Super Veggie Samosas

When I got home from our vacation, I realized that I had forgotten to make an item from my “Culinary Bucket List” for the month of May.  I have decided to do two recipes this month to compensate, and here is the first: vegetarian samosas packed with a savory filling of mashed potatoes, sweet peas, carrots, lentils, onions, and plump, golden raisins.  I cut the dough yield down to a dozen samosas, but I was left with extra filling.  I served it as a tasty vegetable side with supper, but if you prefer, use 1/2 the amount of lentils, a sprinkling of peas, and one tiny box of raisins to avoid leftovers.  Ah, kitchen experiments!

For the samosas, I started with the dough measurements from the Food.com recipe (see below) and added a pinch of one of my favorite spices: garam masala.  The scent of garam masala is wonderful, and the perfume will linger as the dough is rolled out.

Then I used a recipe from Emeril Lagasse for the filling basics (an irony I’m well aware of…because he’s NOT Indian, but I chose the recipe for its simplicity and easy-to-follow directions) and I made substantial changes.  Links to the original recipes are provided below.  The biggest difference with my version is that I baked the samosas, rather than frying them.  I also changed many of the measurements, and added carrots and raisins for extra flavor and sweetness.

This is a good recipe to expand your spice rack and clean out the vegetable drawer!  The only change I might make next time would be to use store-bought puff pastry dough to save time and give the baked samosas an even flakier texture.

Veggie Samosas
Makes 12 pastries.

Adapted from Indian Samosa Recipe on Food.com and Samosas: Fried Indian Vegetable Pastries by Emeril Lagasse.  Visit the original recipes by clicking the links in the previous sentence to create your own variation of this Indian appetizer and buffet staple!

For the dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 sprinklings of salt
5-6 tablespoons of cold water
pinch of garam masala

For the filling:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, cut in a small dice
1/2 of a carrot, peeled and cut in a small dice
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
sprinkling of salt
3 small, red potatoes baked, cooled, and peeled of skin
1 19-ounce can of lentil soup, drained of liquid and rinsed
1/3 cup of sweet, green peas (I used frozen)
2 1-ounce boxes of golden raisins
boiling water

For assembly:
one large egg, beaten
cup of cold water
all-purpose flour, to roll out the dough

Method:
Begin by making the dough.  A prepared dough could also be used.  I followed the directions from Emeril’s recipe and sifted the flour into the bowl.  Then I added salt, and the garam masala.  Add the oil one tablespoon at a time, working the oil into the flour.  I used my right hand to stir and separate the flour, while holding the bowl steady with my left.  The flour mixture should look crumbly.

Here is a shot of the dough “crumbles” before the water is added.

Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.  Roll the dough into a ball and knead it on a flat, floured surface for a few minutes.  The Emeril recipe recommends 4 minutes, but I only needed 2 minutes (perhaps because I made less dough).  Put the dough ball into a bowl and cover with a towel.  I allowed the dough to rest while I cooked the filling and preheated the oven.

This dough smells amazing. Mon mari even came into the kitchen to ask what the aroma was!

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Warm the vegetable oil over medium heat and add the onions and carrots to soften them.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the carrots are tender.  Add the ground coriander and ground ginger midway through cooking the carrots and onions.  Stir to incorporate the spices.

Here is a cutting board shot of the carrots — I included this so that you readers can get a sense of how much carrot I used. The dice looks a little bigger in the photo than in reality.

These are the onions and carrots working away on the stove-top.

Add the minced garlic, garam masala, salt, and curry powder to the vegetables.  Stir.  The pan should be super-fragrant now!

Here is a close-up of the garam masala. It kind of looks like a little face after I pinched a bit of spice!

Next, add the lentils and the peas.

Mmm. Lentils.

This is the filling before the raisins are added.

Soak the golden raisins in boiling water for about 10 minutes.  While the raisins are soaking (and plumping), mash the cooled, peeled, baked potatoes and add them to the pan.  Stir to spice the potatoes and mix the filling.

I used red potatoes because I like them best, but you can substitute small potatoes of any variety.

Drain the raisins and add them to the pan, giving the filling a final stir.  Turn off the heat and allow the samosa filling to cool.

The completed filling.

The next step involves assembling the samosas.  When I use dough in cooking, I often keep a cup of cold water handy to manipulate the dough (when it tears) and to wet my fingers or keep the dough moist if it starts to dry out.  Prepare your rolling station with a cup of cool water nearby, a towel, and a beaten egg in a small bowl.  You will also need a pastry brush, a spoon, and a fork.

While the filling is cooling down, flour a flat surface and divide the dough into two equal balls.  Roll each ball into a log.  Cut each log into 6 equal dough bits with a pastry scraper.  There will be 12 dough bits in all.

Here is a single dough bit and a rolled circle.

Roll each bit of dough into a circle and place the circles on a greased baking sheet (I used two sheets).

Put a spoonful of filling onto each dough circle on one half of the circle.  Leave a small border at the edges of the dough.

Wet your fingers and put a bit of cool water all around the circle.  Fold the empty half of the dough over the filling and press the dough together at the edges to seal it.  Use extra water if you need to!  The recipe will make 12 moon-shaped samosas.

Brush each samosa with beaten egg and pierce the tops with the tines of a fork to vent.

Each samosa is brushed with egg before it goes into the oven. The egg helps the dough to brown nicely.

Bake the samosas at 350°F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Enjoy!

Here is a samosa all baked up.

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