A few months ago, I began to notice a strange, unidentifiable odor coming from our heavily stocked kitchen spice cabinet. It seemed as though the contents were leaking fumes from behind shut doors – and once open, I was accosted by the mixed fragrances from open bags of garam masala and caraway along with half bottles of fish sauce and spilled balsamic vinegar. Not to forget stale (oddly alien-bright green in color) dried oregano and parsley, and solid lumps of achiote powder that dusted the cabinet base. A disaster of a cabinet – the kitchen gods must have been soo offended!
Over time, we have managed to clean out the mess – scrape the bottoms free of sticky honey and balsamic vinegar, and sweep away all the spice dusts that have accumulated over the years. We were super ambitious and even arrange all the jars, bottles and spice pouches alphabetically, in hopes of a more efficient identification system. It is just soo frustrating when you can’t find the little nutmeg container because it is obstructed by the damned salt shaker. I’m sure you (unorganized like myself) know exactly how I feel. Through the process of cleaning, however, I had a bit of a (late) revelation. I had spices and ingredients for an international kitchen. I mean come on – caraway and fish sauce in the same cabinet? Really? Herbes de Provence next to tamarind pulp? And all so unique! Some sweet, some peppery. Others spicy and salty. Life is no different, you know… But what an abundance of tastes and colors and flavors! How absolutely wonderful that all these random ingredients should congregate in my kitchen! I think it is a testament to my blessed environment – rich in diversity and culture and cuisines and traditions. And today, I celebrate that – a Vietnamese girl makes Indian samosas!
This is probably a gross imitation of what an authentic samosa is – but please do not be offended, my friend. I’ve read several recipes on the Internet, and managed to come up with my own. Yes, I do the most blasphemous thing of all – I used flour tortillas to form the outside pastry of a samosa. In defense of myself – I’ve seen this used in an Indian restaurant in Emeryville, so I thought I was perfectly at liberty to do it as well – and I am so glad I did! Golden brown and beautifully flaky!! So, if you are still scoffing at me, have a bite of these and banish those frowns of disapproval.
3-4 large baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
fresh parsley and cilantro, chopped
12 10″ flour tortillas
1 egg, beaten
In a large pot, place diced potatoes and fill with enough water to cover. Generously salt (as you would mash potatoes), bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain and with a potato masher or large wooden spoon, mash the potatoes until light and fluffy. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large pot on medium heat. Drizzle enough oil to cover bottom and sautée garlic and onions until soft and translucent. Add peas and carrots, cooking until soft. Stir in garam masala, cayenne pepper, and turmeric and allow to meld with the other flavors. Turn off heat, add the mashed potatoes and continue to mix until the flavors are evenly incorporated. Add a handful of freshly chopped parsley and cilantro, just to lighten up the filling. Allow to cool to room temperature before further handling.
To form the samosa pastry, cut all flour tortillas in half circles and place a rounded tablespoon of potato filling on the left third wedge of the halved-tortilla. See pictures below for further folding/sealing method.
Fold the other flap so forms a conical shape. Use the beaten egg to seal the edges.
In a deep pot, add 1.5 inches of oil and preheat until almost smokey (350*F or so). Add a few samosas at a time, as to not decrease the oil temperature, and fry until golden brown. Remove and let drain on a paper towel before serving with your favorite dipping sauce. I used Sriracha, but your favorite cilantro-yogurt dip is equally satisfying.
So, my first attempt at making Samosas. They are certainly satisfactory and definitely hit the spot, but if you have a suggestions, critique, tips, etc, please feel free to send them my way. I am ALWAYS looking to improve my self-made recipes. Take a whirl, tell me what you think!