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  • Keema Samosas
    Minced Lamb Samosas

    TOOLS: You’ll need a deep mixing bowl; a sifter; plastic wrap; a food processor; a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart / 4-L sauté pan with a lid; a damp cloth; a rolling pin; a knife or pizza cutter; a small bowl filled with water; a baking sheet; a small kadhai, wok, or saucepan; a slotted spoon; and a wire rack.
    VEGANIZE IT! I always make a vegan version of this samosa for myself by substituting textured vegetable protein or ground seitan. You can also use the various frozen meat substitutes on the market, but if you truly are vegan, keep in mind some do contain egg whites. If using this substitution, you’ll only have to cook the filling in Step 4 for 8 minutes.

    Minced lamb is one of the most popular meat fillings for samosas and a perfect combination with the fried dough shell. If you’re not a fan of lamb, just substitute minced chicken, turkey, or even vegetarian crumbles. I’ve made them all with great success.

    For the THE DOUGH:
    • 2 cups /280 g whole-wheat chapati flour
    • 1 tablespoon rice flour (optional)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ¼ cup /60 mL vegetable oil
    • ⅔ cup /160 mL lukewarm water
    For the THE FILLING:
    • 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 (2-inch / 5-cm) piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 4–6 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed
    • ¼ cup /60 mL vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1 (3-inch / 8-cm) stick cinnamon
    • 2 cassia or bay leaves
    • 1½ pounds /680 g ground lamb
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • ½ cup /120 mL water
    • 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • ¼ cup /5 g kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), lightly hand crushed to release flavor
    • 2 cups /470 mL vegetable oil, optional, if frying
    For the THE DOUGH:
    1. In a deep mixing bowl, sift together the flours and salt. The rice flour helps make samosas a little crispier. Add the oil to the bowl. Using your hands, gradually mix in the oil until the dough becomes slightly crumbly.
    2. Add the water. Using your hands, knead the dough until all the ingredients come together into a smooth ball. If the dough is a little wet and sticky, add a little more flour. If it’s too hard, add a little more oil.
    3. Tightly wrap the dough in plastic wrap so it does not dry out. Set aside for at least 30 minutes while you prep the filling.
    For the THE FILLING:
    1. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the onion, ginger, garlic, and fresh chiles into a smooth paste.
    2. In a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart / 4-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm the oil. Add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, and cassia leaves and cook for 40 seconds, until the cumin seeds sizzle and turn reddish-brown.
    3. Add the onion paste from Step 1 to the sauté pan and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly browned.
    4. Add the lamb, tomato paste, water, Garam Masala, salt, and red chile powder to the sauté pan and stir well. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 18 minutes, until the lamb is completely cooked through. Toward the end of the cooking time, add the kasoori methi and stir well. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
    5. Remove the cover and remove and discard the whole spices. Allow the mixture to cool completely before filling the samosas.
    7. Divide the dough into 10 balls and roll them between your hands until they are as smooth as possible. Cover them with a damp cloth or paper towel as you work so they don’t dry out. Flatten out each ball with the palms of your hands.
    8. On a clean, dry, and flat work surface, use a lightly oiled rolling pin to roll out 1 ball into a thin 6-inch-wide / 15-cm-wide round. The thinner it is, the crispier it will be. The dough contains a good bit of oil, so you should be able to work with it easily. Pull the round up and turn it without adding any flour to the work surface. To make cocktail-sized samosas, just roll the dough out to half this size and follow the steps below, using only half as much filling.
    9. With a knife or a pizza cutter, slice 1 round exactly in half, making 2 semicircles. This will make 2 samosas.
    10. Dip a finger in a small bowl of water and moisten the edges of the round sides of the semicircles. Pick up 1 edge of the half circle and bring it to the other edge, creating a cone shape. Gently press the moistened edges of the rounded side together with your fingers, sealing them. I can’t stress enough how important this step is. If the dough is not pressed together it will open up during frying and oil will collect inside the samosas—I learned this one the hard way.
    11. Using your other hand, stuff about 2 tablespoons of the filling into the open end of the cone. Lamb tends to give off oil, so when you fill the samosas, use a slotted spoon and leave that oil behind. Tap the filling down with 1 finger at the end, making sure that about ¼ inch / 6 mm of dough is showing at the top. Dip a finger in the bowl of water and moisten the open inside edges of the dough. Seal them together gently with your fingertips. You should now have a stuffed triangle. Gently place the samosa on a baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth or paper towel.
    12. Repeat Steps 2, 3, 4, and 5 until you finish stuffing all of the samosas. You may need an extra baking sheet. The samosas should not touch.
    13. To fry the samosas: In a kadhai, wok, or saucepan over medium–high heat, warm 2 cups / 470 mL of the oil. I use a small kadhai because I don’t like to use too much oil, and cooking the samosas just 2 to 3 at a time ensures they cook more evenly. The oil should be about 1 inch / 3 cm deep in the deepest part of the kadhai or pan. Cook the samosas for a total of 20 to 40 seconds, until golden brown. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon, draining the oil, and transfer the samosas to a wire rack to allow them to cool slightly. Continue to fry the samosas in batches until finished. One trick? Reduce the heat slightly as you cook. If the oil is too hot, the samosas will burn on the outside and not warm through nor will the dough crisp up.
    14. To bake the samosas: Brush both sides of the samosas lightly with oil or spray them with cooking spray. Set the oven rack at the middle position and preheat the oven to 425°F / 220°C. Bake the samosas for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Flip over the samosas, spray them lightly with cooking spray, and bake for 6 to 7 minutes, until lightly browned on all sides. Remove from the oven.
    15. Serve the samosas with a side of Pudina ki and/or Imlee ki Chutney.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

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