Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Pride of Punjab- Samosas!

Its absolutely fascinating to me that almost the whole world has a different version of this dish! 

Unleavened flour pastry rolled out and then stuffed with a savoury (sometimes sweet too) filling. They call it Empanadas Spain, Wontons in South-East Asia, Pierogi in Poland, Fatayer in the Middle eastern countries, and in India they're known as the Samosas- pride of the Punjabi snack world! Oh but don't forget that they fry these beautiful little stuffed babies making them oh-so-crisp and crunchy. 

These samosas have given me company on many a rainy day because not eating something fried when its raining outside is a punishable offense. I'm kidding ofcourse, but maybe not. Who wants to test the theory?! So i just do the wise thing to do and whip up these yummy lip smackingly delicious samosas and get on with the day! Makes everyone's life a little easier. 

So anyway, let me introduce you to my dear friend, "Readers, this is a Samosa, samosa- these are my beloved readers and they are going to learn how to make you today!" 



On to the recipe then, shall we? Oh and I have a ton of pics to show you how to fold the samosas. Might as well have made the video, but it didn't strike me at the time! Anyway....

Serves: 8 (2 per head)

Time taken: 60 mins

Complexity: ***  

You'll need

For the pastry dough

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
3/4 tbsp salt
2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter (use lard if ghee is unavailable)
100 ml or less water

For the filling

1 1/2 tbsp ghee
3-4 large potatoes, boiled and peeled
1/2 cup green peas, boiled
1/2 cup soaked cashew nuts, roughly chopped (optional)
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp raw mango powder (amchur)
1 1/2 tbsp dry coriander powder
1 tbsp dry coriander seeds
1 tbsp dry pomegranate seeds (anar dana)
1 tbsp red chili powder (use less if you like it less spicy)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp dry roasted cumin powder
1 1/2 tbsp salt (or to taste)
2" pc of ginger minced
Oil for frying
handful coriander leaves (optional)
A pinch of love

Method

Let me first warn you about the salt content. Be careful because the pastry and the filling will both have salt, and you don't want it to become too salty. 

Secondly, the flakiness of the crust comes from the proportion of the ghee/clarified butter to the proportion of the flour. 1 tbsp ghee per cup of flour.  This also ensures that there are least number of bubbles on the samosa surface when you fry them. 

Thirdly, make sure your filling has cooled down completely before you start making the samosas. If your filling is hot, it WILL tear through the pastry. 

Also, folding a samosa needs practice but do not be intimidated! Do make sure that you follow the steps correctly so that you samosa in the end can stand tall and make you proud! 

Last but not the least, be careful while frying! Safety first! :)

For the dough, combine the ingredients together and knead for about 5-7 minuted till the dough looks like a smooth ball. It should be firm and not too springy. Thats right, get in your workout before you bite into this guilty pleasure. 



Divide it into 8-10 parts and shape them into balls the size of a table tennis ball. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside to rest for 45 mins or so till the filling is done and cooled down. 

For the filling, heat the ghee in a pan. As soon as it starts to shimmer, add the cumin seeds and saute for 30 seconds till they begin to splutter. Now add the minced ginger in and saute for another minute. 



Squish the boiled potatoes with your fingers and mash them. DO NOT use masher. We don't want them to get sticky. Just break them enough so they LOOK mashed up. Mix well for a minute.



Next add the spices except the pomegranate seeds and coriander seeds. We need them later. Add in your pinch of love. Now mix n toss till the potatoes take on the golden red hue from the turmeric and red chili powder and the aroma makes your hungry! Add the boiled peas and the roughly shopped cashew nuts. 



Dry roast the coriander seeds and the pomegranate seeds till their beautiful aroma starts to emanate. Did you know that dry roasting spices brings out their flavour?! Take these and grind them coarsely in a mortar and pestle or on a flat surface with a rolling pin. Just very roughly, we don't need a fine powder.   Add that to the potatoes. If you want you can also add fresh coriander leaves as a final flourish, I always do! 



Let it cool till you go and clean your room up a little like I did. Give it about 30 mins. See, I'm such a good girl! Are you listening mom? 

Now to assemble, take a ball of dough, roll it out in a round shape.



Roll it out till it is about 1/8th of an inch thick. IF you can get it any thinner, all the better. But it shouldn't be translucent otherwise it will tear while we're adding the filling. Use oil while rolling it out, it prevents it from sticking to any surface. 



With a knife, cut the rolled out dough into half. 




Now you have a semi circle. Start folding from the left and go till 2/3 of the semi circle. Bring the right end over it to cover. It looks like a cone. 



Dip your finger in some water and seal the overlapping edge.

Here's a recap.



Now pick up the cone and take about 2 tbsp of your filling and fill it. Press down on the filling so you can neatly fold the ends. 





To make the samosa stand, you need to fold the dome-shaped end just like this, overlapping it, and then bring it over the flat end and seal the edges with water again.  






There you have it, your samosa is ready to be fried. First make a batch of these and then begin frying them. Get your wok and oil for frying, atleast 4 fingers deep. Use a neutral flavour oil. Authentically they are fried in ghee or clarified butter or even lard, but I didn't have the heart to eat so much of fat! 



Add the stuffed samosas to it (I fried 4 at a time) and fry on low flame for about 4-5 minutes so it becomes hard and crisps up and then increase the flame to high and fry till they turn reddish brown in colour. 



Keep flipping them. Use a slotted spoon for this if you have it on hand. Remove from the wok and place them on an absorbent paper to remove excess oil. The samosas will be in the wok for about 7-8 minutes each. 



The samosas are ready to be served! Just dip it into the date and tamarind chutney and take a bite. My recipe for the chutney is right here Isn't it absolutely blissful?! The crunchy, crispy, flaky crust and the spicy, delicious savory filling..... Just break the samosa into two to check whether the dough has been properly cooked all the way through or not. 

There are so many textures in this dish, its amazing! They make for great party food as well as an evening snack! And no Punjabi occasion is complete without one samosa in the plate and one in the mouth! Indulge! :) 





   
 




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