If you grew up in India, then you’re bound have a samosa memory. Samosas remind me of my school days. We’d enter the canteen (lunchroom) during lunch break, and the aroma of piping hot samosas would fill the whole space.
Lip smacking spicy filling wrapped in a crispy shell, deep fried to golden perfection and served right out of the fryer, along with a sweet and spicy chutney. Nothing can beat that experience!
What Are Samosas?
Samosas are a widely popular street food in India. It is believed samosas were brought to India by Middle Eastern traders.
Typically, samosas are filled with a spicy potato filling, then deep fried. These triangular dumplings have blurred the lines between breakfast, lunch, and evening snacks for Indian food lovers.
As a bi-product of its popularity, many other fillings are also used to make samosas today. Minced meat (keema) or chicken, dry lentil-based fillings, and sweet fillings are a few examples. But spiced potato samosa is still the most popular variety.
Can Samosas Be Vegan?
The most common variety of samosas sold on the streets of India, which is the recipe I used here, is vegan if cooking oil is used in the pastry dough and to deep fry the samosas.
But depending on what kind of a filling you use, how the pastry is made, and what is used to fry it, a samosa can be vegan, vegetarian, or non-vegetarian.
How Do You Make Samosas?
To make a samosa, the filling is stuffed into a pocket of pastry, which is made mainly with all-purpose flour, salt, and lots of ghee, butter, or oil to make the shell flaky. The filled dough is then shaped into a triangle and deep fried in oil until the shell is nice and golden.
If you're not a huge fan of deep-fried food, you can make baked samosas too. The process of shaping and filling the dumplings will still be the same, but the ghee or butter ratio to flour will have to be adjusted.
You could also skip making the dough altogether and wrap samosas for baking in phyllo, which is also popular in India.
Tip: Serve Samosas with Green Chutney
The most common way to serve a samosa is with a dip called chutney. Green chutney is something that gives samosa a whole new dimension, and they pair so well together.
This chutney is mainly comprised of two common Indian herbs—cilantro and mint. These herbs are blended with fresh chili, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, and a few simple spices. It’s versatile and happens to be one of the most common dips in Indian food.
It’s like hot on top of hot, with a smack of citrus from lemon juice. The herbal flavor from chutney compliments the spices in the samosa—definitely flavors you will never forget and would come back for more!
In an Indian kitchen, chutney is typically made fresh and served immediately, but this can also be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. If you have leftover chutney, serve it alongside naan or rice, or spread it on sandwiches.
How to Serve Samosas
To eat a samosa, you either dip it in chutney and eat it as a finger food or you break steaming hot samosas in half, set them on a platter, drizzle chutney on top and serve it. Either way, it’s delicious!
Tips to Store and Freeze Samosas
Typically, samosas are fried, served hot, and eaten as soon as possible.
You can prepare both the dough and the filling ahead of time, then fill, assemble, and fry when you’re ready to eat them.
- For the filling: A savory filling of meat or potatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days, and in the freezer for up to four weeks.
- For the dough: Make the dough, then wrap it in a plastic wrap, and keep it in the refrigerator for two to three days.
- To freeze whole samosas: Fill and shape the samosas. Placed the unbaked samosas on a baking sheet in a single layer, and cover them with plastic wrap to keep air from sneaking in. Pop them in the refrigerator for up to a day or in a freezer for up to one month.
To thaw frozen samosas, transfer them to the refrigerator the night before you want to fry them.
Once fried, you can keep them in a warm oven set to around 170°F for about one hour, or at room temperature for the same amount of time.
Looking for More Amazing Indian Recipes?
Vegetable Samosas with Mint Cilantro Chutney
- For the cilantro mint chutney:
- 2 cups cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 1/4 cup lemon juice, from about 1 large lemon
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 1-1 1/2 jalapeños, chopped
- 1-inch ginger root, peeled and chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- For the dough:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons melted ghee or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup cold water, added a tablespoon at a time
- For the filling:
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled, quartered
- 1 tablespoon oil, plus more to wrap the samosas
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced jalapeno
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup green peas, frozen and thawed
- For frying:
- 2 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
Make the chutney:
Combine cilantro, mint, lemon juice, garlic cloves, jalapeños, ginger root, salt, and cumin seeds in a blender or food processor. It should be a thick enough to coat a samosa when dipped.
If you want it thinner, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water. Transfer the chutney to a bowl, cover it, and wait until the samosas are ready.
Begin making the samosa dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour and salt.
Drizzle in the ghee:
Drizzle the melted ghee or vegetable oil around the flour mixture. Pick up a handful of the dough and rub it between your palms to mix the ghee as evenly into the flour as possible.
Check the ratio of flour to ghee:
To see if the flour to ghee ratio is good enough to make crispy pastry, hold a portion of mixture in your hand and make a tight fist, then open it. The mixture should hold its shape.
Add water to the flour one to two tablespoons at a time while kneading. Knead into a smooth, firm dough. This should take about 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in cling wrap or cover with damp cloth until ready to fill the samosas.
Make the filling:
Set a medium pot filled with water over medium high heat. Add the peeled quartered potatoes, and bring them to a boil. Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender, about 15 minutes.
Set a large skillet over medium high heat and add the oil. Once the oil shimmers, add the cumin seeds to the skillet. Once they sputter, turn the heat down to medium and add the onion. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the onion is softens. Add jalapeno, coriander, garam masala, ground turmeric, and salt. Give it a quick stir. Add the peas.
Drain the potatoes and add them to the skillet. Using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher, coarsely mash the mixture, leaving no large chunks of potatoes. Stir to combine. You want it mixed well. In the end, the filling should be relatively dry and thick.
Set aside to cool completely before filling the samosas.
Knead the dough:
While the filling is cooling, unwrap the dough, and knead it again for a couple minutes to make it smooth.
Divide and shape the dough:
Divide into 6 equal parts. Roll each into smooth balls, and cover with a damp cloth. Pick one ball, press between your palms to flatten, and lightly dab the surface of dough with oil or ghee. This prevents the rolling pin from sticking to the dough. Resist the urge to dust the countertop with flour, as the loose flour will burn when you drop the dough in the oil to fry, giving the samosa an off taste.
Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a circle 6 inches in diameter, 1 mm thickness. Cut in half so you have two half-moon shapes.
If you’re having a difficult time rolling out the dough, place the round between pieces of wax paper or parchment.
Fill the samosa:
Pick one half and brush the edges with water using your finger.
Pick one edge of the dough and place it on top of the other edge, making a cone shape. Gently pinch along the edges of the cone, making sure they are sealed.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling into the cone. This should fill it 3/4 of the way. Brush water on the edges of the cone's opening, and pinch the edges together to close the samosa.
Repeat with the rest of the dough. Cover sealed samosas with a damp cloth. In the end, you should have 12 samosas.
Fry the samosas:
In a deep pot, add the oil and heat to 200°F over medium heat. Add the samosas to the oil and fry in batches; do not overcrowd the pot. Fry until the samosas begin to turn golden.
Once the samosas are golden, increase the heat to medium high, bringing the temperature up to 350°F, and cook for another 5 minutes until the samosas have darkened to a deeper brown.
Take the samosas out of the oil and transfer them to plate lined with paper towels.
Reduce the heat back to medium or medium low, until the oil temperature drops back to 200°F before going forward with the next batch of samosas. Getting this part right for a samosa is the trickiest part. If you start with high temperature oil, the pastry will turn soggy and oily. So, starting with warm oil and then increasing the heat is the way to go here.
Serve immediately with a side of green cilantro mint chutney.