We all know how popular samosas are in South Asia, specially the ones with potato filling. We don’t need an occasion or particular season to eat samosas, just passing by a roadside samosa stall is enough to have us craving for the indulgence. I call it indulgence because it is loaded with calories and quite filling…but who is counting when you have a plate of hot and flaky samosa with some spicy dip in your hand.
Talking of flaky, they say that the crust of a samosa is actually more important than the filling. You can fill in any ingredients of your choice, spice them up or down according to your palate but the crust has to be of a particular texture. The thin phyllo pastry sheets or ready to use samosa sheets available in the market taste fine with minced meat, spinach or cottage cheese fillings but for a typical Punjabi potato curry filled samosa we need a flaky pastry.
It should be flaky like pie crust but more firm than pie crust to hold in the filling while being fried.
After several experiments over the years I have achieved this texture of pastry which is melt in the mouth buttery and flaky…and holds the filling well too. Some recipes suggest hot water, some cold water to knead the flour…I use cold water to keep the butter or ghee from melting in the pastry before it goes into the wok and works really well for me.
Recently I’ve found something similar looking called Epok-Epok or curry puff in South East Asian countries…also a popular street food with a filling in a deep fried or baked pastry shell. Next time I’m planning to bake them instead of deep frying…lets see what happens.
For Flaky Crust Samosas :
1+1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter or ghee
1/4 cup cold water
Vegetable oil for deep frying
For Potato Filling :
2 medium potatoes
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds ( zeera)
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (dhania)
1/2 teaspoon black onion seeds (kalonji)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
This Is What You Do :
Boil and peel potatoes, cut them in cubes.
Heat oil in a frying pan, add cumin, coriander and black onion seeds, stir fry for a few seconds. Add ginger-garlic paste, turmeric and chilli powder. Add potatoes and continue to stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
Season with salt and lemon juice. Take the potato mixture off heat, stir in chopped fresh coriander and green chilli peppers. Break the potato cubes a little with fork for easier filling. Set aside to cool while you make the pastry for crust.
In a big bowl, mix flour and salt. Rub in butter, a little at a time, with your fingers till the mixture resembles grains.
Make a hollow in the middle of the bowl, add cold water one tablespoon at a time, knead softly just till the dough comes together, do not over knead the dough.
Wrap in a plastic sheet and refrigerate till you are ready to make samosas.
Heat oil in a wok on medium heat.
Flour a work surface very lightly. Make tiny balls with the dough, flatten them with your hand on the floured surface.
Roll out a round, almost 1/8 inches thick. Cut a neat round with a pastry cutter or any Round kitchen utensil of your desired size, cut the rounds into halves. Fold each half to make a con, fill the con with potato mix.
Press the edges together to make a triangle. You can use water to seal the edges but I didn’t and my samosas held together just fine.
Check the oil by dropping a tiny piece of dough in the hot oil. If it comes to the surface immediately then your oil is ready. Drop a few samosas in the oil at a time, don’t overcrowd the wok.
Scoop them out as soon as the crust looks golden and flaky.
Serve hot with mint or tamarind chutney or chilli garlic sauce.
Makes 12-14 mini samosas or 6 regular samosas.