Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Baked Vegetable Samosas

I love samosas, but it’s hard to find a good one in my neighborhood in Baltimore. Now, before you tell me that there is not just one, but four Indian restaurants (actually, two of them are Indian/Nepali) within a 10 minute walk of my apartment, let me tell you something first: I’ve had samosas from three of the places (the fourth opened just a month ago), and none of them have been good. They’ve either been really greasy or the filling was flat-out bad (or both). So, what’s a girl to do?

Well, of course, the answer is to make her own. But wait – said girl (that would be me) hates deep-frying. I decided that the way to get around that problem would be to use puff pastry as the wrapper for the spiced potato and peas filling, and then to bake the samosas. The puff pastry is rolled out a bit so that it doesn’t get too puffy (thereby more closely resembling a regular samosa), but it is still light, flaky, and moist. The best part is that these samosas are incredibly easy to make - there's no need to make your own dough, there's no deep-frying involved, and you can season your filling just the way you like it. The end result: an easy and delicious snack that's probably better than the ones at your local Indian restaurant.

Baked Vegetable Samosas
(makes 6)

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry
6 small yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2" dice (about 3 cups)
1 ½ cups frozen peas
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1” piece of ginger, finely grated (about ¾ teaspoon)
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ - ½ teaspoon chili powder OR 1 small green chili, finely minced
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

For serving (optional)
Tamarind chutney
Green chili chutney


Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for at least a half hour.

Heat an oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set it aside.

Put the potatoes in a small pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Cook the potatoes until they are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Drain them well and then return them to the hot pot to dry them off.

While the potatoes are cooking, put the peas in a microwave-safe bowl and heat them on high power to defrost them (about 2 minutes).

When the potatoes have cooled down (they can still be warm), add the remaining ingredients to the pot except for the peas and lemon juice. Mash the potatoes with a fork, leaving some small chunks. Make sure that all the spices are mixed in well. Add the peas and lemon juice and stir well to combine. (Actually, you can do this with your hands and it will be much easier.)

Unfold the puff pastry sheet and cut it into thirds along the folds. Cut each third in half horizontally to get six rectangles. Lay a piece of foil or plastic wrap down on your work surface and place one rectangle on top. Roll it into a square that is a little larger than 6”, then rotate it 45 degrees so that the corners are now at the top and bottom.

Take 1/6 of the filling, place it on the top half of the dough, and form it into a triangle that is about 1” thick, making sure to leave a border of about ¾”-1” around the filling. Lightly brush the edge of the dough around the filling with water (you can do this with your finger). Fold the bottom half of the dough up and over the filling. Press the edges together firmly, then roll them inwards towards the filling, making sure to pinch the dough to ensure a tight seal.

Place the samosas onto the lined baking sheet; they should stand upright. Bake until the puff pastry is light golden brown, about 27-30 minutes. Serve warm. (You can store the samosas in an airtight container; reheat them for 10-15 minutes at 350° F.)


kimba said...

Hi - new reader via the NY Times. Great blog - I'll be back regularly!

Anonymous said...

These sound fantastic!

Alison R. said...

Just this morning I was talking to a Pakistani co worker about the difficulty of making good vegetable samosas. Then I read the NYTimes food column and am sent to your fine blog. Thanks!

Olga Berman said...

Congratulations on the NYTimes mention! You have a very pretty blog and the food sounds absolutely amazing.

michelle @ thursday night smackdown said...

congrats on the NYTimes mention!

the deep-frying is the thing that always keeps me from making samosas at home. the puff pastry is a great idea! i always have some in the freezer.

Erin said...

Congrats on the NYT, Roopa! What an exciting honor.

The samosas look great, too!

Robbie said...

roopa -
i'm freaking out here because i stumbled onto your food blog via pigtown pigout, and i have a close indian friend named janki who lives in brooklyn (used to live in baltimore), loves the red sox, indie rock, and cooking/blogging about it, and i kinda suspect that you two are the same person.
check her out:

kristen said...

can you come and make these for me? they sound really good but i'm feeling really lazy... lol.

malini said...

I am so glad that you have a found a recipe to make tasty vegetable samosas, without all the deep frying and tedious processes.

Krysta said...

Look at you, Roopa! Congrats. The kids have been wanting something different and this fits perfectly.

K8teebug said...

These sound awesome. I'm glad the puff pastry experiment worked out well! Congrats again on the NYT mention! That is so exciting!

Anonymous said...

I am another Mark Bittman referral and am very glad to find you. I love the idea of puff pastry to simplify the samosas. Have you discovered the all-butter puff pastry at Trader Joe's, which tastes much better than the nationally branded stuff? Thanks, I'll be back.

malini said...

I made these samosas following these recipes and I can't stop eating them. I cooked the potatoes in the microwave instead of boiling them, since I am a big microwave aficionado.
It is very true that they are lighter and tastier than the ones in restaurants and Indian snack stores.

Anonymous said...

made these with philo instead of puff pastry since you can't buy that at the monoprix here in paris
worked very well!

Julia said...

In the UK samosas are made with filo pastry and I think that helps give the samosas a nice, crunchy, consistency. I also like playing around with fillings, and, just a while back, I made a great hearts of palm filling that worked deliciously well. If you like, you can check out the recipe at http://curryandginga.blogspot.com!
Other than that, I love your blog, and I'll come back regularly!

Dazy said...

I have come across a wonderful veggie delicacy. My kids don't like vegetables much. So I have to collect recipes with variations.

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