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Making Irresistible Indian Samosas

Filled with a fragrant spiced potato stuffing, these crisp, flaky turnovers are great for a party or a light dinner

Fine Cooking Issue 25
Photo: Ben Fink
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If you’ve ever eaten at an Indian restaurant, you have probably tried—and fallen in love with — samosas. Usually served as an appetizer, these fried, jauntily triangular pastries may be filled with meat, vegetables, or both. The most popular version is the spicy potato and pea filling of aloo samosas (pronounced ah-LOO sah-MOH-sahs; aloo means potato).

What I like best about samosas is their crisp and flaky crust, called khasta. Its unique texture, with the delicacy of pie crust but some of the chewiness of bread crust, is achieved by incorporating solid fat into the flour with a technique called moyan, or rubbing.

The potatoes for the filling should be boiled whole with skins on until they’re very soft. In fact, it’s fine if they burst and crack. Let them cool completely before peeling. Potatoes that have been boiled a day earlier and refrigerated are ideal. The long rest tightens the texture and reduces the potatoes’ moisture content.

How to roll, shape, fill, and cook the samosas is described in detail in my recipe for Spicy Potato Samosas . There are, however, a few things to keep in mind.

Samosas are traditionally accompanied by dipping sauces, which help balance the richness of the pastry crust. The most popular is a sweet-and-sour chutney. In India it’s made with tamarind because that fruit is abundant there. But you can match the flavor exactly with grocery staples such as prune and apple butters (see my recipe for Sweet & Sour Fruit Dipping Sauce). Another favorite sauce is made from fresh cilantro laced with green chiles (see recipe: Cilantro Dip). I like to have both because they complement each other and they’re simple to make.


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