Currypedia No 7: The Samosa

Aloha curry faithful, and welcome back to our now very occasional feature looking into the facts and figures of the curry world – yes, it's the one and only Currypedia.

Since the last edition, back in May of this year, the Tramps have been crowned Curry Lovers Of The Year, chinwagged with the stars in Pilau Talk: The Legends and kept up their heavy-duty curry exploration schedule ... in all the excitement, both Currypedia and The Tramp's Jukebox Puri have been tragically sidelined. The recent discovery that Currypedia No 6: Bhut Jolokia has become one of our most popular posts (probably more down to the hilarious video of an ageing chilli dealer battling the ferocious power of the Ghost Chilli and less to do with my writing skills) has inspired us to kickstart the feature and get it on the road again. And so this week we dive into the delicious world of the samosa.

The samosa is one of the most popular street snacks in India and Pakistan and has become incredibly popular here in the UK too. Most closely resembling a spicy version of the Cornish pasty or the Scottish bridie, the samosa "generally consists of a fried or baked triangular, semi-lunar or tetrahedral pastry shell with a savory filling". The most common filling is vegetarian, consisting of potatoes, peas, spices and sometimes onions. Other popular fillings include lamb mince and chicken and even sweet ingredients too. The tasty treats are traditionally served with any one of a multitude of chutneys, sauces and dips – the choice is yours.

Samosas don't often make an appearance amongst the starters at TATTGOC events, probably due to the difficulty in sharing them out, but while out picking up ingredients in one of the west end's many excellent Asian grocers (The Tramp's favourites being Woodlands Road classic KRK Stores and relative newcomer on the block Garden Fresh Exotics on Park Road) I always like to pick up a cheeky samosa for the walk home. Just the other day, following a homemade curry feast (attended by Trampy, Rumpole Of The Balti, Naanbread Mouskouri and Mumbai Me A Pony), I found myself faced with a large surplus of Aloo Gobi and put my mind to work on a different way of using it up. A quick spot of research quickly led me into the world of the samosa so I thought I'd brush up my pastry skills and see if I could make them myself. So in a Currypedia first, here's how the experiment panned out:

The Tramp's Tetrahedral Treats (makes six)

Pastry Ingredients:

(These are very rough measurements based on a recipe found in the archives of the Too Many Chefs blog – I took a looser approach to quantities based on what looked right.)

100g plain flour
3 tbsp plain yoghurt
1 tbsp oil
A pinch of salt


Sift the flour into a bowl, mix in the yoghurt, oil and salt and blend into a dough. Add more flour if the mixture is too wet, or a touch of water if it's too dry. Knead the dough on a floured board for five minutes or so then set aside for 20 minutes.

Take a ball of dough a bit bigger than a golf ball and round out in your palms. Squash it down on the floured board and roll out to about 7-8 inches across. According to a recipe over at Mamta's Kitchen the pastry should ideally be rolled to 2-3mm thick – mine was rolled too thinly. Cut the circle in half and you have two samosa templates just waiting to be filled. As mine were a bit thin the traditional folding into a cone then filling while in your hand method didn't work out for me so I worked it on the board. A few spoonfuls of filling – I used my leftover Aloo Gobi but almost any curry would work – were placed in the centre, the edges were then damped with some water and folded over to make the little triangular parcel.

The finished samosas were then deep fried for 2-3 minutes each before being drained and rested on kitchen roll to soak up excess oil.

How did they turn out? Well, aside from a few teething problems with rolling the pastry too thin, they looked like proper samosas. The filling was delicious but could maybe have done with a bit of extra spicing. To accompany them I knocked up a simple dipping sauce with some yoghurt, tomato puree, a pinch of cumin and chilli powder and thinned it down with a splash of water. All in all, very tasty, and very close to the samosas that you buy from the Indian grocers. Definitely worth the effort for a special treat – and next time I think I'll try making them with a more traditional filling.

Currypedia No 6:  Bhut Jolokia ... The Ghost Pepper
Currypedia No 5: Lassi
Currypedia No 4: The Tandoor


Anonymous said...

"they looked like proper samosas"

I'm sorry, but they look like mal-formed baws.

I'm sure they tasted good, and I applaud your industry. I would not have the faintest idea how to make them, and this is in no way a slight on your efforts. they are mighty.

love Karahi....CHOP!