Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pie Dough Samosas

Samosas are an appetizer from India.  Triangular dough pockets are filled with mild mixture of cooked potatoes and peas and are served with yogurt based sauces like cucumber raita or mint chutney for dipping.  When you order samosas at Indian restaurants they are fried.  At home, you can make these with pie dough and bake them, avoiding the fryer. The difference is subtle and your stomach will thank you because it’s hard not to eat a bunch of these. 

One complete recipe for pie dough (top and bottom) will yield 10-12 samosas.  You can use a prepared pie dough from the store if you are not a regular on the baking scene.  The triangles are formed from 5" rounds cut out from rolled out dough.  I use a small bowl—about 5 inches across as my template.  The potato and pea filling can be very mild or a spiced up curry version.  Cooked cauliflower can be mixed in or replace the potatoes.  Cooked sweet potatoes, butternut squash or pumpkin can also be used and are really fun around Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Here’s how:

Pie Dough Samosas
Makes 10-12 pieces. Serving size: 3 samosas
Pie dough-enough for 2 12-14 inch discs rolled out

1 tablespoon canola
1/2 white onion
4 medium boiling potatoes, peeled , boiled and diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1-3 teaspoons curry powder*
1/2 cup water
egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water.

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  While oil heats, peel and chop onion.  
  2. Saute onion in oil until it is tender and just beginning to color.  
  3. Add cooked potatoes,  frozen peas, curry powder and water.  Stir to combine.  Lower heat and cover partially.  Cook down,  about 3 minutes until peas are heated through and potatoes have soaked up curry mixture.  
  4. Remove cover and continue to cook on low until the sauce is thickened and coats vegetables.   Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before proceeding. (Filling may be prepared ahead and chilled overnight.)
  5. Preheat oven to 425˚F.  
  6. To make samosas, roll out pie dough to 1/8 inch thickness.  Use a small bowl or 5”diameter round cookie cutter to cut out 4 rounds from each disc.  Knead leftover dough together and place in refrigerator to keep chilled.  
  7. Place a scoop (2-3 tablespoons) of the cooled filling in the center of each round.  Paint the edges with egg wash and bring up the sides of each dough circle from 3 sides so they meet at a point at the top.  Press together the dough along the three seams.  It is fine to leave a small opening at the top to allow steam to escape when baking.  
  8. Place samosas on a baking sheet as they are made.  Roll out the remaining dough to get 2-3 more round discs.  When samosas are assembled, you may leave them plain or paint them with leftover egg wash to help the dough brown.  
  9. Bake at 425˚F for 18 minutes, until dough is cooked. 
  10.  Serve immediately or cool and refrigerate overnight.  Reheat in a 400˚F oven for 15-20 minutes. 
Serve samosas with Indian condiments including mint or mango chutney, hot sauce and cooling yogurt raita.

To make Raita:
1 cup plain yogurt  (whole, low-fat, nonfat or Greek are all OK)
1/4 cup grated cucumber (peel cucumber if not waxed)
1/2 teaspoon cumin (start with a 1/4 if you are not used to Indian foods)
1/8 teaspoon salt, coriander and mint
Stir it all together and let sit about 30 minutes for herbs and spices to blend.

Raita is one of those things you can really customize to suit your tastes.  With samosas you are going for a cooling effect but if your tastes veer toward spicy, you can add grated onion, a bit or fresh garlic, cayenne, etc.

*Curry Powder
In my Massaman Curry  (Three Curries, March 1, 2010) I discuss curry blends and how to make your own.  For samosas you can use a blend sitting on your shelf or make it fresh. To make your own for this recipe combine: 1 teaspoon tumeric, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/8 teaspoon each cayenne, oregano, paprika, cinnamon.  To make this spicy, add a good pinch of cayenne.