Country of origin: The Middle East
Samosas are one of my favourite starters/snacks/sometimes dinners. A tasty, crispy triangle of pastry that can be filled with almost anything you like: peas, lentils, meat, potatoes… Pastry is rolled out thinly, partially cooked and then stuffed with filling and sealed. These little parcels are then deep fried or baked (I personally think that if you’re going to go down the road of making these guys, you may as well fry them; they taste better!). They are easy to make, but there are a lot of steps. They can definitely be made in advance and thrown (carefully) into the freezer.
Ingredients: Samosa pastry
110 grams cake flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice (I used bottled)
Freshly boiled water
Ingredients: magic flour glue
3 tbsp all pupose/plain flour
Water (enough to make a smooth, glue-like paste when mix with the flour)
Ingredients: spicy pea filling
200g/2 cups frozen peas
Fresh chopped garlic/ginger and green chilli to taste (between 1/2 tsp and 1 tsp of each)
About 1/2 tsp of salt, turmeric powder, cumin powder and corriander powder
Pinch of mustard seeds
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
Pinch of sugar
Ingredients: halloumi and spinach filling
1/2 block of halloumi cheese, grated
1/2 bag of spinach leaves
I made two types: a spicy pea filling and halloumi cheese and spinach. The first thing to do is to prepare the filling: I blitzed frozen peas in a processor, then cooked them very lightly in a little oil and mustard seeds. To this mixture I added dried turmeric, cumin, corriander, red chilli powder and salt, as well as fresh ginger, garlic and green chilli, all to taste. After about five minutes of cooking, add lemon juice and a pinch of sugar. You can then mix in about a quarter of a finely chopped onion, for some texture.
The halloumi cheese was grated and squeezed to get rid of as much water as possible. Wilt some spinach in a pan and squeeze like crazy, then mix the two together:
Before you start with the samosa pastry, you can also make any sauces or chutneys to eat with the samosas. Below is a carrot-and-ketchup chutney that is simply grated carrot and ketchup, mixed with red chilli powder, salt and cumin (I have no idea where this recipe came from!). You can also make a delicious and tangy corriander chutney by blitzing fresh corriander, garlic, ginger, chilli, salt and lemon juice.
The pastry: Make the dough by mixing the flour with the lemon juice, then gradually add boiling water bit by bit until you have a soft and pliable dough.
Divide this dough into 12 pieces and roll into little balls. Roll each of these into small circles, as below, about 8cm/3 inches in diameter.
When you have rolled all the little pieces into this size, rub a neutral oil on one side of each of the circles and dust that side in flour, then sandwich two circles together. You’ll have roughly 6 sandwiches.
Now the hard part! Roll each of these sandwiches very thinly until they are about 16cm/6 inches in diameter.
The pastry is now partially cooked: On an oil-less pan, cook the pastry like you would a tortilla, only a minute or so on each side on a medium heat, until they look like this:
Peel the two layers of your sandwich apart quickly (you’re getting help from the steam while they are still hot) and cover with a clean tea towel.
Cut them half, so you’ll have roughly 24 semi circles, each of which will be a samosa wrapper.
Now the bunny-folding technique:
1 Lay the semi circle, cooked-side up on a flat surface:
2 Fold the right side inwards:
3 Fold the left side inwards:
Turn around and hold as in the picture, so that your hand is supporting the cone. Fill with a teaspoon, taking care to get the filling all the way to the bottom of the cone, but not ripping the delicate pastry:
Seal the two ears and then the third corner with the magic water-and-flour glue (press gently to ensure it sticks):
Cooking: Fry in hot oil (around 300 F) until golden brown, three of four samosas at a time, and drain on kitchen paper: