Simple party crowd pleasers can be rather cumbersome to think up, let alone assemble. These last few months saw me shying away from throwing together my usual mix of homemade desserts, dips and dreadfully common appetizers, and jumping straight into a (seemingly complicated) familiar Indian snack: vegetable samosas.
The mere thought of making samosas from scratch used to make me tremble. Here is food that is integral to a cultural cuisine, specifically assembled and copycats are scrutinized. Needless to say, I didn’t tell anyone I was making these until I was sure they’d turn out.
So did they?
All I can say is, thank goodness for Gordon Ramsay having demystified the otherwise daunting Samosa Recipe.
Sure, there are a few more steps than I’d like and the wait time made me antsy, but the high fibre content of the chickpeas and peas, combined with the instant impressive feeling I had with the finished product more than made up for a little impatience. The filling is soft and rich in flavour, yet it doesn’t boast much in heaviness. I recommend making these samosas in the same day or at least making the filling a day before if you are pressed for time. I found the filling didn’t freeze very well. Apart from that, this is an excellent recipe for a rainy weekend, a party platter or a special dinner with your family. Rolling out the dough and forming the samosas would even be a great activity to do with children, if you are so inclined. But it will get messy!
The only problem I consistently ran into with this recipe was with the dough. The elasticity was off the charts, and the only thing I can think of as to why it kept snapping back (making it impossible to roll) was not resting it enough or not adding enough water. It wasn’t from lack of kneading, as the elasticity made it difficult to over- or under-knead. I welcome suggestions as forming pastry-like dough is relatively new to me. I will say that the dough’s butter content lends itself nicely to the spices in the filling. The crust is flaky, crispy and buttery, every single time. It’s worth the time and the work it takes to conjure up these palm-sized packets of heaven.
Chickpea and Pea Samosas
Makes 6–12 pieces
From Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word, via The Gordon Ramsay Blog
For the pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp melted butter (or oil)
5–6 tbsp warm water
Vegetable oil, for frying
For the filling:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp curry powder (hot or sweet, whatever’s on hand)
1 tsp garam masala (I use McCormick’s, it’s the best when you can’t make your own)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 ground turmeric
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced/pressed
1-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 green chili, minced and deseeded (I have used both serrano & jalepeño)
1 can (14 oz/540 ml) chickpeas, strained and rinsed
200 ml water (this converts to .85 cups, so I used a Pyrex liquid measuring cup’s ml measure instead)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup peas, thawed if frozen, blanched if fresh
Juice of 1/2 lemon
- To make the pastry, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the melted butter and 5 tbsp warm water. Mix with a round-bladed knife to form a dough, adding another 1-3 tsp water if the mixture seems too dry. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes to a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in a cool part of the kitchen for at least 30 minutes.
- For the filling, heat the oil in a wide frying pan or wok. Add the curry powder, garam masala, cumin and turmeric and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Next, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chili and cook until the onion is softened and the spices are fragrant, about 4-5 minutes. Tip in the chickpeas, then add the water and salt. Cook, stirring gently, until most of the water has been absorbed, then take off the heat. Stir in the peas and lemon juice to taste. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.
- Divide the pastry into 6 or 7 equal pieces. Now roll out the pastry and shape the samosas.
- Heat 1 cm of oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan or wok over a medium heat to 180–190ºC. To test, drop a bread cube into the oil; it should sizzle on contact. Deep-fry the samosas in batches until golden brown and crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Drain on a tray lined with kitchen paper and keep warm in a low oven while cooking the rest. Serve hot or warm with mango chutney and/or tamarind sauce.