Samosas are delicious, fried, savory Indian pastries in the shape of a triangle filled with chicken, lamb, or vegetables. The version here is filled with potatoes, onions and spices. Traditionally samosas 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 they from?
According to food historians, samosas are thought to have originated in Central Asia and 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 is thought to come from the word sanbusak, an Arab word closely resembling the Persian word sanbosag. Variations of this word are used today through the Arab speaking world for foods similar to Indian samosas.
They might look familiar because…
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. A bit labor intensive? Yes, but not so much that they can be considered intimidating, especially if you 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!
Now for dips
Now, back at the beginning of this post I mentioned that samosas are traditionally served with a dip, right? Well, one of the most popular dips for samosas is chutney, from the Hindi word chatni. A chutney is basically a relish of fresh fruits and spices that has been cooked down to a thick consistency. Chutneys are also used to accompany meat dishes such as lamb and chicken. 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 here 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. Rogan Josh is infused with the flavors of 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.
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
- 1/2 cup onions chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb potatoes peeled and diced
- 3-4 Tbs canola oil
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp coriander ground
- 1/4 tsp black pepper ground
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp curry
- 2 Tbsp cilantro fresh chopped
- 1/2 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 1/2 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 1/2 cup of water. 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 plenty of oil. Serve with yogurt dip.