Monday, August 01, 2011

Sensational Samosas

Have you tasted ajwain? Also known as carom seed, this lovely little grayish-green seed is closely related to thyme and cumin. It has a very fragrant aroma, which comes alive when cooked, and it is used in small quantities in dishes because of its distinctively sharp, pungent taste. Although most prominently featured in Indian and Pakistani cuisine, ajwain was discovered first in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, where it was used in Persian and Afghani cooking and as a digestive herbal remedy. Today ajwain is a common ingredient throughout the South Asian Subcontinent, where it is used in pickles for its preservative qualities and in vegetable dishes for its distinctive taste. It also compliments dals, parathas, rotis, and one of my favorite finger foods of all time—samosas. If you have an Indian grocery near in your city or town, you'll have no trouble finding ajwain. Even though we have a lovely little Indian grocery here, I get my organic ajwain seeds from Mountain Rose Herbs. You can order them online, too, by clicking here.

I tinkered with several different recipes before creating this lovely little dish. My husband said that these were the best samosas he'd ever eaten. I think part of the reason is that they are baked, instead of the more traditional way of making them, which is fried. Brushing them with a light coating of coconut oil also added an extra flavor dimension, and it never hurts to have the aroma of coconut oil wafting through the kitchen to whet the appetite.

I hope you'll try my recipe for samosas, and let me know what you think! 


For the dough:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ajwain
1 cup Original So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk Beverage (kefir) or Coconut Milk Yogurt

For the filling:

2 medium-size potatoes, diced
1 Tbs canola oil
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup onions, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp ginger, grated
1-2 tsp green chiles, finely chopped (optional)
1 cup green peas (fresh or thawed, if frozen)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup water
1 tsp coriander
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup raw cashews
oil for brushing*


To prepare the dough, mix the flour, salt, and ajwain seeds together in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center, and add the cultured coconut milk. Mix together to form a dough. Add extra flour if needed, to keep the dough from being sticky. Tightly wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the samosas.

To prepare the filling, peel potatoes and dice into 1/4 inch cubes. Place in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil until very soft. Drain and set aside. Some people like to mash their potatoes at this point. It facilitates the process of filling the samosas, but I find that if I dice them small enough, I don't need to mash. But either way is fine.

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add mustard and cumin seeds and stir fry for about 30 seconds until cumin turns darker brown and mustard seeds begin to pop. Add onions, garlic, ginger, and green chiles (if using) and saute over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, or until onions are soft. Add the peas, potatoes, raisins, water, coriander, salt, garam masala, and lemon juice. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add cashews and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat, uncover, and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 400°. 

To assemble the samosas, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes until it is smooth and soft. Divide dough into 10 equal portions. Roll each portion between your hands to form smooth balls. Pour 1/4 cup water into a small bowl and set aside.

Roll each ball into a 6-inch circle and cut in half. Take one half, dip your finger into water, and run it along the straight edge. Fold in half, overlapping on end about 1/4 inch over the other, making a cone. Press to seal.

Fill the cone with potato filling. Dip finger in water and run along the inside of the cone mouth and press the lips together to seal. Plase each samosa as it is made on greased cookie sheet or silpat. Brush each samosa with coconut or vegetable oil.* Although non-traditional, I like to use coconut oil, for that little extra flavor dimension and wonderful aroma. Bake for 12-15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350°, turn the samosas over, brush the remaining sides with oil, and bake for 8-10 minutes more, until samosas are golden brown.

When samosas are done, serve immediately with mint or tamarind chutney. Makes 12 samosas.


The Vegan Version said...

Bookmarked in my "must try" recipe folder. I need to find a place to buy ajwain. I had never even heard of it until now but am very interested in giving it a try!

Justine said...

I love Indian food, especially samosas. I would never have been brave enough to try making them at home, but this recipe sounds so good, and you make it sound so easy. Thank you for the confidence and inspiration. And thank you for making these baked, instead of fried. Oh, and thank you for using So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk. I absolutely love that stuff!

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons said...

These look fantastic!!!!!! Samosas are one of my fav vegan dishes ever! =)

Helen said...

OK, now you really have my attention! Samosas are India's culinary gift to potato lovers everywhere. (OK—maybe masala dosa is, too!) But I've never met a samosa I didn't like, and having them baked, not fried, well that's just a bonus, in my book!

singerinkitchen said...

These look so delicious!! I have to try this. I have only made 2 Indian dshes before. It looks great!

Anonymous said...

You had me at samosas, but then you went and added cashews and raisins. OMG. I think I've died and gone to samosa heaven.

Claire @ Claire K Creations said...

I think baking samosas would make them so much tastier. It would let the flavours shine through rather than having them drowned out by the oil.

Kathy Hester said...

I have to make this recipe - I love samosas! I really like that you baked them too!

Marie said...

I love how you used So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk in the dough. It must give the samosas a very unique taste and texture, and I can't wait to try it!

Heather McClees said...

Hi Gail! I love this recipe! I would love to sub in some coconut flour instead of all purpose and some delicious sweet potatoes instead of regular, for better glycemic control. What a fantastic sounding dish! You just introduced me to a new spice too, and I can't wait to try it!! I love Indian food and seasonings and indulge in curry flavors at least 5 nights a week. This is a great idea! Thanks:)

Mo said...

This sounds delicious!! Can't wait to try!! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I'm heading down to the Indian grocery today to find ajwain! Your samosas look and sound fantastic! And I love tamarind chutney. Gonna stock up on it while I'm there, too. Thanks so much for this recipe!

Christy said...

Google Penzey's Spices. You can order ajwain and all of the other spices from the recipe online. I did, and they even sent me a free sample! They are located here in Houston, but I was told if you order online, you're likely to get a free sample every time! :)

Jeanette said...

Wow, these vega samosas sound and look amazing - love all the spices in the filling, and the dough that uses no oil.

A-M-P said...

Really yummy! I tried two different versions. I found my second version to be sweeter because I changed the dough. I used oat flour, flaxseed meal, shredded coconut, and coconut yogurt - pina colada flavor. They were great but they were harder to form because my flour wasn't as 'doughy' as yours. Oh, also, instead of coating them with coconut oil I used white truffle oil which made a great dimension to them overall!

Thank you for this recipe! I am making them for my vegan Thanksgiving dinner :)

Vegiegail said...

I'm so glad you liked these, A-M-P! The PiƱa Colada Coconut Milk Yogurt and truffle oil are fabulous ideas!

Unknown said...

Oooh! These look so amazing! Do you think a gluten free flour would work?

Anonymous said...

Very good recipe. I used Greek Yogurt coconut flavoured. Worked well.