Punjabi Samosa Recipe

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A couple of people have asked for the recipe I use to make samosas. I've been making them for almost two years and have never been disappointed. All credit goes to my girlfriend Lindsay for buying me the Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking (K-State Libraries) book from which comes this recipe and almost all of my Indian cooking knowledge.

* Note, I've modified the recipe in several places, so this is not verbatim out of the cookbook.

20 Pastry Shells (10 Servings)

Pastry Dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup cold water


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1 1/2 medium onion (I use red), finely chopped (3/4 cup)
1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped gingerroot
4 1/2 medium red potatoes (1 1/2 pounds or 3 cups - I usually use russets), peeled, cooked and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
3/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoon coriander seed, ground
1 tablespoon mango powder (amchur - available at international food store and Indian food store) or 1 1/2 Tablespoon lime or lemon juice
3 - 4 1/2 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chilies, finely chopped (I usually use serrano)
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed, ground
1 tablespoon salt
Vegetable oil for deep-frying

Make Pastry Dough:

  1. Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in butter, using pastry blender or rubbing mixture between palms of hands, until mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs.
  2. Add water, 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing by hand or with wooden spoon. Continue adding enough water to bring dough together into a ball that is neither sticky nor dry. Knead in bowl or on lightly floured surface 2 to 3 minutes or until dough is smooth. Roll dough into 2-inch-thick log. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes but no longer than 2 days.
Make Filling:
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in wok or deep 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add whole cumin seed; sizzle 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in onion and gingerroot. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until onion is golden brown and no longer crunchy (be careful not to scald the gingerroot on the bottom of the pan when adding).
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients except oil; remove from heat. Cool completely, 20 to 30 minutes. (if not cooled completely before assembly, hot filling melts butter in dough, breaking down the dough - I have refrigerated the filling overnight without problems, just make sure to get it back to room temperature before frying so that the end product doesn't have cold spots in the middle - I have also had problems assembling samosas in a non-air-conditioned house in the summertime, culprit = butter softening in dough)
Assemble Samosas:
  1. Cut dough into 10 slices. Work with only one slice of dough at a time; cover and refrigerate remaining dough. Roll each slice of dough on lightly floured surface into a 6-inch circle.
  2. Cut each dough circle in half. Spoon as much filling as will fit (usually one big spoonful) onto center of each half; take care not to overfill or pastry will burst and assembly will be difficult. Brush edges with small amount of water. Fold each half over filling to form a triangle; press edges together to seal completely (loose seals will leak when fried). Place on a floured plate to prevent sticking while working with remaining dough (if let set too long at room temp, wet filling will make dough on underside soggy, flip occasionally, refrigerate, or fry immediately). Repeat with remaining dough. (Samosas can be assembled up to 2 hours before frying; refrigerate uncovered on a plate or cookie sheet generously dusted with flour).
  3. Heat oil (2 to 3 inches deep) in wok or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until thermometer inserted in oil reads 350 degrees.
  4. Carefully place samosas in hot oil without overcrowding and fry 1 to 2 minutes (book says 4 to 6 minutes, I don't use thermometer in oil so I may be frying at a higher temperature), turning occasionally, until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.
  5. Serve samosas as is or with chutneys. (the pastry is delicate and will not remain crispy for more than 12 hours, to extend crispiness, make sure not to cover samosas - leave in open air)
Author's Notes
  • It's best to work on one round of dough at a time and keep the remainder in the fridge. Chilled dough will be a little stiff to roll out at first, but it's much easier to shape it into triangles.
  • Leftover fried samosas can be frozen for up to a month. Thaw samosas overnight in refrigerator before heating. To heat, place on a cookie sheet and warm in a 300 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers of samosas are hot.

And there you have it. Any questions?

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