Samosas are delicious, fried, savory Indian pastries. They look like triangles filled with chicken, lamb, or vegetables. Mine are vegetarian samosas filled with potatoes, onions and spices. Traditionally they have dipping sauces such as chutney or yogurt topped with an herb such as chopped chives or cilantro(my favorite!) By the way, my easy samosa recipe uses wonton wrappers. This saves a lot of preparation time too!
Where are samosas from?
According to food historians, samosas originated in Central Asia. They traveled to India via the trade routes. Depending on where you are in India, samosas will be different due to local tastes and dietary restrictions (some Indians are vegetarians). The size of the samosas can also vary between regions. What seems to remain constant throughout is the typical triangular shape.
The word samosa likely comes from the word sanbusak. This is an Arab word closely resembling the Persian word sanbosag. This word is still used in the Arab speaking world for foods like samosas.
Samosas are the equivalent of the Latin American empanada, the only differences being that empanadas are not usually accompanied by a dip, and they are half-moon-shaped instead of triangular samosas are not really hard to prepare. How to make samosas that don't take much time? Since they are a bit labor intensive. Use ready made wonton wrappers like I do in the recipe below. You can make a large batch and freeze, making all your toils quite worthwhile. Enlist the help of your family members or adventurous friends and you will whip up a large batch in no time!
Step by step photos:
- Gather all your ingredients and have them measured out, chopped up and ready to go.
- Take a small bowl and mix together the salt, coriander, black pepper, cumin and curry powder.
- Add ½ cup water to another bowl and mix in 1 tsp corn starch and set aside. You will use this to seal the wonton wrappers later.
- To prepare the dip, mix together the yogurt, fresh chopped chives and chili power. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium to sauté the garlic and onion until the onion is translucent.
- Add the potatoes, chopped cilantro and spices. Cook until the potatoes are soft which is typically about 10-12 minutes.
- Pour ½ cup water over the potatoes and allow to simmer and deglaze the pan for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steam covered for about 10 minutes; this will help soften the potatoes and make them easier to break down. Place the mixture in a large bowl and mash with a fork. It should have a consistency of lumpy mashed potatoes. Mix in the peas. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Place a heaping teaspoon on a wonton wrapper. Apply the cornstarch water mixture around the perimeter with a pastry brush.
- Fold into a triangle and press the sides together.
- Heat oil in a pan to 350°F and fry on each side until golden brown.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- How long can I store the samosas refrigerator? Once they have completely cooled you can store this in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Place them in an airtight container or zip top bags.
- How can I reheat the samosas? Reheat in the oven at 250°F for 10 minutes until warm in the center. I like to put them in my Cosori Air Fryer for 5 minutes at 250°F.
- Can I freeze the samosas? Yes, you can freeze these for up to two months in an airtight container. It is best to freeze them before you fry them for the best results. Remove from the freezer about 30 minutes to thaw before frying.
- Can I make these samosas in an air fryer? Yes, start by brushing both sizes with canola oil. Cook in the air fryer at 350°F for 4 minutes. Take the basket out and flip them over then cook for 4-6 minutes until golden brown.
Dip for Samosas
Samosas will typically come out with dip. One of the most popular dips for samosas is chutney. It comes from the Hindi word, chatni. Chutney is a relish of fresh fruits and spices. It's cooked down to a thick consistency. Chutneys might also come out with meat dishes. The most popular fruits used in the preparation of chutneys are mangoes, pears, tamarind and apples. Spices used include chiles, curry, cumin and cardamon. Chutney was adopted by the British along with curry and taken to their subsequent colonies in Africa and the Caribbean, this is why in some Caribbean dishes you will find chutney.
Feel free to improvise if neither of these dips strikes your fancy. Enjoy!!!!
If you want to explore some spicy Indian dishes to enjoy with this samosas recipe are a few more to try. Chicken xacuti is a rich and complex chicken stew from Goa, in southwestern India. Made with coconut milk and a wide range of aromatic spices.
Rogan josh is a spicy, aromatic, and hearty lamb stew from the Kashmir region India and is of Persian origin. The main flavors are cardamom, ginger, garam masala, cloves, and cayenne pepper. Another recipe you must try is the classic Punjabi dish of chicken tikka masala and this dish has a really interesting food history too.
Samosa Recipe - Spicy Potato Filled Pastries
There are lots of flavors in these Indian style vegetarian potato samosas. These are super simple to make with store bought wonton wrappers and saves a lot of time. I like to serve mine with a spicy yogurt dipping sauce.
- 1 cup Oil for frying
- 24 wonton wrappers (1 package) about 48
- ½ cup onions chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb potatoes peeled and diced
- 3-4 Tbs canola oil
- ¼ cup frozen peas
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp coriander ground
- ¼ tsp black pepper ground
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp curry
- 2 Tbsp cilantro fresh chopped
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 8 oz plain yogurt
- 2 tsp. chives fresh, chopped
- 1 dash chili powder
- In a small bowl blend together all the spices and set aside.
- In another small bowl mix ½ cup water and 1 tsp. cornstarch. and set aside. You will use this to seal the wrappers.
- To prepare yogurt dip, place an 8 oz. container of plain yogurt in a small bowl and add the chopped chives. Mix thoroughly. Sprinkle with a dash of chili powder.
In a large skillet over medium heat saute onion and garlic in oil until translucent. Add the potatoes, cilantro and the spices and mix well until potatoes are cooked (about 10-12 minutes) or until soft. Add ½ cup of water and allow to simmer and deglaze the pan for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steam covered for about 10 minutes; this will help soften the potatoes and make them easier to break down. Place potato mixture into a large bowl and mash with a fork. The mixture should have the appearance of lumpy mashed potatoes. Add the peas and mix again.
- Allow mixture to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
- Take one wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand and place about 1 heaping tsp. of mixture in the center. Dip your index finger in the cornstarch water and go around the perimeter of the wrapper.
Bring opposing corners together to form a triangle. With your index and thumb pinch along the sides of the triangle to create a good seal. Repeat process for remaining wrappers.
Note** If you are going to eat the samosas right away allow them to air dry for about 15-20 minutes before frying; otherwise you can freeze them in an airtight container until you are ready to use them. If you do freeze your samosas, place either wax or parchment paper between layers to avoid sticking.
Fry in a large pan of oil at 350°F until golden brown on both sides. Flip them over to brown evenly on both sides. Serve with yogurt dip.
Air fryer cooking method:
Start by brushing both sizes with canola oil. Cook in the air fryer at 350°F for 4 minutes. Take the basket out and flip them over then cook for 4-6 minutes until golden brown.
Originally published March 2014 and updated August 2021.