bits and pieces

Monday, March 12, 2012

Handmade Veggie Samosas!

Samosa with Mango Chutney and Cilantro Chutney

Welcome back sportsfans.

I am back from Asia, where I ate lots of food. However, as stated I am now back. Being back in Saskatchewan in March seems to mean that I am unemployed once more despite applying for a good 30 jobs or so whilst away. Apparently informing a potential employer that you are in Cambodia and thus will not be able to come in for an interview which is taking place tomorrow - despite the competition closing date of March 6th - ensures that you will never hear from them again. Ah well.

So it is spring encore and I am spending lots of time in the kitchen as I am unemployed encore. I need to find a better term for unemployed. Taking some personal time? Self-employed? Working on my novel? We'll see. Unfortunately part of being 'self-employed' means that one does not have funds to spend on culinary frivolity. Never fear, though - not only are samosas DELICIOUS - but they're probably one of the cheapest things you can make. The ingredients are pretty much water, flour, oil, onions and potatoes. Oh and some spices. This is just a half step up from mashed potatoes.

I set out to make these samosas with half a mind to try and recreate the Pushap's samosas of so many lunches. Anyone who went to McGill will be very familiar with samosas. 1 for $1, 3 for $2... those were the days. Anyone from McGill should be familiar with Pushap's - the delightful and delicious tiny Indian restaurant from whence these samosas came. Anyone familiar with me will be aware of the fact I am probably some sort of Asian on the inside as I tend to cook almost exclusively middle eastern-asian-indian type things. Currently I have samosas to my right, and tagine to my left. Case and point.

The idea of making your own dough sounds kind of intimidating, but believe me when I say this is a very easy recipe. If you happen to be blessed with a pasta maker or something that does the dough rolling for you, then even better. I tried to make these marginally healthier by using olive oil and baking them as opposed to frying them. However, if you feel the need to fry, please do so. Also - if you're lazy and/or in possession of some puff pastry, it would also be incredibly delicious as your samosa dough. You can also swap whole wheat flour for the regular flour, or sweet potatoes for the regular potatoes. I did these once with sweet potatoes and caramelized onions and they were epic. The world is your oyster! I mean, samosa!

2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of water (you may need more/less)
4 tbsp olive oil/any kind of oil
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 pinch of salt

2 cups of cooked and diced potatoes
1/4 cup peas
1 small onion, diced
1.5 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1.5 tbsp coriander seeds - grind them or crush these up a bit with a mortar and pestle or just a knife
a big pinch of salt

other things you will need:
2 mixing bowls
rolling pin/empty wine bottle, yes I'm a lush
a mixing spoon or a whisk
baking tray

  1. Cook your potatoes. When they're almost done, throw your peas in (if they're frozen) for the last minute or so of cooking. Strain and rinse with cold water. You're going to need to cut these up so you'll need to cool them enough to protect your fingers. 
  2. Make your dough. Add your flour, cumin and salt to your mixing bowl and give it a whisk. Add your oil and rub it through the flour. It will start to clump up and form some sort of sticky dough-mess. Slowly add water while you knead until you've got something that resembles bread dough - smooth and not too tough. 
  3. Dice your onion and dice your potatoes small enough that they look like they belong in a samosa... roughly into 1-2 cm pieces. Add your peas.  
  4. **Whenever I'm cooking indian food I always toast my spices first. If you'd like to toast your spices just stick them in a frying pan over medium high heat and pay close attention. Give them a couple shakes once you start to really smell them and then remove them from the heat.** Add your spices to your potato mixture and give it a few stirs so that it's all coated nicely. 
  5. Preheat your oven to 425. 
  6. Divide your dough into two sections and form into balls. Rollllllllllllllll each ball until it's nice and thin. The thinness of the dough generally depends on my patience level, but it should be roughly 2-3 mm thick. Remember - the thinner you get the dough, the farther it will go. This means more samosas. 
  7. Cut your dough into sections. I usually try and make 3 inch x 3 inch squares. Now get ready for the stuffing. Take one square of dough. Bring two diagonal corners together and seal (you might need to moisten your fingers) along the LONG side. You should have a little cone-pocket. Stuff this cone-pocket (that's the technical term) with your potato mix and then seal/smoosh the open flap down onto the rest of your samosa. This will likely be a very ugly samosa. Don't worry, the ugly ones taste just as good as the pretty ones. Repeat until you are out of dough or out of potato mix.
  8. Arrange your samosas on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. EAT THEM. Eat them with lots of mango chutney. I'm making a new batch of cilantro chutney so once I do, I'll pay attention to my measurements and then I'll post the recipe.
Yum yum yum! Look what you made!

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