Punjabi Samosas

Some More Samosas
We all have at least one food item where you can neither eat just one nor a little bit. Unfortunately for me, I have several.

In some cases, it is a dish that reminds me of my childhood. (And, yes, there are days when I would like to go back to when I had no responsibilities whatsoever. Please and thank you.) If I am being honest, most of the time I overindulge it is because whatever I am eating simply tastes so stinking good.

Punjabi Samosas are one of those things. I am not a one-and-done girl when it comes to samosas. I will eat them for dinner, and I will eat them for breakfast the next morning. This is why whenever we order takeout, I always get extra. They come in a wonderful variety of fillings, but I always circle back to the tried-and-true Punjabi version with potatoes and peas. They are the perfect combination of spices and carbs.

I do not make them at home too often—mainly because of the hassle of deep frying. But I have recently bowed to public pressure and purchased an air fryer. I didn’t want to love it. But, I’ve found that I kind of do. So, my next order of business is to try the samosa recipe below using my air fryer. This could be dangerous for my waistline!

If you don’t have an air fryer, you can certainly do them the old-fashioned way or bake them in the oven.

Punjabi Samosas
Adapted from Indian Healthy Recipes
Yields about 10 samosas

Punjabi Samosas are a crisp Indian chaat (or snack) with spicy potato and peas filling. They are one of the most commonly eaten snacks in India. Serve these with a tamarind or mint chutney. They can be deep-fried, baked, or air-fried.

Please note that we do not sell all the listed spices at Piedmont Grocery. And, they do make a difference with authentic flavor. So, it is worth seeking these out. For the carom seeds (ajwain) and asafetida (hing) you can purchase them nearby at Oaktown Spice Shop (worth a visit!), Vik’s Market in West Berkeley (show up hungry for Chaat next door at Vik’s!), or any of the Indian specialty stores on University Avenue.

For the dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted ghee
6 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoons carom seeds (ajwain)
3/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling
4 medium potatoes
1/2 cup green peas (frozen is fine)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, ghee, or a combination
1 tablespoon ginger
1 to 2 green chilies
1 pinch asafetida (hing)
4 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the spices
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon red chili powder (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon fennel powder (optional)

To serve
Mint chutney and or tamarind chutney (we recommend Indian Life)

Prep the ingredients
Mince or grate the ginger until it is very fine, chop the green chilies, and chop the coriander leaves finely.

Boil the potatoes
Peel, halve, and boil the potatoes in water until they are fork-tender (not mushy). Drain. When you can handle them, crumble the potatoes and set them aside.

Make the samosa dough
Mix the flour, carom seeds, salt, and oil in a bowl. Incorporate the oil by rubbing the flour between your fingers and palms (about 3 to 4 minutes). To teas if the oil is well-incorporated, take a handful of flour and press down with your fingers, it should hold its shape.

Add the water, little by little, and mix to form a slightly stiff but pliable dough. Cover and rest (about 25 to 30 minutes).

Make the filling
While the dough is resting, make the potato filling. Heat a pan with oil and add the cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to sizzle, add the ginger and green chilies. Fry until the ginger begins to smell aromatic (about 30 to 60 seconds).

Stir in the green peas and sauté (about 2 minutes). Add the red chili powder, garam masala, cumin powder, and fennel powder. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the coriander leaves (cilantro). Taste and adjust for salt, then add the lemon juice and set aside to cool.

Form the Punjabi Samosas
Follow these written instructions, and here is a YouTube video of the process.

Knead the dough gently to help it smooth out. Divide it into 5 equal portions and roll them into balls. Cover the dough balls with a cloth while you are working so they don’t dry out.

Oil the rolling area and rolling pin and flatten one dough ball. Drizzle it with a few drops of oil. Roll an oval shape about 8-1/2 inches long by 6-1/2 inches wide). Using a knife, cut it in half crosswise so you are left with two semi-circles. Each circle of dough will make two samosas.

Working with one of the semi-circles, apply a little water across the straight (cut) edge. Join the edges to make a cone. Press down gently to seal the cone from the inside.

Fill the cone with one portion of potato masala and press down with your finger to get it deep inside the cone. Smear a generous amount of water on the other edges. Bring the edges together and pinch off to seal. Double-check that the samosa is sealed all the way around and cover it to prevent drying out.

Repeat this process with the other nine samosas.

To deep try the samosas
(See below for alternate cooking methods)
Once you have finished 5 samosas, begin to heat the oil until it is medium-hot. A piece of dough dropped in the oil should not size or rise immediately. You should see tiny bubbles in the oil and the dough should take a while to float up to the surface.

Gently add as many samosas as you can to the oil, leaving some room for them to move around. Turn the heat to low and allow them to fry undisturbed. (About 10 to 12 minutes)

When the crust becomes firm, increase the heat to medium, flip the samosas over, and fry until they are crispy and golden.

While the first batch of samosas is frying, finish forming the remainder. Allow the temperature of the oil to come down to low before frying the next batch.

Once the samosas are fried to a golden brown, transfer them to a wire rack or colander.

Serve the samosas with mint chutney or tamarind chutney.

To bake the samosas
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Brush each samosa generously with oil on all sides and place them on an oiled baking tray. Bake until golden brown 9about 35 to 40 minutes).

To air fry the samosas
Brush each samosa with ghee. Preheat the air fryer to 350º F.

Place the samosa in the air fryer basket or tray with about 1-inch space in between. Air fry for 12 minutes then turn them to the other side and air fry for another 5 or 6 minutes.

To serve
Serve the Punjabi Samosas once they cooled enough to not burn your mouth. Offer mint and tamarind chutneys for dipping.


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