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
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.