February 13, 2011

Homemade Samosas

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

One of my biggest pet peeves is searching high and low for an authentic recipe and then finding things like Pad Thai made with spaghetti noodles or enchiladas topped off with mozzarella cheese. I have no problem with using substitutes when you're in a pinch but then please call it what it is, a sorry excuse of an imitation and not the real thing. A bit too harsh? You'll have to excuse me, I'm just so fed up with finding yet another FABULOUS samosa recipe that starts off with....(cue horror music)...an egg roll wrapper, ugh!

My ranting and raving is further justified by the fact that I grew up in a house where samosas (filling and wrapper included) were all made from scratch and lovingly shaped into imperfect fat squares, masha'allah. The accompanying chutneys (all homemade as well) were as varied in taste as they were in color: spicy green chili chutney, tangy black tamarind chutney, roasted coconut and cumin chutney, and the list goes on.


Yes, the dips are important. The filling is even more important, but the thing to trump them both is the dough itself. A complex mixture of both crispy and chewy. Thick enough to hold the savory filling, but thin enough to fry to a golden-brown perfection without any burned edges. For all these reasons you simply cannot use a spring roll/egg roll wrapper! I know what you're thinking, "but it's just so much easier!" Well you can quit your complaining 'cuz this recipe has a grand total of three ingredients (four if you count salt) and will come together before you could defrost a pack of spring rolls. 

The filling and shaping part are totally up to you. Traditionally you'll find vegetarian (potatoes and green peas version) or a non-veg (ground beef) versions. But I've also tried everything from green lentils to ground chicken and can happily say I've never met a samosa filling I didn't like! As usual, I urge you to use whatever you have. When it comes to shaping them you again have free rein to do whatever you like. My mother makes one big rectangle, plops spoonfuls of filling about 1" apart on the bottom half of the rectangle and then folds the top down over it. Using her fingers, she gently presses the dough down around the filling and then cut them into individual squares (adding a little brush of water in between the spoonfuls helps the dough stick better). I tried a little different technique, as you can see below (detailed instructions found in the recipe below), but in the end, I don't think it's the shape that matters when the final result is an authentic homemade treat. 
 

(makes about  10 - 12 samosas, depending on size)
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup cold water, more if needed


1. Add melted butter and salt to flour, mix well. Slowly pour in half of water and mix with your hands. Continue to add the rest of the water, or more, until a soft, smooth dough forms.

2. Knead the dough by hand 10 minutes, or in a mixer for 5 minutes. Leave in a lightly oiled bowl, covered, until ready to use.

3. To shape and fill: break off golf ball sized rounds of dough, roll into a 6" circle. Cut in half, lengthwise. Using your finger, gently wipe the straight edge of the half-circle with water and fold over, pressing flat sides together. Carefully lift up, you'll now have a cone to fill. Either hold in one hand and fill with other, or place in a narrow glass while you fill. Using water to carefully seal up the last side.

Samosa Filling
2 potatoes, cooked, peeled and cubed
1 half of a medium onion, finely diced
2 green chilies (adjust to desired heat)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon garlic & ginger paste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to desired heat)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

1. Add a couple teaspoons of oil to a pan set over medium heat. Add mustard, fennel and cumin seeds and cook until they begin to pop. Add garlic & ginger paste and cook 30 seconds. Add onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.

2. Next add in potatoes, chilis, turmeric, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, until potatoes are coated with spices. Add lemon juice and cook until liquid has dissolved (my potatoes were a bit undercooked, so I added water to finish off the cooking). Mix in chopped cilantro at the very end.

3. Lightly mash everything up. Set aside to cool.

* The chutney pictured was quickly whipped up from tamarind paste, sugar, cumin powder all thinned out with some water.

51 comments:

  1. I love, love, love samosas! I live in a community that has a large Indian population and still I have a hard time finding a good place that sells some. I'm going to give your recipe a try this week Inshallah. And I promise I won't use egg roll wrappers.

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  2. What a perfect and yummy samosa! Can you send me some? You too are a great baker dear...

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  3. lol Amnah, thank you for that promise, now my heart can be at ease ;)

    T&T: thank you!

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  4. Masha'Allah sis, they look yummy! I have to say thank you, thank you, thank you! I've looked for a traditional samosa dough recipe but never found it. :-) Even when I asked some Indian friends, they said, oh just use egg roll wrappers! lol

    Insha'Allah I plan to make some up before Ramadhan and freeze them. Have you ever frozen the completed product and if so, any pointers?

    Jazaki Allahu khair

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  5. UmmA: yes, most Indian people i know use the same thing, so frustrating! I haven't tried freezing this yet. If you do, let us know how it turns out.

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  6. Oohh I think I know what's gonna feed my pastry cravings! These samosas!!!!!

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  7. Yummy, my whole family looooves samosa, they sell it here in Malaysia at the Bazaar during Ramadhan, but its expensive, will try yours, don't have to wait for Ramadhan...Jazakallah jazak.

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  8. Yum!! I'm guilty of using egg-roll wrappers, but I do make them from scratch as well.

    I follow a sightly different method: Knead your dough and roll out a very thin circle. Then roll out a second very thin circle and superimpose on the first one - you can use a light dusting of flour in between the two layers.

    Then roll out and roast (ideally on an iron skillet, or the tawa) very lghtly on both sides - the roti should puff up and when you take it off and fluff it, you can separate the two layers.

    Each layer will yield three delicate strips and each strip can then be filled to make the samosa.

    Freezes great if you first lay them out on a flat tray to freeze individually before packing into a box. Just thaw and fry to a crisp - and enjoy!

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  9. The best samosa I had was from the sisters who were selling them at the conference where Anjem Choudhary spoke a few years back in London at the Friends' House.

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  10. I guess I was trying to say that your recipe with the photographs looked so good that I was reminded of that memorable evening. Perhaps one day I will have the time and inclination to try to reproduce them in my own kitchen.

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  11. Azra, sounds very interesting. So each rotie makes 6 samosas?

    Claire, neat how food can take us back to a moment and make you feel like you're there! Hope you can try these out sometime insha'allah.

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  12. I absolutely love samosas. I made some last week and they were gone the next day. They never last long in my house. I make the dought myself. I found a pretty traditional dough recipe a while ago and it hasn't failed me and it comes out nice and flaky and freezes well too. Ive used the egg roll wrappers but it is hard to fold them. Ive also seen them wrapped in filo dough and then baked. Its a healthy alternative than deep frying. I might just try that soon but Im too addicted to the original.

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  13. I agree baking is a great alternative but it just doesn't hit the 'samosa spot' for me! I believe in things in moderation; we don't eat fried foods often, but when we do, we enjoy it! :)

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  14. Finally, someone with the same pet peeve as me!

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  15. my mum makes samosas and then freezes them. we used to defrost them before frying them. shes sells samosas to family and friends but suddenly they have started to crack when they are fryed. Any tips? email me plz anisa_rasheed@hotmail.com xxx

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  16. Anonymous, this is the only thing I could find about cracking pastry doughs, hope it can help you!:

    How can I prevent my pastry from cracking?

    Cracking in pastry is due to the pastry drying out. The top layer loses moisture, it shrinks and then cracks. To prevent cracking, keep it covered with either a damp cloth or a piece of clean plastic film.
    (http://www.gffoodservice.com.au/NutritionalFacts/Nutritional-Faq.aspx#f9)

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  17. Jazakallah sister, beautiful recipe! Made some today for iftar inshallah they taste as delicious as they look!

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  18. Deep fry, cool and freeze individually then put them in a freezer bag. To reheat place on nonstick baking sheet in hot oven until hot and crispy.

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  19. Assemble the samosas, deep freeze without cooking, then when you are ready, just drop them into a deep dryer for 8 minutes. They will come out perfectly! Unfortunately my pastry always shrinks way back as soon as it is rolled out, making ir difficult to get a 6 inch circle.

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  20. Of course, the above should read "deep fryer" not 'dryer! Sorry about that!

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  21. Anonymous: yes, flash freezing is an excellent way to have yummy treats on hand. Thanks for the idea!

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  22. Thanks for this! I've used this dough recipe several times after finding it on your blog, and absolutely love it! I recently put a recipe up for Feta & Corriander samosas on my blog at www.allsarahskitchen.blogspot.com. I actually linked back to this entry for the dough recipe and just told my readers to follow your directions! I hope that's alright. Of course if it's not, let me know and I'll adjust accordingly. Thanks for sharing!

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  23. Hi Sarah! Your recipe for feta samosas sounds mouthwatering, can't wait to give it a try! I love when readers share my recipes (with link-backs, of course :)) and am so happy its working out for you. Hope to see more of you around here !

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  24. hi there just wondering wot flour u use for ur samosas

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  25. THANK YOU for the recipe for the dough. I have tried several different things based on different recipes. My husband is from Kenya and I had found the right recipe for the filling that matches the taste from home, but couldn't find one for the dough. This was it (and not too difficult either!).

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  26. Stellar recipe. Can you suggest a fat to fry them in? Ghee, canola oil, etc? And how long you would suggest frying for?

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  27. Anon #1: For these, I prefer to use a whole wheat atta, or Indian flour, found in most international grocery stores. It's has a sturdier grain and can hold up to the filling better than your average all purpose flour. But, you can always use AP flour if you have nothing else.

    Anon #2: So glad you enjoyed the recipe! This dough is a fav. of mine too!

    Anon #3: Traditionally, ghee would be the fat of choice for Indian cooking but I try to go for a healthier alternative and use canola. It shouldn't make much of a difference. Fry on medium heat until evenly gold.

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  28. Your blog name piqued my curiosity when I searched for "homemade samosas".
    We have a ton of allergies in our house but I'm so excited to find your blog to peruse.

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  29. This is a stellar recipe. I have tried finding the perfect dough and this is it! Thanks!

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  30. Welcome to my kitchen Jacqueline! Hope you can find something that suits yours and your family needs. Happy cooking! :)

    Anon: So glad you liked it, its a favorite in our house too!

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  31. Really simple, tasty recipe. Loved it! Thank you. The pastry was super easy and really authentic and I'm with you on the egg roll wrapper - never again! Just made 30 of them, and my only slight criticism would be that you can't see the seam on your samosa's - and I discovered on my 30th samosa (!) that you can fold them so the seam lays flat and not sick out the side!

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  32. Any chance the samosas would turn out as well if they were baked? And, if so, could you suggest an amount of time and oven temp?

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  33. can chic pea flour be used as a substitute for us glutten free folks?

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    1. You can buy gluten free flours from some health food shops now and I think they'd be better and lighter than chickpea flour.

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  34. Marsh'Allah these were great thank you!

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  35. I am definitely going to try this as I was told to use the frozen samosa pastry packs but I don't like the idea. OK for those who really don't have the time, but I do and I make things with love (including home made pickles, chutneys and relishes). Anyone who happens to be in Auckland, New Zealand and would like to drop in for cake, samosa, tea, biscuits, all home made - you're very welcome :)

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  36. The best way to make pastry for samosas is by using plain flour with salt and butter added to it, this should be mixed by hand to resemble breadcrumbs. Then you should add milk bit by bit until all the mixture forms a ball that you can knead into dough. Makes excellent pastry when fried!

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  37. I was looking for a recipe as my kids love this. Always wanted to learn the pastry. The filling recipe here is perfect. For the pastry, I used all purpose flour (280g), oil (30ml), water (180ml) and 1 teaspoon salt. Knead the dough. Leave to proof for 20 mins. Roll out into a long ribbon and cut into six portions. Roll out roti shapes. Layer three rotis with oil and flour between each layer. Roll out the stack of rotis with gentle pressure. Cook on low heat tawa until the color starts to change. Cook on other side. There cut the stack of rotis into four quarters. Repeat next three layers. Everyone was impressed with the pastry. I was grateful for the fillings recipe. Thanks. Hope this helps.

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  38. Fell in love with traditional indian when i luved in a predominately indian neighborhood, and a roommate would make her grandmothers recipes.....after getting my family onboard we do eat alot of various curry dishes. cant wait to try this recipe!!!.......No eggroll wraps Yuck! Lol

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  39. I love you. Thank you so much for this recipe, can't wait to eat some samosas!

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  40. I am very happy to find a site with truly authentic recipes. Thank you.

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  41. Hiya can these be baked?

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  42. I followed this exactly and they turned out beautiful! Paired it with tamarind chutney for a potluck and everyone was telling me they were the best samosas they've ever had!

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  43. Masha'Allah,
    thank you.

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  44. Hi. I've been reading through the comments but haven't been able to determine if whole wheat flour can be used? I apologize, but I'm confused as to what whole wheat atta is. . . .and I'd also like to use organic flour :) I'm really interested in giving this recipe a try and I also like to make things authentic! No egg roll wrappers here! lol

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  45. Thanks for sharing samosa recipe in detail.I suggest you one thing that you can make samosas crispy with little guidance such as before preparing the dough, heat some oil. Add this to flour and then add water and knead well. The hot oil makes the samosa crispy. Fry the samosas in hot oil always.Find the crispy samosa recipe at Motherszone.

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  46. Nice article thanks for sharing.......
    please visit in this site for kathi roll which is very good in looking and test....
    chinese restaurants

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  47. So glad I found your website, nice and simple filling for me to try. I agree, it's shocking what people will use instead of just making their own dough! I've never done anything other than, its to easy and quick not too. I also love an egg filling in mine boiled and rolled in herbs. Sounds odd but its lovely. Thanks again for your recipe x

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  48. I love very much samosas with tomato sauces.

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  49. crispy yummy samosa.liked very much.loved the recipe.gonna try this using the Best Maida.

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  50. the recipe really seems nice ,insh\allah will give it a try but a major question i have is :
    HOW TGEY CAN BE RETAINED IN SHAPE AFTER FREEZING ?
    usually they stick and break away when thawed ??

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Tell me what you think! As always, feedback and reviews are appreciated...happy cooking!