Hubby Cooks: Samosas

Kathy at SacPie had her first pie night in January where the hubby made samosa pies for the first time. He’s at it again, this time altering his recipe to include late seasonal tubers: parsnips, turnips and squash.

The aromas while cooking were deeply satisfying, reminiscent of roasted chestnuts, Mediterranean herbs, and vegetables in the process of caramelizing. The first bite dipped in sauce happily danced on my taste buds. They got a thumbs up.

His process was two fold: he made the filling the night before, then made the dough, rolled it, filled them and cooked the samosas the next evening.

Not having a background in traditional Indian samosas, I researched this snack to learn more.

The original samosa is from the Indian subcontinent and traditionally triangular or conical in shape. In other areas the half moon shape is popular.

Called samsa in Turkish speaking nations, sanbusak in Arabic nations, sambusas by Iranians in Central Asia, and sambosa in Afghanistan, they are fried, baked or steamed depending on where they’re made. They can be sweet or savory, filled with dried fruits, nuts, vegetables (commonly potatoes), minced meats, spices are more. There are numerous variations around the world and the great thing is you can fill them with just about anything.  His altered recipe worked well and just might be the base for many future variants.

Spiced Samosas with Plum Tomato Sauce

2 tablespoons canola oil or ghee
1/4 cup thinly sliced onions (he used yellow)
1/2 cup parsnips, cut into small cubes (¼-inch or so)
½ cup turnips, cut into small cubes
½ cup butternut squash, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ cup water
4 tablespoons coconut milk
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
dash of kosher salt

2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cups sugar plums, coarsely chopped (I recently learned this is the politically correct way to refer to prunes, which I happen to love.)
2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ghee or butter
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon harissa (add more for a zippier sauce)
1 thyme sprig
dash kosher salt

1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
About 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup hot water
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
7 teaspoons peanut or canola oil, divided

Make your sauce first:
Toast pine nuts in a saucepan over medium heat until golden (about 2 minutes). Add olive oil, butter, prunes, shallots, tomatoes and garlic. Bring to a simmer and cook about 15 to 25 minutes, stirring often. Stir in sugar, harissa and thyme. Continue simmering for another 10 to
20 minutes, or until thickened a bit. Discard thyme sprig and stir in salt. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Set aside until needed. Can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator up to a week.

Next make filling:
Heat oil in a large skillet/fry pan over medium-high. Add onions and squash. Sauté 10 minutes or until both are tender. Reduce heat to low. Add parsnip and turnip cubes, curry paste and garlic. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup of water and the coconut milk then bring to a simmer. Cook about 15 minutes, or until the liquid almost evaporates and the vegetables are tender. Stir in lime juice and a good dash of salt. Transfer filling mixture to a bowl; cool. Partially mash mixture with a fork.

Make dough:
Combine turmeric, ginger and cinnamon in a fry pan over medium-high heat. Cook 30 to 45 seconds or until fragrant, stirring. Transfer to a plate and cool.

Spoon flour into measuring cups and level with a knife. Put flour, spices, ½ teaspoon salt and baking soda in a bowl or food processor and mix/pulse to combine.

Put ¼ cup hot water, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil in a bowl. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix/process until dough forms a ball. Place dough in an oil coated bowl. Rub the top of dough with a little oil. Cover and let rest 15 minutes.

Assemble samosas:
Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, while others remained covered, roll on a lightly floured surface to a 4-inch circle. Place 2 tablespoons filling in the center of each dough circle, being careful to not overfill. Moisten edges of dough with just a little water. Fold dough over to make a half moon. Press edges lightly with your fingers, then crimp with a fork to seal. Repeat with remaining dough balls to make 12 samosas.

Heat 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil in a large skillet/frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 6 samosas to pan. Cook about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Turn and again cook 3 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining samosas, adding more oil to the pan if needed.

Serve with the sauce for dipping.

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