Samosas are a savory Indian snack which are typically deep-fried. You can typically find vegan samosas or meat varieties. My husband and I both like samosas, but since I’m allergic to green peas and peas are a common ingredient in them, the only way I can eat them are if I make them myself. So, here’s how I make samosas.
As you read the recipe, you’ll see that I’ve given two options for the samosa pastry. I’ve made them both ways and most people (myself included) prefer the taste of the version with crescent rolls. This version is certainly easier to make because you can just buy the store-bought rolls. For this post, I made the pastry from scratch myself. It’s a more traditional pastry for samosas as opposed to using crescent rolls. Plus, I haven’t found the pre-packaged crescent rolls over here in Switzerland yet. Also note that there are a couple of cooking options. Traditionally, samosas are fried, but I find it quite difficult to maintain the oil temperature for frying without a deep fryer, so I just bake them instead. Plus, baking is a bit healthier than frying.
For those of you who are familiar with Indian food, you may be a bit surprised by the shape of my samosas. I’m told this is because most Indian restaurants in the US serve triangular samosas, which are traditionally more Bengali.
I also wanted to share a final note about cooking with Indian spices. It has taken me quite a while to get used to the spices and I’ve had a few bumps and miss-steps along the way. Any time I get a new recipe for an Indian dish, I almost always halve the amount of spice and then taste the dish (provided there’s no raw meat). Tasting is really important and I can’t emphasize it enough! For someone like me who didn’t grow up eating spicy food of any kind, garam masala is very spicy for me. I have found that I can usually use the full amount of spice called for in a recipe for every spice except garam masala, which I usually halve. But, its important you taste as you go along. So try using only half the amount of spice called for and then taste the outcome. If it’s not too spicy for you, add a little bit more and see what you think.
- 1 lb flour (about 3-4 cups)
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp oil
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water
- Four cans of store-bought crescent rolls from the refrigerator section
- 14 oz potatoes (about 10 small potatoes or 3-4 medium potatoes)
- 1/2 cup green peas
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds or 3/4 tsp dry cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds or 1/4 tsp dry coriander powder
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 2 green chillies, chopped
- 1 1/4 inch piece of ginger, minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves or 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp dried cilantro
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
- Add oil and mix together.
- Slowly add the water, a little at a time to make the dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes. (Do not refrigerate!)
- Clean the potatoes and cut into small cubes then place in a pot of water. Cover the pot with a lid, bring to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
- Cook the peas in simmering water for 2 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water.
- If using whole seeds, place a frying pan over low heat to dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds until aromatic. Then, grind the seeds together in a spice (or coffee) grinder.
- Heat the 2 tbsp oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion until brown.
- Stir in the cumin, coriander, turmeric and garam masala. (Tip: if you're not used to really spicy food or if this is your first time making this recipe, only use half the garam masala called for!)
- Stir in the potato, chili, and ginger and stir for 1 minute to get good coverage of the spices over the potatoes. (Tip: if you aren't used to really spicy food, leave out the chili seeds as they are the spiciest part.)
- Mix in the lemon juice and cilantro leaves and add salt to taste. Remove the mixture from the cooking pan and let cool.
- On a floured surface, roll out 1/3 of the pastry dough to an approximately 11 inch circle about 1/8 inch thick.
- Cut 10 circles using a 3 inch cutter. (If you don't have a cutter, try using a red wine glass or other round kitchen object. If your cutting implement is smaller, just get as many circles as you can and you'll end up with more samosas.)
- Repeat the process with the other dough pieces one at a time. You will end up with approximately 30 circles.
- Add about 1/2 tbsp of filling to the center of each pastry circle (pastry option 1) or crescent roll dough (pastry option 2). (Tip: I like to put some filling on each piece and then add more or redistribute once I use up all the filling until each piece has about the same amount of filling.)
- Fill a small bowl with water and keep it handy. One by one, moisten the edges of the circle with water from the bowl, then fold the circle in half. use a fork to seal the dough. (The water acts like a glue.) You may have to stretch the dough a bit to get the samosas to close.
- Either deep fry the samosas in oil at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit until brown or bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
- Open the crescent roll packets and separate and unroll the dough onto cookie sheets.
- Cut each piece in half (so you have two smaller triangles).
- Add about 1/2 tbsp of filling to the center of each crescent roll dough piece. (Tip: I like to put some filling on each piece and then add more or redistribute once I use up all the filling until each piece has about the same amount of filling.)
- Roll or fold the crescent roll dough over the filling.
- Bake in the oven according to the directions on the crescent roll dough package- about 10-15 minutes.
I have given two options for making this recipe. If using pastry option 1, the prep time is around 30 minutes or so. If using pastry option 2, the prep time is around 5 minutes.