Samosas are these the most moreish of Indian snacks – and if not, what else would you recommend with party season fast approaching? What do you like to fill them with, and does anywhere sell a decent ready-made version? Samosas have been the victims of a grave injustice. Those deflated triangles of cardboard pastry sold in supermarket Indian snack selections bear as much resemblance to a flaky, freshly fried samosa as a Krispy Kreme does to a proper jam doughnut.
“Once you’ve eaten homemade samosas, served fresh and crisp from a karai of crackling hot oil with a squeeze of lemon, you’ll never want to touch stodgy, greasy store-bought ones again.” That first homemade samosa is plucked straight from Pandora’s box, however; with even many restaurants serving up substandard samosas from the freezer, one bite condemns you to a lifetime of making your own. Which isn’t the worst thing in the world.
However simple you choose to keep your filling, a touch of spice is non-negotiable. The sweet heat of ginger and chillies, as does the fresh aromatic flavour of the equally popular fresh coriander. Add cinnamon, cloves, cumin and chilli to thank for its “distinctive scent and flavour”. As most of the other recipes use garam masala, which tends to contain some of the same ingredients, along with extra chilli and cumin
Method 1- Bake: Bake samosas for a “lighter, less oily” result. Again, it works fine (200C/390F for about 15 minutes, until golden brown), but a baked samosa will never achieve the same puffy, flaky richness as the deep-fried variety.
Method 2- Deep-fry: Make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot, though; as Singh observes, you need to keep the heat medium-low heat otherwise the pastry shell won’t cook through before the outside burns.
Ingredients & Measurements
For the pastry
130g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp nigella seeds (optional)
2 tbsp neutral oil, plus extra to grease
For the masala
10g cinnamon sticks
1 tsp cloves
1½ tsp cumin seeds
3-4 small dried red chillies
For the filling
1 medium potato, about 175g
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
1 small green chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp neutral oil
½ onion, finely chopped
½ carrot, finely chopped
50g green cabbage, cored and finely shredded
50g paneer, cut into small dice
Juice of ½ lemon
Small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
Neutral oil, to deep fry
To make the pastry, put the flour in a large bowl and whisk in the salt and nigella seeds, if using. Add the oil and rub in with your fingers, then gradually add just enough cold water to bring it together into a stiff dough – about 50ml should do it. Knead for about five minutes until smooth, then lightly oil, cover and set aside to rest.
Put the potato, skin on, into a small pan, cover with cold, well-salted water, bring to the boil, then simmer until tender. Drain and mash.
Meanwhile, toast the ingredients for the masala together in a hot pan until fragrant, then allow to cool and grind until you have a smooth powder. Mash the ginger and chilli together into a paste.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onion until soft and golden, then stir in the carrot, turn down the heat a little and cook for five minutes, then stir in the cabbage and cook until beginning to soften. Turn up the heat to medium-high and salt the paneer well, then add to the pan along with the peas. Cook for a couple of minutes, then stir in the ginger chilli paste and half a teaspoon of the masala and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring. Stir in the potato and lemon juice and season to taste.
Divide the pastry into 12 balls of about 18g each for small samosas, or 6 balls of about 35g for slightly larger ones, and put all but one under a damp cloth. Roll the ball out on a lightly greased surface to a circle about 18cm (10cm for small) in diameter and cut in half. Pick up one half, wet the round edge with water and form into a cone shape, overlapping the wet edge and pressing together to seal.
Stir the coriander into the mixture, then fill the cones. Wet the top edge, pinch to close and fold over any remaining flap of pastry. Repeat with the remaining pastry, making sure each samosa is well sealed.
Heat a deep frying pan with about 4cm of oil to about 175C/347F, or use a fryer. When the oil has come to temperature add a batch of samosas (don’t overcrowd the pan) and cook until golden brown, turning as necessary. Scoop on to paper towels and serve immediately.
(content credit- theguardian)