Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Baked Samosas

I've tackled spinach phyllo triangles. I've mastered Cornish pasties. Time to take on the Indian samosas. And as today is Ash Wednesday, I opted to try a meat-free well as a healthier, non-fried version.

adapted from Everyday Indian by Bal Arneson

yields 8 samosas

The Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
3 Tbsp + 1 tsp warm water

one 14 oz can chickpeas, drained
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 Tbsp garam masala
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp ground dried ginger
1 tsp salt

The Process:
Combine the flour, salt and oil in a bowl. Mix until the oil is evenly distributed. Mix in the water and knead for 2 to 3 minutes, until it has a smooth consistency like pizza dough. Set aside while you prepare the filling.

For the filling, mix all of the ingredients gently in a large bowl until the garam masala is evenly distributed.

To make the samosas, preheat the oven to 425.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces and form each into a ball. Take 1 piece of dough and form it into a round flat shape. Dust your working surface with flour so the dough doesn't stick. Using a rolling pin, roll the into a thin patty (like tortilla). Cut the circle in half.

Take 1 half-circle and make a cone shape. Wet the edges with a little water to glue the overlapping edges together. Put 1/4 cup of the filling in the cone. Moisten the top of the inside edges and close the cone, pressing the edges to seal it. Brush the grapeseed oil on each side of the samosa and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, then flip the samosas and bake for an another 5 minutes, or until the samosas are nicely browned. Serve with chutney.

My Modifications:
I've become much in tune with the flavor of cumin and a little overwhelmed by it; so in this batch of Indian inspired cuisine, I lessened the amount by half. I also found I needed to use just over a 1/4 cup of water to form the dough into the right consistency...I blame our dry apartment.

The Review:
Patience is a virtue that you may need to accomplish this recipe. On the surface everything seems quite simple and straight forward. And the process was simple and straight forward until I began rolling out the shell dough. I never would have thought rolling out 4 little dough balls would be so hard. The dough crumbled. It dried out incredibly quickly. And I had little info to go on as to the size and thickness of the circles aside from "like a tortilla." I translated that to mean about 8" in diameter and as thin as possible. After the rolling and stuffing the first few, the technique came more easily. But I would highly recommend covering the remaining dough with cling wrap or a damp towel while not in use, to prevent it from over drying.

I ended up filling each samosa with a scant 1/4 cup. And in the end half of the filling remained unused. Next time around I'll probably double the shell recipe. Although after the difficulty I had rolling out the dough, I may search for a new shell recipe. A quick search online yielded a site devoted solely to samosa. And while the dough recipe there is very similar to the one I used, they did recommend pre-made puff pastry for baked variations of the treat. I'd imagine this would cut the frustration factor down remarkably.

All in all the flavors were good and the samosas themselves very filling. They seemed a titch dry right out of the oven, but grew more tender as they cooled down. A side of chutney is definitely in order the next time around.

Although, one of the joys of such a dish is the countless variations of fillings that can be used. Maybe the second time around will be more successful.

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