Aloo Samosas (potato hand pies)

Recipe credit: adapted from method learned from Ganga Tantuwaya

Samosas are essentially a small hand pie with a savory filling, often potato-based, that are traditionally fried. The style of food was brought to the Indian subcontinent by visiting merchants from Islamic dynasties in the region. Popular sauces/toppings include chaat (yogurt), chutney, and/or tamarind sauce. Various style of samosas are found in many cultures and feature a variety of filling, including meat, eggs, chickpeas, and other vegetables.

For the filling (makes ~24 small samosas)

  • 5 Tbsp ghee
  • 1 green cardamom pod
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1-2 small dried red chiles (or 1 tsp chili flakes)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 2 Tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled if desired, and steamed or boiled until tender
  • 1 cup green peas, shelled (if desired)
  • 4 Tbsp chopped mixed herbs, such as cilantro and mint
  • salt to taste

Instructions for filling

  • Melt ghee in a large frying pan over medium heat
  • Grind cardamom, pepper, and chilies in a spice grinder until fine
  • Add cumin seed and fry until slightly darkened
  • Add the ground spices and stir until darkened a shade
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry until the water is cooked off
  • Turn off the heat and add potatoes and mash with a potato masher or fork until desired texture is reached
  • Add the peas and chopped herbs and stir to combine, working to distribute ghee/spice mixture throughout the filling
  • Add salt to taste

For the dough

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup melted ghee
  • Water as needed, roughly 1/2 cup
  1. Whisk the flour and salt together.
  1. Add melted ghee and rub with fingers to thoroughly combine with flour.
  1. Add cool water and knead together to form a smooth dough.

Assembling the samosas

Preheat oven to 400º or heat 1 inch of oil in a deep frying pan if you’re going to fry.

Divide dough into 6 parts and roll into balls. Roll each ball into a strip about 4 inches wide and 12 inches long (you may need to lightly flour your work surface to prevent sticking). Cut the strip into 3 inch section–you should have 4, approximately 3 inch by 4 inch rectangles from each section. You can make larger pastries, but your yield will be lower.

Working with 1 section at a time, lightly brush the edges with water, then put a spoonful of filling in the middle. Fold the dough up around the filling by joining two opposite corners then press the edges together firmly to seal, crimping if needed. Fold over the two corners toward the middle to make a base. Set the samosas aside until add are assembled. Bake or fry the samosas until golden and crispy (if baking, brush generously with additional melted ghee). Serve hot or room temperature with chutney and dusted with season salt (recipe follows) if desired.

Seasoning salt (optional)

  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 black peppercorns

Grind spices into a coarse powder. Add salt and grind to a fine power. Sprinkle over fritters to taste.

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