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Vegetable Samosa
Vegetable Samosae

Mamta Gupta

Samosa is probably the most popular snack in Northern India, especially at tea time. When an unexpected guest arrives, most people send someone round to their corner sweet/snack shop to pick up freshly made, piping hot samosas and chutney. These days samosas have almost become a British dish, you can buy them at many supermarkets and stores and restaurants, including Harrods! Traditionally, Indian samosas are filled with a mix of potatoes and peas. These days meat, chicken and other fillings are also used. They are sometimes called as Singhara, after the triangular water chestnuts of India also known as Singhara. This quantity will make 16-18.

Edited December 2012.

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Ingredients

For the Pastry:
2 cups plain flour or maida
4 tbsp. cooking oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Water to make dough
For the filling:
4 large potatoes, boiled in their skin.
1 cup frozen pea (optional). If using fresh peas, boil and drain
3 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin or jeera seeds
1/4 tsp. asafoetida powder (don't worry if you don't have this)
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. chilli powder
1 tsp. amchoor (dry mango powder). If you do not have this, use 1 tbsp. lemon juice instead
1 tsp. Garam Masala
1 tsp. cumin seeds, dry-roasted and coarsely ground
1 1/2 tsp. salt (to taste)
A handful of fresh coriander leaves, de-stalked and chopped
Oil for deep frying
No turmeric is used in samosa filling

Instructions

1.Making the Filling: Cool boiled potatoes, peel and cut them into very small cubes.
2.Heat the oil in a wok or a frying pan.
3.Add cumin seeds and asafoetida powder, allow seed to splutter or turn brown, not burn.
4.Add ginger and green chillies, fry for a minute.
5.Add potatoes, peas, salt, coriander powder, roasted cumin, garam masala, chilli powder, amchoor (dry mango powder) or lemon juice. Stir well to coat potatoes and peas with spices. Cook on low heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring gently, until almost cooked. You do not want to overcook and mash the potatoes.
6.Adjust salt and seasoning and lemon juice. Add coriander leaves and mix.
7.Turn the heat off and leave the mixture open, to cool.
8.Making the Pastry : Place flour, salt and oil in a bowl. Rub with your fingers, like pastry flour. It should look like bread crumbs.
9.Make a firm dough, adding a little water at a time. I tend to make mine in a food processor these days. If making by hand, knead it well.
10.Keep aside for 20 minutes and then knead again, until smooth.
11.Making the Samosas: Make a little ‘glue’ by adding 2-3 tbsp. water to 1 tbsp. of plain flour and mixing to a thick liquid. Keep aside.
12.Divide the dough into 8-9 portions and make balls, using greased hands. Keep covered with a moist muslin/handkerchief or 'j' cloth.
13.Mix 1 tsp. flour with 2 tbsp. water, to make a 'glue'. Keep it aside.
14.Roll out one ball at a time into a 7-8 inch circle/chapatti on a greased surface. It should be approximately 2-3 mm thick. Cut it into half using a knife. You now have 2 half circles
15.Lift one half in your palm and bring edges together, overlapping one over the other, making a cone.
16.Brush a little glue on one of the overlapping edges and press the other edge over it gently with a 4-5 mm. overlap, to give the cone a good seal. If not sealed properly, it opens up during frying.
17.Now fill one cone with approximately 2 tbsp. of the potato mix. You should have enough edge left at the top (4-5 mm.) to get a good seal.
18.Paint the top edge of the cone with the 'glue', press and seal the edges together.
19.Make all samosas like this. Keep them covered with a moist cloth. If pastry is allowed to dry, it is more likely to burst during frying.
20.Heat the oil in a wok or karahi to medium heat. If the oil is too hot, samosas will be soggy and not crisp. Oil should not be 'smoking'. Test by putting a small piece of dough into it, it should sizzle and rise gently to the top.
21.Put as many samosa as will spread out easily in your wok and fry gently to golden brown. Turn them over gently a few times to ensure even browning. Take out and place on kitchen paper, to absorb surplus oil.
22.Serve hot with Green Mango Chutney or Tomato Ketchup.
23.Also see Chat Selection.

Notes

Chapatti method: Make small, egg sized balls of dough. Roll out one at a time like a thin chapatti and cook on a heated griddle for a minute or so. There is no need to cook the other side, but you can, very slightly. Make a stack of chapatties before making samosas. Cut each chapatti into half and continue as above, from step 15.
Freezing: Once ready, place all the samosas on a tray, cover with a cling film and leave in the freezer for a few hours so that each samosa freezes individually. This will stop them from sticken together when stored in the freezer. Now place in a tub/box/other container that has an airtight lid. Keep in the freezer. Defrost fully before frying
You can use Filo Pastry or Puff Pastry or Short Crust Pastry too. Samosas made from these pastries can be oven cooked, following pastry instructions.
Here is a little trick that I learnt from a lady called Surjeet, who makes superb samosas and sells them in her shop. When making vegetarian and meat samosas on the same day, make a little ‘V’ notch or cut in the edge of the pastry of vegetarian ones, see picture. You will never get them mixed up during frying or serving.

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