It’s wonderful what you can come up with when faced with a 5kg bag of spuds. This was my dilemma when I asked the other half to buy me a single large potato from our local corner shop. The potato was needed for wrapping in tin foil and skewering with a multitude of cheese and pineapple sticks – this was to be the glorious centrepiece for a cheese and wine party.
He proudly returned with said bag. All for only £2.
I decided to satisfy my samosa weakness with these potato, pea and cashew nut beauties. Making your own pastry makes all the difference, filo pastry just isn’t the same. I like to use a mixture of rice and plain flour for extra crispy results, but all plain flour is fine if you can’t get hold of rice flour. It’s so much easier than you might think and you can customise it with poppy, sesame or cumin seeds. These are addictive and are lovely cold with a big dollop of yoghurt dip.
makes approx 16
for the pastry:
125g plain flour
100g rice flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp water
1/2 tsp toasted and ground cumin seeds (or whatever seeds you like)
for the stuffing:
750g potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed.
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium-sized onion, peeled and finely chopped
175g frozen peas
1 handful of raw cashew nuts
1 tbsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 hot green chilli, finely chopped (optional)
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
3 tbsp water
1 tsp salt – or to taste
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder)
1 tsp ground roasted coriander seeds
1 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds
14 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
vegetable oil for deep frying
- Start by toasting the cumin seeds in a hot dry frying pan until they release their fragrance (do not allow to brown) and grind roughly in a pestle and mortar.
- Sift the flour, cumin and salt into a bowl. Add the 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and rub it in with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Slowly add about 4 tablespoons of water – or a tiny bit more. Just add enough until you are able to gather the dough into a stiff ball.
- Turn the ball out on to a clean work surface. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until it is smooth. Smear it with about a quarter of a teaspoon of oil, and slip it into a plastic bag. Set aside for 30 minutes or longer.
- Now make the stuffing. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan. When hot, put in the onions and cashews. Stir and fry them until they start to toast at the edges. Add the peas, ginger, chilli, fresh coriander, and 3 tablespoons of water. Cover, lower the heat and simmer until the peas are cooked and the cashews are nicely browned. Stir every now and then and add a little more water if the mixture seems to be drying out.
- Add the mixture to the potatoes, along with salt, coriander, garam masala, roasted cumin, cayenne and lemon juice combining well. Check the balance of salt and lemon juice, as you may want more of both.
- Knead the dough once more and divide into 8 balls. Keep 7 covered while you work with the eighth. Roll this ball out and using a large saucer as a guide cut out a circle. Cut in half with a sharp knife.
- Pick up one half and form a cone, making a 0.5 cm overlapping seam. Make a “glue” paste using flour mixed with a little water and seal the seam together. Fill the cone with about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the potato mixture. Close the top of the cone by sticking the open edges together with a little more paste. Press the top seam down with the prongs of a fork or flute it with your fingers.
- Alternatively, for an easier method, place a slightly bigger amount of the potato mixture on one half of the semi-circle smear a dab of the glue paste around around the edge of the semi circle. Fold in half and press to seal. Make 15 more samosas.
- Heat about 4-5cm of oil in a deep frying pan (or use a deep fryer or chip pan) and set over a medium flame. When the oil seems hot enough (approx 185C/360F), put in 4-5 samosas at a time, taking care not to overcrowd the pan (this can bring the temperature down and allow the pastry to absorb too much oil). Fry gently, turning the samosas frequently until they are crisp and golden. Drain on to kitchen paper and serve hot. A good instant dip can be made by mixing together Greek yoghurt, lots of chopped mint, half a clove of garlic, a pinch of sugar and salt, and a squeeze of lime juice.