Samosas – the traditional ones with a spiced potato and pea filling – were an absolute favourite of my children when they were little (and still are.)
They are somewhat time-consuming to make, but fun and worth the effort.
I find the traditional pastry too heavy, so I substitute a leavened dough that I also use for Empanadas.
I like to serve the Samosas with Spiced Lentil Soup and a Vegetable Biryani. I also include a recipe for my own Madras Curry Paste.
225g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
60g butter, chilled and cut in small dice
2-4tbsp cold water
1. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
2. Add the butter, and rub in until the texture of breadcrumbs.
3. Add the water, a teaspoon at a time, until the mixture forms a soft dough.
4. Allow to rest for 1 hour in the fridge
2tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, chopped
500g waxy potatoes
100g frozen peas
1tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 mild green chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
2tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
2tbsp lemon juice
1tsp garam masala
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp roasted cumin seeds, ground
1. Boil the potatoes in their skins until just cooked.
2. Allow to cool, peel, and cut into 1cm dice.
3. Fry the onion in the oil until slightly browned (about 10 minutes.)
4. Add the peas, ginger, garlic, chilli and a good splash of water.
5. Cover and simmer until the peas are cooked (about 5 minutes.)
6. Add the potatoes and remaining ingredients and cook for another 3 minutes.
7. Allow to cool.
8. Divide the pastry into 12.
9. Roll out to coin thickness. The disk should be about 10cm.
10. Add a tablespoon of vegetable mixture, moisten the outside of the pastry disk with water, and fold in half.
11. Crimp the edge to form a pasty.
12. To cook, add sunflower oil to a large frying pan to a depth of 1cm.
13. When the oil is hot, add the Samosas (you may need to cook them in two batches, depending on the size of the frying pan), and cook until golden on all sides.
Spiced Lentil Soup
150g red split lentils
4 slices fresh ginger
1/2tsp ground turmeric
1l vegetable stock
100g floury potatoes, diced
1tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp coconut cream
1tbsp sunflower oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1tsp whole cumin seeds
2tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1 mild red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
1. Add the lentils, ginger, turmeric and stock to a large pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Add the potatoes, and simmer for a further 30 minutes.
3. Remove the ginger slices and liquidize the soup.
4. Add the lemon juice and adjust the seasoning.
5. When ready to serve, heat the oil in a small heavy saucepan.
6. Add the cumin seeds and garlic, and fry until the garlic turns light brown.
7. Tip the contents (including oil) into the soup and stir.
8. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped coriander and red chilli.
Roast Vegetable Biryani
½ aubergine, cut in 2cm dice
½ courgette, cut in 2 cm dice
½ yellow pepper, cut in 2cm pieces
1 large onion, cut in 2cm chunks
2tbsp sunflower oil
1-2tsp madras curry paste (or good curry powder)
1. Mix the oil and curry paste.
2. Place the vegetables in a baking dish (about 3cm deep.)
3. Pour the oil over the vegetables and mix well.
4. Bake at 190° for about 30 minutes. The vegetables should be slightly caramelized, but not burned.
150g basmati rice
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 mild green pepper, de-seeded and finely sliced
½ mushroom stock cube
1. Wash the rice in several changes of cold water, and then allow to soak for 30 minutes.
2. Drain in a sieve for 15 minutes.
3. In a small heavy saucepan, cook the onion gently in the oil until slightly browned (about 5 minutes.)
4. Add the rice and remaining dry ingredients, and cook over a lowish heat for a further 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
5. Add enough water to cover the rice to a depth of about 1/2cm.
6. Cover with silver foil and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid, and over the lowest possible heat, allow to cook for 20 minutes. One technique is to put the saucepan in a heavy (pre-warmed) frying pan to diffuse the heat.
7. Allow the rice to stand covered for a further 5 minutes.
8. Fluff the rice gently with a fork.
1dsp sunflower oil
1tbsp cashew nuts
1tbsp flaked almonds
1tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1. In a small heavy saucepan, add all the ingredients except the herbs, and cook over a medium heat until the nuts have slightly browned, and the raisins have plumped.
2. In a pre-heated serving dish, add the rice, vegetables, nuts and raisins, and herbs and mix.
Madras Curry Paste
1tsp ground black pepper
1tbsp chilli powder
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
2tsp garam masala
2tsp ground turmeric
8tbsp ground coriander
2tsp black mustard seeds
4tbsp ground cumin
3 crushed cloves of garlic
2.5cm cube fresh ginger root, grated
125ml brown vinegar
75ml vegetable oil
Put all ingredients except for the vinegar and oil into a bowl
Stir in the vinegar and mix to a smooth paste
Heat oil in medium saucepan
Stir in the mixture over low heat until mixture boils and oil begins to separate from the spices
Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool
Store in airtight jar and add to curries as required