Friday, December 9, 2011

Easy Indian Samosas

I've been lucky to visit India twice. Both times I surprised my hosts by requesting they only take me to eat Indian vegetarian food. Why would I want to eat pizza when I could get wonderful hearty and spicy dishes that take hours to make?

Back home, I searched for an easy recipe for my favorite Indian appetizer, Samosas. I hate deep frying foods, as it spits and makes a greasy mess of my stove.  This recipe uses Puff Pastry and is baked instead of fried. It is easier to make, but more importantly, easier to clean up after!

These are a great appetizer for a holiday party. You can make them half the size of these pictured for a one bite version or cut them up before serving. If you make smaller ones, watch them in the oven, as they will take less time to bake. They are wonderful right out of the oven, and nearly as good served at room temperature, perfect for the party buffet table.

You can serve them with a chutney, such as Major Grey's or try this simple apricot sauce that you can mix up in no time at all.

Don't try reheating the samosas in the microwave, as you'll get a greasy mess.  But, they reheat nicely if you take them out of the fridge to warm up for 10 minutes, then pop them in a 350° F oven for another 5 minutes.

(makes 18)

1 package puff pastry sheets, thawed
3 medium size potatoes
4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium size onion, peeled and minced
1 cup shelled fresh or defrosted frozen peas
1 Tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 fresh hot green chili, minced
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground roasted cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tablespoon water

Place the potatoes in a pot of cold water and boil them for 20-40 minutes, until they are soft enough to cut into, but not mushy. Cool them to room temperature and then peel the potatoes and dice them into roughly ¼ inch square pieces.  Heat the 4 Tablespoons oil in a 10- to 12-inch skillet over medium heat.  Put in the onion, stirring and frying until it turns a light-brown color.  Add the peas, ginger, green chili, salt, coriander, garam masala, cumin, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and 3 Tablespoons of water. Stir it together and then add the potatoes. Keep the heat low and mix the spices with the potatoes. Add additional water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, if the mixture dries out. Continue cooking gently, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes more. Check salt and lemon juice. Turn off the heat and let the potato mixture cool.

Heat the oven to 400° F. Unfold the pastry sheets on a lightly floured surface. Roll each pastry sheet to a 12-inch square. Cut each sheet into 9 (about 4-inch) squares, making 18 in all. Divide the potato mixture among the pastry squares, placing about 1 scant Tablespoon on each. Brush the edges of the pastry squares with the egg-water mixture. Fold the pastry over the filling to form a triangle and crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Brush the filled pastries with the egg wash. Place the pastries onto 2 baking sheets.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.

Note: The filling freezes well, so you can freeze ½ of it and only make 1 sheet worth of samosas if you don't need enough for a party. Make sure to thaw the filling completely before assembling the samosas.

Simple, but Spicy Apricot Dipping Sauce

½ cup apricot preserves
1 Tablespoon water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon fresh hot green chili, minced (optional)

Mix together and if you like a smooth sauce, whir it up in a blender or food processor.

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