I am so excited about my introduction to Indian Cooking. I was always intimidated by it because of the long list of strange ingredients. Thanks to Aarti Sequeira of Aarti Paarti and winner of Next Food Network Star, I decided to give Indian cooking a try. She explains Indian spices in a way that makes them seem as unintimidating as oregano.
These Samosas, which are savory Indian pastries, usually served at tea time, or as a starter course to a meal, are addictive. When you bite into a warm samosa, you taste a combination of salty and sweet. You will also taste the warm spices that infuse every bite. You will feel the creaminess of the filling with contrast the crunchiness of the pastry, and then the sweet-spicy combination of a mango chutney that I like to serve on the side. How can this not be delicious.
Usually Samosa's are deep fried, but this version, is baked. The technique has been copied from Aarti Party, but I changed the recipe quite a bit. Click here if you want Aart's original samosa recipe. The original recipe calls for using puff pastry. Here is the batch of samosas I made using puff pastry:
They were delicious, but very puffy and messy to eat. I had a package of ready-made pie dough in the refrigerator (yes....I sometimes use ready made pie dough!!!), so I made the next batch with the pie dough. That is what I photographed in the top picture. It is easier to eat, less messy and, IMHO, looks nicer. The puff pastry is lighter and crunchier and the pie dough is thinner and easier to eat. They are both very easy to work with, so it is just a question of personal preference.
2 large potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 T. butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 medium garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1 mango, peeled, pitted and finely diced
1/2 c. cooked peas
cayenne pepper and kosher salt, to taste
big handful cilantro leaves, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
2 pkgs. puff pastry, thawed
1 tsp. water
Preheat oven to 400.
Heat butter in a large skillet. Add onions and saute for 2 - 3 minutes. Add carrots, garlic, ginger and mustard. Saute another 4 - 5 minutes until carrots are slightly soft.
Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
Roll the puff pastry out slightly, to flatten the seams. Using a paring knife to trace a 7-inch ring mold or bowl, cut the dough into 8 (7-inch wide) rounds. Cut each into 2 semicircles.
Put a tablespoon or so of the filling in the center of a semicircle. Have a small bowl of water handy. Dip your finger in the water and run it along the edges of the semicircle. Arrange the samosas so the flat side is facing away from you. Grab the left corner and fold it over the dough in a triangular motion, so that this corner lands on the bottom right side of the filling. Do the same with the other corner.
Squeeze bottom shut, and fold over, sealing with water. If you like, seal using a fork. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Arrange the 8 samosas on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg and 1 teaspoon water with a fork until thoroughly combined. Brush the tops of the samosas with the egg wash.
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375 and bake for 10 more minutes.
Optional: Serve with a mango or peach chutney on the side.