I basically lived on baked samosas for more than a year during my college days.
It was my first time away from home, with no decent place even to make instant noodles, let alone cook a meal. Luckily, a street food vendor right outside our college sold baked samosas for just a few rupees.
Spicy potato, cheese, or chicken filling inside a light and flaky pastry pocket, served with a ton of ketchup. It was delicious, filling, and most importantly, dirt cheap! It was my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If I didn’t have to feed a family now, I would still eat them every day!
How to Make Homemade Chicken Samosas
The Baked Chicken Samosas recipe I am sharing here is a play on that baked samosa from my “golden days.”
To make them, Keema, just a Hindi name for ground meat (which in this case is chicken), is cooked with a homemade tikka masala spice mix. This filling is then wrapped in phyllo sheets and baked to crispy perfection in triangular pockets.
To make it even better, I’ve included a sumac and mint dipping sauce. No ketchup this time!
WHAT IS A SAMOSA?
Samosa is a hugely popular street food in India. In the northern parts of India, you can find samosa vendors on pretty much every street corner!
In a nutshell, samosas are made of two components—a filling (mostly savory and spicy) and a pastry cover made with wheat flour similar to pie crust.
Samosas are triangular in shape, filled and sealed much like a dumpling. They are then typically shallow fried in oil until the shell is golden and crispy.
CAN YOU BAKE SAMOSAS?
Alternatively, another form of samosas popular in “modern India” today are made with pastry sheets and baked. Using pre-made phyllo sheets makes this recipe pretty quick, and once you get the technique down, you can use different varieties of fillings, from a traditional potato filling to cheese, paneer, or chicken.
HOW TO FOLD A SAMOSA
When working with phyllo, you want to make sure it doesn’t dry out, or it will crumble—but you don’t want it wet either or it will glue together. Drape a slightly damp, completely wrung-out cloth over your stack of phyllo, and work with one or two sheets at time.
To fold a samosa using phyllo sheets, first brush the sheet gently with the butter and oil mixture. Fold the sheet in half lengthwise. Place a scoop of filling on one corner of the phyllo sheet. Fold the corner with filling to make a triangle. Lift the loose side up, and place it over the wider side of the triangle and continue until all the phyllo is used up.
Transfer filled samosas to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
WHAT IS THE BEST SAUCE FOR SAMOSAS?
Samosas are typically served with a dip. The purpose of the dip is mostly to cool the heat of the samosa down.
The dip used for this recipe is made of yogurt, fresh mint leaves, a little black pepper, and a Middle Eastern spice called sumac.
The yogurt balances the hot and spicy flavor of the samosa and gives it a cooling effect. Sumac gives a nice sour kick to the dip, and mint’s herbal aroma and flavor make it refreshing.
CAN YOU MAKE SAMOSAS IN ADVANCE?
To save time on the day you want to serve and enjoy the samosas (this is extra helpful if you’re making them for a party), you can make the filling and the dip two days in advance.
While you can make the filling in advance, I recommend baking the samosas soon after they are filled and eating them right away. The phyllo sheets can get soggy if left for too long at room temperature.
HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE SAMOSAS
Alternatively, you can freeze the samosas.
To freeze, fill and wrap the samosas. Place the unbaked samosas in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and place the sheet in the freezer for approximately one hour until the samosas are frozen.
Once frozen, transfer the samosas to a zip-top bag or storage container, and layer them between sheets of parchment. Return them to the freezer. Samosas keep in the freezer for four to six weeks.
When ready to bake, do not thaw. Take the samosas straight from the freezer to the oven. Just give them an extra three to five minutes in the oven. Samosas are ready to serve when the outer cover is golden brown.
LOOKING FOR MORE GREAT INDIAN RECIPES?
Baked Chicken Samosas with Mint Yogurt Dip Recipe
I used dried mango powder in the tikka masala spice mix and sumac in the dip. The mango powder provides a sour note and brightens the other flavors, similar to how lime or lemon juice is used without adding extra liquid. Sumac has a tart and nutty flavor. You can leave both out, but it’s worth the effort to visit an Indian grocery store or spice shop, or you can find it on Amazon.
You could also add dried lemon zest to the spice mix and a squeeze of lemon juice to the dip to try and mimic the effect.
For the tikka masala spice mix:
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon paprika or 8-10 kashmiri lal mirch chilies
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mango powder or lemon zest
- 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mint leaves
For the samosas:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon tikka masala spice mix
- 1 cup cilantro
- 2 pounds phyllo sheets (about 2 boxes)
- 1/4 cup melted butter or oil for brushing the phyllo sheets
For the mint yogurt dip:
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground sumac or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 Make the spice mix: In a small skillet set over medium high heat, add the cumin and coriander seeds. Dry toast the seeds for 5 minutes or until the spices become fragrant. Turn off the heat. Allow the seeds to cool down completely.
In a spice grinder (or mortar and pestle) add the toasted seeds, paprika, garlic powder, mango powder, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and mint leaves, and grind everything together until it’s a uniform fine powder.
Transfer to an airtight container. Store in a cool dry place.
2 Make the samosa filling: In a large skillet set over medium heat, add the oil. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and jalapeño. Sauté for 5 minutes until the onion softens.
Turn the heat to medium high and add the chicken, 1 tablespoon of the tikka masala spice, and salt. Break the ground chicken into pieces, stirring a little while you do it to combine the chicken with the onion and jalapeño. The chicken is ready when it is browned and all of the liquid has cooked off. Stir in the cilantro.
Turn off the heat. Let it cool completely.
3 Preheat the oven to 375°F.
4 Assemble the samosas: Place a stack of thawed phyllo sheets on your workstation. Work with 2 full sheets at a time, and cover the rest with damp, but not wet, cloth. Some of your phyllo might be broken or brittle. Try to use complete sheets.
Stack the two sheets on top of each other, and brush the phyllo gently with butter or oil. Fold the sheets in half lengthwise.
Place 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of filling on one corner of the phyllo sheet. Fold the corner with filling over to make a triangle. Now lift the bottom side of the loose end, and fold it over the longer edge of the samosa to make a triangular shaped parcel. Tuck the loose ends underneath. Brush the top with butter or oil. Place the samosa on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Repeat with the rest of the filling and phyllo sheets.
4 Bake the samosas: Bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges of the samosas begin to turn golden.
5 Make the dip: While the samosas are baking, make the dip. In a medium-sized bowl, combine yogurt, mint, sumac, olive oil, pepper, and salt. Stir it together.
6 Eat samosas! Pull the samosas out of the oven, transfer to a serving platter, serve alongside the mint dip, and enjoy hot!
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