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  • Vegetable Samosas

    TOOLS: You’ll need a deep mixing bowl; a sifter; plastic wrap; 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.
    NOTE: The type of flour used is key. Most samosa recipes call for all-purpose flour, but I find that 100% whole-wheat chapati flour, a stone-milled, durum whole-wheat flour, works just fine. See my notes on chapati flour on p. 26. To save time, you can also freeze the stuffed but uncooked samosas. Simply take them out of the freezer a day or so before your party, defrost them completely, and fry them to perfection.

    Samosas are known the world over. Ask anyone from England to the Caribbean about them, and you’ll inspire daydreams of these stuffed and fried fritters. Make the filling and dough ahead of time and stuff them a day later for an easier time. Better yet—ask your kids to help stuff them. They’ll have a ball.

    For the THE DOUGH:
    • 2 cups /280 g whole-wheat chapati flour
    • 1 tablespoon rice flour (optional)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup /60 mL vegetable oil
    • 2/3 cup /160 mL lukewarm water
    For the THE FILLING:
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 yellow onion, minced
    • 1 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chile, stem removed and minced
    • 1 large russet potato, peeled, finely diced, immersed in water until ready to use, and drained
    • 1/2 cup /75 g peas, fresh or frozen
    • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon amchur (dried mango powder)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon 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, gradu- ally 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. Lightly 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 a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart / 4-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm the oil. Add the cumin seeds and cook for 40 seconds, until the cumin seeds sizzle and turn reddish-brown. Add the turmeric, onion, and fresh chile. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, for 2 minutes, until the onion is slightly opaque.
    2. Add the remaining ingredients, except the oil, in the order listed above. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful to work quickly, as the ingredients can burn easily—the slight moisture from the potatoes will help. If you need more moisture, add 1 tablespoon of water.
    3. Reduce the heat to low and partially cover the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, until the potatoes soften. Remove from the heat, remove the cover, and set aside to cool. The mixture must be completely cool before stuffing the samosas, or the dough will soften.
    1. 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.
    2. 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, roll the dough out to half this size and follow the steps below, using only 1⁄2 as much filling.
    3. 3. With a knife or a pizza cutter, slice 1 round exactly in half, making 2 semi- circles. This will make 2 samosas.
    4. 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 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.
    5. Using your other hand, stuff about 2 tablespoons of the filling into the open end of the cone. Tap the filling down with 1 finger at the end, making sure that about 1⁄4 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.
    6. Repeat Steps 2, 3, 4, and 5 until you finish stuffing all of the samosas. You may need another baking sheet. The samosas should not touch.
    7. 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.
    1. 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. Flip over the samosas, spray them lightly with cooking spray, and bake for 6 to 7 minutes, until lightly browned on both sides. Remove from the oven.
    2. 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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