Kitchen Basics: Samosas

By Carla Nordstrom

For years, you could buy fresh samosas at Good Cheap Foods in Delhi. Ironic that Indian pastries were available in Delhi, New York. Vijaya Samudrala, who made them, has been in India since last year so they are no longer available.

Finding fresh samosas is hard in our neck of the woods and this led me to making them at home. Thanks to a video, I learned the trick of prebaking the dough on one side. It has made making samosas as easy as pie.

Boil the potatoes whole in a pot of water. When a fork goes through them easily, remove from the water, cool, and peel off the skin, cut into small pieces, and set aside in a bowl. Add oil to a frying pan at medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and roast until fragrant. Add frozen peas and cook until the skins are shiny, and water has evaporated. Add the chopped chili pepper and continue cooking until heated through. Set aside to cool. Add salt, garam masala, cayenne pepper, and grated ginger to the potatoes. With a fork mash the potatoes gently, add the pea mixture, and refrigerate while making the dough.

In a bowl, combine flour, salt, oil and water to form a soft dough. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Combine flour and water for the glue in a small bowl. Place some flour on a plate to use for dusting the dough. You will need two pans to cook the samosas, an ungreased skillet on medium low heat and a deep fat fryer.

Remove the filling from the refrigerator and mix in the chopped cilantro.

Divide the dough into 6 balls. Roll out each into very thin round disk. Form and fill each samosa as follows: Place a disk on the skillet for a short time, gently baking it on one side. Remove to a flat surface and cut the disk in half. With the baked side down, use your finger to spread some glue along the edge of half of the cut side. Twist the semicircle into a cone and hold it between your thumb and forefinger. The baked side will be on the outside. Press the seam to make sure the cone is sealed.

Add 1-2 tsp. of mixture to the cone. Don’t fill it too full. Smear the glue along the inside top edge of the cone, then press the edges together and seal. Place samosa on a plate with a light dusting of flour. Using the same steps, continue making the rest of the samosas.

Heat enough oil to submerge the samosas at medium high heat in a deep fat fryer. When it comes to heat, fry 3 or 4 at a time until golden on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Serve samosas with different chutneys such a mango, cilantro, onion, or mint. Yield: 12 samosas.

Photos by Andy Bobrow

2 medium potatoes
1 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
½ cup frozen peas
1 small finely chopped chili pepper
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. garam masala
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup flour
½ tsp salt
1 ½ Tbsp,oil
1/3-1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. water