Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chickpea Samosas with Spicy Mint Sauce

I’ve wanted to try making samosas for years. Those crispy, little nuggets full of fluffy, mashed potato, maybe some peas, and spices are a favorite of mine. I always have at least one with whatever else I order at Indian restaurants, but I’d never worked up the courage to make them at home. Then, I saw this version with chickpeas, carrots, and some minced green chile in the filling and the accompanying recipe for the dough that seemed easy enough, and I was inspired to give it a shot. This is from Savory Pies by Greg Henry. The book, of which I received a review copy, includes Appetizer Pies, Main Course Pies with both meat and seafood options as well as vegetarian, and Hand Pies. There’s an Asiago Mac-n-Cheese Pie with Potato Crust that sounds delightfully decadent, pretty little Tomato Caprese Tarts with Chive Oil, a Shaved Asparagus Galette with Mascarpone and Jarlsberg, and Baked Egg Shakshuka in dough-lined bowls that I want to try. I approached the samosas with a one-step-at-a-time mindset. I knew this was going to take some time, and I didn’t want to feel rushed. I made the dough and the filling a day in advance, and then I formed the samosas and fried them the next day. I realized right away that forming samosas is not a natural talent I possess. The dough is easy to work with, and the instructions for filling each piece of it are clear, but I wasn’t producing good results. My first few might have been the ugliest samosas of all time. I found this video which I replayed repeatedly as I continued filling pieces of dough and never got close to producing the tidy little packages seen in it. Thankfully, once fried and golden, the look of them doesn’t matter at all. 

The dough is a mix of flour, semolina, and salt that is stirred into a bowl with water and vegetable oil. After incorporating all the flour, the dough is then kneaded until smooth. It was wrapped in plastic and chilled. For the filling, peeled chunks of potatoes were boiled, drained, and returned to the pan to be heated again to remove excess water. Then, they were mashed and combined with curry powder and butter. In a large skillet, cumin seeds were added to hot oil followed by minced onion and finely diced carrots. Ginger and minced green chile were added and briefly cooked before that mixture was added to the potatoes. Last, rinsed and drained canned chickpeas, thawed frozen peas, and chopped chives were added to the filling. I refrigerated the filling overnight before proceeding. The next day, the dough was divided, rolled into little circles, each circle was cut in half, and each half was filled. The most important thing is to be sure the edges are sealed, and this dough is very easy to seal as it’s pinched together. The samosas were fried in batches and left to cool. The sauce was a quick puree of mint, cilantro, onion, lime juice, serrano chile, a pinch of sugar, and water. 

The recipe makes a lot, and I went ahead and fried them all at once. I’ve since pulled leftovers from the freezer and reheated them in the oven which worked very well. The crunchy crust and fluffy potato filling topped with the spicy, herby sauce were well worth the effort. I’ve learned I’ll never be a pro samosa maker, but I’m thrilled to have finally made these at home. 

Chickpea Samosas with Spicy Mint Sauce 
Recipe reprinted with publisher’s permission from Savory Pies

This is India’s version of street food perfection—a hand pie, of course. Every culture has one, but there’s something about Indian samosas that has led the way in a worldwide surge in street-food culture. 

makes 32 

Spicy Mint Sauce 
2 cups lightly packed fresh mint leaves 
1 cup lightly packed cilantro sprigs 
1/2 cup minced onion 
1 1/4 cups water, divided 
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 
1 teaspoon minced serrano chile 
1 teaspoon sugar 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling 
2 tablespoons semolina 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
Pinch of ajwain seeds (optional, may be found in Indian markets or online) 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
3/4 cup water 

2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks 
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed 
1 teaspoon Madras-style curry powder, or more to taste 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
1 teaspoon vegetable oil 
1 teaspoon cumin seeds 
1/2 cup minced onion 
1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced (about 1/2 cup) 
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger 
1 teaspoon minced mild green chile 
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained 
1/2 cup frozen peas 
2 teaspoons minced fresh chives 
Freshly cracked black pepper, as needed 
Peanut or canola oil as needed for frying 

To make the mint sauce, combine the mint, cilantro, 1/2 cup minced onion, 1/2 cup water, lime juice, serrano chile, and sugar in a blender to form a rough purée. (The sauce may be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated, covered. Bring to room temperature to use.) 

For the dough, in a medium bowl mix together 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, semolina, 1 teaspoon salt, and ajwan seeds (if using). In another bowl mix together the oil and water. (Don’t try too hard—you know what they say about oil and water.) Stir the flour mixture into the oil mixture in 3 or 4 increments, mixing well between additions. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough, using more flour as needed until you have a smooth but fairly stiff dough. Press your thumb in to check—there should be almost no bounce-back in the indentation. Wrap in plastic and set aside to rest at room temperature at least 1 hour. (The dough may be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated, covered. Bring back to room temperature before continuing.) 

For the filling, place the potato chunks and 1 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Add just enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to the hot, dry pan. Turn the heat to low and cook, uncovered, shaking the pan often to evaporate as much water from the hot potatoes as you can, about 4 minutes. Let cool somewhat, then push through a ricer into a large bowl, or use a masher or fork. Stir in the curry powder and melted butter. Set aside. 

Heat the vegetable oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds. Once they begin to pop, add the onions and carrots. Cook until softened, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Stir in the ginger and mild green chile; cook about 1 minute. Set aside to cool somewhat, then add to the potatoes. Stir in the chickpeas, peas, and chives. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Set aside. (The filling may be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated, covered. Bring to room temperature before continuing.) 

To assemble the samosas, on a lightly floured surface form the dough into 16 balls, about 1 3/4 ounces each. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll into 6-inch rounds, a generous 1/8 inch thick; cut in half to create half-moons. Spoon a generous 2 tablespoons filling in the center of a half-moon; lightly moisten the dough edges with water, using your finger. Lift 1 corner and fold halfway over the filling at a 45-degree angle, aligning the straight edge down the center. Press lightly to seal the dough along the outer edge. Repeat with the other corner, creating a neat triangular packet. Pinch or crimp any openings shut. Repeat to form 32 small samosas. 

Fill a medium straight-sided pot with 4 inches of oil and heat to 365 degree F. Fry the samosas in batches, rolling them around in the oil until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Use a slotted heatproof spoon to transfer them to a paper towel–lined plate as they finish cooking. Serve hot (but not too hot) with the mint sauce. 

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  1. That looks really good! I really like the stuffing and sauce.



  2. i could totally go for these right now! looks so good!

  3. I love samosas! They look amazing Lisa!

  4. These look very tasty. Love the spicy mint sauce.

  5. I love samosas and I think yours look really professional Lisa!
    I bet that spicy mint sauce provided a refreshing kick to your taste buds. Delicious!

  6. I just bought frozen at Costco and they were so good, now I'm wanting to try to make them at home. And with your post, it sounds like it was meant to be. They look really delicious Lisa. Nice job.

  7. I am also a huge fan of samosas, but never made them from scratch. THe mint sauce is a must, what a fantastic combination, it seems to complement the taste and texture of the samosas perfectly

    great post, Lisa!

  8. I have not eaten Samosas in a long time but love them. They look relish. Great picture!

  9. I haven't had samosas since I attended a wedding many years ago. All the food at the reception was vegetarian finger food. It was lovely! I had forgotten all about the tender filling wrapped in the crisp dough! A marvelous post Lisa!

  10. I've never tried making samosas, but I should. I always order them when I'm at an Indian restaurant! They can be so good. These look spectacular - really good recipe. Thanks for this.

  11. Your samosas look crispy and delicious my friend :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  12. Your samosas have a unique look to them but the cooking seems perfect. I must find a gluten-free recipe for these.

  13. i love samosas! let me rephrase: i love samosas that someone else prepares for me! :) great sauce, awesome filling. :)

  14. Usually I will just enjoy samosas without the sauce as the sauce usually turns out too salty (referring to store-bought sauce, of course). Yours is a whole package - everything looks too good!

  15. WOW! These look sooo delicious. I am a samosa addict. Great recipe.

  16. These look so good! Love the dipping sauce too. I made samosas a while back but would love to make them again.

  17. These look so good.. Made our mouths water!!!!

  18. Yummy! I love samosas very much. Sounds good with the addition of chickpeas.

  19. Oh wow, they look perfect! I've made a bunch of Indian dishes but still haven't tackled samosas - I really want to though!

  20. Bet they disappear instantly.
    Love the color of the sauce.

  21. Oooh these look soooo good! I have Greg's book and haven't tried the recipes yet but have several bookmarked. But these samosas? Now I have to try them! But fried? I usually bake samosas but when doesn't frying make something even better? These look outrageous. I am now going to pull the book off the shelf and tuck it into my suitcase for my trip to my mom's.


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