This week, we are making one of our favorite Indian appetizers: vegetable samosas. I can remember the first time I sank my teeth in one of these crispy spicy little pillows. I thought I had died and went to heaven! And don’t get me started with the mint and tamarind sauces! This is my definition of happy Indian food! For years, we would only eat those in restaurants. We weren’t much into deep frying because it tends to make a bit of a mess and make the whole house smell like fried oil! Until one day when we decided why not give it a try. Turns out it isn’t really complicated but it does take a little time to everything ready. I like to prepare the potato filling and the sauces the day before. This way, the filling has cooled down and is easy to handle and the flavors have intensified. All you have left to do is assemble and cook. What takes time is making the wrappers from scratch. We often end up using store-bought wrappers for a quicker result!
Traditional Samosas Filling:
Samosas pretty much always are made with onions, potatoes, peas, sometimes diced carrots, and Indian spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric (for the lovely yellow hue), chili for a little kick. Fennel seeds and garam masala make a nice addition to the above spices but they aren’t absolutely necessary.
Other samosas filling options:
In addition to or as a replacement for potatoes, you can also use cooked lentils, chickpeas, veg meat, etc. That’s a great way to make it more nutritious with added proteins.
You only need 4 ingredients and one of them is salt. The dough needs 30 minutes to rest and should be refrigerated until you need it to be firm enough to handle. Homemade wrappers produce samosas with uneven skins. But no worry, if you don’t feel like making the wrappers from scratch, there are several great alternatives.
Ready-made wrappers include wheat flour tortillas, spring roll wrappers, puff pastry, and phyllo dough. Each of these produces a slightly different texture. Spring rolls and phyllo dough yield the lightest and flakiest samosas. Puff pastry brings European flair to this dish. White wheat tortillas are the closest to homemade wrappers. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since both are made with wheat flour!
How to cook Samosas
Traditional samosas are always deep-fried that’s what makes them so good! I experimented with baking and air-frying them, and got good results. The only thing is that they reminded me a little of mini calzones.
Baked: brush with oil and bake at 350F for 20-30 mn, turning them after 20 mn.
Deep-fry: oil must be at 300F for the samosas to come out crisp and not oil logged.
What makes this appetizer so good are the sauces. You first dip the samosas in a minty spicy green sauce, then into a sweet and sour red sauce. You get an explosion of flavors in every bite. The mint chutney is made with fresh mint leaves, cilantro, some vegan yogurt, and spices. The red sauce uses tamarind (skip the pods and go straight to the paste to save time) and sugar for that perfect sweet and sour combination!
TIP: Because it takes a while to prepare everything, you may want to double the recipe to make extra and freeze it. It is better to freeze them raw (before deep-frying them). Just place the samosas on a lightly floured baking sheet as you assemble them and freeze. Once frozen you can put them in a Ziploc bag.
Air-Fried Vegetable Samosas
- food processor
- 6 medium white or yellow potatoes peeled
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 Tbsp mustard seeds (optional)
- 1-2 tbsp cumin seeds toasted
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp chili paste or powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp ginger powder
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil (avocado or olive oil)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp sea salt
Cilantro Mint Sauce
- 1/2 cup of vegan plain yogurt
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro leaves and stems
- 1 cup of fresh mint
- 2-3 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp of minced garlic
- dash of cayenne
- 1-2 slices of fresh ginger
- 1 tsp of sea salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp water
Tamarind Sweet & Sour Chutney
- 3 tbsp tamarind paste
- 2 cups water
- 3 large pitted dates or 1/4 cup of raw or date sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 1 dash cayenne
- Peel and cook the potatoes for 10-12 minutes until cooked. Drain and set aside.
- In a large pan or wok on medium heat, add oil, then mustard seeds and cumin seeds and stir.
- Add the diced onions the, coriander powder, ginger, chili, salt and stir.
- Quickly add the potatoes and mix the spices. You want to have soft chunks in the filling.
- Add the peas and cilantro at the very end. Mix quickly and set aside to cool down.
Make the wrappers
- In a medium bowl, pour the 2 cups of flour and the salt. Make a well and add the 4 tbsp of oil.
- Using your fingers, mix the oil in the flour. Add 1/2 cup of water and continue to mix until you get a dough ball. It will be a little sticky.
- Cover with a damp clean towell and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Mix 1 tbsp flour with 1 tbsp water to make glue that helop seal the wrappers.
- Take out of the refrigerator and start making the wrappers. Do not use extra flour, instead use a little oil if the dough sticks to the working surface.
- Take the dough ball that should be firm. Using your fingers, make a hole in the middle, then extend it as if you were making a donut and cut one end to obtain a rope.
- Cut small chunks, you get 12-14 wrappers.
- Roll to make a ball, then flatten using your palm and push out the dough. Using a lightly oiled rolling pin, make a thin round wrapper.
- Cut the circle in half and join 2straight ends with a little waterflour glue. Hold the pocket in one hand and fill with spicy potato mixture. Don't over fill or risk breaking the seam!
- Pinch the remaining section and place on a lined baking sheet. Cover with a light towell.
- Repeat for the remaining samosas.
Prepare the Cilantro Mint Chutney
- In a food processor combine fresh cilantro, mint, garlic, chili, salt and water.
- Pulse a few times, add the vegan plain yogurt and pulse. Taste and season.
Prepare the Sweet and Sour Tamarind Chutney
- In a medium sauce pan, combine tamarind paste, pitted dates or raw sugar, water, salt, ginger and cayenne and cook for a few minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce starts to thicken.
- Pour into a glass container.
Cook the samosas
- Baking: brush each samosa with oil and bake at 350F for 40 mn, turning them after 20 mn.
- Deep-frying: to avoid blisters, start the oil on low for the first 10 minutes then turn the heat up until they turn a nice golden color. Place on paper towell to drain excess oil.
- Air-frying: brush each samosa (top and bottom) with oil and bake for 15-18 minutes. Check after 14 minutes.
- Immediately serve with the sauces or keep warm in a low temperature oven.