22 May 2010

I can't believe we ate all those samosas

My friend, who is Nepali, was supposed to have dinner with us today.  He always makes the best samosas.  But he had to cancel, sadly, and I was beside myself.  What was I to do without his lovely pastries?  I decided to make my own.  We invited over some friends as guinea pigs helpers, and set to it.  The result was shockingly yummy:
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The recipe made 32 samosas.  We gave kid kids one each. The little bastards didn't touch theirs -- "I don't like those" was the refrain. That left 27 for us -- about 7 each.  We ate them all, along with a prodigious amount of basil chicken and naan.

Then I went to the kids' plates and ate theirs, too.  I am not proud of that, but it is what it is.

If you want to try your own, I highly recommend this recipe:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ghee, clarified butter or vegetable oil, plus 1/4 cup, plus extra, for frying
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 hot green chile peppers, minced
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
2 large baking potatoes, like russets, about 1 1/2 pounds, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice, and boiled until just tender
1/2 cup par-cooked and drained green peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
To make the dough, sift the flour and salt into medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the clarified butter and rub the mixture between the palms of your hands to evenly distribute, letting the fat-coated flour fall back into the bowl. Continue until the flour is evenly coated. Add 6 tablespoons of the water, mix, and work until the dough comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 4 minutes into a firm dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

To make the filling, in a large saute pan or skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of clarified butter over medium-high heat. Add the coriander seeds and cook, stirring, for 10 seconds. Add the onions and ginger, and cook, stirring, until starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chile peppers, garam masala, salt, turmeric, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring until the potatoes start to color and become dry, about 3 minutes. Add the peas and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the cilantro and lemon juice. Stir to combine, then adjust the seasoning, to taste. Let sit until cool enough to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 1 minute. Divide into 2 equal portions and roll each into a 1/2-inch thick rope. Cut each into 8 equal parts and roll into smooth balls. Place each ball on the floured surface and roll into a thin circle, about 6-inches in diameter. Cut each circle in half (2 semi-circles). Spoon about 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of each semi-circle. Brush the edges with water and fold the dough over the filling. Press the edges together to seal. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Preheat the oil in a large pot to 350 degrees F. Add the pastries in batches and cook at 300 degrees F, turning, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

We went light on the chiles, which I now regret. I'm a wimp when it comes to spices, so I was hesitant, but the potatoes really attenuate the heat, so go for it. The cilantro and lemon also balance the spice too.

Frankly the best part of the whole process was dicing the fresh ginger. I don't know what that stuff does to your serotonin receptors, but it's pretty damn potent, whatever it is.



  1. Samosas are among my top 5 favorite foods. I'd definitely be trying this!

  2. I remember eating samosas and drinking tea at a lonely bus stop in the middle of Nepal- that was 12 years ago- I can still taste them. Going to try this recipe- thanks for posting.

  3. I had a similar epiphany with onion bhajis a few months back... and after making them (a few dozen times!) began to wonder what other wonderful delicacies I thought were beyond my culinary skills.

    It turns out to be like any task --you need the right tools/ingredients for the job, and respect for the process.

    those samosas look lovely... and i will be trying the recipe, too! thanks...


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