I did it again! I made a style of food that I literally never make – Indian. Alright, well it wasn’t totally traditional Indian but it was my first attempt at making something that was akin to Indian food in my own kitchen.
I was inspired by our IPA month as well as by my one of my favorite food sites, Food52. The original recipe for this dish came across my screen from this site so I knew it was doable and delicious. Guys, there was really nothing to it. The hardest part was finding garam masala! I actually never found it locally, so I bought a curry powder blend as a substitute and it worked nicely for this dish. I really need to order some spices online (and stop just talking about it!) because this isn’t the first time I’ve had issues with locating what I needed in store. However, this snafu proves that you can indeed use a substitution for the spice needed in the recipe and it will still be wonderful.
IPAs are great with spicy food and with Indian flavors. I paired this dish with one of our local favorite IPAs, Half Acre's Vallejo. It's a delicious refreshing beer with intense bitter characteristics that contrast nicely with the sweetness and delicate spice in this dish.
I’m not sure why I tend to always stay away from making Asian and Indian food at home. I have this thought that it’s really complicated and I’ll just fail at it. I grew up with Eastern European food with some American food sprinkled in, so it’s safe to say that Asian and Indian aren’t in my flavor safe zone. Making this dish taught me a lot about the true simplicity of base Indian ingredients and how they all work together to create the incredible symphony of flavor and aroma that I love so much on Devon Street.
Have you ever had a samosa at an Indian restaurant? Often times they are deep friend and simply heavenly. By using puff pastry and baking them you’re cutting some corners and also some calories by taking out the deep-frying. I’m not saying that puff pastry is light on calories but at least you’re not submerging each delicious veggie puff in a liter of vegetable oil.
In addition to the samosas, I made a simple cooling raita sauce. I actually wanted a little bit more spice in the filling so I’ll keep that in mind for the next time I make them. The raita sauce went really well with these because you’ve ALWAYS GOT TO DIP. Everything needs some kind of sauce. Another delicious option is a tamarind chutney or sauce. This is one of my favs at any Indian restaurant!
I made some adjustments to this recipe and I noted them in the actual recipe below. As I mentioned before, I went to a bunch of stores in my area and struck out with the garam masala. I still can’t get over this! I bought a great curry powder blend that was delicious in the filling so I wasn’t too disappointed in the end. I also cut down the amount of mint only because I’m not a huge fresh mint fan. I used about half of what the recipe recommends and it was fine.
A note about puff pastry – once its out of the fridge it thaws very quickly. One minute you’re working with mostly frozen dough and the next it’s close to a sticky mess. Work fast and keep one of those sheets in the fridge to avoid disaster. Other than that there isn’t a lot of elbow grease or heavy rolling pin action. You just have to roll out the dough a little bit here and there.
This recipe would be great to serve for a party appetizer or even as the main dish if you served it with a big salad. These won’t last for days in the fridge because of the puff pastry. They will get soggy pretty quickly. You could store them for a day or so and reheat them in the oven to give them back some crunch.
Vegetarian Baked Flaky Samosas + Raita
Adapted from the Original Recipe at Baked Flaky Samosas
1 pound of red potatoes. The original recipe calls for ½ lb but I just used a whole small bag of small red potatoes. You can use the yellow Idaho too. I didn’t peel them.
2 big carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, small/medium, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced. I added this because I put garlic in everything. This wasn’t in the original recipe.
One 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced or grated. I use a small grater for my ginger. I feel you get more distribution of the flavor and its not so fibrous when its grated.
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup frozen peas. I didn’t defrost them and added ¼ cup more than the original recipe because I love peas.
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/8 cup chopped fresh mint. I cut the mint down by ½ because I am sensitive to fresh mint. Its not my favorite.
1/2 teaspoon curry seasoning or garam masala IF YOU CAN FIND IT. Ha!
1 serrano pepper, minced. I took the seeds out but wish I left ½ of them in.
pinch of salt and pepper
Two sheets of puff pastry, thawed but really cold. Let the box of puff pastry sit in your fridge for a few hours before working with it.
Flour for rolling out the puff pastry
1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water, beaten, for egg wash on top of finished samosas
Place your carrots and potatoes in a large pot of well salted water. Bring to a boil, and boil for about 10-12 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Drain and mash the veggies. Use a potato masher or a big wooden spoon. Chunks are fine! Let cool.
In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, ginger, and ground cumin to the oil. Cook for 5-8 minutes until super fragrant. Add the Serrano pepper at the end to cook slightly.
Add the curry powder/garam masala to the pan to bloom the spices. Cook for 1-2 minutes then add directly to the mashed carrots and potatoes. Mash it all together some more, then add the peas, cilantro and mint. Season with salt and pepper, taste it, add more curry powder/garam masala, if needed. Let it cool as you prepare the puff pastry.
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper. If you don’t use parchment paper, you need to start immediately. It’s great stuff for baking.
Prepare the eggwash and keep it handy.
On a lightly floured surface, unfold one sheet of cold puff pastry and roll it out slightly. Cut the sheet carefully into squares. You should be able to get at least 9 hefty squares from 1 sheet. Feel free to cut them smaller if you’d like to. Work with each square individually. Roll the square out a little, put a generous spoonful of filling in the middle, and fold the pastry over into a triangle. Use a little of the egg wash on the edge to seal and then press the edges together with a fork, crimping the pastry together. Keep going until you’re either out of dough or out of filling. If you end up with extra pastry, there are a million things you can do with it, so don’t despair! I had extra filling so I just ate it with a spoon. It’s THAT good.
Don’t handle the finished triangles too much. The puff pastry is delicate and melts quickly so it’ll fall apart and stick to itself and your hands as you handle it more. Place your finished samosas on the baking sheets as you fill them and leave them there, if you can. Once you’re all done, brush each one with your egg wash and put the baking sheets into the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes until flaky and golden brown. Let them cool a bit on a wire rack (ideally) and enjoy. While they’re baking, prepare the raita.
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt. You can use regular yogurt, but I like the intense tang of Greek
1/2 cup English hothouse cucumber, finely chopped. You can peel and seed it, but I didn’t. It helped to thin the yogurt.
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro. I used less than normal. You can use twice this amount if you love cilantro.
1 teaspoon of chopped mint. I used this since I had it on hand.
2 teaspoons chopped green onions
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste.
Combine all the ingredients together thoroughly. I blended them together in a food processor. You can also finely chop it all together by hand for a chunkier texture, or use a blender as well. Easy and super delicious!!