then made the potato and vegetable filling.
Here is a nice recipe for the filling, but you can make these with anything you have.

3 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
60g/2½oz chopped onion
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
60g/2½oz frozen peas
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp red chilli powder
½-¾ tsp garam masala
1-2 tsp dried mango powder, to taste (alternatively, use juice of 1/2 a lemon)
salt, to taste
splash water
600g/1lb 5oz potatoes, peeled, boiled until soft and crushed into large lumps
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves.

Heat the oil in a small non-stick pan and fry the mustard seeds for about ten seconds, or until they begin to splutter.

Add the onion and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes over a high heat. Add the peas, stir well and add the spices, mango powder, salt and a splash of water. (If using lemon juice, add this instead of the water.) Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the potatoes and coriander and cook for 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

So far, Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.

I rolled out the balls of dough into a circle, and cut them in half, as instructed and then started the filling. Moisten the diameter with water, or you can make a little "glue" with flour and water.
It is a little tricky at first to get the pocket size just right, but after a few throw aways, I got the hang of it.
Fill half way, then fold the flaps down and close the parcel, then set to one side until completed.
I brought the oil up to frying temperature and inserted the newly formed samosas, and watched expectantly as they sizzled and crisped to a beautiful golden brown.

I took a photo and sent it to my friend, who then asked what they tasted like.

Another simple question.

They were bloody awful. The filling was tasty, but the dough was as tough as alligator hide.

Round 2
I had plenty of filling left, so I looked for a different recipe for the dough. As usual, fat is a key ingredient. Many use ghee or vegetable oil. I used ghee.

Here is the final dough recipe.

2 cups maida or all purpose flour
4 tbsp ghee or oil
5-6 tbsp water (I added 5 tbsp + 1 tsp water)
Salt to taste. ( I added ¾ tsp salt)
Incorporate the flour, ghee and salt and rub together as if you were making short crust pastry. Once you get to the crumb stage, add the water and knead the dough until it is smooth. Continue to knead for another 10 minutes, or use a food processor or mixer.
Turn out and let it stand covered for 15 minutes. Don't put it in the fridge as the fat will solidify.

This one worked, so I was happy to report to my patient friend I have, in fact, made Samosas.
Served here with minted Yogurt.