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Samosas

samosas

April 10, 2000
Web posted at: 2:01 p.m. EDT (1801 GMT)

1 1/2 hours to prepare; 25 minutes to bake
Yield: 15 or 16 medium-sized, very satisfying pastries (enough to feed 6 to 8 people, at least)

Samosas are flaky pastries filled with spicy potatoes and peas. In traditional Indian cuisine, they are deep-fried (and that is still an option). But baking them works very well, and it's easy and more healthful.

All components can be made well ahead of time. Finished Samosas can be stored for days in the refrigerator or freezer. Make the Dipping Sauce while the Samosas bake.

The dough:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
  • extra flour, as needed

Place the flour in a medium-sized bowl. Mix in the salt.

Make a well in the center, and add the buttermilk or yogurt. Mix first with a spoon and then with your hand, to make a smooth dough.

Add extra flour, as needed, to keep the dough from being sticky. The dough will be quite soft. Knead in the bowl for about 5 minutes. Cover tightly and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the pastries.

The filling:
  • 2 large potatoes (the size of a large person's fist)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup finely minced onion
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander (if available)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked green peas (frozen, thawed = fine)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Cayenne, to taste

Peel the potatoes and chop them into 1-inch pieces. Place in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil until very soft. Drain and transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Mash and set aside.

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, coriander and salt. Saute over medium heat about 8 to 10 minutes, or until onions are quite soft. Add this to the mashed potatoes, along with the remaining ingredients. Mix well, but try not to smash the peas. Cool for at least 15 minutes before filling the pastries.

The dipping sauce:
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon 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.

To assemble and bake: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously oil a baking sheet.

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 tablespoons filling in the center of each circle, and fold over, just like a turnover. Brush the inside edges of each circle with a little water, and fold the edges together to make a small hem. Crimp the edges firmly with the fork.

NOTE: If you are storing the Samosas to bake later on, place them on a heavily floured plate or tray, dust the tops with more flour, and cover tightly. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until baking time.

To bake: Place the Samosas on the oiled baking sheet. Brush the tops with oil. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, then reduce heat to 315 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 10 minutes more. For maximum crispiness, turn the Samosas over when you turn the oven down.

Serve within 15 minutes of baking, with Dipping Sauce. 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.)



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