Sunday, February 10, 2008

snack attack

for some reason, this particular winter has seemed to extend itself longer than winters past — well, at least in recent years which come to memory. i shouldn't complain since i'd rather endure the cold and appreciate the sparkling white blankets of soft snow which cover the ground rather than sweat to death and pant for water and air-conditioning in the sweltering temperatures of our unbearably hot and humid summers. if i had my choice, it would permanently be spring and fall. sweater weather. enough with the bathing suits and parkas. i hate extremes.

with the extremes of temperature, one usually either eats more food or less. it's no big surprise that winter is the time for heartier foods and slowing down. invariably, i end up consuming massive amounts of potatoes in the winter. of course, it's something i know i shouldn't be doing as the more of those starchy suckers you eat, the more you can look forward to in weight gain. it's a good thing i have some measure of self-control in the gluttony department :) well, if i'm going to ruin my diet, i may as well do it properly. that means wrapping those potatoes in a pastry crust and deep frying them.

samosas need no introduction — these spicy triangular indian snacks are up there with other similar oil fried appetizer incarnations like vietnamese spring (imperial) rolls and chinese egg rolls. samosas are typically filled with either meat stuffings or vegetarian ones , the most popular and ubiquitous being that of a mixture of spicy potatoes and green garden peas.

the following recipe is simple to make and extremely rewarding. like many recipes which are labour intensive, preparing things ahead of time is a big help. i usually make the filling and pastry the night before and then throw everything together the next day instead of doing it all at once. it feels less overwhelming and seems to go much faster. in reality, all can be done the same day if you prefer.

notes before embarking on making samosas - there are many dough variations and stuffing mixtures. i quite like this one i tried from a cookbook years ago (whose name i can no longer remember). this is actually one of the best ones i've tried over the years. as taste is a highly individual thing, you may have a different opinion. i don't, however, think you'll be disappointed after trying it.

use the correct amount of potatoes stated in the recipe. if you use more than called for, it alters the balance of the spicing and gives more stuffing than is needed, in addition to making it blander.

the dough used here is almost exactly the same as a classic bureka dough — flour, oil, salt and water. the difference is that is that samosas are deep fried whereas burekas are baked.

you'll notice that the dough will have a pocked appearance once it rests; this is normal and perfectly fine. the dough will also be oily. this is essential as the dough is rolled out without using flour; it helps in shaping the dough rounds and gives the final flaky texture.

two important things about making the dough: the oil is worked into the flour with the hands to coat all the flour — a typically indian technique. the samosa dough is rolled out as a whole (round) and then each round is cut in half to yield two. this is the standard way to form the pastry shells. don't overstuff the samosas.

this recipe, if made to the proportions below, yields exactly enough for each one when divided equally.

now go make samosas! :))

potato & green pea samosas

makes 8 large appetizer size samosas (can be doubled)



1 c all purpose flour
3 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
1/4 c + 1 tbsp warm water
1/2 tsp salt


1/2 lb (~250 g) new potatoes (with edible skin) approx. 2 medium ones
1/2 c minced onion
2 - 3 tsp garlic-ginger paste (or equal amounts finely minced)
1/2 c frozen or fresh green peas
1/2 - 1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 - 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 - 2 tsp amchoor or 1 - 2 tbsp lemon juice
3 - 4 tbsp chopped coriander


make the dough —

place the flour, salt and oil in a bowl and rub the two together until well incorporated. do this for about 2 or 3 minutes. there should be no clumps.

add the 1/4 c of warm water and with your hands mix to make a dough. add the extra 1 tbsp if needed. the dough will be fairly firm.

knead the dough for a minute or so. place the dough in the fridge for an hour (while you make the filling). note that the dough can be kept a day or two in the fridge and brought to room temperature and rolled out with excellent results.

make the filling —

wash the potatoes and remove any eyes or blemishes. i always use new potatoes which i don't have to peel. if you want you can peel them but they have a higher nutritional value with the skin on.

slice the potatoes lengthwise into 1/4 inch or slightly larger slabs.

stack half of the potato and cut into 1/4 inch cubes. make lengthwise cuts almost to the end and then cross cut to form cubes. place the cubes in a bowl of water to prevent oxidization (browning).

if using garlic and ginger, take one large or two small cloves of garlic and mince them. if using whole ginger, remove the dark skin and mince a 1/2 inch piece. otherwise, use garlic-ginger paste or just ginger paste.

cut an onion and dice it and measure out a 1/2 c.

measure out the cumin seeds.

do the same with the spices. measure out the lemon juice if using it instead of the mango powder.

in a wok or karai, heat 2 - 3 tbsp oil over medium heat and fry the cumin seeds until browned (NOT dark brown).

add the potatoes, onions and the ginger and garlic (paste).

stir to mix everything well and then cover the pan with a tight fitting lid.

lower the heat to medium low and let the mixture cook for 10 to 12 minutes. while that is cooking, chop the coriander.

remove the lid, and stir. add the spices, salt, peas and coriander. if using the lemon juice do NOT add it now.

mix all together and cover the pan and cook for another 8 minutes over medium low heat.

if using lemon juice, add it now and mix again. you can taste the mixture and adjust the salt, garam masala and amchoor, if wanted.

let the mixture cool and take out the dough from fridge while it cools.

form the samosas —

remove the dough from the fridge and let it come to room temperature (more or less).

divide into 4 equal portions (each portion yields two samosas). keep the other three covered while working with one portion.

over low heat, place enough oil in a wok or karai to deep fry. the oil will heat slowly as you stuff the samosas. you can turn up the heat to medium before you are ready to fry them.

divide the filling into 8 equal portions. do this now as it is easier when stuffing the pastries to have everything ready.

place a small dish of water near your to help seal the pastries.

on an UNFLOURED surface, place one of balls of dough and roll it out into a very thin circle. it should be about 7 or 8 inches (i never measure so i can't say for sure). be patient and keep rolling it may take a bit of practice. it is quite easy to do however. do not worry about getting a perfectly round circle.

with a knife, cut directly in half. this is important — make sure it is equal (though a little off center won't matter much).

wet the length edge with a dab of water along the line where you cut of one half of the dough. this is to seal the dough "cone".

bring one edge to the center as shown below and slightly press down to seal.

bring the other side over to far edge of the dough to shape the pastry triangle. press slightly to seal.

make sure the bottom (point) is completely closed.

pick up the triangle and keep it in one hand. open it up gently with the other hand making sure the bottom is completely closed (no hole at the pointed end).

place one portion of the filling in the cone and press down on it slightly to stuff it all in. the pastry should not break or be so thin as to break. if it does, you need to roll the dough slightly thicker.

wet the top edge of the pastry with your fingers.

press lower dough edge closest to you towards the back of the stuffing to enclose it. pull the top edge down over the enclosed filling and press on it to seal the triangle.

repeat the procedure with as many as you are making at the given time.

cooking the samosas —

turn up the heat to medium high and place the samosas in the oil. i only fry 4 at a time. it is always best to drop one in and see if it bubbles right away. if it doesn't, the oil is not high enough. quickly remove the samosa if the oil isn't ready and wait until hot enough.

fry about 4 minutes per side or until golden brown.

remove to paper towel and let drain and cool a bit.

serve with tamarind chutney or coriander (mint) chutney. sprinkle with chaat masala if wanted.



evolvingtastes said...

Hi Burekaboy, have been reading your blog for a while now. These samosas look so good, they shame me, because even as someone from India I hardly ever make them.

Pink Granite said...

Gorgeous, mouthwatering photos - as always!
Thanks for the helpful tip about dividing the prep and cooking into two stages. So logical, but I rarely think to do it!
- Lee

aja said...

Hey BB,
This looks like a totally yum recipe - I think I might give it a try!
Your pictures are great - you really should get thee a cookbook published.

Emily DeVoto, Ph.D., said...

Welcome back! Glad you're still cooking and posting... we missed you!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I'm glad that you posted again... I was impatiently waiting for you to share another of your great recipes with us!

Those samosas look wonderful! I love spicy, flavorful and hearty food...

Yes, Id much rather not have to endure extremes when it comes to temperatures. I particularly like spring and fall, but I still find that winter and summer also have some good aspects! Here, we have been enjoying very mild winters lately. Since about 3 weeks, there are catkins, snowdrops and the birds have switched to their spring singing...



sarita said...

hey boy, now i'll have to make my own samosas-used to buy them at a local indian deli-no excuse with such a great post!.
grrrr! you always put me to work ;)
loved the title : snack attack!

Anonymous said...

wow man, your samosas look AMAZING!!!! mmmmm will have to try to make them! I've been meaning tofor ages now...

burekaboy — said...

sorry all for the delays in replying; blogger didn't seem to want to let me log in to my blog for the last 36 hrs! :@

evolvingtastes - i will take that as a big compliment ;) they do require a bit of hard labour but are worth the time spent making them if only once or twice a year. thanks for your comment and visits. hope to hear from you again.

hi lee - thank you muchly :) making the filling & dough in advance saves A LOT of time and frustration. considering there is no difference in taste, it's more practical especially if you are serving guests, etc. lol, either that or i've gotten lazier the older i get!

aja darling - why hello ;)) a book you say?! {ahem, your pix totally put mine to shame!}

do give these a try one of these days; totally worth the time and effort. you can even prefry them and finish them off before serving. they actually reheat well in the oven. for some odd reason, i think i've actually frozen them. i know they sell them here frozen so that would make sense.

hey emily - muchas gracias. much appreciated. i'd get the cat to post in my absence but i'm sure it'd be about fish and mice. hehe. not very appetizing for your vegetarian regime ;))

rosa - thank you my dear :) i've been terribly busy and not found enough time to write everything up that i want to. more to come shortly.

i could eat samosas and the likes daily!

spring!! it's been -30s C here the past week. you're so lucky; it has been a very long winter and won't be over for us for another 2 months or so. spring here only comes around mid april. on the other hand, i hear siberia is worse this time of year, LOL.

sari - well, now you have no excuse to waste money on something you can make yourself!! i'll expect a full report. pues, con esa tienda, no puedes decirme que no has podido encontrar las especias para hacer samosas!! le gusta a j esa comida??

hey maninas - thanks a lot ;) seriously, give them a try! they are not hard at all to make and worth your effort. hope you're well.

prettybaker said...

כרגיל - הכל נראה מצויין. נראה לך שניתן לאפות במקום לטגן?

Anonymous said...

Now, if I could just get up the energy to doing some baking these days I'm sure this would be at the top of the list. I love these little snacks, which I have turned into a full meal many a time. Yum Yum!

burekaboy — said...

ahalan prettybaker! - תודה על התגובה

כן אפשר לאפות אותם במקום לטגן אבל ה-טקסטיור של הבצק לא כמו שצריך. למרות זה אני מכיר אנשים שמאפים את הסמוסאס בתנור כי לא רוצים את השמן ואומרים שהם טעימים

just brush them with oil and bake at 375 until browned and turn them.

hi jamila :) - i know how you feel; i've not had the time or energy either lately :( i also have made meals of these many a time! they're hard to stop eating... thanks for the comment, hope you're well.

TopChamp said...

though these look beautiful I know I'll never try them.... because the pastry bit scares me. Still - they really do look good.

prettybaker said...

I admire your patience with such complicated pastries!
I just tagged you and hope you play along - details on my blok

burekaboy — said...

topchamp - LOL .... they're not as hard to make (pastry-wise) as you might think. i swear i'm gonna have to give you some other pastry making homework to get you over your fear!

truth is, sometimes it's just easier to buy stuff than make it; these are a bit labour intensive.

prettybaker - patient? hehe, depends on which day i'm making food! LOL.

thanks for the tag. i've already done that one -- if i can think of other stuff to add, i'll do it.

Lorrie said...

HEY Buddy BOOOYYY!! These look fab-you-lusss! And now I know what me and dd will be eating for dinner tomorrow!! I can't wait. I will be back to let you know how they turned out, but we all know that your recipes are NO FAIL! (I'll stop with the exclamation points now.) I loved the picture of your cat getting a drink. May I recommend a fountain I recently bought for my cat. They love it and it has curbed my Gracie from licking the bathtub constantly. LOL. Stay warm friend.

Lorrie said...

They came out GREAT. We ate them all up for dinner and I made an extra batch of dough for this weekend. A couple of questions: how did you fold the edges so pretty? You have the instructions on here somewhere don't you? Also, if I wanted to make some for a party how would you recommend reheating them? Thanks again for a terrific meal idea!!!

burekaboy — said...

hey lorrie :) - wow, such accolades! don't make me blush now! LOL.

happy to hear you liked them -- i hope they weren't too time consuming or tricky to make. i'm sure you didn't have too many problems, if any.

as for the edges....sigh. that'll have to be a post on its own. you have to plait them which is easier to show in pictures than to explain. i'm sure i haven't posted anything about it (yet). for now, stick to the pulled over edges.

they can be made in advance and then reheated in a preheated oven @ 375 F for about 10 to 12 minutes or so. this will heat the inside of the samosa and crisp up the pastry also.

if making and serving them at home (as opposed to bringing them to someone's house), you can also fry them until almost cooked (and drain them on paper towel) and then keep them in the fridge and refry them until golden as needed.

hope that helps somewhat. you know where to find me if you have more questions! ;))

Mona said...

Oh, those look so tempting, i love the way you sealed the samosas, I would like to see how you did that, cannot get it completely by what you wrote to describe it!

burekaboy — said...

mona - thank you. i am going to post something about how to seal them. i didn't explain how to do it the fancy way which is probably why you didn't understand what i was talking about! sorry..... it's easier to show with pictures than to explain. stay tuned for a future posting about it! thanks for the visit.

ReNgArEnK ( Nazlı ) said...

Very beautifull

Türkiye :)

burekaboy — said...

rengarenk - merhaba ;) teþekkür ederim! thanks for the comment and visit.

notyet100 said...

samosa look yummy,,,first timehere..

burekaboy — said...

notyet100 - welcome & thanks for your comment and visit. hope to see you again! :)