27 February 2011


The Samosa - A Brief History

Many believe the Samosa originated from Central Asia before the 10th century and made it’s way to India via the ancient trade routes. 
The Indian Samosa is the most famous from a family of filled pastries or dumplings which were popular from North Africa to West China. 
Ancient Arab cookery books refer to the Samosa as Sanbusak and this pronunciation is still used in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.
Today, the ease of travel and the cosmopolitan nature of our cities has made the Samosa a popular snack in many parts of the world.
I recently had a one on one cooking lesson and was asked if we could do a recipe for home made Samosas. Although I had never made them before, I am a lover of all Asian cooking and thought it would be great to give them a try. I did a little research as I wanted to make them authentic and recreate the beautiful crisp pastry that I always associate with samosas. 
We made a dry curry with potatoes and peas together with some of my favourite Asian spices and used this for our filling. I had a few tries at the pastry before being totally happy with the final results. I originally wanted to use wholemeal flour but I found that it was more difficult to work with and as I wanted the pastry to be really thin then I switched to using strong white flour.

Cumin, coriander, fennel and mustard seed, garam masala, turmeric, curry leaves, turmeric powder and tomato puree.

Recipe for the filling.

1 large potato, small diced.
1 small onion, small diced.
1/2 cup of frozen peas.
2 cloves garlic, crushed.
1 inch fresh ginger, grated.
1 red chilli, finely sliced.
300 ml water,
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds,
1 teaspoon garam masala, turmeric,
10 curry leaves,
1 teaspoon tomato puree,
Juice of half a lemon.
Salt and pepper to taste.

1) Toast the whole seeds (except the mustard) in a dry pan until they release their aromas.
2) Add some oil and fry the garlic, ginger and chilli for a few minutes before adding the onion.
3) Add the potatoes to the mix and cover with the water. Leave to simmer for about twenty minutes.
4) The potatoes should soften as the water is absorbed and evaporated but add more water if necessary.
5) Add the peas, turmeric, garam masala and tomato puree. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
6) In a seperate pan, heat a little oil and fry the curry leaves and mustard seeds for about a minute until       
     bubbling and popping. Add to the curry with the juice from the lemon.
7) Set aside and allow to cool.

Curried potato and pea filling.

This pastry recipe will make enough pastry for 24 samosas.

225gm. plain flour
2 tsp. salt
2tblspb. vegetable oil
70 ml warm water./10 ml wine vinegar.

1)Mix the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well into the centre and add the oil and enough water and vinegar to make a firm dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and roll into a ball. Cover in clingfilm and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2)Divide the pastry into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and roll out into a circle of 15 cm. Divide this circle into two equal pieces.
3)Place a small amount of mixture into the centre of each semi-circle and lightly brush some water around the edges. Fold the pastry around the mix to form the triangle shape, crimping the edges together.

4)Deep fry the samosas in hot oil, (190 degrees Celsius) for 3 to 5 minutes until browned and crisp. The filling is already cooked so you just need to allow time for the pastry to crispen up and heat the filling through. They can be eaten hot or cold.

We served the samosas with a carrot, chilli, cinnamon and tomato salsa.

1 large carrot, grated and washed.
1 red chilli, finely sliced,
1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated,
2 teaspoons dried cinnamon,
1 teaspoon toasted coriander seeds,
3 tablespoons tomato ketchup.

Simply mix all ingredients together to make your dip.

Samosas with carrot, chilli and cinnamon dip.

ChefGary's tips:

When rolling out the pastry, the thinner you can get it, the crispier your pastry will be.

If you don't have an electric fryer, make sure your oil is hot enough by dipping a corner of the samosa in first. It should immediately start to bubble if the oil is at optimum cooking temperature.

Try using any leftover curry as a filling for your samosas.


No comments:

Post a Comment