Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pocket Food – Part III

Earlier this year, I was wandering in Williams Sonoma. They were demonstrating how to make homemade chapatis and other Indian foods. I couldn't stay to watch, but picked up their recipe card for Potato Samosas and have been meaning to try this. Still in my pocket food phase (see meat pies, veggie pies and empanadas), this is an ideal recipe to try out for the class potluck.

The recipe below is adapted a bit from the W-S version, because I find it hard to believe that people in India have pressure cookers and deep-fat fryers in their kitchens. I don't have the space for those appliances either, and it really is quite simple to go without. 

Samosas are great snack foods, flexible with fillings, most commonly with potato and vegetables, I even found some websites dedicated to the triangular savoury snack and features all variations of filling – love that they call it "... one of India's great gifts to the world." samosa- is another website dedicated to the samosa and all the derivatives of pocket food from around the globe (I'm not the only one, haha). 

(makes 32)

Safflower or sunflower oil for frying
1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp cold water to seal dough

2 cups (240g) flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup safflower or sunflower oil
2/3 cup cold water

1 lb (454g) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice, partially boiled, drained and cooled
2 Tbsp safflower or sunflower oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen, thawed
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro/coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Put the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. In a measuring jug, whisk together the oil and water. Pour in two-thirds of this mixture into the flour/salt/baking powder, stirring to combine. Gradually add more liquid, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or so. Wrap in cling film and let rest for an at least half an hour at room temperature. 
  • Coat a frying pan with oil, fry the onion until soft, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a further minute. Add the cooked potato, tossing to coat. Set aside and let cool. Toss in peas, cilantro leaves and lemon juice. 
  • On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, forming each into a ball. With a rolling pin, roll each ball out into a 6" round and cut into quarters (or into halves, if you want larger samosas). Keep the dough covered under cling film whilst assembling. Assemble each quarter by using your fingertip to moisten one of the straight edges with the cornstarch liquid.  Form a small cone and pinch the seam firmly. Spoon in the filling as much as possible, leaving a bit of space to moisten at the top and pinch closed. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Assemble the remaining pieces.
  • Heat 4" of oil in a deep saucepan. If you have a thermometer, it should be 350°F, but otherwise, put a single kernel of popcorn in the oil. When it pops, take it out and the oil is ready. Add a few of the assembled samosas, cooking them in batches. Deep fry for 5 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally. Set aside to drain on paper towels. You can also keep them warm in the oven at 200°F until ready to serve. They are best served warm.

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