Many hundreds of years ago a version of the samosa travelled from Central Asia to India, and quickly became an established staple in Indian cuisine. As with other foods in the dumpling family, the variety of fillings for these parcels of crispy, tasty goodness knows no bounds. The following recipe is one that is a hit with, and constantly requested by, everyone who has ever tried one (including a very finicky 4 year old who is not partial to spicy food) and can easily be adapted to a vegetarian diet.

Beef Samosa Recipe (time consuming, but well worth the effort)

Dough:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt

Combine flour, salt, cumin, and turmeric; cut in the butter or margarine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in yogurt and then mix by hand until you can form a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 12 balls and roll each ball, on a floured surface, into a 5 inch circle. Cut each circle in half and place a spoonful of filling on one side of each half; using your finger, dampen the edges of the semi-circles with water, fold dough over filling and seal edges with the tines of a fork.

Filling:

  • 3 potatoes, peeled and diced small
  • 1 cup canned garbanzo beans (chick peas)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh gingerroot (or 1/4 teaspoon dried ground ginger)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 quart oil for deep frying.

Bring lightly salted water to a boil in a medium pot; add potatoes and garbanzo beans, and cook about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside. Heat oil in a large frying or sauce pan over medium-high heat and brown cumin seeds and bay leaf. Add ground beef and onions; saute approximately 5 minutes or until beef is browned and onion is soft. Season with: garlic, ginger, black pepper, salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and cardamom. Remove from heat and add the potato and garbanzo beans, mixing thoroughly. Chill in the refrigerator about an hour.

Using a deep fryer or a heavy pot filled no more than 1/2 full of oil at a temperature of 375F, fry a few at a time (about 6) for 2 minutes or until the samosa are a lovely golden color. Drain on paper towels and serve warm

Vegetarian Samosa

To turn this into a vegetarian samosa recipe you can either eliminate the beef and increase the amount of potatoes and garbanzo beans (addicting to a vegetarian friend of mine) or replace the meat with cauliflower...a very delicious substitution.

This recipe is well-spiced, but is not overly hot...it has a small amount of heat, but will not make a person break into a sweat! It can be changed by omitting spices you do not prefer or adding others, using green peas rather than garbanzo beans...like all recipes the imagination of the cook can easily personalize it. The beef samosa can be changed by substituting ground chicken, the heat can be changed by reducing or increasing the chili powder and cayenne. Try this basic samosa recipe and go from there.

Note: You will have leftover filling but, if your house is anything like mine, it will not last long. A CCTV set up for your kitchen will show many culprits wandering in to "taste test" before you fill the dough!