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Chicken or Vegetable Samosas

Source:  Julie Sanhi in Parade Magazine

Notes:  Samosas are a traditional Indian filled pastry resembling turnovers, empanadas, Polish pierogis, Jamaican patties,  Japanese potstickers, and strudel,  making it a true international dish.  When I am consolidating my recipes, it helps to put them side-by-side to compare ingredients and cooking styles.  

Epicurious.com is a very good online source for samosas and pierogis.   Martha Stewart, whose mother is Polish, offers some outstanding online recipes for pierogis.  (One is stuffed with a parsnip and goat or farmer's cheese filling and served with a side dish of pickled red cabbage and sauteed apples.   I plan to try that one!) 

The primary ingredients of empanadas in Whole Chile Pepper Book are ground beef, a potato, and onion with spices.  The dough is very similar to the other turnover doughs.  Martha Stewart's online empanada recipe is composed primarily of ground chicken or turkey,  Montery jack cheese, green olives, and raisins.  

There are as many strudel fillings as there are varieties of turnovers.    Strudel dough is rolled to a very thin, almost transparent thickness. 

The author of this samosa recipe, a noted Indian cookbook writer, suggests serving with a cilantro-mint salsa.  Because cilantro can be overpowering, this cook prefers serving with a seasoned yogurt sauce, chutney, or a grilling salsa.  See also Strudel for other filling ideas that could be used in samosas.  Used as appetizer or light entree.  The filling can be prepared a day ahead and chilled.   Prepared pie crusts work well.  

For the filling:

1 6-oz russet potato
3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/3" dice
1/4 cp carrot, peeled and finely grated
1/4 cp frozen green peas, thawed

1 1/2t cumin seeds
1/2 cp onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 t fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 t salt
3/4 t ground coriander
1/4 t cayenne pepper

1. Place potato in saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover. Boil til tender, about 25
minutes. Drain and cool. Peel and cut into 1/3" cubes.
2. Heat oil in heavy skillet over high heat. Add cumin and saute about 15 seconds.
3. Reduce heat to medium-high, add onion and garlic and saute 2 minutes.
4. Mix in ginger, 1/2 t salt, coriander and cayenne.
5. Add chicken and saute till no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
6. Cover and cook till chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute.
7. Uncover and add potato, carrot and peas and cook till almost no liquid remains in skillet,
about 2 minutes. Mix in remaining salt.

For the pastry:

1 /2 cp flour
1 t salt
1/8 baking soda
6 T warm water
3 T solid vegetable shortening, melted, cooled
2 T yogurt
1 T cornstarch dissolved in 2 T water
Vegetable oil for deep frying

1. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in large bowl.
2. Whisk water, shortening, and yogurt in small bowl til blended.
3. Add to dry ingredients and stir til dough comes together.
4. Gather dough into ball. Turn out onto floured surface and knead til elastic, 5 minutes.
5. Line cookie sheet with plastic wrap or waxed paper. Dust lightly with cornstarch and set
aside.
6. Divide dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into ball. Place 1 ball between hands and
press to flatten to 3" round. Place on floured surface. Roll dough to 6" round, lifting and
turning dough frequently and dusting work surface as necessary to prevent sticking.
7. Cut round in half. Brush half of straight edge of semicircle with cornstarch mixture.
Form cone by by folding second half of straight edge over first half; pinch seam to seal.
8. Hold cone with open end facing up. Stuff with 1/4 cp filling. Brush 1 side of open end
with cornstarch mixture. Pinch open sides together to enclose filling.
9. Place samosa on prepared cookie sheet and repeat steps 7 and 8.
10. Heat oil in large heavy saucepan or deep fryer to 375 degrees. Add some samosas and
cook til golden, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes.
11. Transfer to paper towels.